Order of Business.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 701 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 176 Next Page Last Page

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Order of Business today shall be No. 4, Finance Bill 2010 — Second Stage (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted not later than 10 p.m. The resumed Second Stage of No. 4 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. Private Members’ business shall be No. 76, motion re remuneration of public servants (resumed), to conclude at 8.30 p.m. tonight, if not previously concluded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. agreed to?

[893]Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I refer to what is being accommodated by the extension of time for the Finance Bill 2010. The Sinn Féin party will not agree to the Order of Business offered by the Government today unless we get an indication or commitment that there will be an opportunity to properly address the disgraceful decision of the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) in respect of the Halifax network of branches and their presence throughout the economy. Some 750 workers are being thrown on the dole queue, something about which the Government has known and that had been signalled for upwards of 12 months. We seek an opportunity to have the matter substantively addressed in this Chamber.

The Ministers for Finance and Enterprise, Trade and Employment should come in and give us an account of their stewardship, what efforts, engagement and action they propose — even in a last ditch effort — to try to stymy the full effects of this very serious announcement. Will this be committed to here this week? This is what we are calling for. It is a matter of such importance. We were told there would be a new, almost social, conscience on the part of financial institutions in the advent of the bank rescue scheme and NAMA, albeit this particular institution is not covered by either of these. Nevertheless, we cannot endure a situation where 750 workers will be just dumped on the pavement as a result of a decision taken outside this jurisdiction and imposed here. There are political aspects of this matter which must be engaged directly with the British Government and Exchequer and the whole situation in respect of Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and the Halifax presence here over several years. I am sure it would be a very useful engagement with the Minister.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We do not have a problem with No. 1 and the Dáil sitting until 10 p.m. However, we have a problem with a guillotine on the Finance Bill. Since the debate on the Finance Bill was arranged, circumstances have changed dramatically.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is referring to No. 2, which I will put to Members presently.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I simply wish to make it clear that we do not have a problem and we do not object to the Dáil sitting until 10 p.m.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Can we dispose of No. 1? Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. agreed to?

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I call on the Taoiseach to respond to the inquiry I have made and the objection I have recorded in respect of the Order Paper as presented. It is a courtesy to which we are entitled.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have put the Order of Business to the House to be accepted. The Deputy has indicated he wants to raise issues. During Second Stage of the Finance Bill, he will have plenty of opportunity to raise them or any other matters. The Whips are to meet this evening to order business later this week or the following week. I cannot be any more helpful than that.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Taoiseach could schedule or indicate his intention to consider scheduling a special opportunity to address this very serious matter in the House, with both relevant Ministers present to take questions from Members.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Deputy is aware that there are procedures quite apart from the Order of Business to allow for that to happen, including private notice questions.

[894]Question, “That the proposal that the House sit later than 8.30 p.m. be agreed to,” put and declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4, Second Stage of the Finance Bill 2010, agreed to?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It is not agreed to, not only because there is a guillotine involved, as the Taoiseach and Chief Whip well know. There are so many Members who want to speak on the Bill that it is unrealistic to propose closing the debate at 10 p.m. This is a time of great economic difficulty for many people. We need to focus on the possibilities and proposals in the Finance Bill that can help the Government to put forward strategies, ideas, incentives and opportunities for job creation and make it easier for employers to retain staff, change direction and have new lines. We need to discuss a range of other options in the Bill that are so important to bolstering a very fragile and fractured economy. For that reason, it is completely inappropriate to end Second Stage of the Finance Bill at 10 p.m. Many speakers want to contribute and the very least the Taoiseach could do is lift the guillotine and allow for another day, at least, of Second Stage debate.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We object to a guillotine being imposed on this legislation, which is probably the most important Bill to be considered by the Dáil so far this year. The Bill has a number of features about which Deputies on all sides of the House want to talk, including the fact that the Minister is imposing VAT of 13.5% on service charges. This will affect many people. The Minister is doing the same with regard to tolls and his decision will affect people who go for a swim in a council-owned swimming pool.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Second Stage is ongoing.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  At a time of price deflation, the Government is leading the charge, through stealth charges, to drive up costs for ordinary families.

We learned overnight and yesterday, and the poor Taoiseach only learned yesterday, that 750 jobs are to be lost in Bank of Scotland (Ireland).

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  We were aware of it before that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  All these points can be made on Second Stage, which is to continue.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Ceann Comhairle allowed his colleague from the north east to speak without interruption. I expect the same courtesy to be extended to me.

There is a need for detailed discussion on the change in the employment situation in Bank of Scotland (Ireland). There are proposals in the Finance Bill on NAMA and banking and the Minister for Finance, in his statement, made a number of assertive claims about how he is to sort out the bank situation at a time when there is no credit for small and medium business. Members on all sides of the House are entitled to talk about the needs of their constituents and about small and big businesses in every town and village that need to obtain credit, retain employment and generate new employment, yet the Government wants to shut down debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If we get the Order of Business disposed of, all those points can be made later during the debate.

  12 o’clock

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Sinn Féin Deputies also object to the second proposition [895]on the Order of Business, namely, to guillotine Second Stage of the Finance Bill. It is absolutely unacceptable that such a proposition is put before us in the context of the current grave economic climate and with the measures contained in the Bill in the offing. Bearing in mind that the Ceann Comhairle did not accommodate my objection to the first item on the Order Paper in the context of bank bailouts, it is imperative that there not be a guillotine. We are witnessing yet another aspect of the Government’s failure to have a strategy for job retention and creation in that a further 750 jobs are being dumped on the dole heap as a result of a decision by a banking institution, which institution should at least be reflecting some of the alleged changed environment that is supposed to exist. This bank is showing the same attitude that has applied heretofore. It is riding roughshod over, having no regard for and showing no concern for ordinary employees.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We need to move on with the Order of Business. Those points have been made several times this morning.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Taoiseach has done nothing about it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask the Taoiseach to be brief because I am going to put the question.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand the spokespersons have scheduled arrangements for Committee Stage and we are to proceed along those lines. We are proceeding with Second Stage tonight and calling it to a halt. There will be plenty of opportunity for Members to contribute to the various Stages of this Bill during its enactment, as is always the case during the consideration of the Finance Bill. For that reason, it is important that the Order of Business be as it is.

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

The Dáil divided: Tá, 79; Níl, 69.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas. Information on 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 Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on 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 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 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 Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas.
Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian. 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 Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe. Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on 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 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 Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn.
Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon. Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on 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 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 Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on 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 Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan.
Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom. 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.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Will the Taoiseach indicate the status of the Government statement circulated last night in respect of waste management policy and incineration? It is not on headed paper or signed; it is just a Government statement.

Deputy Seán Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Could Deputy Kenny speak up?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Can we have some ciúnas in the lobbies please?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Government statements are never signed.

[897]Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Many of them are signed.

Deputy Damien English: Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  They usually have a header on top of them.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The last guy I knew who signed statements was called P. O’Neill. He is not in action at the moment.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  If more statements were signed we might find out what is going on.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  What about the Minister for Education and Science?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Is this supposed to represent Government policy on incineration?

Deputy Shane McEntee: Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  It is a Green Party document.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It simply outlines what the programme for Government provides for, that we are involved in a consultative process through a strategic environmental assessment, that we have an international review report which makes some important recommendations and that we are examining resource management and how it can play into general waste management policy. It also outlines how we are committed to that approach and the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy John Gormley, is proceeding on that basis.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  What is the Government’s policy?

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Is it written on fireproof paper?

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  The Taoiseach is being a bit like his predecessor.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  This Government statement, an unusual one at that, was issued arising from a statement made by the Dublin City Manager to an Oireachtas committee last week. At the committee he stated the contract signed by Dublin City Council for the construction of the incinerator in Ringsend was in compliance with Government policy. The statement issued yesterday by the Government was to clarify this. As I read the statement, it does no such thing. First, it has no reference to the incinerator——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Has the Deputy a question on promised legislation?

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Bear with me, a Cheann Comhairle, there is promised legislation in this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is not statements on the Order of Business. Is the Deputy linking it to promised legislation?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This is a burning issue.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  There is no mention of Poolbeg in this statement. It states Government policy on waste management is in the programme for Government and that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gormley, has the Government’s full support in implementing it. It also states there will be a levy on incineration in legislation to appear in the future. What is not clarified — what I understand was the purpose of this statement and what the Minister, Deputy Gormley, was seeking to have established —[898]is the status of Government policy at the time the contract was signed by Dublin City Council for the incinerator at Poolbeg.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Gilmore, we really are going to have find a different way of raising this matter. This is the Order of Business.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  It is in the programme for Government.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  The green tail is wagging the dog.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The only incineration policy this statement is addressing is the singeing of the Minister’s electoral behind in Ringsend.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Ouch.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Is the contract signed by Dublin City Council in compliance with Government policy or not? This statement tells us about what will happen in the future with waste management policy. It also tells us a few actions the Minister, Deputy Gormley, could perhaps have taken in his first two years in office which could have prevented his current difficulties in Ringsend. What is the status of the Ringsend contract?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to find an alternative way of bringing it up directly with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  What about the lost at sea report raised by Deputy Creed yesterday? There were statements about the report in the House last Thursday. The Ombudsman has asked the Oireachtas to reach a conclusion on the matter, which is why she referred the report to it. I wrote to the Taoiseach on Friday suggesting the report should be referred to the appropriate Oireachtas committee. Has he considered my letter yet and, if so, what is his response to it?

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  On the issue of the incinerator in Poolbeg——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I cannot allow this.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  It is on Government policy and is the exact same issue raised by my party’s leader and Deputy Gilmore. The Government has a responsibility to clarify to the House whether there has been an official change——

Deputy Niall Blaney: Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  They are all up about it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to find an alternative way to raising this matter such as a parliamentary question to the Minister in question or an Adjournment matter.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  ——in Government policy. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gormley, claimed the other night that he wrote letters to the Dublin City Manager which constituted a change to Government policy. Will the Taoiseach clarify to the House whether writing letters to a city manager is the equivalent of changing Government policy?

[899]The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The lost at sea report is being considered by both Houses of the Oireachtas. This consideration should be completed by next week after the Seanad has discussed it and its recommendations.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  What about incineration which is the burning question?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  That was a humorous comment, was it not.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Well, they laughed at it over on the other side of the House.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  That kind of spontaneity is almost unique.

Deputy Jim O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  It might not turn out to be a burning question at all.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Spontaneous combustion also happens.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There is no smoke without fire.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Could we get some decorum back?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Taoiseach knows there is no smoke without fire.

Deputy Seán Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  There will be a smoking gun.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There are singeing and burning quips going on here. I hope someone gets a line out of it.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The greens have gone up in smoke.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Government statement sets out the position that resource management is being examined, that we are involved in a consultative process and that the proposed section 60 cap on incineration requires a consultative process under EU directives, etc. That is what has happened.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  So the contract stands.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  The incinerator will be long built by then.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The situation regarding whatever contractual arrangements Dublin City Council have will be considered and an investigating officer will be appointed by the Minister, Deputy Gormley, to examine that matter.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Two years later.

Deputy Jim O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Will taxpayers’ money be spent on it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Jim O’Keeffe, please.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  In light of the recent British decision, which was reflected in the Northern Assembly only this week, regarding additional compensation for victims of thalidomide, is the Government considering any such measures for the small number of victims in this jurisdiction? Has the Taoiseach received a request to meet with the survivors of thalidomide in the Twenty-six Counties?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, a parliamentary question to the Minister for Health and Children would be much more appropriate.

[900]Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  She is in the Chamber.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will he accede to the request at the earliest opportunity given the serious needs of the people concerned and that we are not in sync with the supports and measures introduced in the other jurisdiction on the island and in the neighbouring island?

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Noting the presence of the Minister for Health and Children in the Chamber, I take it she has been briefed a representative of the Irish Thalidomide Association was interviewed on the radio this morning. That association has been in dialogue with the Department of Health and Children and the State Claims Agency for over two years. As there are fewer than 40 survivors, will the Minister ensure the matter is brought to a conclusion in the interest of ordinary decency? These people, to whom the State owes a degree of responsibility, should be treated with respect and promptness. They have been left for far too long without a decent response from the Government.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  Hear, hear.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  On the same issue, and very much in support of the two previous speakers, the Taoiseach can do a great service to the House and its institutions by responding in the fashion suggested by my colleagues on this side of the House. In view of the well-documented evidence that has existed for several years on this sensitive subject and the relatively small number of people whose situation must be addressed, it is even more poignant——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There is no need to elaborate.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——when one considers that it involves a small group of people. Their situation requires compassionate treatment at the earliest possible date.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Obviously, we are all aware of this particular situation. The original settlement regarding these matters was made back in the 1970s. The Minister is awaiting a report from the State Claims Agency, which is expected this month. The Minister has asked the State Claims Agency to examine the Irish Thalidomide Association’s claims and to assess them in the context of Irish and international provisions for victims of thalidomide and Irish case law and precedent, and to advise her. Any proposal which comes out of that process will be considered by Government at that point.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I ask for some urgency in this matter, and some decency.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  With respect, I have just explained the State Claims Agency will be reporting this month on the matter.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Taoiseach’s microphone is out of order.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Taoiseach’s microphone is not on. How soon does he expect the agency to report?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The original settlement was made——

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  By the late Minister Brendan Corish.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  ——back in the mid-1970s.

[901]Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  That is correct, but this matter has been ongoing for two to three years.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Taoiseach without interruption.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The fact of the matter is that the tax-free allowance in Ireland, quite rightly, is €26,000 whereas it is £18,000 in Britain. While it is a serious disability, we have ensured that, in comparable terms, Ireland has not been at the back of the queue in that respect. However, the claims being made by the thalidomide association now include an additional lump sum and increased monthly payments, retrospection and additional supports. It is in that context that the Minister is expecting a report from the State Claims Agency, based on the criteria I have set out. They are important criteria in terms of making a proper assessment in the matter.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Would the Taoiseach commit not only on behalf of the Government, but on behalf of the House, as there is a small number of people involved, to meet directly with their representatives following a request they made? It certainly would be appropriate and much appreciated.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Order of Business is turning into Question Time. We have had a good airing of this matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Minister will meet them after she receives the report and is in a position to have a discussion with them about it.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Would the Taoiseach meet them?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Minister, who is the front line, will meet them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Ó Caoláin has a reply. I call Deputy Tom Sheahan.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  All the meetings seem to be happening after the event. On the day that Kraft took over Cadbury Ireland, I asked the Tánaiste to meet with the CEO of Kraft——

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

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  ——in order to hold the current number of people employed——

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

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  ——and to investigate any possibilities of further employment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Would Deputy Sheahan submit a matter for the Adjournment or a parliamentary question?

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  I asked both the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach to meet with the CEO of Kraft——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have an opportunity on Second Stage of the Finance Bill in the afternoon.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  ——which they have refused to do. Peter Mandelson has met this lady on three occasions. What does the Taoiseach think will be the outcome of those meetings?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will the Deputy submit a parliamentary question or submit a motion for consideration for the Adjournment?

[902]Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  I submitted a parliamentary question asking him to meet the CEO of Kraft, which has not happened. If Cadbury Ireland closes, what will be do?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has had a good innings.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  It is no good meeting her when the company has made its decision.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

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

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  It is no good meeting her when the decision is made.

A Deputy:  A Bank of Ireland strategy.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  In view of the fact that yesterday MEPs voted for a new Commission, there are 27 new Commissioners about to begin their five-year stint and Ireland’s Commissioner is in the important portfolio of innovation and research, will the Taoiseach consider inviting the new Commissioner to the House to outline her proposals? Innovation and research are supposed to be central to the national——

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

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  In terms of issues to be debated in this House, it is appropriate to ask a question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is an ideal parliamentary question.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  No, it is an ideal question for the Order of Business——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Can we get an ideal answer?

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  ——because it relates to the business of the House. It is appropriate to ask it here so that we could have the benefit of a full-day debate——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is not promised business. It really is not.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  ——on European matters and on the particular portfolio of innovation and research, which should be crucial to economic recovery in this country and elsewhere.

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

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  No, not yet. The Deputy is entitled to a reply because it is relevant to the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy really needs to give notice. Submit a parliamentary question on the matter.

Deputy Seán Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  One would want to give her eight months to settle into the job.

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

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, the question is in order.

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

[903]Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is about the business of the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have suggested to the Deputy that he consider——

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Deputy is entitled to an answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  ——approaching it from a different angle.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Save all the trouble.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The rules are there and it is about the business of the House.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  If I ask a question that is appropriate to the business of the House I am entitled to a reply.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Submit the parliamentary question.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Deputy is entitled by the Ceann Comhairle.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Taoiseach is muzzled by the Ceann Comhairle.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I obey the Ceann Comhairle.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order, we do not want to have a row about this.

Deputy Arthur Morgan: Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Go on.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  We do not want to have this recur, where the Ceann Comhairle rules matters out of order unless they are active in legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If we continue in the current vein we would be on the Order of Business all day. That is the difficulty.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I read out the rules to the Ceann Comhairle and I will read them out again if he wants me to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The debate on Second Stage of the Finance Bill is due to recommence shortly.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  This is a question that is in order and the Taoiseach is prepared to answer it. We would not be delaying time about the procedure if the Ceann Comhairle allowed him to answer it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If the Deputy would submit a parliamentary question to the appropriate——

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Why should he, when he is entitled to raise it on the Order of Business?

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  This is a forum for raising it.

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

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It is appropriate on the Order of Business.

[904]Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  It must be appropriate.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Taoiseach is going to answer.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I am guided by the Ceann Comhairle. The fact of the matter is I hope to meet the Commissioner tomorrow on other business. I am sure she will be only too pleased to visit this country, as she will be visiting others, to listen and to indicate what her policy positions will be on these matters going forward.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Will the Taoiseach put the request to her?

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

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  My question is relevant to the Order of Business. When will the health information Bill to allow people access to their records come before the Dáil? I am glad the Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Mary Harney, has waited for the reply to the question.

When will the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 be implemented to allow tenants in local authority flat complexes and maisonettes to purchase their own properties. We passed the Bill, but it has not yet been implemented by the local authorities. When will that be implemented and when will the health information Bill come before the Dáil?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand the housing legislation was passed in July last.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  But it is not implemented.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I will have to come back to the Deputy as to what the position is. I can only deal with legislation that is yet to be enacted. If there is legislation enacted and there is a problem, a parliamentary question is probably the best way of getting accurate information. On the other matter the Deputy raised, it will be the end of the year.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  As the Taoiseach will be aware, the Government has a legislative group working on new legislation to protect people in debt difficulties. Would the Taoiseach consider extending a moratorium while this policy work is ongoing on repossessions and, specifically, whether that would apply to Halifax Bank of Scotland, HBOS, mortgage holders who are particularly exposed in the current situation?

While I am at it, credit card holders have been abruptly told by HBOS that they must clear their accounts by May. Here again, some provision to provide reasonable consumer protection in this transition would be appropriate.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand there has been a statement from the Financial Regulator today that Bank of Scotland has informed the Financial Regulator of its commercial intention to close the Halifax retail banking business and the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) intermediary business in the Republic of Ireland, commencing at the end of May. The Financial Regulator is working with Bank of Scotland (Ireland) to ensure that customers’ interests are protected in accordance with the consumer protection code and as required by the code, all customers will be given three months notice of branch closures. Mortgages, personal loans and fixed-rate savings with the bank will operate to maturity. Bank of Scotland (Ireland) has advised that customers do not need to do anything at this stage, the bank’s commercial banking and corporate banking operations are unaffected by the development, and Bank of Scotland (Ireland) will begin writing to all customers by the end of February to set out how the changes will affect them and to explain the next steps that they may need to take.

[905]The implications will vary depending on the type of account or product consumers may hold and we recommend that consumers read what the Financial Regulator states, that they look at those details very carefully. The Bank of Scotland has also established various customer contact points which are listed at branches. The Financial Regulator is taking up his responsibility in ensuring that consumers’ interests are protected in the context of the announcement made yesterday.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Given the high incidence of skin cancer in this country, which was referred to by the Minister for Health and Children who I am glad is in the House, I cannot believe the Government has not set a date for the publication of the public health (sunbeds) Bill. Will the Taoiseach or the Minister for Health and Children give me and concerned parents a date for the publication of this very important Bill? The Minister acknowledged more than 12 months ago that legislation would be forthcoming in 2009. It has not come to hand yet.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  You are all browned off over there.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Come out of the shade.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  That Bill is being prepared. It will probably be after the summer before it is ready.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  I wish to ask about the heads of a Bill, which were agreed, in regard to a directly elected mayor of Dublin. Will the Taoiseach share with the House some further information on this legislation? It is reported extensively in the newspapers today that the new directly elected mayor of Dublin will receive a salary of €200,000 per annum. Will the Taoiseach confirm that? Presumably, extensive expenses will be incurred in addition to that. That seems somewhat offensive in the current climate.

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

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  This is promised legislation and I want to ask a relevant question about it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are getting into a Second Stage debate before the Bill is published.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  The directly elected mayor will allegedly have no budget, no revenue raising powers and no powers in regard to policing law and order in the city.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  These questions——

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  What is proposed is a toothless mayor.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  ——are ideal for Second and Committee Stages.

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  When is the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government likely to publish a White Paper on this in order that we, on the Opposition benches, will have an opportunity to scrutinise it? Is it envisaged at any point in the future, or via this legislation, that the Government will introduce directly elected mayors for other cities?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I refer to the programme for Government which makes reference to enacting legislation for a directly elected mayor of Dublin in 2010. As I said in response to Deputy Gilmore when he asked about it yesterday, heads of a Bill were approved by Government yesterday. No decisions on remuneration have been made at this point. When the Bill is pre[906]pared, it will be published and debated. In the meantime, Deputy Gilmore and others will I am sure be able to consult with people about what stage the Bill is at.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I wish to ask about two related Bills. The first concerns the Cabinet sub-committee, which I understand has met twice, most recently in 2009, and which is considering issues around reform of human rights and the Air Navigation Acts 1978 and 1988. Legislation was promised.

Related to that is the biological weapons Bill, which will prohibit the use, development, production, manufacture, possession, stockpiling and so forth of biological weapons. I mention this because the biological weapons Bill, as described, would not prohibit the transmission of biological weapons through Irish airspace. It would be confined in its prohibition to companies registered in Ireland, members of the Defence Forces and so on.

To be positive, a great deal of effort went into the cluster munitions legislation in a bipartisan way and before that, into the landmines legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We have far too much elaboration.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Recent reports from Iraq show that babies are being born with immense genetic deformities. There is evidence of the use of biological weapons in practically every other major conflict, so this legislation is urgent. It is very important that we not only prohibit any work in this regard but also, as a country interested in international law, that we bring forward the legislation dealing with Shannon and ensure such weapons are prohibited there as well. When will we see the legislation from the Cabinet sub-committee and the biological weapons Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The heads of the biological weapons Bill were approved this week.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I am delighted to hear that.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Work will proceed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on bringing forward the Bill in full. The issues the Deputy raised are probably best left for discussion with the Minister as he prepares the scope of the Bill, or for Second Stage when it is published. I understand the other one will be later this year.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  I do not mean to be difficult but the conveyance of material through Irish airspace——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has been told the Bill will be introduced later this year.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I heard what Deputy Higgins said and I will bring that matter to the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and ask him to revert to the Deputy.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  What is the current situation in regard to the long-promised legislation dealing with management companies? The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform circulated a two page letter which highlighted all the difficulties he has identified and all the different parties he has consulted, including builders and developers. It looks as if the prospect of getting this legislation in the lifetime of this Dáil is fading away.

In my constituency and in many others, tens of thousands of people, in particular young people, in negative equity are——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are anticipating the legislation.

[907]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——living in managed developments where, typically, they are being charged large fees from €600 to €2,500 per year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am advised the Bill is in the Seanad.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Their apartments can get flooded and their roofs can get destroyed and they have no recourse. Has the Government a revised timeframe for introducing this legislation before this Dáil runs its course because very many people are very badly affected by its absence?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Bill is in the Seanad.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is really difficult. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform circulated a two page letter but it is a letter of despair because it seems to indicate that no resolution of this really pressing issue will be forthcoming while he is Minister.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Given the amount of interest articulated in the House on a constant basis in regard to this matter, the purpose of the correspondence was to bring people up to date as to what issues are being addressed. The purpose of the correspondence was to update Deputies in far greater detail than I would be able to give on the Order of Business on what exactly are the issues being addressed and considered.

I would like to see the legislation published and enacted as quickly as possible but it is being dealt with by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and it is a matter of priority. Unfortunately, because there are so many issues involved in terms of getting a coherent legislative outcome, it is complex and difficult to finalise. It is not a question of the Government being indifferent on the matter. We are proceeding with this issue as quickly as is possible.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I thank the Taoiseach for the reply.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has had a very good innings on the matter. We must move on.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Does the Taoiseach have a timeframe for the legislation? We regularly deal with hundreds of thousands of people affected by the absence of legislation in this area, young homeowners in negative equity who are finding it extremely tough.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On the same issue, what we find difficult to understand about this matter is that it took the Government four years to produce a Bill.

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

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Let me make the point. I will be very brief.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Any queries on the Order of Business must be about promised legislation not a serious elaboration thereon.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Second Stage of that legislation went through the Seanad. Suddenly, there was a new Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, all hell broke loose and the Bill was no good anymore.

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

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It had to go back for consultation with a long list of people who had vested interests, mainly in maintaining the status quo.

[908]Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  On the new Central Bank Bill, are there plans to publish it in draft format, similar to the NAMA Bill, so there can be full and proper public consultation and so the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service will have an opportunity to hear presentations from interested parties? It would be in line with the Government’s White Paper on better regulation to publish the Bill in draft format.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I am not aware that is the case. I understand the first Bill would be introduced in the normal way. There are two Bills being brought forward to deal with the proposed regulatory changes which the Minister for Finance has in mind. The work has been divided in that way in order that we can progress with the first Bill at, I understand, Easter. The Minister has indicated the timeframe and thereafter the second Bill will come forward. If the Deputy wants to make suggestions to the Minister regarding how it is to be presented, he could table a parliamentary question or a direct discussion with the Minister might bear fruit.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  I have a piece of information rather than a question, which is for the attention, indirectly, of the Tánaiste.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Would it be more appropriate somewhere else?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is very appropriate now.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  I would be tempted to table a parliamentary question but due to the work to rule we are not sure if it would be answered. We could save €200. My point concerns the consultant haematology service of which the Tánaiste will be aware. We need to impress on the Department of Health and Children the need to use whatever pressure it can to try to get funding. Too many new patients who require chemotherapy and need haematology services are being referred to Sligo and Galway. Letterkenny General Hospital and its staff are doing all they can but I ask the Tánaiste to impress on her colleague, the Minister for Health and Children——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The point has been noted.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  ——-the importance of this issue. It would be greatly appreciated. I have saved time and resources by not tabling a parliamentary question.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Can we get the same in Monaghan?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  You are great.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Will the Government consider the extension of the expiry date for medical cards for the over-70s because of the unusual chaos which exists in the central applications office.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We do not have promised business.

Deputy Ulick Burke: Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Many people are suffering. Their medical cards have been cancelled by their general practitioners because of a payment issue. It is of the utmost importance that somebody with consideration for elderly people’s health would extend the expiry date for medical cards. It is important.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should find another way to address the issue. We will resume the debate on the Finance Bill.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  No, I indicated a long time ago.

[909]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I recollect the Deputy spoke earlier.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  No. I indicated before that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can make a brief contribution.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I have a question on promised legislation, the purpose of which is to transpose EU Directive 2008/6/EC which provides for the completion of the liberalisation of the postal sector, in line with 1 January 2011. Given the lack of speed with which legislation tended to go through this House over the past number of years, is it intended to bring the Bill before the House before the end of the year, as the date for transposition of the directive is 1 January 2011? If so, when will the heads of the Bill be approved? Has it been discussed by Cabinet? Have drafts been drawn up? What is the situation regarding the legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand the heads of a Bill are currently being prepared but I cannot give a time as to when they will be brought to the Government.


Last Updated: 15/12/2010 14:16:31 First Page Previous Page Page of 176 Next Page Last Page