Order of Business.

Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 622 No. 78

First Page Previous Page Page of 183 Next Page Last Page

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 19, the Criminal Justice Bill 2004 — Report Stage (resumed) and Final 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 10.30 p.m. The proceedings on the resumed Report and Final Stages of No. 19 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. by one question that shall be put from the Chair and that shall, in respect of amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Private Members’ business shall be No. 31, Criminal Law (Home Defence) Bill 2006 — Second Stage (resumed) to conclude at 8.30 p.m.

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. 19, the conclusion of Report and Final Stages of the Criminal Justice Bill 2004, agreed?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is not agreed. I cannot agree to the second proposal on guillotining Report and Final Stages of the Criminal Justice Bill at the conclusion of this evening’s business at 10.30 p.m. This is a regressive, disproportionate and unnecessary Bill, which is yet another attack on the civil liberties of the citizens of the State by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. It is unacceptable.

Here we are in advance of a summer recess once again that is being used as the excuse for a [1154]guillotine to apply. This would curtail discussion on important amendments tabled by my colleague, Deputy Ó Snodaigh, and other Deputies. There should be no limit of time on the debate on the critical need for serious amendment of this legislation. The Bill as proposed should be withdrawn. If that is not to be, there should be no curtailment of time and we should be able to substantively address the matters concerned.

While not on today’s Order of Business, it is unacceptable that there is a signal in respect of the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal (Amendment) Bill.

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I know.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy will have an opportunity to speak on it when it is before the House.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It will be taken tomorrow and concluded by guillotine on Friday, which is unacceptable. I agree with the position——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot discuss legislation that will not be before the House until tomorrow.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  ——of the various groups that have lobbied and campaigned for many years on that legislation, namely, that the Bill should be withdrawn.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  This is not a satisfactory way to do our business. Of 417 amendments, 55 have been dealt with so far. On Committee Stage, there were more than 210 pages of amendments. The Bill bears no similarity to the legislation initially introduced.

My party is alarmed by the information given by the Taoiseach this morning. Given that this is the only criminal justice legislation before the House and we failed to get the information in the space of three weeks, we would like time to reflect on the implications of his casual announcement that there are 42 persons charged under section 1 of the 1935 Act, which was struck down. The implications are alarming. Previously, no one had the slightest indication that the number was anything of that order. One man has walked free, as charges were withdrawn for the rape of an under age girl. The Taoiseach tells the House as it is about to rise that there are 42 persons charged. Have those charges been withdrawn?

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

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Despite its gravity, I do not see any other way in which to address the matter. The Bill is the only criminal justice legislation before the House.

[1155]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We cannot discuss that matter under this legislation.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  If 42 people have been charged but are awaiting a decision of the courts under section 1 of the 1935 Act, in how many instances have the charges been withdrawn?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The matter does not arise out of this proposal.

  12 o’clock

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  As I said, these issues can be opened. There are 42 cases before the courts under section 1. I informed the House that the CC case does not prevent the DPP from preparing charges of sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault or, in appropriate circumstances, rape. I understand that the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990 is being used to deal with those cases and other charges.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Against how many is it being used? Will it deal with all of them?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  All cases under section 1 and some under section 2. The area I pointed out this morning relates to the other issue. There might be some cases under section 2, but we do not know the position on that section. There is an issue of honest belief. There are other issues as [1156]well. I did not get the chance to inform Deputy Rabbitte this morning but we are proposing a parliamentary committee which will call relevant persons as necessary. The key people — Government, Ministers and Opposition spokespersons — must use the time between now and the autumn to sit down and deal with some of the related issues. I am anxious to make progress on the establishment of the committee, which will be a small committee, to deal with the issues. We have done a lot of work in the past three or four weeks. Pending the final detailed case of the Supreme Court the issue should be addressed. The Government is anxious to set up a parliamentary committee to reach consensus on these issues and deal with them.

The situation cannot be left as it stands. The Supreme Court has made its judgment to strike down the Act and cases are pending on the other section of the Act, which will come up in due course. There is not an immediate difficulty because the cases in question are the subject of other charges. We should reflect on the position and not leave it for the whole summer. We will not have completed it by the end of September but we should try to do so as early as possible in the autumn. We are anxious to progress the matter as quickly as possible.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 19 be agreed to.”

[1155]The Dáil divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 51.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. 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 John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Joe Callanan  Zoom on Joe Callanan  Callanan, Joe.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on John Carty  Zoom on John Carty  Carty, John.
Information on Donie Cassidy  Zoom on Donie Cassidy  Cassidy, Donie. Information on Michael Collins  Zoom on Michael Collins  Collins, Michael.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Cooper-Flynn, Beverley. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. 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 Mildred Fox  Zoom on Mildred Fox  Fox, Mildred. Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
Information on Jim Glennon  Zoom on Jim Glennon  Glennon, Jim. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie. Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire.
Information on Joe Jacob  Zoom on Joe Jacob  Jacob, Joe. Information on 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 Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. 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 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 Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel.
Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Ned. Information on 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 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.  


[1157]Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard Information on Dan Boyle  Zoom on Dan Boyle  Boyle, Dan.
Information on James Breen  Zoom on James Breen  Breen, James. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Paudge Connolly  Zoom on Paudge Connolly  Connolly, Paudge. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
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 Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine. Information on Gerard Murphy  Zoom on Gerard Murphy  Murphy, Gerard.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on 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 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 Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Twomey, Liam. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.  

[1157]Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

[1157]Question declared carried.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am very perturbed by the information given by the Taoiseach this morning in respect of the 42 cases pending under section 1(1) and 12 cases pending under section 2(1) of the 1935 Act. That is a total of 54 cases. On seven different occasions in the House, we asked for this information but it was not provided. It was only when Deputy Rabbitte and myself wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions that the Taoiseach came into the House today and gave us this information. This is of the utmost seriousness.

Based on what the Taoiseach said this morning, how many of these 54 cases have had charges against them dropped since 23 May because section 1(1) and section 2(1) of the 1935 Act are no longer in force? How many cases, in which these charges have been dropped, have had other charges brought against them? The sense of outrage palpable throughout the country in the past month will surface again because this is truly extraordinary. Why was the Taoiseach not able to provide this information on seven different occasions in the past?

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

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  If the Taoiseach has the information to hand, will he tell us how many of these 54 cases have had charges against them dropped and have had no other charges brought against them? It will be a really controversial issue if charges have been dropped and no others have been brought against them.

[1158]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  This issue was raised earlier this morning and the Chair ruled it out of order on the question of the vote. We do not want to get into a debate on it now. The Deputy may make a brief comment.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  That is very interesting. Having failed to get this information from the Taoiseach over the past number of weeks, and following our letter to the DPP, he gave me this information in the second bite of Leaders’ Questions this morning when I could not respond. When the Taoiseach said other charges will be proffered against the 42 persons, surely it is beyond the bounds of probability that in each of the 42 cases other charges will be proffered. Is the Taoiseach saying, in respect of the 42 cases which is far in excess of anything we had anticipated up to now, that in all those cases, other charges will be proffered? In respect of the cases under section 2, is he saying there is less probability of a different charge being proffered?

When was the Taoiseach first alerted to this information which we have been seeking to extract since the crisis broke? The prospect that people charged under section 1(1) of the 1935 Act are unlikely to come to trial, and that it is dependent on other charges in the indictment, will cause alarm. Since I raised the matter this morning, has the Government or the relevant Department considered whether a motion will be brought before the House to establish the all-party committee on an appropriate basis? Are we just engaged in head-hunting to assist the Government in resolving a conflict very significantly of its own making? Will that committee [1159]have any statutory basis and will a motion be brought before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I dealt with these matters earlier today. I received the information yesterday and I thought it would be useful to provide it to the House. Deputy Kenny wrote a letter to me, to which I hope to reply today giving the full information.

I have already said three times this morning but will reiterate that we are talking about a parliamentary committee to deal with the issues with which we need to deal in these cases. The Government will put forward its most senior people. I asked that the Opposition spokespersons would put forward their justice spokespersons, or relevant senior Members, so we can deal with these important issues.

With regard to the substance of the issues, I will outline my view to help the debate. Deputy Kenny wrote to me with regard to the issue of statutory rape under sections 1 and 2. I will treat the sections separately. I have already referred to and dealt with what I consider to be the most important issue for us to deal with, namely, the defence of honest belief.

On section 1, there are those who have been convicted before the courts of statutory rape and those in respect of whom prosecutions are pending. As the House is aware, the Supreme Court in the CC case struck down as unconstitutional section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1935. In addition, the Supreme Court in the A case ensured that Mr. A, who had been convicted of such an offence, remained behind bars. We await the reasoned judgment of the Supreme Court in the A case to determine its full implications and its ambit.

There are at present 16 persons in custody having been convicted of an offence under section 1 of the 1935 Act. This cohort of persons are those who are likely to be directly affected by the decision of the Supreme Court in the A case. There are at present 42 persons on charges before the courts under section 1 of the 1935 Act. The CC case does not prevent the DPP from preferring charges of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault and a rape charge. These offences carry a severe sentence of imprisonment. Our law provides that such charges can be added to existing charges on indictments against accused persons.

I emphasise that the underlying conduct that amounts to unlawful carnal knowledge under section 1 of the 1935 Act by definition also constitutes the offence of sexual assault and-or aggravated sexual assault. I cannot at this stage explore the factual details of these cases as it would not be appropriate. Any comment on individual cases would constitute prejudicial publicity and could result in a trial being stopped. The DPP is not by virtue of the CC case prevented from proceeding to prefer charges of sexual assault and-or aggra[1160]vated sexual assault and-or, in appropriate circumstances, rape.

Section 2 of the 1935 Act has not been declared unconstitutional. While that section has been challenged, it remains on the Statute Book. The State will defend these proceedings. Three persons have been convicted of an offence under section 2 of the 1935 Act and no other offence. A total of 12 persons have been charged but not yet tried under this section. I understand the offence of rape, depending upon the factual circumstances, can be preferred. The DPP is not prevented by the CC case from making such a charge.

I cannot at this stage explore the factual details of these cases as it would not be appropriate to do so. I do not want to make any remarks that might constitute prejudicial publicity and result in the trials of accused persons collapsing. They are before the courts. It is for the DPP to make his decision on a case-by-case basis as to what, if any, substitute or additional charges should be preferred. Moreover, given that the issue of constitutionality is before the High Court, it is not proper to comment further on this cohort of cases. We will continue to review all of our legal options in regard to charges under the 1935 Act and await the Supreme Court judgment to assist us in coming to a conclusion in that regard. That deals, as far as is possible, with sections 1 and 2.

The reason I wanted the committee formed and wanted its work to take place in the summer is connected to the third point I made this morning, which concerned the defence of honest belief or mistake. It is as a result of the decision of the Supreme Court in the CC case that we have had to create a defence of honest belief. At no stage since the Law Reform Commission recommendation on the creation of such a defence has any Government or this House entertained the notion of creating such a defence. The reason for this is obvious. It creates a real and extra burden for the victim of unlawful carnal knowledge. It means the victim can be subject to rigorous cross-examination by counsel for an accused who, it may transpire, is a sexual predator.

The idea of 11 or 12 year old girls being grilled in a witness box as to their make-up, perfume, style of dress and the manner in which they comported themselves will undermine the effectiveness of prosecutions for unlawful carnal knowledge. Many parents and most citizens will be horrified at the prospect of girls of perhaps 11 or 12 years being subject to cross-examination. In those circumstances, I wonder whether the existence of the prospect of such cross-examination by experienced counsel will have a chilling effect on such prosecutions. One can look at the new trial process as almost amounting to an 11 or 12 year old being put on trial, which is unacceptable.

We have amended our law as required by the CC case. However, we need to have a hard look at the issue. Does any Member of this House want to subject a young girl, who has already [1161]been the victim of sexual abuse, to the trauma of a gruelling cross-examination about her appearance and the impression she created about herself, her maturity and her age? I hope that in the spirt of co-operation the Oireachtas committee will address the full implications of the CC case decision and the new law, and whether the worst effects of the honest belief defence can be mitigated in any way and if so, how. It is therefore important the terms of reference of the Oireachtas committee, which I put before the House today, are urgently agreed. The committee must address all the issues, including the sensitive issue of young girls of perhaps 11 or 12 years of age being cross-examined. I have also stated that some of the issues that have been raised with regard to the amendments concerning children, and other issues, should be considered.

The Government proposes that we set up a parliamentary committee next week and that it works over the summer and into the autumn to try to complete these issues. The whole House can then come to a judgment on the issues.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Taoiseach read out a long and detailed reply. Will a copy of the reply be circulated so I can study it?

Does the Taoiseach have the information to hand as to the number of cases, among the 54, the 42 and the 12 cases where charges were brought in respect of sections 1(1) and 2(1), which are no longer relevant or have been dropped? If the DPP does not bring another charge against those persons, will they walk free? Is that the implication of the Taoiseach’s remarks?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I stated that other charges can be brought in those cases. I do not believe there is a difficulty in this regard. It is ultimately a matter for the DPP. I do not want to give the impression that I have influence over these cases but my understanding is that in these cases, the DPP has an option of preferring other charges. That will probably happen under Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act 1990.

That deals with those issues but there are other issues we must consider. We should do that within the committee.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The issue is not whether the Opposition is as concerned to urgently address this issue as the Government. That is not in doubt. The Taoiseach read out a long, prepared script about young girls being subjected to cross-examination. That is the very stipulation that is put into the legislation his Government enacted and he is reading back to us the criticisms we made of it at the time. We accept that territory, as is already well established, so there is no point trying to allocate responsibility for what has transpired to this side of the House.

Let us leave out the section 2 charges for the moment because, as the Taoiseach indicated, [1162]there may be a risk of saying something which might be damaging to the prospects of somebody being brought to justice, although the possibility of section 2 being declared constitutionally infirm is also very high, as the Taoiseach is aware. To return to the category consisting of 16 cases to which the Taoiseach referred, is the Taoiseach alerting the House and the country to the prospect of all or some of the 16 individuals in question walking free? Is that the distinction he is drawing? He seems to be seeking to equate unlawful carnal knowledge with sexual assault. These are two different offences. Are alternative charges being pressed? In cases where charges were originally brought under section 1 of the 1935 Act do the indictments also contain other charges or can other charges be validly pressed in each or all of the cases in question? I am still unclear on this matter from the answer the Taoiseach provided.

Mr. Sargent: Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  I listened to the Taoiseach’s long, prepared script which forms part of this debate. May we conclude from his statement that if section 2 is found to be unconstitutional, a referendum will be held on the issue of statutory rape at the end of the process? Is he focused on resolving the matter without resort to a referendum or is he open to the possibility that one might arise?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  When does the Taoiseach intend that the work of the all-party committee will get under way? He referred earlier to the summer period. We do not have a firm proposal for a meeting to launch the committee’s deliberations. When is it intended to hold such a meeting? Is this issue running loose or can the Taoiseach firm it down and indicate to the House when he intends that work will commence?

While I very well recognise Deputy Rabbitte’s point on the distinction between sexual assault and the key focus on the cases which have given rise to this discussion, nevertheless, we cannot divorce ourselves from the responsibility to address the deficiencies in sexual assault treatment centres, which were highlighted last week with the publication of a further report and on which I had an exchange with the Taoiseach. When will the Government take its responsibilities seriously and properly resource the sexual assault treatment centres throughout this jurisdiction, including the roll-out of the additional treatment centres promised?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not have much to add to what I have said. The view is that these cases are in various processes and I have been advised not to say anything about cases that are before the courts. The 16 cases about which Deputy Rabbitte asked relate to individuals who are in custody having been convicted of an offence under section 1 of the 1935 Act. Issues arise regarding how these cases will be resolved but it [1163]is hoped that problems will not arise in any of the cases.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Are the individuals in question challenging their convictions?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not want to get into the details of what has happened.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Is any of the 16 cases being challenged? This is an important matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Allow the Taoiseach to continue without interruption, please.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not have the details of proceedings in individual court cases. This information was requested over a number of weeks and I sought the information and correctly brought it to the attention of the House. The point is that in most of, if not all, these cases other charges can be put and the matter is being carefully looked at by the Minister, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General. Perhaps that will avoid all the problems and difficulties arising out of the Supreme Court’s decision, which it was its right to make.

I have been dealing with many issues arising from this matter in recent weeks. It would be better to deal with these issues in a parliamentary committee over the summer. Issues about constitutional referendums, strengthening the Act and so on can be dealt with in a committee, for which I gave the terms of reference today. While we do not have short-term difficulties with these issues, we should not leave them. The Supreme Court has made the decision to strike down a very important Act, which was the main legislation used until recently by the DPP in taking prosecutions against those involved in these types of cases. While we do not have any short-term difficulties, we should not leave the issue.

We will move a motion on an all-party committee which will be discussed at the Whips’ meeting tonight. I ask for the co-operation of the key people to deal with this issue. Those who have followed this matter, have been involved in it and have a good grasp of it — I am not saying everybody does not have a good grasp of it — can deal with this issue over the summer and into the autumn. I believe this is necessary in the case I outlined. It would be appalling to have children cross-examined in these cases. That is a nonsense and an outcome of the case with which we will have to deal.

Deputy Rabbitte should note that I am not suggesting that this matter is the fault of members of the Opposition. It is a follow-on from the Supreme Court judgment. We must now deal with it and should get on with doing so.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for giving me the opportunity to put all the facts on the record, [1164]which I considered the most appropriate course of action, as soon as I had them in my possession.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We will now take No. 19, Criminal Justice Bill 2004.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I have a question on the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We have spent 25 minutes on the Order of Business.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  That has nothing to do with my right to ask a question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy may protest as much as she likes but if she reads Standing Order 26, she will see that such matters are at the discretion of the Chair.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I have an important question which affects those infected with hepatitis C.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I will call the Deputy tomorrow.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I have a right, on behalf of those affected by hepatitis C, to raise a question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Before the debate on the Criminal Justice Bill 2004 concluded, we were dealing with amendment No. 57, which is being taken with amendments Nos. 58 and 59, and Deputy Ó Snodaigh was in possession.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I have a point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy may not make a point of order when the Chair is speaking. The House will hear it now.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This is the Order of Business and I have a right to ask a question on legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Questions may be asked at the discretion of the Chair. The Chair must take account of the vote that has just taken place as it indicated that Deputies want more time to debate the Criminal Justice Bill.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  There is no more important issue than that the Government intends to introduce a Bill which will remove the rights of hepatitis C victims who were given entitlements by a previous Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is not a point of order. As Deputy Ó Snodaigh has been called, I ask Deputy McManus to obey the Chair.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I wish to raise an issue on behalf of people who were infected with hepatitis C and HIV.

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

[1165]Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I ask the Taoiseach to withdraw the Bill and remove the amendment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has ruled on the matter. The Deputy is out of order.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Deputy McManus’s call is valid and I fully support her.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, it is unprecedented that the Ceann Comhairle has ruled out of order the first question on legislation on the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I suggest the Deputy speak to some of his colleagues in the Opposition about the Order of Business.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Ceann Comhairle is setting a new and dangerous precedent by not allowing Members to raise issues on the Order of Business as they are entitled to do.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If the Deputy is not happy with the Chair’s ruling, he should raise the matter at this evening’s meeting of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. He is wasting the time of the House. Deputies have already indicated that they want to discuss as many amendments as possible on the Criminal Justice Bill.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Given that the question Deputy McManus raised relates solely to legislation, the Ceann Comhairle should allow it to be dealt with now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair is not dealing with the Order of Business now.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Ceann Comhairle is out of order in refusing to allow the House to deal with the question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has spent 25 minutes on the Order of Business.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  On a point of order, does the Taoiseach realise what is in the Bill that is about to come before the House and will he consider withdrawing it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  If Deputies wish to waste the time of the House, as they are doing now——

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  This is not a waste of time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy must obey the Chair.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Ceann Comhairle deliberately abridged today’s Order of Business to facilitate the Taoiseach on an important matter. This was the first issue——

[1166]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair did not facilitate the Taoiseach.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Chair should hear me out.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair ruled the Deputy out of order when he asked his question on the proposal to put before the House. The Deputy kept going on and the Taoiseach answered him. The Chair ruled as the Chair always rules.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I am not complaining about the Taoiseach taking up important time to deal with an important issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We have spent almost half an hour on the Order of Business. Questions will be asked——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The very first issue to be raised on the Order of Business on a matter of legislation that affects a number of women who are now——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That can be raised tomorrow.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Tomorrow will be too late.

A Deputy:  Keep going.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The Bill will come into the House tomorrow. It would be a disgrace to do this to people who have suffered so much.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Why does the Deputy not deal with it on the Order of Business?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Why should people who have suffered so much be made suffer more because the Chair will not allow this question to be asked?

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

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This Government is perpetuating a system that is grossly unfair to people who have suffered at the hands of the State.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy has made her point and the Chair has ruled it out of order.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Will the Taoiseach withdraw the Bill?

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We will not allow the House to move on to normal business until this matter has been resolved.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That is the Deputy’s prerogative. If he wants to keep us from the Bill, on his own head be it.

[1167]Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  In the interests of order and moving on to ordinary business I ask the Chair to allow this question to be taken now.

Mr. Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  On a point of order and to end this row, could the Ceann Comhairle allow ten to 15 minutes for the Order of Business if a number of Deputies ask to raise important issues, whether on hepatitis B or any other matter?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has ruled. We have already gone on to 12.40 p.m. and the Chair must take account of the fact that Members want to move on to the Criminal Justice Bill. Tomorrow morning the Chair will hear the Order of Business.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  On a further point of order——

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Would the Chair at least allow the Taoiseach to express an opinion on this? Will this turn out another piece of disastrous legislation, like the one we have just dealt with? Women out there are suffering and will now be removed from the system if this legislation goes through, slipped in at the last minute by an uncaring Minister for Health and Children.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I will allow the Taoiseach to answer when the legislation will come before the House but we cannot debate it. We have already had a debate that was totally out or order. It is an indication that if the Chair facilitates Members of this House, if they get an inch they want a mile. I ask the Deputy to resume her seat.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Does the Taoiseach realise what is in this Bill?

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  On a further point of order, would it not be advisable and better for the running of the House to allow matters of promised legislation to be dealt with in the normal way? The Taoiseach has no objection.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It would be much better if Members obeyed Standing Order 26.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is no compulsion on the Chair to move on to the next business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Chair has read out Standing Order 26 time and again. That is not a point of order. The Deputy must resume his seat. I call No. 19, the Criminal Justice Bill 2004.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  All we ask is an answer from the Taoiseach. It is wrong that he remain silent.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Ceann Comhairle is pursuing a very foolish path. He should allow the Taoiseach to speak.

[1168]Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This Bill should be withdrawn tomorrow and reintroduced next week.

Mr. Deasy: Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  It is a very important matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Every issue raised in this House is an important matter.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The Taoiseach can sort out his backbenchers but he cannot ensure that the victims who have suffered so much will be looked after.

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

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It certainly does. I can imagine nothing more important.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It does not arise. If the Deputy wants to put it on this evening’s adjournment I will facilitate her.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It will be too late.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Tomorrow will be too late.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  The Ceann Comhairle remembers, as does everybody, the haranguing this Government gave the then Government when this was first introduced and it will undo what was done then after months and years of negotiation. These women will suffer as a result.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I ask the Deputy to resume her seat. The Chair has ruled on the matter.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, we will continue until the Chair allows the question to be raised. In the interests of addressing the other business before the House, I ask that the Chair allow the question to be raised and answered. It would have taken less time than that which has been wasted by the Chair’s intransigent and new position.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It is not a new position. I suggest Deputy Stagg read Standing Order 26.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  A precedent has been set by the Chair this morning that legislation cannot be raised on the Order of Business.

Mr. Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  The Taoiseach has risen to answer.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The Taoiseach can answer the question.

Mr. Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  And he is willing to answer it.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  He sits beside a former Minister for Health and Children who, I presume, understands the importance of this.

[1169]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  This is about legislation that will roll back the rights of people who have suffered at the hands of the State.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I recall the Deputy’s silence when she was in Government.

Mr. Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  We brought in the legislation.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  In the interests of order in the House I suggest that by common consent the Government and Opposition could agree to a ten-minute period for the Order of Business. I appreciate the Ceann Comhairle’s position and this would get him off the hook.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  We must move on. We cannot introduce a new precedent on the Order of Business.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  It can be done if the Government agrees.

Mr. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Taoiseach wants to do it.

Mr. J. O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  If the Taoiseach agrees it can be done.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  It would be a contradiction of the vote. If the Taoiseach wants to make a comment on the Bill——

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  What am I being asked?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I do not know to which vote the Ceann Comhairle refers.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  A Bill on providing insurance cover for people who suffer from hepatitis C is to come before this House tomorrow. That issue is not in contention.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  What is the question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I will ask the Taoiseach the question if the Ceann Comhairle will allow me to. The problem is that there are provisions in this Bill that will take away entitlements that people who have hepatitis C have managed——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  The Deputy may discuss these matters under the Bill. They do not arise on the Order of Business.

Ms McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Because of the problems in this Bill, will the Taoiseach withdraw it, examine the problems and reintroduce it next week?

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  On the same matter——

[1170]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I will not hear anybody else on the matter.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Surely it is appropriate——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  There cannot be any other question.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will answer the question and make a point. We are approaching the end of the session. I reached a substantial agreement with the party leaders in 2002 that we would have Leaders’ Questions on urgent issues in the mornings, and we agreed a particular format. Every other Standing Order in the House is obeyed most of the time. This has taken 21 minutes and if added to the normal 45 minutes, it is an hour. On this issue nobody is following anything. It is becoming ridiculous. When one responds to a question and tries to be helpful it just drifts out. We have spent two hours and 20 minutes——

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  That is why we are here.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  We are here under Standing Orders.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Taoiseach has tried to exclude this question and will not answer it, and he waffles about having to spend a little time here.

Mr. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Deputy Rabbitte is the biggest waffler in the land.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Because he has to come here twice a week the Taoiseach thinks he is doing us some kind of honour.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  I ask Deputy Rabbitte to resume his seat.

Mr. C. Lenihan: Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Deputy Rabbitte’s party agreed to the two days a week. He cannot get away with that.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Deputy Conor Lenihan should shut up. Women are being excluded by legislation that will come before this House tomorrow——

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It will be debated tomorrow.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  It will be too late to deal with it tomorrow, meanwhile the Taoiseach lectures us about the amount of time he has been detained in the House.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The people with whom the Government was supposed to be in consultation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Ó Snodaigh has been called. Out of courtesy to his colleague, if not to the House, Deputy Ó Caoláin should allow Deputy Ó Snodaigh to speak.

[1171]Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Taoiseach did not answer the question on the Bill.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  He did not touch it.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Will the Bill go ahead tomorrow?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Bill will be debated in the House tomorrow and any relevant points can be made.

Mr. Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  That is completely unacceptable and when the women of Ireland hear that is the way the Taoiseach treats and discriminates against some of them, it is a disgrace. The part-time actor from “Killinascully” wants to speak. What does the Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, want to say?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  Deputy Ó Snodaigh has been called.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I am willing to give way.

Mr. Cowen: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Deputy Rabbitte is an insulting boyo. When the pompous mask comes down we see it.

Ms Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  The Taoiseach knows what is in the Bill.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  When there is no order in which I can make my contribution, there is no point in my proceeding.


Last Updated: 03/11/2010 22:36:25 First Page Previous Page Page of 183 Next Page Last Page