Order of Business.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 680 No. 4

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The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is proposed to take No. 12, motion re presentation and circulation of Revised Estimates 2009; No. 3, Social Welfare Bill 2009 — Second Stage (resumed); and No. 20, Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2008 [Seanad]— Second Stage (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 12 shall be decided without debate; and the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage of No. 3 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.30 p.m. today.

Private Members’ business shall be No. 63, motion re social welfare Christmas bonus (resumed), to be taken after the Order of Business and to conclude after 90 minutes, 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 today. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 12 without debate agreed to?

[746]Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  No. This is another stage in a totally failed budgeting system. Not only does this year’s budget fail to address the reform issues, adopting instead the easy option of taxing ordinary families and businesses, but the whole budgetary procedure of which the Revised Estimates comprise a part is one that is not fit for running a corner shop. It is an absolutely arcane and archaic system of budgeting. We are to see a Book of Estimates published without a single target therein. We will see a Book of Estimates with no pressure to deliver efficiency.

If we had put in place the United Kingdom’s system of efficiency agreements each year, we would by now, over six years, have €4 billion to spare out of the Estimates to address economic problems. Under our system, there are no consequences in the event of failure. Last year, Ministers reported in their annual output statements that over 40% of the targets they set out to achieve in the previous year had not been achieved. Not even one Minister blushed, let alone tendered his resignation for those failures.

We really need to sharpen up. We cannot continue to spend money without accountability for consequences or transparency as to what is happening. If we do not wise up and reform the system, people will rightly say this House is failing them. This sickens me after all the years during which this side of the House has been demanding reform. We have called for reform through the Committee of Public Accounts and members of all parties, including Fianna Fáil backbenchers and not just members of the Opposition, issued an agreed policy statement, yet we have done nothing about it. The Government stands indicted on that front. The motion on the Revised Estimates does not deserve to be passed on the nod, as has been suggested.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  What is being proposed here is an arrangement for the presentation of Revised Estimates and their consideration by the respective committees of the Houses. In normal circumstances, the House would agree to this but these are not normal circumstances. The changes being made in departmental Estimates are fundamental. There are major changes being made in this regard and we need to debate in the House the revision of the Estimates process and the associated logic.

As the Tánaiste will recall, I asked the Taoiseach yesterday some questions on the report presented by the International Monetary Fund, IMF. In his reply, he said, in effect, that the IMF’s figures were wrong. The IMF has issued a statement standing over the figures it presented, which show that the cost of stabilising the banking system in Ireland will be more expensive than in any other country in the developed world. The cost will amount to €6,000 for every man, woman and child in the country. In such circumstances, we need to have a debate on the Revised Estimates. We need to have the Taoiseach back in the House to explain how he got his information so wrong yesterday. We need a debate on what the Government intends or does not intend to do about the banking system.

We need to do more than agree the motion on the Revised Estimates without debate. The House is being asked to agree, without debate, that the Revised Estimates would just be handed over to the Departments and that arrangements would be made for the presentation of new Estimates, as if it were just a case of making adjustments in the Estimates for a few hundred thousand euro here and there. We are in an entirely different set of circumstances and the issue needs to be debated properly in the House.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  This must be for many, certainly young people below 40 years of age in particular, the most extraordinary of times in living and work experience memory. Over this past week and more, we have seen both the media and the political establishment focused on the proposition on what to all intents and purposes is a minor reshuffle of junior [747]Ministers. We must take on board and recognise that while that dominates political commentary in the front pages of our newspapers today, the truth is that the overwhelming mass of ordinary people do not give a tuppence for what happens in the political careers of either members of the Government or any of the Opposition voices at this point in time. What they are looking to this House for is a clear strategy to get them out of the current difficulties.

On the proposition before us, where we are being asked to accept without debate proposals on Revised Estimates, the people are anxiously waiting for a clear statement of intent on the part of Government on job retention and creation. Those are the critical elements missing from the Government’s address of the current crisis for months despite repeated appeals from voices here on the Opposition benches. It is galling that in these circumstances we are being asked to adopt these proposals without debate. The people want real debate and real focus on what can be done, what measures the Tánaiste and her colleagues at the Cabinet table are taking to ensure that existing jobs are saved and there is the prospect of a light at the end of the tunnel because currently none is showing.

Regarding SR Technics, we have already lost 600 key technical jobs in that organisation, with some of them offered relocation in Zurich.

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

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is a scandal and a disgrace.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I am dealing with the first proposal.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is the real litmus test of the Tánaiste’s position as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Government’s intent on job retention and what measures she will add on top of that for job creation. These are the debates we need in this House and we need a strategy urgently from the Government.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will stick to the order of the day. This is a proposal to send the Revised Estimates to the committees. The committees will examine the Estimates and if the House wishes or decides to have a debate following the committees’ discussions, we would have no objection.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is the proposal agreed to?

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  No.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 12, motion re presentation and circulation of Revised Estimates 2009, without debate, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 60.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. 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 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 Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope. 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 Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál. 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 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 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 Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon.
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 Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. 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 Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine. 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 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 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 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 Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. 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 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 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 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. 3 agreed to?

[749]Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It is regrettable that we are so soon moving into the guillotining of legislation. Many Members who did not get a chance to speak on Second Stage will attend Committee Stage, for which only one day is scheduled next week, to make their Second Stage contributions. Effectively, Committee Stage will never reach any of the substantive amendments or individual provisions in the Bill. The quality of the debate will be dramatically curtailed. We should not have this approach to the legislation. There would be some understanding on this side of the House if the Minister found agreement to ensure proper time given for debating each element of the Bill. Today’s order, however, will be just a straightforward guillotine that will curtail debate which is inappropriate.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  It is a cop-out.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  The Labour Party is opposed to the guillotining of the Social Welfare Bill. It is only about social welfare in name when it is actually a finance Bill.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Hear, hear.

Deputy Róisín Shortall: Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  It imposes the most severe cuts from the recent supplementary budget. It is unacceptable that we would dispose of this in such a short time. The Bill will have large implications for family budgets, imposing the increase in the health levy, the cut in early child care payments and reducing rent supplement and people’s entitlements to unemployment assistance. For that reason, it should be given adequate time for debate in the House.

  11 o’clock

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Neither I, nor any of my Sinn Féin colleagues, have had an opportunity yet to participate on Second Stage of the Social Welfare Bill. It will be difficult to find the opportunity in the course of the limited time being provided with a guillotine falling at 3.30 p.m. This is important legislation. Among the issues already referred to by Deputy Shortall, there is also the cancellation of the Christmas bonus to welfare recipients. The Departments have spun this as representing 2% of the overall social welfare budget. It represents, however, a significantly higher percentage of the annual budget of those dependants who look forward to and need that lift at that critical time of the year. The consequences——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Sorry Deputy Ó Caoláin but there is a kind of a hum in the Chamber and I do not think it is a chorus.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Thank you, a Cheann Comhairle, for getting silence in the House. Many hard-pressed families, to provide Christmas for their children, will be driven into the arms of the moneylenders. It is unacceptable. The guillotine has to be opposed. I urge that the guillotine be lifted and that the opportunity for full participation be provided to the Members of the House. Believe me, it is no smiling matter.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  These measures have to be introduced by 1 May with an early signature motion by the President. We are not in a position to provide additional time.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 3 be agreed to.”

[750]The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 65.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. 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 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 Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope. 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 Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál. 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 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 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 Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon.
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 Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
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 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 Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
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 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 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 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 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 Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. 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 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  I call Deputy Bruton on the Order of Business.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  As Deputy Gilmore said, the IMF has stood over its estimate of the cost of the failures in regulation, banking and public policy in terms of what the ordinary person will have to pay for the adjustment in our banking system. Against that background, I would like to press the Tánaiste further on the plans for the legislation on the national asset management agency. I do not want to understate the importance of this issue. It is possibly the most important legislation the House will ever pass. The scale of the commitment we are entering into on behalf of the taxpayer is unprecedented.

We heard from the Taoiseach yesterday that he is to proceed on the basis of an interim board being established over the summer. I would like to clarify on what legal authority that interim board will be acting. Will it make decisions that compromise the position of the Dáil?

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

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  This is crucial.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  If it is crucial, we have a serious problem. There is no Question Time on Thursday morning.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  We are informed that there is to be an interim board which will be entering into negotiations with the banks, which will reduce the room for manoeuvre of this House, which must set the framework for this legislation. We need to have some certainty regarding on what authority it will be operating. If it makes decisions about, for example, the price at which assets might be purchased, we will be undermining the freedom of the Dáil to strike a fair balance. These are important issues. The scale of this is unprecedented so, while it might slightly bend the Ceann Comhairle’s tolerance of the rules, it is so important that we need to have clarity from Government as to what will come before the House, what will happen to banking in the long hiatus before we see legislation——

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  And as to what will happen to the House.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  ——and what will happen to the people who need loans with all of this hanging over us.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  It is a long-established precedent, which I cannot breach, that the level of detail to which Deputy Bruton refers is far more appropriate to a different time under different circumstances and cannot be done on the Order of Business.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  It is about the legislation.

[752]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is no time like the present.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Hold on, please. The Tánaiste will of course answer in regard to the legislation. That is quite in order.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  This is a priority for the Government. The heads of the legislation are being worked on at present. Given the fact we hope to have this legislation passed during this session, if at all possible, and preparation for the legislation is under way, the Government has decided to consider the possibility of the establishment of an interim board to prepare the scope of the preparatory work that needs to be done. Naturally the constitution for the appointment of chairperson and CEO will be contained within the framework of the legislation. I reiterate that it is a priority for the Government to have the legislation on the floor of the House as quickly as possible.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  If we are not to have legislation before the summer recess, the Government should do what it has legislative authority to do and bring the heads of the Bill to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service and let us have a reasonable debate so that at least the Oireachtas has the opportunity to shape the legislation.

I wish to ask about the mental health (amendment) Bill. While a newspaper editorial is not in order here, I read an editorial in The Irish Times which bears directly on this matter. Three years ago we had A Vision for Change. It was to be a programme for reform at the heart of which is this legislation. It is appalling that although this was launched with a welter of publicity, nothing has changed in the interim. The body that was to implement it is not in place. There is no implementation plan for it. If it were not for Deputies like Deputy Neville who have steadily kept this issue on the public agenda, it would disappear without trace. We need to have some clarity. When there is a Government strategy there should be some way of implementing it, a budget put in place and an implementing committee so that we can have some testing of the performance at the end of a year. This is unacceptable.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I wish to add to the points made on the mental health (amendment) Bill. It is important to remind ourselves, as I did with the Taoiseach yesterday, that 319 people with intellectual disability are retained in psychiatric institutions in the State. This indicates the failure of the Government to move properly towards the full implementation of A Vision for Change.

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

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  A little bit of it is no harm.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Deputies should look at the legislative programme presented here. The spring programme for 2009 stated that the mental health (amendment) Bill was expected to be published in 2009. Here we are into the so-called summer stage of the Dáil this year and publication is now expected in 2010. How many more deferrals of this essential legislation must we await before there is a realisation of what is absolutely wrong at the heart of the Department of Health and Children? The Minister for Health and Children is present. It is time she was held accountable for these failures. That is just one example of the many failures in that Department.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot have a long speech. I call the Tánaiste on the mental health (amendment) Bill.

[753]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The heads of the Bill are being prepared at the moment, but it will be next year before that legislation will be before us.

Deputy P. J. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  All promises, no action.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I wish to return to the reply the Tánaiste gave to Deputy Bruton about the legislation for the establishment of “an bord bail out”, also known as the NAMA. When Deputy Burton asked about this legislation yesterday the Taoiseach clearly stated — Deputy Burton drew attention to the fact — that the legislation to establish this agency was not on the A list and was down somewhere on the C list. In response to Deputy Burton yesterday, the Taoiseach indicated to the House that the legislation would not appear until the autumn and that it was intended to establish the board on an interim basis in the meantime. This raises issues to which Deputy Burton has drawn attention about how we can have an agency established without legislation which will have functions including the acquisition and valuing of property with all of the consequences that will have for the State finances without authority from Dáil Éireann. The Tánaiste has told the House this morning, in contradiction to what the Taoiseach said yesterday, that the legislation will be presented this session. I want a straight answer. Will this Bill be brought before the House this session or in the autumn as indicated by the Taoiseach yesterday? If it is to be introduced this session, can the Tánaiste indicate when it will be published?

My second question also relates to a matter I raised yesterday regarding moving the writs for the two Dáil by-elections that are due to be held. When I asked the Taoiseach about this yesterday he said that the Government had not yet made a decision on it.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Ask Bertie.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I read in one newspaper this morning that spokespersons for the Government clarified the matter at some stage during the course of yesterday evening indicating that it was the Government’s intention to hold the Dublin South by-election on the same day as the local and European Parliament elections, but not to hold the Dublin Central by-election on that date. I ask the Tánaiste for a clear statement as to when the Government intends to move the writs for these two by-elections. I understand the writs would need to be moved before the second week in May if the by-elections are to proceed on 5 June. The Tánaiste should clearly indicate to the House this morning the Government’s intention with regard to the moving of the writs. Of course it is open to Opposition parties to move the writs in circumstances where the Government fails to do so. What are the Government’s intentions with regard to the moving of the writs so that the Labour Party can make its decision as to whether and when we might bring a motion before the House to move them?

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  The Deputy would need to ask Bertie.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Deputy was advised that the reason the legislation to which he referred is not on the A list is that the heads of the Bill have not yet been published. Work on this legislation is ongoing. It is an absolute priority. I cannot pre-empt when the legislation will be available because the work is ongoing. However, on the basis that it is a priority the heads will be published as quickly as possible, with a view to having the legislation on the floor of the House as quickly as possible.

On the other issue, the Government has not decided when it will move the writ. It is a matter for Members of the Opposition to make up their own minds.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Has Bertie decided?

[754]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Will the Government make time to debate the urgent economic issues that arise regarding the NAMA. It is proposed to create this massive agency — bigger than the HSE — on a shadow basis. That was the beginning of the bureaucratic disaster of the HSE.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy knows that is a matter for the Whips. She may not embark on a long dissertation on it now.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This morning’s Irish Independent carries an article by the Minister for Finance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot discuss articles by the Minister for Finance or anybody else in the Irish Independent or any other newspaper because they are not matters on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is excellent that he is prepared to communicate with us through the newspapers. The article states that the agency will acquire loans at an appropriate discount from their face value.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  If the Deputy does not have an item that is in order I must move on.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Yesterday’s newspapers carried——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I am not allowing it. The Deputy will need to find another way to raise the issue.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——advertisements for property in Dublin 4 in the AIB bank centre at a discount of 34.5%

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That issue is not in order and the Deputy will need to find another way of raising it.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Tens of thousands of people are losing their jobs and becoming redundant——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy will need to find another way to raise that matter. I cannot have a discussion on that on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——because these people on the Government benches cannot organise saving our banking and economic systems.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I cannot have a discussion on that on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Our country is going down the tubes because the Government cannot even permit a debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I am calling the next contributor, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  May I ask——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy may ask a question that is in order.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——if we can have a debate on the NAMA?

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

[755]Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  When will the Report Stage of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill be taken in the House? The Minister for Health and Children told us on Committee Stage that she is expecting to implement the legislation in the autumn and it still needs to go to the Seanad. Is it planned to go ahead in the timeframe we were originally given? There has been some speculation in the media that for financial reasons it might not proceed in the autumn.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I believe it will be taken in the House in three weeks.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  I wish to raise a matter that is causing great angst and despair among those in the farming community, which is the sneaky cut introduced in the budget of €28 million for the fallen animal scheme. Regarding animal health and welfare, the Government has made no plans regarding the disposal of dead animals. It will cost every farmer €160 to dispose of them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy cannot raise animal welfare matters on the Order of Business.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  It is a nightmare. The Government has no plans and has nothing done.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy cannot raise that matter, as he must know.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  The Government has done nothing with regard to animal health and welfare. This is a cop out.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I know, but the Deputy cannot raise it now.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  It has destroyed the farming community and it will hear a lot more about that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy must find another way to raise the matter. The Deputy should put down the matter for the Adjournment.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Farmers cannot get burial licences, but must go to the nearest vet. It is a disaster that will come back to haunt the Minister. The Government may save €28 million, but it will destroy the environment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy must conclude. This is not on the legislation list. I call Deputy Tuffy.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  It is on the “C” list, but when will it be introduced?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There is another way to raise the matter. The Deputy is on a monologue here, but that is not on.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  I gave up being Pudsy Ryan and talking to myself. This place is the worst place I ever came to.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  There is a cure for that too.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I call Deputy Tuffy.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  An advertising campaign being shown currently on our television stations deals with the issue of the abuse of alcohol by children and young people and tries to raise the awareness of adults in terms of their responsibility. Legislation has been promised for [756]years on this area and task forces have been set up to work on the issue. When Deputy Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach, he promised legislation would be introduced. Where is that legislation now?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I assume the Deputy is referring to the sale of alcohol Bill. That will be introduced later this year.

Deputy Kathleen Lynch: Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  That legislation has been promised for the past five years.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I want to ask about legislation that has disappeared from the list, namely, the Irish Sports Council (Amendment) Bill, which was promised. What status will the Institute of Sport have if that legislation is dropped?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot go into the detail of it. All we can do now is find out what is happening with the legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Minister has decided not to proceed with the legislation. Currently an internal review is taking place.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  With regard to pending legislation and the five point penalty to be imposed under the Road Traffic Act for not having an NCT certificate on display, what oversight is there of NCT testing centres?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot go into that now as the Deputy well knows.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  May I just make the point? As far as I know, there is currently no such oversight facility. People are being asked to go and check themselves. I had a personal experience——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  If the Deputy puts down the matter for the Adjournment, I feel sure it would be selected.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  This is important.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Of course it is important, but the Deputy should put down a question in that regard to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I will put down a parliamentary question, but are they currently using the opportunity under the Road Traffic Act to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I cannot deal with that here. The Deputy should put down a question to the Minister.

Deputy Jimmy Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  When will the employment agency regulation Bill be published and when will it come before the House? I am aware that 220 jobs will be lost tomorrow in the Amann Industries Corporation in Tralee. Is there anything the Tánaiste can do to save even some of those jobs?

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  The Tánaiste could not say that in her Department yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy started well, but we cannot go into that.

Deputy Jimmy Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Our economy is being devastated and now we have a loss of jobs.

[757]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy knows very well we cannot go into that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I would be more than happy to speak to the Deputy privately on the latter matter because I appreciate it is a significant issue for Tralee in his constituency. I hope the employment agency legislation will be available this session.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  When will the Tánaiste be in a position to make an announcement about the future of the SR Technics facility, given it is three weeks tomorrow since the bulk of the workforce was let go? Last Friday, despite the efforts of——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I appreciate that Deputy Broughan feels very strongly about that matter, but I cannot allow it on the Order of Business. If I did, I would have to allow Deputy Deenihan raise his issue. I must be consistent. Standing Orders govern me just as they do the Deputy and there is nothing I can do about it. There are several ways to raise the issue and every time the Deputy raised it and was within order, he was allowed do so.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  We cannot both speak at the same time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  That is the very point I was going to make.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  The Chair should let me speak and——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy is not in order. There are ways of raising the issue, but I cannot deal with it now.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  There seems to have been a setback in moving towards a digital Ireland as a result of the withdrawal of the Boxer DTT consortium from the digital terrestrial television project. This has serious implications, particularly for people living on the east coast who will lose access to British television stations this year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot go into detail on that now as the Deputy well knows.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  I am getting to the point of legislation.

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

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  The Broadcasting Bill deals with the issue of DTT, but the whole landscape has been transformed by the withdrawal of the company that was to provide this. When will Report Stage of the Broadcasting Bill be resumed and will the Minister bring forward new amendments to deal with the transformed situation in which we now find ourselves?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We will try to facilitate that as quickly as possible. I will discuss the matter with the Whip.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  With regard to No. 68, the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill, has any comparative work been done on the role of parliaments? It is suggested that the Bill will be published in 2009. Has the opportunity been taken to examine the function of parliaments or will there be an opportunity for public consultation? I raise this matter to be of assistance to the Ceann Comhairle because many people have taken upon themselves the role of people who know how parliament should or should not be run. Many of them are rather ignorant and ill informed. Therefore, it would be useful, in so far as this comparative work has been done in other parliaments, to provide an opportunity for people who are more patient and thoughtful to make a contribution to assist the legislation. To what committee will the legislation go, where will it be discussed, will there be an opportunity for [758]discussion or will it be just a short, sharp piece of legislation that comes from Government and leaves matters just as bad as they are?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I think Churchill said that parliament was a substitute for fisticuffs.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I like that. We will not have the Queensberry rules today. With regard to that legislation, a team has been set up in the House to consider amendments to the legislation, but I am not au fait with the contents of the legislation.


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