Order of Business.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 707 No. 5

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The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is proposed to take No. a9, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; No. 9, motion re payment to the social insurance fund under section 9(9)(a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005; No. 22, Merchant Shipping Bill 2009 — Report Stage (resumed); No. 22a, statements on development in child welfare and protection services. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. a9 and 9 shall be decided without debate, and any division demanded on No. 9 shall be taken forthwith, that the proceedings in relation to No. 22a shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.30 p.m. today and the following arrangements shall apply; 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 in each case; the statements of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case 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. The Dáil, on its rising today, shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 5 May 2010.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. a9 and 9, agreed to?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  No. 9 is a payment to the social insurance fund under section 9(9)(a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. This matter was agreed at committee. The note from the Government Whip states that this is for a sum not exceeding €1.551 billion, to come from the Social and Family Affairs Vote to the social insurance fund, for people who are paying into contributory pensions, unemployment benefit and so on. The provision was made in the 2010 Estimates for the payment of an Exchequer subvention. Was the figure of €1.551 billion calculated as the amount by the Government when it presented the budget? In other words, was it understood that in the Social and Family Affairs Vote a subvention would have to be made to the social insurance fund to meet payments for contributory pensions and so forth? Was the figure calculated higher or lower than €1.551 billion? The fact that this payment must be made from the Social and Family Affairs Vote is testament to the scale and magnanimity of the Government’s incompetence in getting the country back to work.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Labour Party cannot agree to this proposal on the Order of Business this morning because the Government has broken its promise to 300,000 low-income families whose costs for home heating oil will be increased on Saturday with the introduction of the new carbon levy. When the levy is imposed, it will increase the price of heating oil by 9% which comes on top of an increase already this year of 37%.

When the Government cut the pay and social welfare payments of low-income families, it justified it on the grounds that prices were coming down. This is a case, however, where the Government itself is increasing prices. When it announced this during the budget, the Government promised a special allowance to offset the increase for low-income families dependent on home heating oil before the carbon levy would be introduced. That promise was made by the Minister for Finance and repeated by the then Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Deputy Mary Hanafin, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Eamon Ryan, and the Tánaiste. This promise has now been broken.

[821]I know the Marie Antoinettes in the Green Party may say of low-income families, “Let them heat by alternative energy measures”.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  They can hug trees to keep warm.

Deputy Olwyn Enright: Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  They can put on woolly jumpers.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  They can go for a walk in the park.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are drifting somewhat from the Order of Business.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Many families will be severely impacted by this levy’s introduction. A promise was made to them but it has been broken. The carbon levy will be introduced on Saturday but there is no sign of the special allowance. Yesterday, the Taoiseach said they can wait until October for it which is unacceptable. Accordingly, the Labour Party is not prepared to agree to the Order of Business.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is only in the past ten years that the social insurance fund has been in surplus.

Deputy Olwyn Enright: Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  It is not in surplus now.

Deputy Olivia Mitchell: Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  It has all been spent.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is not true.

Deputy Pádraic McCormack: Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  Where did it all go?

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The €1.55 billion from the Social and Family Affairs Vote was provided for in this year’s Estimate. It is a technical matter that must go before the House.

Deputy Olwyn Enright: Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Is it just a technical matter?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The note on it states provision was made for the payment of an Exchequer subvention. Was the subvention calculated by the Government higher or lower than €1.5 billion?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is exactly the same as what was contained in the Social and Family Affairs Vote.

On the issue of home heating oil increases, as the Taoiseach said, the relevant Ministers are working towards a new scheme which will be available at the time heating supplements were heretofore made available.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  That is not what the Tánaiste promised. She is breaking her promise.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  The allowance was promised for 1 May.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  These will be available in the usual season for such allowances. As the Minister for Social and Family Affairs reiterated, access to the exceptional needs measures are still available.

[822]Question, “That the proposal for dealing with Nos. a9, and 9 without debate, 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. 22a agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 5 May 2010, agreed to?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It is not agreed to. We should be here next Tuesday. Matters are in a serious state but this House has refused to change its way in how it accepts responsibility, accountability and transparency in the interests of the people. There is no reason, except for a long outlived tradition, that the House should not be sitting again on Tuesday to debate urgent and important business.

We are now hearing reports from the European Commission regarding the Government’s attitude towards Anglo Irish Bank. There are serious matters to be considered concerning the international markets and Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. It is important these issues are debated. I see no reason the House cannot come back next Tuesday to debate this important business in the people’s interests. I object to this proposal to come back on Wednesday.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  There is no justification for the House adjourning until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday. The public holiday is on Monday. This House should be sitting as normal on Tuesday. I understand the 2.30 p.m. arrangement on Wednesday is to facilitate the commemorative event at Arbour Hill earlier in the day which is an added reason that we should be sitting on Tuesday. There is no shortage of business to be dealt with next week.

On the matter I raised earlier, the Tánaiste is wrong. She herself made a promise that the special allowance would be brought in before the carbon levy was introduced. This is an issue the Labour Party would like to return to on Tuesday if the House were sitting.

Other matters which could be addressed on Tuesday include the plight of the 800 workers in Quinn Insurance, the implications of what is happening in Greece for the euro and our economy and the messages from Brussels on the Government’s plans for Anglo Irish Bank. This is apart from the long list of legislation the Government has promised but not delivered.

There is no justification whatever for adjourning the House until Wednesday. This is happening because the Government is taking every opportunity and excuse to be out of the House so it will not be answerable to the Dáil and Members of the Opposition. It is running away from the problems of the country and being accountable to the House for them.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Ducking and diving from it all.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  The Government should just have an election.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Sinn Féin Deputies support the proposition that the Dáil returns on Tuesday as normal to engage in its business. It is important given all the serious matters that have presented and are in the offing, in particular, this morning’s announcement of the threatened loss of a significant number of jobs in Quinn Insurance.

It is incredible that the House would vote itself a day in lieu of a bank holiday Monday. It is as if we only worked for three days and we should get a day off because Monday is a closed day. We work every day of the week and with Monday as the bank holiday we should be back [823]as normal on Tuesday as there are serious matters that need to be addressed. It is imperative the Dáil should start on Tuesday as normal.

Question put: “That the Dáil, on its rising today, shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 5 May 2010 be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 69; Níl, 61.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. 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 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 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 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 Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán.
Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie. Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire.
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on 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 Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John.
Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael. Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on 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 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 James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán.
Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
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 Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on 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 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 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 Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on 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 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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call Deputy Kenny on the Order of Business.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Perhaps the Tánaiste will explain to the House the current Government position in regard to Anglo Irish Bank. The Tánaiste will recall that in January 2008 Fine Gael indicated clearly its view that Anglo Irish Bank should be wound down in an orderly fashion. This has been since then completely resisted by Government as a matter of policy. Fine Gael, which has been the only party to call for a wind-up of that bank, has since January 2008 made clear its position in this regard.

  11 o’clock

The Minister for Finance, Deputy Lenihan, when addressing the House on 30 March 2010 in regard to banking stated in respect of Anglo Irish Bank that winding up that bank is not and was never a viable option. He went on to point out that an immediate fire sale would cost upwards of €30 billion and that in addition the State would have to fork out a further €70 billion. The Minister further stated that he could not, as Minister for Finance, countenance such a course of action and that winding up the bank is not and was never a viable option. In response yesterday on Question Time to a question from Deputy Bruton the Minister clearly indicated he is now considering a wind-up of Anglo Irish Bank and a break up of that bank into a good and bad bank.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I apologise but I must interrupt the Deputy. We have a problem in terms of the Order of Business being used as Question Time.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This is a matter that affects every person who must now pay for the carry on inside Anglo Irish Bank and for the manner in which the Government has transferred Mr. FitzPatrick’s loans on to the backs of the taxpayer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The matter can be pursued through other channels.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  In addition to informing the House of what is now the Government’s attitude to Anglo Irish Bank, perhaps the Tánaiste will confirm if the Government has had any soundings from the European Commission on this matter. I understand that Commissioner Almunia has a view, not yet expressed publicly, about the Government putting further money into Anglo Irish Bank. Has the Government received any soundings or advice from the Commission in this regard? What is the Government’s position on Anglo Irish Bank in view of the changed position of the Minister for Finance who yesterday indicated that he is now coming [825]round to the view put forward by the Fine Gael Party in January 2008 that this bank should be wound down in an orderly way, that the deposits should be protected and that the bank should be broken up into a good and bad bank?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Before I call on the Tánaiste to reply I must point out to the House that the matters being raised are serious and it is not appropriate for Members to try to deal with them on the Order of Business. I ask the Tánaiste to be brief in her reply. These matters are serious and there are other ways of raising them in the House——

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Where?

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Next Tuesday, when the Dáil is not sitting.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  ——including at Question Time or on the Adjournment debate.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I agree.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  To expect what are important answers to a serious question to be given on the Order of Business is problematic.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I agree. We have a daft situation whereby every day Members are being asked to split hairs in terms of whether they can raise an issue of public importance.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  What goes on in this House in regard to the Order of Business is daft.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I can relate this issue to the legislation which this House debated and which was guillotined and forced through by Government who would not listen to any voice other than its own. It is entirely appropriate that the Ceann Comhairle show flexibility——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have always been flexible.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——in respect of a matter which is of serious importance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I do not disagree with the Deputy’s assertion on that matter.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I would like to hear the Government’s response on this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Other business is not appropriate. I will allow a brief response from the Tánaiste.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Ceann Comhairle and I know that when he says to Deputies that they should find another way of raising a particular issue he is merely fobbing them off.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  No.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This is supposed to be——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are anxious to provide the forum——

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——the forum of the people where Members can raise issues relevant to them. This is a matter of considerable economic catastrophe for thousands of people.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If the Deputy is suggesting we need to reform the Order of Business, I will listen to him.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am waiting to hear the Tánaiste’s full and comprehensive response.

[826]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Government’s policy has not changed. I will reiterate the Government’s policy.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  What about what the Minister said yesterday?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Perhaps Members will wait to hear what I have to say. The cost of an immediate liquidation is prohibitive and that option was not taken up. Members will be aware that a plan is being developed by Anglo Irish Bank. That plan was sent to the European Commission, the views of which are being taken on board and which I will not reiterate here because I do not base any of what I say on whispers or innuendo. This is a matter in process. The bank is developing a plan and it will have various options. It will be subject to analysis by the Minister for Finance. It will come before Government at that stage. To reiterate once again, the most important thing from the Government’s perspective is that any plans for the future of the bank must be in the best interests of the taxpayer.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I must respond to that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We cannot pursue this now. A brief observation only.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Did I or did I not hear the Minister for Finance say he would consider the question of an orderly wind-down of Anglo Irish Bank? The Tánaiste, speaking on behalf of the Government this morning, stated there is no change in the Government’s position in so far as Anglo Irish Bank is concerned. This position was outlined repeatedly by Ministers, including the Minister for Finance on 30 March when he stated: “I cannot, as Minister for Finance, countenance such a course of action. Winding up the bank is not and was never a viable option.” Did I or did I not hear him say yesterday that “I am now prepared to consider the question of an orderly wind-up of this bank”?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy must put that to the line Minister.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  This story will gather legs again. As the Minister for Finance has always indicated during parliamentary questions, he will always take on board suggestions from people on the Opposition benches on any issues and he has done so vociferously in all the debates.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Nonsense. He says it but he never does it.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Is there a change in policy or not?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Minister indicated at that time that he does not have a closed mind on the issue. He is open to suggestions on how the best outcome will be achieved.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Yes, he does.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It will be on the basis of the best outcome for the taxpayer.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I am sorry——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Kenny, please. We cannot pursue this matter in this manner on the Order of Business.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  That is the situation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We must find another way.

[827]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Unfortunately for the Opposition, it must await the plan and the deliberations of the Government before this matter is brought to finality by the European Commission.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This is a very serious matter and we must find another way to deal with it.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  These were the words of the Minister for Finance.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It would be more appropriate if we had the Minister for Finance here. He is the relevant line Minister.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  He stated that “I cannot, as Minister for Finance, countenance such a course of action”. If there is no change in policy, why would the Minister for Finance say what he said yesterday?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call on Deputy Kenny to co-operate with the Chair on this matter.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  This was the view put forward by the Fine Gael Party in January 2009.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  The Tánaiste is ducking and diving.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I am not ducking and diving.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  There is an issue that arises for the Order of Business. When will the House be informed by the Government as to current Government policy in respect of Anglo Irish Bank? It is clear the Government’s position in respect of the bank is a moving feast. It started out with the blanket guarantee and it then moved on to nationalisation. We were told at the time there would not be any cost to the taxpayer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Gilmore, please. We have heard the exchange between myself and Deputy Kenny. We have a problem with this matter at this time on the Order of Business. It is a serious issue but the parties should find an alternative time to deal with it over a prolonged period.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  When? On Saturday or Sunday?

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  We asked to discuss it next Tuesday.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  With the greatest of respect, the problem the Ceann Comhairle has with this being raised on the Order of Business pales into insignificance compared to the problem the taxpayers of the country have in paying for this cesspit of a bank. We need to know where exactly the Government is on this issue now. The bank was guaranteed and then it was nationalised. The Government has been back to the House on several occasions looking for money and more money. Thousands of millions of euro was sought time after time to pour into the bank. As Deputy Kenny stated the last time the Government came back looking for the House to approve money for this, we were told there was no question of winding down this bank. Yesterday, the Minister for Finance signalled that is now under consideration. We hear there are considerations in the Commission in Brussels in respect of what the Government is doing.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I was not here at Question Time yesterday but I am sure supplementary questions were asked on this matter at that point.

[828]Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Tánaiste has now acknowledged that this is a changing situation again, that the Government will be reconsidering the issue and that it will come back to the House again. My question is perfectly in order, which the Ceann Comhairle will acknowledge. When will the Minister for Finance come back to the House and inform us of the position?

I understand it is the Minister for Finance’s intention today to announce proposals for a national recovery bond, something the Labour Party has argued in favour of for some time. I am very glad this is taking place. The only thing about which I remind the Government is that we are now two years into the recession. Albeit late, I welcome the fact that a national recovery bond is to be announced. However, when he announces it today at whatever press event is organised, will the Minister for Finance take questions? Will he inform the public at that stage about his plans for Anglo Irish Bank? Will he come into the House and make a statement on the current Government position on Anglo Irish Bank? It would at least be useful to know what is this week’s position. We will wait for next week to hear next week’s Government position.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  What is the Labour Party’s position on the Croke Park deal? Is the Labour Party split?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  A very brief reply from the Tánaiste. I do not wish to allow an expansive debate on this matter at this point.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Minister, Deputy Dempsey, should stop politicising it.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  That is exactly what Deputy Gilmore is doing.

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

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Deputy Gilmore is trying to make a political football out of everything.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Minister will sink it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I call on the Minister and the Deputy to refrain from engaging across the floor.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  He should have a little courage and stop the soundbites.

(Interruptions).

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

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Every Thursday is the same.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The situation is——

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  The Minister should be put on a Dublin bus or something to get rid of him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Can we have the Tánaiste without interruption, please?

Deputy Michael Creed: Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  The Fianna Fáil pit bull is loose.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I wish to reiterate the facts. The situation is that Government policy has not changed. The situation is that the Government would have been prohibited at the time from winding up the bank. The situation and the facts are that a revised plan is being prepared by [829]the new management in the bank. It is being drafted at present and it will be analysed by the Minister and his advisers. The matter will go to Government and will then go to the European Commission at which stage the European Commission will make a decision. The timeframe for the plan to be with the Commission is the end of May.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It is the Government’s bank.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I do not have an exact date as to when the plan will be completed and brought before the Government but it will await that decision in due course. I will not add to any innuendo, assimilations, soundings, soundbites or anything else.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Minister for Finance was not making innuendo. He was stating a fact.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  These are the facts of the situation.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I refer to none of the above.

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We might get a question.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am delighted the Minister for Transport is so anxious to answer questions in the House this morning. It is not his usual post.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  I have a big file with the answers here.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  He has them all lined up. That will be very useful for next week. I refer to the legal costs Bill. I have asked the Tánaiste previously about it in the House. There is much concern among the community in general about legal costs. Is there any indication from Government as to whether it intends to bring it into the House as a matter of urgency or maybe next year or maybe never? I have two more questions.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Next year.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There has been painful progress of the Multi-Units Developments Bill which my colleague has also repeatedly raised in the House. My colleagues on all sides of the House have raised this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I advise the Deputy that Bill is in the Seanad. We have raised this a number of times.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  No, I am not asking about the Seanad.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  One never refers to the Seanad in this House, as the Ceann Comhairle is aware. That is the practice.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is important we are aware of what is taking place elsewhere.

[830]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  This is in order and the Ceann Comhairle knows it as well as I do. Will the Tánaiste indicate when that Bill might appear in this House? Many people are concerned about it and wonder about the answer to the question. Will the Tánaiste give some indication? She is getting advice.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should note that is a matter for the other House.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  No, it is not a matter for the other House. It is a matter for this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Upper House must process it and, obviously, it cannot come back until that House has completed its work.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is promised in this House and it had been amended before it came here.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  We are anxious to get it moved along. The committee amendments have been brought to the Upper House. Hopefully, we will be able to deal with it as quickly as possible when it has been completed in the Seanad.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Will the Tánaiste indicate if it is possible to find out when we might expect to find it in this House? It might not come before the House before the summer.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  This is a serious matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This House cannot interfere with the deliberations in the Seanad.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  If this Bill does not come before the House before the summer recess, then a serious problem exists.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That is unrealistic.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Will it come before the House before the summer recess?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is that information available?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Someone should know.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Seanad is part of the Oireachtas. The legislation is before the Senators.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am sorry. The Ceann Comhairle’s interpretation is wrong.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This House is not going to get into the business of arm-twisting the Seanad.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I will ask my question on promised legislation again. It is hard enough to get answers to legitimate questions.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Without looking for answers to illegitimate questions.

[831]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Can I ask the question again? Can the Tánaiste, the Ceann Comhairle or somebody else tell me when the Bill will appear in this House? Will it be here before the summer recess? It is an important question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It has to be passed by the Seanad before it comes back here.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is not the Ceann Comhairle’s job to answer that question.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is not my job either.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The reality is that I have obligations to the House.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I want the Tánaiste to answer it.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I do not order the business of the Seanad.

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Tánaiste should ask the Minister for Transport when the Bill will be introduced.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is a matter for the Seanad to complete its consideration of the Bill.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is the Government’s business.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I am sure it is doing its utmost in that regard. When the Bill has been passed by the Seanad, we will work with the Whips to try to facilitate it as quickly as possible here.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The question again is——

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am sorry. Will that Bill appear in the House before the summer recess?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have shown the Deputy much tolerance.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  This is the kind of nonsense for which the parties opposite wanted to come back on Tuesday. It is a waste of time.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Ceann Comhairle’s job is not to suppress me.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am not suppressing the Deputy. I am trying to accommodate him.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  His job is to allow Members of the House to ask questions which are in order on the Order of Business. This question is in order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Yes, but I have to ensure questions are in order.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  The Deputy has already received an answer.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am asking about a Bill that has been promised for five or six years. It has been on the Order Paper for that time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has been advised that the Bill is in the Seanad.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I take it that it will not be in the House before the summer recess.

[832]Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  That is not what the Deputy was told.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  When it completes its journey through the Seanad, it will come back to this House.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The answer to the question is that it is not coming before the House.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The Deputy is making up his own answers.

Deputy John Curran: Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  On a point of order, that is not the answer the Deputy was given.

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It does not matter.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Is the Government Chief Whip now saying that the Bill is coming before the House?

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I have a query but nobody will answer it.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The Deputy should write to the Clerk of the Seanad.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Tánaiste has answered the question.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Minister who does not answer questions wants me to write to the Clerk of the Seanad.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  One will not get an answer if one asks the Minister a question.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  How are you, Michael?

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  We will see the Minister on Thursday.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Ceann Comhairle knows that my rights and privileges are being abused.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is holding up——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  My right to ask a question is being suppressed in this House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is not being suppressed.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Tánaiste has refused to answer questions.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I have given an answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask Deputy Durkan to co-operate with the Chair and with the House.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am co-operating with the Chair.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  He wants to go home to start his weekend early.

[833]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  If Deputy Durkan has another question on legislation, let us have it.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The question on the Order of Business, on promised legislation, is whether the Bill will appear before the end of this session. Will it appear before the summer recess?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I do not know the answer to that question.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is good enough.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I do not order the business in the Seanad.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We know now that it will not.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  That is typical of the Deputy.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The last question——

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I give up.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——is on the national vetting Bill, which is urgently——

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I will not answer any more of the Deputy’s questions if he is going to make assumptions.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  On the national vetting Bill, ar aghaidh leat.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Is the Tánaiste serious about that?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Can the Tánaiste tell the House whether the national vetting Bill is promised?

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  She is joining the work to rule.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The national vetting legislation is being worked on as a priority.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Did the Tánaiste say that she will not answer any more questions?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I said there is not much point in answering the Deputy’s questions when he assumes what the answers will be.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Tánaiste can choose to answer a question or to refuse to do so. If she does not know the answer to a question, she can say so.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Durkan is being disruptive.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  No, a Cheann Comhairle.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am asserting my rights as an elected Member of this House.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  The Deputy is abusing his rights.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  They should be protected by the Chair.

[834]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will protect them as long as the Deputy is in order.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  In April of last year, the Minister for Finance gave a commitment that, as a matter of urgency, he would find a comprehensive solution for credit union members whose financial circumstances have required them to seek to refinance their loans. We have been told that a strategic review of credit unions has been commissioned, to take place over the next 18 months, and that appropriate legislative reform will follow on from the results of that review. I urge the Tánaiste to ask the Minister for Finance not to proceed with section 35 of the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010 until this review has been carried out. I do not see any point in——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is this leading to a question on promised legislation?

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  ——pushing through changes in the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010 at a time when a strategic review of the credit unions is taking place. These measures should be sidelined, rather than being introduced as part of the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Can the Tánaiste tell the House whether primary or secondary legislation is promised in this area?

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Could they be set aside until the 18-month review of the credit union structure has been completed?

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

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  My question is within the bounds of legislation. Is it proposed to introduce amending legislation to deal with the situation in Grangegorman? The Minister has said that ideas and proposals will be considered by the Cabinet soon. We have not seen any progress since we passed the Grangegorman legislation a number of years ago. Is it proposed to introduce amending legislation if the sale of the other institutes of technology does not go ahead? In such an eventuality, the Government will not have the money to proceed with the Grangegorman plan, as set out in the Grangegorman Development Agency Act 2005.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I have been asked by those involved to visit the area and I intend to do so. I will bring a comprehensive response on this matter to the Cabinet fairly quickly.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  I would like to ask about an issue I raised last Tuesday, in advance of that evening’s meeting of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party. Has it been decided to introduce legislation in relation to the victims of thalidomide, to issue them an apology and to negotiate an agreed settlement with them? I understand that this matter was debated on Tuesday evening by the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party. On a second matter, according to the media the Minister for Health and Children will announce later today that approximately €200 million is to be taken out of the health budget. She has not come before this Parliament in that regard. No such measure was provided for in the Estimates we discussed earlier this year, which were referred back from the committee.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  A parliamentary question to the Minister for Health and Children would elicit the information being sought by the Deputy.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  It is a question of the health of the nation.

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

[835]Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The moratorium on recruitment is already putting huge gaps in people’s right to health care, as set out in legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask the Deputy to raise the matter by means of parliamentary question.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The withdrawal of funding I have mentioned is to be done unilaterally by the Minister, without any kind of discussion in this Chamber, on behalf of the people of Ireland.

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

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  We have been told in no uncertain terms that the health services cannot take the cut that is apparently to be announced today, by which time the House will be about to go into recess until next Wednesday afternoon.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will make inquiries about the legislation on thalidomide.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Is the Government going to make any comment at all on the erosion of the health services that is apparently to be announced today?

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

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The Minister, Deputy Harney, never comes in here to tell us what she is doing. She did not even come in last night to respond to a cross-party motion on the victims of Michael Neary.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The line Minister will be present for Question Time in due course.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  On the same matter, representatives of the Irish Thalidomide Association have met members of Fianna Fáil. I understood that the matter was to be discussed at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party, but we have not heard any news on any decisions that were taken or any improvements that are to be made.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the Deputy inquiring about possible legislation?

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I raised Deputy O’Sullivan’s second matter — the impact of the breakdown in the talks — two days ago. Where will the €200 million cutbacks be made? What will be the implications of those cutbacks for patients?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy knows the routine in respect of these matters.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I would like to raise three other matters. I can do so now while I am on my feet, or I will sit down and raise them later. The first issue is the proposed public health (alcohol) Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I will call the Deputy later on the other issues.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  That is fine. We are entitled to know where these cuts will be made and how they will affect the citizens of this country.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  We want to know what path is being taken. We are here to get answers.

[836]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I am delighted that members of the Opposition are so interested in the deliberations of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party. Unfortunately, one needs to be a member of that party before one can hear what is discussed at it.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  If one is a citizen, one suffers the consequences of those discussions.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  One can read about it in the newspaper the next day.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  If the Deputies want to join Fianna Fáil, as honorary secretary I will certainly consider their applications.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I would not say the Tánaiste is too busy in that department.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I am afraid we are. I remind the Deputy that Fianna Fáil is the largest party.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  It is dwindling rapidly.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Lemmings.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  The HSE represents nobody.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  On the issue that has been raised, all I can say is I will get further clarity on whether legislation is necessary to establish the fund. While I do not think it will be necessary, I will revert back to the Deputies when that is clarified. A decision has been made on the provision of new support measures and special care packages, the designation of a senior manager and the payment of a once-off ex gratia payment. I will have to get clarity on whether legislation is needed to establish the fund. I doubt that we do, but I will revert back to the Deputies.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  What about an apology?

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  On 29 March last, the clients and staff of the Ballyfermot and Inchicore home help service received a letter informing them that due to cuts in funding imposed by the HSE, the service was forced to implement drastic cuts in the home help service.

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

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I have no other way of getting information on this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is sounding very much out of order, even on a Thursday morning.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Maybe the Ceann Comhairle can tell me how I can get information on it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I suggest that the Deputy should table a parliamentary question.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I have tried.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  If she does, she will be told it cannot be answered because of the dispute.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is no point in getting that answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  She could try to raise it on the Adjournment.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I sought an Adjournment which was refused.

[837]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The Deputy will need some luck to get that answered.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I sought an Adjournment; it was refused. I sent two e-mails to the HSE and got no reply. I submitted a question to the Minister and her reply stated, “If these matters remain of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise them with me again in due course”. Meanwhile, the staff and clients of the Ballyfermot Inchicore home help service do not know what is happening.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  It is a serious issue for the people involved.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Perhaps the Ceann Comhairle can tell me how I can get that information.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  What would the Ceann Comhairle do?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Adjournment.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I was refused the opportunity to raise it on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy could write directly to the Minister.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  It is a waste of time.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I have done that. I am out of ideas.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I have listed three options for you.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  They are all a waste of time.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I have tried them all.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  For a Deputy who is always in order in the House——

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Thank you.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  ——you are bordering on disorder at this point.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I want to know how I can get this information.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  On the Adjournment, Deputy.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  I have been already refused an Adjourment debate. Can the Ceann Comhairle assure me I will get a debate on it?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can resubmit the request and we will consider it in the normal way.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Tell her you will grant it.

Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  That is not much help.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will remember your sentiments at this point.

[838]Deputy Mary Upton: Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Meanwhile, the clients and staff of the home help service are waiting to see what will happen to them. They cannot get the information and they need to know what is happening.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  On a point of order, the Minister for Health and Children seems to be the only Minister who is sending us those replies——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Yes.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  ——which state that if a Deputy is concerned about a matter he or she should submit another question because the Minister cannot answer it. Can the Ceann Comhairle explain why other Ministers are able to answer our queries?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Chair does not have responsibility for replies. I have no control or influence over these matters.

Deputy Jan O’Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  Do you not have a responsibility to ensure that Ministers are consistent in replying?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can raise the matter directly with the Minister. I am sure she would be amenable to discussing the matter with her. I call on Deputy Costello.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  The brother of Elvis.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  We will shortly have statements on developments in child welfare and protection services. One of the findings of the Murphy report, which was produced by the Murphy commission, was that the legislation on HSE protection for children was seriously defective and inadequate, and that there was a need for urgent legislation to be put in place. Where is that legislation? The report has been with the Government for 12 months at this stage. Is there any sign of that legislation?

Considering that almost three years ago the European Union produced a standard hotline for children who were missing, which was available in all member states——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is this leading to an inquiry about promised legislation?

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  This is relevant. Eleven countries in the European Union——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The preamble is unnecessary.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  ——have established it. Given that there is so much trafficking of children in this country and that so many children go missing, when will we establish that hotline and pass the necessary legislative mechanism?

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  I am not aware of legislation on that, but I will revert to the Deputy.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  What about the legislation which was sought by the Murphy report? We will discuss the issue shortly. The Murphy report contends the HSE is seriously defective in terms of legislative provisions to deal with the protection and welfare of children and that urgent legislation is required. That was published 12 months ago.

[839]The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  As the Deputy knows, the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children indicated that, arising from the Murphy report, a number of initiatives were being taken by him. Those have been articulated by the Minister of State——

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Articulated.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  ——and a number of actions have been taken, in particular in the context of new resources being made available for social work. On the specific legislation, I will have to revert to the Deputy. It is not listed.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  As there are serious social and health problems associated with the proliferation of head shops in this State, what is the position with regard to promised legislation? We hear from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform outside the House, from the Minister for Health and Children, from the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Pat Carey and the Government Whip, Deputy John Curran, all of whom have indicated that they will tackle this problem, but none of whom has commenced any form of initiative. In terms of discussing promised legislation, what is the exact policy of the Government on head shops? Who is the lead Minister? What is the precise legislative framework, as promised by the Government on numerous occasions? It appears that one hand does not know what the other is doing.

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  No, there is no promised legislation. Regulations have been drawn up——

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  There is no promised legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  ——by the Minister for Health and Children, which have been forwarded to the European Commission. An interdepartmental group, headed by the Ministers, has been working on a number of initiatives to deal with these issues and to determine what actions need to be taken in the Department of Health and Children, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. All of that is being done under the auspices, and with the support, of the Attorney General. We have drawn up the regulations, they have gone to the European Commission and there are a number of other initiatives being taken, in a multifaceted way, to deal with this issue.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  There is no promised legislation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are regulations.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Did I hear the Tánaiste say there was no promised legislation?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  There are regulations.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has promised legislation.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  It is covered under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform said he would introduce legislation. The Minister for Health is bringing in regulations.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  There will be powers for the Garda.

[840]Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Meanwhile, nothing is happening.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  A number of actions have been taken by the Garda on this issue.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  It cannot break the law.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  It is a very serious social problem.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It is and no one disagrees with that.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  The Garda is hamstrung by the law. The law and the regulations need to change.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy can elaborate on the subject, but cannot do so on the Order of Business.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I have raised this issue three or four times.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I accept that fully.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I have suggested what the Minister for Health and Children can do. She can issue a regulation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I was in the Chair when the Deputy raised the issue.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  ——-an instruction or a ministerial directive insisting that all——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The subject is serious but we will have to find an alternative time.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  ——products sold in these shops are passed by the Medicines Board or the Food Safety Authority.

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

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  If that were done——

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

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  ——they would have to submit every product to be sold to a local authority and it would stop this trade that is damaging our children’s health.

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

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  The Government will not do it. It is deferring to the European Union to wait three months to get a nod. Britain did not do that. It went in early.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  It does not have a leg to stand on.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Yes, it did not wait three months. It sought it retrospectively.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, desist from engaging across the floor.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  They do not have a leg to stand on.

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

[841]Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  Is the Tánaiste aware of the recommendation from the HSE to amalgamate two call centres following a review of the out-of-hours GP service? If she is aware of it, what is the Government’s plan? Does it intend to close the centre in Galway or Letterkenny? That is the choice on the Tánaiste’s desk. Does she intend to follow through on that recommendation? It is important that we know of the plans for it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is there promised legislation?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The Health Information Bill will be dealt with next year.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  I was going to raise this issue under the Health Information Bill but after listening to some comments this morning and given the lack of information which we were getting from parliamentary questions——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are other ways, Deputy.

Deputy Joe McHugh: Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  ——-the new Whip, Deputy Curran, should perhaps rename it the lack of information Bill because trying to get information from the HSE at the moment is a scandal. Stalinist Russia would not have a look-in.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I will be in order this morning.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  In good order.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  In good order. The Tánaiste has a very important function in Bunbeg on Saturday night. She might be making an announcement on the forthcoming Údarás na Gaeltachta elections. Fianna Fáil used to love elections but it no longer likes them. It does not like general elections, by-elections or Údarás elections. When will the Údarás na Gaeltachta Bill come before the House? The elections are due this year and we have to start planning for them. If they will not take place, a regulation will have to come before the House. The Tánaiste might have a cake in Bunbeg on Saturday night for my colleague, Deputy McGinley, whose birthday it is this week. I would like the Tánaiste to have a little cake for him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is there promised legislation?

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  I am seriously worried that the Deputy knows all about my social life. If things were right I might jump out of the cake. I do not recall that I am in Dunbeg on Saturday night. There is promised legislation on Údarás na Gaeltachta. A review is taking place as part of the plan for fiche bliain don ghaeilge and I understand the Minister will bring proposals to the House quite soon because the Údarás na Gaeltachta elections are an issue.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Is the Ceann Comhairle forgetting I had a number of questions on legislation and he said he would come back to me?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy has been on his feet many times this morning. Has he a question on legislation?

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I wish to inquire about three Bills. The Ceann Comhairle has alluded to another Deputy being in order, even though it was the first time she came near to being in disorder. Does that not ring an alarm bell for him about the frustration Members feel about the lack of information coming back from the HSE? We cannot get answers out of the Minister for Health and Children or her Department.

[842]I refer to No. 69, the public health (alcohol labelling provisions). When will it come before the House? Will the Minister take the opportunity to ensure there is clear labelling of the calorie content of alcohol? That is currently not the case but it should be. We are experiencing an obesity epidemic and this legislation will help to inform people that there is more to the damage that alcohol can do because calorie content is also an issue.

When will No. 65, the human tissue Bill, come before the House? Will the Minister take the opportunity in this legislation to set up a transplant organisation? A national transplant office is needed. We have an appalling record in lung and heart transplants, particularly for cystic fibrosis sufferers. The transplant programme in the Mater Hospital is not delivering for our people and we need to know why. One of the reasons is there is not a proper co-ordinated service.

I also want to inquire about the public health (sunbeds) Bill. This simple legislation would ban the use of sunbeds by those under the age of 18. Their use causes skin cancer. Children under 18 need to be protected from that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  On the alcohol Bill, public consultation has been completed and submissions are being considered. Heads of the Bill and proposals will be circulated afterwards. There is no date for the human tissue Bill but heads have been circulated for consideration within Departments. They will then go to the Government. Consultation has been completed on the sunbeds Bill. I mentioned to the Minister that the issue has been raised in the House and I asked her to try to expedite it.


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