Order of Business.

Tuesday, 22 June 1999

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 506 No. 5

First Page Previous Page Page of 198 Next Page Last Page

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 7, the technical motion re further Revised Estimates [Vote 35]; No. 39, the Architectural Heritage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 1998 [Seanad], Order for Report and Report and Final Stages; No. 2, the British-Irish Agreement (Amendment) Bill, 1999, Order for Second Stage and Second and Subsequent Stages. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 7 should be decided without debate and that any division demanded should be taken forthwith. Report and Final Stages of No. 39 should be taken today and proceedings thereon, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion after 60 minutes by one question which will be put by the Chair which shall, in relation to amendments to the Bill, include those set down and which are acceptable to the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. Private Members' Business is No. 57, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 1999, Second Stage. The debate on Second Stage if not previously concluded shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 23 June 1999.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 7 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 39 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' Business agreed? Agreed.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I understand the Government wants to introduce legislation conferring ex-gratia pensions on two former judges. I understand a committee of the House is considering the matter. Will the Taoiseach give an undertaking that we will not be asked to consider the legislation until the report of the committee is available to the House?

[863]Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  The committee has announced that the report is nearly ready.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  As I understand it, the legislation is to be taken tomorrow. I do not know whether a report of a committee of the House is due. I presume if such a report is to be presented, this will be made clear to the House tomorrow.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Does the Taoiseach agree it would be better if we deferred consideration of the legislation until we had the report of the committee?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is a matter for the Whips.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  These two items are connected. Surely the Government could agree not to take the legislation until the report is ready?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The committee made its position clear last week. The legislation is to be taken tomorrow. It should be debated here tomorrow.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  That is the Government's decision.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I support the contention of the Leader of the Fine Gael Party. The committee, of which I am a member, is currently preparing a report, the draft of which has just been circulated.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We have disposed of that matter. Is there something appropriate to the Order of Business the Deputy wishes to raise?

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Yes, if I could finish the sentence. As you, Sir, were courteous enough to allow the Taoiseach and the Leader of the Fine Gael Party to debate the matter, I, as a member of the committee, simply want to conclude with a sentence. It would be helpful, since the committee has worked diligently on an all-party basis, if the House had the report before we discussed the legislation.

On another matter, I want to ask the Taoiseach about a report that there is a potential health scare in Limerick Prison. Will the Taoiseach arrange for the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to make a statement to the House on that matter to allay the fears being voiced in the Limerick area?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not appropriate to the Order of Business. I suggest the Deputy raise it in another way.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Health issues of this nature have caused serious problems in the past.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I agree.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  It would be useful if—

[864]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Another Deputy raised the health issue by way of Standing Order 31 and by way of the Adjournment, and the item will be taken on the Adjournment.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Does the Government intend to debate Ireland's entry into the euro zone given the weakness of the currency and the flawed membership of Italy?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not appropriate to the Order of Business.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  It is important.

On promised legislation, will the mental health Bill be published before the end of this session in light of the water contamination and archaic plumbing in St. Ita's Hospital which is causing a genuine health problem? The mental health Bill is urgent.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  This Bill is almost concluded. It is hoped it will be circulated by the end of the session.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  When will the Criminal Justice (Fraud Offences) Bill be published? Will it include provisions to prevent concert promoters from charging up to 20 per cent above the face value for tickets? When will the Criminal Justice (Garda SMI) Bill be published? Will it include structures for the administration of a national ID card scheme to combat underage drinking?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a discussion on the detail.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Criminal Justice (Fraud Offences) Bill will be ready later in the summer. It will amend and up-date the law on fraud offences with preference to recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission. The Criminal Justice (Garda SMI) Bill, to amend the criminal law and procedure in the light of the report of the Garda SMI group, will be available towards the end of the year.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  At the beginning of this session 17 Bills were promised for publication. To date, only seven have been published. When will we see the ten Bills which were promised for publication in this session? Some of them were promised the previous session.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I understand there are eight Bills in total on the list. About four more are to be published and four or five others have been published. There is still an effort being made, as always at the end of session, to get as many as possible of these Bills published so they may be sent to committees during the summer. In a few days I will be able to tell the House the Bills that will be published by the end of the session.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Following the Order of Business, the House will deal with the Architectural Heri[865] tage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 1998 [Seanad]. It is a number of weeks since the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Deputy de Valera, gave detailed replies to a number of questions from various Deputies on Committee Stage. We still have not been circulated with those committee reports. To deal effectively with Report Stage amendments, it is necessary to know exactly what the Minister said on Committee Stage. Will the Taoiseach examine the ability of committees to produce reports for Members more quickly so they have access to the Minister's contributions and do their business more efficiently?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will have to raise that matter.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  That is really a matter for the Chair.

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  They need to be made available more quickly. It takes months.

Mr. Higgins: Information on Jim Higgins  Zoom on Jim Higgins  (Mayo): The section of the Road Traffic Act that deals with drunk driving offences has been found by the District Court and the High Court to be invalid and, as a result, no drink driving charges are being processed through the courts. They are all being adjourned. What is the position regarding the Supreme Court judgment which is anticipated? Is the Government preparing contingency legislation in the event of the Supreme Court upholding the High Court decision?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No such legislation is promised.

Mr. Higgins: Information on Jim Higgins  Zoom on Jim Higgins  (Mayo): It was. We discussed this at Question Time this day last week and it was one of the issues raised with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It is being mooted in anticipation of the Supreme Court upholding the High Court decision. What is the situation? Otherwise, it will be open season for drunk drivers.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  There is an issue here. The Department is examining the implications of the court's decision. It has not completed that yet and does not know whether it will require amending legislation or may be dealt with in another way.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  What is the position with regard to the insurance Bill? Has the Government agreed whether legislation will be necessary to set up an independent financial regulator?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The insurance Bill to allocate the regulatory responsibility for the insurance intermediaries is to be available in the autumn.

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  What about a financial regulator?

[866]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The proposals are with the Minister for Finance and the Tánaiste who will report on them shortly. They must bring the proposals to Government.

Mrs. Owen: Information on Nora Owen  Zoom on Nora Owen  When will they report? Will it be soon?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  They must bring the proposals to Government.

Mr. Finucane: Information on Michael Finucane  Zoom on Michael Finucane  What is the status of the alginate industries Bill that deals with seaweed?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  That legislation is to provide a framework to develop the seaweed industry to full potential. A seaweed forum is sitting at present. As soon as that is completed, we will proceed with the legislation.

Mr. Finucane: Information on Michael Finucane  Zoom on Michael Finucane  Has the seaweed forum been formed?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on the content of the legislation. The Taoiseach answered the question on the Bill.

Mr. Finucane: Information on Michael Finucane  Zoom on Michael Finucane  The Taoiseach said the seaweed forum is sitting at present. He might check the veracity of that information.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  On promised legislation, in light of the latest revelations regarding RUC Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan, who told the UN special rapporteur, Mr. Cumaraswamy, that some lawyers in the Six Counties are working to a paramilitary agenda and, given the serious implications for the Rosemary Nelson case and human rights in general, can the Taoiseach state what lead is now being given by the Government, and will the Human Rights Commission Bill be published before the recess?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Hopefully, the Bill will be before the Government next Tuesday.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Will the Taoiseach agree that in October 1997 he told the House the valuation Bill would be published in the second half of 1998? In April 1998, oddly enough on 1 April, he stated it would be produced at the end of 1998. When will the valuation Bill be published? Is it not relevant legislation given the level of property transactions?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Minister for Finance is endeavouring to complete this Bill. Hopefully, it will be ready later this year.

Mr. Hayes:  The Taoiseach, more than most, will be aware of the problem of anti-social activity in some local authority housing estates. Given the challenge which seems to have been mounted to the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1997, has the Government any plans to introduce [867] amending legislation to ensure that menacing tenants will be evicted from local authority houses?

Mr. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  (Dublin West): The serious exploitation of very young people – pre-teens and early teens – has recently been revealed, particularly notoriously in the pub trade with its late working hours and exploitative wages. What legislation will the Government introduce to deal with this abuse?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is legislation promised?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  No, but the national minimum wage will be implemented from next spring.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Given the gratuitously invasive nature of some of the articles appearing in newspapers, will the defamation Bill protect—

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is not appropriate to ask about the detail of legislation.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  When can we expect the Bill to be published and will it protect privacy?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Bill will amend the law on defamation, drawing on the reports of the Law Reform Commission and the commission on the newspaper industry. I do not have a date for the Bill at present.


Last Updated: 20/05/2011 17:30:36 First Page Previous Page Page of 198 Next Page Last Page