Order of Business.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 670 No. 3

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The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is proposed to take No. 11, Supplementary Estimates for Public Services — Votes 19 to 22, inclusive, 26, 27, 32, 37, 38, 40 and 41, back from committee; and No. 2, Health Bill 2008 — Second Stage (resumed) and Subsequent Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 4.45 p.m., that business shall be interrupted not later than 7.45 p.m. and that the sitting shall be suspended from 1.30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

In the case of No. 11, it is proposed that the Supplementary Estimates — Votes 19 to 22, inclusive, 26, 27, 32, 37, 38, 40 and 41- shall be moved together and decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair, that the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes, that any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith, and that speeches shall be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and [500]to the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party, who shall be called upon in that order and may share time, and which shall not exceed ten minutes in each case.

In the case of No. 2, it is proposed that the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. and that the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 6.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Health and Children.

Question Time shall be taken at 6.30 p.m. for 75 minutes. In the event of a private notice question being allowed, it shall be taken after 45 minutes and the order shall not resume thereafter

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There are four proposals before the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 4.45 p.m. agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 11, Supplementary Estimates for Public Services, agreed to?

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Before agreeing to this, I would like to hear from the Tánaiste about the cutbacks in public spending programmes promised by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance. Arising from the state of the public finances, it seems all Ministers are making a list and checking it twice before Christmas. Will we be told what is on those lists or will we wake up some morning during the Christmas recess to find it in our morning newspaper?

Deputy Johnny Brady: Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  We will find out who is naughty or nice.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Before we agree to the taking of these departmental Estimates, it would be helpful if the Tánaiste would tell the House when and how the further expected cutbacks will be announced.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I heard on the news today that the Government has approved a €180 million package to get the pig industry going again. Will there be a Supplementary Estimate for this year to meet the cost of that? How is it intended to fund it, whether from general taxpayers’ resources or through a levy on the sector? Will there be an opportunity for the multiple systems failures that have been exposed in this case to be thoroughly investigated, preferably by the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  This is not Question Time and we do not have Leaders’ Questions today.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  This relates to money that——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We all know well that we are dealing with a narrow proposal before the House.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There will be a discussion on the Supplementary Estimates that are before the House. Deputy Gilmore’s question is not relevant and there are no lists.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is entirely relevant.

[501]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is not. In regard to the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, it is proposed that it will be taken next Wednesday. As the Minister has stated publicly, there will be a full investigation into the matters arising as a consequence of what happened last week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 11, Supplementary Estimates for Public Services, agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 2, Health Bill 2008 — Second Stage (resumed) and Subsequent Stages, agreed to?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  This is not agreed. This proposal was probably the most controversial element of the budget that was introduced two months ago. We assumed the Minister for Health and Children would be in a position to introduce legislation at an early date and allow Members on all sides of the House to debate it thoroughly. Instead, the legislation has been introduced at the very last minute, with Second Stage beginning only yesterday. There will be no gap between Second Stage and Committee Stage, as is traditional to allow Deputies to table amendments. Many speakers are being denied the opportunity to speak on the legislation. It is simply unacceptable that major policy changes of this nature are rammed through on a guillotine. If people had their say, the guillotine would be applied to the necks of the 15 Ministers who sat around the Cabinet table and approved this proposal.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The Labour Party also objects to the guillotine on Second Stage and on the Committee and remaining Stages of this legislation. A large number of Deputies would like the opportunity to express their views on the withdrawal of medical cards from pensioners in the run up to Christmas, following the mean-spirited measure in the budget. We strongly object to the guillotine. We submitted amendments and objections to every section of the Bill and the Minister has put down amendments too. Adequate time will be required to discuss this. I agree with Deputy Bruton. Several hundred thousand pensioners would probably line up to pull the lever on that guillotine.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I also object to the guillotine being applied to the so-called Health Bill today on Second Stage and on Final Stage, which is scheduled for 6.30 p.m. The withdrawal of the automatic entitlement to a medical card for the over 70s is clearly an attack on senior citizens. The Government has responsibility to explain how general practitioners were being paid for 10,000 patients who were no longer alive at a rate of €690 per individual on the general practitioners’ lists. That is a list that should have been checked twice. That amounted to €6.9 million of public money squandered, almost the entire amount that the Minister claims this measure was designed to save. Better administration of the health services would have secured the saving required rather than putting senior citizens through this pain and anguish and leaving a significant section of them outside the loop of entitlement in the future. Shame on the Government and on the health service.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I propose the order.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 2 be agreed to.”

[502]The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 68.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
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 Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
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 Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. 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 Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel. 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 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 Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas.
Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie. Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. 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 Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel.
Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory. 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 Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor. 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 Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
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 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 John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
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 Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. 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 Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny.
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 Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. 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 Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
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 Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan. 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 Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.

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 Question Time agreed to? Agreed.

  11 o’clock

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It is two and a half months since the Government intervened in the banking crisis to provide guarantees for depositors. As the Minister will be aware, credit has effectively dried up for many small businesses in the intervening period and sound businesses are going to the wall for lack of credit. Proposals have been made to extend the guarantee to longer term deposits to allow banks to continue. Will proposals emerge from the Government before the Dáil goes into recess? The fear among many people around the House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy’s question is appropriate for Leaders’ Questions, which we do not have on Thursday mornings.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I refer to regulations which would be validly presented to the House if initiatives were to be taken.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  As Deputy Bruton is well aware, questions on the Order of Business relate to promised legislation. That is my difficulty.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  If Ministers spent a little more time in their constituencies listening to businesses, they would know people are struggling just to survive.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Deputy Bruton should wait until he becomes party leader in the new year.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  The issue may be a joke for some but not for others.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Deputy Crawford will not be leader.

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  The Minister, Deputy Ahern, should watch out. I have heard the Minister for Transport will go for the party leadership in the new year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Please allow Deputy Bruton to continue without interruption.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It is a serious problem and the presence of the Tánaiste and Minister for Finance in the House is an opportunity.

Ryanair has made an offer for Aer Lingus whose board has treated it as a hostile bid and indicated it will not contact any of its shareholders with respect to it. What is the Government’s [504]position on this matter which would require new legislation? Is it continuing to consider the offer as valid or does it share the view of the Aer Lingus board that it is a hostile bid?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Unfortunately, I do not believe legislation is promised in either area. That appears to be the position. I call Deputy Gilmore.

A Deputy:  Legislation is necessary.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Both the issues I raise would involve legislative proposals being presented to the Dáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Legislation is not promised and, as the Deputy knows, I cannot make up Standing Orders as I go along.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  In the long period I have attended the House on Thursday mornings I have not seen such a strict interpretation of the rules.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The House may change Standing Orders if it so wishes.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  The Tánaiste should show leadership and answer the questions.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  She does not have answers.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I welcome the agreement reached last night, which will allow the processing of pork to recommence today and provide for pork products to reappear on supermarket shelves. I am sure we are all in agreement that restoring consumer confidence in Irish pork products is essential. I note the Government was able to find a way to put together €180 million required——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy cannot raise that, as he well knows. I must be consistent.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am trying to be nice to the Government today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I am trying to be nice to Deputy Gilmore. I must be consistent. I cannot tell Deputy Bruton he is out of order and then tell Deputy Gilmore he is in order when he is not.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  In that case I note it could find €180 million for this but not €10 million for cervical cancer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That is not in order. The Deputy must move on to something that is in order.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Where there is a will there is a way.

I wish to inquire about the whereabouts or well-being of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy John Gormley. We have not seen him in the House for a long time and, first, I would like to know if he is still in Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Deputy Gilmore must move on.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Second, I want to know what has happened to the promised legislation.

[505]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Minister, Deputy Gormley, is not promised legislation.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  That is for sure. The Minister, Deputy Gormley, is on a promise and it is not happening for him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  On promised legislation, please.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Minister, Deputy Gormley, promised legislation to put a cap on the spending limits in local elections. He also made a statement on regulating the use of posters. We are all making preparations for these important elections next June. The Minister, Deputy Gormley, so far has failed to produce the amendments to the Electoral Bill on spending limits and we have heard nothing on poster regulations. What has happened to his promise to put a cap on spending limits in local elections? Why has he not been able to get agreement by the Cabinet on this relatively modest measure?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There will be a letter from the Taoiseach outlining the fact that it is our intention to include it on Committee Stage of the Bill currently before the Seanad discussions, as long as they comply with Standing Orders.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is going on a long time. Can the Tánaiste tell us the number of posters?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Minister, Deputy Gormley, is on official business in Poland.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  On the issue of the missing Minister, can the Tánaiste confirm to the House that legislation will be required to deal with a situation where An Bord Pleanála has indicated that all its decisions between autumn 2004 and early 2005 are now invalid because of the Minister’s failure to comply with the terms of board appointments? Local government amending legislation will be required. Can the Tánaiste confirm that this legislation will be introduced urgently?

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

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  It is an unprecedented situation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will have to come back to the Deputy. I am not aware of what legislative measures are required.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  I remind the Tánaiste that on 22 May this year on the Order of Business she confirmed to the House that legislation to facilitate complaints against members of the Judiciary would be enacted by the end of this year. Not only has the legislation not been debated, it has not been published. Where does that legislation stand? We are approaching the end of the year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Will there be legislation on judicial reform?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We are still in discussion with the Judiciary on that matter. Other urgent legislation had to be provided for also this session.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  It is promised but not provided.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  We are approaching Christmas which should be a time of goodwill. Can we have an indication of when the matter of the George Mitchell scholarship fund [506]will come before the House? He did a great deal for the peace process in this country and it is sad that the fund is being constantly delayed.

Given that the next meeting between Members of the Oireachtas and the HSE is in St. Agnes complex in Monaghan, when will the Mental Health Bill come before the House because what is currently being done in the health service is mental?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  They will both be next year.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Several Members on this side of the House have continually raised the issue of crime, and in particular organised crime, over the past two or three years. The response from Government has been abysmal, appalling and shameful.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  No running commentaries.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is not a running commentary. The Tánaiste is smiling; I do not think it is a smiling matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Never mind the smiling. Ask about the legislation.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The legislation promised by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Dermot Ahern, should come before the House as a matter of urgency. I will not go through the list. One item is the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill. Where is it, how long more will it take and is there any intention to bring it before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Next year.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The answer to everything is next year.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  It is something to look forward to.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  We could have a general election to look forward to.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Fair play to Deputy Flanagan.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Another item is related to promised legislation. A constituent of mine who is aged 90 is on a trolley for the second day in a hospital in this city.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I will ask about legislation in a moment. I, and others, have asked these questions over previous weeks in anticipation of the winter months. Will the Tánaiste and her colleague, the Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Mary Harney, use their good offices to ensure that no hardship is caused to elderly people in this fashion throughout the winter months? I ask that this patient be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Can the Minister——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  If we got into that, we would never finish the Order of Business.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Can the Tánaiste indicate when the eligibility for health and personal social services Bill will come before the House? Is it another one for next year?

[507]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Bill is currently being drafted and will be available next year.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Can the Tánaiste inform the House when legislation will come before the House to give the plebiscite of Dingle effect whereby it will be known under the Place-Names (Irish Forms) Act 1973 as Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis? When will legislation come before the House and what form will it take?

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The legislation is promised. In deference to the Deputies, I will not say when because they will all claim it on the radio. It has been promised and will come before the House next year.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  When the talks between the social partners and Government finished on 17 September it was announced that legislation would be introduced to deal with the position of freelance musicians, actors and journalists as part of an amendment to section 4 of the Competition Act. When will we see this legislation?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I intend to introduce a number of amendments to section 4 regarding the IMO and Irish Equity. We are preparing the legislation and it will be at least the spring before it comes before the House.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Taoiseach and his Government colleagues announced, although not in this Chamber, the intention to force a second referendum on the Lisbon treaty on the people next year. However, the draft Dáil schedule for next week has no mention of the European Council meeting. Can the Tánaiste indicate if the matter will be on the schedule for next week and that the meeting of the European Council, and all that swirls around it, can be addressed properly in this Chamber?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We will swirl around that next week. We cannot discuss next week’s business this morning. It is not possible.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  In normal circumstances we have statements after the Council meeting. I assume it will be next week.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Does the Tánaiste expect there will be statements?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  In normal circumstances, we try to afford that opportunity. If it can be done, we will do it.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Like previous speakers, I welcome the conclusion of negotiations between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and pig processors which will see the industry back in operation today. From listening to the Tánaiste’s earlier comments, we will have a Supplementary Estimate next week to give effect to that agreement. Will the Tánaiste ensure that adequate time is made available to discuss this very significant issue in the Dáil? I do not think a one hour time allocation is sufficient.

Have any other issues been envisaged within that Supplementary Estimate? I refer in particular to sweetheart deals that have been concluded between the independent republics of north Tipperary and south Kerry for the installation aid scheme.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I cannot discuss sweetheart deals on the Order of Business.

[508]Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Deputies Lowry and Healy-Rae were touting a deal allegedly done with the Minister so that applications in their constituencies that were not submitted to the Department prior to the budget can be considered. Last week, the Minister said in the Dáil that every other application would not be included.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy will have to raise that on the Adjournment.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  This is an issue of the gravest importance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There is a pile of things that are of the gravest importance but that are not in order. I will allow the Tánaiste to answer on the Supplementary Estimate, but I cannot talk about installation aid grants and things like that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Supplementary Estimate will be exclusive to the decision that was made last night.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  This was a very important deal, worth €180 million. I would like time to be made available to discuss the issue next week. When will the Supplementary Estimate be made available?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is proposed that it would be on Wednesday. Given that it is so important, it will be taken on the floor of the House.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Following on from the welcome agreement on pork products, I would like to ask a question about the health implications of the crisis. Will the Government learn any lessons after what has happened? There does appear to be a breakdown in the various regulatory and monitoring bodies. The EPA may have responsibility for one aspect of this while the Food Safety Authority and the Department of Agriculture——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  This is very serious. We must learn lessons for the future on public health.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I cannot go off on that tangent now.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  There are a number of Bills promised, such as the Bill on animal health and welfare and the health (corporate bodies) Bill. Will the Government make sure there are no cracks within the different regulatory bodies on public health?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Our own regulatory authorities are robust, and it is on the basis of that robust nature that the issues have been dealt with.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Tánaiste should forget about that and talk about the legislation.

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  They are like hell. They failed abysmally and the Department failed abysmally. Where was the traceability?

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  Would Deputy Creed have a daily inspection?

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Their performance was abysmal.

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  Deputy Creed’s performance is abysmal. He should show a bit of responsibility.

[509]Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  There is no point being Mighty Mouse up here, and Mickey Mouse in Limerick.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The animal health and welfare Bill has been through public consultation, but it will take some time to bring it before the House. It is a consolidation of all animal health matters.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  What about the other Bill?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The first Bill is out for public consultation, and the Department will be dealing with it as quickly as possible. The health (corporate bodies) Bill will be dealt with next year.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Will the Minister co-ordinate the two Bills?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Deputy does not even know what the legislation is about. It is about the consolidation of all the animal disease regulations.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I am concerned that we might have gaps between the different regulatory bodies.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Deputy is fully aware that there will be grave consequences for agriculture, and that everything will have to be done properly.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I would like to ask the Tánaiste about an area in which there is no regulation at all, in spite of five years of Government promises. I am talking about the tens of thousands of people who are living subject to management companies and who cannot even sell their apartment in many cases. The Tánaiste has promised us week after week that we would see this legislation, which is important to so many young couples who are being fleeced for management charges. When they try to sell their apartments, they are impeded in the sale if the management company has not been properly structured.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy has explained this on numerous occasions.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Tánaiste promised last week that we would get the heads of a Bill before Christmas. What is the story, with one sitting week left?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We are currently drafting that Bill. It is highly unlikely that we will have it before Christmas, given that we have only one more week in the House, but we will try to have it as quickly as possible.

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  On 12 November, I received a response to a parliamentary question regarding the publication of a report by the National Board for Safeguarding Children on complaints made against the Diocese of Cloyne. It is now 11 December and I was told the report would be published before the end of the year. Will time be made available to the House to discuss this issue? It is a vital report. I sought to raise it by way of a parliamentary question, but I do not see any point in raising it under Standing Order 32.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is this report to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas?

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  I have been asking about the report——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is it to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas?

Deputy Seán Sherlock: Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Yes it is, and I have been asking about it for four months.

[510]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will ask the Minister of State to contact the Deputy directly to discuss the matter.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I would like to ask a question related to the health (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. When will the procedure be put in place for the disposal of the pork that is currently in processors’ chills?

There was a headline in the news media this week about an Indian woman aged 70 who gave birth to her first child after IVF treatment. When will we see the human tissue Bill? When will we see legislation to regulate IVF in this country?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The human tissue Bill is currently being prepared, but we do not have a date for its publication.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  What about the procedures regarding the pork in chills around the country?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot go into procedures about chilling pork.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We will not need legislation for that. The procedures are being dealt with by the Department.


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