Order of Business.

Tuesday, 25 April 1995

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 451 No. 8

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The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Are the proposals for dealing with No. 10, the Finance Bill, agreed?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor 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 [1915] 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—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy has made his point quite adequately.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  The more views we hear on the finance package the better.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I take it that the proposals are agreed. Agreed.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie 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: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  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: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary 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 [1916] 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: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  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——

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  What is holding it up?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The normal drafting problems.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  It is more than that.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  No, it is not.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Stories have it that it is more than that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Molloy will please contain himself in quietude for the time being.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  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. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  Off the record briefings tell us otherwise.

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus 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.

[1917]Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment (Mr. Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  We did not see it when the Deputy was a Minister.

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  Neither is there any reference to it in apprendix C which outlines the legislation being actively worked on. Given that the funds have already been voted——

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

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  ——when will the Bill be introduced?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It is already going through Dundrum.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is this promised legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Yes. The legislation is at an early stage of preparation but I do not expect it to be introduced until after the summer recess.

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  But the Government has the money.

Ms O'Donnell: Information on Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz 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——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy may not make a speech.

Ms O'Donnell: Information on Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  ——to implement the necessary changes in the law?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Is legislation promised in this area?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Work on a general scheme is at an advanced stage——

[1918]Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  The Bill was drafted 17 years ago.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Howlin): Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  When the Deputy's party was in Government.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us listen to the Taoiseach's reply.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Deputy's party was in Government during some of those years.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Unfortunately not for long enough.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  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: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál 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. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  Probably lost somewhere in all the conferences.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  That legislation should be ready for the House's consideration later in the year, probably in October or November.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Sargent has been offering.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  On a point of order, on 5 April the Taoiseach said it was cleared by Cabinet.

[1919]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Martin may not ignore the Chair.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Legislation on the control of horses is at an early stage of preparation but I am not in a position to say when it will come before the House.

Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael 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. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  That is a matter for the National Library.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There should be no debate or argument on that matter now. I will call Deputy O'Donoghue on a final matter.

Mr. O'Donoghue: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John 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?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Has the Deputy a specific item of legislation in mind?

Mr. O'Donoghue: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John 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.

[1920]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Those matters were adverted to.

Mr. O'Donoghue: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The general public is entitled to an answer in respect of those matters.

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan,: Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Limerick East): The Deputy's party did nothing about it for seven years.

Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  A national bureau for fraud has been set up.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot 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?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  My second question related to a date for the publication of the waste Bill, to which I did not receive a reply.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I expect that Bill will be published in this session.


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