Order of Business.

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 620 No. 50

First Page Previous Page Page of 185 Next Page Last Page

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 12, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the treaty concerning the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union, back from committee; No. 13, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 (Prescribed Bodies) Regulations 2006, back from committee; No. 13a, motion re membership of committee; No. 20, Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006 — Second Stage, resumed; and No. 3, Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Bill 2006 [Seanad]— Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 12, 13 and 13a should be decided without debate. Private Members’ business shall be No. 54, motion re drug abuse, resumed, to conclude at 8.30 p.m.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There is one proposal to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 12, 13 and 13a without debate agreed?

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  I refer to No. 13. When will the House have an opportunity to have a more wide-ranging debate on freedom of information and the comments made by the Freedom of Information Commissioner regarding those bodies which have yet to be placed on the list of bodies which are open to the Freedom of Information Act?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  This matter may be discussed at a Whips’ meeting this evening.

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

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I wish to ask the Taoiseach two questions. First, last week I referred to the demise of the National Rehabilitation Board and noted the organisation had 184 members of staff in 2000. I quoted to the Taoiseach the relevant two statutory instruments. One of the employees has contested the case through the courts for six years and that case has been vindicated. Under the [388]statutory instruments, the same statutory rights apply to the other employees who were employed by the board at that time. Will the Taoiseach indicate, whenever he receives the information, what will be the response in dealing with those outstanding claims which deal with abolition of office, pension rights and so on?

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

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This matter falls under the legislation of the statutory instruments which were introduced.

Second, I note that according to the legislative programme, it is expected that a Bill will be published some time this year for the development of an inland waterways authority. It will deal with the existing fisheries boards and a reduction in the numbers thereof. However, the Farrell Grant Sparks report has never been debated in the House. From my dealing with the personnel involved, it is clear that much work must be done in terms of sustaining the value and potential of the industry locally and from the perspectives of tourism and fishing.

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

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Realistically, does the Taoiseach expect that the Bill will be produced and published this year? Will it happen in this session or the next?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  On the first question regarding statutory instruments, I understand that someone is working on the matter. However, I will try to establish the issues and will let the Deputy know.

Work continues on the national inland fisheries authority Bill to establish the national inland fisheries authority, which will subsume the executive functions of the existing central and regional fisheries boards. It is hoped to have the Bill later in 2006.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Everyone except Members of this House appears to possess a copy of the Dalton report on Bord na gCon, or appears to have a partial, leaked version of it. One suspects the motives behind such partial leaking.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot discuss the report. What is the question?

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I note the Minister made two new appointments to Bord na gCon yesterday. When will Members receive the full, unexpurgated version of the Dalton report in order that they can assess what is happening and who is spinning against whom?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  As I stated, we are bound by the agreement and by natural justice to provide a period and I understand that will expire next week, after which we must return to this issue. As [389]the relevant sections of the report have been given to the relevant individuals, people did not receive the full report. Obviously, there is a battle going on for comments on this, which is unhelpful. The Minister has asked people a number of times to stop, but he has been ignored. We have been advised, given our system of natural justice, that we must allow a certain period to elapse. While we considered publication of the full report, given what was happening, we were advised not to do so. Hence, we will see the period through and will deal with the issue thereafter.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Last week I raised on the Adjournment the proposed housing miscellaneous provisions Bill and the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Noel Ahern, said that it is important legislation concerning tenant purchase and anti-social behaviour in local authority housing developments. This is important legislation for many people——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy, we cannot discuss the contents of legislation but the Deputy may put a question on the legislation?

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Does the Taoiseach envisage the Bill will be published and passed before the election?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  There are two Bills. The housing miscellaneous provisions Bill will provide for a rental accommodation scheme and a revised tenant purchase scheme allowing for the sale of flats, as well as strengthening local authority powers to deal with anti-social behaviour. The heads of that Bill are expected shortly. Depending on when it is ready, the Bill will then be sent for drafting. It is important legislation and the heads of the Bill will be available before the summer. Thereafter it will be sent for drafting as soon as possible.

Mr. Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Will it be before the election?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Hopefully.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Last week, I asked the Tánaiste whether it was Government policy for health service executives to bill patients for overnight——

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

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  It is under the Health (Hospitals Inspectorate) Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy has a question on the Bill he should raise it with the line Minister.

[390]Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  At the time, the Tánaiste assured the House that she would take steps to terminate the practice.

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

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  It is still going on.

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

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  It is unacceptable that people on trolleys are being charged for the privilege.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Allen is abusing Standing Orders. I call Deputy Durkan.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  In the context of promised legislation, will the Taoiseach instruct the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to make use of the interregnum between now and the hand-over of Eircom to new management to redefine and redevelop the programme for the delivery of broadband and associated telecommunications services?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy, that does not arise on the Order of Business. I call Deputy Ó Caoláin.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It does arise, under the electronic——

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  On the same subject, I support Deputy Durkan.

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

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Yes. I refer to the electronic communications miscellaneous provisions Bill. Will it be passed before the summer break?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  This session.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  If everyone co-operates.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Will the Minister use the time for the purposes suggested by Members?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be passed this session.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Yes, but will the Taoiseach use it for the purpose which Members feel should be dealt with now?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on what might be in the Bill or what the outcome might be.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We are trying to encourage the Taoiseach.

Mr. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  We are on a merry-go-round.

[391]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy, the correct way to do that is to submit a question to the line Minister.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I will.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  On Monday, the Government signed an agreement between the European Union and Morocco to rob the fishing rights of the people of Western Sahara, a nation illegally occupied by Morocco.

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It does, if you allow me to finish the question. That decision, and indeed the hypocritical representation subsequently——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Sorry, Deputy, it does not arise. I call Deputy Gay Mitchell.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  ——whereby the Government affirmed our continuing recognition of the rights of the people of Western Sahara——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Sorry, Deputy, you cannot abuse the Order of Business in that fashion. I call Deputy Gay Mitchell.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will that agreement come before this House for ratification?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy should submit a question to the line Minister.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  If so when will a debate take place?

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  There is no legislation.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will the agreement come before the House?

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It will be a matter for the Whips.

  12 o’clock

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  Following a private Members’ Bill that I published, the Tánaiste told the House that the Government would introduce legislation on votes for prisoners. Last week when I asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, he said that he was not aware of any such proposal. Can the Taoiseach confirm that legislation will be introduced to give votes to prisoners as was promised in the House?

[392]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill were approved at Christmas time and the Bill is due before the House this session.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  A few weeks ago I asked the Taoiseach about the broadcasting Bill and a very nice man from either his Department or the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources rang and updated me immediately afterwards. Is there any more news as it is getting later?

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is time to produce the evidence.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is the e-government Bill and I understand the Bill will be brought to a committee. Work is progressing on the Bill.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  A government emeritus.

Mr. Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Some 18 years ago a constituent of mine bought land from the Land Commission, but the records cannot be found anywhere now. When will the land conveyancing Bill be brought before the House so that we can at least discuss it and discover where it has gone?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The land conveyancing Bill is due later this year. It will give effect to the Law Reform Commission’s report on modernisation of the land laws and conveyancing law.

Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Further to what Deputy Rabbitte said about the Dalton report, will the Taoiseach give an assurance that the report will be discussed in the House as soon as possible? I ask the Taoiseach to carry out an investigation into the leaks that the media stated came from Government sources.

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

Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  It is very important.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I suggest that the Deputy submit a question and deal with it in the appropriate way.

Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  It is obvious that the person being targeted is the chairman of Bord na gCon.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I ask the Deputy to desist.

Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  What is happening in the media regarding Bord na gCon is very unfair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on the matter. I will allow the Deputy’s first question, which is really a repeat of Deputy Rabbitte’s question.

[393]Mr. Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  The Taoiseach should intervene in this whole debacle. It is selective leaking to a number of papers and it is very unfair.


Last Updated: 03/11/2010 23:22:33 First Page Previous Page Page of 185 Next Page Last Page