Order of Business.

Wednesday, 9 February 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 597 No. 3

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4, the conclusion of Second Stage of the Finance Bill 2005, agreed?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is not agreed.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor 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 [645]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: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on 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 [646]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.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It was not even raised at the Whips’ meeting.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 4 be agreed.”

[645]The Dáil divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 13.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on Martin Brady  Zoom on Martin Brady  Brady, Martin.
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 Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
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 Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Davern  Zoom on Noel Davern  Davern, Noel.
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 Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Dermot. Information on Mildred Fox  Zoom on Mildred Fox  Fox, Mildred.
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 Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, 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 Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
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 Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. 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 M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J.
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 Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Liz. Information on Dennis O'Donovan  Zoom on Dennis O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Denis.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt.
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  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 Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Wallace, Dan. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe. Information on Ollie Wilkinson  Zoom on Ollie Wilkinson  Wilkinson, Ollie.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


[645]Níl
Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Marian Harkin  Zoom on Marian Harkin  Harkin, Marian.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian. Information on Paddy McHugh  Zoom on Paddy McHugh  McHugh, Paddy.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.  

[645]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Boyle and Morgan.

[647]Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members’ business agreed to? Agreed.

On the Order of Business I call Deputy Kenny.

  12 o’clock

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda 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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It seemed appropriate in the light of the Deputy’s comment on section 31 that the party no longer interprets statements from the IRA.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The request was under Standing Order 31.

(Interruptions).

Mr. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  The Deputy must wait for the chief of staff.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda 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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does Deputy Kenny have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Deputy would like to see section 31 reinstated.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Will the Taoiseach say when we are likely to see the broadcasting authority Bill?

Deputy Ó Caoláin will get his five minutes in accordance with his mandate.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  That is too much time.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I will use it effectively.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Deputy should use it appropriately and for once stand up and speak the truth.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Deputy Kenny need not worry.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The broadcasting authority Bill will come before the House this year.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Yesterday a large cohort of children was subject to a most scurrilous and abusive attack. The most surprising aspect of this attack [648]was that it took place in a national newspaper of good repute.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Yes. Does the Taoiseach share my concern, and that of all Members of this House, that such abuse is levelled at children who cannot defend themselves?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy must find another way of raising this matter.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz 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?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy knows she is out of order.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I have asked a legitimate question. Will the Taoiseach respond?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The defamation Bill is scheduled for later this year.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The electoral (amendment) (no. 2) Bill will be taken in the coming weeks. The energy (miscellaneous provisions) Bill will be taken later this year.

Ms O. Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will check that for the Deputy and inform her about it during the day.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Does the Taoiseach have any sense of shame? He was wearing a hard hat a couple of nights ago——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy has a question appropriate to the Order of Business we will listen to it.

[649]Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. 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——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Mr.Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. 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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy has a question for the line Minister he should submit it to that Minister. If he has a question appropriate to the Order of Business we will listen to it here.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  The Taoiseach is not putting forward the kind of resources we need.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should resume his seat.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  The intolerable situation that existed in Beaumont Hospital last night is not acceptable. It is shameful and disgraceful. When will the Taoiseach take some action?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It appears to the Chair that Deputy Broughan wishes to leave the House and if so the Chair will facilitate him. Does the Deputy wish to leave the House?

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I want an answer from the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy knows how to submit a question according to Standing Orders.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I have submitted them in the past.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does the Deputy wish to leave the House?

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I will leave the House.

Mr. O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  That was what the Deputy wanted so that he could get a cheap headline.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  Is it intended to circulate the EU constitutional treaty referendum Bill in this session? When is it likely to be passed by the House and when will the referendum be held?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  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.

[650]Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of the Irish Medicines Board (miscellaneous provisions) Bill were approved last autumn and the Bill will come before the House in this session.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour 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?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Durkan raised that question yesterday and received an answer.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be next year.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  We must wait another year.

Mr. Sherlock: Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe 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——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should address that question to the line Minister. It is not appropriate under Standing Order 26.

Mr. Sherlock: Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  I will put the question to the Taoiseach. What type of issue in the High Court is preventing the introduction of this Bill?

Minister for Finance (Deputy Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is in the Supreme Court but I do not know exactly what is happening. I will communicate with the Deputy on this matter.

Ms Cooper-Flynn: Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  When can we have a debate on No. 48 on Tuesday’s Order Paper regarding infrastructural development under the national development plan?

I thank the Minister for Finance for his very kind letter explaining the situation which I would also like to debate in the House if it is possible to allow some time for it.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Deputy is on the way back. Old friends are best.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We can debate that with the party Whips to see whether it is possible to discuss this matter some time.


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