Order of Business.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 668 No. 4

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The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is proposed to take No. 2, Finance (No. 2) Bill 2008 — Second Stage (resumed).

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.; and the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage of No. 2 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. Private Members’ business shall be No. 57, motion re small and medium enterprises (resumed), to 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 that the Dáil should later than 8.30 p.m. agreed to?

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  No. The Labour Party will not agree any Order of Business because of the way in which the Government proposes to abolish the Combat Poverty Agency. As I said yesterday, the Government has done this in the sneakiest and the most underhand way by including it as an amendment to the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. The agency is being dissolved and taken back into the social inclusion unit in the Department of Social and Family Affairs. This same unit poverty proofed the budget and gave the green light to all the cuts being implemented in the same Bill. As outlined by Deputy Shortall, 12 different measures provided for in the Bill will impact severely on the poorest people in this country. The Government has decided to close the only independent body established to examine poverty issues and to bring its staff back into the social inclusion unit where they will not be able to bark.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The only issue at the present time is whether the House should sit later than 8.30 p.m.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Many issues come before the House and when Members or members of the press or people with considerable power and influence or people who are well organised identify with them, there is a great racket about them but not many people in or around the Chamber have experience of poverty and perhaps do not identify as much with it as they should. If an agency dealing with any other area of life was closed down in this manner, there would be a racket about it. However, this agency deals with poverty and the needs of people who are largely not given the voice they should be given. The Labour Party will not allow this to happen unchallenged. I challenge the Order of Business because the Government is trying to slip this measure in under the door in the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. It is a retrograde step. There are 12 cuts in the Bill and the Government is clearing the decks for more down the line.

[825]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  It is a matter which can of course be debated when the Bill comes before the House.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I wish to briefly——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy should be brief because only brief interventions are allowed at this time. The proposal before the House is that the Dáil should sit later than
8.30 p.m. tonight.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Sinn Féin Deputies supported Deputy Gilmore and the Labour Party in their opposition to the Order Paper as presented yesterday morning on this same issue and we do so again today. They have clearly identified a mechanism to challenge Government’s clear intent to silence, to censor and to set aside what it regards as a thorn in its side. The Combat Poverty Agency is a body which has spoken the truth. We spoke earlier about honesty. This is a time for honesty. The Combat Poverty Agency has served the interests of the least well-off and the marginalised of this State over the years of its operation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That can be debated when the Bill comes before the House. Only brief comments are allowed.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Unquestionably, the arguments presented by Deputy Gilmore deserve the support of all in this House who wish to see an end to poverty in our society.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The issue is whether the Dáil should sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight. I call the Taoiseach.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We will again support the Labour Party today.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I do not accept the contentions made in respect of the matters raised by the Deputies. The question of the elimination of poverty in the past ten years has been very successfully dealt with in many respects, although unfortunately the concept is still with us. The social partnership process has been instrumental in devising policies which have been most helpful to people who have been socially or economically deprived. That process should not be underestimated in terms of the continuing contribution it will make to safeguard to the greatest extent possible many of the advances we have made in this whole area.

While I respect the agency concerned and it will be brought into the Office for Social Inclusion, it is not the only body where advocates for poverty are located.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  It is the destruction of advocacy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There are many who advocate on this——

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  The Taoiseach is wiping it out because it was challenging
clientelism.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  No. I would not accept that at all.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  The Taoiseach has been opposed to the Combat Poverty Agency since it was set up.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy should allow the Taoiseach to finish.

[826]The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I would not accept the Deputy’s contentions. He is misrepresenting my position. With regard to the policy of poverty proofing budgets or other measures, while it is claimed that in some way the Office for Social Inclusion failed in that matter, it simply poverty proofed the decisions that were taken by Government.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  It has obviously failed in that.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The budget documentation will show——

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  There are no savings.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The previous budgets in which I was involved compare very favourably with a predecessor in the Deputy’s party. We have been far better at providing for the lower income groups and dealing with poverty proofing than was the case when they had the opportunity themselves. The budget documentation confirms that.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It does not.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It does.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  The Taoiseach’s party was against the Combat Poverty Agency since the day it was founded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I must put the question.

Question put: “That the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 63.

Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris.
Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall. Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine.
Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian. Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret.
Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. 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 Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.



Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
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 Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
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 Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. 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 John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. 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 Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom. Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 2, Second Stage of the Finance (No. 2) Bill, agreed to?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is not agreed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Does Deputy Kenny wish to speak on the proposal on the Finance (No. 2) Bill?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I have made my point on this previously. I do not agree with the principle of guillotines and I object to this proposal.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  On the guillotining of the Finance (No. 2) Bill, we are probably at the most perilous stage of this nation’s economic life. A decision will probably be made to sell some of our banks——

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

[828]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——to private equity investors. The Government must allow a full debate on the Finance (No. 2) Bill before we have another Eircom disaster where private equity comes in——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That can be raised during the course of the debate.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——and picks us off like vultures. Closing down debate is not what we need now. We need a detailed debate on the Government’s strategy.

A Deputy:  The banks did not do much for them.

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

A Deputy:  They have no Charlie McCreevy.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Deputy Burton has made her point. Does Deputy Ó Caoláin object to this also?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I hope the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher, feels like this when thousands of people in the banks lose their jobs.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Deputy Burton can have a chat with him later. I call Deputy Ó Caoláin.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I object to the imposition of the guillotine on the Second Stage of the Finance (No. 2) Bill. All Deputies should have the opportunity to contribute to this important legislation at any time but particularly at this time of economic woes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Does the Taoiseach wish to speak?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Proceed.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with Second Stage of the Finance (No.2) Bill 2008 be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 64.

Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris.
Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall. Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine.
Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian. Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret.
Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
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 Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan. Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael.
Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony. Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin. Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John.
Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael. Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory. Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt.
Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward. Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
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 Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
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 Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. 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 Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P. J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Question declared carried.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  There are only some ten Dáil sitting days remaining before the end of the year. Will the Taoiseach say when we will see the legislation giving effect to the Government’s decision to change the regulations for medical cards for older people, which were given to these people as a right and withdrawn in part by the decision in the budget?

[830]Given the discussion this morning on good governance, has the Taoiseach reflected on the High Court decision this morning of Mr. Justice Feeney, who proposes to impose a restriction on a person by the name of Mr. Joe Burke of J & H Burke & Sons Limited?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Enough of that now, Deputy Kenny, we are on the Order of Business. I cannot allow a discussion of High Court actions.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This is a consequence of his actions as a company director in 2005 and 2006. The person involved is the chairman of the Dublin Port Company. Does the Taoiseach wish to reflect on this?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  We hope to have the relevant legislation before Christmas in this session.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Fine Gael produced a transparency in public office Bill which may be of assistance to the Taoiseach in dealing with this matter.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I wish to pursue the issue raised by Deputy Kenny, namely, the matter of the Bill which will result in the withdrawal of the medical card from pensioners.

Deputy Pat Carey: Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  We cannot hear the Deputy.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Bill has not yet been published and we have not been told when it will be published.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  It will be before the end of the year.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I thank the Minister for Transport; that is very helpful. I understand the Government also intends to have the legislation enacted before Christmas. Including tomorrow, some ten Dáil sitting days remain until Christmas. It is clear what the Government intends to do and we know its form. It will try to introduce this legislation at the last minute, slip it through and then guillotine it because it is a controversial measure. This is not acceptable.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Deputy Gilmore is entitled to ask the question, but he is not entitled to answer it.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I thank the Ceann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  It defeats the entire purpose.

  12 o’clock

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I will come at it in a different way. They say one should never ask a question in the Dáil unless one already knows the answer. I wish to know the Government’s plans to introduce the Bill to the House. When will Second and Committee Stages take place? Will the Government publish a schedule of business for the remainder of this session, up to Christmas time? There are three Dáil sitting weeks remaining and we wish to know the legislative plans for the remaining three weeks. What will the timetable look like between now and Christmas? We need to plan our diaries.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I always wonder what goes on at Whips’ meetings.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Only what the Taoiseach allows.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Deputy has often made a fair effort to penetrate that cover. This Bill has yet to be published and considered. As soon as that happens, it is a matter for the Whips [831]to decide when it is taken in the House. Hopefully, with the co-operation of the House, we can introduce it before the end of this year. I look forward to the Deputy’s co-operation in achieving that.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Taoiseach knows very well he will not have co-operation, because we do not want it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  He can only answer the question.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Here we are, with three weeks to go, and the legislation is not published.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  He can only answer the question on the legislation.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  He has not answered it. He did not say when it would be published. The last I heard was that it was to be before the end of the month.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  It is the best I can do.

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Now that the decision has been taken to guillotine the Finance Bill, for such important legislation, will the Taoiseach consider taking all Stages in this Chamber? These Bills are being sent over to committees. I am on the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service, and nobody knows what is going on. There is no coverage. Nobody sits in. With such an important Bill, this really makes a joke of democracy. I am asking in the interest of proper procedure that we debate all Stages of that Bill in the House.

Second, will we have a package of Dáil reform when we come back after Christmas?

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Will we come back after Christmas?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is a matter for the Deputy himself.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  The Deputy said he was retiring before the last election and he did not.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I would hate to think the Deputy might be missed.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Fianna Fáil Deputies will all be made to retire after the next election.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Finance Bill is taken in committee, as Deputies know, and it is open to any Member of the House to attend that committee for the purpose of contributing to it.

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is buried. Nobody knows what is going on.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  That is not a reflection on those who attend the committee. I have been there many times and have had some interesting debates. I agree it is a matter of such importance that perhaps people will be able to find some time to cover it. However, that is a matter for others, not for Members of this House.

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The debate should take place in this Chamber.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The question of Dáil reform is a matter for the Whips in due course. Getting agreement on Dáil reform is usually a matter of whether the Government is prepared to give further concessions to the Opposition. For the good order of the House, the fact that we are still here on the Order of Business at almost dinner time——

[832]Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Taoiseach is getting hungry.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  ——does not reflect well on the House.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is only two days a week.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  If people wanted to engage in realistic arrangements which would be far more sensible I would always be open to them, but the prospect of getting agreement has never been great.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On the same subject——

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  In view of the fact that the Taoiseach will be in Opposition after the next election, I suggest it is in his interest, as well as of this side of the House, to have reasonable procedures in place.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Will he be here after the next election?

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  For the information of the Taoiseach, in case he is not aware of it, all parties in the House, including Fianna Fáil, have agreed a package of Dáil reforms which are with the Taoiseach for him to sign off on.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Some of them are agreed — not all of them.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Taoiseach did not get his way on everything.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We have a package agreed between all parties.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It does not work like that.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is with the Taoiseach’s office waiting to be signed off. The Taoiseach should not blame anybody else.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  In order to give weight to the commitment of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to stamp out begging by way of penalties, which has been sought by this side of the House for some time, I ask the Taoiseach when we can expect the criminal justice (public order) (amendment) Bill. Strangely, this will be the first legislative update of such measures since the Famine.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  As I said yesterday morning, that Bill is expected next year.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Minister for Finance announced the appointment of four wise men to An Bord Snip Nua. Will this give rise to a need for legislation in the context of allowing people to transfer between the Civil Service and State bodies? Why are the appointees all men over 50——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I would love to have a discussion on that but we cannot.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——with no women and no young people from the business world with a knowledge of IT?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot have a chat on that.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  What insights are they supposed to have over and above that of people actually working in the area?

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

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Will it require legislation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I ask the Taoiseach whether legislation is promised.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  No.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Taoiseach was talking about debates in the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Legislation is not promised in that area.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  He said he was in favour of women’s participation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy will have plenty of opportunities to discuss all that.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Can I get an answer?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Not two hours into the morning when it is not in order.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Can I have an answer?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There is another way of raising that. The Taoiseach said legislation was not promised.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I think the Taoiseach wants to answer. Maybe he is going to appoint women to this task force.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There are other ways of raising that. I am sure the Deputy will be able to do so.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Given that the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources shared his thoughts on future energy requirements this morning on the radio and that he is not here at the moment, I ask the Taoiseach whether any agreement has been reached on the heads of the electricity (transfer of transmission assets) Bill. In view of the urgent——

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The heads are not agreed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  They are not agreed. That is it.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  They are under discussion at the moment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  They are not agreed anyway.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Legislation is proposed to enable ratification of the protocols to the 1957 European Convention on Extradition. In view of the ongoing occurrence of serious, violent, drug-related crimes, would it be possible to have the heads of that Bill discussed and agreed as soon as possible with a view to bringing the Bill to the House? In this way we can confront organised crime in a realistic fashion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  When is that legislation planned?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The draft heads of the Bill are in preparation.

[834]Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  There is another item of legislation linked to the legislation to remove medical cards from the over 70s. This relates to the fact that the Government wants to be able to talk to the IMO about the terms and conditions under which its members are paid. I refer to amending the Competition Act 2002. Some of the professional organisations seemed to think it might have been dealt with in the Finance Bill, but it is not in the Bill. Is the Taoiseach proposing legislation to amend the Competition Act?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The statement to which the Deputy refers mentioned that we would undertake to introduce proposals consistent with EU law. I refer the Deputy to the statement made on the day.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  There will be legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I said I refer the Deputy to the statement on the day.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I heard that. I do not know whether it means legislation.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  What does that mean?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  What it means is what it says.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It is gobbledegook.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It means what it says.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  The Taoiseach will be aware there is a——

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  We will ask the Tánaiste tomorrow. She might know.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Send us a circular. The Government is good at circulars. Circles of circulars.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We will give Deputy Hogan a break.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  The Taoiseach will be aware that the planning and development (amendment) Bill is on the Order Paper.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Taoiseach should cheer up.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  In the context of the recent cases in the High Court involving the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, which are now subject to the advice of the Attorney General, will the Taoiseach be introducing this Bill in order to reflect the regularisation that is required with regard to the serious planning issues that have been brought to the courts in recent times?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand the Bill is planned for next year but the heads are still to be confirmed.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I am going to try for third time lucky. Deputy Gilmore and Deputy Kenny have already asked the Taoiseach about the legislation to remove medical cards from the over 70s. There are only three weeks left in the session. Can the Taoiseach tell us whether this legislation is to be introduced next week, the week after or the following week?

Is legislation proposed to deal with the levies and changes in health insurance? Could the Taoiseach tell us why the Minister, when she was explaining the fair deal scheme, was able to [835]give several examples of how it would apply, but we get no examples under this new proposal for tax relief and levies with regard to health insurance?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I have ruled before that Deputies cannot fish for legislation on the Order of Business.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have already answered the question about medical cards.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Taoiseach did not answer it. That is the problem.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Government would have to consider it, approve it, publish it and bring it to the House. It is normal procedure.

Deputy Olivia Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Is there legislation, a Cheann Comhairle?

Deputy David Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  I want to return to the issue of Dáil reform. When will the Government introduce——

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  The Taoiseach did not answer the question about legislation on medical cards.

Deputy Olivia Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Yes, he did not answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Legislation is not promised in that area, Deputy Reilly.

Deputy Olivia Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  That is what we are asking. Is it promised?

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

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Then there is no legislation necessary for this. I understood the Finance Bill and the health Bill would come through.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  They have been promised.

Deputy David Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  When will the Government introduce motions to the House to enable us to enact changes to the way in which we do business? I agree with the Taoiseach that this is a most inefficient way of doing business in the House. The ball is in the Taoiseach’s court now. We put forward our proposals. We want to engage. We are not looking for advantage on this. We want to make the House more efficient. Will the Taoiseach please engage with us and bring forward his own suggestions? We have seen nothing from him yet. We will all engage with him to make this House more efficient. It is up to him.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  As I said, we look into these matters on a continuing basis.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  For the past 25 years.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  When will the animal welfare Bill be published? Has the consultation period ended yet?

I support the request made last week for a debate in the House on the implications of the CAP health check, which will have far-reaching effects on Irish agriculture and the way we do business within the rural economy.

[836]With regard to the mental capacity Bill, the Law Reform Commission report has been in existence since 2006. When will the Bill be published? The Taoiseach has previously said it will be introduced in mid-2009. I ask that it be published forthwith.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand that the proposed mental capacity Bill cannot be introduced any sooner than mid-2009, unfortunately. The process of consultation on the proposed animal welfare Bill was completed earlier this autumn. The submissions that were received are being examined before we go any further with the matter. The possibility of a debate on the CAP health check is a matter for the Whips.


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