Tuesday, 25 April 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 10. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings on the Second Stage of No. 10 shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.30 p.m. on Thursday, 27 April and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) the opening speech of the Minister for Finance and of the main spokespersons for the Fianna Fáil Party and the Progressive Democrats Party shall not exceed 45 minutes in each case; (ii) the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 30 minutes; (iii) Members may share time; and (iv) the Minister shall be called upon not later than 4.10 p.m. on Thursday to make a speech in reply. Private Members' Business shall be No. 25.
Mr. Sargent: I wish to again register my dissatisfaction at the omission of the Green Party from the list of parties. I recognise that the rules of the House would have to be changed if the order was to be otherwise. In order for more diverse and relevant opinions to be put forward I suggest to the Whips that the  strait-jacket protecting the interests of the larger parties should be loosened from time to time so that my party's views on this and other legislation can be—
Mr. B. Ahern: I thank the Taoiseach for circulating to us the list of proposed legislation for this session and the supplementary B and C lists. Will the Taoiseach make time available at an early date to deal with the transfer of sentenced prisoners Bill which has been promised for some time? There is no reference in any of the lists to the constitutional bail legislation. Does the Government intend to debate that legislation during this session?
The Taoiseach: On the transfer of prisoners Bill, I will be happy to take that legislation next week if the appropriate arrangements can be made. On the bail legislation, this matter has yet to be decided on definitively by the Government.
Miss Harney: I wish to register my protest at the Taoiseach's decision to transfer so many questions to Ministers. He has a long and honourable record on Dáil reform and it is disappointing that questions about the Attorney General's participation in legal action on Sellafield and on issues relating to speeches he made about neutrality and the holding of possible referenda were transferred by him.
On the Government's proposed legislative programme, can we take it that there will be no referendum on Cabinet confidentiality this year as there is no reference to this legislation on the list of proposed legislation? When will the  urgently required arterial drainage legislation be published? As the Taoiseach is aware, the flood committee in Galway is very anxious to meet with him and has sought a meeting. When will that legislation be published?
The Taoiseach: On the question of Cabinet confidentiality and the referendum, one cannot draw the conclusion reached by the Deputy merely because there is no reference to the legislation in the list. While the Government has decided on the list it may, of course, be added to. The arterial drainage legislation is at an advanced stage of preparation. We hoped to have it published by now and I expect——
The Taoiseach: Deputy Molloy is long enough a Member of the House not to believe stories. The legislation has been cleared by the parliamentary draftsman, is at an advanced stage of preparation and should be published soon.
Mr. S. Brennan: Some time ago the Taoiseach promised to introduce an urban rail Bill which would enable the construction of a light rail system in Dublin to commence. There is no reference to this legislation in the list of promised legislation.
Ms O'Donnell: On long promised legislation by successive Governments — I say that in fairness to the Taoiseach — does the Government intend to introduce legislation to reform and update the law on insanity and criminal responsibility given the present controversy about the Gallagher case? Will the Taoiseach indicate that at long last after 17 years the Government will move——
The Taoiseach: The legislation is at heads form and is almost ready for approval by the Cabinet. When it has been approved, which I expect will happen within the next few weeks, it will then proceed to detailed drafting.
Mr. Martin: On 5 April I asked when the national education and training certification board legislation would be introduced and the Taoiseach said the legislation had been cleared by the Cabinet and would be introduced soon. There is no reference on the list of proposed legislation to an education Bill. Will the Taoiseach clarify the position on this Bill? Was it approved by the Cabinet and, if so, at what stage is it?
Mr. Sargent: In regard to two items of promised legislation, has the Taoiseach received letters and cards from people expressing concern that the control of horses Bill has not yet been enacted given that it is available in draft form as drawn up by one of the Government parties? Will he give a date for the publication of the waste Bill?
Mr. M. McDowell: Is the Taoiseach aware that the legislation to which Deputy O'Donnell referred was drafted in final form by the then parliamentary draftsman, Mr. Vincent Grogan, and has been sitting on a shelf in the Department of Justice for the past 17 years and nobody has done anything about it?
Mr. O'Donoghue: In view of the escalating crime levels and the fact that drugs are available on every street corner, will the Taoiseach justify to the House why none of the Bills expected to be published this session deals with crime?
Mr. O'Donoghue: There is no legislation promised in this regard. I am sure the general public will want to know why legislation on fraud, which was promised, bail, or the drug problem is not being introduced.
Mr. D. Ahern: Does the Taoiseach not agree that, in view of the crime level, it is unacceptable that the Department of Justice, which is normally prolific in producing legislation, does not have a Bill on the B list for publication this session? What is that Department doing?
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