Order of Business.

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 612 No. 105

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 11, Supplementary Estimates for Public Services, Votes 6, 13, 20, 26, 27, 30 and 35, which are back from committee; No. a19, statement by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in regard to information now in the public domain reflecting on the probity and past conduct and fitness to hold office of the chief executive of the Centre for Public Inquiry; and No. 3, the Social Welfare Bill 2005 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m tonight and business shall be interrupted [371]not later than 10.30 p.m.; No. 11 shall be decided without debate and that Supplementary Estimates for Public Services Votes shall be moved together and decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; the proceedings on No. a19 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 45 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply. Subject to Members sharing time, the statements shall be confined to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael party, the Labour Party and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, and which shall not exceed five minutes in each case. Members may share time. Immediately following the opening statements, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform shall take questions for a period not exceeding 20 minutes. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes.

Private Members’ business shall be No. 30 — Coroners (Amendment) Bill 2005, Second Stage, and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. tonight and the following arrangements shall apply. Subject to members sharing time, the speeches shall be confined to the following members who shall be called upon in the following sequence and which shall not indicate the times indicated in each case: Labour, 20 minutes; the Government 30 minutes; Fine Gael, 15 minutes; Technical Group, 15 minutes; and the Labour Party, ten minutes. Members may share time. There shall be no Private Members’ business tomorrow night and in the event of the Coroners (Amendment) Bill 2005 passing Second Stage, it shall be referred to a committee of the whole Dáil and the proceedings on the Committee and Remaining Stages thereon shall take place tomorrow at 7 p.m. and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. on that night by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, with regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Four proposals are to be put to the House. Is the proposal for the late sitting of the House agreed?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The House will have lost 45 minutes on the Social Welfare Bill 2005 because of the special debate organised by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. I propose the House compensate for this time by sitting later than 10.30 p.m.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Government will agree to sitting until 11 p.m.

[372]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal to sit until 11 p.m. agreed? Agreed.

Is the proposal to deal with item No. 11, Supplementary Estimates for Public Services, agreed? Agreed.

Is the proposal to deal with No. a19, statements by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, agreed to?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin   No. a19 is a statement by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in regard to information now in the public domain reflecting on the probity and past conduct and fitness to hold office of the chief executive of the Centre for Public Inquiry. What has this House become? This is not a court of law to determine whether the chief executive of the Centre for Public Inquiry can hold office. This is not public office or somebody in the employ of the State. This is a man whose job, and the jobs of others, have been put in severe jeopardy by the outrageous remarks and abuse of position by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell.

We certainly need questions, answers, statements and a debate, but not on Frank Connolly.

Mr. Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Hear, hear.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It should concern the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform himself.

Mr. Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Exactly.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It should concern his integrity and whether he should hold office——

Mr. N. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Are we having the debate now or should we wait until later?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Ó Caoláin will have an opportunity during the debate to make his point.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  ——given what he has admitted to having done.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot debate this matter now, as we are debating the manner in which the item will be taken.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am not debating this matter. I am making a clear point on why I object to the matter being taken now.

Cecilia Keaveney: Information on Cecilia Keaveney  Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  This is a Second Stage debate.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I do not know of any precedent for this. If we are setting a precedent here, any time this or any other Minister decides to issue surreptitiously information about a citizen or make remarks under parliamentary privilege in reply to a parliamentary question or any other mechanism, are we then to find that the [373]citizen will again find themselves being put before the public spotlight without any right to defence?

Cecilia Keaveney: Information on Cecilia Keaveney  Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  The speech has moved on to Third Stage.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Deputy is being his usual succinct self.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am trying to be brief but I am not the author of this situation. It is serious and demands the requisite consideration of the Taoiseach and his colleagues.

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We are setting a very serious precedent if we allow this to proceed in the manner the Taoiseach has proposed. This proposal is a mistake and I strongly oppose it. We need to address the suitability of Deputy McDowell to be a Minister.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Unlike the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform I have confidence in the judicial process. Is it not more correct for the wording under No. a19 to refer to the Minister’s suitability to hold office, rather than to any member of the public who has not been charged [374]or brought to court, and is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proved otherwise?

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  If this topic is to be debated in the way the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform wishes, it will rub salt in the wounds of an injustice he has perpetrated.

Will the Ceann Comhairle reflect on this and allow the Government to amend the wording and focus on the reason for this debate, namely, to allow the Minister explain himself, not anybody else, and not to accuse or charge anybody else without due process? This statement is turning into an accusation, which makes a bad situation worse.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Ceann Comhairle should allow the Taoiseach to reply.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  If the Taoiseach will not reply, the Ceann Comhairle should let the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform reply.

Mr. Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  The Ceann Comhairle should give the Taoiseach a chance to reply.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  The Taoiseach is hiding behind the Ceann Comhairle’s gown.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. a19 be agreed to.”

[373]The Dáil divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 14.

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 Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
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 Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John. Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
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 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 Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. 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 Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, 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 Cecilia Keaveney  Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  Keaveney, Cecilia. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on 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 Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Donal Moynihan  Zoom on Donal Moynihan  Moynihan, Donal.
Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael. Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on Liz O'Donnell  Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Liz. Information on 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 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 Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on 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 Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  Walsh, Joe.
Information on Ollie Wilkinson  Zoom on Ollie Wilkinson  Wilkinson, Ollie. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.
Information on G. V. Wright  Zoom on G. V. Wright  Wright, G.V.  


[375]Níl
Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan. Information on Jerry Cowley  Zoom on Jerry Cowley  Cowley, Jerry.
Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  Gregory, Tony.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian. Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.

[375]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Boyle and Ó Snodaigh.

[375]Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is No. 4——

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  On a point of order, will the Ceann Comhairle inform the House on the salient rulings of the Chair?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not a point of order. If the Deputy has difficulties with it, he can come to my office where I would be delighted to discuss it with him.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  No, I wish to raise the ruling where the Ceann Comhairle has ruled in the past, along with his predecessors. I am asking for his direction on the salient rulings of the Chair as presented on 15 December 2000.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair will communicate with the Deputy. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members’ business agreed to?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It states very clearly the rulings of the House. I ask the Ceann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is out of order. He cannot walk into the House just to discuss Standing Orders.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am asking the Ceann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for Private Members’ business agreed to?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The issue of referring to someone outside the House has been addressed in the past. It states references to other persons outside the House, public officials, etc.——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is out of order.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I do not mean to be out of order. I am asking——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is out of order. The Chair has ruled on the matter and will [376]communicate with the Deputy. We are not debating Standing Orders in the House.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  That will be after the event.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I ask Deputy Ó Caoláin to resume his seat or the Chair will take appropriate action.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I must protest.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Can we get on with the business of the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair will communicate with the Deputy. He cannot come into the House to start debates on Standing Orders in the middle of putting a proposal to the House. The Deputy will resume his seat.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  It is far from Standing Orders the Deputy was raised.

Mr. Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  What about the salient rulings?

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  It is nice to see the Deputies raising salient rulings.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members’ business agreed to? Agreed.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We are in the last days of session as Christmas approaches. Last night, just after 11 p.m., I passed by the front gate of Leinster House where Marie Therese O’Loughlin was lying in the freezing fog. Apparently, there is no room at the inn. I understand the State provided the building in which the Morning Star hostel was——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  This matter has been raised by Deputy O’Sullivan on the Adjournment and has been allowed. We cannot anticipate the Adjournment debate.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Given the time of year and the circumstances involved, there must be some way to investigate this so that it might be concluded.

I understand serious concerns have been expressed about the imprisonment of a young Tipperary man in England, Christy McGrath, on a murder charge. Little can be done now about [377]this, but it is an issue of which the Taoiseach might take note. I met members of his family and a support group who are anxious that it is taken up with the British-Irish Interparliamentary Body and the British Prime Minister.

Tá a fhios ag an Taoiseach go mbeidh stádas na Gaeilge ag tosnú go hoifigiúil ar 1 Eanáir an bhliain seo chugainn. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil easpa aistritheoiríón tír seo sa mBruiséil. Cé mhéad aistritheoirí a bheas á gcur ann ag an Rialtas sa dtreo is go mbeidh an stádas curtha i gcrích i gceart?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We intend to get it running but there is a question of getting sufficient staff numbers to be able to operate the system. Certain standards must be complied with, not only with Irish but staff having another continental language. We are still doing everything we can to ensure it starts.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  If a doubt now exists whether the Morning Star hostel was subject to State inspection, surely there must be some way for the Government to intervene——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy’s colleague, Deputy O’Sullivan, has raised the matter on the Adjournment and it has been allowed. It is unreasonable to anticipate the Adjournment debate.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I am grateful to the Ceann Comhairle. There must, however, be some way to end the punishment being inflicted on the woman outside the gates of Leinster House at this time of year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It does not arise. As the Deputy knows, he had an opportunity to raise this matter on Leaders’ Questions.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Does the Government intend to proceed with legislation to establish a statutory press council?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be introduced early in the new year.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Given that my matter was not accepted under Standing Order 31, will a review of emergency procedures in the event of a disaster such as that at Hemel Hempsted be part of the promised national oil reserves agency Bill? I seek some amnesty and clemency for the lady protesting outside the gates of Leinster House given the suffering she has experienced.

The Green Party will write to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges submitting a complaint regarding the decision by the House to vote to collude with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in defamation.

[378]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The House has decided by a majority of 71 to 14 to proceed with the debate. Deputies must accept the democratic decision of the House.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  While I am aware of that, my party will write to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Mr. Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  The Minister attacked a person outside the House who is not able to defend himself.

Mr. D. Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Sinn Féin Deputies are great defenders.

Mr. Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  The Minister’s actions are not on.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  In view of the fact that the services directive proposed by the European Commission has gone through a committee of the European Parliament and is likely to be voted on in plenary session in February next year and in view of the amendments to the directive and its significance for many Irish workers, is it possible for a debate to be arranged in Government time when the House resumes in January to discuss this matter and have the position of the Government known before the vote is taken in the Parliament?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will examine the matter.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  When will the Adoptive Leave Bill and Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill, which have been before the House for the past two years, be enacted? When will we see the legislation to implement the additional maternity leave announced in the budget last week? Will the Taoiseach facilitate the introduction of such legislation at an early date in order that parents who have children prior to 1 March can avail of the measure?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy will have an opportunity to debate the issue later on the Social Welfare Bill.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  The measure is not part of the Social Welfare Bill.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Both Bills are well advanced and we would like both of them passed.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  With regard to Marie Therese O’Loughlin, I join the——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy O’Sullivan has raised the matter on the Adjournment. In fairness to the Deputy who raised it, we cannot have a debate on the issue now.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I know the Ceann Comhairle has so ruled but I will say it, as everybody else has done, because I know he treats us [379]all exactly the same. Will the Taoiseach be good enough to reply to the correspondence I issued to him making an appeal on behalf of the lady in question?

Given that the Dáil has taken the decision to endorse the position of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on his despicable action towards a person outside the House and in contravention——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  ——of all precedents of the House, when does the Taoiseach expect to bring the defamation Bill before the Chamber?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Early next year.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  The enforcement of fines Bill was promised a long time ago and still nothing has been done about it. When will the legislation be brought before the House?

In light of the ongoing extraordinarily serious problems in the area of health in the Cavan-Monaghan area, will the——

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

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Yes, I am coming to it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy will have to come to it because I will move on quickly.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  If the health Bill were before the House, Deputies would at least have another opportunity to discuss the issue.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The fines Bill will be taken next year. The heads of the health Bill are expected and the legislation will be published after Christmas.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I asked the Taoiseach previously to keep an eye on the broadcasting Bill to ensure it is introduced by the Minister as quickly as possible. When can we expect the Bill? I hope it will be before the House in February.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be taken in the new year.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Regarding the Tánaiste’s most recent manifestation as a female variety of Scrooge when she called for workers protesting last Friday to be docked their wages, does the Government agree with her position and did she dock her salary when she took time off to open an off-licence down the country last year?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We will move on to No. 11.


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