Ahern, Bertie

Wednesday, 12 April 2000

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 518 No. 1

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Private Business. - Report of the Joint Committee on The Trinity College, Dublin and The University of Dublin (Charters and Letters Patent Amendment) Bill, 1997: Motion.

It is The Trinity College, Dublin and The University of Dublin (Charters and Letters Patent Amendment) Bill, 1997.More Button

As I understand it, in the age-old tradition, the Bill is moved in this House to allow the other House to take it. I understand that is the process. This is the technical motion in order that it may b...More Button

If I may respond to that, a Cheann Comhairle, it is not Government business, it is the Trinity College legislation. The procedure, which is the time honoured procedure to which I understand the Deputy...More Button

The reason it got on the floor of the House is that an all-party committee was established to make way for the Bill to get here. The all-party committee met, as I understand it, agreed it and sent it ...More Button

As always. Question put and agreed to.More Button

Order of Business.

Today's Order of Business is No. 43, Protection of Children (Hague Convention) Bill, 1998, Order for Report and Report and Final Stages; No. 44, Children Bill, 1999, Second Stage (resumed); No. 42, th...More Button

The House will note that an excellent report has been published by the EU on the Irish economy and sustainability of the current excellent performance.More Button

It also pointed out a number of ways in which we should continue to develop the economy. As I have always said, we will be very careful in terms of inflation.More Button

The Minister for Public Enterprise is continuing to examine the regulation of the transport industry. As she previously stated, she will bring forward her proposals in due course.More Button

I will check that. My understanding is that this was put before the House over a week ago, but I will check.More Button

There has already been legislation and there could be further legislation.More Button

The commitment I made a number of times was to publish the Bill before Easter, and that will be done.More Button

The Deputy asked if I will square something between the Minister, Deputy de Valera, and Paul McGuinness. I have enough to be doing.More Button

I told the Deputy yesterday that the Government is fully committed to establishing the truth and to ensuring the tribunal is effective. Yesterday the Deputy asked if there was an application to defer ...More Button

The major report which was commissioned by the Minister will be ready shortly.More Button

We must await the report.More Button

There will be a major report on this area, which will be representative of all interests and all the points raised on television programmes and elsewhere. The commission will report in early June.More Button

There is a Private Members' motion before the House dealing with some of these issues. If the Deputy wants the Whips to examine that issue, I am sure they can.More Button

The Whistleblowers Bill, 1999, is before the Oireachtas Select Committee on Enterprise and Small Business. I do not think it has yet set a date to take it.More Button

Ceisteanna–Questions. - An Action Programme for the Millennium.

Was asked: the number of copies of the review of An Action Programme for the Millennium distributed by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department distributed approximately 2,000 copies of An Action Programme for the Millennium as reviewed by the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats Government. The document was issued to the media, De...More Button

It is the Government's intention to have the programme implemented by 26 June 2002.More Button

Ceisteanna–Questions. - Information Society.

Was asked: the number of copies of the document, Implementing the Information Society in Ireland - An Action Plan, distributed by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when he will introduce a programme to promote user friendly design for all websites in accordance with the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 and 3 together.More Button

I appreciate the Deputy's remarks. It is a source of some annoyance, if nothing else. It leads to a variety of mail and contacts from people all over the world who either believe or want to believe it...More Button

Lest there be any misunderstanding, some people in my Department and technical personnel from outside the Department have looked at the website to see if there is an easy resolution of the problem but...More Button

Thankfully not. Approximately £30 million has been allocated this year for action plan projects. The Revenue online project will be ready this year. It is a state-of-the-art online project and has bee...More Button

I do not disagree with any of that. While I have not been involved, this matter has already been raised at EU level and internationally. A number of groups are looking at it. I recently received a rep...More Button

It should be illegal, but approaches to dealing with that have been tried and tested.More Button

I will look at both points and will consider any other suggestions. There is no difficulty in trying to press the matter internationally. I take Deputy Quinn's point about perhaps proceeding at EU lev...More Button

That is why I have no difficulty with looking at some of the options. I will look at the WTO suggestion and will raise the question of the Patent (Amendment) Bill with the Minister.More Button

Ceisteanna–Questions. - Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.

Was asked: if dates have been set for the quarterly meetings of members of the four pillars, under the auspices of his Department, which will be held to review and monitor the operation of the Programme for Pros...More Button

Was asked: the process the Government will use over the period of the PPF agreement to progressively introduce social inclusion measures, other than social welfare and child care measures, reflecting the priorit...More Button

Was asked: the contacts or discussions, if any, he has had since 2 March 2000 with trade union leaders on the confusion which had arisen on the tax commitments in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness; the s...More Button

Was asked: the reason it is necessary to establish, in accordance with paragraph 3.6 of Framework III of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, an interdepartmental committee to identify and clarify the rang...More Button

Was asked: the criteria which will be used in selecting the 25 areas to be designated for a prioritised list of social inclusion measures in accordance with paragraph 3.6.3 of Framework III of the Programme for ...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the outcome of the ICTU special delegate conference on 23 March 2000 to endorse the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the outcome of the votes by ICTU and IBEC on the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.More Button

Was asked: when the first quarterly meeting of the four pillars under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness will be held; the proposed agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on social inclusion measures in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the outcome of the votes by trade unions and employers on the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.More Button

Was asked: when he will make a decision on the inclusion of the Irish Council for Social Housing in future partnership talks.More Button

Was asked: the input his Department will have in the selection of the 25 most disadvantaged areas as outlined in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 15, inclusive, together.More Button

This is the fifth programme in which I have been involved. I negotiated the four previous ones and implemented the fifth. This is a good programme which received a greater mandate from the people than...More Button

I do not do the work of other Ministers and I will not do it on this occasion other than to say I do not believe the Deputy has the correct figure for social housing. We must continue to target as man...More Button

That is the position. The issue was not between Departments because it was raised and resolved on the night in question and I was closely involved. It was raised during the voting period by some of th...More Button

The people who negotiated the programme were drawn from all sectors of society and the programme represented an enormous effort on the part of those involved. Some 90% of the discussions did not relat...More Button

That is what creates quality of life. We have come a long way from the black old days when 400,000 people were unemployed and really lived on the breadline.More Button

Maybe so. Some 1.7 million people are now in employment. The situation is very different today—More Button

The fact that an additional 700,000 people are now in employment is an indicator. People have a better quality of life and better educational opportunities, with 60% of young people now progressing to...More Button

There are more clubs in one small area of the Deputies' constituency than in the entirety of my constituency. The area is doing extremely well.More Button

The vote against this agreement was 30% as opposed to a 39% vote against the previous agreement. The percentage votes against some of the earlier programmes were in the early 40s. The Deputy is basing...More Button

To correct Deputy Owen, for the first time ever we debated this pay agreement prior to its being ratified or voted on by the social partners.More Button

Perhaps that is why 70% voted in favour of the agreement and 30% voted against it. There are 38 partnership companies throughout the country, many of which were established under the PESP in 1991. An ...More Button

My Department's input will primarily relate to the co-ordination of the work of the social partners and discussion, not the designation of the areas. I think the areas will come—More Button

We will be part of the interdepartmental committee but the decisions—More Button

Yes, but, as the Deputy knows, the section that runs these areas is not in my Department.More Button

We are not involved in the areas.More Button

Questions can be tabled to the Minister on it, as they always are in these areas.More Button

If people want to see the report, that can be done.More Button

The processes within the social partnership—More Button

The Deputy was never one of those, whatever about some of his colleagues.More Button

I think those reports will take place in the social partnership process. I cannot give a commitment that they will be decided here before they are decided elsewhere.More Button

Last week, a Cheann Comhairle, you had to protect me here when I attacked a development by what Deputy Higgins would refer to as huge speculators. As a result of my making a few remarks about that, I ...More Button

I did not abuse my position.More Button

I did not abuse my position one bit. Is one meant to stay silent just because one is Taoiseach?More Button

That sounds like a good philosophy.More Button

In terms of the issue of income adequacy, I agree with Deputy Higgins that we must continue to try to ensure profit margins are not out of line with people's income.More Button

We must keep trying to operate measures, such as the minimum wage, decreasing taxation, taking low paid workers out of the tax net and allowing single people and women hold onto more of their income....More Button

—but they want to look at other methods—More Button

—such as efficiencies which would mean they would not always have to work on Sundays.More Button

I am not here to defend them but they have doubled the number of houses built.More Button

However, their profits in some cases are still far too high.More Button

Written Answers. - National Centre for Partnership.

Was asked: when proposals will be made to Government on the detailed arrangements to be put in place to give effect to the strengthened institutional structures to enhance the role of the National Centre for Par...More Button

The current role of the National Centre for Partnership, as described in Partnership 2000, is the promotion of the partnership approach in both the public and private sectors through the organisation ...More Button

Written Answers. - Office of the Chief State Solicitor.

Was asked: if he will publish the report entitled Recommendations for Change in the Chief State Solicitor's office prepared by the centre for management and organisation development in the Department of Finance;...More Button

Was asked: if operational and organisational changes are likely to be implemented in the Chief State Solicitor's office arising from the report entitled Recommendations for Change in the Chief State Solicitor's ...More Button

Was asked: the steps, if any, taken to implement the recommendations of the report Recommendations for Change in the Chief State Solicitor's office, particularly having regard to the serious deficiencies in comm...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 to 19 inclusive, together. The report referred to by Deputy Owen arose from a study carried out by a project team comprising representatives from the Centre for Man...More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Estimates.

Was asked: the reason for the changes in his Department's 1999 expenditure and 2000 Estimates as detailed in the 2000 Revised Estimates for Public Services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Revised Estimates for Public Services, which were published on 22 March set out the provisional outturn for 1999 expenditure and the estimate for 2000 expenditure for my Department. The provisiona...More Button

Written Answers. - Northern Ireland Issues.

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meeting with the Leader of the British Liberal Democrat Party, Mr. Charles Kennedy; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his meeting in Dublin on 31 March 2000 with the Leader of the UUP, Mr. David Trimble; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his meeting in Dublin on 30 March 2000 with a delegation from Sinn Féin; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his meeting on 31 March 2000 with the Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Mr. David Trimble; and the matters discussed and the conclusions reached.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his meeting on 31 March 2000 with the President of Sinn Féin, Mr. Gerry Adams; and the matters discussed and the conclusions reached.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his meeting with Mr. Charles Kennedy, Leader of the British Liberal Democrat Party.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his recent meeting with the Secretary of State for Wales, Mr. Paul Murphy, and the Welsh First Secretary, Mr. Rhodri Morgan.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meeting in Dublin with a delegation from the Progressive Unionist Party; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meeting in Dublin with a delegation from the Women's Coalition; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the contacts, if any, he has had since 5 April 2000 with the pro-Good Friday Agreement parties.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his recent meeting with representatives of the Women's Coalition.More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his meeting on 5 April 2000 with members of the Women's Coalition of Northern Ireland.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21 to 32, inclusive, together. I met Mr. Charles Kennedy MP, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Mr. Lembit Opik MP in Government Buildings on Tuesday 28 March. We ha...More Button

Written Answers. - Official Engagements.

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 12 of 28 March 2000, the nature of his detailed discussion with the Ireland-America Economic Advisory Board about the European MediaLab Initiative; the actions, i...More Button

As I said in my answer to Question No. 12 of 28 March 2000, at the meeting of the Ireland-America Economic Advisory Board we had a detailed discussion on developments in the Irish economy. This includ...More Button

Was asked: the plans, if any, he has to attend the Millennium Summit organised by the United Nations in September 2000: if he has received an agenda for this event; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the communication, if any, he has had with the new Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Yoshiro Mori; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 35 together.More Button


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