Order of Business.

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 608 No. 66

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Minister for Finance (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is proposed to take No. 18, Social Welfare Consolidation Bill 2005 — Second Stage (resumed); No. 1, Statute Law Revision (Pre-1922) Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage; and No. 2, Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are no proposals to put to the House.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am sure Deputies will share my expression of abhorrence on behalf of the Irish people at the kidnapping of Irish journalist, Rory Carroll, in Baghdad. I commend the swift action of the Government on a political and diplomatic level to ensure Mr. Carroll’s early and safe release. As Deputies will be aware, his father, Joe Carroll, was a respected figure around the House for many years and those of us who have been in the Houses for some time will know him well. In that sense, this is a matter of grave concern to us. I assure the Minister that the Fine Gael Party will assist the Government on this matter in any way possible and will be happy to accommodate its activities to ensure Mr. Carroll’s early and safe release.

In view of the rising level of inflation, when will we see the promised national consumer agency Bill? On 3 February this year, I raised with the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children questions from Deputy Twomey about the procedures that apply to the appointment of senior management of the Health Service Executive. The Minister answered these questions but last Thursday, in respect of clarification of a matter arising from the questions of 3 February, she decided to pass on questions to the HSE. Perhaps [347]the Minister will communicate with the Tánaiste on this matter.

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

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I know the Minister does not have responsibility for questions.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Will the Deputy repeat his second point?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children answered questions on 3 February about procedures for the appointment of senior staff to the Health Service Executive.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The matter does not arise on the Order of Business. The Deputy should raise it with the Minister for Health and Children directly.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Last Thursday, the Minister passed on the matter in its entirety to the HSE. In other words, she has refused to answer questions related to ones she answered previously.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I thank Deputy Kenny for his comments and join him in expressing the common sentiment of the House that Deputies hope the kidnap of Rory Carroll will be ended immediately. The House calls on anyone who has influence with the group in question to use it. Obviously, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and our diplomatic staff in the general area are doing all they can through their contacts to facilitate Mr. Carroll’s early release. The House sympathises with Mr. Carroll’s family in this difficult time and hopes he will be returned to them safely. The consumer agency Bill is not on the list. Obviously it is a priority matter for the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and he is preparing that legislation as quickly as possible. we expect inflation this year to be about 2.4% and we have a close relationship with the EU rate of inflation since we joined the euro area eight years ago. Obviously the recent monthly figure showed the impact of rising oil prices but the overall annualised figure should be approximately 2.4% this year.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The House is united in concurring with the sentiments expressed by Deputy Kenny and the Minister for the early and safe release of Mr. Rory Carroll and in expressing our solidarity with his family at this time.

Recently the Minister told my colleague, Deputy Burton, that the cost of CMOD in his Department is €7.5 million and that there are 96 people employed in it to supervise, amongst other things, e-Government initiatives and IT issues [348]across Departments. Would it not be reasonable in those circumstances, with 96 people——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Do you have a question on the legislation?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——to expect that they might have——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Rabbitte——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——put a stop to the PPARS debacle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  ——about what legislation are you speaking?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——before it got to the stage——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Rabbitte——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——of wasting taxpayers money as it does?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  ——it does not arise on the Order of Business. I suggest you submit a question to the Minister. I call Deputy Sargent.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A Cheann Comhairle, I am submitting the question now. I am asking the Minister if it is not reasonable to think——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy, that is quite in order if you submit a question to the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——that such a unit might have intervened——

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

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  ——before €160 million was clocked up.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It does not arise on the Order of Business. The Chair has ruled on the matter and the Deputy knows it does not arise. I call Deputy Sargent.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A Cheann Comhairle, for as long as I have been in the House leaders have had the opportunity on the Order of Business to raise an issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No, Deputy. Leaders’ questions was put in place.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  There are no leaders’ questions today.

[349]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Leaders’ questions was put in place to facilitate——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  There are no leaders’ questions today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  ——leaders.

A Deputy:  There is no Government either.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  There are no leader’s questions today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are leaders’ questions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  This is not Tuesday or Wednesday; this is Thursday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  ——and if the Deputy is not happy with Standing Orders, I suggest he arranges to have them changed. I call Deputy Sargent.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  This is Thursday. I am asking——

Mr. F. McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  It is about the Thursday deal.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is a simple, reasonable question but, unfortunately, it is out of order on the Order of Business.

Mr. F. McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Tell us about the Thursday agreement.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Like the other party leaders and the Minister for Finance, I too wish to express solidarity with the family of Mr. Rory Carroll and take seriously the advice of the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the matter be dealt with in a way that the Department of Foreign Affairs can best determine for the security of Mr. Carroll. We respect that advice and hope the release will be swift.

On promised legislation, given the serious outcome of research revealed at yesterday’s seminar organised by the Irish Insurance Federation where buildings along the River Liffey, for example, are seen to be in great peril due to climate change——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I do.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy cannot debate the legislation.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  No, the Minister would be concerned, particularly as the Central Bank is on the banks of the River Liffey.

[350]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should come to the legislation or I will call Deputy Bruton.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I want to ask the Minister whether the coastal zone management legislation will see the light of day again or whether there is legislation from the Government that will seriously tackle the challenges of climate change. The energy Bill, which sounds like it might be the closest, does not refer to climate change in any documentation I have seen.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  On the legislation.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand that Bill was taken off the list. If a question is tabled, the Minister will explain the policy decision for it.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I would like to see the Bill back on it.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Today I have seen reports that under the Mental Health Commission — this dates back to the time the Minister for Finance was Minister for Health and Children — the appointment of members of the tribunals to look into the cases of people who are involuntarily detained still has not been made. Will the Minister bring forward the health Bill, No. 55 on the agenda, so the Dáil can debate this issue? It does not seem right that people who are involuntarily detained do not have their rights of recourse to a tribunal and——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call the Minister on the health Bill.

Mr. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  ——the Government needs to show that the House believes this issue, which has been unresolved for some time, needs to be resolved.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot debate the content of what might be in the Bill.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand the heads of that Bill are being prepared. If the Deputy wishes to raise the specific question on the Mental Health Commission perhaps an alternative way, rather than waiting for the Bill to be published, might be found so that the matter can be discussed.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Yesterday I received a reply to a parliamentary question from the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children confirming she had met with numerous people in the course of the past 12 months on her proposals to give away land at public hospitals to private hospital interests.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

[351]Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Yes. This proposition and policy pursuit will only deepen the two-tier health system which the Government is committed to erode.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Of course. Are there plans to introduce legislation to formalise this disgraceful pursuit?

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  My second question on the appointment of Mr. Declan Patrick Carey, consultant surgeon, to carry out an inquiry into the——

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  It does because the precedent is there. A Cheann Comhairle, with respect, if you will allow me to finish the sentence you will appreciate that it does.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy, it does not arise on the Order of Business. Does the Deputy want me to read Standing Order 26?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I want to ask will he refine the terms of reference that have been accorded to Mr. Carey to carry out his inquiry. Terms of reference of inquiries have been revised on the Order of Business previously.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It does not arise on the Order of Business. I ask the Deputy to resume his seat. He is being disorderly.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It has happened, a Cheann Comhairle, with respect, and I hope the Minister has some review of the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has ruled on the matter. I call the Minister on the first question on legislation.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  On that matter, legislation is not required in that instance. The situation here is to increase the capacity in the health service to deal with more cases and ensure there is public patient access, and also take the private beds out of the public hospitals so there are more public beds in public hospitals. I, therefore, really do not know the point of the Deputy’s question.

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We want public hospitals. That is where the investment should be.

[352]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Durkan has been called.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  In view of the chaotic communications in respect of the poor broadband rating, with Ireland coming in just ahead of Papua New Guinea, and in respect of the postal services, which have almost broken down completely and where it takes three weeks for a letter to travel a short distance, would it be possible for the Minister to come in and give some indication of when he will introduce the Electronic Communications Bill? As I am on my feet, maybe I could ask also if the ministerial appearance Bill is about to be introduced so that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform could make an appearance in the House?

A Deputy:  We are not missing anything.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call the Minister on the postal services Bill.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The real Bill of which the Deputy spoke will be available next year.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  What about the ministerial Bill?

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  The ministerial disappearances Bill.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The imaginary Bill remains within his own remit.

A Deputy:  A virtual Bill.

Ms C. Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  When is the Coroners Bill likely to come before the House?

Regarding the acknowledgement by the Taoiseach yesterday that legislation is needed for housing estate management companies, is it intended to bring a Bill of that nature forward at an early date? In the absence of that, will the Government instruct local authorities on how they should proceed on this matter?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The first Bill to which the Deputy referred is due next year. On the second matter, I understand this was raised in the House yesterday. The Law Reform Commission is currently finalising a draft report on the law on management of multi-unit developments. The Government will consider any recommendations the final report makes. Yesterday the Taoiseach indicated a need for legislation in this area and I agree with him on that.

Ms C. Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  I am not asking about multi-unit developments. In fact, the housing estate issue relates to developments of single houses which are not the subject of management companies.

[353]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is legislation promised?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  On the follow-up question, the facts are that any conditions attaching to planning permissions requiring the establishment of a management company do not remove the primary responsibility of developers to finish developments satisfactorily. Planning authorities have extensive powers under the Planning and Development Act 2000 to make developers finish estates in a satisfactory manner in accordance with planning permission and they all should be using them. Local authorities are now required to take estates in charge under the Planning Act. Moreover, they can be made start the procedure to take in charge the public services for residential development when requested to do so.

Management companies normally have a very different remit. They deal with the ongoing maintenance and management of the private elements of housing developments, such as looking after green areas, landscaping and maintaining community amenities etc. It is unacceptable if developers are trying to transfer the costs of finishing the services in estates to the purchasers, on top of the purchase price.

Ms C. Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  That is not what is happening.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  When does the Government intend to implement the remaining sections of the Children’s Act and Youth Work Act, each of which have been unimplemented for several years?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I will have to get back to the Deputy on that. It is a matter for the line Minister.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I want the Chair’s assistance in trying to discover a method I can use, in the parliamentary sense, to establish the facts on home help cuts and the funding for them. There are two contradictory answers on the record and I cannot find a way of asking a question to establish the reality.

With regard to questions on health issues, we can no longer get an answer to our questions in the House because the answers are sent out privately by the HSE and are no longer in the public domain. This is a serious dilution of our democratic right to ask questions in the House publicly and get answers to them.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  They are available to the media and the public.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  On the first issue, there are other ways the Deputy can raise it.

[354]Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Will the Chair advise me on those some time? I have been here a long time, but I cannot find them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Adjournment.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I have tried that. We know what happens on the Adjournment. The Government sends in Deputy Callely to answer everything.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  One could get an usher to come in and read the reply on the Adjournment. It would make a lot more sense.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  On the same issue, I ask that some means be found to put answers from the HSE on public record. We have seen a stripping away of accountability that has serious implications for the management of the health service.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputies have made their point.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  What can we do about it?

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  In view of what the Minister has just said, will he agree there is a need for legislation to deal with management companies? His comments were not accurate. County councils in the Dublin area do not take estates in charge unless developers request it. Developers normally do not request it for up to a decade. As a result, people are left languishing while being charged between €600 to €1,600 per annum, a charge to which they must sign up when they buy their affordable house. The purchasers of affordable housing are being ripped off by a fatal combination of Fianna Fáil developers and builders in league with the people on the benches opposite who will do nothing about it.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I have volumes of correspondence from several Ministers who have served in the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government who have handled this issue. Young couples, purchasers of affordable housing, are being fleeced by Fianna Fáil builders and developers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is out of order. In view of the Minister’s contribution, the Chair did not have much choice but to allow the Deputy make her point. Now that she has made her point, let us come back to the Order of Business. I call Deputy Ring.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I want to challenge the Minister’s statement, which is highly inaccurate and misleading. I wish he would make a further statement to amplify ——

[355]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should resume her seat. We cannot debate the issue now. I call Deputy Ring.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Minister made a specific statement which was incorrect. I have, I believe, the liberty to challenge an incorrect statement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are other ways for the Deputy to raise the matter in the House.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  No, there are not. I cannot do that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy can.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I have volumes of correspondence from the people sitting on the Government benches. They write letters, but they do not do anything about it. They have thousands of people to write letters for them, but they do not take any action——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has ruled on the matter. I ask the Deputy to resume her seat.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——just as the Minister has 96 people running an IT outfit in the Department of Finance at a cost of €7.5 million who have no oversight of the computers. This is our problem. We are paying but we are not getting a service.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should resume her seat or she must leave the House. I call Deputy Ring.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A legitimate question was asked. Is the Minister contemplating legislation in this area?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputies may only ask about promised legislation, not whether it is contemplated. Otherwise we would be here all day. Every Member on both sides of the House would want to know.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does something contemplated 24 hours ago not qualify?

A Deputy:  Normally even Fianna Fáil does not forget its promises that quickly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Questions may relate to the taking of business which has been promised, including promised legislation, either within or outside the Dáil.

A Deputy:  Any promises never amounted to much.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does a statement by the Taoiseach in the House not amount to promised legislation? Is that the Chair’s ruling?

[356]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  On the Order of Business Deputies may not ask whether the Government is contemplating legislation. Otherwise, every Member in the House would wish to ask a question. The Standing Order is quite specific. Deputies may ask about promised legislation, whether promised inside or outside the House. I call Deputy Ring.

Mr. English: Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  Is he contemplating making a promise of legislation?

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, yesterday the Taoiseach promised legislation in this area. Therefore, it is quite legitimate under Standing Orders to ask when that legislation is contemplated.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  The Jonathan Woodgate of Labour.

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

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I explained in my previous reply that the Law Reform Commission is finalising a draft report on the law on the management of multi-unit developments. We will consider any recommendations the commission makes in its final report.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We can ask about that any time we like because it is promised.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Another own goal.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Deputy Noel Ahern, the Minister of State with responsibility for housing is in the House. He might like to say a few words on the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I can well understand why Deputy Broughan thinks this is an omnibus question time on the Order of Business. I call Deputy Ring.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  That nice man has not answered a question since he became a Minister of State.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I am having difficulty getting in this morning, but I am glad to be allowed speak at last.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Deputy knows we would like him to get in the next time.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I thank Deputy Ó Caoláin for that. On the criminal injuries compensation tribunal, people have been made awards this year but no funding has been put in place since May. Does the Minister for Finance intend to bring a Supplementary Estimate to the Dáil to provide the money to the people entitled to it? The Minister for Finance is responsible. The information pro[357]vided in reply to a question asked last week is that we are waiting on funding from the Department of Finance to pay these people.

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

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  A Supplementary Estimate is a matter for the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in that regard.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The people are waiting for payment from the Department of Finance.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I ask again for about the tenth time about a question I submitted on 29 August for reply on 29 September about accommodation and asylum seekers. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Reform has refused to answer the question. The Chair told me to raise the matter on the Adjournment. I applied for that on the Adjournment, but did not receive Adjournment time. What recourse have I now?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I suggest the Deputy should resubmit it for the Adjournment.

  11 o’clock

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister should at least come into the House. I do not think he has been in here for the past two weeks for the Order of Business. He will not answer questions but he is like Hopalong Cassidy around the country making promises left, right and centre. However, he will not do his fundamental——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Order of Business is not the time to raise this. The Chair has pointed out to the Deputy how he can raise the matter. I call Deputy Broughan.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  The Minister will not answer questions regarding expenditure. What rights have I to get answers to my questions?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is in the House long enough to know how to deal with it. I call Deputy Broughan.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  On a point of order, on the second last occasion I raised this matter, the Chair told me to apply for the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should apply again. He should do as some of his colleagues have done and submit it more than once.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I have two brief questions for the Minister. The Minister’s predecessor, who is now happy in Brussels, brought in a code of practice for the governance of semi-State bodies in 2001. In view of recent events, does the Minister for Finance have any plans to make changes to [358]that code of practice or to bring in legislation on it?

The statutory instrument on the guidelines for the National Salmon Commission, which is just finalised ——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  What legislation is the Deputy asking about?

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I asked first about a code of practice and second, I ask about a statutory instrument or guidelines for the National Salmon Commission. Does the statutory instrument commit the Minister to expenditure in the forthcoming budget?

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The answer to the first question is “no”. With regard to the second point, these are matters to be dealt with on an ongoing basis. I can look at the code of practice and the question of a review of governance mechanisms and semi-State bodies. I will come back to the Deputy on it.


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