Order of Business

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 728 No. 2

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The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 2, motion re programme for Government, agreed to?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  On a point of clarification, will there be a vote at the end of that debate?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is that agreed?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  It is not agreed. I also wish to speak on the Order of Business.

[80]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Adams can speak to the motion on speaking time.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on 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.

Deputy Brian Hayes: Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Sinn Féin is very good at splits.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  That is the French way — once a Minister, always a Minister.

Question put: “That the proposal for dealing with No. 2, motion re programme for Government, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 122; Níl, 28.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Tom Barry  Zoom on Tom Barry  Barry, Tom.
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 John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John. Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard.
Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan. Information on Ray Butler  Zoom on Ray Butler  Butler, Ray.
Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Buttimer, Jerry. Information on Catherine Byrne  Zoom on Catherine Byrne  Byrne, Catherine.
Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Byrne, Eric. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Ciaran Cannon  Zoom on Ciaran Cannon  Cannon, Ciarán. Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe.
Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Coffey, Paudie. Information on Áine Collins  Zoom on Áine Collins  Collins, Áine.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  Conaghan, Michael.
Information on Sean Conlan  Zoom on Sean Conlan  Conlan, Seán. Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul J.
Information on Ciara Conway  Zoom on Ciara Conway  Conway, Ciara. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel.
Information on Marcella MarcellaCorcoran Kennedy  Zoom on Marcella MarcellaCorcoran Kennedy  Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella. Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Cowen, Barry.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy.
Information on Patrick Deering  Zoom on Patrick Deering  Deering, Pat. Information on Regina Doherty  Zoom on Regina Doherty  Doherty, Regina.
Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  Donohoe, Paschal. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Robert Dowds  Zoom on Robert Dowds  Dowds, Robert. 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 Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  Ferris, Anne. Information on Peter Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Peter.
Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles. Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Sean. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brendan Griffin  Zoom on Brendan Griffin  Griffin, Brendan. Information on Dominic Hannigan  Zoom on Dominic Hannigan  Hannigan, Dominic.
Information on Noel Harrington  Zoom on Noel Harrington  Harrington, Noel. Information on Simon Harris  Zoom on Simon Harris  Harris, Simon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Michael.
Information on Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin. Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil.
Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan. Information on Heather Humphreys  Zoom on Heather Humphreys  Humphreys, Heather.
Information on Kevin Humphreys  Zoom on Kevin Humphreys  Humphreys, Kevin. Information on Derek Keating  Zoom on Derek Keating  Keating, Derek.
Information on Colm Keaveney  Zoom on Colm Keaveney  Keaveney, Colm. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy. Information on Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  Kelly, Alan.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny  Kenny, Seán.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  Kyne, Seán.
Information on Anthony Lawlor  Zoom on Anthony Lawlor  Lawlor, Anthony. Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian.
Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán. Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen.
Information on John Lyons  Zoom on John Lyons  Lyons, John. Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  McCarthy, Michael.
Information on Charlie McConalogue  Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  McConalogue, Charlie. Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky. Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Tony McLoughlin  Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  McLoughlin, Tony. Information on Michael McNamara  Zoom on Michael McNamara  McNamara, Michael.
Information on Eamonn Maloney  Zoom on Eamonn Maloney  Maloney, Eamonn. Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Martin, Micheál.
Information on Peter Mathews  Zoom on Peter Mathews  Mathews, Peter. Information on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michelle Mulherin  Zoom on Michelle Mulherin  Mulherin, Michelle. Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  Murphy, Dara.
Information on Eoghan Murphy  Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  Murphy, Eoghan. Information on Gerald Nash  Zoom on Gerald Nash  Nash, Gerald.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Derek Nolan  Zoom on Derek Nolan  Nolan, Derek. 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 Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Patrick O'Donovan  Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan  O’Donovan, Patrick. Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus.
Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  O’Mahony, John. Information on 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 Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann. Information on John Paul Phelan  Zoom on John Paul Phelan  Phelan, John Paul.
Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael.
Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan. Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Sean. Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. Information on Arthur Spring  Zoom on Arthur Spring  Spring, Arthur.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy.
Information on Robert Troy  Zoom on Robert Troy  Troy, Robert. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Twomey, Liam. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.
Information on Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian. Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  White, Alex.



Níl
Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Adams, Gerry. Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Boyd Barrett, Richard.
Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan. Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Colreavy, Michael.
Information on Sean Crowe  Zoom on Sean Crowe  Crowe, Seán. Information on Clare Daly  Zoom on Clare Daly  Daly, Clare.
Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Doherty, Pearse. Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Donnelly, Stephen.
Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Ellis, Dessie. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan  Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’. Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe.
Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig. Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  McDonald, Mary Lou.
Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  McGrath, Finian. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  McLellan, Sandra. Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine.
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 Jonathan O'Brien  Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien  O’Brien, Jonathan. Information on Maureen O'Sullivan  Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Maureen.
Information on Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  Pringle, Thomas. Information on Brian Stanley  Zoom on Brian Stanley  Stanley, Brian.
Information on Peadar Tóibín  Zoom on Peadar Tóibín  Tóibín, Peadar. Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  Wallace, Mick.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg; Níl, Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Catherine Murphy.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Is the proposal that the Dáil, on its rising today, shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 agreed to?

[82]Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Am I allowed a point of order?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  On the point that the Dáil will adjourn until next Tuesday.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  The point of order is that we have not been given any list of promised legislation. We are being asked to adjourn the Dáil until next Tuesday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not a point of order.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I wish to speak.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is it a point of order?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on 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.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Higgins, I am putting a question that the Dáil adjourn.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  May I ask the Taoiseach a question before you do so?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You may not. I am putting the question that the Dáil adjourn and after that I will allow a short matter to be raised.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  May I ask a question? We might need translation services for the 19th century——

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on 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: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am sorry, Deputy, I will allow you speak when I have put the question to the House.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  I think it is pertinent.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  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?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  It is not agreed.

Question put and declared carried.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  On the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  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.

[83]Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on 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: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  I made the same point but when I asked this question earlier, the Ceann Comhairle would not allow me in.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It was not a point of order.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on 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: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on 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 Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, as usual. I am surprised. Deputy Higgins should not ask a question if he knows the answer. He knows the answer very well.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Through the Chair, please Deputy.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I say to Deputy Stagg that it is very interesting, since he is again——

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask the Deputy to please speak through the Chair.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  ——resiling from the programme for Government which states that we will sit on Fridays.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  I ask the Deputy to give us a bit of time.

A Deputy:  Deputy Stagg has bottled it already.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Has Deputy Higgins a question for the Taoiseach?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I do not think the Ceann Comhairle should allow voices offstage to interrupt me.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am not allowing them.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I was asking a genuine question of the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Please put a question to the Taoiseach.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I will do so but Deputy Stagg obviously wishes he was sitting elsewhere——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Never mind Deputy Stagg, Deputy Higgins, I ask that you speak through the Chair.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Hear, hear, do not mind Deputy Stagg.

[84]Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I ask the Taoiseach to indicate to us as soon as possible the times and the days in which we are required to be in the Dáil from the immediate period of next week onwards.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on 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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is dealt with in Standing Orders.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on 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: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  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: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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 [85]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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