Order of Business.

Thursday, 8 December 2005

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 612 No. 15

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 15a, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the despatch of a contingent of the Permanent Defence Force for service with the United Nations Mission in Liberia, UNMIL; No. 15b, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann for a Council decision on the establishment of a mutual information procedure concern[4]ing members states’ measures in the area of asylum and immigration; and No. 22a, Financial Resolutions by the Minister for Finance [2005] — motion 5 (resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 4.45 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted not later than 7.30 p.m.; Nos. 15a and 15b shall be decided without debate; and the following arrangements shall apply in relation to the resumed debate on No. 22a: the speech of the Taoiseach and of the main spokespersons or a member nominated in his or her stead, for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 40 minutes in each case; the spokespersons for the Technical Group shall be confined to a spokesperson for the Green Party, Sinn Féin and the Independents; and the speech of each other Member called upon, who may share their time, shall not exceed 30 minutes in each case.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I wish to propose an amendment to the Order of Business and give the Taoiseach the following option. Either we set time aside between 12 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. or from 7.30 to 9 p.m. for an explanation the Dáil should have in respect of the announced resignation of the former Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Deputy Ivor Callely.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I agree with Deputy Kenny and it is important the House has the opportunity to hear a statement from the resigned Minister of State and an opportunity to discuss some of the issues. It has been claimed by the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Deputy Tom Parlon, that the resignation of the Minister of State at the Department of Transport is the result of a political conspiracy. If this is so, does the Taoiseach accept the political conspiracy did not come from this side of the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot debate that now as we are dealing with Deputy Kenny’s amendment.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  We will not debate it now but I am adding my voice to the request. We should certainly have an opportunity to debate the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  An amendment that would introduce a new matter is not in order as it is the Taoiseach’s prerogative to list the business to be taken. On the question of the proposal that there be a late sitting——

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Ceann Comhairle has not asked for my views on the matter.

[5]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Ceann Comhairle knows from his experience that on many occasions in the past, the Order of Business in the House has been amended, with the acceptance of the Taoiseach, either for an extension of time or for a change of business and such an amendment will be facilitated now by Members on this side of the House. It is in the public interest that this should happen and I am quite sure the Taoiseach will accommodate us.

Mr. McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Deputy Callely is probably very anxious to speak on the matter.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  On the matter of the late sitting, Ceann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There is no need. We have heard the proposal and we will hear from the Taoiseach now.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Ceann Comhairle has not heard from me at all.

Mr. McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Deputy Callely is very anxious to talk.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  It is in order that I respond to the Ceann Comhairle’s question regarding opposition [6]to the late sitting. The late sitting will not give us the opportunity to deal with the business in hand. The Taoiseach has brought the business into the House himself and I understand why. However, it is valid that we would hear, not just from the former Minister of State, Deputy Callely, but also from the Taoiseach as to whether this signifies a reassurance that there is no other issue concerning a situation where a construction interest would have offered to carry out work — a reassurance, that, for example, no construction company offered to do work on St. Luke’s in Drumcondra.

Mr. O’Donoghue: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That is dirty.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Now we know why people think sometimes there are political acts where——

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I am simply seeking assurances.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We know the kind of assurances Deputy Sargent would want. We are debating the budget today.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with the late sitting be agreed to.”

[5]The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 53.

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 John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Joe Callanan  Zoom on Joe Callanan  Callanan, Joe. Information on Ivor Callely  Zoom on Ivor Callely  Callely, Ivor.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
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 Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel.
Information on Tony Dempsey  Zoom on Tony Dempsey  Dempsey, Tony. Information on John Dennehy  Zoom on John Dennehy  Dennehy, John.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  Ellis, John.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope. Information on Jim Glennon  Zoom on Jim Glennon  Glennon, Jim.
Information on 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 Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Jacob, Joe.
Information on Cecilia Keaveney  Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  Keaveney, Cecilia. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál.
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 M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Liz. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
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 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 Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae. Information on Michael Smith  Zoom on Michael Smith  Smith, Michael.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  Wallace, Dan.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Ollie Wilkinson  Zoom on Ollie Wilkinson  Wilkinson, Ollie.
Information on G. V. Wright  Zoom on G. V. Wright  Wright, G.V.  


[7]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 Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Connolly, Paudge.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  Cowley, Jerry.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, 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 Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. 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 Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
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 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 Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. 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 David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
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.  

[7]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Curran; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[7]Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No. 2 is the proposal for dealing with No. 15a and No. 15b, motions to be referred to select committee and joint committee.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I discussed 15b with my party’s justice spokesperson. As there has been no notification to date we are being asked to deal with it blind. Can we be provided with a detail of the motion before we decide what to do with it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We are asking to refer it to committee. The proposal covered by Title IV of the Amsterdam treaty requires approval from both Houses of the Oireachtas for the State to become involved in its adoption and application. We can make available the notes we have but it will be debated and discussed at the committee.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Is that all there is? It is not published.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22a, Financial Resolutions, agreed to? Agreed.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Following the Taoiseach’s announcement this morning to the House we are now in a state of confusion. I accept this is a traumatic day for Deputy Callely and for his family but the House needs to know whether the Minister resigned or the Cabinet removed him.

[8]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Today’s business has already been decided by a vote.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I appreciate that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is well aware that debates must take place in a structured manner by way of substantive motion.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I have asked for a structured, substantive debate but have been refused. I will make another point. The Taoiseach yesterday spoke about probity and high standards.

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  Of course it does.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It does and I will say why.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy wants to debate the matter he should put down a substantive motion.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Allegations are being made that the former Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Deputy Callely, had informed his senior Minister of the controversy surrounding the illegality of charges in long-stay institutions.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise at this stage. The Deputy will have to find another way to raise it.

[9]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This is a matter of public concern, and the House should have an explanation from the Government and the previous Minister of State so that everybody would know where they stood.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Hear, hear. What is this place for?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is out of order. If the Deputy wishes to have a debate on the matter it can only be done by substantive motion. That is a long-standing rule of the House.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The then Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Deputy Callely, took the rap for the former Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Martin, on the nursing home charges.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  In accordance with all precedents there cannot be a debate. The Chair has ruled.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The public will be immensely confused that a Minister of State can resign and the Ceann Comhairle, uniquely among parliaments, will not permit an opportunity to debate the matter in this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is not a matter for the Chair but for the Standing Orders of the House. The Chair has pointed out twice this morning already——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The implications for former Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Martin, are clear. We deserve an opportunity to debate it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  ——that under Standing Orders issues arising from the announcement can only be debated when there is a substantive motion before the House.

Mr. Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  We are entitled to hear it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is the Standing Order. If Deputies are not happy with it, they should change it. It can be raised by a substantive motion and I suggest, as I suggested to Deputy Kenny, he should do that if that is what he wants.

Ms Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The public want to know.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It appears the issues arising from this can be debated everywhere except in this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It can be debated in this House but only under Standing Orders. There is any amount of opportunities for the Deputy to raise it.

[10]Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  When Deputy Callely was Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, he took the rap for the former Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Martin. He told the Taoiseach that the Minister knew all about the nursing homes issue and had read the documents. The Minister of State took the rap. He has now been sacked and the Ceann Comhairle will not permit a debate in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Standing Orders brought in by the House do not permit a debate at this point. As the Chair has pointed out there are opportunities to debate the issue in a structured way.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  After Christmas.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I appeal to Members to accept the Standing Orders for which they themselves are responsible.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  So 4 million people can discuss it but we cannot.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I hear what the Ceann Comhairle says. He probably refers to the Adjournment Debate but that is not practical.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No. I refer to substantive motions. Has the Deputy a point appropriate to the Order of Business?

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  What does the Ceann Comhairle mean by “a proper way”? There is no proper way within the time and Standing Orders at our disposal.

  11 o’clock

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair does not want to be repetitive but, for the fourth time, I will point out that under Standing Orders, issues arising from the announcement can only be debated when there is a substantive motion before the House.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  That will happen in due course but it will be very much after the event.

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

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I am not finished. We are dealing with the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should raise an issue appropriate to the Order of Business.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Will we have an opportunity to discuss this, even by way of promised legislation? The building control Bill and other legislation could offer lessons to the Government. Must we wait for that legislation for the Government to learn those lessons?

[11]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The building control Bill will be taken early in the next session.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  That is too late. We must hear before then.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  After a budget that has done nothing for the health services, will there be a Supplementary Estimate to provide the 3,000 beds required in our hospitals and to address the 300 people on trolleys and chairs last evening in accident and emergency wards?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy will have an opportunity to debate the budget until 7.30 p.m. this evening.

Mr. C. Lenihan: Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Chuck Feeney does not sponsor Sinn Féin anymore.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  A total of €400 million has been allocated to pay in part for money owed to elderly people in nursing homes who had money taken from them. A senior civil servant lost his position, was dumped on and a report was presented to us in this House which did not deal with the central issue of ministerial responsibility.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  To what legislation does this refer?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  How can we not debate a matter of such importance and hear from the ex-Minister of State to ensure that we finally reach the truth on ministerial responsibility on such an important issue that is costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of euro?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is out of order. Does she have a question on legislation?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Can we make time for a debate? As Opposition spokesperson on health, I am asking for a debate on an issue of major public concern so that we can re-open the issue of ministerial responsibility and finally get to the truth.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy will have time to debate the budget today and must find another way to raise the issue.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is in order for a Deputy to ask the Government to make time for a debate on the Order of Business. It is not up the Ceann Comhairle to make a decision, it is up to the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I appreciate that.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is not up to the Ceann Comhairle to make the decision, is up to the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has made no decision.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is not the Chair’s business.

[12]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I learned a valuable lesson from Deputy Stagg early on when I suggested that the Whips might have a discussion and he said it was not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  If we have the imprimatur of the Taoiseach, we will do that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Taoiseach is only responsible on the Order of Business for debates that are promised. If people asked for a debate on every single issue, Government and Opposition backbenchers would do the same as me.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Chair cannot stop us from asking, we are entitled to ask. The Ceann Comhairle is making a new rule.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy knows the rules.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Chair does not seem to know them.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Arising from the Ceann Comhairle’s decision, will he accommodate a motion if one is put forward for debate today?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It would be a matter for the Government. The Opposition can use Private Members’ time if it wants.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I thank the Chair. When will the Minister be able to report to the House on the Corrib gas project? Perhaps he could use the natural gas regulation Bill to ensure all outstanding matters are discussed publicly and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The legislation is due next year.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Mañana.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  What are the implications for the roads (miscellaneous provisions) Bill following the resignation of the Minister of State at the Department of Transport and the fact that the Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Deputy Parlon, indicated there was a political dimension to the resignation?

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Deputy Parlon was looking after himself.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  This resignation must be debated in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should allow the Taoiseach to answer his question on when the Bill will come before the House.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  Who will look after traffic flow in Dublin now?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The legislation is due next year.

[13]Minister of State at the Department of Finance (Mr. Parlon): Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  On matters raised earlier by Deputy Rabbitte and just now by Deputy Seán Ryan——

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  We want to hear Tom.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  He will tell us about decentralisation.

Mr. Parlon: Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  ——I fully accept the explanation given by Mr. Charlie Bird about the timing of his story about Deputy Callely.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Is this statement being texted?

Mr. Parlon: Information on Tom Parlon  Zoom on Tom Parlon  In my interview last night on “Prime Time”, which was supposed to be about the best budget any Government has ever introduced, I never used the word “conspiracy”.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The Deputy will want an opinion poll after this.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Under what Standing Order may a Minister of State intrude in this debate without interference when Members of this House have been seeking a debate on the resignation of the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Deputy Callely?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Minister of State gave notice that he wished to make a point of personal explanation when it was appropriate.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Deputy Callely should make a statement of personal explanation.

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

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It does arise.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Chair is a disgrace.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is a matter for Deputy Callely if he wants to make a personal statement.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  A disgrace.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Ceann Comhairle said that if the Government assented to it, the Whips could meet to arrange time to debate this issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No, I said in reply to Deputy McManus on a health matter that any debate, as Deputy Stagg pointed out to me, is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  We will discuss the health matter when Deputy Callely tells the truth about the implication of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Martin, in the nursing homes issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The issue does not arise and the Deputy knows he is being disorderly. We will move on to No. 15a——

[14]Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  We will discuss the Minister, Deputy Martin next week. This week we are discussing Deputy Callely.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  ——motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the despatch of a contingent of Permanent Defence Forces.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  This matter has already been dealt with. The House voted and decided this morning that there would not be a debate on it so there cannot be a debate on it now.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will the Taoiseach provide Government time for us to discuss the resignation of the Minister of State at the Department of Transport?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The House has decided the matter by vote this morning.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I am asking the Taoiseach.

Mr. English: Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  We are asking the Taoiseach.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  If this House is to be relevant, we must be able to discuss, in a proper and orderly fashion, what is being discussed throughout the country.

Mr. N. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The budget is being discussed throughout the country.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  A Minister of State has been sacked, forced to resign.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Here comes Ruairí looking for a head.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Under the rules of this House it is reasonable to request the Taoiseach to allow the Whips to meet later to arrange an hour’s discussion of the issue today, not when it is history. Let us remain relevant in this House. Every Government Deputy knows people are talking about this everywhere else.

Mr. C. Lenihan: Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Mr. Angry from Sandymount.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The Taoiseach has sacked a Minister for State and he is entitled to be heard. We should have an hour’s discussion later today by agreement with the Whips, otherwise the Chair is smothering democracy and displaying contempt for the House.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Maybe he is looking for a car.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  We will take no lectures from Deputy Quinn about democracy.

(Interruptions).

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

[15]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It is important to note that this is a matter for concern. When the Taoiseach contributed in the House on 3 December 1996 regarding the resignation of former Minister, Deputy Lowry, he said:

The case made by Deputies must be answered and we need an explanation in the public interest about whether the Minister of State resigned or was sacked, whether there was a conspiracy or whether the Minister for State, in his previous capacity, briefed the then Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Martin, on the issue of long-stay charges in public institutions.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Right now.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  There is always a debate at Cabinet.

Mr. C. Lenihan: Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  There is some difference between £1,500 and £200,000.

Mr. Connaughton: Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Now is the Taoiseach’s chance.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is an absolute disgrace that we cannot get on and debate the budget.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is a matter for Deputy Callely if he wishes to make a personal statement.

Mr. Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The Minister for Defence will tell us all about it in the Sunday Independent.

Mr. O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  I might mention the Deputy. He turned up one day in the ratings.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  We thought Deputy Ring had gone to Labour.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I call No. 15a. Deputy Rabbitte should resume his seat.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  On a point of order, the question put to the Taoiseach was whether he will, in Government time, permit the reasons for the resignation of the Minister of State at the Department of Transport to be debated. The House is entitled to this. It is being debated everywhere except in the House. Serious issues arise and the Taoiseach has the freedom to give Government time to permit adequate discussion about them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That issue has been dealt with and the Taoiseach has responded.

[16]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  On a point of order, I was asked that question 35 minutes ago and I said “No”. The answer is “No”.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Why?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on this. I call No. 15a.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Ceann Comhairle cannot railroad us.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  What has the Taoiseach got to hide?

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Nothing. The Opposition is trying to hide the budget.

Mr. S. Ryan: Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  The Minister went up every tree in north Dublin and could not find Ray Burke.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  I was looking for some of the Deputy’s colleagues.


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