Order of Business.

Friday, 1 July 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 605 No. 6

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Minister for Finance (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is proposed to take No. 20, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European return fund for the period 2008 to 2013, back from committee; No. 21, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the European refugee fund for the period 2008 to 2013, back from committee; No. 22, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann for a Council Decision establishing the European fund for the integration of third-country nationals for the period 2007 to 2013, back from committee; No. 23, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann for an EU Council Framework Decision to strengthen the criminal law framework for the enforcement of the law against ship-source pollution, back from committee; No. 32, statements on UN reform; No. 4b Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2005 [Seanad] — Second and Remaining Stages; and No. 31, Land Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage (resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 20 to 23, inclusive, shall be decided without debate; the proceedings in relation to No. 32 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 65 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the statements of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, Members may share time, and the Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; the following arrangements shall apply in relation to No. 4b: the proceedings on Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3 p.m. today, the opening speech of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael [2038]Party, the Labour Party and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, Members may share time, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes, the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.30 p.m. today 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 Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children.

The Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 September 2005.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are four proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 20 to 23, inclusive, motions re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann, agreed to?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is not. Such is the importance of the three funds incorporated in these propositions that it merits full scrutiny and debate in the House. It is not appropriate, given the importance of what is at stake, that we go ahead on a nod without debate. Particular attention must be paid to the European returns fund for which there must be real concern. I note from the circulated report from committee, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell stated:

I contend that these are reasons for not returning people. If those are the facts in any case, not only this fund but no fund should be employed for a person’s return.

This as an example of the importance of the House addressing the detail entailed in the propositions. I appeal that these measures, particularly No. 20, do not proceed without debate. With respect, it is an abuse of the committee system that we kick to touch in committee and then it is returned to the Dáil. There is insufficient address of these measures by Members and there is little if any public scrutiny of what is entailed. I am concerned this is the Government’s approach. There would be great public concern and alarm at some of the detail involved in these propositions if they were properly highlighted in the public arena. The House must not proceed without debate but take the opportunity to ensure they are fully debated.

Mr. M. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I agree with the thoughts expressed regarding the implementation of Nos. 20 to 22, inclusive. This is an area into which, [2039]through practice, an enormous amount of uncertainty has been imported. In the establishment of a regime, it would make sense if precise principles were laid down. However, they cannot be laid down unless debated in the House. One of my reasons for not just nodding these three motions through is based on the appalling and unacceptable remarks by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell, on the question of refugees, without straying off the specific purpose of these resolutions from the European Parliament. If we were in the happy case of having impeccable practice, sound regimes, certainty in the process and openness in the decision making, we might be in a position to give them a cursory treatment. In the absence of this, it makes sense to have them debated properly in the House.

Question, “That the proposal for dealing with Nos. 20 to 23, inclusive, 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 No. 32, statements on UN reform agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4b, conclusion of Second and Subsequent Stages of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2005 [Seanad] agreed?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This demonstrates the bad habits of a Government that has been in power for too long.

Mr. Glennon: Information on Jim Glennon  Zoom on Jim Glennon  That is something from which the Deputy never suffered.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This Bill was only published yesterday. It is a Bill to amend an Act passed by this House in 2004, which has yet to be commenced. The Ceann Comhairle has asked the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to rule that amendments to Bills be submitted four full days before a Bill is debated. I ask him to consider the actual bad practice of this Government. It is impossible for the House to comply with his wishes when it does not see a Bill until the day before it is debated.

The practice has been — with the Ceann Comhairle’s encouragement — that there should be a period of ten working days between the publication of a Bill and the Second Stage debate in this House. If Members are to do their work properly, I ask the Ceann Comhairle to ensure that the Government abides by good practice in this House. Otherwise, we will find, time and time again, that Bills are rushed through the House and amendments are not debated. All too often, we have seen legislation end up in the courts. We had the absolute shambles of the Garda Síochána Bill. The Bill to be debated today is not particularly significant or complicated. However, it certainly deserves proper scrutiny and proper prep[2040]aration and we are not getting that. I ask the Ceann Comhairle to deal with this problem.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Ceann Comhairle has no role in the matter, other than to adjudicate on amendments. There is no difficulty with amendments that come within Standing Orders. The Ceann Comhairle adjudicates on amendments outside of Standing Orders as has always been the practice. The Ceann Comhairle has no function regarding the conduct of business in the House by the Government.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The Ceann Comhairle could ask the Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair does not intend to get into a discussion on the Chair’s function. I have clarified the position for Deputy McManus and I have ruled on the matter. Only one Deputy from a party should speak on each issue. The House is debating the proposal dealing with No. 32 and Deputy McManus has already spoken on the matter. Does anyone else wish to speak?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The question put to the Ceann Comhairle was how does he recommend, as the chairman of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, that Members give four days’ notice of amendments when they receive a Bill on the day before it is taken. That is the question. I do not propose to have a discussion with him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No, the question put to me pertained to how the Government conducts its business in this House.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  No it was not.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is bad policy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The question of amendments and what I brought to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges followed a discussion with a number of interested parties in this House about amendments and having a proposal——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  How does he propose to have a four-day rule when Members only get one day’s notice of a Bill?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There is not a four day rule at present.

A Deputy:  The Chair is trying to introduce it.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Members receive one day’s notice of a Bill, which was the point originally put to the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I will not become involved in a discussion on the role of the Ceann Comhairle or of his office. I will put the question.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  That is not what the Deputy stated.

[2041]Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  On a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call on the Minister. Deputy McManus should resume her seat. There is no discussion.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I wish to raise a point of order. The Ceann Comhairle stated that interested parties raised this with him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is correct.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Who are those interested parties?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy wishes to come to my office, I will discuss the entire matter with her. I call on the Minister for Finance.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I will not discuss the business of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges or the office of the Ceann Comhairle on the floor of the House.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The Ceann Comhairle raised the issue of interested parties and as a consequence of him raising the matter, it is proper for me to ask him to state who these interested parties are.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Sorry, Deputy, I would ask you to resume your seat. The Minister for Finance.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Is it the Minister for Finance?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy wishes to be informed she may come to my office to discuss the entire matter.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I see that the Minister for Finance is the interested party.

(Interruptions).

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy may discuss this in my office. I call on the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I will respond to the point that has been made for the information of the House. As has been stated, the need to commence the 2004 Act is the subject of numerous questions and representations. This amendment Bill is to be brought forward because when the 2004 Act was enacted, it was considered that payments of allowances and fees to registrars could be made on an administrative basis. However, when the commencement and revised fees order under the 2004 Act was drafted, the Department’s legal advisers advised that legislative provision would be required to continue to make these payments [2042]and that the existing legislative basis for the payments would cease on commencement of the Act and consequential repeal of existing Acts.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Government did not do its homework again.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Attorney General confirmed this advice. The failure to make provision for continued payments of allowances and fees to private registrars would have serious consequences for those registrars, for the system of civil registration in the communities served by them and for the Exchequer. This amendment is to enable what was previously regarded an administrative provision——

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Government did not do its homework.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  What was previously regarded as an administrative provision will now be part of the legislation. People have criticised the fact that the commencement order has not been put into effect. The Government wants to do so and needs this amendment Bill. It is a practical simple measure to which I do not believe any amendment will be required.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Can I ask the Minister for Finance——

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  This is a careless, incompetent Government.

Question, “That the proposal for dealing with No. 4b 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 the Adjournment of the Dáil until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 September 2005 agreed?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I have been in the House for a slightly longer period than the Ceann Comhairle and I have rarely seen a Government of any party with such a desire to get out of the House for the summer break.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  At least Deputy Kenny is smiling.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This battered and bruised outfit is staggering towards the line and cannot wait to turn their backs on Leinster House and get away from being exposed and opposed. Deputy Glennon wants to be able to commentate on the next Lions test match. Deputy Carty is the sole representative for Fianna Fáil in County Mayo. Deputy Cassidy has announced his intention to canvass Athlone.

(Interruptions).

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  He is probably there already.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Deputy O’Connor has the doubtful privilege of being the first Fianna Fáil back[2043]bencher to be nominated to contest the next general election. He will need to be out early, because Senator Hayes is on his trail in that constituency.

Mr. G. Murphy: Information on Gerard Murphy  Zoom on Gerard Murphy  The Deputy should bring his guillotine.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The behaviour of this Government leaves much to be desired. The Minister for Transport, Deputy Cullen, is relaxed in his chair this morning because he will not be obliged to be in the House next week. He has received the figures.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I am happy to face the Deputy any time.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  School class sizes have become a noble aspiration——

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I will take the new M50 to get there.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Minister should not revisit that issue.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am unsure whether the Minister will have the opportunity to travel in a vintage car through Ballina the next time he goes there, but he will be welcome if he does. Classes sizes have become a noble aspiration——

Ms Hanafin: Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  There are 660 extra resource teachers.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——and a broken promise.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  What about the disabled?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Yesterday, a total of 270 people were on trolleys in hospitals with 150 in Dublin alone, in the middle of summer when things should be at their most quiet. Crime rates in our capital city are rising. The roof has blown off a building that cost €62 million and underneath it, 5 million litres of water are leaking away every month, but we are told it represents good value for money. We have had 13 Bills produced on the basis that they would be taken before the House rose for the summer recess. Nine of them were not published at all and emergency legislation has been rushed through the House, including more than 100 amendments on the Garda Síochána Bill passed by guillotine. The Taoiseach refuses to come into the House on Thursdays. Now he intends that during the summer period, his fine representative, the Government Whip will propose that in future, Leaders’ Questions should be hived off to Ministers who may know more about the issues than the Taoiseach. This has been an appalling period for this Government. It is an indication of just how the public view the Government. It is an indication that Government Members understand that and want to get away [2044]to their respective constituencies to prepare for battle. In this context I propose an amendment to No. 4, that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 September. I hope that when the Government Members return refreshed from acquaintance anew with their constituents in their respective counties they will come back with a clear resolve to work harder in the public interest and with a greater degree of competence than they have shown to date. They will need to do so because in the hills and the valleys and in the villages, towns and cities, the people are just waiting for them.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I second the amendment that the Dáil should resume on 13 September. It is very difficult to justify anything else to the public. It is impossible to justify three months’ absence from plenary session of the Dáil. Outside it is not understood that it is the Government and not the Dáil or the Oireachtas that makes the decision to put the House into recess for three months. It is impossible to justify other than the compulsion on the Government to stay out and escape from the House to avoid accountability and engage in what will be a futile attempt to refurbish its battered and bedraggled image in the three months ahead. It is unlikely that a cynical Fr. Healy-type stroke can be repeated this summer; that conversion has worn off.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  They were in the pool in Inchydoney.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  At least the pool at Inchydoney was working.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  It was not actually.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Even by the standards of this Government, the recess is coming at least a week earlier than in recent years. There is no justification for the House not to sit next week. I am happy to second Deputy Kenny’s proposal that the House return on 13 September.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Green Party has no problem with the proposal to return on 13 September. While a reasonable break is expected, I cannot justify taking off July on top of that. The Dáil has sat for 93 days since last September.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  The Deputy already has his holidays booked.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  The Deputy lives too close to the sea.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The House of Commons in London sits for 155 days a year on average. A normal week in the Dáil is 22 hours. A normal week in the House of Commons is 32 hours.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  They have a different system.

[2045]Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Does the Deputy want their electoral system?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I am not sure whether the Members on the Government side are trying to shout me down or whether they know it all and do not need to listen.

Mr. M. Ahern: Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  The Deputy should not rise me.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Allow Deputy Sargent to speak without interruption.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  As the House of Commons puts in 70% more hours than the Dáil, if the Oireachtas is to have any respect and if we are to have parity of esteem regarding the Good Friday Agreement we should also have parity of hours in terms of the cross-Border institutions and dealing with the UK Government.

Mr. Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  We should have the Northern work ethic.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  If we are trying to bring about reconciliation between different traditions, the two Parliaments in question should also maintain a parity, which in this case would have the Oireachtas sitting into July.

Mr. Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  The turkeys should go ahead and vote for Christmas for a change.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  While I know Government Members are very excitable and they have a majority to do exactly what they want, when they do so and vote themselves an unreasonably long break they should take into account during the recess that they will not be accountable to the Dáil. Ministers need to be careful to tell the truth, as they will not be able to be held to account here.

When it comes to the Minister for Transport, Deputy Cullen, accusing people of robbery of the taxpayer——

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  After the democratic process was followed.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  ——as if the cost of the M50 was all about Carrickmines——

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  The Deputy should get on his bicycle for the summer and go and create more trouble around the country. That is what he can do.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  The Deputy should explain his behaviour in the Glen of the Downs.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Rent an objector.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Why does the Minister for Transport not examine the figures? He knows that [2046]0.03% of the cost of the project was attributable to Carrickmines.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  The Green Party would have us back in the 1940s.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Minister should look at the facts.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Minister for Transport, Deputy Cullen, was the man who wasted taxpayers’ money on electronic voting and flights of fancy to Kuala Lumpur and everywhere else.

A Deputy:  Deputy Sargent should go back to the bog and bring——

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  He is trying to accuse honest people, who are trying to protect heritage, of robbery. He has a brass neck. He will now vote himself a holiday and continue to lie to the people.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is moving away from the proposal before the House.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Minister should return to the House and be accountable for his words and he will discover he is telling absolute untruths.

Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  I cannot help it if the Green Party is technologically illiterate and cannot cope with modern technology. He should go away out of that.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Minister needs to get a hold of the facts and stop trying to mislead the people and create propaganda.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Sargent is contributing to disorder in the House by addressing his remarks across the floor.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I am trying to correct the record. When Ministers go on holidays they should keep an eye to the truth.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Some Green Party Deputies have their holidays booked.

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

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  This matter requires the Government to acknowledge that we need parity of hours with the House of Commons if we are genuinely interested in a peace process.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Minister for Transport, Deputy Cullen, has said that Deputy Sargent is technologically inadequate.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Minister should know what he is talking about: he of the swinging ballot boxes.

[2047]Mr. Cullen: Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  The Opposition cannot cope with it.

(Interruptions).

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  The Green Party cost the taxpayer €40 million.

Mr. F. McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Roche, should not be bullying.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is very hard to follow Deputy Sargent this morning; it was one of his finest moments.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  That does not say much.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Deputy Ó Caoláin clearly does not think much of Deputy Sargent.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I have no difficulty in supporting Deputy Kenny’s amendment that the Dáil should return earlier, provided it is to address specific areas of legislation yet to be presented by Government. We all recognise that key areas need to be addressed. I will not repeat much of what has already been said. With the indulgence of the House, I say that I am concerned that Members contribute to the fallacy that elected Members of this House do not put in the hours that we all know we do.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We do this House and democracy a disservice when we misrepresent a view that people are working the type of hours cited. Members of this House of all opinion put in phenomenal hours and I do not believe many [2048]in other sectors would put in the same hours as Members. Those are important points to be made and we all have a responsibility to say it.

Mr. Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  That was the Deputy’s finest moment.

  11 o’clock

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The work of committees will continue this month and in September and the work of the Cabinet will continue until August. Last year, there were 22 committee meetings in July after the plenary sessions was completed. Since September 2004, we have published 30 Bills and enacted 22 Bills, while ten Bills are awaiting the signature of the President. In legislative terms, this indicates that the work of the House, while not meeting unanimous approval, as is the nature of any democratic assembly, has been done during this period.

The predictable attempt by the Opposition to suggest that this country is not doing well is best counteracted by the ESRI report published this morning, which confirms that we have the fastest growing economy in Europe.

Mr. Gogarty: Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  What about quality of life issues?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  People in this country are being educated to the highest standards and are getting jobs commensurate with their abilities. We have an economy that is outperforming all our competitors in Europe and that is significant enough to defend the record of the Government. We have achieved unprecedented success and we look forward to continuing this work in committees during July and September and returning to the fray as soon as the Connacht final is over.

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”

[2047]The Dáil divided: Tá, 59; Níl, 51.

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 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 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 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 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 Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. 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 Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  McDowell, Michael.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
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 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 Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned. Information on Tim O'Malley  Zoom on Tim O'Malley  O’Malley, Tim.
Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  [2049]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 Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


[2049]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. 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 Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
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 Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. 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 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 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 Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  Mitchell, Gay. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
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 Gerard Murphy  Zoom on Gerard Murphy  Murphy, Gerard. 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 Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  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, Ruairí. 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 David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. 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.
Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.  

[2049]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[2049]Question declared carried.

[2050]Question put: “That the Dáil on rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 September 2005.”

[2049]The Dáil divided: Tá, 59; Níl, 49.

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 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 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 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 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 Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. 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 Michael McDowell  Zoom on Michael McDowell  McDowell, Michael.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
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 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 Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned. 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 Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


[2051]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. 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 Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán.
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 Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
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 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 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 Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  Mitchell, Gay. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
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 Gerard Murphy  Zoom on Gerard Murphy  Murphy, Gerard. 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 Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  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, Ruairí. 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 David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. 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.
Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.  

[2051]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[2051]Question declared carried.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Standing Orders of the House allow for votes by other than electronic means. I know the Minister of State, Deputy Parlon, is new to the democratic process but he appears to have an aversion to votes in this House.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Not as new as you are.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  He also appears to object to us using the democratic process in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does the Deputy have a proposal to make to the House?

Mr. Callely: Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  He is getting there.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  He is winding himself up.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We will use the other system of voting when we think it is appropriate. The Minister of State, Deputy Parlon, can like it or lump it. While I will miss meeting my Fianna Fáil friends going through the lobby, on this occasion we do not think it is appropriate.

Mr. Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  That was definitely your finest hour.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  One can always be assured of surprises in this House. I wish to raise two matters with the Minister for Finance. You were kind enough yesterday, a Cheann Comhairle, to allow a private notice question in respect of the imprisonment of five people from County Mayo deemed by the High Court to be in contempt of court. The Minister, in his response to questions yesterday, said he would consider in some circumstances the appointment of a mediator. He still [2052]has the authority to do that. Has the Minister for Finance had any communication from the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources about that matter, as three of the five men are up in court again this morning for a further decision in respect of obstruction and contempt of court?

The Minister for Finance is aware that this is a complex and serious matter and while we cannot interfere in any way with the High Court decision, the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources is in a position to appoint a mediator who might be able to bring about a resolution to this. Perhaps the Minister for Finance would inform the House as to whether he has any news on that.

My colleague, Deputy Jim O’Keeffe, has been highlighting what appears to be a sweetheart deal involving the Dublin Port Company and a consortium bidding for the national conference centre. Under the harbours Bill, can I take it from the Minister for Finance that the public procurement rules and the code of practice for governance of State bodies will be seen to be fully complied with in this matter? It is referred to in some media reports today and I would like an assurance that he will see to it that these rules, regulations and procedures are properly and fully complied with.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have not had any direct communication from the Minister since the debate on yesterday’s private notice question. If Deputy Kenny wishes to pursue the matter, I advise him to take it up directly with the Department and the Minister’s office.

Regarding the second matter, the House can be assured that the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism is conducting the tendering process [2053]for such a facility in compliance with all the necessary practices and procedures.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Since 1997.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  As the acting head of Government, I ask the Minister, Deputy Cowen, to give a more positive indication than that on the matter raised by Deputy Kenny. It appears the proposal he has put is reasonable. Anybody who looks closely at the deal Shell Oil got in Mayo would reach the conclusion that the least it can do having got one hell of a deal from the Irish taxpayer is to make itself amenable to mediation with a view to resolving this dispute before the weekend.

Has the Government rethought its position on the whistleblowers Bill? The Tánaiste answered yesterday to the effect that the advice we had been given on these benches in recent years was wrong, that there was no legal advice to the effect that the Bill ought not to proceed, that it was purely official advice. Given recent events, will the Minister reconsider it?

Will the Minister confirm if it is the case that the National Roads Authority is to announce today the award of a €50 million contract for the Castleblaney bypass to Gama Construction? Having regard to recent events, if that is the case — unbelievable and all as it might appear — will the State on this occasion ensure there is full compliance with all regulations, conventions and the law in this country?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I cannot comment further on the matter raised by Deputy Kenny. I am not in a position to do so. Arrangements were made here yesterday at short notice to take a private notice question. The matter was fully aired in the House and the Minister set out the position. As Deputy Kenny said, a separation of powers principle is involved here. Anything further that can be done by the Minister in regard to any indications he has given as to how he can assist in this matter in a way that respects that separation of powers principle is something that should be taken up directly with his office. I do not have any further information than that which he gave to the House yesterday.

Regarding the whistleblowers Bill, this is a matter Deputy Rabbitte previously raised when I took the Order of Business. I cannot add to the points I have given to the House when I made the fullest possible explanation. As I understand it, it is a Labour Party Bill that was introduced in Private Members’ time. The Government is of the view that it can deal with some of what is contemplated by that Bill in various legislation sectorally rather than in one Bill covering all areas of activity. I am not aware that there has been any change in that situation and, certainly, nothing has come before Government that indicates a change in that situation at this time. I cannot say what is being contemplated or considered for the future. The question is probably best addressed [2054]to the line Minister who took the Bill in the first place.

I am not aware of the operational arrangements being made regarding the giving out of tenders by the National Roads Authority. Regardless of whether companies mentioned by Deputy Rabbitte or anyone else are involved, occurrences in recent months are such that the Government has taken considerable steps, through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, to enhance the inspection and monitoring of the contractual obligations of contractors. Every Member would support this and would want our laws on these matters and workers’ rights to be respected.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Newswires are suggesting today that the men jailed for obstructing work on the Shell pipeline will face a very long prison sentence if they refuse to purge their contempt of court. I ask the Government not to act like
Pontius Pilate and to ensure that a mediation process is put in place. One will remember what happened on foot of the imprisonments and executions after Easter 1916.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on the matter.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I envisage public opinion turning very quickly. The Government needs to be mindful of this.

Given that the length of the recess has been established, will the Government bear in mind our request from earlier this week that the House be recalled prior to the UN summit to permit an announcement on meeting our target of 0.7% of gross national product? It might be appropriate for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to indicate when such an announcement will be made given the tens of thousands of people who were on the streets yesterday. He will know the strength of feeling on the matter.

Since April, when we received the list of promised legislation, 13 Bills were accorded priority, four of which have been published. The interesting point worth noting is that we have had more Bills published that were not promised than those that were promised. Given that we have a list to which we are rightly restricted from referring by the Ceann Comhairle, is there any way in which we can have an indication regarding the legislation that is promised but not seen until published but which obviously exists and is not made public? Would it be fair to say we are not being presented with the whole picture and that in the next Dáil term we should receive a more comprehensive list of legislation rather than being surprised by the Bills that are published without notice?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  On the first matter the Deputy raised, he and other Members will always insist that the House respect court orders regarding other matters.

[2055]Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  What about a mediator?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is in the context of respecting this principle that the Minister is trying to determine how he can assist in the matter. Court orders must be respected. At least Deputy Kenny acknowledged the complexity of the matter and the sensitivities involved in the Executive taking action on foot of a court order that has come from the bench. There is no point in trying to describe a Pontius Pilate-type approach on the part of the House.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  A mediator could be appointed outside that system.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  This House is not in a position to supersede a court order.

On Deputy Sargent’s surprise over Bills published without notice, parliamentary Question Time is for the purpose of asking the line Ministers the legislation being contemplated by each Department. It is open to the Deputy to find out this information at any time by phone or by tabling a formal question.

The efficiency and effectiveness of this House should not be dictated by the quantity of legislation that passes. Perhaps the quality of the legislation is important.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  In that case, why are there guillotines?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There are many other debates that need to be held in this House on the economy and other matters, which I would welcome but which we do not seem to hear as much about from the Opposition as——

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Standing Orders restrict us to asking about promised legislation.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I presume the Deputy believes they are on weaker ground.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  We are restricted.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The point I am making to the Deputy is that the lists provided by the Government are formulated on the advice of Departments. This is why we publish them. I hope, for the sake of everybody who participates in the legislative process, both in committee and plenary session, that much more attention is paid to their work and that it receives much more coverage. Thus, more Members will feel they can make a worthwhile contribution in the Oireachtas.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The question I raised about the United Nations millennium summit——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That matter was dealt with already under proposal No. 4. The House decided on it by a vote. I call on Deputy Ó Caoláin.

[2056]Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Minister should reply.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We have already decided on when the House is coming back.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  We have not decided on the matter I raised.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  On Deputy Kenny’s point on the County Mayo farmers, I add my support to the appeal for immediate mediation if it can be organised. It is imperative that it be organised and that a resolution be arrived at that is satisfactory to the families concerned. We would all agree that this is required. The judicial process does not in any way impinge on its moving forward.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on it. This issue was discussed by way of a Private Notice Question. A brief comment has been made this morning by the Leader and we are moving on to the next item of business.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I have just made a further brief comment. The next point to which I want to refer concerns the tender process pertaining to national roads projects. Gama has been mentioned this morning. It has not——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Again, that does not arise at this stage. I ask the Deputy to refer to an appropriate matter.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It has been alluded to and the company has not been awarded the works in respect of the Castleblayney bypass although I believe it has submitted the lowest tender. It is hardly any wonder that its tender would be the lowest given the practices it employs regarding its staff. I hope the Minister will note that this matter requires redress.

On promised legislation, the International Criminal Court Bill 2003 was referred, in July last year, exactly 12 months ago this week, to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights subsequent to the taking of Second Stage. It has yet to be scheduled for Committee Stage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is a matter for the House and not appropriate to the Order of Business.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will the Minister raise the matter with the Chairman of the committee, his party colleague, so the Bill will be scheduled for address by the committee and we will have the chance to address the matters that concern Members in respect thereof?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The organisation of the committee’s work is a matter for the committee. It has been referred from the House to the committee and it is a matter for the latter to order its own business. While I will certainly pass on the [2057]Deputy’s comments to the Chairman of the committee concerned, Deputy Ardagh, the fact remains that it is for the committee to arrange its business and take the Bill if that is what it wishes to do. That is why it has been referred to it.


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