Order of Business.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 706 No. 2

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The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is proposed to take No. 10, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of an initiative for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the rights to interpretation and to translation in criminal proceedings (back from committee); No. 22a statements on banking; and No. 22b statements on obesity. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 10 shall be decided without debate and, in respect of No. 22a, the statements shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes; the statement of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed ten minutes; the statements of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes; Members may share time; a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; and immediately following the statements a Minister or Minister of State shall take questions for a period not exceeding 30 minutes. In regard to No. 22b, the statements of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes and the statements of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes and Members may share time; and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed ten minutes. On rising, the Dáil shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 20 April 2010.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are four proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 10 without debate agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22a agreed?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I welcome that time has been provided for statements on banking and for a questions and answers session in this regard, as agreed by Government on Tuesday. Perhaps the Tánaiste will provide clarification on the following matter. I note the Anglo Irish Bank report states: “We continually invest in the development and training of our staff as well as maintaining quality relationships with our stakeholders...”

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There will be a questions and answers session following the statements.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I know that. I am trying to be helpful.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Is this the abridged version?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The report continues: “At Anglo Irish Bank we recognise our corporate obligations and responsibilities and are committed to fulfilling them.” In regard to the statements and questions and answers session, can we take it that in view of the comment by Mr. Peter Bacon, the architect in part of the structure of NAMA, who today described Anglo Irish Bank as the Celtic Chernobyl and in view of the extent of intensive activity——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is holding up progress towards the statements and questions and answers session.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am not holding up progress. In view of the intense activity between Anglo Irish Bank and the Government after the guarantee date, does the Government propose to extend the scope of the inquiry beyond the guarantee date? This would be in the interests of everybody finding out the truth in this regard.

Will the Government respond to the fact that Anglo Irish Bank wrote off €109 million in loans for directors? Before the statements commence, will the Tánaiste confirm, in view of the [188]employment situation in respect of the Quinn Group, if there has been contact between Anglo Irish Bank and the Government in respect of Mr. Quinn who is a major stakeholder in that bank?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I must advise the Deputy that all of these questions can be posed during the questions and answers session.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am entitled to ask these questions.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I do not disagree. I am just pointing out that for the proper order and running of the House——

(Interruptions).

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  With respect, the Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am not in any way diminishing the Deputy’s rights in these matters. I am just pointing out that the Deputy will have an opportunity to pose questions later.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——is putting his foot in an area that is not his responsibility now.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have responsibility for the proper running of the House.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Yes, the Ceann Comhairle is responsible for the running of the House and I am fully in accordance with the rules in asking this question of the Tánaiste before statements commence.

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

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am fully in accordance with the rules of the House.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The financial announcements yesterday by Anglo Irish Bank included a statement that the Government had issued an €8.3 billion promissory note, IOU, to the bank. The Labour Party has agreed to the arrangements as outlined by the Tánaiste but no detailed advice has been made available to us as the Opposition in regard to under what legislation the €8.3 billion promissory note——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The observation applied to Deputy Kenny applies also to Deputy Burton.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  If the Ceann Comhairle will bear with me, I am making a point. We have accepted the arrangements and will not vote against them now——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I do not disagree with the merit of the question but I am saying the opportunity will arise later to ask it.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Momentous decisions have been taken in our name. I am asking the Tánaiste——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  All of those points can be made during statements on banking.

[189]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——if the Government will undertake to give more time to this issue when the Dáil returns. A commitment of €8.3 billion, signed without the Minister for Finance, Deputy Brian Lenihan, telling us yesterday that it was going into the Anglo Irish Bank accounts, payable at €830 million a year for the next ten years——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Burton, this is not contemplated on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We were not told that. This is a milestone.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This is not contemplated at all.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Will the Government agree to come back to this and to allocate more time——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have an opportunity to ask that question later on——

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——to the bank discussion after Easter?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  ——if we could proceed to statements.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We are agreeing to the order but will the Government say now that it will give the Opposition more information about the deal done with Anglo Irish Bank that appeared in the bank’s accounts yesterday?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, there is provision for a questions and answers session following statements.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Yes, but only 30 minutes have been allocated.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will be able to put her questions within a short period.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I want a commitment from the Government that it will give the Opposition a further briefing and come back after Easter and spend longer than 30 minutes on questions on this matter. This is the future of our country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am not disagreeing with the Deputy. The opportunity will be available to the Deputy later——

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This is war reparations. This is similar to what happened after Versailles and after the Franco-Prussian War.

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

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Irish taxpayers are carrying a debt now——

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

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——that has been put on them——

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

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Ceann Comhairle does not want us to discuss this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I do. I am pointing out to the Deputy that she will have ample opportunity to make these points later on.

[190]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Ceann Comhairle is like the guy who gets the debt collectors bill in the door and decides not to open it.

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

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  We want a discussion.

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

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Before Sinn Féin indicates acceptance or otherwise of the proposition in regard to speaking time on the banking issue, on Tuesday this week Government Members of this House supported a motion which transferred €1.93 billion of debt from Bank of Ireland to NAMA yet——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Ó Caoláin provision has been made for statements later——

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Perhaps the Ceann Comhairle will allow me to finish my question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Provision has also been made for Deputies to ask questions.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Give me a break. The situation is that on the back of that public aid to Bank of Ireland it has in the past couple of days increased the premia on its home insurance customers by in excess of 50%.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to hold that question and seek that information later.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Perhaps the Ceann Comhairle’s letter will be there when he gets home this evening.

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

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Ceann Comhairle needs to understand——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is holding up the Order of Business.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  No. This is an important matter that needs to be publicly aired and to have public attention drawn to it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I do not disagree with the Deputy.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  This is happening at the same time as Government is pressing ahead with proposals to bail out these banks. The Minister signalled the Bank of Ireland as the strongest and most likely to survive in all the circumstances maintaining, yet at a time when property is valued at least 50% less than heretofore it has increased——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I must ask the Deputy to co-operate.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  In some instances, there is a 50% increase in premia that I have noted during the past couple of days.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is holding up the proceedings of the House.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Our offices were in contact with the bank this morning and it has confirmed that it has done this.

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

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Is it any wonder the Minister could say Bank of Ireland’s future is rosy and profitable? The only way the people can deal with this is to withdraw their custom.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22a, statements on banking, agreed?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  No. I wish to be helpful. I asked the Tánaiste three questions to which I would like an answer.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I take the opportunity this morning to say that we are all appalled at what happened in Anglo Irish Bank.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Tánaiste’s party caused it.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We are all appalled by that, lest it not be said in this House.

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is also important to say——

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  They were not appalled in the tent.

A Deputy:  We are not answerable to Deputy Charles Flanagan.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There has perhaps been a misinterpretation of what is happening. I want to reaffirm to this House and the people that all of the company directors loans will be vigorously pursued.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputies, please. One speaker at a time.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I reiterate that I have full confidence in the Garda investigation that has been taking place and in regard to which considerable progress has been made. The investigation has been vigorous and focussed.

Deputy Jim O’Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  Some 62 people were imprisoned last year for not paying their television licence fees.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We await the outcome of the joint investigation by the Garda and Director of Corporate Enforcement.

(Interruptions).

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is important to say, on the issue of the scope of the inquiry, that the Government agreed to the holding of an inquiry to deal with the issues that arose heretofore on the basis that it is hugely important that this information is available to us.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The inquiry stops on 30 September.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I say also to the Labour Party that there have been five hours of discussion on this matter.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Tough.

[192]Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  And 50 years of repayments.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Provision has been made for statements and a questions and answers session in the House today on this matter. It is not the intention of Government to provide more time.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  A Cheann Comhairle, I object. That is a disgraceful answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Burton cannot come in any more. I ask the Deputy to resume her seat.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  They are disgraceful actions. No wonder they ruined the country. They are not even willing to discuss it.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order——

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We need some co-operation.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I will co-operate fully with the Chair.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On a point of order——-

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

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I want to repeat my two questions to the Tánaiste which she did not answer. Will the Government extend the inquiry beyond the date of the guarantee? There was intense activity between Anglo Irish Bank and the Government. We need to know the truth about what happened in there.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Hear, hear.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I understand there is a great deal more to come out which will not be very edifying. We need the inquiry to be extended beyond that date . Will that be the case? In view of the many messages now coming through about people who are worried about their employment in the Quinn Group, was the Government, through the Minister for Finance, in contact with Anglo Irish Bank as it is the Quinn Group’s bank?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Very briefly, Tánaiste.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  On a point of order, in her reply the Tánaiste indicated that today’s exchanges would be the conclusion of the discussion on the banking issue. As Deputy Burton has pointed out, we agreed yesterday to the 90-minute arrangement which is provided for today. Our understanding in agreeing to that was that the debate would resume on the issue after Easter and would remain on the Order Paper in the same way as, for example, statements on the budget remain on the Order Paper and are returned to over a period of time. I would like the Tánaiste to clarify that point.

My second point also concerns a point of order. On the issue of the banking inquiry, the Government issued a statement yesterday evening in which it stated that it would make available papers and documents to the inquiry if it sought them. The papers and documents concerned are relevant to the Government’s decision to include Anglo Irish Bank in the bank guarantee scheme. The problem with that, from the point of view of the Standing Orders of the House, is that the terms of reference of the inquiry exclude the Government’s decisions in respect of the guarantee and the month of September 2008. I want the Tánaiste to clarify a point regarding this matter, namely, whether the Government will bring into the House a [193]proposal to amend the terms of reference of the inquiry to allow for the Government’s decisions to be subject to the inquiry and to allow September 2008, which was a critical month, to be subject to that inquiry.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Those questions would be ideal for a question and answer period.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  No, they would not.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The statements will wrap up this afternoon. The Central Bank Bill will be up for discussion when we resume after the Easter break. In normal circumstances, there are many opportunities to raise these issues during the questioning of the Minister during Question Time. If people consider other debates to be important, this matter can be discussed between the Whips. Today I am not in a position to give extra time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Standing Order 26 does not allow——

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  There was agreement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We cannot have it.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I did not offer on this issue at the beginning of the discussion——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This is contempt.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——-because the arrangement whereby 90 minutes would be agreed for discussion of this issue today was agreed yesterday. The Labour Party agreed to that yesterday and I intend that it will honour that agreement.

Deputy Michael D. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Yes.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Part and parcel of that agreement was an understanding that we would be enabled to return to this issue after Easter. I do not want that opportunity to be closed down because it would be quite different from what we agreed to yesterday. Statements on banking policy would remain on the Order Paper, in the same way statements on the budget and so on remain on it, and we would return to them as time allows in the period after Easter. That is all I am seeking. If the Tánaiste will confirm that the statements will remain on the Order Paper after Easter, then we are agreed.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Whips had a meeting yesterday; no guarantee was given.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  There was no Whips’ meeting.

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  No guarantee was given that there would further be consideration. However——

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Whips did not have a meeting yesterday.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Wait one minute.

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

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Have a bit of manners.

[194]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Stagg, we can only have one speaker at a time, otherwise people will not be heard in the House.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Tánaiste is inadvertently misleading the House. The Whips did not meet yesterday.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Whips were contacted about this issue. No guarantee was given. However, there was an indication, which I gave——

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Guarantees are only given to banks.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  ——a few minutes ago and which the Deputy did not happen to hear, that the Whips can meet and discuss this matter. If there is a necessity for further discussion that can be agreed between the Whips. That is all I said.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22a, statements on banking, agreed?

Question, “That the proposal for dealing with No. 22a, statements on banking”, put and declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22b, statements on obesity, agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 agreed?

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It is not agreed. The proposal is that the Dáil shall adjourn until Tuesday, 20 April 2010. It has been the tradition that the Dáil adjourns for a fortnight for Easter. Whatever argument there may have been in the past about whether that is a good or bad idea or good or bad practice, it is certainly not acceptable for the times in which we are living. There is a range of things which we need to address, including the results issued yesterday regarding Anglo Irish Bank which is now in State ownership, the worst ever results in corporate history, the difficulties facing the Quinn insurance group and implications of that for health insurance and the release yesterday of the live register figures which would normally receive much more attention than they got.

  11 o’clock

It is a mark of the sign of the times that 435,000 people are on the live register, the tenth successive month which it has been over 400,000. We need to discuss the industrial relations situation and the cuts in the education service, some of which was debated yesterday in respect of SNAs. There is no justification for this. When we address this issue we should take account of how these decisions are seen by the public who send us here. The idea that, at a time like this with so many issues which require attention, the Dáil should be closed down for over a fortnight for Easter is not acceptable and credible. The Labour Party is opposed to this proposal.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I share the same opinion. The proposal to go into recess for two weeks is excessive. A single week for Easter is more than adequate, appropriate and justifiable but to go into a second week, even though that has been the precedent heretofore is in the current circumstances, as has been well outlined, not in any way sustainable, no matter what explanation can be offered. The Government has not shown the basic argument as to why we should take this decision. Sinn Féin will also oppose this proposal.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  The Independents will be here next.

[195]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until
2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 agreed?

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 64.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on 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 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 Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
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 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 Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on 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 Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. 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 James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.

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

Question declared carried.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government Chief Whip, the Minister of State, Deputy Curran, had responsibility for the national drugs strategy. In the reconfiguration of ministerial portfolios, the job previously held by the Minister of State, Deputy Curran, did not reappear. Which Minister is now responsible for the national drugs strategy?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Minister, Deputy Pat Carey.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Given the continuing decline in the tourism sector——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, we are hoping things will be in order on the Order of Business.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  There is some hope of that.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Without interruption, a Cheann Comhairle. You need this holiday more than the rest of us.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  He certainly does, with fellows like you on the Order of Business.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Are any issues that might arise from Ireland’s exclusion from the terms of the Schengen Agreement likely to be dealt with by way of primary or secondary legislation, and if so, to what extent? I refer specifically to the difficulties——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That question would be more appropriate for the line Minister.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  ——experienced by people from the Orient in getting travel visas to this country. We are suffering because of that.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is true. It is a valid question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are not disagreeing but we are suggesting the Deputy asks a parliamentary question.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  I am sure the Tánaiste is well up on the Schengen Agreement.

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

[197]Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  I would love to hear her thoughts on same.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We never get replies to parliamentary questions.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  We will not get an answer.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  You know the difficulties with parliamentary questions a Cheann Comhairle. It is a valid question.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Our tourism season might be over by the time I get the answer.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  When Deputy Durkan is sitting on this side of the House he can decide on that issue.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I have questions on three items of promised legislation. When will the legislation be introduced to the House to transpose EU directive 2008/6/EC which provides for the completion of the liberalisation of the postal sector in Ireland by 1 January 2011 and to consolidate all previous legislation? Have discussions taken place between the various interested parties? Has the matter been discussed in Cabinet and have the heads of the Bill been agreed? Perhaps the Tánaiste would reply to that question for a start.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  What about the other two questions?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I have other questions but I would like to get a clear run at that one first.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The heads of the Bill are being drafted at the moment. It is expected that the Bill will come to the House at the end of the year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  What is the second query on promised legislation?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  You do realise, a Cheann Comhairle, that the end of the year will be very close to the deadline.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I know.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Not for the first time. The next item relates to the national vetting bureau Bill. That is deemed to be a fairly urgent piece of legislation. I asked about it on 17 February and subsequent to that. The status of the Bill is that publication is expected in 2010. Given that it is serious legislation that is urgently required, what action is taking place to expedite the process through Cabinet?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  This is a priority for the Minister of State, Deputy Barry Andrews. The Bill is being worked on as a priority and he hopes to bring it to the House as quickly as possible. It is very complex legislation.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Everyone agrees that a great deal of crime is committed by persons while on bail. This has been an issue for some considerable time. Legislation is promised and publication is expected but at this stage it is not possible to indicate when. In view of the fact that it is urgently required legislation, which everyone agrees is necessary, could the [198]Tánaiste indicate to the House whether it has been discussed to date in Cabinet and if any action has been taken to try to bring it through this House at an early date?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The bail amendment legislation has not come before Cabinet as of yet but we will try to bring it forward as quickly as possible.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  That is a record. Three questions.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  What action does the Tánaiste intend to take to try to follow that up, other than just appeasing me? I am not a person for appeasement.

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

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

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We received an answer to it.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  You did well by being in order up to now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is being contemplated by the Cabinet.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  What action is being taken to bring it about?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will raise the matter with the line Minister.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I wish to raise two matters. I hope you will agree, a Cheann Comhairle, that they are both in order. I asked the Taoiseach yesterday about “head shops”. All I got were dark mutterings under his breath in response. Could the Tánaiste tell us whether there are any plans to ask the Minister for Health and Children to issue a directive to ensure that all substances sold in “head shops” have to be passed by the Irish Medicines Board and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. It is a ministerial directive; we do not have to wait for European approval and we can protect our young people immediately.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That is a suitable question for the Minister for Health and Children.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I will leave it up to the Tánaiste, who has children herself, to answer the question if she wishes. If she does not, we will get the message.

The second issue I would like to raise is that of Tallaght hospital. We know there was a debacle there in regard to unread X-ray results and that the complement of radiologists at the hospital is half that in St. Vincent’s, although the former hospital sees twice as many patients, both outpatients and accident and emergency patients.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy tying that into legislation?

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  The legislation I refer to is No. 66 on the clár and pertains to the licensing of health facilities. When this legislation is introduced, will it be the intention to address these issues to ensure our health facilities are safe? I am told today that the three posts put in place to address the X-ray issue are filled by locums——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will the Deputy submit a parliamentary question to the Minister for Health and Children?

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  ——and that there are no permanent positions approved for radiology.

[199]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This is the Order of Business.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  This will happen again unless this issue is addressed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The line Minister would help.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Yesterday in the Dáil, a remark made by the Taoiseach was very damaging to my reputation. He referred to me as a “gurrier”. I have looked up the Oxford English Dictionary and the Anglo-Irish dictionary and noted there is no explanation for the word. Therefore, it must be an awfully bad word entirely.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  It is not on the list so one can use it.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Did the Deputy find “Biffo” in there?

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I suggest respectfully to the Tánaiste that she get the Taoiseach to withdraw his remark. I have always been very nice to the Taoiseach.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Did the Deputy send him an Easter card?

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I never in all my life called him anything derogatory so I suggest respectfully that his remark be withdrawn.

Is the word “gurrier” on the Ceann Comhairle’s index of unparliamentary language that should not be used in the Dáil?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We would have to check it. We had some spirited exchanges yesterday and I did not hear anything that was said.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  “Gurrier in chief” was the term the Taoiseach used.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  The Ceann Comhairle is being informed that the word is on the index of unparliamentary language.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will check the list.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  In that case, it should be withdrawn.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Only if it is on the record.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Some people in Galway might not understand what the world “gurrier” means. I do not even know what it means but I know——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We had stormy exchanges yesterday.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  ——it was said in a very derogatory manner.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The Deputy is such a sensitive soul.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  My reputation in this Dáil is being damaged by that remark.

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

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Can Deputy McCormack put it on hold for the moment?

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Will the Tánaiste, on behalf of the Taoiseach, withdraw the remark?

[200]A Deputy:  Deputy McCormack is chairman of the parliamentary party.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The remark should be withdrawn.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Only if it is on the record.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I did not hear it.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I heard it. Worse still, it is repeated in today’s media.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is serious.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  So the Deputy finally made the paper.

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

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I will put it on my election literature.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  I have two quick questions for the Tánaiste on Cadbury Ireland.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Deputy McCormack is running again.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Although the Tánaiste is the Minister for Education and Science, will she outline to the House the progress made on meeting the management of Cadbury Ireland to secure the future of the 1,200 employees in Dublin and Kerry? This is a crucial issue and has been raised frequently in the House by Deputies Bruton and Sheahan of Fine Gael.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will we need legislation on this?

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  The Ceann Comhairle should give me a moment. When the Taoiseach visited Chicago recently, did he have an opportunity to meet the management at Kraft? We found out yesterday an extraordinary amount of money, £17 million sterling, was awarded to the chief executive of Kraft.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to take this matter up with the line Minister.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  She must have thought she must be worth it, despite all the debt.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  She must have thought she was working for Anglo Irish Bank.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  There are 1,200 jobs at stake. If the Tánaiste can do so, will she give us an update?

Has the Government plans to introduce legislation regarding homeowners who signed contracts over the past few years, particularly since 2007?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to pursue this in another way. The Parliament is——

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  It is an urgent issue. There are only a few hundred people involved.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I really do not doubt the Deputy’s sincerity on the matter.

[201]Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  They signed contracts at the height of the property bubble. They face financial ruin as a consequence of the honouring of those contracts.

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 advise the Deputy that seeking detailed information on the Order of Business is inappropriate. The Deputy should submit a parliamentary question.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  My point concerns legislation for homeowners who signed a contract at the height of the property boom. They face financial ruin as a result of these contracts being honoured.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The line Minister will be delighted to discuss the matter during Question Time.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Only a few hundred homeowners, a small number, are involved. Will the Tánaiste state whether there is legislation to help these people?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is promised legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There is a group working on it.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Is a miscellaneous provisions Bill being worked on?

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

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  That is not acceptable.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is seeking detailed information. A parliamentary question is the way to deal with the matter.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That precise legislation was promised in the House by the Minister for Finance on Second Stage of National Asset Management Agency Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will take it up after Easter.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  There will be no Easter eggs.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  When the Ceann Comhairle is dealing with the matter raised by Deputy McCormack, he might also look at the index to see if the word “felon-setter” is in it. The Minister for Foreign Affairs used it in the House on Tuesday to describe Deputy Burton.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I did not know that. He did not tell me personally.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It was not very nice.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I will have to take it up with him.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The Ceann Comhairle might check it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I can only adjudicate on matters that I hear. I wish all Members were conscious of their responsibilities under protection.

[202]Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I am aware of the diplomatic deafness that normally afflicts people given the position of Chairman.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  If one cannot take it, one should not give it.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  On secondary legislation, arising from the reconfiguration of Departments will it be necessary to have orders of the House or motions to regulate the position of committees that mark Departments directly?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There will be a Government order first but I will have to revert to the Deputy on the configuration of committees.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I thank the Tánaiste.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  My point refers to promised legislation. In light of the embargo on the recruitment of front line staff in the health service that sees one in five front line posts vacant and which is having a direct impact on services for the elderly, psychiatric services and acute hospitals, it has been brought to my attention that, in recent days, 50% of the staff of one intensive care unit were not present, thereby threatening lives. In light of this fact, when will the nurses and midwives Bill be published? Will the Minister ensure that the embargo on front line health service staff is lifted? It is not a question of finance because the finances are in place in many cases. Front line staff cannot be appointed because of the embargo, thereby putting lives at risk.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The nurses and midwives Bill is actually on the pink list, which means it should be published before the next session. I do not know if staff will be working during the Easter period but I strongly urge that the Bill be published. A very serious issue is arising for hospitals that do not have enough expert professional staff to serve the public. This is putting patients in danger. We need to see the Bill published.

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There is legislation promised. It was approved by the Government on 20 January. There are some technical and drafting matters to be addressed by the Office of the Attorney General prior to publication. That is what has caused the delay. It is expected that the Bill will be published very quickly.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Can I help Deputy McCormack by saying I believe “gurrier“ is derived from the French word “guerre”, which means “war”. “Gurrier” actually means “warrior”.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I am very pleased with that.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Ceann Comhairle should remove it from the list of banned words.

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

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  It depends on how one says it.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Deputy McCormack should take it as a compliment from the Taoiseach made in the heat of the moment.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  I will.

(Interruptions).

[203]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Deputy McCormack should tell the Taoiseach to bring it on. It is a compliment.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The Deputy can certainly put it on his election literature now.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Yesterday, the European Commission announced that, in the context of the horrendous amounts of money going to the banks, it will carry out an in-depth investigation into the banks, particularly Anglo Irish Bank.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is aware we are to have statements on banking very shortly.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I am talking about a Commission statement.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  They are to culminate in a questions and answers session.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I am talking about a Commission statement. The statement states that in the earlier part of the year, the Commission——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am sure the Deputy will be well able to ask her questions at that time.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——had been informed of the €8.3 billion that was going into Anglo Irish Bank.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I want some co-operation so we can get the statements under way.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Has an agreement been reached between the Government and the European Commission on the terms of reference of the in-depth investigation it announced it was launching yesterday?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That question is more appropriate to the Minister for Finance.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There is to be a questions and answers session.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The European Commission deals with the Government. The Tánaiste is the deputy Head of Government. It is a most appropriate question for the deputy Head of Government. It is a most appropriate question for the Tánaiste.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am not arguing about the appropriateness of the question. I am just saying that the Minister for Finance will be in later. There will be a question and answer session and the Deputy should please ask the question at that stage.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  No, this is not a matter between the Minister for Finance and the Commission, but rather between the Government and the Commission. Its statement related to Ireland and it said it is carrying out an in-depth investigation. It said it had reached agreement earlier in the year about the €8.3 billion for Anglo. At that point, did the Government reach an agreement with the Commission about the in-depth investigation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is seeking information on the Order of Business. She will have an opportunity to ask the question later.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Will the Government publish the terms of the Commission investigation——

[204]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will the Deputy please desist?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——and the agreement it has reached with the Commission?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Burton, please pose the question.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Will the Ceann Comhairle kindly explain to me on what possible grounds that might not be in order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is seeking information on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is the Government’s business with the Commission.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is not appropriate to seek detailed information on the Order of Business, and it does not relate to promised legislation.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Commission announced yesterday an in-depth investigation into everything to do with the banking collapse in Ireland. That includes the Irish Government. Can we just be told whether the Government has been advised and if it has reached an agreement with the Commission?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy’s question is out of order on the Order of Business. It is as simple as that. I call Deputy Joanna Tuffy.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  I want to ask the Tánaiste about a survey that has been carried out by the ASTI which found that one in three schools is dropping a science subject for the leaving certificate. The biggest casualty is physics, followed by chemistry.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  As an orderly Member of the House, would Deputy Tuffy please submit a parliamentary question?

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  If the Ceann Comhairle allows me to finish, he will see that it is in order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Very briefly.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Apparently, one of the barriers is the perception that science does not relate to everyday life. The Department for which the Tánaiste is responsible has dropped science from its title, so what type of signal does that send out in terms of how science is valued within the Irish education system and in terms of trying to get the economy moving again?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I am on record as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment as saying that science, technology and innovation are very much to the forefront as regards the skills requirements of this country. How we support young people in taking decisions to participate in science subjects is very much to the forefront of my mind.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Will the Tánaiste reinstate the title?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The title has been changed to indicate greater synergy between the skills needs of this country and educational development. The Deputy may rest assured that the issue of science will be very much to the forefront of what I want to drive as part of the Department.

Deputy Michael D’Arcy: Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  I want to ask the Tánaiste for her views on the education patrons Bill which, as she will know, facilitates the VECs in becoming patrons of primary schools. What are the Tánaiste’s views on that Bill, because it seems to me this would be a perfect vehicle, in [205]terms of legislation, to allow Educate Together, which is a patron for primary schools, to become a patron for secondary schools?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I shall have to consider that when I am bringing the legislation to Government.


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