Tuesday, 28 June 1994
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 2, 12, 13 and 14. No. 13 shall be taken at 8.30 p.m. and the order shall resume therafter. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) business shall be interrupted at 12.00 midnight tonight; (2) the Second Stage of No. 2 shall be taken today and the following arrangements shall apply in relation to the debate: (i)  the proceedings thereon shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 7.00 p.m. tonight; (ii) the speech of the main spokespersons for the Government, the Fine Gael Party, the Progressive Democrats and the Technical Group shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case; and (iii) the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 15 minutes and (iv) a Minister or a Minister of State shall be called upon not later than 6.45 p.m. to make a speech in reply; (3) the proceedings on the Report and Final Stages of No. 12, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 12.00 midnight by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for the Marine, and (4) statements on No. 13 shall conclude within one hour and 30 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) statements shall be confined to the Taoiseach, the main spokesperson for the Fine Gael Party, the Progressive Democrat's Party and the Technical Group, and shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case and (ii) a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply not exceeding ten minutes. Private Members' Business shall be No. 26.
Miss Harney: It is unsatisfactory that the Taoiseach will not respond to the debate. The questions I placed to the Taoiseach about the Summit have been ruled out of order by the Chair's office on the basis they would pre-empt the debate this evening which is merely statements. The Taoiseach will not be responding. That is unsatisfactory because the Government has many questions to answer regarding its behaviour at Corfu last week.
The Taoiseach: I will anticipate them and give answers Deputies might not like to hear. Words used by Deputy Harney such as “petty” and “vindictiveness” rest more readily on her shoulders in relation to her European candidates in recent times. Deputy Bruton paid a visit to the Christian Democrats meeting. He was not very successful and I hope he will take the opportunity to tell the House why he was not successful.
Mr. J. Bruton: I ask the Taoiseach not to insult our intelligence even more. Nobody coming into the House can say they will anticipate everything any Member will say. Will the Taoiseach indicate if he will respond to the debate?
The Taoiseach: It is in order to give an answer if Deputies want to listen to it but if they do not, that is fine. Unless they desist from calling the Taoiseach a liar every time they get an opportunity it will not be a successful strategy.
Mr. J. Bruton: As the House is aware there is a serious situation developing in Irish Steel which may conceivably require legislation and certainly statements to be made in the House. Has the Government any plans to keep the House informed and, if necessary, allow a discussion on it because of the impact of the potential loss of jobs in the Cork area?
Mr. J. Bruton: Any question of equity injection in Irish Steel would require legislation. The House was recalled during a summer recess to rescue the Goodman Group. Would the Government be willing to consider measures——
Ms. O'Donnell: Regarding promised legislation on abortion information and on the substantive issue, in light of media speculation that there is a case in the pipeline similar to the circumstances of the X case will the Taoiseach confirm that the State is not restricting a person from leaving the State for the purposes of terminating a pregnancy and if the Attorney General has been asked to advise any agency of the State in this regard?
Mr. Sargent: Is the Taoiseach aware that the Government's failure to publish the recycling strategy which he promised in 1993 is likely to result in 60 redundancies in Kerbside in Dublin this summer unless industry is reassured that the Government has some commitment to this issue? That does not appear to be the case at present. This was promised before the recess as was the waste Bill.
The Taoiseach: It is. It is nearing completion. I know it is the Opposition's prerogative to change from item No. 26 to item No. 27 but it should not be taken as a precedent that motions for Private Members' Business can be changed at the last minute. The House and the Government are entitled to a little more notice than that. While it is the preserve of the Opposition we should be given a little more notice.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I understand the Fine Gael motion was accepted at short notice as an exceptional measure as this is the last sitting week before the summer recess. In the normal course, such a motion would not be allowed.
Mr. J. Bruton: We did not table this motion last week as it seemed possible at that stage that there would be discussions between the Minister and the unions. It only became clear today that nothing of that nature was being done and, therefore, it was necessary to raise the matter in the Dáil. Hence the motion was tabled today. It could not have been tabled any earlier, otherwise we would have been accused of politicising the issue.
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