Wednesday, 29 September 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
I have also tabled amendment No. 2 which states: “In paragraph 3, line 6, to delete “3 hours” and substitute “5 hours””. I have tabled these amendments because this is the first meeting of the Dáil since the summer and, as Taoiseach’s questions will not be taken today, I would like them to be taken tomorrow morning. I understand the Taoiseach is to announce the Ministers of State as well as new members of the Government at 3.30 p.m. and appropriate time should be set aside for discussion on that. I recommend five hours for that discussion. It appears the only safe Member on the Government side is Deputy Walsh. Perhaps the emphasis should be on the line in the prayer, “happily ended”.
Mr. Rabbitte: My party supports both amendments. I make no issue of the fact that there are no Leaders’ Questions today or questions to the Taoiseach, given this day. However, it is entirely reasonable that we should have Leaders’ Questions and Taoiseach’s Questions in the normal way tomorrow.
Mr. Rabbitte: The Taoiseach has been discussing it since 11 June last while the media have been debating it for three or four months. This House is apparently supposed to dispose of it in three hours before the adjournment. That is entirely inadequate. My party will have two slots to contribute on whatever changes are proposed. Other colleagues who want to contribute are in the same position. It is entirely too short and, for that reason, I too support the amendment.
Mr. Sargent: The Green Party has no hesitation or difficulty in supporting these amendments. Our party will probably get 12 minutes to respond to the raft of changes that will be announced. Having had a summer recess during which the Government was uncannily quiet and behaving itself for reasons that have been speculated upon by those seeking to report and those seeking preferment, it is important that we should resume and get down to the business of holding the Government to account. The amendments seek to do so and the Green Party asks the Government to accommodate the need for Leaders’ Questions and to provide more time so that smaller parties are not unfairly disadvantaged by not having enough time to comment fully in the debate on the proposed changes, which we expect the Taoiseach to provide.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: As other Deputies have stated, we have no Order of Business, no Leaders’ Questions, no Taoiseach’s questions, we have no opportunity to raise urgent matters and, even at the start of business, we have no Taoiseach. I was not aware of the proposition from Deputy Kenny to amend the Government proposal on taking Leaders’ Questions tomorrow and I am not sure that is necessarily the correct approach. That should have happened today. It is absolutely correct and it should be expected that the Taoiseach should come to the House today to face the questioning of the leaders of the Opposition parties. There is no good reason for deferral of the normal expected practice of the House on the resumption after such a long break.
I strongly object to the Government’s proposition. I will reluctantly agree to the proposal in Deputy Kenny’s amendment and, in particular, the element that seeks to extend the time for participation in the debate soon to the addressed by the House. I emphasise that real and important issues need to be addressed and the Taoiseach should be here to address them, not least of which is the indication of a proposed statement by the Northern Secretary of State, Paul Murphy, that the British Government is considering unilateral action on an amendment to the Good Friday Agreement and its outworking in terms of the business of the Assembly. It is an internationally binding Agreement. I would like to hear the Taoiseach’s response to that statement and that revelation this morning. It is a serious matter.
Mr. J. Higgins: We have waited for months to have the Taoiseach and the Government accountable to the people on critical issues that face us. Over the months in which the Dáil was not sitting, for example, 1,300 jobs in Aer Lingus were wiped out and the privatisation of our national airline was plotted behind the scenes with the Government in consonance with a management team engaged in a massive conflict of interest. They were appointed allegedly to guard the rights of the taxpayer but, in reality, they were plotting for their own massive enrichment by privatising this national asset.
Mr. J. Higgins: I cannot wait until next week for an opportunity to question the Taoiseach on many issues, one of the most critical being the future of our national airline and thousands of its workers. The Taoiseach should attend the Dáil, if not today, at the very latest tomorrow morning to answer such questions. It is incumbent upon the Government to provide answers for ordinary people through public representatives such as myself.
Ms Hanafin: As this is the first day back, we are devoting the whole of Government time to discussing the ministerial nominations. The Opposition is correct in so far as it would take far longer than three hours to highlight the Government’s progress over the past two and a half years——
Ms Hanafin: I know the Opposition will take its opportunity as well. The Taoiseach will be in the House tomorrow to take the Order of Business as usual on a Thursday. Mar sin, tá súil agam go nglacfaidh an Teach leis an rún atá os ár gcomhair.
|Ahern, Dermot.||Ahern, Michael.|
|Ahern, Noel.||Ardagh, Seán.|
|Blaney, Niall.||Brady, Johnny.|
|Brady, Martin.||Browne, John.|
|Callanan, Joe.||Callely, Ivor.|
|Carey, Pat.||Carty, John.|
|Cassidy, Donie.||Collins, Michael.|
|Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.||Coughlan, Mary.|
|Cregan, John.||Cullen, Martin.|
|Curran, John.||Davern, Noel.|
|de Valera, Síle.||Dempsey, Noel.|
|Dempsey, Tony.||Dennehy, John.|
|Devins, Jimmy.||Ellis, John.|
|Fahey, Frank.||Finneran, Michael.|
|Fitzpatrick, Dermot.||Fleming, Seán.|
|Gallagher, Pat The Cope.||Glennon, Jim.|
|Hanafin, Mary.||Harney, Mary.|
|Haughey, Seán.||Healy-Rae, Jackie.|
|Jacob, Joe.||Keaveney, Cecilia.|
|Kelleher, Billy.||Kelly, Peter.|
|Killeen, Tony.||Kirk, Seamus.|
|Kitt, Tom.||Lenihan, Brian.|
|Lenihan, Conor.||McCreevy, Charlie.|
|McDowell, Michael.||McEllistrim, Thomas.|
|McGuinness, John.||Martin, Micheál.|
|Moloney, John.||Moynihan, Donal.|
|Moynihan, Michael.||Mulcahy, Michael.|
|Nolan, M.J.||Ó Cuív, Éamon.|
|Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.||O’Connor, Charlie.|
|O’Dea, Willie.||O’Donnell, Liz.|
|O’Donoghue, John.||O’Donovan, Denis.|
|O’Flynn, Noel.||O’Keeffe, Batt.|
|O’Malley, Fiona.||O’Malley, Tim.|
|Parlon, Tom.||Power, Peter.|
|Power, Seán.||Roche, Dick.|
|Sexton, Mae.||Smith, Brendan.|
|Smith, Michael.||Treacy, Noel.|
|Wallace, Dan.||Wallace, Mary.|
|Walsh, Joe.||Wright, G.V.|
|Allen, Bernard.||Boyle, Dan.|
|Breen, James.||Broughan, Thomas P.|
|Bruton, Richard.||Burton, Joan.|
|Connaughton, Paul.||Cowley, Jerry.|
|Crawford, Seymour.||Crowe, Seán.|
|Cuffe, Ciarán.||Deasy, John.|
|Deenihan, Jimmy.||Durkan, Bernard J.|
|English, Damien.||Enright, Olwyn.|
|Gilmore, Eamon.||Gogarty, Paul.|
|Gormley, John.||Gregory, Tony.|
|Hayes, Tom.||Healy, Seamus.|
|Higgins, Joe.||Higgins, Michael D.|
|Hogan, Phil.||Howlin, Brendan.|
|Kehoe, Paul.||Kenny, Enda.|
|Lynch, Kathleen.||McCormack, Padraic.|
|McGinley, Dinny.||McHugh, Paddy.|
|McManus, Liz.||Mitchell, Olivia.|
|Morgan, Arthur.||Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.|
|Murphy, Gerard.||Naughten, Denis.|
|Noonan, Michael.||Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.|
|Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.||O’Dowd, Fergus.|
|O’Keeffe, Jim.||O’Shea, Brian.|
|O’Sullivan, Jan.||Pattison, Seamus.|
|Penrose, Willie.||Perry, John.|
|Quinn, Ruairí.||Rabbitte, Pat.|
|Ring, Michael.||Ryan, Eamon.|
|Sargent, Trevor.||Sherlock, Joe.|
|Shortall, Róisín.||Stagg, Emmet.|
|Stanton, David.||Timmins, Billy.|
|Twomey, Liam||Upton, Mary.|
Mr. Kenny: ——or those whose remit in Government is happily ended. I will not move the second amendment because people throughout the country are waiting for the chairs to be filled and the announcements to be made by which all problems that ever existed are to be sorted by this new look whatever it is.
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