Order of Business.

Tuesday, 6 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 461 No. 1

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The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  It is proposed to take Nos. 10, 11 and 1. Private Members' Business shall be No. 22.

[223]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  There is nothing to put to the House.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Will the Taoiseach arrange for the Minister for Social Welfare to apologise for misleading the House regarding the recruitment of staff to posts which he clearly stated here were not advertised? It subsequently transpired from what Deputy Joe Walsh stated that they were advertised in the Democratic Left newspaper. It has been the time honoured practice of previous leaders of Fine Gael, such as Deputy Garret FitzGerald, and members of the Fianna Fáil Party to apologise for making misleading statements to the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  This is not a matter for the Order of Business.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Since raising the matter last week I discovered in the precedents of the House that there is no way other than on the Order of Business of raising the issue of a Minister knowingly or in error misleading the House. If the Minister did not intend to mislead the House he can make a statement of apology in the normal way, but if he is hiding something the Taoiseach must deal with the matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I understand there is a motion on the Order Paper regarding this matter.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The order is that it be taken in Government time, but I understand from the Government Whip that is unlikely. It can be easily dealt with by the Taoiseach or the Minister for Social Welfare in the time honoured way. Senior people were employed by the Government at a cost to the taxpayer and the House was misled in regard to their recruitment. I understand from the Ceann Comhairle's office that this is the proper way for the Leader of the Opposition to raise such a matter. As it was the Taoiseach who introduced the standards of transparency, honesty and integrity and the Ethics in Public Office [224] Bill, surely he cannot stand over this action.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  My predecessors will be disappointed to hear me described as the person who brought those qualities into the House. I would have presumed they existed for a long time.

Mr. McCreevy: Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  Not according to the Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I draw the Deputy's attention to pages 201 and 202 of today's Order Paper which contain an extensive list of questions on the topic to which Deputy Ahern refers. I suggest he read the replies to those questions.

Dr. Woods: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  This matter necessitates a personal statement.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  On page 7 of the internal telephone directory Mr. John Gallagher is listed as an administrator at extension 3566 in 224 Kildare House. Was he employed on taxpayers' money as a result of the advertisement in the Democratic Left Forum newspaper? This is the greatest scandal that has arisen in the House for some time.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  We cannot debate this matter on the Order of Business.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  He is a Democratic Left administrator paid out of taxpayers' money.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I have not intervened on this matter before, but Deputy Ahern is correct in that it is a fact that the Minister for Social Welfare misled the House.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  It is not a fact.

Mr. McCreevy: Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  It is a fact.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  If we did not have a copy of the Democratic Left newspaper, which was obviously circulated by a person who did not get the job — it is not [225] often something is leaked from that party — we would not have known that these positions were advertised. If a Fine Gael member or a junior Minister were involved I am sure the Taoiseach would have intervened by now.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  We cannot proceed to deal with this matter now.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is important that the record is corrected. We should not have to table parliamentary questions for written reply or write to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges in respect of the matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The Chair indicated the available procedures last week and we must now proceed to other relevant business.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is a matter of serious concern if a Minister deliberately misleads the Dáil when asked a parliamentary question.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The word “deliberately” should not be used.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I regard this as a very serious matter.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The Deputy knows that there is a longstanding tradition regarding the word “deliberately”. I must ask her to withdraw the word “deliberately”. In accordance with a longstanding tradition of the House a Member does not accuse another Member of deliberately misleading the House.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  If I could hear from the Minister for Social Welfare I might be prepared to do that. It is over two weeks since this matter was raised in the House. If I had not seen a copy of the Forum newsletter circulated to Democratic Left members and supporters, I would not have known that these positions had been advertised.

[226]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  We cannot proceed with that matter at this stage.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  We should hear from the Minister and certainly from the Taoiseach.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The matter is not in order now. I will clarify the matter once again. There is a motion on the Order Paper and I am also informed the matter is to be referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. Those are the avenues available.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  We should not have to do that.

Dr. Woods: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  It is a simple matter.

Mr. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  A bit of courtesy is required.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Last week I attempted to get clarification and a correction in this House in regard to a false response to a parliamentary question. I have been a Member for some considerable time and this is the first occasion I have ever come across a situation such as this. This is deliberate, there is no other word to use, and the Taoiseach is standing over this matter. Are there no limits to the depths to which the standards of this House can descend? Members are entitled to truthful answers in the House and we are not getting them.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  That is sufficient now, Deputy.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Last week the Chair advised me to table a motion on this matter if I wished to have the record corrected. That motion is on today's Order Paper and it states: “That Dáil Éireann, mindful of the statement made by the Minister for Social Welfare in the House on Tuesday, 23 January 1996, in answer to a Dáil priority question, calls on the Minister to retract his erroneous statement and correct the record of the House”. Is it too much to ask for the [227] truth to be given to parliamentary questions in this House?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  No response.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Shameless.

Mr. O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  I am more than disappointed that the Taoiseach has persisted in his silence. I want to ask him a simple question. In view of the fact that we have had a signature, which was not really a signature, on a letter, bank notes which were not really bank notes and now an advertisement which is not really an advertisement, when will the Taoiseach put a stop to this charade?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I am putting a stop to this discussion now because it is disorderly.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  On promised legislative reform and particularly Dáil reform, which is part of the Programme for Government, will the Taoiseach indicate if he will provide in such reforms a facility whereby Opposition Members of the House can have various matters, such as the misleading reply given by the Minister for Social Welfare to Deputy Joe Walsh in the House recently, clarified immediately? That would be preferable to the charade at the moment where we must wait weeks for the matter to go before a particular committee, where answers are buried and where an attempt is made to defer giving truthful answers. A total of £200,000 of public money——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I am proceeding to the Order of Business proper now.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  ——was used to beef up this individual's ministerial advice team. That is a disgrace and gives rise to public cynicism about the political system.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The Deputy must desist and resume his seat.

[228]Mr. D. Wallace: Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Will the Taoiseach indicate if there are controls in place, official or unofficial, to ensure fair and equitable distribution of funds? I raise this matter in light of the allocation of more than 40 per cent of local development grants by the Minister of State at the Taoiseach's Department, Deputy Gay Mitchell, to his own constituency when there are many worthwhile projects in other areas of the country. In Cork, 35 projects were set up but only two of those were——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The Deputy will find another way to raise that matter.

Mr. D. Wallace: Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  More than 40 per cent of that money went to one constituency and I am asking the Taoiseach if he is taking any action in this matter.

Mr. B. O'Keeffe: Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  The Minister of State, Deputy Allen, is guilty.

Mr. D. Wallace: Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Will the Taoiseach answer me?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  It would be disorderly of the Taoiseach to answer that question now.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  On a point of order, will the Chair advise me on the procedure for the correction of a misleading statement given to the House? Is it by way of a subsequent parliamentary question being put down, as indicated by the Taoiseach in his reply to the Leader of the Opposition, or does it require, on precedent, a statement from the offending Member of the House?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  As I already indicated this week and last week, that matter can be initiated by way of motion on the Order Paper, as has been done, or by referring the matter to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. The matter has already been clarified.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Will the Chair confirm [229] that it is not in order, on the basis of precedence of this House, to rectify a misleading statement to the House by way of an obligation being put on the Opposition to table a subsequent question which may glean the correct answer? Will the Chair confirm that that is not the procedure of the House and that a misleading statement, as the Chair has indicated——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  That is an allegation and we cannot pursue it now. The Chair has indicated the procedures in situ and that is all the Chair can do at this stage.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I am grateful to the Chair but I want to confirm one particular point. The Taoiseach, as the Leader of the House, indicated that because subsequent parliamentary questions have been tabled on this matter, that is in some way a means by which we can rectify a misleading statement. Will the Chair agree that is not the case? It is not in order for us to pursue the matter on that basis. There is an obligation on the person who has given the misleading statement to come before the House and apologise.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I am calling Deputy Joe Walsh.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Is that the case?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I have clarified the matter as much as I need to and as much as I will.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  We are witnessing an appalling lowering of standards in the House under this Administration.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  We cannot proceed any further on this matter, Deputy.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  I am putting it to the Chair that we have seen the Taoiseach's inability to stand up to the Minister for Social Welfare. We know that happens in the Cabinet but it is not acceptable [230] on the floor of the House. How can we get truthful answers? It is a matter for the Chair to ensure that standards are maintained in this House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The Deputy has been advised as to how to raise the matter in an orderly fashion and I cannot hear any more about it on the Order of Business.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  How long must we put up with this dreadful charade? How can we get truthful answers in this House?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I am calling Deputy McDaid.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  I have been sent here by a majority of people to represent them and I am entitled to get truthful answers to questions.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I have called Deputy McDaid. I have indicated to Deputy Walsh that the Chair can go no further on that matter.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  What course is open to me to get the truth in reply to questions? This was a priority question, not a matter which arose during a debate in the House. There was a deliberate misleading of this House and I want to know what will be done in this case.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I have already cautioned Members about using that type of terminology in the House. It is out of order to accuse another Member of deliberately misleading the House.

Mr. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  And he still is.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Is the Taoiseach condoning this particular type of——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I will hear no more now and I ask Deputy to resume his seat so that we can get on with the business of the day.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  It is appalling.

[231]Dr. McDaid: Information on James McDaid  Zoom on James McDaid  On occasions the Taoiseach becomes intoxicated in the exuberance of his own verbosity, but when we touched a sensitive chord here today he seemed to push the shut down button. Will the Taoiseach indicate if an investigation will be carried out in regard to the matter raised by Deputy Dan Wallace?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  The Deputy may not raise that matter now. If the Deputy wishes to raise a matter relevant to the Order of Business he may do so but we cannot continue in this fashion.

Dr. McDaid: Information on James McDaid  Zoom on James McDaid  The Taoiseach has not answered one question.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  In the light of the way the Taoiseach dealt with the difficulties which surrounded the Minister of State, Deputy Coveney, and the then Minister of State, Deputy Hogan, are we to understand that different standards now apply to Democratic Left as far as the Taoiseach is concerned and that——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  This matter has already been dealt with. The Deputy must resume his seat.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  ——the Minister for Social Welfare is seen as a separate——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Is Deputy Dermot Ahern offering?

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Will the Taoiseach provide Government time to discuss motion No. 35 on today's Order Paper?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  My understanding is that this is a Private Members' Motion.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  I am asking if the Taoiseach will provide Government time.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Deputy's party is provided with time each week to debate its own Private Members' motions. This [232] is one of those motions and if it wishes to put down that motion, it may do so. Comprehensive answers to the questions tabled by Opposition Members on the matters on which they have been spending so much time in the past few minutes will be provided by means of written replies by the Minister for Social Welfare which will be available to all interested Deputies a few minutes after the conclusion of the Order of Business.

Mr. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  What we want is an apology.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  The raison d'être of written answers is to be economic with the truth.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I advise Deputies who are very free in their capacity to reflect on the integrity of others to wait until they read the answers.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Has the Taoiseach read them?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  We will have to table the right questions.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  The Taoiseach is well aware that the Opposition have only three hours each week to discuss matters tabled by them. We have much more important matters to discuss——

A Deputy:  So have we.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  ——during Private Members' time than this motion. I again invite him to provide Government time to debate this issue if the Minister is not man enough to come into the House and admit that he made a mistake and misled us.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  I call Deputy Bertie Ahern.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Silence is golden.

Mr. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  The Deputy's party was silent enough when it was in Government and it misled the House.

[233]Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  At least our members were men enought to admit they were wrong or that they misled the House. The Minister for Social Welfare was quick enough to criticise us when he was in Opposition and he should be man enough to admit he misled the House.

Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  At least we are doing a better job than the Deputy's party.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  He peddled falsehoods in Opposition as well.

Mr. O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  Hypocrite.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Deputy Bertie Ahern has been called.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We are devoting much time to what should be a minor issue. The Government is stonewalling on the issue and adopting a never explain, never apologise attitude. I said at the start that the Minister for Social Welfare may have unintentionally — I gave him the benefit of the doubt — or knowingly misled the House. The tradition has always been that when it is pointed out that a Member made an error and gave wrong information he makes a short statement in the House. I ask the Minister for Social Welfare or the Taoiseach to give us an answer to our question.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  An apology.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Can we have an answer?

Mr. O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  We are waiting for an answer.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The silence through the pane of glass is deafening.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  If it was all right by the Taoiseach and the Government for a Minister to tell an untruth last week then the logical conclusion is that it will [234] be all right if a Minister tells an untruth next week.

Dr. Woods: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  I appeal to the Taoiseach to recognise that he is undermining a fundamental principle of the House and that this has very wide ramifications. If the Minister for Social Welfare inadvertently misled the House — and it was certainly misled——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  This is disorderly.

Dr. Woods: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  ——then how can the Opposition believe anything Ministers may say in future? This is a fundamental issue and there is an onus on the Taoiseach to ensure that this matter is settled without delay.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I want to deal with matters appropriate to the Order of Business and nothing else.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  On Question No. 35, which is appropriate to the Order of Business — no other matter has been as appropriate this year — we are endeavouring to wring the truth from the Minister for Social Welfare.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The matter referred to by the Deputy is being dealt with by the House, it is now with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  For the past two weeks we have been trying to get the truth as regards the information given by the Minister for Social Welfare. It is appalling——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I will allow no more of this.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  I appeal to you, a Cheann Comhairle, as the person who upholds standards in the House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Deputy Walsh, I do not need lectures from any Member; I know how to proceed.

[235]Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  How can we get the truth——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Resume your seat, Deputy Walsh.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  As Deputy O'Malley said, is it now possible for a Minister who told an untruth last week to tell another untruth next week? This is an appalling lowering of standards in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please resume your seat, Deputy.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  What about the beef tribunal?

A Deputy:  What about it?

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  Ask Joe.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Ask the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, a member of the carousel which has peddled falsehoods all its life.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I call Deputy Molloy.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  May I ask the Taoiseach if it is proposed to provide Government time for a debate on the recently published interdepartmental report on offshore islands?

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  If the Deputy wishes to convey such a request through his party Whip it will be considered.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  There was no problem getting an answer to that question.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  It broke the silence.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The question happened to be in order.

Mr. O'Malley: Information on Desmond J. O'Malley  Zoom on Desmond J. O'Malley  But telling lies in the [236] House does not matter to the Taoiseach.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  He is afraid.

Dr. Woods: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  May I ask the Taoiseach if any progress has been made on the legislation which will be necessary following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the Keegan case on which the Government has promised to take action? This would involve an amendment——

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

Dr. Woods: Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Yes.

The Taoiseach: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  It concerns an adoption and the matter is under consideration by the Government.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Will the Taoiseach consider introducing an amendment to the Ethics in Public Office Act so as to bring some ethics into the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputy Ahern, I am proceeding to the business ordered.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Resume your seat, Deputy.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  It is on a matter of public importance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  No, Deputy. There are many ways of raising such matters.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  I seek your advice as head of the Civil Service Appointments Commission. Am I correct in saying that all applicants to the Department of Social Welfare will have to apply to the Democratic Left office which seems to be the new personnel office?

[237]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy can raise this matter in another way.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  Is that the new system?


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