Order of Business.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 694 No. 3

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The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is proposed to take No. a1, National Asset Management Agency Bill 2009 — amendments from the Seanad; and No.1, Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2009 [Seanad]— Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings on No. a1 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.30 p.m. and any amendments from the Seanad not disposed of shall be decided by one question [512]which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in respect of amendments to the Seanad amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There is one proposal to put to the House. Is the proposal to deal with number a1, Seanad amendments to the National Asset Management Agency Bill 2009, agreed?

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Fine Gael will continue to oppose the NAMA legislation. It is not built on concepts that will get credit moving again or that will retain or create new employment opportunities. Before the House divides on this matter, has the Tánaiste received EU approval for the plan proposed through NAMA? If not, when is that approval likely to be given? Will further legislation be required?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There will be ample opportunity to put these questions to the Minister.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  There might not be ample time on this issue.

Deputy Noel J. Coonan: Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  I would not be too sure.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  To establish our position on the proposal put to the House, we need answers to these questions. Has EU approval been granted for the plan? If not, when will it be given? If changes or conditions are proposed by the EU Commission, will further legislation be required? Will the Bill be sent to the President for signature before EU approval is granted? Has the Tánaiste had any contact with the European Commission, particularly Commissioner Kroes, about the changes in the structure of the banking sector that may arise from NAMA being construed as a state aid?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  These are questions with which the Minister for Finance will deal.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  These are very important questions about our attitude. I ask the Tánaiste to answer these questions so that we can establish how to vote on this issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We have spent long hours debating the Bill to date.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Can we put the whole lot of them into NAMA? Into NAMA with the lot of them, Ministers and all, along with the Fianna Fáil builders.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Deputy Ring is still in Fine Gael. He was going to join Labour.

Deputy Noel J. Coonan: Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Hard labour.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Labour Party wishes to oppose the Government’s proposal for taking the NAMA legislation today. It is somewhat unusual to have amendments from the Seanad although we get the odd amendment from time to time. In this case, 37 amendments were made to the Bill, most of which were proposed by the Minister. The Government wishes to guillotine discussion on this at 3:30 p.m. It is not just for procedural reasons that the Labour Party is opposing this proposal; it is because of the scale. This is the biggest corporate welfare cheque ever written. We are told every day that there is no money. There is no money for the Christmas bonus——

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Cancel Christmas.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——no money for child benefit, no money for paying wages, no money to help people in trouble with their mortgages and no money to take initiatives to get people back to work, but there is no shortage of money for the banks. Let us bear in mind what has been already done. Some €4 billion has been put into a delinquent bank called Anglo [513]Irish Bank and €7 billion has been provided for Bank of Ireland and AIB. According to the Government’s business plan for NAMA, this exercise will involve overpayment for assets by another €7 billion. That amounts to €18 billion, which would pay the Christmas bonus for 90 years. It is equivalent to five times the adjustment in the public finances about which the Minister will talk in the budget, which will cause everyone a great deal of grief for the next number of years. It is almost as if this is not real money. It is €18 billion of real money without getting into whether more money will be needed for further recapitalisation of the banks or the interest being added to the cost of the State’s borrowing. The Government wants to get all of this done and dusted by 3.30 p.m., yet it will turn around to people in bad circumstances and tell them that there is no money. All of this is because of Fianna Fáil’s mismanagement of the economy.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  This problem happened because of Fianna Fáil’s policies of encouraging property speculation down the years which created the property bubble, because it made the wrong call on the bank guarantee scheme and because it made a second wrong call on NAMA when there was the alternative of nationalising the banks——

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  What a load of rubbish.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——for far less than all of this would cost.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Sinn Féin Deputies do not agree to the Order Paper as presented by the Tánaiste this morning. Very simply, we oppose the NAMA proposition absolutely and the guillotine to be applied. Make no mistake about it, 37 amendments coming back from the Seanad is tantamount to an acknowledgement — an admission on the part of the Government because they are Government amendments — that what was discussed and processed through this House was flawed and that many elements needed further address, as they still do if this is the approach to be taken.

  11 o’clock

The 37 amendments make a significant body of work to be addressed here over a very limited number of hours. Let me remind the House that only 17 of the approximately 200 amendments presented on Report Stage were dealt with substantively during the passage of NAMA through this House and that was over a number of days. Here, we are being asked to address 37 amendments referred back to this House from the Upper House in a matter of a few hours. This is indicative of the Government’s attitude to this, which is to railroad, steam-roll and have its way no matter what. Very simply, if it is voted on to proceed in a matter of hours to address what is involved in this body of amendments, it will be clear that there is no regard whatsoever for real and responsible address of what is at the core of NAMA. We cannot accept it under any circumstances.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We have had a considerable period of time to debate the legislation. In this House we had 86 hours of debate and in the Seanad we had 36 hours of debate. In the context of what we would like to achieve, which is the completion of this legislation as a matter of urgency, which was urged by the Commissioner when he was here recently, I propose the motion.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  There are 37 amendments.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. a1 be agreed to.”

[514]The Dáil divided: Tá, 80; Níl, 57.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. 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 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 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 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 Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony. 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 Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John. 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 Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. 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 Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.



Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
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 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 Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. 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 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 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 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 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 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 Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.  

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

Question declared carried.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  I ask the Tánaiste whether the National Asset Management Agency Bill 2009 will be referred to the President prior to the EU’s approval being sought.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  That is out of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Hogan, we are not debating the issue.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  He is compromising the powers of the President.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  I welcome the release of Fr. Michael Sinnott and congratulate the Minister for Foreign Affairs and his officials on a satisfactory conclusion to this unfortunate event. I am sure Fr. Sinnott’s family and friends are more than pleased with the co-operation they received and the eventual outcome.

Finally, I ask the Tánaiste when the environmental liability directive will be transposed into Irish law.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I share Deputy Hogan’s delight in the release of Fr. Michael Sinnott. I thank those who have helped to ensure his release, including in particular my colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and our ambassadors. Fr. Sinnott’s family is certainly relieved that he is free and it was wonderful to see him in such good fettle despite his captivity. Our officials are liaising with his family to ensure a safe reunion.

An environmental liability Bill will be introduced this session.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I join Deputy Hogan and the Tánaiste in welcoming the release of Fr. Michael Sinnott, which is a great relief to his family and colleagues in the Columban Fathers. I also join the tributes being paid to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and, through him, to Ambassador O’Brien and his colleagues, for the outstanding work they did in securing the release of Fr. Sinnott.

On legislation, the Defamation Act was passed in the House on 8 July last. Introduced in July 2006, the legislation had a long gestation in the Houses. Having taken three years to be passed, the Act has not yet come into effect, apparently because the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has not yet made the commencement order. What is delaying the making of the commencement order? When will it be made and laid before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  On the Defamation Act, which has been passed, the Minister has indicated he will commence it very shortly.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We have a crisis in the largest hospital in the north east, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. Four deaths have been associated with an outbreak of [516]C. difficile, three wards have been closed and absolute chaos has resulted from the spin-off situation. Will the Tánaiste indicate to the House if the Minister for Health and Children will accommodate——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy’s question would be more appropriately addressed to the Minister.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  In relation to the arrangement of the ordering of business of the House, will the Tánaiste indicate whether the Minister for Health and Children will accommodate an opportunity to address this very serious situation and outline what additional measures she is introducing to ensure patients are not playing a game of Russian roulette with MRSA or C. difficile in taking up opportunities in hospital sites?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Adjournment debate or parliamentary questions would be much more appropriate forums for raising the issue.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  As the Ceann Comhairle is well aware, this is an extremely important matter. I have made a reasonable request to ascertain whether address of the issue can be accommodated on the floor of the House.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  It is urgent.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The issue should be raised on the Adjournment or in a question to the Minister for Health and Children.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  As the Tánaiste may be aware, many students in higher education have dropped out of college because they have not obtained a maintenance grant from a local authority or vocational educational committee. Eighteen months ago, the Government——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy referring to legislation?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Yes, I refer to legislation which has completed Second Stage. We have been waiting for 18 months for it to come before a committee of the House. On what date will the Committee Stage debate take place on the Student Support Bill, the purpose of which is to bring within one agency the four higher education grant schemes?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will revert to the Deputy in due course on the date for the Committee Stage debate.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  In the 18 months we have been waiting many young people have had to leave college.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Fine Gael Party Whip can address the issue to the Government Chief Whip.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  I want the Government to indicate on what date the Bill will be taken on Committee Stage. This is a matter for the House which completed Second Stage of the legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has been given a reply. The Tánaiste indicated she would revert to him.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Her reply is inadequate.

[517]Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  In view of the fact that some Aer Lingus aeroplanes are leaving this country crewed by non-Aer Lingus staff, will the Tánaiste ensure that the company law consolidation and reform Bill requires equality and fairness in companies such as Aer Lingus? In light of the necessity to retain our national carrier and its employees, will the Government require that directors of the board of Aer Lingus appointed by the Minister insist that the company employ Aer Lingus crews to fly its aeroplanes?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy referring to legislation?

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  It is disgraceful and shameful that Aer Lingus crews are sitting in airports while contract companies are being used to fly Aer Lingus aeroplanes. This practice is unacceptable and breaches legislation on——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to table a question to the appropriate Minister.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  This is what happens when one privatises.

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  On speed cameras, the relevant Bill has——

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Please allow the Deputy to continue without interruption.

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  I note the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has departed. Changes are to be made in the area of speed cameras. Money has been allocated and speed cameras ordered but the equipment is not in place.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy referring to primary legislation?

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  One hundred people will lose their lives this year because the Ministers for Transport and Justice, Equality and Law Reform are not doing their job.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Was it intended that the €200 levy on second homes introduced in the budget would be tax deductible?

On communications legislation, is it fair and equitable that a small operator of a holiday home village must pay television licence fees——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should ask a parliamentary question or raise the matter on the Adjournment. There are many ways to raise this issue which is not related to primary legislation.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  The issue arises under the communications Bill. A small operator who did not build up his business through the business expansion scheme or Government tax incentives must pay——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should submit a parliamentary question to the relevant Minister.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  I am coming to the point. The operator in question, who must purchase a television licence for each of his holiday homes, is competing with 100 bedroomed hotels which have one television licence. Is that fair and equitable?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Parliamentary questions are the obvious vehicle for eliciting the information the Deputy seeks.

[518]Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Will the Tánaiste reply to my question on whether the second home levy was intended to be tax deductible?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I advise the Deputy to submit a parliamentary question on the issue.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Law Reform indicated in the House that the levy would be tax deductible.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If the Deputy gives notice of the matter, my office will consider having it discussed on the Adjournment.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  The Tánaiste is unable to answer Deputy Sheahan’s question.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  It is not in order.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Social welfare has been widely discussed in the House in recent weeks. Will the Government rectify the record of the House which states that in the emergency legislation increases will be introduced in the Social Welfare Bill 2010? Is this still the case and, if not, when will the error be rectified?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy must await the publication of the Bill.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Some weeks ago, Deputies were promised a debate on the crisis in agriculture. When will the debate take place?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy pursuing some aspect of primary legislation that is under consideration?

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  It was agreed to have statements on agriculture but they were postponed. When will they be taken? When will the animal health and welfare Bill be taken? The welfare of animals and humans in the farming sector is extremely important at present.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The debate will take place on Tuesday week, as agreed by the party spokespersons. There is not yet a date for publication of the animal and welfare legislation.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  I refer to the environment (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, which will, among other things, increase penalties under the Air Pollution Act 1997, and the sale of alcohol Bill, long overdue legislation to update and consolidate the liquor licensing laws. When will these Bills come before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is intended that the environment Bill will come before the House during this session and the sale of alcohol Bill will come before it early next year.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  On promised legislation, and in particular the Health Information Bill, is the Tánaiste or any member of the Government aware of how the bureaucratic monster, namely, the HSE is surreptitiously pursuing a campaign to downgrade the status of the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar? At 5 p.m. today 41 acute beds will be taken out of the most efficient hospitals in the country. No discussions took place with consultants, nurses or patients. Beds for acute patients who present to the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year will be removed. Is there any control over this monster? Why did the HSE steal money which was due to the hospital? Some €1.5 million was to be provided to it but only €0.5 million was received. The monster must be emasculated because it is destroying the health service and the people of Longford-Westmeath will not stand for it. Hundreds of patients [519]are now very worried. This is a matter of life and death. Acute beds are being replaced with day beds. I cannot understand it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It may well be but the Deputy will have to find an alternative way of addressing it.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  We might as well not come in here. It is not the Ceann Comhairle’s fault, but we would be better off closing this place because the media have a field day telling people we are only open 91 days. The 91 days we are here are a waste of time.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Something has to be done. We have lost consultants.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is being disorderly.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  I know. I am 13 years here and I am fed up being orderly. I do not want to be disorderly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  You are being very disorderly.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  I do not want to be disorderly at all, but the HSE is not helping anyone.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is not——

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Deputy Bannon knows what the people——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Penrose, resume your seat.

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  There are phantom notes.

(Interruptions).

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  On the same issue——

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will come back to you.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  On the same issue——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask Deputy Bannon to resume his seat and I will come back to him

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Am I not allowed to speak on the same issue?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have to take speakers in sequence.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Am I not allowed to speak on the same issue? It is very important.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will come back to you.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  On the same issue——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Resume your seat.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  On two matters——

[520]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Bannon, resume your seat.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  It is the same issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will come back to you.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Am I not allowed to speak on the same issue?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask you to resume your seat.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  God help us.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  On the Student Support Bill, all Stages should be completed as a matter of urgency, particularly as some 12 vocational education committees have told students they are short staffed and cannot issue grants. It is important that the Tánaiste give an indication as to when the House will pass all Stages of the Bill.

On the C list of proposed legislation, three Bills, namely Nos. 56, 57 and 58, deal with changes in regard to regulation. In no case is there any indication when they will be brought before the House. For example——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Does the Deputy have a specific query on legislation?

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Yes, I have. The new proposed regulatory regime for the Central Bank will create a Central Bank of Ireland commission. The list states it is not possible to indicate at this stage when the Bill will be published. In view of the widespread public outrage at the complete failure of regulation or supervision by the Department of Finance, the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator, as we discuss the final Stages of the NAMA Bill today it is irresponsible not to be in a position to give a date for the publication of the legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  All those points can be made during the debate on the Bill.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  ——regarding changes in regulation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have ample opportunity to make his points.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  It is the Tánaiste’s business to indicate when she will bring forward the legislation. Can she give a date for it? The commission will ask her for it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will ask the Tánaiste to advise the House.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We are not in a position to say when this legislation will be brought forward.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I can read that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  As the Deputy is aware, we have had to introduce emergency legislation——-

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I am well aware of that, as is the whole country.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  For the banks and the builders.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  ——-which has taken a long time, and consequently only a certain amount of resources are available to the Government and parliamentary draftsmen to bring forward legislation. I will indicate the Deputy’s vociferousness to the Minister in providing that legislation as a matter of urgency.

On the Student Support Bill——

[521]Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  The Tánaiste does not need to bother about my vociferousness. I will look after it myself.

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Minister indicated to the Labour Party spokesperson last week the issues arising from Committee Stage and I will have the details of the matter circulated to the two Deputies who raised the issue.

A Deputy:  Can the Tánaiste say that again?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Minister wrote to Deputy Quinn in response to a question he raised and I will circulate the response to the other Deputies who raised the matter.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  On the finance Bill and the comments of the Tánaiste in Limerick last week on the abolition of the €10 travel tax, today offers her an opportunity to clarify her position. Can she make a statement on the mid-west task force——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to find an alternative way of eliciting the information.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  ——interim report? I tried to raise this issue on the Adjournment but the Ceann Comhairle did not give me the opportunity to do so.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has the option of asking a parliamentary question.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  The Tánaiste is taking the Order of Business. Why can she not make a statement?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Order of Business will last all day if we allow this to continue.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  It is about a region in this country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can submit a parliamentary question.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I share Deputy Carey’s concern about the two issues he tried to raise. On secondary legislation, the Limerick north side and south side regeneration agencies were established by legislation passed by this House. Their masterplans have been ready for more than a year but have not yet been brought to the Cabinet. When does the Tánaiste expect them to come before the Cabinet for consideration?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Deputy will be waiting a long day for that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  That is a matter for another Minister.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  I raise the question of the Tánaiste’s visit to Thomond Park in Limerick last week.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Where were you? If the Deputies are all worried about Shannon development, they should all have been there.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  She was out too early for us. We were doing other business.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Regional development.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  The Tánaiste was asked by Clare FM and other local media——

[522]Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Thomond Park is not big enough for the two of them.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  ——about the travel tax and she said the Government was in discussions with Ryanair which resulted——

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I said neither.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  ——in Ryanair stating no discussions were taking place. The Department of Finance stated it was surprised at the Tánaiste’s comments. Now that the Minister for Transport is sitting close to the Tánaiste perhaps——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to find another way to address this matter.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  ——we can know if talks are taking place with Ryanair regarding the travel tax, as the Tánaiste stated last Friday. It is very simple——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That is not appropriate for the Order of Business.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  ——and straightforward. The Minister for Transport is beside to her to answer the question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should ask a parliamentary question.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  I put down a parliamentary question and the Minister for Transport said he had no talks, but the Tánaiste said they were in discussions and the Department of Finance is denying it. I want to know——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should communicate directly with the Minister.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  I want clarification of the situation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should raise it on the Adjournment.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Can the Tánaiste clarify the situation regarding talks with Ryanair? It is having a devastating affect on the region and is part of the reason a deal is not being done with the Shannon Airport Authority.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have been more than tolerant.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Both of the Ministers are there.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  We are not discussing press releases from Michael O’Leary.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  The Tánaiste said it. It is on audio.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Breen.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  The Tánaiste said discussions took place between the Government and Ryanair on the travel tax.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Breen, resume your seat.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  I want clarification on that in the House this morning.

[523]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call Deputy Reilly.

Deputy Pat Breen: Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  The silence is deafening.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The Minister for press releases.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  The Minister for depression is more likely. The Student Support Bill has been discussed here and the Tánaiste’s response is very poor. The Bill has been waiting for 18 months to enter Committee Stage. Some students are unable to go to college and their grants have been delayed. The Tánaiste needs to give a far better response than she has given.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Tánaiste has already dealt with that question. The matter was raised earlier.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  What has she told us? When will Committee Stage of the Bill be dealt with?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am reverting to Deputy Hayes.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  When will Committee Stage be debated? That is what students all over this country want to know.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, please.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Some €60 million was paid out this year in medical legal fees and €560 million is coming down the track, one third of which will cover legal costs.

When will the legal costs Bill be published to address this matter?

The last issue I want to raise has been mentioned by Deputy O’Dowd. That is Aer Lingus and the outsourcing of its work——

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Jobs.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  ——to England. There is legislation involved. Will provisions be made in the finance Bill to stop this loophole where companies in this country flying an Irish flag will be able to outsource all their labour, pilots and cabin crew to a foreign clime? These people pay taxes in that foreign clime and contribute nothing to our Exchequer.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to await publication of the Finance Bill.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  As a country, we have a 25% stake in the airline. What is that for except the public interest? If the public interest is not in maintaining Irish jobs, I do not know what it is.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hear, hear.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The legal costs Bill is due next year.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  The Tánaiste had no Weetabix this morning.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  She is very short this morning.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  She had Rice Krispies.

[524]Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I wish to ask the Tánaiste about two pieces of legislation. All Members in the House have had personal experience of the trauma people go through in dealing with the coroner service. The Coroners Bill has been in limbo in the Seanad for the past two years. Will the Seanad give us any indication of when it will move through the Seanad and come before the Dáil?

The second piece of legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That Bill is a matter for the Seanad and it is not really a matter for the Dáil at this point.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  We are awaiting Committee Stage. There has been a delay in tabling amendments for two years. Deputy Stagg raised a similar issue last week which the Taoiseach responded to on Tuesday. The precedent is there.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The information may not be available. The Bill is before the Seanad and it is quite unfair to expect the Tánaiste to have the information readily available this morning.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The information was supplied to the Taoiseach at a later time.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I do not expect the Tánaiste to have it.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is not really a matter for the Seanad, we are waiting for the Minister.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  She can do me the courtesy of coming back to me on the issue. No. 76 is the social welfare lone parent and low income families reform Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  On the previous issue, the legislation is in the Seanad and it is a matter for the other House. We will have to await its deliberation.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is not a matter for the other House, it is a matter for the Minister.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  On Tuesday the Taoiseach responded to a question put by Deputy Stagg the previous week on legislation before the Seanad. The question asked when Committee Stage amendments would be tabled and the Taoiseach responded in the House on the specific pieces of legislation. I am talking about a piece of legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The information may not be available today.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  ——that has been in the Seanad for the past two years.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It may not be available today.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  The Minister for Transport has trotted out figures without any basis and there is a piece of legislation that could streamline the whole process and address some of the trauma people experience in dealing with coroners around this country. All I am asking is for the Tánaiste to come back to me on that and let me know what is happening.

The second issue is No. 76, the social welfare lone parent and families reform Bill. Yesterday, the Minister for Social and Family Affairs admitted to the House that she will not reach her target by the end of the year of €600 million in savings against fraud. The savings that could be made could pay for the Christmas bonus. Instead of the Minister for Social and Family Affairs coming here and planning how she will take money from vulnerable families through reducing child benefit and the Christmas bonus——

[525]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy must find an alternative way of raising the matter.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  ——and slashing social welfare rates from 1 January, it would be more in her line to get her own act together in her Department——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  ——and deliver on her own commitments to tackling fraud. Only half of the target for fighting fraud will be achieved by the end of the year. It is an appalling disgrace and shows the gross incompetence of the Government and the Minister for Social and Family Affairs.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call Deputy Bernard Durkan.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  The Ceann Comhairle is protecting the Tánaiste like a gladiator.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  To be helpful to the Deputy, I will ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to revert to him on the legislation before the Seanad.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  What about No. 76?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Deputy answered his own question. It is not possible to indicate when that will come before the House.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Ceann Comhairle will be delighted with me this morning.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Good.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I will be completely in order.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Go on.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I will not ask any question about the Ministers who very carefully answer parliamentary questions — there is a minority who do so — because it would reflect on those who do not.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  That is right.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That would not be fair. I will not raise the question of the Ministers who do not reply at all——

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  At all.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——but will respond to anything except the question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy going to talk about promised legislation?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am not going to ask that. Ministers should note that I will come back to the subject. Apropos the issue raised by Deputy Michael D. Higgins, there is a peculiar occurrence with promised legislation. Nos. 56 to 58, inclusive, are urgent legislation — it states as much in the legislative programme — and No. 57 is in accordance with the Government’s better regulation agenda. That is news to me and I did not know it had a better regulation agenda but we are always willing to hear new things.

[526]No. 58 is the reform of financial regulatory services Bill, and that was raised by Deputy Michael D. Higgins. The programme states it is “to replace existing structures (the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland) with a new single unified Central Bank of Ireland Commission”.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Could we get to a question?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am quoting the legislation. I have raised this on several occasions and everybody on this side of the House has also raised it on several occasions. Will the Tánaiste give some indication to the House this morning of what is meant, in Government terms, by “urgency” and “urgent legislation”? Is it intended to in any way expedite the process through the process in line with public anxiety and requirements in the country currently?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I have answered Deputy Higgins’s question. It is the same answer as I gave 25 minutes ago and I cannot change it.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  What is the answer?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There is no date.

Deputy Joe Carey: Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  That says it all.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Does the Ceann Comhairle agree with me that the response says it all?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Tánaiste has given the answer.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Not only is the Government misleading the public and the House——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will need to find an alternative way of bringing that up.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Tánaiste has very glibly tried to inform the House that the Government will do nothing.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call Deputy Bannon.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is a disgrace.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Does the Tánaiste realise that she has treated the people of this country with contempt this morning with her replies?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Does Deputy Bannon have a question on legislation?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Of course. I am coming to it. The Tánaiste stated that it is not possible at this stage to state when the eligibility for health and personal social services Bill will be brought before the House. This concerns all the citizens of the midlands who have been treated by phantom consultants for the past six months——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Has the Deputy a specific inquiry rather than commentary?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  ——in Longford-Westmeath General Hospital.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Bannon.

[527]Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Nurses and staff are being withdrawn from the hospital without any consultation whatever with the management of the hospital. It is a disgrace.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will Deputy Bannon resume his seat?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  On another issue?

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The Deputy should take his tablets.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  On another issue——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is it relevant to legislation?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Very much so. I had friends from the United States visiting Ireland last week. They had much interest in our heritage and culture and visited many of our monuments throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. They said it was a sham and a shame the way our national monuments have been allowed to deteriorate in this country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is this relevant to legislation?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  When the Government announced its budget it cut 40% from the monument budget.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is not speaking to legislation. Will he resume his seat?

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  May I ask about legislation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is commentary rather than a question on legislation.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  I am allowed to pose a question on legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Bannon should resume his seat.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  I ask the Tánaiste when the monuments Bill will come before the House. That is legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  That is next year.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  This is a very straightforward question relating to children’s welfare. The Tánaiste may have seen recent reports where the Maclaren company, which produces children’s goods, has had to recall a million child buggies in the United States because of the danger and damage to children’s fingers. Some children had the tips of their fingers cut off by the buggies in the United States. When the query was put to the Maclaren company about similar products in Ireland, it first denied that there were any such products in Ireland. The statement was then corrected to indicate that there were such products in Ireland but because of the nature of the Irish safety legislation, it did not warrant a recall of the buggies.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy speaking to promised legislation?

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  If the matter is serious enough for 1 million child buggies to be recalled in the United States, surely it is serious enough for the same items to be recalled in this country. What will the Tánaiste do about this situation? What will she do to strengthen the legislation so that the child protection principle that has pertained in the US also pertains here?

[528]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I have asked the National Consumer Agency to investigate this matter on my behalf.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  If the piece of equipment that has been recalled in the United State is on sale in Ireland, surely there is a prima facie case for its recall.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will revert to the Deputy when I have received the advice of the National Consumer Agency, which is investigating the matter on my behalf.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Is there a timescale for that?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It will happen as quickly as possible.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  I am sure the loss of 250 jobs at the Stiefel plant in Sligo yesterday is close to the Tánaiste’s heart. Can she tell the House whether due diligence took place before the company was sold three months ago? Stiefel has been the backbone of job creation in County Sligo since its operations commenced in 1975. It is apparent from information that has been supplied to me that it was bought by a major international company with the intention of downsizing it and eventually closing it. I am raising this matter in the context of the proposed industrial development foundation Bill. The people of Sligo would like to know what plans have been put in place by the Tánaiste in light of the massive impact of yesterday’s news.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can raise this matter on the Adjournment or table a parliamentary question.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Given that the closure will take place over a four-year period——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This is not appropriate to the Order of Business.

Deputy Arthur Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  We are entitled to know.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  I am entitled to know about the industrial development foundation Bill, which is being prepared by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. As the closure will take place over a four-year period, the Tánaiste has an opportunity to intervene in some way, for example by incentivising——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  I have sought to raise this important issue on the Adjournment. I hope the Ceann Comhairle chooses it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can also ask a parliamentary question.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Can the Tánaiste deal with this matter?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If it is to be raised on the Adjournment, it can be considered in that context.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Will that happen today?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It will be considered.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Will the Tánaiste come to the House for such a debate? There is no point——

[529]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy cannot continue to intervene like this.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  The Tánaiste wants to answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It will be considered for inclusion in the Adjournment debate.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  The Tánaiste needs to speak about the closure of a company that is based next door to her constituency.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will be informed if this matter is selected for the Adjournment debate.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  I am asking whether the Tánaiste will respond to this issue on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The queries the Deputy is raising now can be dealt with at that point.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  I am looking for clarification on this matter.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  The people of the north west want to know what is going on.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Will the Tánaiste, who is the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, come into the House this evening to deal with this issue on the Adjournment?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call——

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  She is in charge of this issue.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  She is the boss.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I have made a public pronouncement on what i intend to do on this issue. I will follow through on that.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Will the Tánaiste make a statement in this House today?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I made a statement yesterday.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  She has already made a statement.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I indicated yesterday that I will work with the relevant authorities to deal with this issue.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  We have heard all that before.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The item is down for consideration on the Adjournment.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Why has the Tánaiste not been working before now to prevent the closure of the company?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If it is selected, the Deputy will be able to ask all these questions.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  What happened last July?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  The company was sold last July.

[530]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have been more than tolerant with the Deputy.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Will the Tánaiste come to the House for the Adjournment debate later today?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If the item is selected for the Adjournment, it will be dealt with by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  I am trying to hold the Tánaiste to account.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Deputy John Perry: Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Will she give the Dáil an answer on this issue today?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call Deputy Burton.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Dáil has not debated the McCarthy report since it was published some months ago. The report recommended that a number of third level educational institutions should be amalgamated. For example, it proposed that a number of institutes of technology in the Dublin area should be merged with Dublin Institute of Technology. The Grangegorman Development Agency was established by the Government with the aim of developing a new headquarters for Dublin Institute of Technology.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should ask about legislation.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We are coming up to the budget.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Yes.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  A pre-budget announcement will be made today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We cannot have Question Time on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We have no clarity.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should ask about promised legislation.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Can the Tánaiste tell the House whether the Government has made a decision on the future of certain third level institutions, such as Dublin Institute of Technology and certain authorities, such as the Grangegorman Development Agency?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to find an alternative way of getting this information.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The McCarthy report recommended that some of these bodies should be amalgamated or abolished. What is the status of the report, which proposed the Grangegorman Development Agency for abolition? Will the Government provide time for a debate on the McCarthy report, which is a fundamental aspect of its pre-budget strategy?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am not aware that the McCarthy report can be considered as promised legislation.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The McCarthy report is a major Government report. It has never been debated in this House even though it will have huge consequences for education and health services.

[531]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It can be dealt with in the context of the pre-budget debate that has been promised for next week.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Can the Tánaiste tell us whether the Government has made a decision on the future of the Grangegorman Development Agency, Dublin Institute of Technology and related institutions?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask the Deputy to resume her seat.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  A waste disposal company has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency to provide facilities for the dumping of asbestos at an existing landfill in the community of Kilconnell, which is near Ballinasloe in east Galway.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This is not promised legislation.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  I would like to ask the Tánaiste about the matter in the context of the proposed environment (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. Will the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government intervene in the granting of a licence by the EPA? The disposal of asbestos in this country is one of the most serious issues with which we have to deal.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is going to have to find an alternative way of raising this matter.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  In the past, all of it has been sent out of the country at an enormous cost.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I suggest that he should raise it on the Adjournment or table a parliamentary question.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  A waste company has applied to be allowed to dispose of asbestos in east Galway.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are many ways of raising it.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Questions were asked when the site in question was approved as a landfill site in the first instance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We have to move on.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  The company has no concern for the health and safety of the community in Kilconnell.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have to begin the debate on the National Asset Management Agency Bill 2009.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  I ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to intervene in this case immediately to ensure that the site is not used for the disposal of asbestos.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That concludes the Order of Business.


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