Cowen, Brian

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 674 No. 4

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Ceisteanna — Questions - Constitutional Amendments.

Was asked: the constitutional referenda that will be held during 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the constitutional referenda planned for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the constitutional referenda the Government plans to hold during 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together. The Deputies will be aware that agreement was reached at the December European Council that, if the Lisbon treaty comes into force, all me...More Button

The December Council conclusions guide the Government in this matter. They have given us until June to ascertain whether we can agree texts with our colleagues and until the forming of a new Commissi...More Button

As I said, the timeline to which I am working is outlined in the December conclusions. We have until the specified time; it is not a question of waiting until then. We should get on with the work, d...More Button

With regard to the question on the conclusions in December and what they mean, we obtained political commitments and we are now embarking on detailed discussions as to what legal texts can be agreed w...More Button

The Deputy will be surprised to hear I do not agree with him at all. The idea that one is precluded from putting a question to the Irish people, or that it is in some way a negation of democracy, is ...More Button

The question of adoption of whatever is agreed between ourselves and our partners on the issues outlined in the December Council conclusions would need to be agreed at a meeting of the European Counci...More Button

I do not see it arising at the moment but, as the Deputy is aware, a lot of work can take place in two or three weeks if it can be agreed. Whether we can make that degree of progress, where the Presi...More Button

I did not anticipate the purview of these questions extending to the question Deputy Kenny asked. The Chief Whip has indicated that he is available to speak to committee Chairmen, Whips or whoever re...More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions - Official Engagements.

Was asked: the number of meetings planned by the National Forum on Europe during 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the foreign visits he plans to undertake during 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: when he will next meet with the President of the European Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his plans for meetings with other EU leaders over the coming months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: his priorities for the European Council meeting on 19 and 20 March 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his attendance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his participation in the World Economic Forum summit in Davos in Switzerland. More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his recent visit to Kosovo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his recent visit to Japan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his pre-Christmas 2008 visit to Irish troops serving in Kosovo. More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on his January 2009 visit to Japan. More Button

Was asked: if he will report on his visit to Japan. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 15, inclusive, together. On 22 December I visited Pristina in Kosovo along with the Minister for Defence, Deputy Willie O’Dea. We had a cordial meeting with the ...More Button

On Deputy Kenny’s question on the Lisbon Agenda, the objectives were updated, I believe, during our own Presidency in 2004. The annual economic spring summit that takes place at European Heads of Gov...More Button

That remains a matter for further discussion.More Button

Leaders’ Questions.

It is very important that we protect the integrity of the financial system. Everything we have done has been with that in mind. I do not accept Deputy Kenny’s contention that advice was ignored. In...More Button

On the specific issue raised by Deputy Kenny, as I said, the governance questions were coming to light as we were making the decision on nationalisation and it was decided that this was what needed to...More Button

In regard to the second matter, I do not know any names. I am not involved in any names.More Button

In the interests of the seriousness of the question being raised, I wish to respond to the Deputy. Whatever about Deputy McGinley’s prejudices towards me, when I make a statement, I stand by that sta...More Button

If we are not going to have a civilised discussion, fair enough.More Button

A meeting took place last March at which the governor indicated to me, as Minister for Finance, that a situation was developing in regard to the contracts for difference issue in Anglo Irish Bank. Th...More Button

I want to be clear with Deputy Gilmore. There is no reference to this matter in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. Deputy Gilmore referred to arrangements that were the other part of the resolution ...More Button

As I explained to Deputy Gilmore with regard to the overhang of shares, I, as Minister for Finance, was informed, to ensure that the impact on the stability of the bank would be off-loaded and unwound...More Button

——that the share price would go down. These were in hedge funds or whatever.More Button

I am not having an argument about what words to use. I am trying to explain to people the context of what was going on and why it was important it be unwound. Part of that was the conversion of thos...More Button

No. I am trying to explain the facts. The Financial Regulator obtained legal advice from Anglo Irish Bank’s advisers regarding the fact that this transaction was in compliance, and this was accepted...More Button

I would like to answer the questions raised.More Button

The issue, as I understand it, was accepted by the Financial Regulator at the time on the basis of the legal advice furnished.More Button

No.More Button

It was the legal advice of Anglo Irish Bank.More Button

The due diligence that arose in December raised certain questions which were referred to the Financial Regulator, who also referred them to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. As I h...More Button

Order of Business.

The Order of Business today shall be as follows: No. 7, motion re: referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Planning and Development (Regional Planning Guidelines) Regul...More Button

I outlined the position regarding the Foreshore Acts to Deputy Kenny for two weeks in a row. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources was present here when I suggested that he co...More Button

There has been comment in the media on the issue of compellability, an issue of interest and importance to people. If changes are to be made to compellability, they must be done carefully and subject...More Button

I noted the Deputy’s comment last week. The question is whether there is an existing committee that could do that. I am not sure of the significance of the Deputy suggesting a commission as distinct...More Button

The legislation on the National Pensions Reserve Fund will be published by the end of the week. To answer Deputy Gilmore, I expect the pensions levy legislation to be published tomorrow. The Ministe...More Button

The Minister for Finance will be introducing proposals soon on how to restore public confidence in the regulation and supervision of our banking system. That is a priority. The Director of Corporate...More Button

I understand it is intended that it will be published this year, possibly in this session.More Button

I understand the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering) Bill will be taken in this session. The company law consolidation and reform Bill is a large one with, I understand, almost 1,000 sections. A lot...More Button

It will be brought in this week.More Button

l will have the Chief Whip follow up on that.More Button

I outlined in a previous response our initial reaction to this question of compellability and how it might be approached. It is not without difficulty. I saw members of the particular committee rais...More Button

It was not a Labour Party parliamentary party meeting.More Button

The Deputy should not hold his breath.More Button

I understand that legislation is to come to the House as soon as possible.More Button

Written Answers - Public-Private Sector Pay.

Was asked: if he will outline the average hourly and yearly pay rates among the lower paid, middle income and higher income groups between the private sector and public sector workforce in 2000, in 2005 and in ...More Button

Written Answers - National Flag.

Was asked: if it is correct that at all the Government press conferences only the EU flag is flying and not the Tricolour. More Button

The National flag and the EU flag are both represented in the backdrop to the podium in the Government Press Centre. In addition, the National flag is present at all major press conferences held ther...More Button

Written Answers - Freedom of Information.

Was asked: the number of Freedom of Information requests received by his Department each month in 2007 and 2008 in tabular format; the number acceded to; the number refused; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following tables. Year: 2007 Year: 2008 All FOI applications received in my Department are processed by statutorily designated officials and, ...More Button

Written Answers - Smarter Travel Policy.

Was asked: his Department’s work place travel plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

My Department supports the Government’s Smarter Travel Policy, launched by the Minister for Transport on 5 February 2009. This travel policy recognises the valuable role that workplace travel plannin...More Button

Written Answers - National Flag.

Was asked: the protocol which applies to the flying of the EU flag and the Tricolour at occasions such as press conferences at which he is in attendance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The National flag and the EU flag are both represented in the backdrop to the podium in the Government Press Centre. In addition, the National flag is present at all major press conferences held ther...More Button

Written Answers - Ministerial Travel.

Was asked: the cost in relation to foreign travel, accommodation and related ministerial and official costs associated with St. Patrick’s Day 2008; and the plans related to St. Patrick’s Day 2009 and the projec...More Button

The official costs to my Department associated with St. Patrick’s day 2008 are detailed in the following table: I expect to visit New York and Washington during my official trip to the United States ...More Button


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