Ahern, Bertie

Wednesday, 28 May 2003

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 567 No. 6

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Leaders' Questions.

The Forfás consumer pricing report and the National Competitiveness Council's statement on inflation, which were published last week, are matters of importance on which the Government has been working...More Button

I do not accept any of the points made by the Deputy. The reality is that unemployment is at an historically low level—More Button

—in spite of international difficulties.More Button

Up to the last quarter employment increased by 1.5%, or 23,000 to 24,000. Economic growth is still at a very respectable rate. I totally reject Deputy Kenny's accusations that the Government is not co...More Button

We have one of the lowest debt to GDP ratios in Europe—More Button

—and our budget position for this year at 0.6% is one of the lowest in the European Community. At the same time we are continuing to grow expenditure at high rates.More Button

It is our management of the economy that is allowing us to continue to grow, to generate jobs and to keep unemployment at a low rate – that is the success of it.More Button

Deputy Kenny asked me about one initiative that has emerged. In spite of this being a difficult year, under the capital programme we will spend more than €5 billion on infrastructural development—More Button

—and every single one of those projects, which we discussed in Farmleigh, are linked—More Button

—and directed towards generating economic growth. The fact of the matter is that at the end of a year in office, and even though times have been different, we can look back and note that we are bringi...More Button

At the risk of repeating myself, I have already said what the inflation rate is. I have already stated what the Government is trying to achieve. I have stated that we have created 300,000 jobs in the ...More Button

One cannot do that. The Government is determined in a difficult period – thankfully this has been agreed by the social partners, if Opposition parties do not adhere to it – to continue to have economi...More Button

—in payments to the old and to people in receipt of social welfare and we are still protecting them from inflation, we are still working to bring down inflationary trends and we will continue to do th...More Button

Deputy Rabbitte will have noticed that the most recent consumer price index figure for last month indicated that the increase in inflation is 4.3%, which is a decrease of 0.6%, the largest in two and ...More Button

That is mostly as a result of listening to the Deputy.More Button

I stated yesterday in reply to a parliamentary question that under the new UN resolution, I look forward to both the International Atomic Energy Association and UNMOVIC being sent back to Iraq. Whatev...More Button

I increasingly see programmes on television of the multi—More Button

It is amazing how some people are so glad to argue the case for a dictator—More Button

—who was responsible for killing thousands of his own people and using torture against people and who engaged in significant activity against his own population. Deputy Joe Higgins asked me if I would...More Button

For Deputy Higgins's information, I had the pleasure once again last night of meeting W.B. Yeats's son Michael Yeats. I do not think he was upset about any of the things the Deputy is upset about.More Button

It is not a question of being misled by any falsehoods. There were 14,000 deaths— (Interruptions).More Button

The trouble is the same issue of dictatorship. The Deputy wants to dictate and wants me to accept it. He is selective about what dictator he follows. The reality is that the Government has supported t...More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. - Ministerial Appointments.

Was asked: the appointments made by him since January 2003 to the State boards or other agencies within his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the appointments made by him to State boards or other agencies since January 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the appointments which have been made by him to State boards or other agencies since January 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together. The bodies under the aegis of my Department are the National Statistics Board, the National Economic and Social Council, the National Econ...More Button

The criteria are as follows. As chairman of the IFSC Banking and Treasury Group, Mr. Walter Brazil is one of the key individuals in the AIB capital markets division. All of the individuals on the boar...More Button

With regard to the bodies under my aegis, I do all that I can to ensure the representation is kept to the fixed level, or higher if possible. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and I do...More Button

I do not agree with bringing board members before committees. As I said yesterday, we find it difficult enough to bring legislation before committees, never mind establishing a Star Chamber such as th...More Button

The Taoiseach should withdraw that comment.More Button

I am glad to explain. What happens in the US, and it is well known, is that when someone is before a board people working for the political system spend an endless amount of effort in trying to get so...More Button

I would not like to see this happening in Leinster House, ever.More Button

The Deputy asked for an answer.More Button

I did not see the story and I am not responsible for that body.More Button

I am selective when it comes to the newspapers.More Button

I have to say that I did not see the story, but for eminent people like that to work for €16,000 per year—More Button

The Deputies should see how much those people could earn in a week.More Button

I do not think the NESC is examining prisons at the moment, but if it is I am sure everything will be examined.More Button

I have spoken to representatives of all the bodies with which I deal directly and asked them to ensure that when making nominations the 40% rule is, at a minimum, adhered to. I am not asking them to s...More Button

I will give the Deputy a list of some of these boards. I have already given the names of the social partnership boards, but even in those it is not easy to persuade trade union leaders and employer le...More Button

I accept the Deputy's point; it is not a totally transparent system. I can speak best about the bodies I deal with. In the National Statistics Board, these positions only go to a handful of people, ma...More Button

I am not unreasonable in such matters. Deputy Boyle is correct in saying that sometimes individuals end up as members of a number of committees. It is hard to ensure that does not happen. I am against...More Button

I can assure the Deputy that Ministers and Departments are doing their utmost to ensure they comply with that requirement.More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. - Departmental Bodies.

Was asked: if he will report on the recent activities of the task force on asset management; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The asset management task force was established in late 2001 to examine the recommendations of a report produced by the IFSC funds working group on opportunities for a broader-based institutional asse...More Button

Deputy Kenny is correct. Asset management is big business and it provides enormous opportunities throughout the world. Business, globally, is now in excess of $35 trillion with more than 5,000 people ...More Button

Indications in recent years are that competition in this area and our overall management of assets is increasing. I do not think it has risen much in this area but it has managed to maintain its posit...More Button

Yes, special degree courses have been developed for graduate and postgraduate studies and a number of universities have taken up the courses.More Button

On the fee levels which have been put out for this, it costs €2,500 to sit the CFA exams – between tuition, books and fees. That is what the industry tells me. Some 165 people sat the various levels o...More Button

They should be paying their fees and then getting some deal that they stay so many years. I look in awe at people of 27 and 28 if they can walk out and get packages of €250,000 or €350,000. The only w...More Button

Yes. Obviously not everybody in the business is doing tremendously well. It is only those at the top who can get the high salaries. Many others come in at normal salaries, which are fairly high in fin...More Button

Ceisteanna – Questions. - National Security.

Was asked: if he will report on the recent work of the high level group established under the aegis of his Department to monitor developments in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the recent work of the high level group established under his Department in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.More Button

Was asked: the number of occasions on which the high level group established under the aegis of his Department following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 has met; the last occasion on which a meeting w...More Button

Was asked: if he will report on the recent work of the high level group established under his Department in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 5 to 8, inclusive, together. Responsibility for internal national security is a matter for the Garda Síochána, with support as appropriate from the Defence Forces. The...More Button

Some of the questions asked are for the Minister for Defence because they relate to the office of emergency planning and the co-ordination by that office of the work of the emergency services in the p...More Button

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 6, the National Economic and Social Development Office Bill 2002 – Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; No. 19, the Digital Hub Development Agency Bill 2002 [Seanad] – O...More Button

As soon as the Government agrees to publish them.More Button

The last time I tried to answer I was shouted down. These reports are only now before Government and they will be published as soon as the Government has discussed and dealt with them. They will not b...More Button

The Government is discussing the reports. A number of people were involved in the discussions of these reports—More Button

As soon as the Government has dealt with the reports, they will be published.More Button

They will not be published next week.More Button

The Government is discussing three reports. We have two of them but do not have the third one. Nobody else has it either because it is not completed. There might be a draft somewhere—More Button

No, the Hanley report. We have the prospectus report and the Brennan report. All three of them are being discussed. As soon as we have the three of them and as soon as we are in a position to do so we...More Button

The heads of the An Bord Bia Bill are expected next month and the Bill should be brought forward and dealt with next year.More Button

I was asked if there was legislation on this matter and there is not.More Button

That is what I was asked last week.More Button

The heads of the two Bills needed to deal with this issue will be brought forward in the next few weeks.More Button

At last, the Bill was cleared at the Government meeting yesterday so I assume it will be published very soon.More Button

There is no promised legislation.More Button

I will raise that issue.More Button

In reply to Deputies Stagg and Costello, I take the point they make and I will raise the matter with the Minister. I understand he was ready to move the heads of the Bill to the committee almost immed...More Button

I appreciate that so I will make the Minister aware of the issue.More Button

The Minister for Health and Children is anxious to have the three reports available for discussion at Government and following that to have a debate. I hope that will happen in the next session.More Button

Yes, that is the intention.More Button

This session.More Button

There is no legislation promised.More Button

The National Monuments Bill which seeks to consolidate and modernise the five key pieces of national monuments legislation will, I hope, be published in the autumn. As the heads are concluded and the ...More Button

The heads of the Heritage Powers and Functions Bill have been approved and the Bill has been drafted. However, it is unlikely to be available until next year.More Button

The Bill was published last week and it is ordered for Second Stage in the Seanad. I believe Second Stage is being taken today.More Button

It is the Government's intention to publish the reports. It is not unreasonable for the Government and Minister to wish to examine the reports first and then have a debate in the House.More Button

I do not have the third report.More Button

The taxi regulation Bill is due this summer. I do not think it will be before the House in the next session but I hope it will be published during the summer.More Button

The answer is the same as yesterday. The Education (Disabilities) Bill is being given priority. As soon as it is passed we will try to introduce the other Bill referred to by the Deputy. Work is proce...More Button

National Economic and Social Development Office Bill 2002: Order for Second Stage.

I move: “That Second Stage be taken now.” Question put and agreed to.More Button

National Economic and Social Development Office Bill 2002: Second Stage.

I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.” The purpose of this Bill is to establish the National and Economic Social Development Office and, through it, give a statutory basis to its constitue...More Button

The Deputy is right. That is why I advised the Labour Party not to go ahead with the creation of the ERHA at the time, but it refused to listen.More Button

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Payments.

Was asked: the number of people in receipt of unemployment assistance in the past two years to date.More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Statistics.

Was asked: the estimated number of live cattle in the country for each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Written Answers. - Departmental Expenditure.

Was asked: his views on whether his Department's share of the more than ?10 million spent by Departments in 2002 on public relations, marketing and advertising represents best value for money; and the plans whic...More Button

The amount spent by my Department in 2002 on advertising was €284,367.24. This includes €41,690 spent on public notice advertising in the media and in Iris Oifigiúl. This advertising was placed in the...More Button


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