Order of Business.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 687 No. 4

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The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is proposed to take No. 25, Defamation Bill 2006 [Seanad] — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 4, Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill 2009 — Order for Second Stage and Second and Remaining Stages; and No. a11, motion re Statement for Information of Voters on the Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill 2009.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted on the conclusion of No. a11; (2) the Report and Final Stages of No. 25 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 1 hour by one question, which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, with regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform; (3) the Second and Remaining Stages of No. 4 shall be taken today and the following arrangements shall apply: the proceedings on Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. tonight; the proceedings on the Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 11 p.m. tonight by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, with regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs; and (4) No. a11 shall be moved immediately upon the conclusion of No. 4, and shall be decided without debate. Private Members’ business shall be No. 37, Institutional Child Abuse Bill 2009 — Second Stage (resumed), to conclude at 8.30 p.m. tonight, if not previously concluded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There are four proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 25, Order for Report, Report and Final Stages of the Defamation Bill 2006 agreed to?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We have always opposed the principle of guillotine here. I understand there are over 30 amendments to the Defamation Bill. These will not all be reached and we will end up with the Bill being bulldozed through. For that reason I am opposed to this proposal. I made the point previously that the House should sit for July to tease these issues out properly and give everybody the opportunity to have their say.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government proposes to guillotine the Defamation Bill after a 60-minute debate. Four guillotines, in effect, are being proposed on the Order of Business today. Arguably, there is no need for a guillotine on the Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the [725]Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill 2009, which could be passed without the use of the guillotine. I do not see the necessity for the guillotine there. I believe too that in the ordering of the legislation it would be better for that Bill to be taken first. I do not anticipate there will be a long debate required for it, which would allow a greater amount of time for the Defamation Bill.

There are 33 amendments for Report Stage of the Defamation Bill, including six from the Minister, but the Government has only provided 60 minutes for the debate. This Bill was published three years ago almost to the day, on 7 July 2006. It was in the Seanad for two years and was brought to the Dáil in May 2008. It finished Second Stage in the Dáil on 14 May 2008 and the Government took nine months to bring it before the committee. It was not until the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform discovered the issue of blasphemy as a possible political issue that he showed any great urgency in completing the legislation, on the core principles of which there has been general political agreement. Now, he wants to complete the Final Stages of the Bill in 60 minutes. That is not an acceptable way to do business and the Labour Party is opposed to it.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I am also opposed to the guillotine being introduced on this Bill. There are 33 amendments in front of us but only an hour to discuss them. There was a good debate at committee but it was there that the Minister introduced the highly controversial amendment which the rest of the Members of the House have not had an opportunity to debate. Very few Members will get to debate the introduction of the new restrictions in regard to blasphemy in just one hour. I am opposed to the guillotine. A longer debate is needed so that all Members have an opportunity to partake in the debate if they so wish.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  As has been said, this Bill was published three years ago and has been debated extensively in both Houses. The amendments the Minister has tabled on Report Stage are broadly technical and the other amendments are restated on Report Stage, having been comprehensively discussed on Committee Stage. It is not a question of their not having been considered. There is a broad understanding that we would have this legislation completed in the summer so we wish to proceed as outlined.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 25 be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 69.

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 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 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 Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian. 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 Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom. Information on 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 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 Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
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 Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. 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 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 Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Zoom on George Lee  Lee, George.
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 Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. 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 Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom. Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P. J.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.  

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

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4 agreed to?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will not divide the House on anything to do with the Lisbon treaty referendum. I support it and I have made my point about guillotines. There is a very important [727]job to be done by the political parties and politicians in explaining the referendum to people such that they are fully and properly informed and wish to vote in favour of it. That is a challenge for every person who supports it in the House.

  12 o’clock

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The wording of the Order Paper this morning and every morning for the past fortnight has included “notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders”. This means the rules of the House, by which we have all agreed our business should be conducted, have been set aside by the Government using its majority. We hear from the Taoiseach on a regular basis that Report Stage of a Bill is of no consequence but Report Stage exists for good reason, that is, to allow the proper scrutiny of legislation in the House by Members. As a result of the guillotine Members will not be able to debate and put forward a positive view on the Lisbon treaty this morning. For example, only two slots will be available for the 20 Labour Party Deputies to discuss the main Stage of this Bill. That is not good politics, it is not good for democracy and it is not a good way to put forward the views of the House on this very important issue. The Government is simply setting aside the rules, to which we have all agreed and which have been time tested in the House and in place for a long period, every morning to make law without discussion. Effectively this is what it is doing. We are opposed to the guillotine in this instance as well.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I also oppose the guillotine on No. 4, first on the basis that I do not believe that guillotines are required but the main reason is that this issue, namely, the Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill, is an affront to the people’s vote last year and it should not even have reached this stage. I call for the Government to withdraw it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4, Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill 2009 — Order for Second Stage and Second and Remaining Stages, agreed to?

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 4 be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 77; Níl, 25.

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 Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
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 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 Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
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 Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel. Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary.
Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie. Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire.
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan. Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael.
Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony. Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. 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 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 Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
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 Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. 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 Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. 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 Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur.
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 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 Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
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 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 Emmet Stagg and Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Is the proposal for dealing with No. a11, without debate, agreed to?

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  It is not agreed. This is connected to No. 4 on the Order of Business. I do not believe it should be put at this stage. What is more bizarre, it has a guillotine on it. The Order of Business states that No. a11 shall be moved immediately upon the conclusion of No. 4 and shall be decided without debate. It does not even start so how can it conclude? This is a bizarre wording.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I call the Taoiseach to reply.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  The Taoiseach does not have a clue; he has not read it, like the treaty.

Question, “That the proposal for dealing with No. a11, without debate, be agreed to”, put and declared carried.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I hope the Taoiseach has given Deputy Lowry a couple of million for some bridge that Deputy Coonan has been on about down in north Tipperary.

Deputy Máire Hoctor: Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  I have looked after that.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  A swimming pool in Roscrea.

[729]Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Is that looked after?

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  A real sign an election is looming if it features in the headlines.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Is the Taoiseach in a position to indicate the name of the person who will chair the commission dealing with the referendum? Has he had a response from the President of the High Court in respect of that person?

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I hope it is not the last one.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Mr. Justice Frank Clarke will chair the commission.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I was quite disappointed yesterday evening when the Minister for Education and Science announced that the Government is opposing the Second Stage of the Labour Party Private Members’ Bill, the Institutional Child Abuse Bill 2009. I ask if the Government might reconsider its position on the Bill before Private Members’ time this evening. It is not a partisan piece of legislation and it should not be politicised. I do not think there should be a division on it. The measures proposed in the Bill are in line with the all-party motion which was passed in the House. I think the Government could agree to allow Second Stage to pass. It would then proceed to Committee Stage where the Government, in any event, would be in control of its management and timetabling. This would send a far better signal to the victims of child abuse than to have the House divide on it and in all probability, because of the Government numbers, have it defeated. I ask the Taoiseach to discuss it with the Minister for Education and Science during the course of the day with a view to agreeing the Second Stage. The type of issues raised in the debate yesterday evening by the Minister for Education and Science in response to our issues would be more appropriately dealt with on Committee Stage. I did not get the impression of there being an opposition in principle to the Bill and therefore it would be preferable all around if perhaps the Government would reconsider its position; hopefully by the time we reach Private Members’ business this evening, we might have agreement.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  With respect, rather than introducing this Bill, which we are not in a position to take, it would have been preferable to maintain the position that having set out the all-party motion, which included this question of returning at the end of the month with a considered view by Government and across all Departments, we would see how we can best respond to the Ryan report. It is a matter for every party to decide for itself how it wishes to use its Private Members’ time but the Government has to use the time available to put forward a considered position in respect of the report’s recommendations and we are still in discussions with survivor and other groups regarding other issues.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  I ask the Taoiseach to talk to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, regarding the actions of TV3 last evening in effectively disposing——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot discuss TV3 now.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  ——of the evening news to cover events in Los Angeles. Many important things are happening in this country and TV3’s actions disappointed many viewers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I cannot discuss that matter; I have trouble enough here.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  I welcome the appointment of Mr. Justice Clarke as chairman of the Referendum Commission. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether the commission will begin [730]its work immediately? I am aware the report of the referendum commission chaired by Iarfhlaith O’Neill made strong recommendations that adequate time would be given for future referenda. Also, does the Taoiseach envisage that the referendum commission will launch an information based campaign or revert to putting forward the arguments on behalf of the “Yes” and the “No” sides? In my view the former is preferable because it is important that information be conveyed to the public. The Taoiseach referred earlier to the need for inter-party co-operation on the Lisbon referendum campaign. Does he envisage a structured approach in that regard?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Strictly speaking the Taoiseach is not allowed to answer on that but on the Lisbon campaign——

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The commission is independent in its functions and works off its own prior experience. I have total confidence in the chairman and his team bringing forward the means by which the commission can add constructively to the public information the people need to come to a decision on this matter.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Will the Taoiseach indicate if the Government has reached a decision on when the Commission on Taxation report will be published? I understand it is due for completion by the end of this month and I want to know if the Government intends to publish it. It is important that the report and its working papers would be published because since the last two budgets we have had a proposed car parking tax which failed and disappeared——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  There is no need to expand on it now.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——and a mobile home tax that failed and disappeared also.

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

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  There are serious proposals in this report dealing with important elements of taxation. Does the Government intend to publish it and the associated working papers, and, if so, when?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Taoiseach on the publication.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  My basic point to Deputies on all these sort of matters is that as soon as the Government receives these reports and considers them it makes decisions on their publication. We have seen the publication of Commission on Taxation reports in the past. I envisage that would be the case again in the future since it adds to the debate but the Government has to receive these reports, formally accept them and then arrange for whatever way it is to be disseminated. We must take it step by step.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  It has been recognised for some time that there is a need for legislation on assisted human reproduction. We have no legislation whatsoever in that regard. The information that came out today that sperm has been created in a test tube makes the need for legislation all the more urgent. Is the Government planning to have legislation in that regard in the autumn?

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand the report was referred to the Dáil committee for consideration in regard to these matters.

[731]Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  It was referred to a Dáil committee.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I notice that 100 legal professionals have written to The Irish Times expressing concern about a Bill currently before the House. In that context, can I ask the Taoiseach if particular care will be taken to ensure the concerns expressed are fully investigated to ensure against the possibility of the legislation falling down or being weakened at a later stage——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The legislation is before the House.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——particularly in view of the urgent necessity to face down the activities——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Deputy Durkan, as that legislation is being discussed I strongly advise you to make your point in that debate. You cannot make it now.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——of the criminal gangs currently operating in this country? The Taoiseach might clarify that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  No. You can make your point when the legislation is being discussed. It is before the House at the moment.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Taoiseach is not normally this coy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Well I am.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  On the other promised legislation, I do not want to detail the entire list of promised justice legislation but in the context of the welter of proposed and indicated legislation on the pink list, will he respond to the effect that it might be possible to ensure this legislation, and all other legislation, will be adequately tested by the Attorney General, or by whatever other means, to ensure there is no failure at the crucial stage? I do not want to delay the proceedings of the House by reading out the various Bills, but I will if I have to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Taoiseach, he wants to know——

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  On the first matter Deputy Durkan raised, that legislation is before the House and I look forward to his support for all its provisions as the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform presents them here during the week.

On the 26 Bills on the A list for the summer 2009 programme, 17 have been published, one approved on 30 June, three have been published and six Bills on the A list have not been published.

Deputy Brian O’Shea: Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  The promised legislation on Údarás na Gaeltachta, the revised Gaeltacht boundaries and the definition of a Gaeltacht, requires a Government decision on the 20 year strategy for the future of the Irish language. When is it proposed the 20 year strategy on the future of the Irish language will go before Government for decision?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  We have no date for the Bill but that strategy document is being finalised and will come before Government, and obviously will be put before committee, in due course.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Yesterday at the health committee the chief executive officer of the Health Service Executive, Professor Drumm, indicated legislation would be needed to correct a position whereby we are paying 20 to 30 times, that is 3,000%, more for generic drugs than [732]they pay in the United Kingdom. To give one example, Losec costs €30.15 here but €1 across the bridge in Strabane. On this group of drugs alone €66 million is spent. I have the report here.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  To what is the Deputy referring?

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  We could save €62 million on this class of drug alone. When will legislation be introduced to end this rip-off of the Irish taxpayer and the consumer? That is only in the GMS. That does not include private sales.

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Minister for Health and Children is effecting savings across the health service in all areas and I look forward to support from the House for those measures.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Instead of hitting children, why is she not looking at the position with regard to drugs?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  She is.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Including in the GMS.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Including in the GMS.

Deputy George Lee: Zoom on George Lee  I want to ask the Taoiseach about three items of legislation. The first relates to a large advertisement I saw in the newspaper this morning for 18 bottles of beer being sold for €11.45. There is a sale of alcohol Bill on the list. In regard to the 18 bottles of beer, the cost per bottle would be approximately 50 cent. One would not buy a bottle of water for that price.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  We cannot discuss the price of beer on the Order of Business.

Deputy George Lee: Zoom on George Lee  I raise the issue of the legislation because of the risk to young people in terms of how cheap alcohol is and its availability, the pressures they are under, and the competition for the pub industry and the hospitality industry generally which cannot compete with those prices. What will the sale of alcohol Bill do in regard to protecting our young people and dealing with the competition issues that arise for the hospitality industry?

I also wish to ask about the NAMA legislation. When it was announced that this legislation would be brought forward it was suggested that the National Asset Management Agency would take over not just the banks’ bad loans but also the good property loans. Is it still the position that that legislation will include provisions and a commitment that the banks will pass over good loans as well as bad loans?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  On legislation. I have allowed the Deputy some latitude.

Deputy George Lee: Zoom on George Lee  On the third item of legislation about which I want to ask, as the Taoiseach is aware I am not that long a Member of this House but I was amazed to realise that if I tabled a parliamentary question now I would not get an answer until we reconvene at some point in September. That is remarkable, given that we were debating very important issues here until midnight — people could fall asleep in the middle of the day but could debate some of these issues at midnight——

A Deputy:  The Deputy is a one trick pony already.

[733]Deputy George Lee: Zoom on George Lee  ——that I would have wait that long to get an answer. I understand the Ceann Comhairle has tried to influence Oireachtas reform in this matter. Many public organisations are going through reform, whether it is an bord snip nua or whatever, and we will have to introduce reforms. Could legislation be brought forward——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Deputy can ask about Dáil reform but he cannot go into this kind of detail.

Deputy George Lee: Zoom on George Lee  ——whereby we could have an bord Dáil nua to bring about reform in order that one would not have to wait so long for a reply to a parliamentary question? An Oireachtas (amendment) Bill is coming forward. Could it be included in that?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  The Taoiseach on the sale of alcohol Bill, the NAMA legislation and the——

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The sale of alcohol Bill is due next session. The NAMA Bill, as I said, will be published in July and there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss all aspects of it in September.

On the parliamentary question position, a telephone call or e-mail might get the answer quicker when the Dáil is not sitting.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Taoiseach must be joking

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs indicated that the Údarás na Gaeltachta Bill is almost ready to be published. Will it be published before the end of the summer, so as to put Údarás na Gaeltachta on a level playing pitch with Enterprise Ireland and the IDA with regard to grant assistance for employment retention and creation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I cannot say when the legislation will be published. The report will be published before the summer and we will proceed from there.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The consolidation of company law legislation is a massive undertaking with approximately 1,200 sections. Its scale is unprecedented in legislative consolidation and improvement. In light of the many events which have taken place in Irish companies and financial institutions, would it be possible to bring forward the fines and penalties section as separate legislation to ensure that justice is done in terms of those people who have wrecked our financial system?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I would have to check with the Tánaiste’s office as to what is possible in that regard.

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  On the financial services legislation, before the end of the session, can the Taoiseach or the Minister for Finance bring to the Oireachtas representatives of the four or five banks into which we are pumping money and tell them to stop behaving in the manner they are currently? In County Meath, businesses are closing all the time. This week, three businesses beside my office closed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  Deputy, you must find another way to raise that issue.

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  Businesses are closing in Kells and Trim. By next October, banks will have taken all our deposits and will have given nothing back.

[734]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  I cannot allow everyone to mention his or her own constituency. The Deputy must find another way to raise this matter.

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  I ask the Taoiseach to respond to this. Business after business is closing down. The banks are taking our money and giving nothing back. There will be nothing left when we return in the autumn, even to pay our wages.


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