Tuesday, 25 March 1997
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. B. 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.
Mr. 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: 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?
Mr. R. 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?
Mr. 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,  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. 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?
Dr. 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?
Mr. B. Ahern: Will the Minister for Finance within the next 24 hours give the Opposition precise details of the Government's proposals on  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: 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: 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?
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