Ahern, Bertie

Tuesday, 11 May 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 504 No. 4

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Ceisteanna – Questions. - Visit of Newfoundland Premier.

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meeting in Ireland with the Premier of Newfoundland, Mr. Brian TobinMore Button

The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Brian Tobin and Mrs. Tobin, visited Ireland from 17 to 23 April. The main purpose of the premier's visit was to lead a business mission to Ireland. He was acc...More Button

Yes. The environmental technology people on the delegation had discussions with their Irish counterparts. I know there will be further contact and people who deal with this area will be on the Irish d...More Button

I will raise that with the Minister of State. The Minister of State at the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Byrne, has been to Newfoundland for discussions but I will also mentio...More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. - Correspondence with Former Judges.

Was asked: if he will publish the letters sent on 16 April by the Secretary to the Government to former Judges Hugh O'Flaherty and Cyril Kelly; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The terms of the letters sent from the Secretary General to the Government to former Judges Hugh O'Flaherty and Cyril Kelly on Friday 16 April, 1999 were placed on public record by the Minister for Ju...More Button

The decision to write the letters was taken at a Government meeting; the Attorney General was at the meeting. The Government believed it was correct to write the letters.More Button

There was no such consideration. At the time it was considered appropriate and proper for the Government to write to the former judges and that is the action which was taken.More Button

The letter asked the two judges to state their positions. I do not see how it would have made any difference if it were done subsequently or in any other way, by motion of the House.More Button

The letter stated that the Government had decided at its meeting to forward the report of the Chief Justice to the Oireachtas Committee. It went on to say the Government would “consider, at its meetin...More Button

I do not see it in that way. Natural justice must apply and it would have been wrong not to inform the judges of the Government's action. Natural justice dictated that they be informed of the Governm...More Button

What the Government said in the letter is: “I have been asked to advise you that the Government will consider at its meeting next Tuesday proposing resolutions for the consideration of the two Houses....More Button

At the end of the meeting I contacted Deputies Bruton and Quinn or their representatives to tell them precisely what the Government was doing.More Button

The letters indicated what the Government, not the Oireachtas, would do the following Tuesday.More Button

The purpose was to let the justices know what the Government would consider at its meeting the following week. That was in line with natural justice.More Button

The letters indicated that the Government would consider tabling resolutions at its meeting the following Tuesday. If one follows Deputy Bruton's logic, we should have tabled the resolutions without i...More Button

The Secretary General to the Government did not receive a reply from Mr. Justice Hugh O'Flaherty to the letter of 16 April. He tendered his resignation the following day. The Secretary General receive...More Button

I do not believe it did.More Button

I do not have a note to say there is a reply on this file, but I will check whether one was issued. He subsequently resigned. I do not have a note saying “yes” or “no”.More Button

I do not agree because Mr. Justice Kelly resigned almost immediately after sending the letter. A reply was not going to be much good to him, although he may have got a reply.More Button

It was said many times that Friday that the judges had the right to respond and be heard and to put their position, but they did not avail of that right.More Button

They could have put it to whomever they wished. They could have said they wanted to come before the House, but they resigned.More Button

They could have put it to the House.More Button

When the letter was sent to these eminent gentlemen, they knew what the Government would consider the following Tuesday, a motion—More Button

They knew because the letter said the Government would consider that on the Tuesday.More Button

They knew if a motion was tabled in the House they would have been able to respond. That was made absolutely clear. The motion would have been cleared by the Government and put to the House and they w...More Button

Mr. Justice O'Flaherty resigned without any discussion or request, as did Mr. Quinlan. Mr. Justice Kelly was involved in discussions but resigned before the conclusion of those matters.More Button

That was already put on the record by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he spoke in the House on 14 April.More Button

No. For some reason Deputy Bruton is trying to twist around the situation, something which will not work. The fact is these good gentlemen were informed, in line with natural justice, that the Governm...More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. - Partnership 2000.

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the plenary meeting of Partnership 2000 held on 27 April 1999.More Button

Was asked: the schedule of future meetings of the Interdepartmental Strategy Group on Employment and Unemployment; and if he will make a statement on the group's work programme.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the issues discussed and the conclusions reached at the meeting on 27 April 1999 of the central review committee of Partnership 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his speech to the IMI conference in Killarney on 23 April 1999.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his recent speech to the Irish Management Institute conference in Killarney.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 3 to 7, inclusive, together. My address to the IMI national conference focused mainly on the need to upgrade our infrastructure, especially through the next national d...More Button

I stated that for many reasons – I cited planning and objections, which people have a right to lodge – badly needed infrastructural developments take too long.More Button

I was not talking about the problems with public-private partnership, but about projects which have existed for years. I cited six such projects, none of which was a public-private partnership. As the...More Button

The last plan for which I was responsible was debated in the House and the same should be the case for this one. It must be completed and submitted to Brussels within three months of the end of the Be...More Button

The matter of when it will be debated may be raised with the Minister for Finance who is responsible for its preparation. It is being debated widely by the social partners throughout the country so I ...More Button

I said I see no difficulty with it being debated in the House.More Button

It may be discussed, but it may be a little early because its preparation has not advanced much since the Berlin talks. I will raise it with the Minister for Finance.More Button

The local development and infrastructural issues are being debated by the social partners. A debate could take place but the Minister for Finance would not be in a position to offer much information a...More Button

A range of initiatives is being taken. The standing committee under paragraph 424 of Partnership 2000 works with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, FÁS and other organisations and the...More Button

The Minister for Finance will announce that in the next week or so.More Button

There is a separate question on this. However, I read the competitiveness report. While participation in second level education is increasing continually, students are still dropping out of the system...More Button

I do not want to refer to an individual dispute but, as I said last week, the CIF raised the dispute at the recent meeting of the social partners. Its representatives spoke about the adverse effects o...More Button

I am aware there are skills shortages in some areas, particularly high level ones, but I do not believe it is as bad as it is made out to be. People are receiving training and re-training through bodi...More Button

It is a barrier in some locations, certainly in the greater Dublin area. However, I noticed recently that when Coca Cola advertised positions in their Ballina plant in an area in which they expected o...More Button

I saw a teaching position advertised recently which the employer foresaw a difficulty in filling. However, some 150 people applied for the job, 100 of whom applied from outside the country. People are...More Button

Fewer people are leaving the education system than ever before. The figure was 30 per cent.More Button

When I set up the Youthreach scheme in 1987, the figure for early school leaving was 30 per cent, but it is much smaller now. We lose potential labour when young people leave, there is no doubt about ...More Button

I take the Deputy's point but the interdepartmental strategy group on employment and unemployment is doing precisely what he is saying. It is doing that through the Departments of Education and Scienc...More Button

The Tánaiste, the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs and I, through my role in Partnership 2000, are involved. Long-term unemployment is the subject I address at partnership meetings. W...More Button

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 3, Twentieth Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 1999 – Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and No. 31, the Local Elections (Disclosure of Donations and Expendi...More Button

I see no contradiction. This is clear if one reads the full section and all the comments I made. I am sure these matters will be considered by the tribunal which is examining them.More Button

No legislation is proposed. This report by the OECD has not been the subject of any discussion or consideration at this stage.More Button

As I stated before, an interdepartmental group is looking at this matter which raises constitutional issues. The group has not reported yet.More Button

The Bill will be published shortly – within the next week or so.More Button

I do not know why Deputy Howlin believes there is disagreement because there is none.More Button

The Government has, at this stage, agreed to accept 1,000 refugees who will come to this country in the next few weeks. Arrangements are being made by the Minister and the agencies to make sure they a...More Button

No legislation is proposed at this stage.More Button

Yes.More Button

To address the information rights, search and reunion services for those formally and informally adopted, the heads of a Bill are in preparation in the Department and it is expected that they will be ...More Button

The OECD report may be discussed if arrangements are made. The mental health Bill and the human rights commission Bill will be taken this session.More Button

It is the subject of discussion between the Department and the Commission.More Button

It has not been ratified.More Button


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