Wednesday, 22 March 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 14, motion re Revised Estimates for Public Services and No. 40, Social Welfare Bill, 2000, Order for Report and Report and Final Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that;
(1) the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m.; (2) No. 14 shall be decided without debate and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; (3) Report and Final Stages of No. 40 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs. (4) Private Members' business, which shall be No. 92,  motion re: Land Registry shall be taken between 5.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. and the proceedings thereon, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. tonight.
An Ceann Comhairle: There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for the late sitting agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal to deal with No. 14 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal to deal with No. 40 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal to deal with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed.
Mrs. Owen: On the Immigration and Residence Bill, it was promised that it would be published in late 2000. Will the Taoiseach give an assurance that this legislation will come before the House before the end of this year given the complete shambles in regard to the policy on dealing with asylum seekers, immigration, etc. and particularly in view of his recent comments in Australia? Will he give the House an assurance that he will bring that legislation forward more quickly than previously indicated?
The Taoiseach: The Deputy is right in that I said the Bill would be published later this year. Several aspects of these matters, as I said in recent days, are before Government but the legislation will be published later this year. Some of the other matters before the Government at present will be announced shortly.
Mr. Quinn: On behalf of the Labour Party, I express my appreciation to colleagues who have given us their condolences on the tragic loss of Deputy Ferris. I extend my appreciation to the Government Whip for accommodating the Order of Business to facilitate us. I am sure the House will appreciate if I and my colleagues are not here later during the day as we have a sad task to do in Bansha, as Deputy Theresa Ahearn said. I take this opportunity to wish the Taoiseach well in Lisbon but to serve notice that, in the true spirit of Deputy Ferris, we will be back next week, so be prepared.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Considering it is eight months since the publication of the report on the Victims Commission, will the Taoiseach say when legislation will be brought before the House to implement the recommendations of that report, particularly in relation to services and financial support for victims?
The Taoiseach: I do not have a date. On a num ber of occasions I have spelled out the difficulties on this matter in terms of what the last three Attorneys General have said. There are major constitutional doubts about the central purpose of the legislation proposed.
Mr. Higgins: (Dublin West): Recently, we were promised in a newspaper that the Minister for Public Enterprise would bring proposals before the Dáil which would envisage a significant section of the bus service in Dublin being given to private operators. Is the Government bringing forward proposals to destroy publicly owned transport in this city and give it to people whose only motive is private profit and not a proper service for the residents of Dublin?
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