Order of Business.

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 605 No. 3

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Order of Business today shall be as follows: No. 13, Social Welfare Consolidation Bill 2005 — First Stage; No. 14, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of a report by the Minister for Defence pursuant to section 4 of the Defence (Amendment) Act 1993, back from committee; No. 27, Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005 — Report and Final Stages (resumed); No. 1, Disability Bill 2004 — amendments from the Seanad; and No. 28, Veterinary Practice Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages.

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 p.m.; Nos. 13 and 14 shall be decided without debate; the proceedings on the resumed Report and Final Stages of No. 27 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 60 minutes 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 the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; and the proceedings on No. 1 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m. and any amendments from the Seanad not disposed of shall be decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments to the Seanad amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

Private Members’ Business shall be No. 56, motion re G8 summit and overseas development aid.

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

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I do not wish to record my point in this manner but there is no other parliamentary procedure for so doing. What happened last week was as big a shambles as I have ever seen in the House. Deputies were required to vote——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That matter does not arise at this stage. The question is whether the Deputy opposes the late sitting.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  My point is directly connected. We had to come into the House to vote on something and we did not even know, with the number of items of different coloured paper that had been circulated by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The matter does not arise at this stage.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  If the Ceann Comhairle wants me to explain the reason I am opposed to the proposal, I will do so.

[439]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We must have some sort of order on the Order of Business.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  On Friday night, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell, blamed the Ceann Comhairle and the staff of the House because the amendments were not disseminated. Anybody who knows anything about the Bills Office, knows that its staff are the most industrious in the House. I am sure I need not labour the point or say how distressed I was that the Minister should reflect on the Ceann Comhairle’s efficiency

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should resume his seat as he is out of order. As he is opposed to the late sitting, I will put the question.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I just wanted to place on record the disquiet caused to me over the weekend by the Minister’s decision to reflect on the Ceann Comhairle’s deficiency, which was unfair in the circumstances.

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

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  Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 13 and 14 without debate agreed?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  On No. 14, when does the Government expect to make an announcement about Ireland’s participation in the battle groups referred to under the Department of Defence proposal?

  5 o’clock

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  As I stated previously, the matter is under examination but it will take considerable time. It will not arise for a number of months. We have not opted in or out at this stage, we must consider how we can participate if we are to go down that road. Many countries have already declared that they are looking at the major infrastructural issues and we must assess if we can usefully do it. It will be some time before we complete our assessment.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Will it be this year or next year? I heard on a radio programme last week that the Minister for Defence, Deputy O’Dea, got an award for straight talking. How long will this assessment take? Will the Minister for Defence indicate whether we are in or out?

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Will the Taoiseach explain why the First Stage of a Bill is being introduced without debate?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call Deputy Sargent.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Do I not get an answer?

[440]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I am taking questions on the same proposal together, as is the standard practice, and we will then hear from the Taoiseach.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I have no problem with that.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Ceann Comhairle will be aware that it is also standard practice to oppose the taking or lumping together of items as if they are of no consequence. He should take into account that the Green Party does not regard it as satisfactory to take No. 14, which has just come back from committee. This item is a significant defence motion which must be considered and our giving it the nod takes for granted the Government’s thinking on the matter, something it has not made clear. I ask that the Minister for Defence make a clear statement in the House and that we debate the matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Minister hopes to be in a position to do that at the end of the summer, so it will happen when the House returns in the autumn.

In reply to Deputy Stagg, the Social Welfare Consolidation Bill passed First Stage and was sent to committee, as has happened since the first consolidation Bill in 1980. The motion will just move it into committee in order that the matter can be dealt with during July and September, when committees will continue to meet.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 13 and 14 agreed? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 27, conclusion of Report and Final Stages of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005, agreed?

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Labour Party is opposed, on two grounds, to a guillotine being imposed on the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, which will revise Dáil constituencies. As a matter of principle, the Government should not use its majority, in the form of a guillotine, to enact legislation on the revision of constituencies because the latter are at the heart of our electoral and democratic system.

Furthermore, we cannot adopt the proposal before the House. On Report Stage on 16 June, the House agreed to recommit section 3 in order to address an issue I raised, namely, the likelihood that it will emerge from the census in 2006 that, on foot of an increase and change in the location of population, significant revision of Dáil boundaries will be required. If the election is held after the publication of the census figures in 2006, it may give rise to legal proceedings and constitutional questions in respect of the Bill. The recommitted Committee Stage of section 3 is still in progress. The House adjourned without concluding the Committee Stage debate on section 3 and it is not possible to make an order for the resumed Report and Final Stage of the Bill until the Committee Stage debate is concluded.

[441]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  On the Deputy’s second question, it has been agreed to recommit amendment No. 1 for discussion in the House.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Yes.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  On the first question, we have tried during this session not to guillotine Bills. The guillotine has been applied in very few instances in recent months. There has been an [442]extensive debate on this matter and the legislation emanates from an independent body. The Government has given adequate time to something we have all accepted as a fait accompli from the outset.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 27, conclusion of Report and Final Stages of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005, be agreed.”

[441]The Dáil divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 58.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
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 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 Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Cooper-Flynn, Beverley. 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 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 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 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 Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
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 Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  McEllistrim, Thomas,
Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  McDowell, Michael. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  Martin, Micheál,
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John.
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 Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Wallace, Dan. 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.



[441]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan.
Information on James Breen  Zoom on James Breen  Breen, James. 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 Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Connolly, Paudge. 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 John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  Gregory, Tony. Information on Marian Harkin  Zoom on Marian Harkin  Harkin, Marian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. 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 Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Padraic.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Paul McGrath  Zoom on Paul McGrath  McGrath, Paul. Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur.
Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda. Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine.
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 Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  [443]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 Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Pattison, Seamus. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairi.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  Ryan, Seán. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  Sherlock, Joe. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. 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.

[443]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[443]Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 1, Disability Bill 2004, amendments from the Seanad, agreed to?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am opposed to No. 1 being guillotined in this fashion. I also note that former Mr. Justice Fergus Flood has stated the Bill should be torn up and that the Dáil should legislate in a proper manner for an issue of such importance. Hence, I oppose No. 1 being brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I share that sentiment. The disability movement——

Mr. Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  The Deputy is bluffing well.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——which is extremely distressed that, after the collapse of the first Disability Bill under the previous Government, this one is——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Rabbitte should be allowed to speak without interruption.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I also oppose the moving of this Bill.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Green Party once again opposes the guillotining of the Disability Bill. It asks the Ceann Comhairle and the Government to have regard to the significant meeting that [444]took place last night in Limerick and the ongoing strength of feeling around the country, not least because the Minister has indicated that he believes in the virtues of inequality. It is absolutely essential that we go back to the drawing board in respect of the Bill and put the requisite rights-based legislation in place. To proceed on this basis is to do a disservice to this House and people with disabilities.

Mr. McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  It will be third time lucky.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I also record Sinn Féin’s opposition to the proposal that we proceed with the 33 amendments which are broadly technical in nature and do absolutely nothing to address the fundamental flaws in the Disability Bill identified by the disability legislation consultation group, a body established by the Government. Hence, it is absolutely bizarre that the House is proceeding with the legislation which has proceeded through both Houses and is now back in the Dáil. As I stated, there are 33 amendments, none of which addresses any of the substantive inadequacies of the Bill in meeting the needs of people with disabilities. Sinn Féin would have been happy to address the Bill on its return from the Seanad if the amendments reflected the recommendations of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities but sadly that is not the case. Accordingly, we must oppose this proposal.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 1, amendments from the Seanad to the Disability Bill 2004, be agreed.”

[443]The Dáil divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 54.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
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 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 Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Cooper-Flynn, Beverley. 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 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 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 Mildred Fox  Zoom on Mildred Fox  [445]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 Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
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 Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  McEllistrim, Thomas,
Information on Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  McDowell, Michael. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  Martin, Micheál,
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John.
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 Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Wallace, Dan. 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.



[445]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan.
Information on James Breen  Zoom on James Breen  Breen, James. 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 Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Connolly, Paudge. 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 John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  Gregory, Tony. Information on Marian Harkin  Zoom on Marian Harkin  Harkin, Marian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. 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 Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Padraic.
Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian. Information on Paul McGrath  Zoom on Paul McGrath  McGrath, Paul.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. Information on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Zoom on Breeda Moynihan-Cronin  Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine. 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 Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. 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 Séamus Pattison  Zoom on Séamus Pattison  Pattison, Seamus. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairi. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  Ryan, Seán. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  Sherlock, Joe. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. 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.

[445]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[445]Question declared carried.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I wish to ask the Taoiseach three questions. First, in respect of the Morris tribunal, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform promised a ringing apology to the McBrearty family. When can the House expect to hear it?

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

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Legislation was introduced to set up the Morris tribunal and there are serious consequences in respect of that legislation.

[446]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The matter does not arise. What is the Deputy’s second question?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The bogus confession is a serious and central issue for the tribunal. Before the House rises, will it hear statements from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform giving the ringing apology to the McBrearty family to which he has committed himself on the issue of the bogus confession?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That matter does not arise on the Order of Business. Does the Deputy have a third question?

[447]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  My second question pertains to the ongoing negotiations between the European Union and the United States on an open skies policy. Will the Taoiseach fund a professional study on the impact on the mid-west and west region? Some 40,000 people are employed by American companies in that region.

When will we see the natural gas regulation Bill which was expected to be published in 2005? Will the Government take an interest in the fact that tomorrow a number of people face jail sentences because of confusion and lack of clarity in respect of the Government policy being implemented in regard to the Corrib gas field?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will raise the issue of Shannon with the line Minister. The natural gas regulation Bill will give effect to the restructuring of the natural gas industry. It is being drafted and is due in the first half of next year.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  When is it proposed to bring the Abbotstown Campus Development Authority Bill before the House? I remind the Taoiseach of his commitment that the work permits Bill would be through the House this session, but it has not even been published. Obviously, it will not be moved in this session so will the Taoiseach indicate when it will be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Abbotstown Campus Development Authority Bill will be brought before the House in the autumn session. I said we would try to take the work permits legislation this session but it will be published tomorrow and will be taken in the autumn session.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Is the Government contemplating any amendment to the prompt payments legislation?

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? There are a number of Deputies offering and we cannot go on too long.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The diplomatic relations and immunities amendment Bill is on the minds of people, particularly since the husband of Ingrid Betancourt, the presidential candidate in Colombia, is in the Public Gallery. She had been in captivity for over 40 months and is one of thousands in that situation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We must move on to the next question.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Is that a matter on which the Government will allow statements? Will the legislation be published to allow us to debate such matters?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  That Bill was approved by the Cabinet today and it will be published shortly.

[448]Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  In light of the fact that An Bord Altranais deals with applications by nurses for registration, when will we see the relevant promised legislation because it now takes up to eight months to process applications for registration? There is a shortage of nurses in this country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I would prefer if the Deputy did not make a statement.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  The situation is crazy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The legislation is being drafted but I do not have a date as to when it will be ready.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Yesterday the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children caved in cravenly to the demands of the health insurance company, BUPA.

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  I have. It is important because we will see a continuation of a windfall profit going to a UK national because of the Minister’s failure to introduce risk equalisation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy cannot make a statement. If she does not have a question, we will move on to Deputy Ó Caoláin.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  In regard to promised legislation, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children has been processing amendments to the health insurance regulation Bill which will be taken in the House on Thursday without debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is Thursday’s business.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The situation has changed dramatically. Will the Taoiseach ensure a debate in this House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise at this stage.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  We are giving the House notice.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  ——about the extraordinary failure to introduce protection and safeguards for subscribers to health insurance——

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

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  ——which has been recommended by an independent expert authority?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I would like to facilitate some of the Deputy’s colleagues. There are a number of ways to raise the matter.

[449]Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Will we have a debate in the House on this important issue? I want that question answered by the Taoiseach now.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  No debate has been promised.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  On the Order of Business the Deputy may ask a question only on promised debates. I ask Deputy McManus to resume her seat and allow her colleagues to ask questions.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  What is the point in having an expert authority established by this House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If Deputy McManus does not resume her seat we will have to move on to the next business.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  ——if the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children disregards the need——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I ask the Deputy to allow her colleagues to ask questions.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  If a debate is not scheduled, will the Taoiseach accommodate an opportunity for the House to debate the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy?

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Is a debate scheduled or will the Government accommodate such a debate?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  No debate has been promised.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call Deputy Naughten.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I already asked a question but perhaps the Taoiseach will answer it this time.

Mr. Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Regrettably, there was another fatality on the N81 at the weekend. When will the strategic national infrastructure Bill be before the House so we can debate funding for this road, which is the most dangerous in the country?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Bill will be before the House in 2006.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Given the highly regrettable decision by RTE to end the long wave transmission of sporting occasions to Britain, will the Taoiseach indicate when the broadcasting authority Bill will be before the House and if it will deal with this issue?

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

Dr. Cowley: Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  The legislation in which I am interested is that which will protect those people who will have a high pressure gas pipeline beside [450]their houses and who will be thrown in jail because they are in fear of their lives——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The natural gas regulation Bill has been dealt with.

Dr. Cowley: Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  This pipeline will be located beside these people’s homes and they have no choice but to live in them. They just want to get on with their lives but they face the threat of being sent to jail.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Cowley should take a lesson from Deputy Stagg on how to ask an appropriate question on the Order of Business.

(Interruptions).

Mr. Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  The Taoiseach’s brother, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Noel Ahern, promised in the Seanad in 2004 the stage payments Bill to abolish stage payments. When will this Bill be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is not listed. I will consult the Minister of State.

Mr. Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  It is on his list, the never, never list.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  This is a postscript to Deputy Stagg’s question. When does the Taoiseach intend to appoint the RTE authority or is he waiting until the holiday weeks in July to make the announcement? On a number of occasions last week, the Ceann Comhairle steadfastly refused to allow me raise by way of Adjournment debate the situation of the An Post pensioners and workforce who have not received their delayed payments for the past two and a half years.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has communicated with the Deputy.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  The Chair communicated with me twice.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is the reason the Deputy cannot raise the issue in the House.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  The Ceann Comhairle allowed me to raise the issue before Christmas. The postal service is collapsing.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Last week I was promised I would get the full list of nursing homes which were found deficient.

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

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  It relates to the Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill. That Bill may help us get information because the Government is intent on covering up everything it can.

[451]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Bill will be introduced in early 2006.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  In the absence of the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, will the Taoiseach indicate when the national oil reserves agency Bill might appear, given the rapidly escalating oil prices? When will the energy Bill, which is a mute subject at present, appear? The Minister is a bit shy about coming into the House. We may have offended him, but will the Taoiseach give us an update on the legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads have been approved by Government. The Bill will be drafted and it should be ready by the autumn session.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Is that the case with both Bills?


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