Requests to move Adjournment of Dáil under Standing Order 31.

Thursday, 30 June 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 605 No. 5

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An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Before coming to the Order of Business I propose to deal with a number of notices under Standing Order 31.

Mr. F. McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the disgraceful situation concerning a young pupil with Down’s syndrome assessed as having a mild disability, who was to start school in September 2005 in a class of 26 junior infants and who has been refused resource teaching hours; the need to ensure that this scandalous situation accords with disability legislation and the need to ensure appropriate education opportunities for this pupil and other pupils with disability. Within 24 hours of the Disability Bill being completed, it is an absolute disgrace——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is not appropriate to go beyond the notice submitted to my office.

Mr. F. McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  ——that a child with disability is being refused a service.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy may not use Standing Order 31 in this manner.

Mr. F. McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  With respect a Cheann Comhairle, but just 24 hours after the Disability Bill passed through the Houses, a child with a disability has been refused a service.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the jailing of five innocent landowners from Rossport, County Mayo, who object to the proposed gas pipeline on health and safety grounds. They are trying to protect their lands, families and livelihoods, given that there are two alternative routes for the gas pipeline. One was stopped owing to cost implications or to save Shell some money. The other was stopped for [1498]environmental reasons to preserve birds and plants but with no concern for residents.

This project has been supported by the county council and Government and all the resources of the State were put behind it. The views and safety concerns of the residents were not taken into account although they will have to suffer the consequences of the proposed pipeline. I ask that we discuss this issue this morning. Five innocent men are in prison and we want these people out of prison. It is not right. There are people in prison.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The fact that Deputy McGrath went outside the Standing Order does not allow Deputy Ring to do so.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Five of my constituents are in prison this morning while the people who should be in prison are not. Shame on the Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  For the information of the House, there are 11 Members with motions under Standing Order 31. The Standing Order is quite specific. A Member cannot go beyond the notice submitted to my office.

Ms Harkin: Information on Marian Harkin  Zoom on Marian Harkin  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the jailing of five landowners from County Mayo who have genuine health and safety concerns and who still await the publication of the independent quality risk assessment on the laying of that pipeline at Ballinaboy in County Mayo.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the need for the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to intervene to seek a resolution of the dispute between local residents and the Shell oil company in north Mayo following the outrageous jailing of five local residents, and to ask the Minister to appoint urgently an independent arbitrator and to request the Shell oil company to waive immediately the court order which it sought to jail these five citizens.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the restructuring of the Teagasc advisory service, which entails the closure and sale of many offices throughout the country at a time when the Minister of Agriculture and Food advises that finance for Teagasc is not a problem and when the Department returned €383 million to the Department of Finance over recent years. Never before did farmers need so much advice to deal with the single payment system and the nitrates directive.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the jailing of five small landholders and residents in north Mayo at the behest of the Shell corporation; the fact that Shell [1499]is allowed to lay a pipeline for raw natural gas without the risk assessment report on the project being published and debated, in advance of the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources signs any consent order and before a comprehensive hearing on all the substantive issues in the High Court scheduled for the autumn; the need to debate why Corrib gas, a major natural resource off the west coast, should be handed over to a multinational corporation with not a penny in royalties for the people. That is absolutely disgraceful.

Dr. Cowley: Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the scandalous jailing of five Rossport residents who have been in mortal fear of their lives and the lives of their families due to the imposition of a potentially lethal gas pipeline on their lands and who have done no wrong except to assert their right to be left in peace in their own homes. I call the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Noel Dempsey, to intervene urgently with Shell to ensure their immediate relief. This is utterly disgraceful. Those people should not be in jail.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I ask the Deputy not to take lessons from his colleague, Deputy Ring.

Dr. Cowley: Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  It is the Minister who should be in jail. Government Deputies will have to stand up and account for themselves. It is a disgrace.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the disgraceful and unjustifiable circumstance in which eight inspectors visited one part-time farmer to evaluate his eligibility in respect of 48 acres of farmland under cross-compliance regulations. There is an immediate need for the Minister for Agriculture and Food to outline the reasons for this farcical state of affairs and give a commitment to the Dáil that there will be no further such incidents. The Minister must provide that farmers will be given up to 14 days notice of on-farm inspections rather than subject to on-the-spot inspections which are both impractical, as many farmers work part time, and unwarranted, as inspections are based on farmland itself which cannot be tampered with no matter what the extent of the notification.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter which was also raised on the Adjournment last night: the need for amended legislation and a prompt payment ombudsman to address the withholding of legitimate payments involving millions of euro by, in the main, certain large companies to subcontractors which continues to result in serious cash-flow problems for small and medium size businesses and which has [1500]also caused the inexcusable intimidation of people who are themselves victims of non-payment.

Mr. Eamon Ryan: Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the imprisonment of five men from Rossport, County Mayo as a result of their campaign simply to seek reassurance from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and Shell Ireland Limited as to the safety of the proposed high-pressure gas pipeline carrying untreated and unpurified gas in bogland in close proximity to their homes.

Ms Cooper-Flynn: Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  I seek the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 31 to debate the following urgent matter: the jailing of five Mayo people on foot of their opposition to the routing of the Shell gas pipeline in north Mayo. I call on the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to personally intervene in the impasse between the landowners concerned and the exploration company as a matter of extreme urgency.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Having considered the matters raised, I do not consider them to be in order under Standing Order 31.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  On a point of order, how many Members does it take to have a matter of national importance discussed?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not a point of order.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  It is a point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy has a problem with Standing Order 31, I will be glad to discuss it with him.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I would like to know how we can have the matter discussed on the floor of the Dáil today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If we cannot resolve the problem and the Members wish to change Standing Order 31, the Chair will implement the new Standing Order.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A Cheann Comhairle, are there any circumstances in which you would concede to a request to move the adjournment under Standing Order 31? The matter in question can be revisited by Shell waiving its rights under the order and negotiating a simple resolution. The Tánaiste should concede a few minutes during the day for Members to record the above as the wishes of Dáil Éireann.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

[1501]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has studied the matter and is of the view that Standing Order 31 does not apply.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  A Cheann Comhairle, can you facilitate Members?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has ruled on the matter and we are not having a debate about it.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  On a point of order, is it possible to allow a private notice question today to facilitate some discussion of the matter?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  A private notice question submitted to the Office of the Ceann Comhairle will be considered in the usual way.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  If the House is agreed, will the Tánaiste indicate that she will provide an hour to debate the matter during the day? There is spare time available as debates were shorter yesterday than expected.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  In response to Deputy Durkan, the Chair will give sympathetic consideration to a private notice question.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Tánaiste might get up off her seat and respond to the House, or is she stuck to it?

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  A Cheann Comhairle, you must change the formulation by which you dismiss all requests to move the adjournment stating that they are not in order under Standing Order 31. They are in order under Standing Order 31, but you decide to exercise your discretion not to allow a debate to happen. That should be reflected in the form of words used.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has ruled on the matter and responded to Deputy Durkan that a private notice question will receive favourable consideration.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Yes, but you will have to change the formulation you use because we are in order. It is your choice not to allow a debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy, if you are not satisfied with any Standing Order, you should arrange to have it changed. The Chair will be absolutely delighted to implement any new Standing Order.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Standing Order 31 is in place to allow matters of national importance to be debated.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We are not having a debate on it.

[1502]Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  The jailing of five decent people due to the actions of a multinational corporation is a matter of national importance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I accept that anything raised under Standing Order 31 is a matter of national importance in the eyes of the person who raises it. It must also be in accordance with the terms of the Standing Order, however. We now move on to the Order of Business.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Is the Tánaiste ignoring previous statements?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  I will have a suggestion on that later, if that is in order.


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