Order of Business.

Wednesday, 7 July 2004

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 588 No. 6

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. a14, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Electoral Act 1997 (section 53) Order 2004 and the Presidential Election (Reimbursement of Expenses) Regulations 2004; No. 21, Maritime Security Bill 2004 [Seanad]— Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 22 — Dumping at Sea (Amendment) Bill 2000 [Seanad]— Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 22a— Civil Liability and Courts Bill 2004 [Seanad]— Order for Report, Report and Final Stages, to be taken not later than 5 p.m. today and the order will not resume thereafter.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. and business shall be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m.; No. a14 will be decided without debate; and Report and Final Stages of No. 22a shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

Private Members’ business shall be No. 33, Sustainable Communities Bill 2004 — Second Stage (resumed) to conclude at 8.30 p.m.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with the late sitting agreed?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  It is not agreed. I ask that the House accede to a request from the Green Party to extend the late sitting by 15 minutes tonight because we lost 15 minutes of Private Members’ time last night. Given that the House finished eight minutes early last night, the Taoiseach’s concern about losing his beauty sleep was without foundation. Whatever about losing sleep, it is important that we should not lose Dáil time unnecessarily. The House finished eight minutes early last night, but we can make up time tonight [1580]by ordering that the House should sit for an extra 15 minutes to allow Private Members’ time to run for the full three hours for which it is intended to run. We want that time back, and I ask that the House accede to that.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  On the late sitting, we had a late sitting last night and at 9.30 p.m. a revised schedule was sent to us by the Whip’s office regarding tomorrow, and it included Report Stage of the Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Bill. We got no notice of that and had no time to submit amendments because the amendments have to be in——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Sorry, Deputy, that has nothing to do with the late sitting tonight.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  It is to do with the late sitting. We had a late sitting last night which facilitated the Whip’s office issuing a revised schedule. That forced Members to come in here early in the morning to table amendments to a Bill. It is not acceptable that a late sitting is used for that purpose, and we will oppose it tomorrow.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the late sitting agreed?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I will put the question.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Will the Taoiseach respond?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  It is a reasonable request. Fifteen minutes might do the job.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  If there is co-operation on the other Bills and if I can take them collectively——

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  There was co-operation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  If we can agree that and get co-operation on the other Bills, I have no problem with the extra 15 minutes.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  After 8.30 p.m.?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  After 8.30 p.m., but only if we can co-operate on the other issues because these Bills, in particular No. 22a, must be completed today. We are just asking for co-operation on it.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I appreciate that.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I wanted to make a point on the Civil Liability and Courts Bill, which is not before the House currently, but if the Taoiseach has time to tie us into committing to No. 22a, as set out, I would have some difficulties with that. I defer to my colleague, Deputy Costello, but there is a problem about that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Kenny, did you want to raise a point?

[1581]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I want to speak on No. a14.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Perhaps if we agree the late sitting the point raised by Deputy Sargent can be taken in the context of——

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Sorry, Deputy, Deputy Rabbitte has already spoken on the matter. There is provision for a question from only one member of each party.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  If the Taoiseach extends the Private Members’ time by 15 minutes, it will take up valuable time required for No. 22a, which is due to be guillotined tonight. If the late sitting and the change he is talking about is agreed, 15 minutes of valuable time will be lost, and that is not acceptable.

Question, “That the late sitting be agreed to”, put and declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call Deputy Kenny on the proposal for dealing with No. a14.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This matter is proposed to be taken without debate. The note refers to a presidential election. First, on the recoupment based on Dáil expenditure in elections, if a party sponsors or nominates a candidate in a presidential election, is the recoupment made to the party or the candidate? Second, paragraph 5 of the explanatory document states that any presidential election, if held, would take place in October and the election period would commence before the Houses resume after the summer recess. The approval, therefore, must be obtained before the summer recess. Has the Taoiseach had any indication that it might be necessary to have candidates nominated for the presidential election or does he intend to nominate a candidate? In other words, has he had any news?

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Like an expectant father.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Everybody in Europe wants the Taoiseach to stand for it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Deputy should have a go again.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  One never knows.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  On the same matter, a Cheann Comhairle, I was somewhat surprised to find this item on the Order Paper this morning without any communication from Government or from the Minister.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I tried to contact Deputy Gilmore last night. I understand he was on his way to Chicago. I tried to contact Deputy Stagg.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I was available.

[1582]Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I managed to contact Deputy Allen. I tried to contact Deputy Sargent as well.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Deputy Gilmore is an immensely valuable member of my team but we still manage to function even when he is en route to Chicago.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  That is why I tried to contact Deputy Stagg.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It is proposed to pass this item on the nod without even referral to committee, not to mention the House. It is proposed that we set a spending limit for the presidential election of €1.3 million. With the greatest respect, Sir, that warrants some discussion and it should not be nodded through in this fashion. As I understand it, the €1.3 million is computed on the basis of an aggregate of the spend for the Dáil constituencies. Incidentally, the figure for the Dáil constituencies is not the figure in the 1997 Act but includes the 50% increase the Minister, Deputy Dempsey, ushered in just before the 2002 general election. A €1.3 million spend and a threshold for recoupment that most of the candidates in the last general election would not have attained is almost as appalling a vista as going down to the Four Courts to effect one’s rights as a citizen.

The notion of nodding through this item without discussion and without referral even to a committee is very unusual and introducing it here on the penultimate day of the session is less than respectful to the House and to the Opposition.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I appreciated getting the telephone call from the Minister this morning but whoever advised him that he had to rush this measure through the House was remiss in not advising him that he should have had spending limits for local elections also. I wonder why they did not advise him accordingly. In this case, however, a huge amount of money is being aggregated without recognition of the economy of scale.

This is not the same as running a number of candidates in different constituencies. Running a presidential candidate is completely different and I ask that we would debate this matter either in committee but preferably in the Dáil. It is an area that applies to us all and as representatives of the people we should discuss what is a considerable spending limit.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  To answer Deputy Kenny’s question, I do not have any news.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Taoiseach does not have any news?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is purely precautionary.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Belts and braces.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  It is a little late for that.

[1583]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Attorney General advised that we have to do it this way also. Under the legislation a limit has to be set. The Electoral Act 1997 provides for expenditure limits for presidential elections in the same manner as Dáil elections. It is directly linked. Where limits are proposed to be introduced, the Minister is required to lay a draft order before each House of the Oireachtas for positive resolution.

  12 o’clock

In setting the expenditure limits, the Act requires the Minister to have regard, as Deputy Rabbitte said, to the limits for the Dáil as set out under the Act. The current expenditure limits for Dáil and European elections are set out for three, four and five seat constituencies. The approval of both Houses of the draft order is required because if a presidential election was held it would take place in October. The election period would commence before the Houses resume after the summer recess, and the approval needs to be obtained before the summer recess. That is the precautionary reason for it.

The issue on recoupment is based on what is actually spent and it is paid to the candidate, but the figure has to be fixed.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Taoiseach is permitting a spend of €1.3 million and, quite frankly, that is anti-democratic. No party other than the Taoiseach’s can afford anything like that.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  There is no figure at present. All we have is that it should be related to an existing figure. The Deputy is correct. I do not believe anyone would spend anything like that but——

A Deputy:  Why include it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Because it is in law we have already passed. It is related to the constituencies issue. That is the reason.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  On a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Sorry, Deputy Boyle, but Deputy Sargent has already spoken on the question.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  On a point of order I do not believe it is possible to approve this motion because it refers to 42 constituencies.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not a point of order.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  It is a point of order as there are not 42 constituencies

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  It is a point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has ruled it is not a point of order. The House is discussing a simple motion whether this issue will be taken [1584]without debate. The Deputy is discussing the substance of the motion which is not in order.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The proposal falls.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  I am arguing that it cannot be put before the House as it is not valid. The Electoral Act has not been amended to change the number of constituencies from 41 to 42. This motion cannot be passed today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not a point of order. The Chair agreed——

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It is a point of order.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  It surely is a valid point.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  It clearly is a point of order. The Deputy is questioning the validity of an order put to the House.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Ceann Comhairle has railroaded the decision without even listening to a word of what the Deputy had to say.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  There is nothing new in the Ceann Comhairle doing that.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  We can bring in another constituency.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  How many constituencies were there in the last election?

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  The Deputy should ask the Minister.

Question, “That the proposal for dealing with No.14a be agreed to”, put and declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22a agreed to?

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Four hours were spent on Committee Stage of the Bill yesterday during which substantial changes were made. Report Stage of the Bill is to be taken today. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform indicated that further substantial amendments would be introduced on Report Stage but Members have not even seen the list of those amendments. I do not wish to hold up the Bill. However, I am concerned that, in the unseemly haste in getting the Bill through the House, we may end up with bad law. From a parliamentary rather than a political point of view, it is not the way to finalise legislation.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I have difficulty in taking Report and Final Stages of the Bill in one day and am surprised by the Taoiseach’s claim that it has to be passed today. The Bill is another typical Deputy McDowell special. It is a hybrid Bill, [1585]initially introduced for dealing with civil liability and personal injuries matters. The Minister then grafted on the appointment of eight extra judges — three to the High Court and Circuit Court, respectively, and two to the District Court — with no opportunity for discussion.

Major changes to the in camera rule for family law, domestic violence and rape cases have also been introduced. For the first time yesterday on Committee Stage, Members saw the raft of major amendments that the Minister was introducing. However, he did not have the amendments for the in camera rule. These will be introduced on Report Stage while Members still have to receive and study them.

There is a real danger that bad legislation will emanate from this procedure. The manner in which the Minister deals with legislation is not good enough and this is the worst example so far. It is wrong that the Bill will be guillotined tonight. It would be better if it was debated again tomorrow.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A man like the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform should not have to come into the House at all. He should simply be allowed to make law. The House is just an irritant.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Unless the House has a suitably raised status.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  On Committee Stage yesterday, we only received the amendments for that Bill as we sat down, while the deadline for submitting amendments for Report Stage had already passed. This shows how crazy the Mini[1586]ster for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is in rushing this Bill.

The Minister also presented draft amendments that he might possibly introduce to the Bill. While the amendments were discussed on Committee Stage, the Minister was withdrawing amendments to resubmit them on Report Stage. The Minister did not know what he was doing on Committee Stage. There are a substantial number of amendments. The House will not get through the amendments on Report Stage in the short time that is now available which the Ceann Comhairle has already managed to reduce by 15 minutes. I oppose the guillotining of this Bill and the Minister’s method of persistently producing new Bills on Committee and Report Stages. We should object to that process.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  More than three and a half hours are devoted to the Bill today. I accept some of the points made by the Deputies. However, this Bill is related to issues in the insurance industry——

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  That is what the Bill started out as.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  —— and the Government is anxious to complete the Bill’s passage.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  As well as many other issues.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  With regard to the amendments, the office does not impose the deadlines on amendments when a Bill has not finished its previous Stage.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 22a be agreed.”

[1585]The Dáil divided: Tá, 62; Níl, 48.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny.
Information on Martin Brady  Zoom on Martin Brady  Brady, Martin. Information on Seamus Brennan  Zoom on Seamus Brennan  Brennan, Seamus.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Joe Callanan  Zoom on Joe Callanan  Callanan, Joe.
Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  Callely, Ivor. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Cooper-Flynn, Beverley. Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin.
Information on Noel Davern  Zoom on Noel Davern  Davern, Noel. Information on Síle de Valera  Zoom on Síle de Valera  de Valera, Síle.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. Information on Tony Dempsey  Zoom on Tony Dempsey  Dempsey, Tony.
Information on John Dennehy  Zoom on John Dennehy  Dennehy, John. Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  Ellis, John. Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael.
Information on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Dermot. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope. Information on Jim Glennon  Zoom on Jim Glennon  Glennon, Jim.
Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire.
Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Jacob, Joe. Information on Cecilia Keaveney  Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  Keaveney, Cecilia.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  McCreevy, Charlie.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Donal Moynihan  Zoom on Donal Moynihan  Moynihan, Donal.
Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael. Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Liz.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned.
Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona. Information on Tim O'Malley  Zoom on Tim O'Malley  O’Malley, Tim.
Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  [1587]Parlon, Tom. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael. Information on G. V. Wright  Zoom on G. V. Wright  Wright, G.V.



[1587]Níl
Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan. Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  Cowley, Jerry. Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour.
Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  Gregory, Tony. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Paul McGrath  Zoom on Paul McGrath  McGrath, Paul. Information on Paddy McHugh  Zoom on Paddy McHugh  McHugh, Paddy.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Twomey, Liam.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.

[1587]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Hanafin and McGuinness; Níl, Deputies Durkan and Stagg.

[1587]Question declared carried.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Can the Taoiseach say when we can expect to see the legislation arising from the citizenship referendum Bill? When is it likely to be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Minister is working on it and we expect the legislation in the autumn.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I hope when it is published there will be sufficient time, as the Taoiseach said there would be, for a real debate on immigration and all the aspects of the Bill. I trust there will be no time limit imposed on the debate so that we can deal with the issues properly.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Is the Taoiseach familiar with a document issued on 25 January last by the Chief Whip, Deputy Hanafin? The document states: “Disability Bill top of legislative agenda as Chief Whip announces programme for next Dáil session.”

Ms Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  It still is.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The document goes on to state in regard to work on the disability Bill that “this will be published shortly.”

[1588]Ms Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  It will. I do not lie.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  What has happened since then? When is it expected the Bill will be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  For many months, we have been in discussions with the disability groups in an attempt to draft legislation which would win broad acceptance.

A Deputy:  It has been years.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Government has moved as far as it can. We have made many changes to the Bill and a large input was also accorded to the disability groups in regard to the other Bill and the frameworks. That work is practically finished and I hope to be able to publish the whole package. The disability Bill itself is very close to final drafting although some work remains to be done on the frameworks, of which I think there are four. We told the disability groups we would publish all the legislation together and I hope we can.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  When will it be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Perhaps towards the end of August or early September. However, it will certainly be published in good time for the next session.

[1589]Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Thank you.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Taoiseach may be aware of the pressure on small to medium size businesses at present. With regard to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the consolidation of company law is being dealt with in the context of legislation such as the co-operative Bill, the companies Bill and the employee information and consultation Bill. Is there awareness in Government of the need to consolidate legislation that pertains to employers? There is now so much regulation that many employers find they must search for much of the information they need. Does the promised legislation in this area indicate an awareness and willingness to consolidate information that employers need?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Statute Law (Restatement) Act was passed in 2002, the main purpose of which is that when new Acts are passed, the consolidation of the legislation is automatically moved. This should happen over time with all Bills. On which Bill did the Deputy ask?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The companies Bill.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The companies Bill is enormous, containing well over 1,000 heads. It consolidates all of the Companies Acts and regulations and implements the first report of company law. The heads of the Bill are expected towards the end of this year. While drafting the Bill is an enormous job, the heads will be ready this year.

Mr. Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  When will the Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill be debated in the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be in the autumn session.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  The Government established an enterprise strategy review group which is due to report today. Has the report been considered by Government and do any legislative proposals emanate from it? What arrangements have been made to brief Opposition spokespersons on its content in the context of a debate in the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  As the Tánaiste is absent on IDA business, I will have to check that with the Department.

Dr. Cowley: Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  With regard to equality legislation in Ireland, Europe or elsewhere, I highlight the situation of a man with cancer who has been waiting since last December for a urology appointment. I also point to the position of those on waiting lists since 1996.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I suggest the Deputy raise the matter with the appropriate Minister on the Adjournment.

[1590]Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  The pharmacy Bill has been promised since 1997, some would say since 1980. When is it expected?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Work is under way on drafting the heads of the Bill, which are expected during 2004. This is to consolidate and modernise the framework for pharmacies.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I have with me a list of 20 occasions on which the disability Bill was raised in the Dáil. Is there a date for its publication?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  This has already been dealt with.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be published before the next session.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  The Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Fahey, came before the Committee on Enterprise and Small Business in regard to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Bill. The Bill was supposed to deal with the issue of corporate manslaughter. When the Minister came before the committee, he stated it was not possible to deal with the issue in the context of the Bill and that separate legislation was required. He stated this would be produced as quickly as possible. When is it proposed to bring before the House the Bill dealing with corporate manslaughter?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Bill has been published and is ordered for Second Stage. I do not know what the Deputy requires in regard to the Bill but it will be before the House in the next session.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  I know that. I attended the committee when the matter was discussed with the Minister. However, he stated clearly that the legislation necessary to bring a charge of corporate manslaughter, which would specifically deal with dangerous workplaces and resulting fatalities, would need separate legislation. When will this happen? It is important legislation and key to health and safety at work.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is legislation promised?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not know. I will have to raise the question with the Minister of State as no such Bill is listed.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  It is abandoned.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  I was in another house in this city yesterday where many people with wigs were smiling because they are getting a great deal of money as a result of--——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Has the Deputy a question on legislation? A number of Deputies are offering. I hope to finish shortly and would like to facilitate them.

[1591]Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  An autistic child won rights through the courts. A health Bill might have dealt with Monaghan General Hospital. When will it be dealt with and how long will it take?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The health Bill is due later this year.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  The Taoiseach has been very supportive of victims of child abuse, and commendably so. I draw his attention to the fact that the vaccine trials division of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse has been put into abeyance because of a recent court order whereby the relevant ministerial order was struck down. Will the Taoiseach consider this to ascertain whether it is possible to bring forward legislation to rectify the matter?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Is this to do with the register?

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  No, it concerns the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Act 2001 (Additional Functions) Order 2001 (SI 280 of 2001) regarding the vaccine trials.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  While there is legislation governing child abuse, I will have to look into the matter as I do not have information on particular legislation.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  The report of the constituency review committee requires legislation which the Government said will come before the House. Will that legislation come before the order laid before the House today comes into effect because there are 41 Dáil constituencies at present and the new Bill will allow for 42?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will not be before it. As I said, it takes regard of the number of constituencies but is not a precise formulation.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  The Residential Institutions Redress Act was passed in 2002. At the time a limited number of institutions were referred to in the legislation. Virtually all the Protestant institutions, such as Bethany Home, were not included. When the legislation was going through the Houses, the Minister for Education and Science promised that a new Schedule would be brought forward shortly. However, that was two years ago and the Minister has made the same promise every time the matter has been raised in this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy has made his point.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  The people who were abused are getting older. Will the Taoiseach bring forward the new Schedule? It is amending legislation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Both the Minister for Health and Children and the Minister for Education and [1592]Science have been looking at the institutions that should possibly be included in the Schedule. The number on the existing Schedule is substantial rather than limited but the matter is being examined by the Ministers.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  In view of the serious allegations made by each of the Government parties against each other and to protect both the accusers and the accused, will the Taoiseach indicate when he will rush in the defamation Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be next year. There is no rush.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There will be plenty of water under the bridge in the meantime.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  It is more urgent than that.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I wish to ask about two Bills. When will the Curragh of Kildare Bill be brought before the House? We have been waiting a long time for it. It will mean another job for somebody and I am not saying it will be the Minister for Finance. That is a matter for the Taoiseach.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Cullen, brought legislation through the House relating to the dual mandate. Will new legislation be required given that a Member of this House is a Minister, an MEP and a TD? How can he hold the three jobs?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Curragh Bill will be introduced next year. The other issue has long been dealt with. A Member ceases to be a Minister of State on election to another institution.


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