Order of Business.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 651 No. 3

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The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  It is proposed to take No. 19, statements on European Council, Brussels, and No. 18, Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008 — Second Stage (resumed).

[556]It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the proceedings on No. 19 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 80 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply. The statements shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 60 minutes, shall be confined to the Taoiseach and the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who will be called upon in that order and who may share time, and shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case. Immediately following the statements a Minister or Minister of State shall take questions for a period not exceeding 20 minutes. It is proposed that (2) the suspension of sitting under Standing Order 23(1) shall take place at 1.30 p.m. or on the conclusion of No. 19, whichever is later, until 2.30 p.m.

Private Members’ business, which shall be No. 27, Cluster Munitions Bill 2008 — Second Stage (resumed), shall conclude at 8.30 p.m., if not previously concluded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal relating to No. 19 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal relating to the suspension of sitting under Standing Order 23(1) agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I understand that the Minister for Finance, Deputy Brian Cowen, has been nominated and selected as leader of the Fianna Fáil Party and, I assume, Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil. I congratulate him on the unique honour that has been bestowed on him by his parliamentary colleagues and wish him the best of luck. We will have many opportunities to debate and discuss matters in this House and outside.

I was going to ask the Taoiseach when the Explosives Bill is likely to be produced, but that may not be appropriate today. Does the Taoiseach expect the Dublin Transport Authority Bill to be published shortly and to come before the House before this session ends in June?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Dublin Transport Authority Bill will be published in a few weeks.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This must be an emotional day for the Taoiseach and listening to the tributes to the late former Member, Mr. Gene Fitzgerald, puts us all in a reflective mood. I wish the Taoiseach well when he stands down and wish his successor, Deputy Brian Cowen, all the best as leader designate of Fianna Fáil.

While the Taoiseach still holds his office and represents the north side of Dublin, I wish to ask him about transport matters, specifically the Dublin Transport Authority Bill. Dublin buses are barred from using the port tunnel, which means people from the Swords area can spend up to half an hour extra trying to get to work in the city centre.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy should not use the Order of Business to make speeches about transport in Dublin. She should confine her questions to legislative matters.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The tunnel is open to private buses but the taxpayer paid for it. It is not open to the public bus service that is the major service provider for taxpayers. Will the Taoiseach address this matter with the Minister for Transport? I do not think solving this issue requires the enactment of the Dublin Transport Authority Bill. There has been much dawdling because various pieces of bureaucracy must be overcome. Will the Taoiseach address this matter before he leaves office?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Dublin Transport Authority Bill will be published in a few weeks’ time.

[557]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Taoiseach promised legislation relating to the Civil Unions Bill, which was due before the end of March. It is almost the middle of April and there is no sign of the Bill. What is the Government’s position on the Civil Unions Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The legislation is being prepared and is to be published, though I am not sure of the date for its publication.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  I wish the Taoiseach well. I refer to the criminal justice miscellaneous provisions Bill, which was brought up in the context of the criminal justice (forensic sampling and evidence) Bill. The Taoiseach mentioned yesterday that that Bill would be dealt with during this session but I wish to know when. The funeral of Mr. Mark Moloney is now taking place in Limerick and in light of this I want specific provisions dealing with gangland crime to be introduced under this Bill.

Gardaí in Limerick are doing excellent work but they feel their hands are tied. I ask the Taoiseach to introduce legislation that will allow gardaí to get exclusion orders from the courts when they feel individuals are involved in criminal activities and should be barred from specific areas of the city.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy is dealing in specifics and I ask him to confine his contribution to a question on legislation.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  Gardaí need surveillance equipment also. When will this legislation come before the House because this should be a matter of urgency?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The legislation will come before the House during this session.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  Everyone in the media is debating gangland crime but nothing is being done about it in this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Taoiseach has answered.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  When exactly will this come before the House? “This session” could mean 3 July. This matter is too serious for such a vague answer and I ask the Taoiseach for a specific date.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Taoiseach cannot give a date and has answered that it will come before the House during this session.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  Is this legislation not urgent enough to warrant a specific date for publication?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of the Bill have been cleared and it went for drafting some time ago. It is due during this session.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  Can the Taoiseach not give a date? This issue should be prioritised and debated in the House.

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

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Yesterday Deputy O’Donnell sought the adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 32 on a matter relating to the serious crime situation and the total breakdown of law and order, but the Ceann Comhairle did not consider it to be in order.

[558]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot go into this now as there are more appropriate methods for raising these matters.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  The Government’s response so far has amounted to interviews from the constituency given by the Minister for Defence, Deputy O’Dea, that are closer to reports from a war zone than a response to the issues involved.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell: Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  This matter is important and I wish to raise it on the Adjournment debate in the House tonight.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That will be given consideration but I must enforce Standing Orders or we will be here all night.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Between pink sheets and white sheets, there is a total of 42 justice Bills. More legislation is promised by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform than by any other Department. Despite this, an independent committee appointed by the Government and the former Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. McDowell, reported this morning for the first time that Garda resources are insufficient to deal with the problem.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy will have to find a different way to raise that issue.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  I ask you, a Cheann Comhairle, as well as the Taoiseach, to facilitate a debate in the House where the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform can present his appropriate plan of action, if any, to deal with this matter. I have submitted a private notice question to you for later in the afternoon. I beg your indulgence to allow these issues to be discussed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That matter is not for consideration.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Week after week, every Tuesday, we come up to this House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy cannot go into the matter now.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is not present.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That does not matter.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  His colleague, the Minister for Defence, who is acting as more of a reporter on the sideline, is a player.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy knows he cannot go into that now.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  I ask you, a Cheann Comhairle, to facilitate a debate under Standing Order 32, a private notice question or on the Adjournment, as requested by Deputy O’Donnell.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We will look at that in the normal way.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  On a similar subject, it transpires, having watched “Nightly News with Vincent Browne” last night that in some quarters it is believed that crime levels have dropped in this country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy cannot discuss that matter now.

[559]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am about to mention the legislation in two seconds.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Mention it now, please.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  In view of the Government’s lethargy in bringing forward the legislation on the pink sheet to combat the serious crime issue that exists in this country at present——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  What legislation is it?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——would the Taoiseach consider it opportune to bring in detention for their own protection——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy can only ask about promised legislation.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——detention or protective custody for the people who are slaughtering each other on the streets at this moment?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Does the Deputy have a question or is he making a statement?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I have a question. I want to raise two other issues.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Ask the question.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The pharmacy No. 2 Bill has been around for some considerable time. The Minister for Health and Children is not in the House nor was she here yesterday and I do not know about next week. When will it be considered expedient to bring in that Bill in view of the ongoing concerns of the pharmacists and the damage being done to the whole structure of the provision of medicines for the general public?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  And the other legislation.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is promised legislation. Given that we have achieved international fame in terms of crime, legislation is promised under the white list to give legislative effect to certain provisions of the United Nations Convention on transnational organised crime. This is very appropriate in the Irish context when Irish gangland warlords are living abroad in the lap of luxury clearly with impunity. Will the Taoiseach indicate when that particular Bill is likely to come before the House as a response to the issue I have raised?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I call the Taoiseach on those two pieces of legislation. The Deputy has made his point.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The pharmacy No. 2 Bill is being drafted. I do not have a date for its publication. It is dependent on the implementation of the new Act on the development of the framework for the proposed Bill as the pharmacy group recommendations relate to the pharmacy service, the contractual matters and the development of that framework. The Bill will depend on how these issues evolve at HSE level.

On the criminal justice United Nations Bill, the examination of the legislative requirements which are not being dealt with in other Bills is ongoing with a view to including heads in an appropriate Bill. I think that Bill is some time away.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  In regard to No. 31, the merchant shipping miscellaneous provisions Bill, I ask the Taoiseach to use his intervention skills with his colleague the Minister for Transport, Deputy Dempsey, to introduce a training element to the Bill——

[560]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot discuss the content of the legislation.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  ——to look at deckhands, mates engineers and qualified skippers who have been forced out of the fishing industry.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That is for a Second Stage speech or an amendment.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  With a 16 week course they could be employed in the Merchant Navy, shipping freight and cargo shipping. We have the capabilities in the Marine Institute.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The Bill will be published later this year.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  It is an employment issue. It is actually a solution to this issue. We are highlighting the issue and we have the solution. I ask the Taoiseach to use his intervention skills.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  A number of other people here and in the media have referred to the need for new justice legislation particularly in regard to the situation in Limerick. A number of pieces of legislation which have been enacted but have not been commenced into law could make a real difference. The former Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. McDowell, was always bringing in legislation that was going to solve these problems.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Does the Deputy have a specific question?

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Yes. A juvenile justice Act, known as the Children Act, has been passed by the Oireachtas but has not been fully commenced into law. Particular elements of that Act would make parents responsible and bring them into court in regard to young people’s activities. There is a real problem in Limerick with youngsters.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot go into that now.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Guys as young as 14 years of age are carrying machine guns.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I cannot make an exception for you, Deputy O’Sullivan.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I am sure I am entitled to ask when sections——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Yes but the Deputy is not entitled to a prologue.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  ——of a piece of legislation, is already law, will be commenced into law so that young offenders can be dealt with and do not become hardened criminals which they inevitably will if this does not happen.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I ask the Taoiseach to respond in regard to the Children Act.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I will have to check with the Department. It would help if I knew the particular sections because quite a lot of the Children Act has been implemented over a period.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Will the Taoiseach come back to me?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  The recently published figures on the cost of nursing home care show a variance between——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  No prologues or epilogues are allowed.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  ——€750 and €1,450 on a weekly basis.

[561]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  To what legislation is the Deputy referring?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  This is becoming unmanageable for several families. I ask the Taoiseach when the health long-term resident care Bill will come before the House.

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

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Can he guarantee that it will come before the House before the summer recess?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  I have a question on legislation and one on the programme for Government. I raised the designated land housing development Bill on the Order of Business some months ago and the Taoiseach assured me that legislation would include a provision to ensure that school sites are handed over in a more efficient and cost effective way by developers to local government. I now read in the most recent updated version of the legislative programme that this Bill is designed to provide for a use it or lose it scheme, which could be deployed by planning authorities on a selective basis to accelerate the development of appropriate land zoned for housing and to address the issue of land options. It appears to be a Bill designed to speed up housing development and there is no mention whatsoever of the provision of school sites as previously promised by the Taoiseach. Perhaps he will explain that or clarify his previous comments.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is legislation promised in this area?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  The heads of the Bill have been approved. The Bill will be drafted but it will not be ready before the summer.

Deputy Leo Varadkar: Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Does it include reference to the provision of school sites?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The matter of inclusion is another day’s work.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  I ask the Taoiseach if we will have the chance to debate in the House the Cassells report, given the concerns in Cork.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That is a matter for the Whips as the Deputy is well aware.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  It can be put on the agenda of the House for the man sitting behind the Taoiseach, Deputy Tom Kitt. The Whip can perhaps organise it. That is the first point. A desperate problem has arisen in the region, which will no longer have a Taoiseach, in regard to building regulations and self-regulation. Has the Taoiseach any plans to ask the incoming Taoiseach to introduce legislation to bring to an end self-regulation? I appreciate the Taoiseach has answered a couple of questions on the transportation authority Bill. Is it possible that the current Minister, Deputy Dempsey, who is effectively stuck in a traffic jam in the Department of Transport for the past nine months and may be moving shortly——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Come on.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  ——when the man sitting beside the Taoiseach, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Dermot Ahern, is elevated, may not introduce that Bill at all?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  On the legislation.

[562]The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  That legislation is due in a few weeks. What was the other Bill?

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Self-regulation by builders.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is that promised legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not have anything on that.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I raised the issue of management companies and their abuse of householders and the fact that there is no regulation for them previously. There are five pieces of legislation listed on the pink sheet for the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. One Bill, No. 15, seeks to provide for the establishment of a property services regulatory authority to give effect to the report of the auctioneering review group. I am very interested in that but, as far as I can see, it will have no effect whatever on management companies, certainly not with that title. We were told last week that there would be legislation this term from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform on this matter. We were promised two other pieces of legislation, one from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the other from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. There is no sign of those two. All that seems to be on the horizon is a Bill to regulate auctioneers. We were promised this as a matter of urgency in the last term and were told those Bills would be coming forward but there is no sign of them. I ask the Taoiseach to find out from the Ministers what are their intentions and why they are not bringing forward the legislation.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I mentioned this yesterday. A high-level interdepartmental committee, comprising all relevant Departments, is working on this. It covers at least three policy areas. The committee hopes to identify the legislative measures required with respect to the multi-unit development report of the Law Reform Commission. The area covers justice, environment and company law so it will take three measures to address it. The committee hopes to conclude its work shortly. It is a Cabinet committee with the Minister of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Attorney General. I understand three legislative measures will be required.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is urgent because people are being ripped off.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Prior to the Taoiseach’s departure, could he bring forward legislation to give legal footing to the plebiscite held in Dingle over one year ago?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There is no legislation promised in this area.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  There is legislation promised on the name change from An Daingean to Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis. Two Ministers are throwing it from one to the other and, with all due respect to the Ministers, they would embarrass Hugo McNeill with their kicking for touch.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is legislation promised?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Dingle cannot dangle anymore.

The Taoiseach: Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  I do not think there is legislation promised.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  We cannot leave it.

[563]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We cannot leave Dingle dangle.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Hugo McNeill would be embarrassed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The main thing is that the ball lands in touch.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  The Ceann Comhairle was very lenient with Deputy Sheahan.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I was not.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  The Taoiseach alluded to the Cluster Munitions Bill. His colleague and namesake, the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, stated that he did not want to divide the House on the issue. I agree with him but it is within his power to decide not to divide the House.

Deputy Tom Kitt: Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  He is doing his best.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  I ask the Taoiseach to reconsider accepting our Bill before 8.30 p.m. The Government has received the kudos for banning investment of the pension fund into cluster munitions although it is not part of the motion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Deputy Timmins should not mind the kudos.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  I admire the Government spin doctors for getting the message out there. I am sure the Taoiseach will reconsider before 8.30 p.m.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  This is important to the Order of Business.

Deputy Deirdre Clune: Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Deputy Broughan asked the Taoiseach about the Cassells report into the debt related to developments at Cork Airport. The Chief Whip indicated that there may be something happening in that area. Can we have an opportunity to discuss that?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot drift into that.

Deputy Deirdre Clune: Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  The Chief Whip has something to offer, if the Ceann Comhairle will give him the opportunity.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I am sure the Chief Whip has something to offer but he can offer it elsewhere. We must move on.

Deputy Tom Kitt: Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  We will discuss it at the Whips meeting.


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