Order of Business.

Wednesday, 2 March 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 598 No. 6

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. a11, the Finance Bill 2005, financial resolution; No. 3, Health (Amendment) Bill 2005, Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and No. 17, Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill 2004, Second Stage (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. a11 shall be decided without debate. Private Members’ business shall be No. 44, motion re investigation into the murder of Robert McCartney (resumed) to conclude at 8.30 p.m.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There is one proposal to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. a11, motion re Finance Bill 2005, financial resolution, agreed to? Agreed.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I intended to raise a matter under the Pharmacy Bill, which is the only way I can raise it. Deputy Neville raised the issue. What arrangements is the Government making in respect of the predicted pandemic of avian flu? This has the potential of a nuclear accident in terms of deaths arising from it and it appears other countries are already stockpiling millions——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not appropriate to the Order of Business. The question may be put to the line Minister during Leaders’ Questions.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Ceann Comhairle seems to have turned his antennae in this direction during the past couple of days. I said I would raise the matter under the Pharmacy Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is not appropriate.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Pharmacy Bill is noted as No. 60, to consolidate and update pharmacy legislation. I cannot raise the matter in any other way and I am only following the instructions given to me by the Ceann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy may raise the matter on the Adjournment or in a number of other ways.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I wanted to raise it with the Taoiseach while he is present.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is a matter for the line Minister. We would be here all day if every Deputy were allowed to raise any matter in any way.

[1348]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will finish very quickly. Is the Government making arrangements to deal with an expected avian flu pandemic?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are other ways this matter can be raised during the day.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Minister of State, Deputy Callely, will deal with it.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  When it is too late, like the iodine tablets issued by the former Minister of State, Deputy Jacob.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Are we to understand that the Minister of State, Deputy Callely, is dealing with the threat of avian flu?

Will the Taoiseach say if this morning’s reports about the Travers report being taken by the Minister on Friday and being taken to the Cabinet next Tuesday are correct? Will it be published after the Cabinet meeting?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I am told we will have the report in a matter of days but I do not know exactly when. We will bring it to the Cabinet as soon as we have it.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will it be published after the Cabinet meeting?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Regarding aspects of it, I do not know. It will be published.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Is the Taoiseach saying that whether it will be published depends on what is in it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  No. We have to examine it. There may be legal issues.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  What time will the selected league contest start?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  As Deputy Rabbitte knows, the matter is related to the Supreme Court judgment and we must consider the legal aspects. We have no desire but to proceed with the matter. At any rate it is probably out in the public domain.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  One can bet one’s life on that.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The promised legislation I wish to raise ties in closely with the Standing Order 31 issue raised by my colleague, Deputy Gogarty. It relates to the register of persons considered unsafe to work with children which according to the list has no publication date. In view of the fact that there are guidelines already published in Northern Ireland and the fact that my colleague Deputy Boyle was told in January that the cross-departmental working group reporting to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on the proposal is in effect taking action on the matter, is there a need for the legislation, since Northern Ireland seems to have gone ahead with[1349]out waiting for the legislation? Are we just holding on for the legislation without doing anything? Should we be acting?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should confine himself to the legislation.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Is there a need for legislation given this situation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I am told that the Minister has now appointed an implementation group to advise on implementation and the necessity for legislation. If legislation is not required he will simply move ahead on the matter.

Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  When will the Abbotstown sports campus development authority Bill be published? When will repairs be carried out on the roof of the National Aquatic Centre? It took a year to build and it will take five months to repair a hole in the roof. The Taoiseach might intervene personally in the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The first question is appropriate.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Bill will be published during the current session.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  In the light of another potentially calamitous situation surfacing in Letterkenny, will the Taoiseach say when the work permits Bill will be brought before the House? I understand from the line Minister that other legislation will take precedence. Does the Taoiseach accept that the issue needs to be urgently addressed, and that lives are risk if it is not?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is an urgent matter and is due for consideration in the current session.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  I understand another Bill will jump ahead of it. The Taoiseach might talk to the line Minister about the matter.

Mr. Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  I want to ask about promised and secondary legislation on the day when President McAleese has a special forum to discuss the rising levels of suicide. I wish to recognise her humane concern on this matter in that she is assisting the interested organisations to focus on it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should ask a question on legislation.

Mr. Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Despite raising a matter which the Minister of State might describe as “tiresome”, will the Taoiseach say when the Mental Health Act 2001 will be fully implemented and when the promised legislation on the reform of the psychiatric services will be introduced?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The first Bill referred to has been passed and implementation of it is a matter for the Minister.

[1350]Mr. Sherlock: Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  Will the Taoiseach say when the building control Bill will be brought before the House to strengthen the enforcement power of local authorities under the Building Control Act 1970?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Later this year.

Mr. Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Yesterday, during Question Time, the Minister for Defence, Deputy O’Dea, assured me when questioned on the emergency planning task force that we could deal with all sorts of disasters including nuclear fallout etc. Last night we had a couple of inches of snow and the periphery of Dublin came to a standstill. Can the Taoiseach ensure that Operation Freeflow can be activated at short notice to deal with such situations?

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

Mr. Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  It took three hours to travel 20 miles earlier. It is crazy out there. Perhaps the Taoiseach might pass a comment on it. When he is out for his morning jog, I am sure he encounters traffic difficulties.

Ms O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Following yesterday’s court decision to award an individual a much larger sum than those being awarded by the Residential Institutions Redress Board to victims of child abuse, has the Taoiseach taken advice to amend the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Both the Attorney General and the Minister for Education and Science will examine the result of the case but, following a preliminary examination, I do not think there will be any changes.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  The Taoiseach stated last year at a meeting in Dublin Castle during the EU Presidency that the issue discussed most often at Cabinet is climate change. I recently asked for a debate on this issue at a Whips meeting. Can we have the promised debate on climate change?

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Whips can discuss that.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  They have. I am waiting for an answer.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Given the current debate on criminality, when will the criminal justice (international co-operation) Bill, the criminal justice (protection of confidential information) Bill and the defamation Bill be introduced?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of the criminal justice (protection of confidential information) Bill have been approved. The Department has received the first preliminary draft and it is under [1351]consideration. The legislation should be possible this year.

The heads of the criminal justice (international co-operation) Bill were approved late last year and the Bill is due in the middle of this year. The Criminal Justice Bill 2004 is due to resume on Second Stage in the House.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I support Deputy Neville’s commendation of the President for focusing on the serious national problem of suicide, particularly among young people. Given the lengthy delays experienced by relatives awaiting post mortems and so on, when will the coroners Bill be brought forward?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That was dealt with yesterday. Deputy Neville raised it.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I was not present. Did the Taoiseach have an opportunity to visit the accident and emergency departments in the Mater and Beaumont Hospitals, our two local hospitals? Perhaps he could consult the UK Government on ways to expedite the accident and emergency issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise on the Order of Business. I call the Taoiseach to respond on the coroners Bill.

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


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