Order of Business.

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 621 No. 75

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  5 o’clock

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 12, Revised Estimates for Public Services 2006, Votes 1 to 40, back from committee; No. 1, Road Traffic Bill 2006 [Seanad] — Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. and business shall be interrupted not later than 10 p.m. The Revised Estimates for Public Services 2006 shall be moved together and shall be decided without debate by one question, which shall be put from the Chair and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith. Private Members’ business is No. 54, motion re waste management.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with the late sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 12, motion re Revised Estimates for the Public Service 2006 without debate agreed? Agreed.

I call Deputy Kenny on the Order of Business.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Is the Bill that is before the Seanad at present in respect of home defence a Government Bill, or is it a Bill from the Government’s junior party?

I have raised the matter of SI 170 of 2000 and SI 171 of 2000 on three previous occasions. They deal with the transfer of property rights and liabilities Order of 2000 for the National Rehabilitation Board. A total of 184 staff were employed there and pension rights were due to them.

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

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It arises under the statutory instrument which came from the primary legislation. It took one of these individuals six years to get his rights through the courts.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot discuss what is in the primary legislation.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Perhaps the Taoiseach might be able to send a report to me as to the status of the other 104 claims.

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

[1519]Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  When is it expected that the Harris report, which was sent to Galway for translation a number of months ago, is likely to be produced here? I find it absolutely astonishing that the public service, which has served this country so well——

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

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We can of course.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I will allow the last question. The first question referred to a Bill before the Seanad which is not appropriate to the Order of Business in this House.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I asked the Taoiseach when can we expect to have this report published. It used to be done in-house by the public service but not now. It deals with the competency of spoken Irish in primary schools.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot have a debate on it.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I do not seek a debate on it. I seek a debate on when it will be published.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Subject to correction, my belief is that it is due shortly. I will confirm that for Deputy Kenny. I was told it was almost ready two or three weeks ago. The other Bill is a Private Members’ Bill of an individual Senator. It is not a Government Bill.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  On that point, does the Taoiseach know whether the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform had anything to do with the paternity of that Bill?

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  Does it not?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  No Deputy, indeed not.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It arises in the PDs I hear.

For almost two months I have raised the matter of the Dalton report. Everyone, including the media, has received this report except Members of this House. I keep being told by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste that it will be out soon. Whatever is going on, two months later one cannot get a look at the report.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Regarding the Dalton report I understand the due process based on the accusations and allegations is almost complete and it should be with the Government next week.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Will the Comhairle (Amendment) Bill 2004 be re-introduced as new legislation? It seems to be stuck. If the name of Comhairle [1520]changes and other changes are considered, will a new Bill be introduced? For a Bill which deals with information, it seems to be full of mystery. I wonder whether it should be called the faoi rún Bill rather than the Comhairle (Amendment) Bill. It must come before the House unless a new Bill is planned.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  This refers to a disability advocacy Bill which has cleared Cabinet and should be published in approximately a week.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  We will rip up the old one.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  When is it intended to publish the Deloitte & Touche report available to the Government and the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources for some time but not to anybody else? Since it is likely to have a major impact——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That issue was debated last week.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——on the single electricity Bill that will come before the House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is not appropriate to raise reports unless they are promised to the House.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  This is promised. The publication of the report was promised so many times that I almost believe it. Perhaps the Taoiseach will give an indication as to when it will be published.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  This session.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is not much time left.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  In the matter of secondary legislation, when will the Minister for Education and Science make the necessary ministerial order bringing sections of the legislation on the education of persons with special needs from 2004 into effect? It would require the mandatory introduction of individual educational programmes for children with learning difficulties, including dyslexia. Early intervention is absolutely essential in these cases. Schools do not implement the Act even though it is departmental policy without the order being made by the Minister. We are waiting two years for it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will communicate with the Deputy.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Given the ever-spiralling house prices, the increasing interest rates now applying and 44,000 family units on local authority waiting lists, has the Government any proposals to bring forward the housing miscellaneous provisions Bill——

[1521]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It does not arise. It is a question for the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Does the Government intend to bring forward the housing miscellaneous provisions Bill from its scheduled date?

Regarding publication of the cancer strategy, will the Government indicate its willingness to allow for a proper debate before——

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It certainly does. Whether the Government will allow——

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Can we have a debate on the cancer strategy announced last week?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy can ask a question to the Minister. Unless a debate is promised, every Member on each side of the House would want to ask to have a debate on any issue.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I do not know if it has been promised. I asked the Taoiseach whether it is promised. Surely the Taoiseach can clarify it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Timmins has a question on housing legislation.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  How will we know whether the Minister for Health and Children promised it if she has not told us?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I suggest the Deputy submits a question to the Minister. There are many other ways the Deputy could raise this issue.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I have been doing so but one waits four months because everything is kicked to the HSE.

Mr. Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  On the first part of Deputy Ó Caoláin’s request, this Government has presided over an average house price increase of 270% over ten years.

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

Mr. Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  That is the national average. In my county of Wicklow the increase was 310%, which is outrageous.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

Mr. Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Will the Taoiseach bring forward to this session the housing (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, due to be published in 2007, so people in the House have an opportunity to [1522]examine the lack of movement by this Government on the serious house prices faced by many young people who cannot afford to purchase a house, particularly in the greater Dublin area?

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of the Bill are expected soon. It will provide for a rental accommodation scheme, a revised tenant purchase scheme allowing for the sale of flats and will strengthen local authority powers to deal with anti-social behaviour.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Did the Taoiseach indicate when the housing miscellaneous provisions Bill will be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of the Bill are expected soon. It will be some time before it is drafted.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Anyone who expects to buy his or her flat can kiss it goodbye until next year.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Having been in process for at least 25 years, at least it is coming through.

Ms O. Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  It was never promised.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  When do we expect legislation to provide for the sell-off of Aer Lingus? Is additional legislation necessary?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is already passed.

Mr. Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Will additional legislation be necessary to deal with pensions?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I understand not.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  In view of the fact the liaison person appointed by the Government in charge of Irish Vietnamese adoptions was found to be a convicted criminal and payments were made to her in her own name——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It does not arise on the Order of Business. Does the Deputy have another issue appropriate to the Order of Business?

Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  I would have thought it was appropriate. It is an extremely serious issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy knows there are many ways in which he could raise the issue which would be in order.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  I am raising the matter of a review of the Adoption Act. This is extremely serious.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Does the Deputy have a question that is in order?

[1523]Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  I thought that was in order.

When will the compensation scheme for nurses assaulted at work come onstream? I presume it will be under the Nurses Act.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The adoption Bill is for later this year. I am not aware of a nurses assault Bill.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Legislation on assaults on nurses was promised over the years.

Mr. Boyle: Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  The child care amendment Bill will allow for adoption in certain circumstances. During a recent Order of Business the Tánaiste stated it is likely to be a priority. The Government gave a commitment it will be published before the start of the next session at the end of September. Will the Taoiseach give a further commitment that it will be published before then? When are we likely to have a Second Stage debate? Does the Government have an end post in sight for when this legislation will be processed?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  This session. Our definition of “this session” is up to the start of the next session.


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