Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 2, motion re programme for Government. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings on No. 2 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7.30 p.m and that the following arrangements shall apply: the speech of a Minister or Minister of State and the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, Members may share time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed ten minutes; and the Dáil on its rising shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 March.
Deputy Gerry Adams: Táimid an-mhíshásta nach bhfuil neart spáis ann chun díospóireacht cheart a dhéanamh ar chlár an Rialtais. Tá Sinn Féin an-mhíshásta faoi sin. Tá an Taoiseach chun leanacht ar aghaidh le stop a chur leis an díospóireacht ag leath uair tar éis a seacht anocht agus ní bheidh aon Aire ag teacht isteach sa Teach chun ceisteanna a fhreagairt. Níl aon chiall leis sin. There is an attempt to ramrod the motion through by 7.30 p.m. There is not enough space and there are no Ministers coming forward. There are issues that we will not have a chance to discuss properly. Matters are being brought forward that have not been included in the programme for Government. Brendan Behan famously said the first thing on any Irish agenda was the split. The first thing the Taoiseach did was to split the Department of Finance. We have not been told how it will work. We need more space.
The Taoiseach: Tá a fhios ag an Teachta Adams, cé go bhfuil sé míshásta, go bhfuil sé seo thar a bheith coitianta istigh anseo. Mar sin féin, deireann an Príomh-Aoire liom nár chuir an Teachta ceist ar bith air faoi cheisteanna nó faoi am breise a thabhairt don díospóireacht. Sin an chaoi a bhfuil sé. Beidh neart ama ag an Teachta as seo amach chun ceisteanna a chur faoin Roinn Airgeadais a scoilt ina dhá leath agus an fáth go ndearnamar sin — i dtreo is go mbeadh i bhfad níos mó iniúchta ar na Vótaí airgid atá ag dul do na Ranna Stáit éagsúla. Sin an fáth go bhfuil an scoilt ann agus gur scoilteamar an Roinn ina dhá leath. Mar adúirt mé, dá mba rud é go raibh breis ama iarrtha don díospóireacht nó do cheisteanna ón bPríomh-Aoire, is dócha go mbeadh an t-am sin tugtha. Freisin, mar adúirt mé leis an Aire Martin, beidh vóta ag deireadh na díospóireachta seo.
|Bannon, James.||Barry, Tom.|
|Breen, Pat.||Broughan, Thomas P.|
|Browne, John.||Bruton, Richard.|
|Burton, Joan.||Butler, Ray.|
|Buttimer, Jerry.||Byrne, Catherine.|
|Byrne, Eric.||Calleary, Dara.|
|Cannon, Ciarán.||Carey, Joe.|
|Coffey, Paudie.||Collins, Áine.|
|Collins, Niall.||Conaghan, Michael.|
|Conlan, Seán.||Connaughton, Paul J.|
|Conway, Ciara.||Coonan, Noel.|
|Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.||Costello, Joe.|
|Coveney, Simon.||Cowen, Barry.|
|Creighton, Lucinda.||Daly, Jim.|
|Deasy, John.||Deenihan, Jimmy.|
|Deering, Pat.||Doherty, Regina.|
|Donohoe, Paschal.||Dooley, Timmy.|
|Dowds, Robert.||Doyle, Andrew.|
|Durkan, Bernard J.||English, Damien.|
|Farrell, Alan.||Feighan, Frank.|
|Ferris, Anne.||Fitzpatrick, Peter.|
|Flanagan, Charles.||Flanagan, Terence.|
|Fleming, Sean.||Gilmore, Eamon.|
|Griffin, Brendan.||Hannigan, Dominic.|
|Harrington, Noel.||Harris, Simon.|
|Hayes, Brian.||Healy-Rae, Michael.|
|Heydon, Martin.||Hogan, Phil.|
|Howlin, Brendan.||Humphreys, Heather.|
|Humphreys, Kevin.||Keating, Derek.|
|Keaveney, Colm.||Kehoe, Paul.|
|Kelleher, Billy.||Kelly, Alan.|
|Kenny, Enda.||Kenny, Seán.|
|Kitt, Michael P.||Kyne, Seán.|
|Lawlor, Anthony.||Lenihan, Brian.|
|Lynch, Ciarán.||Lynch, Kathleen.|
|Lyons, John.||McCarthy, Michael.|
|McConalogue, Charlie.||McEntee, Shane.|
|McFadden, Nicky.||McGinley, Dinny.|
|McGrath, Michael.||McHugh, Joe.|
|McLoughlin, Tony.||McNamara, Michael.|
|Maloney, Eamonn.||Martin, Micheál.|
|Mathews, Peter.||Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.|
|Mitchell, Olivia.||Moynihan, Michael.|
|Mulherin, Michelle.||Murphy, Dara.|
|Murphy, Eoghan.||Nash, Gerald.|
|Naughten, Denis.||Neville, Dan.|
|Nolan, Derek.||Ó Cuív, Éamon.|
|Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.||Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.|
|O’Dea, Willie.||O’Donnell, Kieran.|
|O’Donovan, Patrick.||O’Dowd, Fergus.|
|O’Mahony, John.||O’Sullivan, Jan.|
|Penrose, Willie.||Perry, John.|
|Phelan, Ann.||Phelan, John Paul.|
|Reilly, James.||Ring, Michael.|
|Ryan, Brendan.||Shatter, Alan.|
|Sherlock, Sean.||Shortall, Róisín.|
|Smith, Brendan.||Spring, Arthur.|
|Stagg, Emmet.||Timmins, Billy.|
|Troy, Robert.||Tuffy, Joanna.|
|Twomey, Liam.||Wall, Jack.|
|Walsh, Brian.||White, Alex.|
|Adams, Gerry.||Boyd Barrett, Richard.|
|Collins, Joan.||Colreavy, Michael.|
|Crowe, Seán.||Daly, Clare.|
|Doherty, Pearse.||Donnelly, Stephen.|
|Ellis, Dessie.||Ferris, Martin.|
|Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’.||Halligan, John.|
|Healy, Seamus.||Higgins, Joe.|
|Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.||McDonald, Mary Lou.|
|McGrath, Finian.||McGrath, Mattie.|
|McLellan, Sandra.||Murphy, Catherine.|
|Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.||Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.|
|O’Brien, Jonathan.||O’Sullivan, Maureen.|
|Pringle, Thomas.||Stanley, Brian.|
|Tóibín, Peadar.||Wallace, Mick.|
Deputy Joe Higgins: Yes, it is to do with the order. However, it should first be pointed out for the benefit of Deputies that a translation service from Irish to English is available in the Dáil. I do not think many people are aware of that agus seachtain na Gaeilge go mór mhór, ba cheart go ndéarfaíé sin.
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Will the new Taoiseach clarify when the new programme of legislation will be presented to the House? This is the second sitting of the House but we have yet to have sight of it.
An Ceann Comhairle: I must put the question first. I will make the decision as to when, if the Deputy does not mind. There is only one Chair here. I will put the question yet again. Is the proposal that the Dáil, on its rising today, shall adjourn until 2.10 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 agreed to?
An Ceann Comhairle: There is no Order of Business as such, today. I will allow a point of clarification from Deputies Micheál Martin, Gerry Adams and Joe Higgins. The Taoiseach may answer all the questions together.
Deputy Micheál Martin: Will the Taoiseach indicate when we can expect the legislative programme to be published? Given the Taoiseach’s commitment to come before the Dáil in advance of every European Council meeting, will he make time available next week for this to happen?
Deputy Gerry Adams: Maith go leor. Táimid anois i lár seachtain na Gaeilge. Táimid ag lorg eolais ón Taoiseach faoin áit ina bhfuil an straitéis 20 bliain. What is the Government position with regard to the 20-year plan? Does it intend to bring forward plans to restructure Údarás na Gaeltachta which will have elections this year? What is the Taoiseach’s policy on the down-sizing of gaelscoileanna? We need to know when these issues will be dealt with, as well as promised legislation. There is promised legislation on this issue also.
Deputy Joe Higgins: On the arrangements for sittings, it is very urgent that the Government notifies Deputies about the times and days of Dáil sittings, beginning next week. We all have pressure on our diaries——
Deputy Micheál Martin: That is an important point. Dáil reform is supposed to be a collective and cross-party process. I do not think it is a matter for the Executive to order the sittings of Parliament but rather it is a matter to be decided collectively by the Dáil.
Deputy Micheál Martin: Yes, I know that but we have all committed to reform and last week I asked that we take some initial steps to collectively work together to agree best procedure. We have just lost 25 minutes on a pointless vote so we need to change the way we do business here. I ask that the Whips agree on sitting days and business to ensure we are effective and efficient.
An Ceann Comhairle: Before the Taoiseach replies, I wish to say that people made a genuine point that they did not think sufficient time was allowed for debate. We are wasting time here on technical issues. I ask Members to please co-operate with the Chair in their own interest. I want to see people having time to speak and I do not wish to have to keep interrupting them. I ask Members to please recognise the job I have to do. Time wasted here means there is less speaking time for Members. I ask the Taoiseach to reply and then I will immediately begin the debate, in fairness to those who want to speak on the motion. Members can make all the points they wish in the debate on the programme for Government, including Dáil reform, which I will be only too delighted to comply with if that is the wish of the House.
The Taoiseach: Members will be aware, at least those who have been here before, that normally after a change of government the Dáil does not sit for approximately two weeks. I thought it appropriate to return today for a debate on the programme for Government. Time is short and as Deputy Higgins reminded me, it is six Hibernian days and nights since the change of government, with a few minutes extra added. Several Bills will be ready to come to the House next week. In reply to Deputy Martin, the Departments have been requested to name the Bills they wish to place on the “A” list of legislation by 21 March 2011. The Departments have been advised that this is a matter of urgency. A meeting of the legislative committee will be held on 31 March in order for the Cabinet to clear it by 5 April and the list will then be published immediately. I will come before the House in advance of Council meetings and a debate will be held next week before the meeting of 24 and 25 March to allow every Member to express his or her views.
In respect of Deputy Adams’s question about seachtain na Gaeilge, I realise this is seachtain na Gaeilge and because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves, I would be very amenable to having a debate or a díospóireacht on the straithéis 20 bliain.
With regard to sittings of the Dáil, Deputy Higgins will be aware that Dáil reform is of interest to me and to many others. I do not wish to regard it as being a decision for the Executive. The Chief Whip will meet the Opposition Whips next week and I suggest we discuss a realistic series of changes capable of being implemented to make this place more effective. I asked for this from the other side of the House for many years. Deputy Higgins will be aware that the programme for Government also means that we do away with the traditional absence on a Tuesday after a bank holiday although this only happens a few times during the year. I have not yet decided on the extent of the Easter break, but this will be organised very quickly and the Deputy will have the full schedule to put in his diary so that he will know when he is supposed to be here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays. We will keep him very busy and he will have ample opportunity to give vent to his colourful eloquence in respect of the various matters that affect our State from time to time.
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