Cowen, Brian

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 679 No. 1

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Ceisteanna — Questions - Departmental Staff.

Was asked: the number of staff employed in the Government Information Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the staffing levels in the Government Information Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: cén méid duine atá fostaithe ag Seirbhís Eolais an Rialtais. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, together. The number of staff employed in the Government Information Service, the Government Press Office and the communications unit is 15, ten of ...More Button

No decision has been made in respect of any reviews that are taking place at present. I recall a previous parliamentary question in which information to some effect was given to the Deputy. I must c...More Button

Well done Deputy McCormack. That was one of his better efforts. As for the press secretary, he was not acting on my instruction or that of any Minister and nor did he seek an apology, as RTE itself d...More Button

That is well known. Just as with Deputy Kenny’s own press officers, there is a fair bit of contact between them.More Button

When Deputy Kenny’s man does it, it is justified but when my man does it, it is not justified.More Button

The Government information service continues. A central Government information service is essential for information issuing from the Government. When the Government wishes to release information thi...More Button

Is í an Ghaeilge teanga dhúchais an príomhoifigeach san oifig sin. Tá sé ar fáil chun eolas a thabhairt trí Ghaeilge do gach éinne sna meáin chumarsáide mar gheall ar an méid atá ag tarlú sa Rialtas.More Button

Ní chóir go mbeadh straitéis ann. Nuair a chuireann daoine glaoch ar an oifig, tá oifigigh ann chun an eolas atáá lorg a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge. Tá sé ar fáil i nGaeilge.More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions - Social Partnership.

Was asked: if he has responded to the request of the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for a resumption of social partnership talks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: when he next plans to meet the social partners; when the steering group referred to in section 7 of Towards 2016, Review and Transitional Agreement, 2008 to 2009, is expected to hold its next meeting...More Button

Was asked: if he plans to invite the social partners to resume negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he has received a response to the invitation he issued to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on 24 March 2009 to engage in talks; the issues he plans to have on the agenda; and if he will make a s...More Button

Was asked: if he will make a statement on the progress of the recently restarted talks with the social partners. More Button

Was asked: the agenda and schedule of meetings for his renewed engagement with the social partners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 9, inclusive, together. In January, the Government and social partners agreed on a framework for a pact for stabilisation, social solidarity and economic renewal....More Button

In welcoming contributions to a process of discussion, one does not, by that token, provide prior agreement. There are a number of principles contained in the framework that are central to trying to ...More Button

The talks will proceed and their length will depend on the progress that can be made on the issues that arise. On the levy, there is a subjective perspective — people see it in a certain way. The wi...More Button

While the Chief Whip welcomed Fine Gael’s proposals, they will have to be examined in detail. I do not wish to throw cold water on the initiative the Deputy took on behalf of his party but we would n...More Button

I am trying to explain the situation. Deputy McCormack opposed the levy by not voting for it. Now he is wondering if I will take it back. In his next breath he is telling me not to borrow any more ...More Button

Let me make it clear; we made a decision to impose——More Button

I am sorry but I was just about to respond to two questions.More Button

I wish to make it clear that we introduced a pension levy, with which the unions could not agree and so disengaged from the talks process. Re-engagement has only commenced. It was agreed at the time...More Button

I know that, but Deputy Ó Caoláin has suggested that I should defer its implementation. That seems to suggest to me that he has not yet grasped the seriousness of the position in regard to the public...More Button

Leaders’ Questions.

The Minister for Finance and his Department have not yet had an opportunity to inform the Government of that cost. However, I note the announcement by the rating agency Standard & Poor's that it is r...More Button

I have no comment on the gentleman from the credit rating agency other than to note that his job concerns credit rating. I do not know what he knows about Irish politics or what the choices are.More Button

The important point is that the Government has reacted in the face of a deteriorating financial situation——More Button

——last July, in the October budget and in February. Very little support was available from all sides of the House. We continue to do this and will do so again next week. There is broad agreement in...More Button

Budgets are prepared and deliberated upon but they are announced on budget day, not the week beforehand. I did not mention any figures when I spoke last Sunday.More Button

I did not mention any figures. I was simply trying to convey to the correspondents who attended the briefing the scale of the issues we were dealing with and conveying those to the public in a way th...More Button

The Commissioner is in the business of acting on credit rating agencies with regard to conflicts of interest or anything that arises in the work they do and the forecasts they make. More Button

It is incorrect to say that Commissioner McCreevy is indifferent to the role they play. I am sure the opinions are given in a professional manner but I know that the credit rating agency issue has be...More Button

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 15, Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2008 — Second Stage (resumed); and No. 15, Broadcasting Bill 2008 — Order for Report and Report and Final Stages. Private Member...More Button

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform indicates that the amendments relating to the Defamation Bill are at an advanced stage of preparation. He is hopeful that they can be brought before ...More Button

The Minister for Finance has already indicated that the Finance Bill will be introduced in April following the Easter recess. The question of whether a social welfare Bill will be required remains on...More Button

I am not aware of any legislation being in the offing in respect of this matter. A parliamentary question to the relevant Minister might elicit accurate and up-to-date information in respect of the m...More Button

I understand the legislation related to this matter was passed before Christmas.More Button

If the card is invalid it cannot be used for prescription purposes but if there are specific issues coming to the Deputy’s attention on which he needs clarification, contact with the Minster’s office ...More Button

I understand approximately 19,500 cards have been withdrawn voluntarily.More Button

A number of cards have been withdrawn.More Button

I am not aware of that. The Deputy will have to take it up——More Button

In regard to criminal justice Bills, I have replied very frequently in this House on these matters. If a specific question arises today I can read them all out again. If it is the best use of our ti...More Button

I will ask the Minister to examine that but I understand the Law Reform Commission spoke about mental capacity in the context of its report and that is probably from where the title of the Bill emanat...More Button

There is no date yet, unfortunately.More Button

In fairness to the Deputy, that would be an indication of its urgency.More Button

I understand that should be handled some time this year. We are working on that at the moment.More Button

I understand there was some indication as a result of this matter being raised in the House that we try to accommodate dealing with this issue in the mental capacity Bill mentioned by Deputy Lynch.More Button

Written Answers - Consultancy Contracts.

Was asked: the number of limited companies with agreements for the provision of the full-time services of a single individual to him, his Department or to a public body under the aegis of his Department, indica...More Button

As stated below, two limited companies have agreements for the provision of full-time services to my Department or to the bodies under its aegis. One limited company is currently contracted to provide...More Button

Written Answers - National Statistics.

Was asked: the number of offences involving the possession of a knife annually for the past five years; the detection rate in respect of each of these crimes; the conviction rate in respect of each of these cri...More Button

Written Answers - Official Engagements.

Was asked: the oversea visits, excluding attendance at EU Council, he will make before 31 December 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The information sought by the Deputy is set out below. It is my intention to attend the EU-US Summit which will be held on 5 April in Prague where EU leaders will meet with US President Barack Obama. ...More Button

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