Order of Business

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 723 No. 3

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The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is proposed to take No. 5, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the European Union to the United States for the purposes of the terrorist finance tracking programme, back from committee; and No. a15, statements on the EU-IMF programme for Ireland and the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted on the adjournment of Private Members’ business which shall be No. 81, motion re stability and the budgetary process, which shall take place at 7 p.m. tonight or on the conclusion of the Leaders’ speeches of No. a15, whichever is the later, and which shall adjourn after 90 minutes; No. 5 shall be decided without debate; and the proceedings in No. a15 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. tomorrow night and the following arrangements shall apply: the statements of the Taoiseach and of the Leaders of Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Green Party and Sinn Féin, or a person nominated in his stead, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case, the statement of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case, the statement of each other member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, a Minister shall take questions for a period not exceeding 20 minutes, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 5 agreed to?

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The first item on the Order of Business is No. 1, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and shall be interrupted on the adjournment of Private Members’ business. I do not accept this Order of Business. No. a15 is statements on the EU-IMF deal. This should be a motion that should be voted on by the Dáil. Accordingly, I object to the Order of Business.

The deal was not discussed by this House nor were the people consulted about it. If we had real democracy like when we joined the European Union or changed its competencies, there would have been a referendum on this matter. The Oireachtas has not even been consulted. This measure requires a vote in this House and I propose that it should happen.

  5 o’clock

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Labour Party objects to today’s arrangements. The agreement negotiated with the EU and the IMF is the product of a process the Government denied existed until the very last minute. The Taoiseach denied he was entering into these discussions or that any discussions were taking place and then announced them last Sunday week. These discussions were undertaken without any prior discussion in the Dáil as to their content or the Government’s mandate and authority to conduct them. Instead, the discussions were conducted in private and the only information we have about them are the public statements made at their conclusion. The documentation, which sets out the detail of the agreements, has not yet been circulated, including the memoranda of understanding and the memorandum on economic and financial policy.

In any event, an agreement of this kind which is of such importance to the country, has implications for the country’s finances and budgets for the next four years should not be finalised without being put before the Dáil for decision and a vote. There should be a motion before the House today setting out whatever approval the Government wants for it. Instead, we are again getting the same old formula of statements. If the Dáil — the Parliament of the [431]country — is to have any real meaning, an agreement such as this should be put before it. In any event, I believe the Government is constitutionally obliged to put an agreement of this kind before the Dáil.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The five Sinn Féin Deputies do not agree to No. a15. I like the sound of that so I will say it again. The five Sinn Féin Deputies will not agree to the Order of Business.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  They are getting there.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Government is proposing to act unconstitutionally by not allowing for a proper debate or a vote to take place in this House on this agreement. Last week I challenged this not once but twice. Article 29.5.2° of the Constitution states:

The Government is trying to force on the people an IMF-EU deal that will put not only this generation but future generations into economic bondage. No mistake should be made about it. No international agreement could have had a greater element of public funding commitment than this one. This is a matter that should not be addressed by statements but by a full debate and vote in this House.

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

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  This is going to be a Second Stage speech.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We are being asked to nod through this agreement when this morning——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Order of Business allows for a brief intervention, not a Second Stage contribution.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  ——on the national airwaves the Minister for Justice and Law Reform stated:

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

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  How can this deal be accepted when, first and constitutionally, it should be properly put to the elected representatives of the people?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have ample opportunity to make these points later.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  In Sinn Féin’s view, this deal should not be debated at all. The Taoiseach published whatever information he had on this deal in the four year plan. I suggest——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, please, we are on the Order of Business.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  ——the Taoiseach goes to the Phoenix Park this evening to dissolve this Dáil.

[432]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We are on the Order of Business, not Second Stage.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  He should allow the people the opportunity to have their say. No other action is acceptable.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will resume his seat.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  A Cheann Comhairle, you are the only one who will not have to contest your seat in the upcoming general election.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We can discuss those matters another time but not on the Order of Business.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  This agreement is neither acceptable nor constitutional.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  This agreement is in compliance with our Constitution. Draw-down facilities are available on an ongoing basis.

These specific facilities are being provided at rates which are far less than the normal source of that funding, which is the international money markets. From the point of view of the country’s stability, it is important that we avail of these funds. To those who criticised it, I have repeatedly asked what their alternative is. The luxury of being in opposition, however, is that they do not have to have an alternative.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We have already made that suggestion long before now.

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

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Go to the country and let the people decide.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Are the arrangements for the late sitting agreed to?

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  They are not agreed to.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with the late sitting be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 79; Níl, 69.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall. Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine.
Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian. Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny.
Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret.
Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán. Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary.
Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian. Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John.
Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel. Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul. Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John.
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 Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on 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 Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin. Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory.
Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt. Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward.
Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary. Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy.
Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter. Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán.
Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick. Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon.
Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor. Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel.
Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary. Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.
Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.  


Níl
Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  Allen, Bernard. Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James.
Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán. Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour.
Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse.
Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D. Information on 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 Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian.
Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí. 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 P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary. Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.
Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies John 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 No. 5, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the agreement between the EU and the US, back from committee, without debate, agreed to?

[434]Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  It is not agreed. Given the level of leaks of classified and restricted documents of late from the US, in particular on wikileaks.org, and the question of data protection, which this motion must properly address, rather than pass this motion I suggest we delay its passage until the full extent of the undermining of restricted and sensitive documentation in the US has ended. In this way, European and Irish citizens in particular can know that whatever documentation and data are being processed and sent to the US fall within a proper data protection regime rather than having the possible consequence of exposure in The Guardian or wherever else the material from wikileaks.org turns up.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The scope of the application of the agreement is limited explicitly to the purpose of prevention, investigation, protection and prosecution of terrorism or terrorist financing. I cannot understand why anyone would be opposed to that.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Will Deputy Ó Snodaigh publish his data on Members of thisHouse?

Question, “That the proposal for dealing with No. 5, 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. a15, statements on the EU-IMF Programme for Ireland and the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014, agreed to?

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is not agreed for the reasons I have already stated. It is incredible that the Government persists with an alleged certainty——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, we have been over this territory during Leaders’ Questions.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Am I allowed to speak at all?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  A brief statement.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I am making the point, once again, that it is our belief, and it is not confined to Sinn Féin opinion, that what is proposed——

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

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I hope that applies to speakers here as it applies to speakers elsewhere in the Chamber. What is involved in this IMF deal requires not only statements in this House but a proper debate and a vote. Constitutionally, the Government is obliged to refer this matter for the approval of the Dáil because public moneys are indeed involved and Article 29 of the Constitution——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, I will not allow the debate to develop.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Something that has been ordered in the House and could be contrary to the terms of the Constitution is a valid matter for a Member of this House to raise. That is what I am drawing attention to. It is my belief, as a Member of this House and a belief shared by my colleagues in Sinn Féin, that this is——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Provision has been made for statements and a question and answer session at the end.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  ——unconstitutional and I refer the Taoiseach to Article 29 of the Constitution and request that the matter be properly addressed in this House and that [435]a vote be taken. The preference of Sinn Féin is that the Taoiseach does not proceed with this and that the only steps he takes are to Áras an Uachtaráin to convey his resignation and that of this Government.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Labour Party is opposed to the proposal and I set out the reasons for this during Leaders’ Questions and when I spoke on the proposal for the late sitting. I do not propose to repeat those reasons.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  My response has set out that this matter is totally within the exercise of executive power and external relations pursuant to Article 29.4 of the constitution rather than Article 29.5 and Article 29.6, to which Deputy Gilmore referred earlier. Now that Deputy Ó Caoláin has come round to recognising the legitimacy of the State, I would have thought he would also recognise the legitimacy of raising finances for the State.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  It is clear that if the Taoiseach is resorting to that response, he is lost.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. a15 be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 68.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Seán Ardagh  Zoom on Seán Ardagh  Ardagh, Seán.
Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby. Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe.
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 John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret. Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán.
Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary. Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Cowen, Brian.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John. Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Dempsey, Noel.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  Fahey, Frank. Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael.
Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael. Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán.
Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. 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 Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Tony Killeen  Zoom on Tony Killeen  Killeen, Tony.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál. Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John.
Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael. Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael.
Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J. Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán. Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh.
Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie. Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie.
Information on John O'Donoghue  Zoom on John O'Donoghue  O’Donoghue, John. Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel.
Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  O’Hanlon, Rory. Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt.
Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward. Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra. Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Woods, Michael.



[436]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 Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour.
Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse.
Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew. Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J.
Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  Higgins, Michael D.
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 Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian.
Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe. Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz.
Information on Arthur Morgan  Zoom on Arthur Morgan  Morgan, Arthur. Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín. Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim. Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John. Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí.
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 P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet.
Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna. Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.
Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.

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

Question declared carried.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  In view of the comments made by the Governor of the Central Bank yesterday that he sees the wind-up or wind-down, as the case might be, of Anglo Irish Bank taking place in the very near future, does the Taoiseach consider it necessary to introduce legislation to give effect to any element of that wind-down of the bank or can this be done by financial recommendations or directions from the Department of Finance or the Central Bank withdrawing a licence?

I was concerned recently at the discussion that took place at the Committee of Public Accounts when the representatives of NAMA attended. This is now causing paralysis and complete gridlock in the property business. Is there any mechanism available to the Oireachtas or the Government in view of the way that NAMA has been set up to prize it open, as it were, to create some fluidity in the property market which is currently gridlocked and paralysed?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  On the question of the bank reorganisation that is envisaged as a result of the discussions that took place, banking legislation will come to the House the week after the budget. We will need co-operation on it because it is important that it is brought forward.

On the more general question regarding the building industry and the role NAMA has played, there is a further proposal that land and property portfolios worth less than €20 million [437]will be considered for inclusion in NAMA. That is part of the programme. We must arrange for legislation to come to the House the week after the budget on that matter. We seek the support and co-operation of everyone in the House to ensure that the legislation proceeds because it is in the interests of the country that it happens.

Deputy Enda Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I note the comments made by Mr. Peter Bacon, who was the original author of the NAMA concept. He made a point about public interest directors and whether they are entitled to comment on the situation in so far as NAMA is concerned. Has the Minister for Finance asked the public interest directors for their views on Mr. Bacon’s comments?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I am not aware that is the case. As I said, I am not au fait with the precise comments to which the Deputy referred, but these are matters that could be addressed to the Minister himself.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  On the same matter of banking related legislation, will the Taoiseach confirm whether legislation will be required in respect of the National Pensions Reserve Fund making investments in banks like Anglo Irish Bank, the EBS and Irish Nationwide Building Society? When will the Minister for Finance introduce that legislation in the House?

Yesterday, there was mention in The Irish Times that the Minister for Finance had extended a guarantee, presumably by ministerial order, to Anglo Irish Bank in respect of securitised loan transactions which were the subject of derivatives and, possibly, credit default swaps. Will the Minister bring an order to the House in respect of this further guarantee and will he specify the amounts involved?

When is it proposed to introduce the additional legislation on the transfer of the remaining loans for property, land and so on from the covered institutions to the National Asset Management Agency? I understand that legislation will be required in terms of the NPRF. Given this agreement, when will that legislation be before the House? Will the Minister undertake to provide a special debate tomorrow on the guarantee in respect of securitised transactions and derivatives in Anglo Irish Bank or will he introduce an order in the House, which would be the requirement, regarding those transactions?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  In respect of the NPRF, as the Deputy is aware, there is already legislation in place that enables the fund to be used for banking, for example, in AIB and Bank of Ireland.

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

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  The power to direct the NPRF Commission is there.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Directed investments.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There is also the question of looking at all of the legislative requirements that would arise. We would look to the co-operation of the Opposition the week after the budget to facilitate that and to accelerate the re-organisation. It is in everyone’s interest now that we have available to us the funds that will be required to accelerate and deepen the reforms of the banking system, as has been suggested.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The Taoiseach has not answered the question, which was on the extension——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  There is probably another way to raise this matter.

[438]Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  ——of a specific guarantee to Anglo Irish Bank. Will there be a statement in the House as to how that came about?

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  We are rocking the foundation of the banking system.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  More importantly, the investments in the Bank of Ireland and——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Order of Business is not Question Time and there will be opportunities to ask these questions at a different time. Will the Deputy co-operate with the Chair?

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  The investments in the Bank of Ireland and AIB were indirect investments because they were quoted companies at the time. Investments in Anglo Irish Bank, EBS and INBS are not direct investments.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Statements are scheduled and the Deputy will have an opportunity to ask these questions at that point.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Has the Government received the advice of the Attorney General on this matter?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  These are ideal questions for later.

Deputy Joan Burton: Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Legislation might be required to direct the NPRF. I do not agree that the Minister for Finance has those powers.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Can I make a point?

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  We are not putting moneys from the pension fund into Anglo Irish Bank.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There is no question of NPRF money going into Anglo Irish Bank, if that is the consideration. As to the other consideration that the Deputy mentioned concerning derivatives, this issue first came up when Deputy Rabbitte spoke on radio on Sunday. It was conveyed as being a revelatory matter. In fairness, whatever point Deputy Rabbitte was seeking to make, it was cleared up by the Governor of the Central Bank yesterday in his interview. This emphasises the need for us all to try to deal with these matters in a calm, measured way. We do not want a situation in which people do not have confidence in the system we have. We are talking about strengthening the system, providing more capital to it, engaging in more re-organisation of the system and bringing forward legislation that will provide for that. Let us do that in a way that, for the benefit of everyone going forward, we will have a banking system in which our people will know their deposits are safe.

As to the question of looking to problems, we are dealing with all of the problems that have been identified as they have been identified. The Governor of the Central Bank gave some reassurance in respect of this matter yesterday. It is incumbent on us all to try to raise issues that need to be raised, but let us raise them in a calm and measured way and deal with them on a factual basis.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I have one question for the Taoiseach. It relates to the Government’s intention to cut the national minimum wage by €1 per hour. As I understand it, this cannot be done by way of ministerial order in the absence of a Labour Court recommendation or a national agreement to that effect. Primary legislation will be required if the Government wants to proceed with its intention to cut the national minimum wage. Does the Government intend to introduce a Bill to cut the minimum wage? Of everything we have heard in recent [439]times, this is the one measure with which the Government should not proceed. People on the lowest level of pay should not have it cut. The Government should abandon this idea.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We cannot debate the matter at this point.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  If the cut is to be proceeded with, I understand it will require legislation. Does the Government intend to introduce such legislation and when will that be?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Legislation will be required and it will be brought forward as a post-budget matter. I understand it is agreed by everyone that there should be a review of the whole REA system as well.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  That is different.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  On the basis that this issue must be addressed, there is also the issue of the minimum wage. We still have a minimum wage that is one of the highest in Europe and it has been raised in excess of inflation. These are difficult points and difficult structural reforms that have to be considered and implemented in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, but we need to proceed to make sure that we provide as much flexibility in the marketplace as possible. For many people in labour-intensive sectors like hospitality and elsewhere, we need to make sure that we can provide opportunities for our own people and that they can take up some of those opportunities.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  That is rubbish.

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  How dare Deputy Gilmore talk to the Taoiseach like that in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We cannot debate this matter now.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The minimum wage applies to people who have a relatively small——

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  The Deputy is Mr. Unreality. We have spent two years listening to his economic unreality.

Deputy Liz McManus: Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  It is apropos.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  May I ask about——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Please, there will be ample opportunity to expand on the points Deputy Gilmore wishes to make at a later stage, but not on the Order of Business.

Deputy Bobby Aylward: Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  The Labour Party banjaxed the——

(Interruptions).

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am asking about legislation, but the Taoiseach did not answer as to when the Government intends to introduce this legislation. Primary legislation is required. It is a mean attempt by the Government in any attempt.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I ask Deputy Gilmore to respect the judgment of the Chair.

Deputy Dick Roche: Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  He dodges the issues.

[440]Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Legislation regarding the timely calling of by-elections has been recommended by two Oireachtas committees on the Constitution, one in 1996 and again this year. Following the by-election in Donegal South-West, has the Taoiseach given any consideration to a call from a variety of parties across this Chamber for legislation to be introduced by agreement to the effect that by-elections will be held——

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

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  That is what he is asking.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Has it been promised?

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  We will be here until next Christmas.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Does the Ceann Comhairle understand? Two Oireachtas committees have recommended that this take place. I am asking the Taoiseach whether, as a collection of political voices in the House have urged, he will sit down or designate someone to sit with the other parties to agree what is a reasonable timeframe? We waited a long time for the Donegal South-West by-election, so the Taoiseach can wait——

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is a long sentence. I know exactly what question Deputy Ó Caoláin is asking, but I did not think it would take him so long to ask it. I can answer it.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We waited a long time for Donegal South-West, so the Taoiseach can wait until after I get out two sentences. Will the Government facilitate legislation?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I feel like Bruce Grobbelaar. I will try to put the Deputy off in a minute.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I know the Taoiseach is weary, God bless him. He knows what to do when he is that weary — it is time to chuck it in. I am asking whether he will facilitate legislation now to allow for by-elections within a clearly defined period.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Will the Deputy desist for a moment, as the Taoiseach is anxious to reply to him?

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Will he save the taxpayers’ money that he is squandering in his Supreme Court appeal? It is time to stop it.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have responded to this already. There is an issue on appeal to the Supreme Court and it needs to be clarified for the purpose of providing certainty regarding whatever laws are made in the future if we decide there should be a definitive timeframe within which by-elections are held. This is not the case under statutory law at the moment, but it should be decided and we need to have a Supreme Court interpretation behind the issue.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  The Supreme Court has made an interpretation in relation to the judgment.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have given my reply. The Deputy may not agree with it but that is my reply.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is going to have to pursue the matter by way of a parliamentary question.

[441]Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  He knows that is not the right answer. Does he want three more by-elections or to exit in a general election?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  Which does he want? He wanted a general election a few minutes ago.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We want a general election first.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  He wants the three by-elections first and then a general election. The Deputy should go off to the Politburo and find out what they want. Gerry wants a general election. We are getting mixed messages here.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Please, I call the good Deputy from Dublin North, Deputy James Reilly.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I want to ask about the VHI and its recent edict to private hospitals, as reported to me, to the effect that there is now a cap on funds available and certain procedures must stop or they will not be paid for. I remind the House that the VHI’s contract is with its clients. It cannot advise me as a client not to have a heart attack over Christmas, or any other ailment that might befall me or the hundreds of thousands of its members.

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

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I am sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, but this is an outrageous situation. The VHI is now adopting HSE-style tactics to health and to the health issues of the country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy will have to find another way.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  If it cannot afford to pay the hospitals, it should renegotiate the fee structure. It cannot simply say there is a cap and no more procedures for hips, tonsillectomies or stents are to be done. I am referring to item No. 70, the risk equalisation transitional Bill, and asking when it will be introduced, if the Government is going to address this issue or whether the VHI is completely out of control. Will the Minister for Health and Children make a statement to the House on the matter as she is the main shareholder on behalf of the people?

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There is no legislation.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  He lets the country go to rack and ruin, but he should try to look after the healthy.

Deputy David Stanton: Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Last January, the Minister for Transport indicated that legislation would be introduced to oblige people to clear footpaths outside their homes and businesses in the event of the type of weather we have at the moment, snow, ice and so on. I am not sure whether I missed that legislation or if it is still pending. It seems to be needed at this point, and was promised.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  There is no legislation promised, I understand.

Deputy Noel Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  There is none needed either. I will talk to the Deputy afterwards.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Regarding the EU directive pertaining to the deposit guarantee scheme, whereby €2.7 billion has to be put into security in the Central Bank by 2020, will the Taoiseach say whether provision has been made for this in discussions with the IMF-EU, and where this is——

[442]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, there will be ample opportunity to raise this point and to ask that question. We must finish the question and answer session. The Minister for Finance, I am sure, will be taking questions on that point.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  There was no need to interrupt me. That is approximately €300 million per year, being set aside for the next ten years.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy does not listen to me. He may ask that later on at the conclusion of the Order of Business.

Deputy Tom Sheahan: Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  The Government is talking about the shrinkage of the banking system, so where is the money going to come from? That is all I want to know. Has provision been made for it?

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

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  There is further change to the schedule of business. The Multi-Unit Development Bill was scheduled for Report and Final Stages. That is the Bill to do with management companies and it has fallen off the schedule to be replaced by the Dublin mayor Bill. There are literally tens of thousands of people waiting six or seven years and we are within an ace of completing the Bill. It looks like the house of cards could come down before the Bill and it could fall. Meanwhile, the Taoiseach gives the slot to keep the Minister, Deputy John Gormley, on board. If that is the only way the Taoiseach can keep him on board, I know what I would tell him to do with his Dublin mayor Bill.

We need to complete this legislation and I ask the Taoiseach to give a commitment to the House that we will complete it before Christmas.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is intended——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I support what Deputy Rabbitte said.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Durkan, the Taoiseach was going to tell us what the position was. It could have anticipated your question in the matter.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I agree with what Deputy Rabbitte said.

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

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hold on now, a Cheann Comhairle. There is enormous concern, particularly among young home owners who have been faced with responsibility arising from development that has taken place over the last ten years and who have had huge costs foisted on them. I totally support Deputy Rabbitte’s point and call on the Taoiseach to bring that legislation back before the House now.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  As I said, it is intended to deal with that legislation before Christmas. We had to provide for statements here in relation to current matters. We are trying to accommodate everyone. We also have a Social Welfare Bill that has to be passed before the budget as well.

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Taoiseach is replacing it with this Dublin mayor Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy Rabbitte, please, allow the Taoiseach to explain the position.

[443]The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  It is not about replacing it, but rather of trying to get through all the business, and we will get through that as well.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  We will move on to the motion re the approval of Dáil Éireann——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I want to ask about something else.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Deputy, please, you can do so tomorrow and the following day.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  That is the reason the country is in the state it is in — tomorrow will do for everything. Can I respectfully ask the Taoiseach, arising from the points raised by Deputies Kenny and Gilmore earlier about banking legislation — there is promised legislation on this, about which I have asked several times before — and given the views expressed by the Governor of the Central Bank, whether any direction has been given by Government as to when the necessary legislation to consolidate the body of legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  I am sure the Deputy will be speaking later in the statements process, when these points can be made.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  This is a separate issue that is of enormous importance, a Cheann Comhairle, because it relates to policy and whether there is any particular reason for the delay in bringing the legislation before the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  The Deputy is not in order.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Why should the Governor of the Central Bank have to ask the European negotiators what should be done about a particular bank?

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 about promised legislation, but the Taoiseach is not answering.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have told the Deputy about this on a number of occasions — let us be fair about this now. We have important issues to deal with, including any queries Deputies have, but I have answered this question about the Central Bank consolidation Bill for the Deputy at least three times in the last two months, and for many others as well. Is it believed in this House that this is a good way to spend our time, where Members ask consistently and regularly about the same legislation? Different Deputies come in on different days who were not here on a previous day——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I was there on the previous day and every day.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have indicated to Deputy Durkan, and I will always be courteous to a colleague——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  And likewise.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have indicated to him on a number of occasions that the Central Bank consolidation Bill would be coming in next year and that there was another Bill of greater priority and importance. Consolidation Bills, by their very nature, are fine in the context of improving the legal framework over time, but that is not an issue of greatest import regarding Central Bank reform.

[444]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Anything on regulation is important.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  I have made that point on a number of occasions, and I do not see the value of us continuing to inquire about this. There must be some means of being able to circulate to Members what the up-to-date position is regarding pending legislation. We spend a great deal of time on these matters, a Cheann Comhairle, and——

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  And so we should.

The Taoiseach: Information on Brian Cowen  Zoom on Brian Cowen  ——not to much effect, since it is simply a matter of repeating information that I might have given 24 hours previously.

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


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