Order of Business (Resumed).

Thursday, 20 March 1997

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 476 No. 6

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Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  I regret the House divided on the issue and that it was not possible to accept our amendment with regard to answering questions.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We should not go back on the matter. The House has decided.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  On a separate matter, I want to convey to the Minister for Finance the concerns of small firms, who supply Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices supermarkets, about the proposed take-over by Tesco. It is unclear whether the take-over is on——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The matter referred to by the Deputy is clearly not in order now. It is not relevant to the Order of Business.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Is the Deputy on or not on?

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  I am speaking to the Minister for Finance, not to Minister Dukes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am speaking to the House.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  I appreciate the Chair's indulgence in this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It is clearly not in order.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  It is often the case that such take-overs are not to the benefit of either consumers or workers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should raise the matter at a more appropriate time.

Mr. T. Kitt: Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Is the Minister for Finance concerned about the decision by Dunnes Stores to open its stores on Easter Sunday?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Since there is such a total disregard for what is appropriate to the Order of Business, the Deputy leaves me no option——

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  It concerns promised legislation.

Mr. T. Kitt: Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  I have a specific question on promised legislation. Are there any plans to introduce legislation to deal with this matter, as the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, announced publicly?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The matter is under active consideration. There are currently no explicit plans for legislation but I will give a more comprehensive reply to the Deputy.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  Why did the Minister of State, Deputy Rabbitte, jump the gun on the Minister of State, Deputy Eithne Fitzgerald?

Mr. S. Brennan: Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  For some time the Government has promised to introduce legislation to regularise the deflector television system. I [1213] understand the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications had promised to release the consultants' report which is on his desk. When will the legislation come before the House, and will the Minister release the consultants' report?

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Legislation has not been promised.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The Deputy might get a more comprehensive reply to the history of this matter by asking a question of his colleague sitting beside him.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  He does not have the report, the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications has it. He should publish it.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  There are no specific proposals for legislation promised.

Mr. M. McDowell: Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  May I ask the Minister for Finance if the Government will now consider the issue of changing the law in relation to defamation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is a question Deputy McDowell might put down in the ordinary way.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  In relation to the objective in the programme for Government to encourage fee paying schools to join the free secondary schools scheme, will the Minister for Finance outline the steps being taken to realise that objective?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  To what legislation is the Deputy referring, if any?

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  I am referring to legislation promised in the programme for Government, which I am entitled to raise on the Order of Business according to Standing Orders.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Deputy Martin is a little confused.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  It is an objective of Government to encourage fee paying schools to go into the free scheme. That is contained in the programme for Government. I am asking the Minister for Finance the steps that are being taken to implement it? Is that a real commitment?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should deal with that matter in another way.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  It is relevant and in order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Are you telling me that, Deputy?

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  According to Standing Orders.

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

[1214]Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  There is perhaps the most ambitious and comprehensive programme of education legislation this House has ever seen.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  It was so ambitious the Government guillotined it in the House last week.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Answer the question.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I know it is a cause of continued anguish to the Deputy that my friend and colleague, the Minister for Education, has done more in the past four years than previous Ministers for Education have done in years in terms of legislation.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Where does the Government stand in regard to this commitment?

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  I, not Minister Bhreathnach, wrote the Green Paper.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I am sorry that annoys Deputy Martin so much.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  The Minister will tell no untruths about me.

Mr. Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Under proposed legislation and the Public Service Management Bill, will the Minister for Finance indicate if there are any proposals to curtail the powers of the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht to permit his officials to meet rock concert promoters in connection with the use of the Phoenix Park?

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Is the Deputy jealous?

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  It is dreadful that the Deputy is so against U2. What did they do to him?

Mr. Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  Will the Minister for Finance tell the House where the Tánaiste is today? Is it true he is canvassing?

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

Mr. Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  Will the Minister confirm that 15 May——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us not make a mockery of our proceedings.

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  Where is Deputy Bertie Ahern?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I do not know.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I raised with the Taoiseach last week, and he seemed to agree with me, the prospect of legislation to deal with the illegal sale of cigarettes, which is a major problem here and in Europe. Will the Minister for Finance indicate if there are proposals in this area? If he were to introduce measures in the context of the Finance Bill, we would consider those positively.

[1215]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  We are now having questions.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I confirm there are detailed proposals in the Finance Bill which will be published next Wednesday. We will debate on Committee Stage the question of the existing powers of excise and Revenue officers and the Garda in regard to the illegal selling of cigarettes. I welcome the comment made by the Deputy. No doubt we will get the support of his party in enacting the measures.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  When?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  After Wednesday.

A Deputy:  Would it be described as zero tolerance?

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We are coming close to it now.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes  Zoom on Alan M. Dukes  Deputy Harney got into trouble with that yesterday.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  Will the Minister for Finance refer the question of the proposed take-over of Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices to the Competition Authority——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  I am proceeding now to the business of the House. We are having irrelevancies.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  In view of the statement yesterday by the Chairman of An Bord Tráchtála, and the subsequent comment of the Minister for Trade and Tourism, what is the Government's position on the revaluation of the Irish pound?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I will be answering questions this afternoon.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Will the Minister have anything to say?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I always have something to say.

Miss Quill: Information on Máirín Quill  Zoom on Máirín Quill  May I ask the Minister for Finance when the legislation in relation to the designation of Waterford Regional Technical College and other regional technical colleges throughout the country as institutes of technology will be brought before the House?

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Another hollow promise.

Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  That is promised legislation.

Miss Quill: Information on Máirín Quill  Zoom on Máirín Quill  Will the Minister for Finance indicate when this legislation will come before the House?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The legislation will be before the House when the detailed and comprehensive consultations the Minister is having with the various interested parties is completed.

[1216]Mr. Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  The Minister for Education said it will not require legislation.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  On a point of order, I can inform the Minister and Deputy Quill that the Minister for Education confirmed to me she will not be introducing legislation, but merely changing the name.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That is not a point or order.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I am simply keeping Members of the House up to date in regard to what is going on.

Mr. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  When is it proposed to bring forward the Local Government (Financial Provisions) Bill, dealing with the arrangements for financing local authorities? Will the Minister consider including in it a provision to allow group water schemes to levy charges on their members?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The first part of the Deputy's question is in order.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I am informed the legislation to which the Deputy has referred is almost ready and will be published immediately after Easter.


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