Order of Business.

Tuesday, 22 November 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 610 No. 103

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 10, motion re membership of committees; No. 11, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the revised agreement on social security between the Government of Ireland and the Government of Australia (back from committee); No. 12, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the double taxation relief orders 2005, Republic of Chile, Portuguese Republic and accession states; No. 13, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the Tampere Convention on the provision of telecommunications resources for disaster mitigation and relief operations; No. 14, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Regional Fisheries Boards (Postponement of Elections) and Fisheries (Miscellaneous Commercial Licences) (Alteration of Duties) Orders 2005; and No. 15, motion re Book of Estimates 2006.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted not later than 9.30 p.m; (2) Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 shall be decided without debate; (3) the proceedings on No. 15 shall, if not previously concluded, adjourn at 9.30 p.m. tonight and shall resume not later than 5 p.m. tomorrow and shall, if not previously concluded be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. on that night and the following arrangements shall apply: the speech of the Minister for Finance 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; the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 10 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 ten minutes.

[1123]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are three proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for the late sitting agreed? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive, without debate agreed?

Mr. Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  On No. 14, the motion re the fisheries boards, I am very disappointed. That report was compiled over two years by consultants but there was little or no consultation on it. It concerns the amalgamation of the seven central fishery boards and the removal of the research facility to the Marine Institute. It is very disappointing that this is happening. This runs contrary to the ethos of decentralisation and there is significant unrest over it. The Taoiseach intends to refer this issue to the committee, but I would expect to discuss the proposal in the House. The proposal has far reaching impact for the development of central fishery boards. In light of the announcement last week with regard to marine responsibilities being taken from the Minister of State on several issues, and in light of the lack of funding for the central fishery boards, this proposal is a retrograde step. I am very disappointed that it is being rammed through the select committee.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I endorse the comments of Deputy Perry. Although the Taoiseach did not seem to be aware of it, this important report was produced and announced on the nine o’clock news and not to this House. The report has far-reaching ramifications for our inland waterways and fisheries in that it effectively abolishes the regional fisheries boards and the central fisheries board which has played an important research role over the years and which has co-ordinated our inland fisheries. It was discourteous to the House and the Ceann Comhairle that this report did not appear before the House before being announced on the news. This is another example of the ongoing war between the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Dempsey, and his Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher. The Minister of State was trying to keep the marine and fisheries responsibilities together, but was prevented from doing so by the Minister.

The report is important. It seems to fly in the face of the Taoiseach’s decentralisation policy by recentralising the fisheries supervision process. Above all, it abandons the research function inland fisheries had. It is discourteous to the House and we do not accept it.

[1124]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot discuss the contents of the report.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The points made should be heeded. A debate in the House is the least we can expect, arising from the clear unacceptability of proceeding with this motion without debate. I ask the Ceann Comhairle to take account of the sentiments expressed. He should also take into account that internationally this country is out of step with best practice in fishery conservation. As a result we face serious danger for wild Irish salmon. This country has international friends who would help us, but the Government will not accept that help for some reason. I ask for debate on this matter. This is an issue that will not wait, the fish will be gone and it will be too late then to talk about it.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The proposal to take No. 14 without debate has far-reaching consequences for inland fisheries. The Farrell Grant Sparks report clearly indicates the demise of the regional fisheries boards as we have known them and the establishment of a national fisheries authority. While there is a genuflection with regard to local input in terms of the proposals within the current proposition, the absence of executive authority from the local boards will leave them as relatively toothless bodies. It is imperative——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  As I said to Deputy Broughan, we cannot discuss the contents of the report.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I indicate the import of what is proposed in the report. The issue needs to be addressed in the House. It is simply unacceptable that the House will consider the motion without debate. I absolutely reject that and will oppose it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I understand the motion proposes to refer the matter to a committee, which will discuss it. If the members of the committee cannot resolve the matter, it is open to the House to take the matter back from the committee. All we are being asked to do, in the first instance, is to decide whether it should be referred to the committee. It is obvious there are many objections. I am not aware of all the details. After the matter has been examined by the committee, if people seriously believe it should be debated in the House, the Whips can consider it at that stage. I ask that it go to the committee first. We can decide whether it requires time in this Chamber after that debate has finished.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 be agreed to.”

[1123][1125]The Dáil divided: Tá, 60; Níl, 50.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
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 Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Davern  Zoom on Noel Davern  Davern, Noel.
Information on Síle de Valera  Zoom on Síle de Valera  de Valera, Síle. Information on Tony Dempsey  Zoom on Tony Dempsey  Dempsey, Tony.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Dermot. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
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 Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Jacob, Joe. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on 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 Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Liz.
Information on Dennis O'Donovan  Zoom on Dennis O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Denis. Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned.
Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona. Information on Tim O'Malley  Zoom on Tim O'Malley  O’Malley, Tim.
Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  Parlon, Tom. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae. Information on Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael.
Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Wallace, Dan. Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe.
Information on Ollie Wilkinson  Zoom on Ollie Wilkinson  Wilkinson, Ollie. Information on G. V. Wright  Zoom on G. V. Wright  Wright, G.V.



[1125]Níl
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 Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  Cowley, Jerry.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
Information on Marian Harkin  Zoom on Marian Harkin  Harkin, Marian. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. 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 Paddy McHugh  Zoom on Paddy McHugh  McHugh, Paddy. 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 Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
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 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 Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Twomey, Liam.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.

[1125]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[1125]Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15, motion re Book of Estimates 2006 agreed?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We have lost an hour and five minutes because of other important matters.

[1126]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is proposal No. 3 agreed?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Proposal No. 3?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Yes, we are dealing with the proposal for dealing with the motion re Book of Estimates. Is that agreed?

  [1127]6 o’clock

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  No, it is not agreed. Last year the Minister for Finance said he would take into account any ideas or proposals Members had to improve this situation. We are now half way through the charade of approaching the budget and we are about to embark on a three hour Estimates debate involving the expenditure of almost €50 billion.

Deputy Bruton has put forward a number of ideas which would make the process far more meaningful for members of all parties and none in the House in terms of the method of discussing these Estimates and recommending possible transfers of money from one Vote to another in order that when the Minister for Finance introduces the budget he would at least have the reflected views of the elected members of the people as distinct from the Department of Finance personnel who will put their stamp on this.

From that point of view, despite the important discussions today on the oncology unit in Cork, there will be insufficient time to discuss these Estimates. On that basis, I am opposed to the proposal for their discussion.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I agree with those sentiments. Prior to summer the Committee of Public Accounts asked me to prepare a report on this issue. I did so and all parties represented on the committee approved that report, which provided for better parliamentary oversight of the Estimates process and made specific recommendations which, with one or two minor changes, the committee as a whole was happy to endorse. I would like to think the Taoiseach would give some indication before budget day that he is prepared to examine the way we do business because we end up in this House approving Estimates after the money is spent. The report of the Committee of Public Accounts sets out a format whereby one can collapse the publication of the Book of Estimates and budget into a single event and provide for better parliamentary scrutiny of Estimates that currently are entirely opaque and impenetrable.

There is one table in the report that traces the amount of time given in the current calendar year to scrutiny of the Estimates for each of the 15 Departments. It amounts to approximately one hour and three quarters to approve approximately €44 billion for the 15 Departments. That is the total amount of time given to examining the Estimates and elements of them. It is about time we examined this process.

[1128]Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  We, too, object to the way it is proposed to deal with this debate. The time allowed for it needs to be extended. That would be only fair if we are to reflect any justice in regard to the Estimates. I understand undertakings were given previously that there would be a reform of the way in which the Estimates are presented. I recall the Taoiseach said that people approached him in the corridor and made a case for one matter or another. There is no doubt that there needs to be a more methodical way of assessing and compiling the Estimates. Perhaps there will be an opportunity during the debate to refer to that point, but if the debate is not sufficiently long, it will not do justice to such consideration. I ask that the debate be longer to take into account the time we have lost.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The view expressed is not only the view of the Opposition. It is important to reflect that the sentiments expressed by the Deputies who have spoken and to which I add my support, were also reflected by members of the Taoiseach’s party. Everyone recognises that this is a flawed way of doing business. As a member of the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service, time and again we have underlined how unsatisfactory it is to deal with the Estimates months into the New Year which makes the process nothing more than a charade.

It is important that this issue is finally addressed. I encourage the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, to take the issue to heart and address it and to reflect the expression of views from their party and all the Opposition parties over several years of which I am aware from my experience here. It is time to change the process. As a former Minister for Finance, the Taoiseach might ensure this will happen.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, raised this issue in last year’s budget. He has listened to the submissions and presentations made by others and he will return to this issue. It is not every year we have a debate on the Book of Estimates. Last week I was asked if I would allow time for a debate on the Book of Estimates this year. We made provision for that and for them to be dealt with in the committees. The Minister will return to this issue in due course.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15 agreed?

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 15 be agreed to.”

[1127][1129]The Dáil divided: Tá, 60; Níl, 46.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
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 Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Davern  Zoom on Noel Davern  Davern, Noel.
Information on Síle de Valera  Zoom on Síle de Valera  de Valera, Síle. Information on Tony Dempsey  Zoom on Tony Dempsey  Dempsey, Tony.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Dermot. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
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 Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Jacob, Joe. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on 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 Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Liz.
Information on Dennis O'Donovan  Zoom on Dennis O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Denis. Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned.
Information on Fiona O'Malley  Zoom on Fiona O'Malley  O’Malley, Fiona. Information on Tim O'Malley  Zoom on Tim O'Malley  O’Malley, Tim.
Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  Parlon, Tom. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae. Information on Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael.
Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Wallace, Dan. Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe.
Information on Ollie Wilkinson  Zoom on Ollie Wilkinson  Wilkinson, Ollie. Information on G. V. Wright  Zoom on G. V. Wright  Wright, G.V.



[1129]Níl
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 Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  Cowley, Jerry.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Marian Harkin  Zoom on Marian Harkin  Harkin, Marian.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Padraic. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. 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 Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
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, Ruairi. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  Ryan, Seán. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  Sherlock, Joe. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Twomey, Liam.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.

[1129]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[1129]Question declared carried.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  When is it expected a Government approved report on the safety issues surrounding the Corrib gas line will be produced? The Taoiseach will be aware that the Natural Gas Regulation Bill is promised for 2006. He will also be aware of a report published today by a group called CPI, in respect of which I would have serious concerns about the ethics of some [1130]members associated with it. It might be appropriate if the Taoiseach would indicate when the Government approved report will be produced and published.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The draft report from the consultants who undertook the safety review for the Department arrived to the Minister’s technical advisory group yesterday. The group has to do some work but the intention is to publish the [1131]report in County Mayo before general release. Following this, there will be a two week period in which to make submissions and observations. I am not too sure how soon the Minister will publish the report but, obviously, he now has the draft report and I do not believe he intends to unduly delay its publication.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Will it be published before the end of the year?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I assume so. From what I read in a note I was given earlier, I assume it will be published almost immediately. I will confirm this for the Deputy.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Taoiseach will understand if I say that after my clinic on Saturday, I had a couple of pints. I tuned in to RTE in the hope it would be a “Michael McDowell-free zone”. I turned on the “Tubridy Tonight” show and there he was again.

As a result of the reheated anti-crime package the Minister has launched this evening, will the Taoiseach give an undertaking to this House that we will have an opportunity to examine the elements of the package because it has been the Minister’s practice to have amendments printed while the debate is ongoing? We have to take amendments off the top of his head, despite the fact that our citizens are extremely concerned, not just about violent crime among gangland thugs but about anti-social behaviour and violence against the person on our streets. In the past the Minister has not given Members an opportunity to scrutinise amendments when they were brought before the House. He makes them up as the debate continues. Whatever he has announced this evening, what he announced in The Irish Times this morning has been published 12 times already. An opportunity must be given to the House to examine the proposals in the depth they ought to warrant.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Taoiseach will answer on the legislation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Minister’s proposal contains a number of important elements. It is some time since the Bill was published. I hope the new elements can be included in the discussion. I am sure they will.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I am deadly serious about this. Do I interpret the Taoiseach as stating that normal parliamentary procedure will be observed and we will have an opportunity to examine whatever the Minister has now come up with? Is that what the Taoiseach stated? We have not had that opportunity with most of the legislation that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has put through.

[1132]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy has made his point.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Whips must organise the time.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Report Stage amendments.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It involves significant amendments that will have to be debated in the House.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I understand legislation is promised on the establishment of a road safety authority or for the measures required on other road safety matters following the ten deaths on the roads last weekend, which make a total of 352 so far this year. Will the Taoiseach tell the House what promised legislation is necessary in this area? He was quoted as stating that we must keep trying to enforce the law on road safety as best we can. Obviously the law is not adequate so I expect there is promised legislation to assist.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The list contains one Bill, which is due next year.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Which Bill is that? Is legislation required for the road safety authority?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is to amend the legislation on roads, the national roads authority and traffic.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  So law is not required for the national safety authority.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  A Bill was promised to amend the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Acts 1997 and 2002 to establish an insurance scheme for persons infected with hepatitis C or HIV as a result of the State’s role in the provision of blood or blood products. Only three weeks remain before Christmas. This was committed to be taken in this session in the most recent legislative programme. Will the Taoiseach confirm we will have the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal (Amendment) Bill prior to Christmas?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Bill is due this session. That means we will be ready to take it in the next session.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  A number of Deputies are offering. I have taken their names and will call them first tomorrow after Leaders’ Questions.


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