Order of Business.

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 612 No. 72

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 19, the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 — Second Stage (resumed); No. 12, the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 — Financial Resolution; No. 13, motion re establishment of a commission of investigation into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse against members of the clergy operating under the aegis of the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin and related matters; No. 3, the Social Welfare Bill 2005 — Second Stage (Resumed) and Subsequent Stages; and No. 30, the Coroners (Amendment) Bill 2005 — Committee and Remaining Stages.

In accordance with the Order of the Dáil of 13 December 2005, it is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m., business being interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m. Proceedings of the resumed Second Stage of No. 19 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 4.30 p.m., No. 12 being taken immediately thereafter and decided without debate.

The proceedings of No. 13 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 45 minutes, and the following arrangements shall apply. The speech of a Minister or Minister of State, the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party, the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, [774]Members may share time, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply that shall not exceed five minutes.

The following arrangements shall apply regarding No. 3, the Social Welfare Bill 2005. The proceedings on the resumed Second Stage, if not previously concluded, are to be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. tonight. The proceedings on the Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. by one question, to be put from the Chair, which shall in relation to amendments include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs.

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

Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 19 and 12, conclusion of Second Stage of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 and Financial Resolution for the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005, without debate agreed?

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We do not agree with the proposals for dealing with No. 19 or No. 12. The Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 is a bureaucrats’ paradise. There has been no consultation with fisheries interests, and the Bill’s essence is that it criminalises fishermen and their families for the most minor indiscretion, which would have the practical outworking that throughout the west no one could go to America on holiday or business thereafter because of restrictions on travel. There has not been the same element of discussion with the industry or industry interests, and the Government’s backbenchers have opposed it seriously. The Bill is opposed in detail and principle, and it should be withdrawn, with clear discussions on the matter, after which it could return to the House in the spring. For that reason, I urge the Taoiseach to withdraw this. We oppose the taking of No. 19 and No. 12.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I wish to record my opposition, as I have done before, to the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005. The proposal that No. 12 be taken immediately after the Second Stage resumption and decided without debate is yet another slight on the workings of this House. On a matter of such importance, it is typical of the last days of any session of this House in my experience since 1997 that the Government seeks to railroad and ram-stam legislation through without the due care and consideration that it deserves. I am opposed to much that is proposed in this legislation, and I reflect the views of many people with interests in the maritime industry.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  On the same point, this is clearly major legislation, and many Deputies have [775]not yet had an opportunity to speak. Many maritime and coastal communities are concerned. Given the fact that a series of wide-ranging amendments is being prepared by the Minister and that the Bill, as presented, will not be that which emerges in February, it is incumbent on the House to have more time to discuss it.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Can the Taoiseach give a full explanation of the Financial Resolution, No. 12? It seems somewhat out of order that the House be asked to decide on such a resolution after the Bill may have passed its Second Stage and before it goes to Committee Stage or is finally approved by the House, thus pre-empting a decision of the House. Does the Government intend for this resolution to pre-empt the Bill itself and that charges should apply from 1 January?

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I thought that we were discussing only No. 19. I echo the views of Deputy Boyle. It seems the resolution being brought forward pre-empts the views of the Dáil, the Seanad and the committee.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy has made his point. There is no provision for two contri[776]butions on the Order of Business. We will hear the Taoiseach on it.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Yes, but I did not realise that we were on No. 12 too. To some extent, the Taoiseach is attempting to pre-empt the debate by introducing the resolution now rather than in February.

  12 o’clock

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Financial Resolution on the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 is required; it must be brought in. We have given the legislation additional time. The reason we wanted to have it passed today was to allow the committee sit in January when the Minister is prepared to give a lot of time to deal with the Bill. He has already made provision for an extensive debate and detail on these issues. It is true that many issues have been highlighted that will amend the Bill but that is the purpose of Committee Stage. We will have plenty of time for an adequate debate on this issue in the second, third and fourth weeks of January.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with Nos. 19 and 12, conclusion of Second Stage of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 and Financial Resolution for the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005, be agreed”.

[775]The Dáil divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 53.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. 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 John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
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 Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
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 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 Dermot Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Dermot Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Dermot. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
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 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 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 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 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 Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Mae Sexton  Zoom on Mae Sexton  Sexton, Mae. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on 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.  


[777]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan.
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 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 Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on 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 Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
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 Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic. Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny.
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 Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. 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 Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. 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 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 Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Seán Ryan  Zoom on Seán Ryan  Ryan, Seán. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Joe Sherlock  Zoom on Joe Sherlock  Sherlock, Joe. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.  

[777]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Neville and Stagg.

[777]Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 13, motion re establishment of a commission of investigation into the handling of allegations of child sexual abuse against members of the clergy operating under the aegis of the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin and related matters, agreed? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 3, conclusion of Second and Subsequent Stages of the Social Welfare Bill 2005, agreed? Agreed.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  A number of people with knowledge of the electricity sector have informed me that the number of medium risk orange alerts has doubled in the past 12 months and that the national grid was put on a full-scale red alert earlier this year. What steps have been taken to ensure that we have capacity in the event of a severe winter? When will the energy (miscellaneous provisions) Bill and the electricity Bill be published? Can the Taoiseach guarantee that the electricity system will not fail to meet the country’s needs over the coming months?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The energy (miscellaneous provisions) Bill is down for the beginning of the session. The capecity of the electricity system to meet demand is always under review. Difficulties can appear when industry operates at full capacity and cold weather arises, particularly during the early evenings. No immediate concerns have been voiced about the forthcoming season. However, there is always a threat that the system will not meet demand during very cold weather.

[778]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Noel Dempsey, received the recent report on the reform of the electricity market. When will this report be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will check with the Minister.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  My colleague, Deputy O’Sullivan, highlighted the plight of Marie Therese O’Loughlin, who is protesting outside the House. Apparently, the Minister’s response to the assertion that there was an inspection function with the State for the Morning Star hostel, was that she could not confirm that because there are no records. It must be possible to put together——

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

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It must be possible to make some arrangement to alleviate the plight of Ms O’Loughlin before Christmas.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does Deputy Rabbitte have a question appropriate to the Order of Business? As he noted, this matter was discussed in the House last night.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  We cannot leave her outside the gate of the House.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Nobody is happy with the current situation pertaining to Ms O’Loughlin. Late last night and early this morning I checked the possibilities with regard to the Morning Star hos[779]tel. Ms O’Loughlin’s life has been a very unfortunate one. However, she also resided in a listed institution for a period and it is perhaps in that area that we should look.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Will the Taoiseach be present in the House tomorrow or should we wish him happy Christmas today? It is akin to the Queen’s birthday in that there is an official and unofficial——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Sargent can discuss the matter later.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I hope the Taoiseach will be present in the House tomorrow so we can all stand on a level playing field.

Promises to introduce the Abbotstown Sports Development Campus Authority Bill in this session have been made seven times. Will an eighth promise be made or will it be debated before Christmas?

I thank the Taoiseach for correcting the record with regard to legislation on the road safety authority. I understood that new legislation dealing with the authority was to be introduced. If this is not the case, could the Taoiseach inform the Minister for Transport, Deputy Cullen, because he said there would be new legislation before Christmas? I understand that the new Bill is an amendment to the Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill, which I hope will be introduced quickly in light of road deaths.

There has been some controversy about statements the Taoiseach made on translation costs for translations into Irish. I want to get itemised the actual cost. Could the Taoiseach clarify matters relating to the costs of translating documents into Irish?

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

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  It is about correcting the record.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  A road traffic Bill will be included in the new testing Bill.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  What about the Abbotstown Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  This session will continue until the next session. That is the definition.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Next January.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I once had a motor car and it was said, in a derogatory fashion, that it could not pass a filling station.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  This might be more suitable for the Adjournment.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The handbrake is off for the moment. We now have a Minister who may be suffering from an analogous condition.

[780]A Deputy:  A what?

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  An analogous condition. It could be worse, because he cannot pass a Bill. The following is a list of Bills promised but not delivered: the Bord Gáis Éireann Bill, the broadcasting authority Bill, the electronic communications Bill, which allowed the Minister an opportunity to convert the electronic voting machines to an alternative use, the minerals development Bill — we could dig deeper and find out more about that one in the undergrowth — the natural gas regulation Bill, which would deal with natural gas, gas pipelines and so on, and the energy (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. The latter Bill was faithfully promised by the Minister in this House on several occasions in the past 12 months but it has not yet been published. Christmas without the energy Bill will be something else.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  We will have to turn off the Christmas tree lights.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Deputy Kenny raised the issue of legislation about electricity.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should confine himself to enumerating the Bills. He does not have to make any preamble. He should not be repetitive. If Deputy Kenny has spoken about certain Bills, there is no need to raise them again.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The electricity Bill was promised for a long time, as was the national oil reserves agency Bill, which Government party Members will remember affectionately. All these Bills deal with issues that are pertinent and need to be debated. When will the Taoiseach nudge the Minister in the right direction?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The energy (miscellaneous provisions) Bill will be published in this session. All the other Bills are for 2006.

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

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Everyone welcomes the apparent resolution of the situation in Irish Ferries. However, the flagging issue has not been dealt with. Will the Taoiseach consider amending the Mercantile Marine (Avoidance of Flags of Convenience) Bill 2005 which was published by the Labour Party? He could do so early in the next session.

A large group of Roadstone drivers came into Leinster House yesterday to meet Senator Tuffy and me. They asked me to give the Taoiseach a message. They are losing——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy will have to find another way of conveying the message to the Taoiseach. He can only speak on the legislation.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I cannot do so. I only see the Taoiseach during the Order of Business. These [781]people are losing their jobs. They are being displaced.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are many other ways in which the Deputy can convey the message.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I have no other way. They are being displaced by very cheap east European labour. Those Roadstone workers want to know if the Taoiseach will bring in legislation on the displacement of our workforce——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Allow the Taoiseach to answer the first question.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  ——by people who are not working for the minimum wage in this economy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy is being disorderly.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I do not care. I have no other opportunity to raise this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy has a number of opportunities and he is well aware of them.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Senior workers are losing their jobs right, left and centre across the economy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Adjournment would be very appropriate for this issue.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  The Taoiseach is sitting there and is not taking any action.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is not appropriate to come in to the House and raise matters that are not for the Order of Business. The Deputy could have submitted that for the Adjournment but he did not do so.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I did not get a chance to do that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Every Deputy got a chance.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I have already pointed out to the leader of the Labour Party the difficulties with its maritime legislation. With regard to the other issue raised by the Deputy and in the context of social partnership talks, I wrote a letter to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions about the Government’s desire to assist in legislation on the issue.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will the Taoiseach please take whatever steps are necessary to help Marie Therese O’Loughlin who is outside Leinster House? Will he respond to the letter I recently sent to him on that matter before we finish tomorrow?

[782]A Bill to provide for the introduction of business improvement districts has been signalled. When will the heads of that Bill be published or agreed if they have not already been? I have never received notification of heads of a Bill despite having made several requests, including through the parliamentary question mechanism. How does one access heads of a Bill from a Department? When will the heads of this specific Bill be available? Will the Taoiseach make them available to Members?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of business improvement districts Bill have been approved. The legislation is yet to be drafted and it will be late 2006 before the legislation will be prepared.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will they be made available to Members? That is a simple question.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  About 400 families will have a very lonely Christmas this year as a result of road deaths. When will the alcohol products Bill be brought before the House so that we can discuss these issues and find a way to minimise these dreadful events?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The alcohol products Bill has been deferred pending the voluntary agreements that have been reached with the alcohol and advertising industries. We are holding it off until we see how the voluntary agreements work.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  The proposed solution in the Taoiseach’s reply to Deputy Rabbitte’s question about Marie Therese O’Loughlin cannot work. While she spent some time subsequently in Goldenbridge, which is a scheduled institution, her horrific injuries were sustained in Morning Star when she was a baby there.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on this issue today. It was debated last night. It was already raised by Deputy Rabbitte and was answered by the Taoiseach.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  I have a question on the legislation. A small number of those institutions are feeder institutions to the institutions that are scheduled. They have not been included, even though it was the State that transferred them.

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

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Will the Taoiseach speak to the Minister for Education and Science with a view to amending——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy’s colleague, Deputy O’Sullivan, raised the matter last night and it was debated in this House. We cannot have a debate on it today.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  My question is on legislation.

[783]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If it is included in legislation that is already promised, it is appropriate to the Order of Business. The Deputy is asking if something will be brought into the House that has not been promised.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  My question is on legislation. I ask the Taoiseach to amend the Residential Institutions Redress Act——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not appropriate. I suggest the Deputy submit a question to the appropriate line Minister.

Mr. Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  ——to allow time for these issues to be examined properly.

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Does the Taoiseach not find it disgusting that workers in Irish Ferries will now be paid vastly different wages from now on? Does he agree——

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

Mr. J. Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I have. Just because the race to the bottom did not get as low as Irish Ferries wanted does not mean that the settlement is right. The Taoiseach said that there were difficulties with legislation, but he was talking about this State. What about moving legislation within the European Union? This could ensure common arrangements for shipping so that the laws of this State can apply in ships plying the waters of the European Union and the exploitation of workers can stop.

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Something similar to that has already happened. The Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, has raised these issues at European level.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Could he re-table the directive?

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Can the Taoiseach arrange for the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to answer questions submitted to him in this House? I tabled two questions in mid-November, and they have yet to be answered. I raised this matter as regards a previous question in November, to the effect that it had been submitted in August, and I did not get an answer until November. Under Dáil reform——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are other ways of getting information. The Deputy had the opportunity to submit these matters for the Adjournment Debate and he did not do it. I call on Deputy McManus.

[784]Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Is the Taoiseach bringing forward proposals as regards adequate Dáil reform to deal with issues such as that?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Many things could be done if there was co-operation.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That cuts both ways. It is a two-way process.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  It is a gross discourtesy to the Members of this House who put questions.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Deputy should get Deputy Finian McGrath to put them in for him.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I am somewhat puzzled. I understood, because the Taoiseach has repeatedly stated, that the legislation relating to nursing home charges would be published before Christmas. It does not seem to have appeared yet. I am puzzled by that and wonder what is going on.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The legislation will be published this session. Practically every day I have to define what this session is. It runs until the start of the next session.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This session finishes tomorrow.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It does not and that is the point.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Does that mean we will get it on Christmas Eve?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  In terms of legislation this session runs to the day before the next session starts. That is what happens all the time.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I think that is being disingenuous. We were promised we would have it this year.

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

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  We were not promised we would have it in January.

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

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Will the Taoiseach say whether the Government intends to introduce legislation in the light of the major fire and explosion at Hemel Hempstead oil depot in the United Kingdom——

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

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  ——as regards implementing the Seveso II EU directive on the safety of industrial installations?

[785]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will raise this matter with the Minister.

Normally at the close of business on the final day I have an opportunity to give Christmas greetings to the House, along with Opposition leaders. However, the European Council meeting starts tomorrow and I will not be in a position to do that. I would like to thank the Ceann Comhairle for all of his diligent work throughout the year and for the difficult job he has keeping order in the House. I do my best not to create too much disorder except when we are going over time. I thank the Superintendent, Captain, all the staff, including the administrative staff, ushers and service staff of the House and the press which reports all our activities throughout the year. I thank in particular all the Members of the House, and those I deal with every day, Deputies Enda Kenny, Pat Rabbitte, Trevor Sargent, Caoimghín Ó Caoláin, Joe Higgins and other members of the Technical Group, as well as our colleagues in the Upper House.

I wish everyone a happy Christmas. I hope people can have a restful period, unlike last year when the tragedies of the Tsunami broke on St. Stephen’s Day and turned the Christmas period into a time of international grief. We think of those people and we recall all the other tragedies during 2005. Unfortunately, it was a year when there were tragedies, though thankfully not in our own country. However, that does not alleviate our concern for all those people who experienced such enormous tragedies, many of whom are suffering this Christmas, mainly because of the climatic events that occurred throughout the course of 2005. I wish people a very happy Christmas. I hope people get a rest and spend it with their families. I extend my best wishes to all Members not in the House at this time.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I, too, must take off my shoes at 6 a.m. tomorrow en route to the leaders of the EPP meeting in Brussels. It is opportune that we should express these sentiments now. I concur with the Taoiseach in expressing the thanks of the Fine Gael Party to the personnel of the House for their courtesy and diligence. The Captain was somewhat busier in the last few months than in previous times. I thank the members of the Fourth Estate, the press, for their activity and accuracy in reporting, the Garda for their attendance and all the Members. I, too, wish to be associated with this.

One matter concerns me. The Ceann Comhairle may not recall, but many years ago he said to me in the course of a dissertation about Leinster House, that one of the most important matters to be appreciated was the fact that one’s words were recorded forever for posterity. I am not sure whether there should be an investigation into this, but the Ceann Comhairle’s words approaching a mild expletive last week appear to have disappeared from the Official Report. The tape, broadcast to the nation, in clearly audible Cavan-[786]Monaghan terms, recalls what he said. Yet, somebody, somewhere, in the depths of the building, has had a slip. I am not sure whether he recalls his words to me on that matter or not.

To the Taoiseach, as leader of the Government, and the Tánaiste, it is our job to hold the Government to account, to expose the Government and its Ministers for failures to live up to their constitutional and ministerial duties and I hope we have tried to do that in the best way we can. For now I am happy to return the swords to their scabbards. I look forward to 2006 and hope, irrespective of what the political scene brings, for the good health of our democracy people understand and appreciate that a job has to be done in here for the political health of the nation, as it were. Whenever the Taoiseach raises the white flag or has it raised for him, I hope the people will all participate in making their choice. Finally, I wish a happy and holy Christmas to everybody and peace and good health to all mankind.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I join with my colleagues in wishing the Ceann Comhairle and the staff of the House a happy Christmas. I extend our appreciation to all categories of staff for their diligent efforts throughout the year.

Like Deputy Kenny, I have wondered and indeed, had correspondence with the Ceann Comhairle’s office on a number of occasions in the past about the spoken word, as uttered in here and what actually appears in the Official Report. I have a very lengthy final definitive statement over the name of his predecessor, pointing out that the Official Report is only that — a report. It is not a verbatim record of what transpires in here. It is not a Hansard. From the point of view of archivists and future historians that is a great pity. Sometimes a form of linguistics is tried out in this House that the mother of all parliaments has never experienced. It is a pity that is not recorded as spoken.

I want to join in the seasonal good wishes to the Taoiseach. I was reading his latest interview in a magazine recently and I was very hurt when he suggested that I had, apparently, made some personal remarks about him. I never recall making any personal remarks about the Taoiseach. If he thinks I did I want to withdraw them. I sympathise with him when he says he has not got any newspaper group in the country supporting him. I understand that position and I hope that this, too, continues to be the case in the new year. Happy Christmas to everyone.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  I speak on behalf of my party leader and party colleagues. The party leader, unfortunately, had to attend a meeting of the surprisingly busy ethics committee. I wish to reiterate the Christmas greetings to the Ceann Comhairle and the staff of the House for the patience and fortitude that have been extended to Members during this session. When the House returns in 2006, it will undoubtedly be a somewhat more frayed [787]session, the voices will be higher and louder and tempers will become more frayed. However, that is the future and now is the time for expressing seasonal felicitations and wishing all Members a happy and peaceful season.

I extend those wishes to the staff such as the porters who facilitate the day-to-day running of the House. I look forward to returning to a different Dáil and perhaps a more exciting and useful Dáil in 2006.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I join other Deputies in wishing a Nollaig Shona to the Ceann Comhairle, the Taoiseach and members of the Government and the Government parties, the Opposition Deputies of all parties and none and the staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas in all the various roles they perform. I acknowledge their courtesy and helpfulness at all times throughout the year, which is very much appreciated by all Members of the House.

I extend the same greeting to the members of the press, including those who seek only to denigrate and vilify this Deputy and my colleagues——

Mr. S. Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  The Deputy sounds like Alex Ferguson.

A Deputy:  All is forgiven.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We are well used to it. Because this is a difficult day for so many people, I extend every blessing and comfort to those who today and over the period ahead suffer the loss of a loved one, such as so many families experienced yesterday on the roads of our country. I am sure for each and every one of us, knowing the centrality of family at Christmas time, I can only say that the great weight and great burden that so many will suffer over this Christmas period is hardly imaginable. We must be mindful of those at this time of the year.

Mr. McHugh: Information on Paddy McHugh  Zoom on Paddy McHugh  On behalf of the Independent Members of the Technical Group, I wish to be associated with the expressions of thanks to the various people and wish everybody the best for Christmas and the new year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  On behalf of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, Deputy Pattison, and myself, I thank the leaders for their comments. On the question raised by Deputy Kenny, that was a little tête-à-tête between myself and himself because the Chair also was indiscreet in saying “Enda” rather than Deputy Kenny and it was the first time the Chair said that. It was a little aside between the two of us.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  In the immortal words of Father Jack.

[788]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I checked the term in the Oxford Dictionary of the Ulster dialect and I discovered it means a working community in County Donegal. I am not sure whether it applies to County Mayo.

On behalf of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle and myself, I thank the Members for their co-operation. It has been a very busy year, both for the parliamentarians and the staff of the House. Apart from the business conducted in this Chamber, there have been over 525 committee meetings and by tomorrow evening, there will have been more than 43,000 parliamentary questions processed. This is a record for the House and is 5,000 more than in the past. I am glad to say that only 3.78% of questions have been disallowed, which is the smallest number in the past ten years.

Mr. Gallagher: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  The Ceann Comhairle’s largesse knows no bounds.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I join the leaders in thanking the Clerk, the Clerk Assistant, the Superintendent, the Captain of the Guard, the ushers, all those we see around the building and all those we do not see because some of them are here and gone before we arrive in the morning. I thank all the staff who help to ensure that we have a very good functioning democracy. I thank the press, the Garda, the Army and those who are involved. I wish a very happy Christmas to all Members and staff. Members will be back here in early January to discuss legislation at committee meetings. In the meantime over Christmas, my advice is that they should take a break and enjoy themselves. Thank you.


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