Order of Business.

Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 462 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 137 Next Page Last Page

Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  It is proposed to take items Nos. 6 — Motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; 13 — commissioners of Public Works (Functions and Powers) Bill, 1995 [Seanad], Report and Final Stages; 14 — Trade Marks Bill, 1995, Report and Final Stages; 15 — Refugee Bill, 1995, Report and Final Stages; 16 — Health (Amendment) Bill, 1995, Second Stage (resumed) and 2 — Metrology Bill, 1996, Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 6 shall be decided without debate.

Private Members' Business shall be No. 24 — Prosecution of Offences and Punishment of Crimes Bill, 1996, Second Stage (resumed).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Is it agreed that No. 6 be decided without debate? Agreed.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Before we agree the Order of Business, I understand from contacts with an official of the Taoiseach's office that we will have a debate on the Summit in the afternoon. Although not mentioned in the Order of Business, since it was communicated [618] to me, I assume it has been agreed. Perhaps the Minister is not aware of it.

We on this side of the House — as we always would in the event of any important meeting — wish the Government well and I hope more progress can be made today than over recent months. It is ironic that it is 18 months to the day since the announcement of the IRA ceasefire. We hope that whatever conclusion is reached or whatever communiqué is issued after today's meeting will specify definite dates to which we can adhere in the future. We wish the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and their officials well in their endeavours.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I very much welcome the constructive comments just made by the Leader of the Opposition. On the precise matter he raised with me, he is correct, there have been discussions with the Government Whip but a time has not been fixed, as a timetable for the conclusion of the Summit meeting is not available. However, as soon as we have definite information in that respect, there will be a meeting with the Whips and arrangements made for statements in the House.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I join Deputy Ahern in wishing the Government well today. I am delighted that the Summit is taking place. It is clear from this morning's opinion poll — not that an opinion poll is needed to confirm it — the vast majority of people North and South and in Great Britain want to see peace restored with a political settlement, that they have an open mind and are flexible on the way forward, which is as it should be.

I know there will be a debate on the Summit later today. Since it is my party's Private Members' time this week, we are prepared to allow time for that debate because it is important that it take place today. If we lose time or must move our Private Members' time to next week, we are prepared to do that. I understand and welcome the fact that the Government is prepared to brief the [619] Opposition parties early in the afternoon.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I thank Deputy Harney for her supportive comments and generosity with her party's Private Members' time. If it is necessary to arrange for statements during that time, the Whips will consult her party's Whip. I can also confirm that the Opposition parties will be briefed as soon as we are in a position to do so.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Yesterday I had been endeavouring to obtain some information from the Taoiseach on the third banking force. Since we are lucky in having the Minister for Finance to announce the Order of Business, perhaps he would inform the House of his position in relation to it.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  This is a complex issue of which Deputy Ahern is intimately aware, having had it on his desk for over a year——

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The last time I made a statement on the matter the Garda were sent to me about it.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  It is receiving the attention it deserves. When we have completed our deliberations, we will bring it to the House as soon as possible. However, I am aware of the need to move rapidly on this issue.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Is the report I commissioned now defunct or may I publish it? Alternatively, is the Minister still working on it? The last time that report was mentioned in a Sunday newspaper the Garda were sent to my office to ascertain whether I had leaked it. I am afraid to do anything until the Minister gives me the all clear on it.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  As the Minister knows, I have no great grá for a third banking force.

(Interruptions.)

[620]Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I used to think there were people over there who had not either but it appears I have to represent their supporters here as well. Will the Minister confirm that the Trustee Savings Bank has been told officially there will be no change in the lifetime of this Government? If that is the case the Minister should put on the public record that the status quo will obtain for the lifetime of this Government because of its inability to take such a decision.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  These matters are not appropriate——

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I would, however, like to take the opportunity to correct the erroneous report in some of the newspapers over the weekend. The Trustee Savings Bank were not so informed.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  So, the Minister for Finance is going to make a decision?

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  That does not follow, Deputy.

Mr. Kirk: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will the Minister for Finance intercede with his colleague, the Minister for the Environment, on a problem that has arisen for community alert committees around the country? Apparently, most local authorities are refusing to provide public liability insurance cover for them and whilst I can only speak specifically about the problem in my area, the work of these committees is in abeyance because public liability insurance cover is not available from the local authority.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  We should not proceed with that but the Deputy should take the opportunity to raise it at another time.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Will the Minister for Finance confirm that all Ministers have read the Freedom of Information Bill as this legislation will help me in securing the report commissioned by the Department of Enterprise and Employment on early school leavers? Yesterday I tabled [621] a question seeking to have this report published and made available to me but the reply was in the negative. Reports of that type should be made available to Members. What is the reason for secrecy? Will the Minister for Finance ensure that a copy of this report is made available to me because this is an important document from the point of view of public debate.

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

Mr. O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  In view of the fact that the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Bill, 1996, will be introduced tomorrow will the Minister for Finance confirm a report in this morning's newspaper that the section in the 1994 Act which enables cash to be seized on suspicion that it represents the proceeds of drug trafficking has not yet been brought into effect? If the answer is in the negative, will he explain why and tell me when it will take effect?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I presume the Deputy is referring to section 44 of the relevant legislation. I am informed by the Department of Justice that the order to bring it into effect will be ready and brought to the House in the next two to three weeks.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Does the Government intend to bring forward legislation to make special provision for the employees of semi-State companies that are then privatised to pay PRSI contributions?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Is legislation in this regard promised?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I am not sure of the exact position in regard to legislation but I will communicate with the Deputy when I have the precise information.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Pádraig Yates in an article in The Irish Times reported that the Government made a decision last week — obviously a well informed [622] source told him that — so I presume the Minister would be aware of it.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Unlike Pádraig Yates, I would not like to mislead the Deputy. I will try to ascertain the exact information and as soon as I have it I will convey it to the Deputy.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I take this opportunity to answer Deputy Eric Byrne's Question No. 46 on today's Order Paper. The Fianna Fáil Party has 89 members of the Oireachtas and a staff of 92.


Last Updated: 21/05/2011 12:51:57 First Page Previous Page Page of 137 Next Page Last Page