Wednesday, 9 February 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 4, Finance Bill 2005 — Second Stage (resumed); and No. 1, Garda Síochána Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings on No. 4 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. Private Members’ business shall be No. 40, motion re Northern Ireland (resumed), to be taken at 7 p.m., or on the conclusion of No. 4, whichever is the later, and to be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes.
Mr. Sargent: The Finance Bill is a considerable body of work. It should not be curtailed in this fashion, in fairness to those who prepared it and considering the needs it is supposed to address. I asked earlier that several issues, such as the biofuels sector, be given far more consideration. I hope a more extensive debate will help the Government to introduce more informed and relevant amendments on Committee Stage. Such amendments are not in the Bill as it stands and it does not look like the Government is prepared to introduce them. We need more discussion on the Bill to tease out the matters it is not addressing at present.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: While I appreciate that a certain amount of time has been provided to debate this important legislation last evening and this evening, the imposition of a guillotine is unacceptable. The Finance Bill is introduced every year to implement the budget proposals — this Bill relates to budget 2005. I cannot predict how much additional time will be required to debate the Bill after 7 p.m. I do not think the debate on the Bill should be brought to an end in such a fashion. All Members should be allowed to participate in a discussion on legislation of such critical importance. The Government should have provided for an open-ended debate. The Whips could have gauged how much time was required, but they did not do so. A guillotine is being imposed on the legislation on Second Stage, in effect, and it is likely that it will be repeated on further Stages. I strongly object to that because this Bill is of huge importance. All Members should have the chance to participate in the debate. I know all the Sinn Féin Members will not be able to do so because of the time restrictions being proposed.
|Ahern, Bertie.||Ahern, Michael.|
|Ahern, Noel.||Andrews, Barry.|
|Ardagh, Seán.||Blaney, Niall.|
|Brady, Johnny.||Brady, Martin.|
|Browne, John.||Callanan, Joe.|
|Callely, Ivor.||Carey, Pat.|
|Carty, John.||Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.|
|Coughlan, Mary.||Cowen, Brian.|
|Cregan, John.||Cullen, Martin.|
|Curran, John.||Davern, Noel.|
|Dempsey, Noel.||Dempsey, Tony.|
|Dennehy, John.||Devins, Jimmy.|
|Ellis, John.||Fahey, Frank.|
|Fitzpatrick, Dermot.||Fox, Mildred.|
|Gallagher, Pat The Cope.||Glennon, Jim.|
|Grealish, Noel.||Hanafin, Mary.|
|Harney, Mary.||Haughey, Seán.|
|Hoctor, Máire.||Jacob, Joe.|
|Keaveney, Cecilia.||Kelleher, Billy.|
|Kelly, Peter.||Killeen, Tony.|
|Kirk, Seamus.||Kitt, Tom.|
|Lenihan, Brian.||Lenihan, Conor.|
|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’Donovan, Denis.|
|O’Flynn, Noel.||O’Keeffe, Batt.|
|O’Keeffe, Ned.||O’Malley, Fiona.|
|O’Malley, Tim.||Parlon, Tom.|
|Power, Peter.||Power, Seán.|
|Roche, Dick.||Sexton, Mae.|
|Smith, Brendan.||Treacy, Noel.|
|Wallace, Dan.||Wallace, Mary.|
|Walsh, Joe.||Wilkinson, Ollie.|
|Boyle, Dan.||Ferris, Martin.|
|Gormley, John.||Harkin, Marian.|
|Healy, Seamus.||Higgins, Joe.|
|McGrath, Finian.||McHugh, Paddy.|
|Morgan, Arthur.||Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.|
|Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.||Ryan, Eamon.|
Mr. Kenny: I was interested in Deputy Morgan’s question on section 31 and the way he spoke about IRA volunteers. Now that Sinn Féin is no longer an interpreter for the IRA it might withdraw the advertisement on its website for T-shirts carrying the slogan “Undefeated Army — IRA”. Maybe he was speaking about the old IRA.
Mr. Kenny: Deputy Ó Caoláin will have his opportunity to speak this evening on Private Members’ business. I heard him ask on RTE television last night that Fine Gael give him time. He has the proper time according to his mandate.
Ms McManus: Yesterday a large cohort of children was subject to a most scurrilous and abusive attack. The most surprising aspect of this attack was that it took place in a national newspaper of good repute.
Ms McManus: Will he ensure that under promised legislation, whether by way of the defamation Bill or the promised press council, or by revisiting the incitement to hatred legislation, we protect children from this kind of attack?
Mr. Sargent: Publication of the electoral (amendment) (no. 2) Bill is expected in this session. Given that there are court proceedings on this matter has the date of publication been revised or will it be on the schedule for this session?
The energy (miscellaneous provisions) Bill will give the Minister power to give general policy directions to the Commission for Energy Regulation. Will the remit of the Bill cover non-traditional forms of energy and relieve our dependency on fossil fuels, particularly in the area of biofuels?
Ms O. Mitchell: Regulations to increase parking fines were promised for early January under the Road Traffic Act 2004. These refer specifically to fines for people using parking spaces reserved for the disabled. When will that regulation be brought forward?
Mr. Broughan: Has he considered, with the Minister for Health and Children, bringing forward any kind of emergency legislation or regulation to cover the problems in accident and emergency units? Last night, for example, in Beaumont Hospital——
Mr.Broughan: It is the Taoiseach’s responsibility. He runs the country. He comes in here every day and we have lengthy discussions about God knows what but perhaps the most important issue in the country is not discussed.
The Taoiseach: The Government is engaged in the preparation of the Bill. We are considering the many legal issues surrounding it and hope to discuss those with the parties during this session. We may not have the legislation but we will discuss the issues.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: A Bill to amend the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984, the Irish Medicines Board Act 1995 and the Clinical Trials Act, namely the Irish Medicines Board (miscellaneous provisions) Bill is promised for this session before the summer recess. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether that Bill will be presented during this session and how soon it will be published?
Mr. Crawford: ESB charges increase regularly yet it is difficult to get the ESB to bring power for which payment has been made to new houses. Will the Taoiseach advise us when the electricity Bill will come before the House so we can discuss these issues?
Mr. Sherlock: The Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance, to both of whom I have sent letters, are present today. Will they advise me as to which High Court proceedings are preventing them from bringing in the ground rents Bill as——
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