Order of Business.

Tuesday, 24 May 1994

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 443 No. 1

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The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  It is proposed to take Nos. 4, 10, 6 and 2. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 4 and 10 shall be decided without debate. Private Members' Business shall be No. 17, motion No. 14.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 4 and 10 satisfactory? Agreed.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I wish to raise a routine matter. For several years the Government has been promising to introduce legislation to convert the Land Registry and the Registry of Deeds into a commercial semi-State body. There are major delays in processing property transactions and much revenue which could be gained by way of a speedy conclusion of these transactions is being lost to the State because of the non-filling of vacancies in these bodies. When will this legislation which was promised in March 1993 and on several previous occasions be introduced?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Work is proceeding to convert the Land Registry into a commercial semi-State body. Work is also [154] proceeding within the Land Registry to choose the most appropriate people to move to Waterford. Both matters are being dealt with together.

Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  Will the Taoiseach confirm reports that the promised Ethics in Government Bill is to be published in the near future? Will it deal with instances where citizenship has been conferred on people in respect of investments connected with members of the Government?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy need not elaborate now.

Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  Will the matter be dealt with in that legislation or will other legislation be needed to unearth what has happened in the past in that regard?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I hope the Ethics in Government Bill will be published within a week.

Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  I did not get an answer to my question.

Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It was totally irrelevant.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The Deputy should ask his friends who were in Government.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Sherlock Holmes is on the rampage again. Another brown bag operation.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does the Taoiseach consider, in respect of the £2.5 million spent on PR consultants, that he is getting value for money having regard——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy knows what the procedure is at this time. The matter to which he has adverted is irrelevant on the Order of Business.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Minister for Social Welfare verbally abused a journalist from The Cork Examiner who pointed out to him——

[155]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am sorry but this does not arise now.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The journalist in question——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  If the Deputy wants to proceed along those lines he has other avenues open to him. It is not relevant now.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  He has to canvass now, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I caution the Deputy against mentioning persons outside the House who have no redress against accusations made against them in this privileged assembly.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  May I put a different question?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  If it is relevant.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will the Minister for Social Welfare make a statement to the House about misleading the House last week——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This is disorderly.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——on the issue of the entitlements of 70,000 women under the social welfare code?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy will resume his seat. I have already said in the House that if Members wish to make a serious allegation against another Member, especially a Minister——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I am making an allegation.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I made it last Thursday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  ——there is a procedure for doing so. The Deputy must put down a substantive motion. He may [156] not throw accusations across the floor in a disdainful manner.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  He missed the last edition.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Minister for Social Welfare misled the House last week and there is chapter and verse to be quoted on the matter. He did mislead the House.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy may not suggest that. I have told him the procedure. It is unfair and unethical——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It is not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  ——to make such an allegation.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It is accurate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should put down a motion on the matter.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I will do that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is the Deputy's privilege.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I regret that attacks were made on a journalist in Cork.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  He visited the Deputy at his clinic during the weekend.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy will have regard for the ruling of the Chair.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Ring Barney Murphy.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I invite the Minister for Social Welfare to make a statement in clarification——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The matter does not arise now.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister's statement, on the confidentiality clause in respect of equality payments made to women could be construed as misleading.

[157]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should desist and have regard to my admonition that if he wishes to make a serious charge against a Member there is a procedure. I invite him to avail of that procedure. He may not do so in this ad hoc manner.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I have the record of the proceedings last Wednesday and it shows that misleading statements were made.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Avril Doyle is offering.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  On a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Will we hear Deputy Doyle?

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  It relates to the same subject matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I fail to see how a point of order can arise.

Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  On a point of order——

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  There are two points of order.

Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  ——when I raised a query on the Ethics in Government Bill, the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, Deputy Cowen, mentioned a brown paper bag operation. Will he elaborate on that? I will, if necessary.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I told Deputy O'Malley some time ago either to put up or shut up and he had to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us be serious.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I have had an opportunity to check the record of the statements made by the Minister for Social Welfare last week. In the interest of the House not engaging in the cumbersome procedure of accusation, I invite him to make a statement of clarification.

[158]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is sufficient, Deputy.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  I made one last week. The matter is before the courts.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I read the Minister's statements and they are at variance with the facts.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputy Bruton.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Is it permissible for the Minister to mislead the House? He should make a statement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Rabbitte should resume his seat.

Mrs. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  We have long been promised changes in the archaic law on occupier's liability. The Law Reform Commission recently published another report indicating more changes in this area. At least 15 national organisations, such as recreational, sporting and farming organisations——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I must dissuade the Deputy from making a speech.

Mrs. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  ——are considering what is being referred to as the occupier's liability alliance lest this legislation is not passed in this session. Will the Taoiseach fast track that legislation in this session and introduce emergency legislation if necessary to avoid any implications for our tourism industry this summer? Will the Taoiseach ensure that this legislation is put in place before the end of this session?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I take it this legislation is promised?

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  Yes.

Mrs. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  It is promised, but we need it this session.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  I told the House last [159] week that as soon as we received the report from the Law Reform Commission the legislation will be prepared at full speed. It will be published at the earliest possible date.

Mrs. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  Will it be this session?

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I am sure you, Sir, heard the Minister for Social Welfare a few minutes ago again attempting to mislead us by saying the matter is sub judice.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I have advised Deputies how to proceed on this matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  The Deputy should put down a motion.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I am making the allegation that the Minister misled the House in relation to the confidentiality clause of equality payments settled outside the High Court.


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