Order of Business.

Thursday, 21 November 2002

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 557 No. 6

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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Order of Business today shall be as follow: No. 15, motion re Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income and Capital Gains) (Republic of Slovenia) Order, 2002; No. 16, motion re Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income and Capital Gains) (Republic of Croatia) Order, 2002; No 17, motion re Approval by Dáil Éireann of the Freedom of Information Act, 1997 (Prescribed Bodies) (No. 2) Regulations, 2002; No. 17a, motion re appointment of members to the Joint House Services Committee; No. 17b, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of a Council Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography; No. 4, National Development Finance Agency Bill, 2002 – Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and No. 5, Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Bill, 2002 – Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, to be taken not later than 1.30 p.m. today and the order shall not resume thereafter. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 15, 16, 17, 17a and 17b shall be decided without debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  There is one proposal to be put to the House. Is the proposal to deal with Nos. 15, 16, 17, 17a and 17b without debate agreed?

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I have no objection to No. 17, which provides for the extension of freedom of information obligations to a number of new bodies, but I wish to ask the Minister whether the National Development Finance Agency Bill, which is on today's Order Paper, will be included under freedom of information obligations. We probably will not get another opportunity to extend its remit, given that the legislation does not provide for this. This is an agency to whose workings the House and the public will want to have access via freedom of information legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That question would be more appropriate when the legislation is debated in the House.

[1503]Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  The Government extends the provisions of freedom of information legislation to different bodies by order, which is what we will do today. It is not done by way of amending legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It would not be appropriate for the House to decide this until such time as the Bill is debated.

Mr. R. Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This is the procedure for introducing an order to extend the provisions of freedom of information legislation. If this agency is not on the list it should be put on it at an early date. I seek a reply from the Tánaiste that it is on the list or that it will be added to it at an early date.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is difficult to understand how it can be on the list until the House decides whether to pass the Bill.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A week ago today the city was brought to a halt by the weather.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  We are discussing the proposal for dealing with business.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Are we, Sir?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Yes, Nos. 15, 16, 17, 17a and 17b.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I thought we had disposed of those.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Does the Deputy agree with the proposal to deal with those items without debate?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I do, every word of it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Ó Caoláin to speak on the proposal before the House.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  In relation to Nos. 15 and 16, the motions regarding double taxation relief with Slovenia and Croatia, will the Tánaiste advise the House what measures have been taken to examine previous agreements to address—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That matter does not arise at this time. Is the Deputy opposing the proposal?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I need the Tánaiste's assurance that there are no opportunities for tax avoidance or the setting up of shelf companies arising from such arrangements, which would be contrary to the interests of the Exchequer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  We are not talking about previous legislation, we are talking about the legislation before us. Does Deputy Ó Caoláin agree the Order of Business?

[1504]Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am asking for clarification that the necessary assessments have been made based on the experience of such agreements in the past.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That matter does not arise at this stage. I suggest that the Deputy submit a parliamentary question on that matter.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Tax discipline on the Slovenian side is much better than here.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Is the proposal agreed?

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  A Cheann Comhairle—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Only one member of the Deputy's party should contribute on this and Deputy Richard Bruton has already done so.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  Is it in order for me to oppose the Order of Business?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is not in order for you to oppose it because Deputy Richard Bruton has already done so.

Question, “That the proposals for dealing with Nos. 15, 16, 17, 17a, and 17b be agreed to without debate”, put and declared carried.

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I wish to ask the Tánaiste about the Government's legislative programme on justice, equality and law reform. Last week the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform revealed figures which show that the number of violent assaults in Dublin is now five times what it was three years ago. This year's figures, which have just been released, are appalling. The Minister also released his Estimates which show far from zero tolerance; they show zero provision for the Garda next year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  A question on legislation.

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  How realistic are the commitments to introduce reform in criminal justice, in Garda inspection and complaints and in many areas of justice against a background of zero provision?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The legislation outlined in the programme earlier this year will be published and debated, I hope, as quickly as possible. In fact, I understand a large number of Bills from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform await space at committee.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  As happens now most Thursdays, Dublin city will be brought to a halt – by the weather last Thursday and by taxis today. I know the Government cannot do too much about the weather but can it do anything about the taxis? My colleague, Deputy Broughan, raised the postal dispute—

[1505]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  A question appropriate to the Order of Business.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  My question in a nutshell is, will this be Christmas under the Coalition – no house grants, no taxis, no Luas—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Sorry, Deputy, you will have to find another way to raise these issues.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  —no medical cards—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Rabbitte, please.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  —no Christmas cards and, after the cut in forestry, no Christmas trees next year?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Please, Deputy Rabbitte. Do you have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I have, Sir. Will this be the shape of Christmas future under the coalition—?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Joe Higgins.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  —with no medical cards, no taxis, no Christmas cards and no Christmas trees?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Rabbitte, I ask you to resume your seat.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  We will have the Christmas pantomime.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Rabbitte, as leader of your party, I expect you to give good example to the other members of your party and obey the Standing Orders. I call Deputy Joe Higgins.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I wish to ask a question on legislation. Under the schedule of legislation published, the Government promised that 15 Bills would be published during this term. There are only three weeks left in this term and only two Bills have been published to date. Is there something wrong in the Attorney General's office or is there something wrong with the promise? Will the Tánaiste distribute them in the post to the country?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I assure Deputy Rabbitte Santa will come to the Rabbitte household if the Government has anything to do with it. If it makes him happy, I will undertake to send him a Christmas card as well.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will the Tánaiste undertake to deliver it?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Given that he is an important constituent, that would be in order.

[1506]Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I hope the Tánaiste does not come around to deliver it in a taxi.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I might come around in person if I get a nice invitation. A number of Bills will be published between now and the end of the session.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Yesterday, the Dublin coroner pointed to glaring anomalies in the Coroners Acts in the matter of the inquest into the unfortunate and cruel deaths of two women in the community care home in Grangegorman. Those inadequacies caused a lot of distress to their families.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Do you have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Yes. Will those glaring anomalies be resolved in the coroners (amendment) Bill? Will the Government hold an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding those tragic deaths which has been sought by the family?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The coroners (amendment) Bill to put into legislative effect the recommendations of the review group of the coroners service will be published next year.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  What about an inquiry?

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  In the horn of Africa, specifically in Ethiopia, up to six million people are facing a humanitarian crisis and perhaps death. I tabled a private notice question yesterday and I ask, whether through the Estimates being taken in the House or some other device, the Whip to provide an opportunity to debate the matter. It is a pending crisis which needs urgent consideration.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is a matter for the Whips.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  Perhaps the Tánaiste might take that on board and find some device to allow a debate in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is a matter for the Whips to discuss.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  At this moment the Simon Community, St. Vincent de Paul, Threshold and Focus Ireland are publishing a report showing that one out of three new households in the country and 42% of new households in urban areas cannot afford to buy their own home.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy, a question appropriate to the Order of Business.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  As the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Deputy Cullen, now wants people to rent rather than to buy, when will the Government publish the Bill to give some protection to tenants? When will the [1507] Government circulate and allow a discussion in the House on the scandalous regulation which has been brought in by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs to cap rent allowances to the poorest 60,000 tenants?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The legislation on the private rented sector will be introduced early next year.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  What about the capping of rent allowance?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Is legislation promised?

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  When will the regulation being brought in to cap rent allowances to the poorest tenants be brought before the House? Do members of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats, who have complained about house grants in the last couple of days, know about it? They will know about it on Saturday when tenants turn up at their clinics.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The regulation was brought in under existing legislation. Clearly, if Members wish to debate it, they can arrange that with the Whips.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  It is a scandalous decision taken by the Minister.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Ryan, I ask you to resume your seat. I have called Deputy Sargent.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  People must wait years on housing lists and live in rented accommodation—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Ryan, the Chair does not intend to spend the entire morning on the Order of Business. A number of your colleagues are offering and I will have to cut the Order of Business short if Members are disorderly.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  There certainly is a need for an urgent debate on the housing crisis. Will the Environmental Protection Agency (Amendment) Bill be introduced before Christmas, as promised so that we may have a debate on the Askeaton crisis and the IFA report which says the EPA is badly flawed?

One would think the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Bill was a priority. Was the Government invited by the US to participate in its so-called war on terrorism? Will this be a reason to bring forward the legislation any earlier?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The answer to the second questions is, no. That legislation will be published this session. The Environmental Protection Agency (Amendment) Bill will be published before Christmas and will be taken in the Seanad.

[1508]Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  A Cheann Comhairle, as a rural person, I know you will not let me down on this occasion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  A question, Deputy.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Will the Tánaiste ask the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to bring both sides together in the postal dispute?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy, that does not arise—

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The people in rural areas are the most disadvantaged because they are furthest away from—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Howlin.

A Deputy:  Deputy Ring should speak up, we cannot hear him.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  It is not fair on rural people and rural Members will know all about it this weekend.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  A Cheann Comhairle, it is not fair of you to call me after Deputy Ring.

I wish to ask the Tánaiste about legislation pertaining to her Department. In her contribution on the Estimates yesterday, she made much play of increased funding for the Science Foundation Ireland Fund in spite of a 5% cut in the overall Estimate. When will the Industrial Development Science Foundation Ireland Bill be before the House? She announced in her contribution that she intended to bring in a revised scheme of fees before the House in relation to work permits. Is the work permit Bill being proceeded with? Does the Tánaiste intend reducing the amount of work permits and when will we have a chance to debate the Government's intention in this regard?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  On the legislation coming before the House.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I hope the science foundation Bill will be published before Christmas. Already this year we have issued more work permits than for the whole of last year.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Will we have the legislation to underpin it?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The legislation is proceeding.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  When can we expect it?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Next year.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Among the documents placed before the Dáil is the most recent NESC report, An Investment in Quality: Services, Inclusion and Enterprise. Given that this document will inform the partnership negotiations, will the Tánaiste provide time for a debate on it to allow those of [1509] us on this side of the House to contribute to these negotiations?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That is a matter for the Whips. I call Deputy Durkan.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  I am making a request for time. It is on the Order Paper.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  When is it coming before the House, Tánaiste?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is a matter for the Whips to discuss.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Will the Tánaiste indicate whether or not it is intended to introduce emergency legislation to cater for the housing needs that will arise as a result of two developments – the capping of the rent allowances and the ongoing increase in rent which will result in about 10,000 families becoming homeless?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy is being repetitive. That issue has already been raised by Deputy Gilmore. The Deputy must raise a question appropriate to legislation.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is appropriate. It requires emergency legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Is there intended legislation coming?

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  If the Tánaiste is oblivious to what is happening then, unfortunately, we will have to find other means to do it.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Arising out of the 44% reduction for services for people with disabilities in the Book of Estimates, what plans are there now for the new disabilities Bill, which was promised before the end of this year?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  When is the disabilities Bill coming before the House, Tánaiste?

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  It was in the Fianna Fáil manifesto prior to the election when Deputy Mary Wallace was scapegoated. Where stands the Bill now?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Allow the Tánaiste to speak.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I understand the Minister of State, Deputy O'Dea, is still involved in the consultative process in regard to that matter.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Will the Tánaiste indicate if, in the context of promised legislation, the people of Monaghan will be permitted to make complaints about the lack of accident and emergency services at Monaghan General Hospital?

[1510]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The question must relate to when a particular Bill comes before the House.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  It relates to the health complaints Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  When will the health complaints Bill come before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The heads of the Bill were cleared recently. It will be next year, 2003.

Mr. O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  There are promised amendments to the Official Languages (Equality) Bill, 2002. Will the Tánaiste indicate if it is intended to introduce an amendment to ring-fence the expenditure on Irish textbooks in primary and secondary schools?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  When will the Bill come before the House?

Mr. O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  The amount has been cut by over three quarters this year which means that there are no textbooks available for students in Gaelscoileanna. This will spell disaster for the Irish language if it is not reversed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  We cannot debate what is in the legislation on the Order of Business. When will the legislation come before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The legislation is currently before the Seanad.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  In respect of the Taoiseach's request to the GAA to allow Croke Park to be used for the European Championships, does the Tánaiste not agree that if the Taoiseach had not gone out with a cheque for €60 million that they would have admitted them by vote and that he stopped them?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Sorry, does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It is funny for the Taoiseach to go on his knees through the floods in Drumcondra to ask that the—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Rabbitte, we have to move on to the next business if Members are not going to obey Standing Orders. I call Deputy Lynch.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Abbotstown sports centre authority Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  On the legislation, Tánaiste.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will the Tánaiste indicate when it will be introduced into the House and will it have the full support of her party?

[1511]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I do not have a date in regard to that matter.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will it be in the lifetime of the Government?

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Is the Bill withdrawn or not?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will the Bill be introduced in the lifetime of the Government?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Olympic pool is almost finished out there so there will be legislation to provide a framework for its operation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Lynch.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  It was a good bargain.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The sum of €400 million for a pool was a good buy.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  It was the most cost effective pool built anywhere in Europe.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  If it had been built in Tolka Park it would have avoided the flooding at least.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  If the Deputy does not want to let his colleague in then I will call Deputy Allen.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  I am always reluctant to interrupt my leader.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  The Deputy will be off his Christmas card list if she does not mind herself.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  I would not be getting it anyway because of the mess the Government made of the postal service.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Allow Deputy Lynch to ask a question appropriate to the Order of Business.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Will the Tánaiste indicate if community welfare officers will be allowed to supplement the income of people who will now be forced to pay their own rent—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That does not arise. We are moving on. I call Deputy Allen.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  —because of the cap on rent allowance?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy knows she is out of order.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  No. My question relates to the Social Welfare (No. 2) Bill, 2001.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Social Welfare (No. 2) Bill.

[1512]Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Will community welfare officers be allowed under that Bill to supplement the income of people who now have to pay exorbitant rents?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It will be this session.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Will it be allowed to supplement the incomes under it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Allow Deputy Allen.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Will the Tánaiste indicate if the reduction in car costs arising from deregulation within the European Union will be passed on to the consumer in the Finance Bill?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Shortall. The Deputy is asking about the content of the Finance Bill.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Because of the chronic traffic chaos, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to move around Dublin, whether they are trying to get to work, do business or go shopping. The public transport provision is hopelessly inadequate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Yes, I have a question on the Order of Business. It is accepted that part of the reason for the current chaos—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  To what legislation is the Deputy referring?

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  I am coming to that now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy, we have to move forward.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  I am coming to the legislation if you will allow me, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  We have to move on. A number of your colleagues wish to speak and it will not be possible to facilitate them if Second Stage speeches are made.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  It is accepted that part of the problem is due to the fact that over 20 agencies regulate transport and traffic in the city.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy, we are moving on. I call Deputy Crawford. The Deputy is not asking about promised legislation. She is making a speech about its contents. Standing Order 26 is very specific. We have quoted it here, time and again. There are at least 25 Deputies offering. I have endeavoured in the past to facilitate every Deputy who offered but it is not going to be possible. The precedent is for approximately 20 minutes for the Order of Business. We cannot have 25 Deputies in 20 minutes.

[1513]Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  I am asking about promised legislation. I am perfectly in order.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Deputy is in order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Shortall, I call Deputy Crawford.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  What about the greater Dublin authority Bill?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That is not what the Deputy spoke about. I will come back to Deputy Shortall if there is time at the end. Deputy Crawford.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  I am in order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy is not in order. The Chair has ruled in accordance with precedent for 80 years in this House. I call Deputy Crawford. I will come back to Deputy Shortall.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  What about the promised legislation of the greater Dublin authority Bill?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The greater Dublin authority Bill.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Next year.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  It was promised for this year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Crawford. I will ask Deputy Shortall to leave the House if she does not resume her seat.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  The Government has done nothing to address the problem.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Shortall. When the Chair is on its feet the Deputy must resume her seat.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A Cheann Comhairle, you could not send her home in traffic like this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  If Deputy Shortall is disorderly again it is obvious she wants to leave the House and the Chair will facilitate her.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  I do not want to leave the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Then the Deputy must resume her seat. I have called Deputy Crawford.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  There is traffic chaos out there.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I have called Deputy Crawford. Deputy Shortall must resume her seat or leave the House.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  This is outrageous.

[1514]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Shortall will have to leave the House.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  That is unfair.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  There is no sense of urgency about the traffic chaos.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  They all have State cars. They do not have to worry about traffic.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  People cannot move around.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I move: “That Deputy Shortall be suspended from the service of the Dáil.”

Deputy Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  That is outrageous.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is an abuse of your position.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy was given a fair chance. Is the motion opposed?

Deputies:  Yes.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Deputy was in order as she raised a question on promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Under Standing Order 61, any division is postponed to take place immediately before the Order of Business on the next sitting day.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  You are out of order, a Cheann Comhairle. That is an abuse of your position.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy must leave the House. I call Deputy Crawford. Will the Deputy please leave the House?

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  You are not entitled to nor do you have the power to make that ruling. The Deputy was in order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Chair has ruled in accordance with its predecessor.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Deputy Shortall asked a question on promised legislation and was in order in raising it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I ask Deputy Shortall to leave the House.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Deputy should not leave the House. She should stay where she is.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I ask Deputy Shortall to leave the House.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Can the Tánaiste give an undertaking?

[1515]Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  On a point of order, I do not wish to make an attempt to infringe the—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I would not get involved.

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It was a fair question and the Deputy had resumed her seat.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I am sure it was not intended but the Deputy got plenty of warning. The Chair has ruled. I ask Deputy Shortall to leave the House.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Will the Tánaiste give an undertaking that she will take traffic gridlock in this city seriously?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I ask the Deputy to leave the House.

Ms Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  The city is coming to a standstill and the Tánaiste does not give a damn about it.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  People are stuck in traffic all day and cannot get to work.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Where is the Minister for traffic announcements? Of course he is not here.

Deputy Shortall withdrew from the Chamber.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, if a Deputy raises a matter concerning promised legislation, is the Deputy entitled to ask through you, the Tánaiste—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I refer the Deputy to the ruling I made last week in accordance with the Standing Order and if he reads the Standing Order he will see himself.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We heard the ruling, a Cheann Comhairle, and the Deputy you just suspended from the House was in accordance with the ruling and entitled to raise the question. Your ruling, Sir, was wrong in accordance with the decision you made and gave to this House. The Deputy raised a matter concerning promised legislation and was in order. You were wrong to put her out. It was a biased decision on your behalf.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I would like the Deputy to come to my office and I would be glad to discuss the ruling. He has been in the House a long time and he knows Standing Orders as well as me.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  According to the programme of Government, 50% of new jobs are supposed to be created in the BMW region. Is the Tánaiste aware that 40 jobs are about to be lost in Clones while another 100 are under threat? Will she give a commitment—

[1516]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Will the commitment be honoured?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  It is extremely important to the people of Clones.

Ms O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  When the Government's legislative programme was announced, there was a fanfare about addressing issues concerning people with disabilities. My colleague, Deputy Costello, has referred to one issue. The education for persons with disabilities Bill was referred to in the legislative programme. It still has not been published.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call the Tánaiste on promised legislation.

Ms O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The suggestion in the press release on the legislative programme was that it would be addressed in this session. When will the Bill be published and dealt with?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It will be published this session.

Ms O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Will it be dealt with as opposed to published?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It will be published next year, not this session.

Ms O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The press statement and spin doctors stated it was an issue that would be dealt with this session.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Coveney.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Do assurances given in the House count for anything?

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  No.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Government has more spin doctors than legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy will have to find another way of raising the matter. It is not in order on the Order of Business.

Ms O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  A press release was sent to the media which stated the issue would be dealt with this session. All we have received so far is a cutback of 44% in the Estimates for people with disabilities. Such press statements mislead the public.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government publishes more press releases than legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Coveney.

[1517]Mr. Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  I thank you, a Cheann Comhairle. I thought you had forgotten me as you were distracted by all the hot air coming from the Labour Party.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  No, we have to rotate between the parties.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We will give the Deputy hot air if he wants it.

Mr. Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  I refer to two Bills. When will legislation be introduced regarding the proposed Garda inspectorate to deal with Garda complaints? Is the Tánaiste aware that one in five taxi drivers in Dublin has a criminal record? Yesterday legislation to vet taxi drivers was promised. When will legislation be introduced?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  A new taxi regulator will be appointed to deal with standards and the issues raised by the Deputy early next year. The Garda inspectorate Bill will be introduced in the middle of next year.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Given that it took Eamonn Coughlan who is able to run a mile in 3.7 minutes, 3.7 hours to travel one mile to get to RTE earlier, what is the position regarding Nos. 119, 120, 121 and 122 in the Government's legislative programme? These Bills are supposed to deal with traffic gridlock and enable people to travel a mile quicker than 3.7 hours.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The answer is to get a State car. That is the only way and there are no penalty points.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  He was given a Garda escort.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  They are all hypocrites on that side of the House.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Bills referred to by Deputy Stagg will be published next year or in subsequent years.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I want to know specifically what the position is on No. 191. I then want to know what the position is on Nos. 120, 121 and 122. These are all transport measures and I want to know specifically when they will be introduced. That is all I am asking.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Will the Deputy name the Bill about which he is inquiring?

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We are not getting answers.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Government should move some of its spin doctors into the Bills Office.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy should allow his colleague to ask his question.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  We need more parliamentary draftsmen, not spin doctors.

[1518]Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  No. 118 is the driver test agency Bill; No. 119 is the greater Dublin area land use and transport authority Bill; No. 120 is the road traffic (amendment) Bill; No. 121 is the control of road works Bill; and No. 122 is the transport (miscellaneous provisions) Bill.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Is there not a No. 191?

Mr. McCreevy: Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  It is before No. 192.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The last Bill to which the Deputy refers provides for an increase in CIE's borrowing limits and the previous one relates to road openings. I am not sure they have—

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Which are causing traffic problems.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call Deputy Stanton.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I dealt with No. 119, which will be taken next year.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  In view of the—

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will you allow the woman to answer the question, please, a Cheann Comhairle? The House is restrictive enough as it is.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The driver testing Bill will be introduced next year. I told Deputy Shortall, who raised the greater Dublin area authority Bill, that it will be published next year. It is not possible to give a date for the road traffic (amendment) Bill.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Why not?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Because preliminary work on the Bill is ongoing.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Where is the Minister for announcements?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Minister for Transport usually issues two statements a day.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy should allow the Tánaiste to reply.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Prior notification to, and approval of, the EU Commission is required for the transport (miscellaneous provisions) Bill and that is expected next year. Preliminary work on the control of road works Bill, which relates to telecommunications operators and road openings, is under way and it is expected late in 2003.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It will take another two years.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Given the increasing concern over the continued sit-in of IFI workers in the company's canteen in Belfast and their dispute with the Tánaiste, when will the companies Bill be enacted? What action will she take to assist them?

[1519]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  As Deputy Stanton will be aware, that has nothing to do with the companies Bill.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The €5,000 has.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The Bill, which has more than 145 heads, is promised for this session.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Tánaiste promised the €5,000 without prejudice.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  That is correct.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Deputy Rabbitte should allow the Tánaiste to reply.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  A 1,000 head companies Bill is due in the middle of next year.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  What about the €5,000 she offered without prejudice to IFI workers?

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I refer to No. 108 in the Government's legislative programme. The Bill is the responsibility of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform who made the startling announcement yesterday that he was not a communist. Ireland has joined a small number of countries in the world which refuse international agencies the right to visit prisons. It has been condemned by 14 national directors of Amnesty International.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Deputy should ask a question about the legislation.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  It is the prison services Bill. Will the Minister continue to stop international and human rights agencies visiting Irish prisons before he introduces the Bill?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  It is not possible to indicate at this stage when the Bill will be ready but work is progressing on the heads of the Bill.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  So the prisons are indefinitely closed to international human rights organisations. We will join Turkey and a number—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The Tánaiste has answered the Deputy's question. We cannot have a debate on the substance of the Bill.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Maybe the non-communist will see the similarities he has with some of the places he condemns.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  At least he is in compliance with the trade descriptions legislation.

Mr. Sherlock: Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  In view of the lenient penalties at a court in Cork recently, in a case involving the death of a young person from Mallow who fell [1520] from a building, when is it proposed to introduce the safety, health and work Bill?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  In early 2003.

Mr. Wall: Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Given the major problems facing the tourism industry, as highlighted in the recent report from the Irish Hotels Federation, when will the national tourism development authority Bill be introduced?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  In this session. It was cleared by the Cabinet a few days ago.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I will take two more questions before concluding.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  What is the latest update on the timing of the gas Bill? Will a member of the Cabinet take the Minister, Deputy Ó Cuív, aside and explain that he is the Minister for community affairs?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The first question on legislation is in order.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  He refuses to answer questions on community affairs since the Tánaiste and the Minister for Finance slashed community employment. Many community groups have turned to Deputy Ó Cuív but he does not seem to realise that he, not Deputy Coughlan, is the Minister with responsibility for community affairs.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  The first question is in order.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  The gas regulation Bill will be taken in 2004.

Mr. Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Is the national anti-poverty strategy committee still in existence? If so, did the Government refer its proposed cuts in expenditure to it for poverty proofing, to examine the impact they will have on the least well off?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  There is no legislation involved but that body is still in being.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  We now move to No. 15.

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

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Sorry, I have been more than generous this morning. The Deputy has already spoken.

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

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I have already moved on to the next business. I hope it is a point of order.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  It is a point of order. A few minutes ago you asked a Deputy to leave the House. Would you please—

[1521]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Where is the point of order in that? If the Deputy has a problem with it, he should come to my office and I will be glad to discuss it.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Please listen. You have not heard the question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call No. 15, motion re double taxation. That is not a point of order.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Last evening there was a debate on the Adjournment about IFI. The Tánaiste and the Minister of State, who represents the constituency, were in the House—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That is not a point of order, Deputy. You are out of order.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  They left the House knowing the debate was taking place and left Deputy O'Dea to take the debate—

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That is not a point of order. You will have to find another way of raising it.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  —and to attack the Deputy who raised it. Have you any control over Ministers?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  That is not a point of order. The Chair has ruled. We move to No. 15, motion re double taxation relief.

(Interruptions.)[1522]

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Before you move on, a Cheann Chomhairle, will you hear the point of order? It is a valid point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  I call on the Minister for Finance, Deputy McCreevy, to move the motion.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is a valid point and I ask the Chair to hear my colleague.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is not a valid point. If the Deputy wishes to come to my office, I will discuss it with him.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is a valid point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  It is not a point of order. The Chair will rule in accordance with precedent.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  If Deputy Allen wishes to come to my office, I will be glad to discuss it with him.


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