Order of Business

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 714 No. 1

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The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is proposed to take No. a14, motion re Saville report; No. 20, Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 20a, Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 21, Central Bank Reform Bill 2010 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and that business shall be interrupted not later than 10 p.m.; the proceedings on No. a14 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 75 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the speeches of the Taoiseach and leaders of the Fine Gael, Labour Party, the Green Party and Sinn Féin or a person nominated in his stead, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share time, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; the suspension of sitting under Standing Order 23(1) shall take place at 1.30 p.m. or on the conclusion of No. a14, whichever is the later until 2.30 p.m.; and Report and Final Stages of No. 20a shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall in relation to amendments include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social Protection.

Private Members’ business, which shall be No. 78, motion re patient safety authority (resumed) shall be taken at 7 p.m. or on the conclusion of No. 20a, whichever is the later, and shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes.

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

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Before agreeing to this proposal, while the Taoiseach has responded in some measure to Deputy McGrath’s request under Standing Order 32 and mindful of the serious concerns of those living with and supporting people with disabilities who protested outside the gates of this House yesterday and in the Taoiseach’s constituency in Edenderry is there any prospect——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy must relate the matter to the Order of Business.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am asking that time be provided before the Dáil rises next week to address the serious impact of cuts to people with disability and those who provide their support services, including the home help service.

[23]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy’s remarks must be directed towards the proposal before the House.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am asking about a time proposition in regard to the structuring of business in this House this and next week, which is the final week before the summer recess. I am appealing to the Taoiseach in the context of the severe——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is out of order.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  What is out of order is the impact and effect of the terrible cuts imposed on people with disabilities and those who provide their supports.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are several other ways to raise the matter. I have no difficulty with the Deputy raising the matter at the appropriate time and under the appropriate heading but not on the Order of Business in this fashion.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I will revisit this matter. I am asking the Taoiseach and Chief Whip to consider providing time either this week or next week before the conclusion of the current term of the Dáil to debate this critically important issue. The House will next week slink off into the summer in shame if it does not address substantively this issue before then.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  No one on this side of the House is slinking off anywhere. On the issue raised, health related legislation to be debated between now and the end of session provides people with an opportunity to raise the matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. a14 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal relating to the suspension of the sitting under Standing Order 23(1) agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 20a agreed to?

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

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We have made soundings to the Taoiseach over recent weeks about the application of guillotines in this House. In this case, I understand a raft of amendments will not be reached in the time that has been allocated. On that basis, I oppose to the imposition of a guillotine on the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I also object to the imposition of a guillotine on the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010. It never ceases to amaze me that issues which affect the poorest people in the country are always brushed aside in this House when Bills are rushed through and guillotined. Such issues do not get the kind of media headlines that other issues tend to get. Legislation that will affect the incomes of people on social welfare — people who have lost their jobs, pensioners, widows and widowers and people in difficult circumstances — is being rushed through and guillotined. The debate on the amendments to the Bill will be truncated. The various issues will not be given the time they require if they are to be addressed. The most disgusting thing about being in this House is the way poor people are treated. It is not even about how we divide on such matters, although we often disagree on them. It is about the pure lack of respect that is shown to people who are not well off. If we were talking about the incomes of people in well-paid employment, developers who are involved in the NAMA process or bank executives, loads of time would be devoted to it over many weeks. When we are considering legislation that affects people who are not well off and do not have big lobby organisations to speak on their behalf, we guillotine it and forget about them. It is unacceptable. I appeal to the Government, which is proposing to guillotine the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous [24]Provisions) Bill 2010 at 7 p.m. this evening, to provide more time to deal with the various amendments, including those tabled by Deputy Shortall. It is not just a question of more time for debate — it is a question of showing respect to people who get very little respect in this House.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I would also like to object to the proposal to apply a guillotine to the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010, which will have serious consequences for the lives of ordinary people. I would like to know whether those who drafted the proposal to cease the provision of support to a lone parent when his or her child reaches the age of 13 have children of that age. Do they realise that the outlay multiplies at that stage, rather than winding down? As most Members of this House are parents, they have some sense or idea of the proportion of things. One of the responsibilities of parenthood is to provide for one’s children throughout their lifetimes until they are able to go out into the world. This terribly punitive Bill does not take that into account. It targets those who are least able to provide for themselves. We need to have an opportunity to properly address everything involved in it. The Bill that was originally presented was unacceptable under any circumstances. Its added dimensions, which were introduced by the Minister on Committee Stage, have made it even more objectionable than it was at the start. We are in a worse place now. This Bill is to be forced——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should keep his remarks brief.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Several media outlets have reported this morning that tremendous passion was demonstrated during the debate on a Bill that was passed by this House last night.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  That was yesterday. We need to move on.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The same passion and concern needs to be demonstrated in the House today, in the interests of those who are being targeted in this legislation. The first step that needs to be taken to that end is the lifting of the guillotine, so that we can properly debate this Bill and explain that the measures contained in it are absolutely unacceptable.

  12 o’clock

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Second Stage debate on the Bill in question lasted six and a half hours. The Committee Stage debate on the Bill lasted all day last Thursday and resumed at 3 p.m. on Monday of this week. All of the issues have been articulated, addressed and discussed. The Report Stage debate will take place today to finalise the legislation. Deputies will appreciate that the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 has to be enacted within a certain timeframe. That is why we have to proceed. It is incorrect to suggest, as has been suggested in this House, that there has been no debate on this Bill. It is totally incorrect to suggest that any disrespect has been shown to those on social welfare. The Government’s record on social welfare provision over the past ten years has been far greater than anything Deputy Gilmore ever achieved when he was in office.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Why is the Government doing this to the children now?

Question put.

[25]The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 68.

Information on Bertie Ahern  Zoom on Bertie Ahern  Ahern, Bertie. Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot.
Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael. Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel.
Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry. Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris.
Information on 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 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 Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank. Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael.
Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on Seán Haughey  Zoom on Seán Haughey  Haughey, Seán. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor. Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin. Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John.
Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael. Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor. Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.



Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul.
Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J. Information on 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 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 Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul. Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda.
Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán. Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen.
Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan.
Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.

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

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members’ business agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I understand it is proposed to guillotine the Central Bank Reform Bill tomorrow. The Taoiseach will be aware the ECB issued a report about the inadequacy of the Bill presented by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Lenihan. I hope the Whip does not proceed with the guillotine tomorrow. This needs discussion, based on the reports that have been submitted in its regard. I give the Taoiseach notice of that.

I refer to No. 38, the electricity (transmission on assets) Bill, which deals with the statutory primary legislation for setting up EirGrid. The Taoiseach is aware of the difficulty that has emerged because of the observation of a councillor that the notice of planning permission in respect of the interconnector programme to Northern Ireland has been withdrawn, after considerable expense. The Taoiseach might indicate whether there has been any progress in that Bill. The date involved was to be some time in 2011.

I heard the Taoiseach comment recently on the amalgamation of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority. The relevant Bill is expected but it is not possible to say when it might be drafted. In view of the Taoiseach’s comment on this during the week, has any progress been made and when might we expect to see the heads of that Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The Central Bank Reform Bill is being dealt with tonight as well as tomorrow so there is some time to consider it. The transmission Bill is due next year. I hope the legislation on the amalgamation of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority will be published in the next session.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  There is a report in the Irish Independent today that some relief may be on the way for homeowners who are struggling to meet repayments on their mortgages. The Labour Party has been seeking this for more than two years and we will be delighted it the report is true. It appears to be based on anticipation of a report from the group set up by the Government to look at the difficulties households are having in paying mortgages. When will that report be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I am not aware when it will be published. A great deal of work is going on in this area and it will require further consideration of other possible measures. It will be in addition to the code of conduct on mortgage arrears we brought forward. We also provided additional staff to the money advice and budgeting service, MABS. Some €64 million has been provided for the mortgage interest supplement scheme in 2010, which will assist more than [27]16,000 people this year. These measures have ensured that home repossession levels in Ireland remain very low and mostly involved sub-prime lenders.

The review group to look at solutions to the longer term problem is engaged and an initial report is due to the Government very shortly. The review group has met many interested parties and has come up with some practical and creative options but we must ensure that direct procedures are in place so that everybody is treated fairly.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  First, I ask about the water services Bill, in light of the flagging of flat rate charges. When will that Bill be introduced so that we may discuss it?

Second, I refer to the mental health Bill. Notwithstanding the terrible statistics my colleague, Deputy Dan Neville, read out today, the psychiatric unit of St Davnet’s in Monaghan has been closed down. Services are being curtailed, a very serious matter that needs to be discussed in full.

Third, and by no means least, I refer to the legal costs Bill. Today we are talking about the elderly and disabled and the fact there is a major scarcity of money to sort out these problems but that elite legal group remains untouched although many years ago the then Minister for Justice assured us he would bring in a Bill——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy should make only a brief comment in his inquiry.

Deputy Seymour Crawford: Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  When will the legal costs Bill be dealt with and those costs curtailed?

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There is no date for the first piece of legislation referred to by the Deputy. The other two are due next year.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I thank the Taoiseach for his earlier comments about cystic fibrosis and that he will clarify the situation for the House tomorrow, through the Tánaiste. However, if any further indication were needed for us to accept we have a very dysfunctional and broken health service, it is the reports today that people awaiting cancer treatment cannot proceed with that treatment because they cannot get necessary dental treatment beforehand——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, please. You will have to find another way to raise this matter.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  ——and others, including a lady with multiple myeloma and another person awaiting transplant cannot proceed with their treatment or transplant until they get dental treatment. The GMS and the payments board have Paddy Burke writing to dentists telling them——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This might be for consideration on the Adjournment.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Perhaps we could do that as well. I merely point out that No. 63, the Bill on eligibility for the health and personal social services, will have very little meaning if this sort of behaviour continues and patients cannot access services——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, there is no need for the elaboration.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  ——that are lifesaving.

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

[28]Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  There is, a Cheann Comhairle.

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There is no date for it.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I ask about two issues. One relates to the liberalisation of the postal sector in Ireland which must come into force on 1 January 2011, through the transposition of EU Directive 2008/6/EC. Have the heads of the relevant Bill been discussed and agreed in Cabinet? When will the Bill be introduced in the House and when is it expected the Bill will pass?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The heads are being drafted at present.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I have a second issue. In 2009 a raft of criminal legislation was passed in this House which purported to confront criminal gangs and the gun killings that were taking place throughout the country. Apparently, that legislation failed because now there seems to be a great difficulty in putting illegally held guns——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will not have comment or a debate on previous legislation. We are discussing promised legislation and that is what we want.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I can go through promised legislation in detail if the Ceann Comhairle wishes me to but it will take a long time. Otherwise I can go through legislation we passed last year which was deemed to be the answer for dealing with the issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We cannot have such comment. It is inappropriate and out of order on the Order of Business.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  If legislation we passed is ineffective it needs to be amended. The Taoiseach can tell us that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The query does not relate to promised legislation. Is there any such in this area, Taoiseach?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There is no promised legislation in this area. A number of important pieces of legislation concerning criminal justice have been brought forward which are effective and are helping the gardaí deal with the very serious challenge to our society posed by violent crime. It is important to acknowledge that the gardaí are doing all they can and that they enjoy the confidence of the public in the job they are doing.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I think this is the Taoiseach’s third last day on the Order of Business before the summer recess. I want to raise the issue of the tens of thousands people in estates, whether in apartment blocks or individual houses, who are subject to management companies. The Bill that came before the House has never been completed. In many cases——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Have you spoken with your party Whip?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Yes, just bear with me for a moment. The builders and developers who control the management companies are gone bust. In many cases, they are living in the south of Spain or some other sunny spot away from their creditors, and people are stuck in situations and they cannot get out of them.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  You can have a debate on the Bill when it commences.

[29]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This is a serious human problem. We had long debates yesterday about other issues. This affects tens of thousands of young families.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  You are completely out of order on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  They cannot sell their properties and move on.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There are other ways to make this point. We will have a debate on the legislation at some stage.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Where is the Multi-Unit Development Bill 2009?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  You cannot seek information like this on the Order of Business.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I want to ask the Taoiseach about a second related issue. There were widespread reports in the media that the Government was giving consideration to a package or a system that would enable a person to move their negative equity from their first mortgage to a subsequent mortgage. How could they conceivably do that when most of those people are in managed estates?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  You are completely out of order. Have we promised legislation in this area, Taoiseach?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  It is not technically possible. Does the Government have legislation for people who are stuck in a first property and who for a variety of reasons——

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

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  This was in the media at the weekend and was reported as Government policy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Some co-operation with the Chair would be appreciated.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I am co-operating with you, but this is the third last occasion before the recess I can raise this really important issue for tens of thousands of young home owners.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will you submit an item for consideration the Adjournment? Will you submit a parliamentary question next week?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  I have had it on the Adjournment five times. I want an update. When will the multi-unit development legislation actually go through this House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is on Second Stage (Resumed) at the moment.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  When will it be finished?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  I want to raise the same issue. This Bill did not get beyond the Minister’s speech on Second Stage. The Taoiseach has promised on a number of occasions that we would deal with this. If we could finish Second Stage, we could take Committee Stage of the Bill in July. The matter is extremely urgent for all the reasons the Taoiseach knows. That would require the Taoiseach to provide time next Friday or the following Friday in order to allow Deputies on this side of the House to speak on the Bill and to let the Bill reach Committee Stage in July and early September.

[30]The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  These are matters for the Whip. The Whip has set out what he is seeking to achieve for the remainder of this session. I am not sure whether that can accommodate what Deputy Rabbitte is seeking, but these are matters for the Whips to discuss.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  This has been going on for about six years in the House. The Taoiseach has committed on a number of occasions to seeing it through this term. There is no provision in the schedule as it stands. In advance of the final week’s business, there is no reason we cannot sit on the Friday to dispose of what is a very urgent issue.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  In the renewed programme for Government, the headline commitment on animal welfare was the animal health and welfare Bill. Stag hunting was just a subheading of that commitment. The animal health and welfare Bill would be a much more substantial Bill in protecting the health and welfare of animals. When will that Bill come before the House, or will it be left on the long finger now that the Green Party has got its trophy piece of legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I thought the Labour Party would be staying quiet on that today, given its own particular positions on it.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There are many Fianna Fáil backbenchers who are quiet about it as well.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Can I take it that Deputy Tuffy will be allowed to support the Bill when it comes forward?

Deputy P. J. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  When is the long awaited forestry Bill going to come into this House? We are now waiting seven years for it. In view of the fact that the Taoiseach has the stags preserved all over the country, they will need more forestry cover.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It will come before the House later this year.

Deputy P. J. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Can we have an approximate date?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  We will get it done before Christmas.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  It seems to be the case that the Government has more concern and gives greater priority to the safety of dogs and stags than to children. Could I ask the Taoiseach to tell us, first, where matters now stand with regard to the holding of a constitutional referendum to protect children’s rights? Will that Bill be published during the long vacation? Will there be a referendum this year on that issue? Second, what has happened to the legislation that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has promised is in preparation, arising out of the second report of the constitutional committee on children’s rights with regard to protecting young people from sexual predators and improving the law in that area?

Third, where now stands the legislation on vetting and the use of soft information from vetting? Can the Taoiseach explain to the House why the protection of stags has a greater priority than the protection of children from paedophiles?

Finally, a promise was made to this House that in the last week in June the report into the Roscommon incest case would be published and available to Members of this House. That report was to be debated in this House before it went into recess. We are now in the last week in June. Has the Roscommon incest report been completed? Has the Government received a copy of it? Will Members of this House receive a copy of it by the end of this week? Will it be debated next week in this House?

[31]The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I do not think there will be any prospect of it being debated in the House next week. The schedule is quite full. I am not aware of where the report is, whether it is to hand or not. The Deputy will have to ask the Minister concerned.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Can the Taoiseach find out and communicate to Members of the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Perhaps if it was promised legislation, I would do that. Perhaps the Deputy should contact the office.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Is the Taoiseach saying the fact that a number of children in a family were sexually and physically assaulted for a decade while the HSE failed to provide protection for them is not a matter that we should address in this House until next October?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Shatter, allow the Taoiseach to respond.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  We will be dealing with dogs next week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Shatter, allow the Taoiseach to reply.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I understand all the Bills to which the Deputy refers are in preparation. We had a discussion about the position of the referendum during parliamentary questions. That work is ongoing at Government level.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Can the Taoiseach explain the thinking behind giving priority to the protection of dogs and stags instead of children?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  This is not question time. Deputy, resume your seat.

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  There is a raft of promised legislation to protect children——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, we are moving on to the motion re the Saville report.


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