Order of Business.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 698 No. 2

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The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is proposed to take No. 42, statements on the carbon budget; and No. a4, Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill 2009 — Second Stage (Resumed) and Subsequent Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings on No. 42 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 65 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) the statements shall be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and to the main spokespersons for Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order, who may share their time, and which shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; and (ii) a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed 5 minutes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There is one proposal to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 42, statements on the carbon budget, agreed to?

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is not agreed.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This proposal is not agreed to. The behaviour of the Government, in the context of the way it wants to do its business, is the most arrogant of any Administration I have ever seen. The Order of Business is absolutely contemptuous. It is proposed that we take statements on the carbon budget for 65 minutes and then guillotine the debate on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill at 6.30 p.m. Only 16 Members of my party have had the opportunity to speak on the latter, and then for only five minutes each.

Deputy Michael Kennedy: Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  If Deputy Kenny had heard what the Members of this party had to say on the Bill last night, he would be happier if they had refrained from contributing.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Well said. We were all impressed with the old rubbish uttered by Deputy Kennedy.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  We all heard the claptrap uttered by Deputy Kennedy and his colleagues. Wait until the Members opposite return to their constituencies. They will not repeat to their constituents what they said here. They would be terrified to do so.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Kenny, without interruption.

[282]Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Deputy Kennedy only talks old rubbish.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I listened to Deputy Kennedy’s contribution to the debate on the Bill. If he played corner back in the same way when he was involved in sport, he would be dropped from the team immediately.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  That is why he is only on the subs bench.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I must inform the Tánaiste, who represents a constituency in the north west, that what she is attempting to do here is both contemptuous and disgraceful. The Government is acting in a way that is completely contradictory to the norm. Ned Kelly is famed in song and story for robbing the rich to help the poor. The Government has made many people very rich and has left them untouched while it tramples on the poorest of the poor in society.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Tánaiste may believe that because the Government squared up to deal with a particular situation on Wednesday, it has now talked the talk and acted in a tough and decisive manner.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Deputy Kenny was obviously listening to Deputy Gilmore on the radio this morning.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  She may believe that by alienating the public service, the members of which are obliged to deliver a huge range of services on a daily basis, the Government is influencing those in the private sector who cannot obtain loans from any of the banks.

Deputy Seán Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  This is a Second Stage speech.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  In the meantime, there are those in receipt of pensions in excess of €100,000 and gross incomes of well over that amount who have been left untouched. The Tánaiste, as deputy leader of the Government, seems to be of the view that it is fine to take €8.60 from people who care on a full-time basis for their loved ones — mothers, fathers and other family members — be they incontinent or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and that everything will be fine and rosy in the garden.

What the Government is doing is absolutely disgraceful.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Shame on the Government.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Members of Fianna Fáil from areas throughout the country will have received representations from private sector interests which are indicating that they cannot obtain money from any of the banks to keep their employees in work or their businesses in operation.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  That is true.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  At the same time, the Tánaiste appears to be of the opinion that it is possible to create a situation whereby this Fianna Fáil-led Government will obtain great support from the private sector because it took on the public sector and walked all over those in receipt of the lowest rates of social welfare payments.

A Deputy:  What does the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher, have to say to that?

[283]Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Deputy Ring is much better at expressing indignation.

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  The Minister of State should listen to the truth.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  That is not good politics. The Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher, challenged Fine Gael to put forward an alternative view prior to the budget. We duly produced a costed, detailed document which, if accepted, would have achieved €4 billion in cuts while protecting children, pensioners, those with disabilities, the blind and the carers.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Shame on the Minister of State.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  The Government does not care about blind people. It is robbing the blind.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Our proposals would also have protected the 55,000 public sector workers who earn less than €30,000. They would also have provided an €18 billion stimulus for job creation in an area — namely, key infrastructure — in respect of which Ireland has fallen so far behind other countries that it has lost a serious amount of ground in competitive terms.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are moving away from the item on the Order of Business.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I propose that the Tánaiste scrap the Order of Business. I want every Member from my party to be able to contribute to the debate on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Hear, hear.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am sure the Labour Party wants the same thing.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Deputy Michael Ahern should sit down. We do not want to hear him.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  If the Tánaiste thinks she can come in here and do whatever she wants, she has another thing coming. It is very easy for the former Minister of State, Deputy Michael Ahern, to talk tough from the comfort of a State car with an armed garda. He should remember that the bottom line is that the garda is there to protect State property, which is the car and not the Minister of State.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  We cannot hear Deputy Michael Ahern. We could not hear him when he was a Minister of State either.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I hope we do not have a period of serious, aggressive unrest in this country.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  The more Deputy Kenny speaks, the more he sounds like Deputy Ring.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Politician to politician I say to the Tánaiste, there was a better way and a different way, where the public service could be brought with the Government in an understanding of effective reform. The Government has now given them an unmerciful belt in the solar plexus and has lost all authority to negotiate with them.

[284]Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  We took €1.7 billion from them.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Government will not be able to achieve public sector reform. It has done down the private sector and walked on those in receipt of social welfare. I propose rejecting this Order of Business to allow for the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill to be returned to the House next Tuesday so that every Member will be given the opportunity to express a view on it.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The Government took €4 off the old age pension by not granting the Christmas bonus. Shame on the Government. They talked about Ernest Blythe but they are worse than him.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  There must be something in the air in County Mayo.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Deputy Dooley should go back to his former career. He might get more respect.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Muppets.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  There would not be a bob left for him to collect.

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

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I agree with Deputy Kenny that this is an arrogant Government. It is so arrogant that it wants to put this Bill through, round up all its people, round up its six strays and get them in here this evening to vote on a measure——

Deputy Seán Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Deputy Gilmore is a bit of a stray himself.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  The Workers’ Party, the Socialist Workers’ Party, New Agenda, Democratic Left, Official Sinn Féin and probably the Communist Party of Ireland.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We need time set aside for Government Deputies to laugh.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Unlike Deputy Power I am a voluntary stray. Deputy Power has been compulsorily strayed. This Government is attempting to pass a social welfare Bill to take money from the blind and those providing care in the home for sick members of their family rather than having them in institutional care at greater cost to the State. The Bill also takes money from widows and from people paid less than €600 per week, while top bankers on €500,000 a year are not touched. The Government is doing this in a way that treats the Dáil with contempt. It also did so yesterday.

It is questionable whether the social welfare Bill is properly before the House. Yesterday, my colleague Deputy Shortall opposed the order proposed by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs. The Ceann Comhairle called a vote on it, the Minister for Social and Family Affairs overruled the Ceann Comhairle and no vote was taken on it. This raises the question of whether the social welfare Bill is properly before the House. Politically, the Government is attempting to get Deputies Healy-Rae, Lowry, Grealish, McDaid and the two strays from Sligo to vote to cut money from people who are blind, those providing care, the widowed and those in bad circumstances before Members get back to their constituents. This is a political order to get the social welfare Bill through before Deputies are exposed to constituents discussing it with them. The Labour Party will not agree to this order. This is the height of arrogance and it adds insult to the injury inflicted on these people last Wednesday.

[285]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Before calling Deputy Ó Caoláin, I wish to address a point raised by Deputy Gilmore.

Deputy Jackie Healy-Rae: Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Ceann Comhairle——

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Let Deputy Healy-Rae speak.

Deputy Dinny McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  Stay quiet Deputy Healy-Rae, you are bought.

Deputy Jim O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Deputy Healy-Rae is having a late conversion.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Fair play to Deputy Tom Sheahan, who got a hospital for Kenmare.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will allow Deputy Healy-Rae to speak in a moment but first I wish to address something referred to by Deputy Gilmore. Regarding the commencement of the social welfare Bill yesterday, I have taken the unusual step of having the record of the House checked. It is crystal clear that the Minister moved the correct motion, namely, “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.” That is the end of the matter.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The record of the House is wrong if that is what is on it. Has the record been amended?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  In any event, once the Bill was subject to a guillotine motion on the order of business, fixing Second Stage was not required.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Why did the Ceann Comhairle call a vote?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Please, Deputy Stagg. I have no difficulty in clarifying the position and I accept there was some mild confusion at the commencement of the debate. As a rule, the Chair does not do action replays and I am duty bound to expedite the business of the House in accordance with Standing Orders. I intend to faithfully uphold the rulings of my predecessors in that regard.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I do not dispute the ruling of the Ceann Comhairle but what happened here yesterday was a Thierry Henry moment. The ball was handled and the rules being applied are the FIFA rules.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  That was a rationalisation, not an explanation.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Sinn Féin Deputies object to taking the Order of Business as proposed by the Tánaiste. I wish to correct one point in respect of Deputy Gilmore’s portrayal of the now famous six, who he refers to as strays. If one takes a look at them, there is only one stray among the six and the other five are clearly prodigal sons. All too sadly, they will return to the fold as the need presents.

  11 o’clock

We have before us a Bill that the Government wants to force through, from Second Stage to Report and Final Stages, by 6.30 p.m. This is a serious Bill with widespread consequences for hundreds of thousands of the most marginalised people across the State. We are being asked to accept the limited opportunity presented to discuss it but also that Deputies must vote on the measures without proper perusal and debate. We have a responsibility to give every Bill a fair hearing and careful scrutiny. I wonder if the powers of the Ceann Comhairle allow him to intervene and make a judgment in the interests of the people and this assembly that what was forced through on the Order of Business [286]yesterday in respect of the ordering of the conduct of debate on this Bill was in contravention of all norms that should apply in this House.

This is a serious Bill, with major consequences for many people. It is a travesty. This Government might as well rule by decree from Government Buildings, such is the contempt it shows this Chamber and the Houses of the Oireachtas. The Ministers for Finance and Social and Family Affairs who are directly responsible are not even in the Chamber as we consider how this Bill will proceed this morning. I and the Sinn Féin Members absolutely object, not only to the ordering but to the absolutely disgraceful intent of this legislation.

Deputy John Cregan: Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  The Deputy objects to everything.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We will oppose it line by line.

Deputy Jackie Healy-Rae: Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  I want to tell Deputy Gilmore and Lady Shortall——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is not aligned with a party which raises the issue of his right to speak. He may make a brief intervention.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  He is the leader of the provisional Fianna Fáil six.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  On a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Would Deputy Healy-Rae resume his seat for a moment.

Deputy Jimmy Deenihan: Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  He is entitled to be heard.

Deputies:  Throw him out.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Healy-Rae should resume his seat. So should Deputy Kenny.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Throw the Deputy out so that he will not be here for the vote.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  On a point of order.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Kenny is making a point of order.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  My point of order is in the interests of Deputy Healy-Rae. As the Ceann Comhairle knows from his study of history, this party always fought for the right to free speech. I would like to hear Deputy Healy-Rae.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  It is a maiden speech.

Deputy Jackie Healy-Rae: Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  I have a very simple message for Deputy Gilmore and Lady Shortall. If they were short of people like myself and Deputy Michael Lowry to make up the numbers in this House they would be damn glad to have us. The trouble is that they——

(Interruptions).

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  The Deputy knows his place.

[287]Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Was that not a great maiden speech? The Government will be worried.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 42, statements on the carbon budget, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 81; Níl, 69.

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 Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank. Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael.
Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on 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 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 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 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 Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Eamon 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 Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. 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 John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
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 Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
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 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 Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.  

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

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We move on to the Order of Business.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, we have just dealt with a time motion limiting speaking times to 15 minutes in each case. If it is a Minister, will the Ceann Comhairle, like yesterday, allow double that time for Ministers despite the order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We were over this territory yesterday. I explained in the Chamber that, because of persistent procedural querying in the Chamber, the Minister did not have the opportunity to deliver her Second Stage reading.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  That does not change the order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  For the proper functioning of the House, the Ministers and the other Members must be allowed to have their say in the House. If we have persistent procedural querying on a number of issues——

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I am anxious that when we make a time order, the Chair will abide by that order.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Changes are allowed under Standing Order 48.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is particularly important that the Chair does not decide differently on the Government side and the Opposition side.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  As the Deputy knows, all of these matters are at the discretion of the Chair and I will endeavour to be even-handed about it. I call Deputy Kenny.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Have arrangements yet been made for discussion on the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill which is to be debated next week? Is [289]this to be guillotined through as well or has the Chief Whip made arrangements for full and comprehensive discussion of the Bill next week?

Has the Government considered having the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform call in the Garda Commissioner in respect of threatened industrial action——

Deputies:  Order in the House.

Deputy Dermot Ahern: Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  No one is listening to him anyway.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will allow the Members who wish to exit to do so. Silence, please. Deputy Kenny is in possession.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will ask the question again. What are the arrangements for the discussion on the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill, in which there is much interest? Is this to be guillotined through next Tuesday or Wednesday, or have arrangements been made in that regard?

What is the current situation arising from the GRA’s decision to ballot its members for industrial action? Nobody wants to see a situation like this. Is the Minister in discussion with the Garda Commissioner and does he intend to meet the GRA? Strict guidelines pertain here. Nobody wants a situation where this is followed through.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  On the ordering of next week’s business, it is proposed that discussions will take place on the legislation on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. On the other matter, although it is outside the remit of the Order of Business, I welcome what has been said by the Members of the Opposition in this regard.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am not sure the Tánaiste satisfactorily answered the question she was asked, which concerned the arrangements for the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill next week. It is this Bill that will cut the pay of workers earning less than €600 a week by 5%. According to the schedule that has been circulated for next week, the Government intends to pull the same stunt on that Bill that it is pulling on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill this week, starting Second Stage on Tuesday and running it for as long as possible, keeping Committee Stage as short as possible and having all the votes on Wednesday.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  This is not relevant to the House.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  It is relevant to 330,000 people.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  While the Labour Party promises the sun and the stars.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  That procedure is designed to minimise the opportunities for amendments to be proposed to the legislation and to minimise the number of times Government TDs will have to vote on the specific provisions of the Bill. It is clearly concluded on the Government side that it is politically easier to sell a general vote on the Bill with a wrapped up motion that the Bill pass with all amendments acceptable to the Minister than to have Government Deputies voting specifically on each section. Otherwise they would have to vote this week, for example, on the section dealing specifically with the cuts applying to carers and the blind and next week the cuts to the low paid.

These arrangements are designed to provide as much cover as possible to a cowardly Government that wants to rush this through with a guillotine instead of standing over the votes they are casting to make cuts to those who cannot afford them.

[290]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We are talking about the Order of Business for next week. Tuesday and Wednesday are the days being considered for the legislation and if the Whips want to sit later on those nights that could be arranged during the normal discussions they have to prepare business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This is a complicated Bill and many who work in the public service are concerned about its vague nature when it comes to pension arrangements. Will the Minister for Finance offer a briefing to Opposition Deputies and has he received the advice of the Attorney General? Reducing the salary and conditions of public servants is a complex issue in the context of Irish law.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is anticipating the debate.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This is very important. This is the first time in the history of the State that the Fianna Fáil Minister for Finance has cut the wages and entitlements of public servants.

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  We did it in 1933.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There will be ample opportunity for the Deputy to make these points next week.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We have no information about the impact of the legal structure under which this is proposed. There is no information and very little time. Will the officials of the Minister’s Department provide a briefing to Opposition spokespersons on the genuine complexities of this Bill?

People all over Ireland are worried sick this weekend about their jobs, their pay, their conditions and the pensions. Fianna Fáil does not agree but that is a fact. There is nothing wrong in having this explained to Opposition spokespeople so that in the limited time available for this Bill we can engage in genuine discussion. That is a democratic proposal and if the Minister has any interest in building consensus he will concur with this reasonable request from the Opposition.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  All of those points can be made on Second Stage of the Bill next week.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Minister will provide a briefing to the Members opposite. I have never seen him not facilitating his colleagues in that way.

Deputy Bernard Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  In view of the enormous damage done to businesses and households in Cork city and county, does the Government intend to set up a public inquiry into the issues and events before and during the flooding of the city? A public inquiry is needed to get at the truth and I support the call by my constituency colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That matter could be considered for the Adjournment next week.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  In light of the new health policy announced by Deputy Healy-Rae whereby the Government is now building small hospitals, when will the Minister introduce the health information Bill so we can find out the truth about what is happening in the health service? Those of us having our services removed feel very aggrieved that Deputy Healy-Rae has such power.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  That legislation will be introduced next year.

[291]Deputy Joe Behan: Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  I have contacted the Ceann Comhairle’s office on three occasions in the past four weeks asking for time to speak on very important issues — the pre-budget document issued by the Department of Finance, the Adoption Bill and this morning I contacted the Ceann Comhairle’s office asking for time to speak on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill. On each occasion the Ceann Comhairle has not been in a position to facilitate me.

I wish to ask the Tánaiste and the Whips of all parties if there is any possibility that those who are not aligned to any party could occasionally express their views and the opinions of those they represent when it comes to issues of national importance. It is not too much to ask. We have a constitutional right to be heard in this Chamber. I do not make a fuss about this every time. I have been courteous to the Ceann Comhairle and I will continue to be.

Deputy O’Sullivan, Deputy Finian McGrath and I have a right to speak on these issues and I am now asking for the opportunity to speak on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill before Second Stage finishes and to speak on the legislation that will be dealt with next week.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I would be happy to accommodate Deputy Behan or any other independent Member who does not get speaking time. When the Government guillotines a Bill, however, it is difficult. Only three members of the Labour Party got in on the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill, and that was done by sharing time. There was no time to give to people, that is the difficulty we have.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are anxious to see Deputies accommodated. We will look at this.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  What progress has been made with the preparation of the landlord and tenant Bill? Publication is expected but we were previously told work was ongoing. What progress has been made?

The Multi-Unit Developments Bill 2009 appears to have been parked. It was the subject of discussions between two or three Departments and the Attorney General. To what extent have the discussions taken place and where does the Bill stand?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The first Bill will be introduced next year while the other Bill is still before the Seanad.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That was not the question. I asked if the issues being discussed by the Department and the Attorney General had been resolved.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It seems to me that is a detail——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is a very important Bill to many people.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will revert to the Deputy.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  What is the present position regarding the Competition Authority (amendment) Bill which is one of the Bills that has been promised and in particular the amendment of section 4? Related to this in another sense in terms of ordering business, I ask for a timescale for the legislation promised in the social partnership agreement, for example, the trade union recognition Bill. I am asking about the timescale for the legislation that was agreed with the social partners. It is a list of Bills. It is a part of the agreement. I am asking specifically because we will find ourselves either in the courts or whatever, as different bodies negotiate with Government regarding the amendment to section 4 of the Competition Authority legislation. I have asked for this on numerous occasions but at this stage we should be in a position to know precise information on that legislation and when it will come before the House. We need to know the status of the other Bills. Are they now dead or does the Govern[292]ment perhaps intend as a gesture to bring forward all this legislation? This is very basic legislation, some of it arising in the context of the Lisbon treaty. When will we have this legislation?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is my intention to bring the competition authority legislation to the House for consideration at the beginning of next year. It is my intention and that of the Minister of State to proceed with the agreed Bills arising from Towards 2016. I know the Deputy has a particular interest in one or two items on that agenda and it is my intention to proceed with them next year.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Can the House be assured that the advice of the Attorney General has been obtained with regard to the legality of section 11 of the Social Welfare and Pensions (No. 2) Bill 2009, and with respect to section 29 of the contract held by participating dentists and the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, which requires that three months’ written notice of termination be issued? We do not want to find ourselves in the same situation with the dentists as we did with the Minister for Health and Children paying out legal fees of nearly €70 million in compensation to pharmacists.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Attorney General always considers legislation brought before Cabinet. He has given his advice.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is very thin in this case.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Will the Government honour the three months’ written notice as per the contract?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That is really a matter for the line Minister.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  It is very important.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  That is the point about rushed legislation; there is no opportunity to consider it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is a matter for the line Department.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, who is visiting the House today, has promised he would introduce legislation to put a cap on the amount of waste which could be incinerated in an incinerator. As a result he believes he will be able to stop the planned incinerator in Ringsend. Is the environment (miscellaneous provisions) Bill which is listed for publication the Bill in which the cap on the amount of waste to be incinerated will be included? When will that Bill be published and will the incinerator be built before it is published?

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Watch this space. No advice from the Minister over there.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Arising from reports on waste management some redrafting is required on the environment (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. It will be published in mid-January.

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  As the House is graced with the presence of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, may I ask if he plans to introduce legislation to allow for a shared equity purchase scheme for homeowners, either new or existing, notwithstanding the fact that the Government rejected a Fine Gael proposal in the NAMA Bill for a home protection bond which would have allowed this flexibility?

[293]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is there promised legislation in this area?

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  I do not see it on the list and this is the reason for my question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are dealing with the Order of Business and promised legislation.

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  I understand that but it is not too often the House is graced with the presence of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for the Order of Business.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Minister is thinking about it at the moment. He is deep in thought.

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  The Minister is not even listening.

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Those issues are matters for the Minister of State with responsibility for housing and I will ask him to revert to the Deputy.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Ceann Comhairle, I am certain I had my hand up to speak.

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

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The Ceann Comhairle seems to have a blind spot about this bench.

As the only Labour Party speaker with any time remaining which is three minutes, I would gladly give two minutes to Deputy Joe Behan. He is one of the very few really Independent voices in the House that cannot be bought by the price of a hospital which has already been announced by the Minister for Health and Children.

The Tánaiste may be able to assist me. I have been trying to find the anti-poverty strategy in this budget. Since I came into this House all budgets have been poverty-proofed. Last year’s Budget Statement contained an annexe B which showed the effect of the budget on the poor and on poverty. I cannot find this information anywhere in the documentation. The Minister for Finance stated that he would be helpful to the Opposition so maybe he could assist me and tell where it is or do the poor just not matter any more to this Government?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have an opportunity to make those points when speaking on the Bill.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  We have always had it. I think it is even in legislation since Proinsias de Rossa was Minister, so far as I know.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are talking about promised legislation on the Order of Business. This is not promised legislation.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  How can we prepare for our contributions to the social welfare Bill if the budget document does not contain the information we need to protect the poor?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should raise that issue during the debate on the Bill when she makes her contribution.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  It is obvious the Government is not interested in protecting the poor any more.

[294]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have ample opportunity to make those cogent points.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I will not have ample opportunity as I have only one minute’s speaking time left. Where is the documentation we were given every year since I came into this House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will come back to the Deputy. I call Deputy Doyle.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Government wants to make everyone poorer.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Deputy O’Sullivan is absolutely right. There has always been a poverty-proofing of the budget. This used to be done by the Combat Poverty Agency which the Government abolished last year and we were told it would be done instead by the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Has this document been laid before the House? It is a document related to the budget. Deputy O’Sullivan is correct that it is a statutory obligation——

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is a standard feature of all budgets.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——to have the budget assessed——

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Poverty-proofed.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——to see what impact it has on poor people. Does this House pay any attention to the needs of poor people any more?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is not a statutory obligation. My understanding is the Minister simply circulates it.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It has not been circulated.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It has not been circulated.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I do not know the answer to that question.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I can tell the Ceann Comhairle it has not been circulated. The social welfare Bill is being guillotined this evening but the document on the impact of the budgetary measures on poor people seems to me to be a document which the House needs to have before the debate on the social welfare Bill concludes. As the Ceann Comhairle has acknowledged, it has not been circulated. Where is it; when will we have it? Has it been laid before the House or will it be laid before the House? Is it the case, as Deputy O’Sullivan has rightly identified, that the Government has not given a second thought to poor people in this country when preparing this budget?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy O’Sullivan is due to speak on the Bill.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Where is the document?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  All those points can be raised at that stage.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Where is the document?

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  On a point of order, circulation of a document is a matter for the Ceann Comhairle; either it is to be placed in the Oireachtas Library or it is not. If the Ceann Comhairle wants to depart from that practice I suggest he would be creating a very [295]strange precedent. It has always been the case that where documents are not delivered along with the major legislation, they are made available in the Oireachtas Library, even supporting documents. If it is the Government’s intention to depart from that norm, let us hear it from them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will be able to make those points when the debate resumes.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  No, that is not my intention. Frankly and between ourselves, I know the distinction between reading a document and speaking in the House. I have no difficulty in either direction. If it is to be in the Oireachtas Library, is it circulated? Will it be circulated? Is it being dropped? We just need an answer.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Minister is there.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  We will deal with the social welfare Bill this evening without knowing the impact on the poor.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I want to know if we will see this document.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can raise these points in his contribution and the Minister will respond.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We will not have any time because the Government is guillotining the debate.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  There is no time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, if we allow the debate on the Bill to get under way as quickly as possible after the statements, all these points can be addressed then.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  This is very simple. There has been a requirement and it is the custom year in, year out, that when the Government draws up the budget there is examination of the impact of the budgetary measures on poor people. This examination used to be done by the Combat Poverty Agency, which no longer exists, and is now supposed to be done by the Department of Social and Family Affairs. As Deputy O’Sullivan pointed out, in previous years the document was always circulated with the budgetary information. The budgetary documents provided an assessment which indicated that various measures had been examined and set out their impact on the poor. This document has not been circulated and what the Labour Party wants to establish before we proceed with the rest of the debate on the social welfare Bill is where is the document. Alternatively, is it the case that the Government has introduced a budget which impacts on poor people without even assessing this impact? Is that the position? Where is the document? We want it.

An Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Níl seo in ord ar chor ar bith. Tá sé 11.30 a.m. anois agus tá go leor leor ama caite againn air.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Is cuma faoi sin. Tabhair freagra ar an gceist — an bhfuil an Rialtas chun é a fhoilsiú nó nach bhfuil? Trí Ghaeilge nó trí Bhéarla.

An Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Níl muid ábalta leanúint ar aghaidh. Chaith muid go leor leor ama air seo.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Mo náire ar an Tánaiste. Tá seo uafásach. Bhí an Tánaiste ina hAire Gnóthaí Sóisialacha agus Teaghlaigh í féin.

[296]An Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Bhí.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Ba cheart go mbeadh a fhios aici go gcuirfí caipéis mar seo os comhair na Dála

An Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Ní raibh an doiciméad ann i m’am.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Ba cheart go gcuirfí an cháipéis seo os comhair na Dála. Níl sí ar fáil.

An Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Ní raibh sí ann.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Foilsigh an cháipéis, foilsigh í. Tá sé go huafásach nach bhfuil sí chun bheith foilsithe.

An Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Ní raibh an doiciméad ann ar chor ar bith i m’am.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Bhí sí ann, bhí sí ar fáil sa Leabharlann.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We should have more respect for the House than to insinuate——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Tánaiste should answer the Deputy’s question.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  The Government should publish the document.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  If these were measures that were impacting on well-heeled people with many connections or on banks or professionals with professional bodies and so forth, the matter would not be passed over in this manner. These measures are impacting on people who are poor and an assessment was supposed to have been done on the impact of the budget on the poor. I have some straightforward questions. Has the assessment been done and is there a document? If so, where is the document and will it be laid before the House today? The debate on the social welfare Bill finishes today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Let us tease out these matters during the Second Stage debate.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government has insisted on guillotining the debate on the social welfare Bill, which must conclude this evening. That is the Government’s choice, not the choice of the Labour Party. There is a requirement to have the impact of the budgetary measures on poor people laid before the House. Where is the document? Did the Government do an assessment of the impact of the budget on poor people and, if so, when will it be laid before the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Committee and Remaining Stages will be taken after Second Stage and all these points can be made then.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The debate will be guillotined.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are wasting time.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Before Deputies contribute to the debate, we want to know where is the document. Did the Government do an assessment? It is becoming patently clear that the silent Ministers on the front bench, including the Minister for Finance who introduced the budget — the silver spoon wing of the Government — did not examine its impact on poor people.

[297]Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  There is no need for begrudgery. Of course the Government examined the issue.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Where is the document?

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Was it so bad the Government kept it to itself?

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I have two questions which are in order. Is there a document showing the assessment of the impact of the budget on poor people? If so, will it be laid before the House? I invite the Tánaiste to reply.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is 11.35 a.m.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  We know what time it is; we want the Tánaiste to answer the question.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  By failing to get through the Order of Business, we have lost 45 minutes of the time provided to debate the Bill. I will ask the Minister for Social and Family Affairs to revert to the Deputy on the matter when I have an opportunity to leave the House.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Minister for Finance, who is seated next to the Tánaiste, should answer the question.

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The budget has been published.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government did not give the poor a second thought.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  As the national monuments Bill seems to be a dead duck or wilting frog, when will the national cultural institutions Bill be published? The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government appears to be unaware that heritage is part of his portfolio. He would sooner be out in the countryside tagging frogs than introducing legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Bill will be published next year.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Proposed legislation, the local government (Dublin mayor) Bill, is to provide for an election in Dublin next year. The election of a Dublin mayor will cost a great deal of money at a time when the country does not have any. Payments to widows are being cut yet the Green Party proposes a vanity project that will cost money.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can make these points during the debate on the social welfare Bill.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Green Party will get its answer should the election proceed. Widows should not be having their pension cut to pay for a vanity project which the country cannot afford. Will the Bill and the election of a Dublin mayor proceed and, if so, what is the timeframe?

Deputy John Gormley: Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  As I indicated yesterday, it is proceeding.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  In that case, we will have another elected office costing €500,000. Has the Minister lost his reason entirely?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can make these points in the debate.

[298]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Widows are having their pensions cut to pay for——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask the Deputy to resume her seat. The Order of Business has concluded.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is crazy.


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