Order of Business.

Tuesday, 5 November 2002

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 556 No. 3

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Order of Business today shall be as follows: No. 13 – motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement between the EU and Egypt, the EU and Lebanon and the EU and Algeria; No. 14 – motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 (Prescribed Bodies) (No. 2) Regulations, 2002; No. 15 – motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the Agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern [514] Ireland on Police Co-operation; No. 16 – motion re referral to select committee of Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill, 2002; No. 17 – motion re leave to introduce Supplementary Estimate [Vote 34] and, subject to the agreement of No. 17, to take Supplementary Estimate [Vote 34]; No. 3, Criminal Justice (Illicit Traffic by Sea) Bill, 2000 – Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is proposed notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16 shall be decided without debate. No. 17 shall be decided without debate and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith and, subject to the agreement of No. 17, Supplementary Estimate [Vote 34] shall be moved and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 75 minutes or by 7.00 p.m., whichever is the earlier, and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith and the following arrangements shall apply: the Minister for Agriculture and Food and the main spokesperson for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party and the technical group shall be called on in that order and shall not exceed ten minutes in each case. The speeches of each Member called on shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, Members may share time and the Minister for Agriculture and Food shall be called on to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes. Private Members' business shall be No. 40, motion re registration charge for third level students.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  There are two proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16, motions re referral to committees, without debate agreed?

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  The motions do not say to which committees these matters are to be referred. Since there could be confusion as to the role of different committees, the order should state the committees being referred to. I presume No. 13 is to be referred to the Select Committee on European Affairs.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I welcome the Taoiseach back to the House, he has not changed a bit.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Deputy remembers me anyway.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  We object to No. 15 being hived off to a committee given that it is a vital matter which should be dealt with in the House. We understood that there would be statements on Northern Ireland, particularly as this item deals with policing, and that statements were to address the subversion of policing implied by reports of the Government's secret deal with the Real IRA. Given that the issue of policing is vital in terms of the peace process, I ask the Ceann Comhairle to accept that this matter should be dealt with in the Dáil.

[515]Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We on the Sinn Féin team cannot agree with the proposal to refer the motion on the policing agreement between the Irish and British Governments to committee without debate. This is one of the crucial issues facing the country and it is central to the peace process. We want to see a new beginning to policing as envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement and we want to see the Patten proposals implemented in full. There needs to be all-Ireland co-operation as the basis for future policing on this island, but it must be in the context of a new police service in the North, which we do not have yet. We would support the measures in the agreement on policing if the Patten proposals were already in place north of the Border, but they are not. It is unacceptable for this motion to be passed along to by-pass the opportunity for debate in this Chamber and, accordingly, I record an objection to that formula.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does the Taoiseach agree there is validity in the case being made to have this matter debated in the House rather than in Select Committee, given its national importance?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  If the motions go to committee and people feel that is not enough they can take up some time here as well. We discuss the issue of policing in Northern Ireland here all the time. Along with the number of requests for special debates and the way we structure business –[516] Leaders' Questions, Question Time, notices under Standing Order 31, Private Members' Business and Matters on the Adjournment – this House also has to discuss legislation.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  It is called accountability.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  That is exactly why we need to discuss legislation.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Taoiseach made a good start last week.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The committee system was designed to give more time for debate, otherwise we would end up discussing this elsewhere. I am aware of the sensitivities of this issue.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Taoiseach is in the House one day a week.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We sit long hours in this House.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Taoiseach does not.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I was not here the last day to reply to him, but I remind Deputy Sargent that no Taoiseach in the history of the State spent as many hours on Question Time as I have.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is tough.

Question put: “That Nos. 13 to 16, inclusive, be taken without debate.”

Ahern, Bertie.
Ahern, Michael.
Ahern, Noel.
Ardagh, Seán.
Aylward, Liam.
Blaney, Niall.
Brady, Johnny.
Brady, Martin.
Brennan, Seamus.
Browne, John.
Callely, Ivor.
Carey, Pat.
Carty, John.
Cassidy, Donie.
Coughlan, Mary.
Cregan, John.
Cullen, Martin.
Curran, John.
Davern, Noel.
de Valera, Síle.
Dempsey, Noel.
Dempsey, Tony.
Dennehy, John.
Devins, Jimmy.
Ellis, John.
Fahey, Frank.
Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
Fleming, Seán.
Fox, Mildred.
Glennon, Jim.
Grealish, Noel.
Hanafin, Mary.
Haughey, Seán.
Hoctor, Máire.
Jacob, Joe.
Keaveney, Cecilia.
Kelleher, Billy.
Kelly, Peter.
Killeen, Tony.
Lenihan, Brian.
Lenihan, Conor.
McCreevy, Charlie.
McDaid, James.
McDowell, Michael.
McGuinness, John.
McHugh, Paddy.
Martin, Micheál.
Moloney, John.
Moynihan, Donal.
Moynihan, Michael.
Mulcahy, Michael.
Nolan, M. J.
Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
O'Connor, Charlie.
O'Dea, Willie.
O'Donnell, Liz.
O'Donovan, Denis.
O'Keeffe, Batt.
O'Keeffe, Ned.
O'Malley, Fiona.
O'Malley, Tim.
Parlon, Tom.
Power, Peter.
Power, Seán.
Roche, Dick.
Ryan, Eoin. Sexton, Mae.[517]

Treacy, Noel.
Wallace, Dan.
Wilkinson, Ollie.
[518]Woods, Michael,
Wright, G.V.

Boyle, Dan.
Breen, James.
Broughan, Thomas P.
Burton, Joan.
Connolly, Paudge.
Cuffe, Ciarán.
Ferris, Martin.
Gilmore, Eamon.
Gogarty, Paul.
Gormley, John.
Gregory, Tony.
Harkin, Marian.
Healy, Seamus.
Higgins, Joe.
Higgins, Michael D.
Howlin, Brendan.
McGrath, Finian.
McManus, Liz.
Morgan, Arthur.
Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
O'Shea, Brian.
O'Sullivan, Jan.
Pattison, Seamus.
Penrose, Willie.
Rabbitte, Pat.
Ryan, Eamon.
Ryan, Seán.
Sargent, Trevor.
Shortall, Róisín.
Stagg, Emmet.
Upton, Mary.
Wall, Jack.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 17 without debate, motion re supplementary Estimates, agreed to? Agreed.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  In light of the statements by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions this week on racism in the workplace, is it intended to proceed with the Work Permits Bill and when will it be before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Work Permits Bill is designed to put the employment permit regime on a comprehensive and sound structural footing. The heads of the Bill have been approved by Government and the Bill has been drafted and should be introduced in the spring session.

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  When is it intended to publish the Estimates for the public services for 2003? Is it still intended to bring in spending for 2002 on target, as the Minister appears to be saying?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  They will be published on 14 November.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Given the renewed concerns of adopted people and organisations representing them regarding access to birth information and searching for birth parents, will the Government give further consideration to bringing forward the promised legislation on amending adoption law?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  There are very sensitive issues involved in this. The heads of the Bill have been approved and I understand it will take some time to draft this sensitive and complicated Bill.

Mr. O'Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I was keener than ever to come here today to join in what I suspect is a joyful day for the Labour Party. I have known Pat Rabbitte for a long time. I recall that in the local elections of 1985 he had 90 votes more than me, I am glad to say that we have both improved a lot since then. I wish to congratulate him and in doing so, paraphrase what he said to me and Deputy Crowe 171 days ago when we were elected to this House: I wish Deputy Rabbitte well, but after today he is on his own.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That was not strictly in order, but we will allow it for the day that is in it.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Two weeks ago the Taoiseach said the whole question of the dual mandate was under review. Since then we have had a posse of Government backbenchers discussing it on local radio. What is the current position of that legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  There is no promised legislation as of yet.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Why is it in the newspapers?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I wish I could write the newspapers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Allen can submit a parliamentary question.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  A Health Insurance Bill and the VHI Board Corporate Status Bill are due to be published in the next year. What is going to happen to the VHI regarding privatisation? Many questions are now being raised—

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill to amend and extend the provisions of the Health Acts, 1994 and 2001 is due next year, as is the VHI Bill.

[519]Mr. Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Will the Taoiseach clarify when the Education (Persons with Disabilities) Bill will come before the House and if any consultation has taken place?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Consultation has been ongoing and the Bill is due before Christmas.

Mr. Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Given that the problems with the meat factories have been resolved, does the Taoiseach propose to introduce legislation that will ensure competition in the sector? In view of the fact—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I am sorry, the Deputy can only ask about promised legislation.

Mr. Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  May I clarify?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  No. The Chair has ruled and I ask the Deputy to obey it.

Mr. Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  The Egyptian market was supposed to be opened and bring competition to the meat factories.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  This is the second week that the Deputy has been unruly in the House on this matter. He will have to find another way of raising it.

Mr. Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  It is of major importance to the people—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy did the same two weeks ago in the House. If he does not resume his seat immediately I will ask him to leave the House. The Deputy should resume his seat when the Chair is on its feet.

Mr. Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  The dispute has been resolved—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy will leave the House.

Mr. Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  The dispute has been resolved and it is a major concern to the farming community that this has happened. The Minister for Agriculture and Food sits beside the Taoiseach week in and week out and nothing is happening. The farmers I represent—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I move: “That Deputy Hayes be suspended from the service of the Dáil.” Is the motion being opposed?

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Hayes will leave the Dáil.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is very unfair.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  There is no need to ask Deputy Hayes to leave the House. He has raised this important matter on numerous occasions.

[520]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Of course it is an important matter but he will have to find the proper way of raising it.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is no way of doing that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  When the Chair is on its feet it must be respected. This is a national Parliament, not a crèche. I expect Members to respect the Chair.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Deputy Hayes was not speaking like someone in a crèche.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  No Member can continue to speak when the Chair is on its feet. There could not be order in the House if that was allowed.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I understand that regulation but he was not speaking as a member of a crèche.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The motion for suspension has been moved.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will oppose that motion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Under Standing Order 61 the division is postponed until before the Order of Business tomorrow morning. The Deputy must now leave the House.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  That is a bit over the top.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is way over the top, there is no necessity for that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Chair has ruled, appropriate to the long-standing precedent set by my predecessors, and I will not have my rulings questioned.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  On a point of order—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  There will be no point of order on that issue.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I ask the Ceann Comhairle to bear with me for just a moment. Are we to have a situation where every Member who raises a valid subject which is of concern to the public will be asked to leave the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy knows that Deputy Hayes was totally out of order.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I wish to register a strong protest at this new order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  There is no new order. There is a long standing precedent in this House.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is a new order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is not a new order and I ask the Deputy to withdraw that.

[521]Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is a departure from what has happened in my time in this House and I have been here almost as long as the Ceann Comhairle. I find it objectionable that when a Member of the Opposition raises a valid subject—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Chair was more than tolerant with Deputy Hayes last week.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  He is not getting answers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  There is an appropriate way in which to raise matters—

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is no way to do so.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  —and the Order of Business is not the way to raise that matter. If we were to allow that we would be here until midnight. Every Deputy would be entitled to raise any issue they liked. Standing Order 26 is quite specific and if the Deputies are not happy with Standing Orders they know how to change them.

Mr. Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  We are looking for the Marie Celeste. We are looking for the shipment that went to Egypt the week before the election. It has not been found since.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  At least the Marie Celeste was found.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Tonight I will attend the launch of a new service for those who suffer from domestic violence. I would like to be able to give the people there some reassurance regarding the decision of the Supreme Court that found interim barring orders unconstitutional. Has legal advice to redress this been received and when are we likely to see the legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The full judgment of the court had to be delivered; that has now been presented and the matter is under consideration. Amending legislation may be required, but that decision will not be made until the findings of the court have been dealt with. As soon as that happens, I will inform the Deputy.

Ms Enright: Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  When does the Government intend to bring legislation before the Dáil to establish an inquiry into clerical child sexual abuse and the handling of same by church authorities? Will the Government be laying an order before the Dáil with the terms of reference for the Ferns inquiry?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not believe legislation is required. The inquiry is to begin in the new year. I am not sure if an order is required, but legislation is certainly not required as the inquiry is non-statutory.

Ms O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I wish to refer to the matter Deputy Gogarty raised, namely, the Education for Persons with Disabilities Bill. Is this a [522] redrafted Bill or is it the same legislation which was introduced in the Seanad before the election and which was put on ice at the request of disability organisations because they were dissatisfied with it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  That legislation has been revised following the consultation to which I referred.

Mr. Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  When will the two promised amendments relating to the Broadcasting (Major Events Television Coverage) Act be forthcoming? The Taoiseach promised these amendments a number of weeks ago. Are we likely to see them before the commencement of the Six Nations Rugby Championship?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  That announcement was made some weeks ago and the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Dermot Ahern, is obliged to bring the relevant orders to the House. I do not have a date for this, but the intention is to make the orders.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I notice from the list of proposed legislation, that one item has changed its name from the control of road openings Bill to the Roads (Control of Road Works) Bill since the previous session. Will the Taoiseach indicate why this matter, which I have raised repeatedly, has been put on the long finger?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Preliminary work is under way on the Bill, but I do not have a date with regard to its introduction.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Does the Taoiseach not accept that there is chaos in Dublin because of road works?

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Is the Taoiseach aware that, as a result of insurance difficulties, 40 jobs have been lost in CPV in Clones? Is it intended to bring forward legislation to curtail the cost of insurance?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Harney, has announced a list of proposals, some of which may, in due course, require the introduction of legislation. In the meantime, however, she is proceeding to implement the procedures she has outlined.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Tomorrow the CIE board is going to rubber-stamp a decision regarding rail freight. In light of the fact that this decision will mean there will be an additional 82 accidents and six fatalities on Irish roads because two million extra tonnes of freight will have to be transported by road, will the Taoiseach bring forward amending secondary legislation in respect of the Road Traffic Acts to ensure that spray suppression systems are installed on heavy goods vehicles because spray can severely limit visibility on wet roads?

[523]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Preliminary work is under way on a Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill but I do not know when it will be brought forward.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  My query related to secondary legislation and I would like a reply. The current secondary legislation is not being enforced and there were 81 fatalities on our roads last year which were caused by heavy goods vehicles. This issue must be addressed.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will bring the Deputy's comments to the Minister's attention.


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