Order of Business (Resumed).

Tuesday, 25 March 1997

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 476 No. 7

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Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I understand Deputy Tom Kitt's Bill, the Protection of Workers (Shops) Bill, 1996, will be supported by the Government parties tonight. Will the Minister for Finance confirm that is the case? If so, I congratulate Deputy Kitt for drafting and preparing the Bill. It is another indication that more legislation is being drafted on this side of the House for presentation to the public than anywhere else.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us not anticipate the debate on the measure which is to be introduced in the House this evening.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Does the Ceann Comhairle not think it is interesting that last week the Bill dealing with ground rents was accepted——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  It would be more interesting to hear comments at the appropriate time.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Given the Government has been unable to draft its own Bill, will Deputy John O'Donoghue's Bail Bill also be agreed?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The Government's Bail Bill, the text of which was agreed today, will be published forthwith and debated in due course.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  So that we can prepare our scripts, will the Minister for Finance confirm that the Government is accepting Deputy Kitt's Bill?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The Government will not oppose it.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  When will we see the legislation to establish the hepatitis C compensation tribunal on a statutory basis?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The legislation is under consideration and will be published as soon as it is ready. I cannot give the Deputy a precise date.

[1445]Mr. O'Donoghue: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  In light of the Minister for Finance's statement that the Government has approved legislation following on the referendum on bail held last November and that this follows on the publication of Fianna Fáil's Bail Bill last week, does this mean the Minister for Justice's photocopier is fully operational again?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I should be careful as some people find my tone offensive.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  A great number of people.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Given that the proposal that the debate which is about to begin should be followed by a question and answer session has been voted down, will the Minister for Finance give an undertaking to the House that there will be an explanation by a Government speaker of why question No. 5 dealing with the McCole case has been excluded? I understand the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Howlin, suggested on “Liveline” today that it was excluded on legal advice. Will the Minister for Finance confirm that the Taoiseach or somebody from the Taoiseach's office will explain why the Attorney General gave that advice?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Please, Deputy, let us be responsible.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I agree with the Minister that the absence of invective in the debate is important——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us await the debate on the measure, please.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I would never accuse a Minister for Health of being Doctor Death——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should, please, desist.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  ——as Deputy Rory O'Hanlon was described by the Labour Party spokesman.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Never. An absolute lie.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  He did.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I do not need any lectures on invective.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  I was a member of that Government and I distinctly recollect my colleague, Deputy Rory O'Hanlon, taking abuse from the Labour Party.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Never from me; I will send the Deputy a copy of my speech.

[1446]Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  I remember the Minister, morning after morning lecturing the world——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us not personalise matters.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  ——and when he was given some authority and power he failed the people, and, in particular, the women of this country in an appalling way. He should have resigned by now.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Deputy should go and dig up a few trees.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  Let us avoid personalities.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  There are no personalities involved.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The name calling started on the other side of the House.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  The Minister failed to do his duty when Minister for Health to protect the women of this country.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  He needs to be held accountable.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  We will not take any more from him.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  It is nothing personal, it is his lack of ability——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Deputy should, please, come to the point.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  In the context of the draft agreements prepared by the Dutch Presidency for the Intergovernmental Conference — an important initiative in the area of common defence — which seek to lead to the progressive creation of a defence union which will have major implications for this country, does the Government intend to allow time for an urgent debate in the House on the implications of this treaty for the military neutrality of this country? Is it the intention that no decisions will be taken by the Government, which does not have a mandate, on a change in our military neutrality position without putting the matter to the public?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  This matter is more appropriate to a question.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  On the question of whether time will be provided for a parliamentary debate before the Government enters into negotiations in preparation for the Intergovernmental Conference, that is a matter for the Whips. However, [1447] as any Intergovernmental Conference will ultimately lead to a new treaty which will require legislation leading to a referendum, of course the House will facilitate whatever debate is required.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  Arising from the Minister's reply——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  There can be no argument or debate now.

Mr. R. Burke: Information on Ray Burke  Zoom on Ray Burke  This matter cannot be left for debate after the event. We need a debate before this event and before the Government sells us down the river at the Intergovernmental Conference meeting.

Mr. Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  The programme, A Government of Renewal, states that government belongs to the people and the public should have total confidence in the Government and the political system. Will the Minister outline the mechanism the Government intends to put in place to ensure that these sentiments are met for the people infected with hepatitis C?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The freedom of information legislation, the compellability of witnesses legislation and the Electoral Reform Bill.

Mr. Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  That is a very disappointing response.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The freedom of information legislation?

Mr. Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  It does nothing.

Dr. McDaid: Information on James McDaid  Zoom on James McDaid  Given that 18 women were murdered in 1986 and three have been murdered to date this year and that statistics in the US show that 70 per cent of assailants are partners or expartners and 90 per cent of assailants are known to women, when can we expect the report of the interdepartmental committee set up by the Government to examine violence against women?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  That matter is more appropriate to a question or to the debate which will ensue.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Like other Members of the House I share the Deputy's concern about this matter. I do not have the necessary information with me but I will get it and send it to him as soon as possible.

Mr. B. Ahern: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Will the Minister for Finance within the next 24 hours give the Opposition precise details of the Government's proposals on [1448] economic and monetary union? Today's edition of one of the national newspapers contains details of the proposals but the information given to us as recently as last week was that we would not see anything until later in the year. It seems agreement is imminent and perhaps the Minister could give the Opposition the briefing which was given to the newspapers.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Today the Government considered a memorandum which I brought before it. This memorandum has been accepted and we will make arrangements for the preparations for the euro currency. I will communicate with all Deputies and, on foot of the request by the leader of the main Opposition party, I will brief the spokespersons for the Opposition parties as soon as possible. The Finance Bill will be published tomorrow and I hope to be in a position to brief the spokespersons separately before the Easter recess.

Mr. O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  Paragraph 72 of the programme for Government promises the introduction of legislation to extend the remit of the Ombudsman and an administration procedures Bill. When will these commitments be met?

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Both Bills are currently being considered and we propose to introduce them in the autumn.

Mr. Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  The Minister must be joking.


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