Order of Business

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 730 No. 2

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The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It is proposed to take No. 9, statements on suicide prevention (resumed), to adjourn at 12.30 p.m., if not previously concluded; and No. 3, Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There are no proposals to be put to the House today.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  The programme for Government promises speedy action to regulate lobbying, but the legislative programme is silent on the issue and states it is unlikely to be addressed soon. In the light of today’s controversy, I am wondering whether there are any initiatives to bring forward speedy proposals to deal with the issue. The Tánaiste would be shouting very loudly about it if he was on this side of the House. What proposals does he have to deal with it as a matter of urgency?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Legislation to provide for a register of lobbyists is the subject of a commitment in the programme for Government and will be proceeded with. Not all of the commitments made in the programme are provided for in the current legislative list which was published at a much earlier stage than usual. It is a list of legislation that can be delivered in the foreseeable future, but the Government’s commitment to provide for a register of lobbyists remains.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  I thank the Tánaiste for his reply, but he is being less than specific about what is intended to be done. A parliamentary question was tabled to the Taoiseach, but it was transferred to another Department and we are still waiting for a reply on the issue. I would like to see a timescale in which it will be dealt with in order that we can ensure there will be transparency. That is something for which the Tánaiste called when in opposition, but he seems reluctant to give a definite date now that he is in government. It is important to avoid these issues coming into the public domain because they give a wrong impression.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I welcome the Deputy’s renewed enthusiasm for legislation to deal with lobbyists which is in marked contrast with his position on two occasions during the lifetime of the previous Government when he voted down Private Members’ legislation to provide for the registration of lobbyists.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

[198]Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Where is the legislation now?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I also thank Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív for his support and confidence in the Government, as he thinks we can do in 14 weeks what the Government of which he was a member could not do in 14 years. Let me be absolutely clear. The legislation dealing with lobbyists will be introduced by the Government and I hope the Deputy will support it.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  By then Fine Gael will have packed all of the contacts.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  I welcome yesterday’s announcement on the minimum wage and I am glad to see that on this matter, at least, the Government’s U-turn has come the full 360 degrees. I understand the matter will be addressed in the revised bailout agreement between the Government and the IMF. However, the proposal on the minimum wage was joined by one to cut the wages and conditions of almost 240,000 workers currently protected under the JLC system such as cleaners, workers in the security industry, agriculture and so on. It seems obvious that this was the price demanded by the IMF to reverse the cut in the minimum wage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Are we coming to a question?

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  I am. For a long time Sinn Féin has argued for pay cuts at the top of the public sector and the Civil Service. I notice the sabre rattling by the Tánaiste’s ministerial colleague, Deputy Brendan Howlin, who is coming at the issue of public sector wages in an indiscriminate way, in tandem with the IMF.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Hear, hear. Slash and burn.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  They are coming, too.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Can we have a question, please?

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  It is clear that low paid workers in the private and public sectors will be the target for further austerity measures. I want to ask the Tánaiste the following.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  Will these matters be addressed in the Government’s new bailout deal with the IMF? Will the Government bring the deal before the House, not for discussion by way of statements but by way of a debate and a vote? Will the so-called jobs budget actually be about job creation, or will it prove to be a charter to slash wages?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  As far as I can see, the only 360 degree revolution has been that taken by the Deputy. When she asked me this day last week about the national minimum wage, she seemed to be incredulous that the Government was serious about proceeding with the reversal of the cut in the national minimum wage. I told her that the Government had determined that it was going to reverse the cut which we considered to be wrong and inflicting pain on the lowest paid. The Government is proceeding to reverse it. When I was asked about the issue last week by the Deputy, I told her the Attorney General was being consulted as to whether it could be done by way of an order or legislation. I can tell her today that it will be done by way of primary legislation. To that end, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation will be publishing the heads of a Bill to give effect to the commitment made before 31 May. It is the Government’s intention to reverse the cut in the national minimum wage and it will proceed.

[199]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I call on Deputy Higgins.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  I am sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, you gave the Fianna Fáil speaker a right to come back a second time. The Tánaiste wilfully did not answer my question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Please, Deputy, respect the Chair. I am not here to judge whether your question was answered. This is not about how many questions are allowed. We are on the Order of Business. I ask the Deputy to respect the Chair, who is acting independently. She should, please, not pass that kind of remark again. I have called Deputy Higgins. I will call the Deputy later.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I want to ask about the Education (Amendment) Bill 2010 which seeks to amend the Education Act 1998 which provides for children with special needs, among other things. We hear there are to be no more teachers for special needs children because the European Union and the IMF demand it. We hear this morning from the enterprise Minister, promising in the legislation we have just heard about, to restore the minimum wage, a poverty wage, for 60,000 workers but now making that legislation conditional on 250,000 extremely low-paid other workers being hammered by having their anti-social allowances taken from them, for example, because the EU-IMF demands it.

What is the point in asking about legislation when the Tánaiste represents a Government that is nothing more than a ventriloquist’s dummy for the EU-IMF?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No statements, please. Could the Deputy ask the question?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Go easy on the ventriloquist, now, Joe.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  That makes dummies out of all of you as well, by the way. All I hear is “his master’s voice”, and the EU-IMF dictates it. Is the legislation to restore the minimum wage, which the Government promised to introduce shortly, conditional on new attacks on low-paid workers to pay off more bad gambling debts for European banks?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  As Deputy Higgins says, there is not much point in asking questions about legislation when the questioner has already presumed the answer. The answer to the Deputy’s question is “No”. The reversal of the cut in the national minimum wage is not conditional on anything. It is a commitment that was given in the programme for Government and it is being delivered in the manner I have described.

There is a separate issue, the review of the joint labour committee system. A commitment was given in the programme for Government, too, that there would be a review of the joint labour committee system and the employment regulation order system that applies to it. An independent review of the system has been under way for some time, headed by Mr. Kevin Duffy, chairman of the Labour Court. That review is due to report in the next couple of weeks and when it does the outcome will be considered by the Government.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Tá dhá cheist agam ar an gclár riaracháin, an chéad cheann maidir le huimhir a 50, the Gaeltacht Bill, to establish Údarás na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta and repeal the existing Údarás na Gaeltachta legislation, defining the status of Gaeltacht areas based on linguistic criteria.

‘Sí an cheist anseo ná: an bhfuil seans ar bith go dtiocfaidh an reachtaíocht os comhair na Dála i mbliana seachas fanacht bliain breise, mar tá siad ins an Gaeltacht ag iarraidh fios a bheith acu cathain a bheidh an toghchán do Údarás na Gaeltachta nó na Gaeilge, amach anseo, agus cén feidhm a bheidh ag an údarás sin.'

[200]My second question is on other legislation, No. 77 on the legislative programme. This is a very important Bill for those looking for Garda vetting clearance, namely, the national vetting bureau Bill. The programme says that at this stage it is not possible to indicate when it will be published. Many people are looking for Garda vetting clearance to work with children for summer projects and youth clubs. Many people who are unemployed want to dedicate some of their time to helping community groups and so on. Is there any possibility of ensuring that this vital legislation is introduced quickly, and will the new agency or bureau come under the auspices of the Garda Síochána as a civilian function, or will it be a separate State agency or quango?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Ar dtús, mar gheall ar an mBille i dtaobh Údarás na Gaeltachta, bhí cruinniú de fhochoiste an Rialtais a n-oibríonn i dtaobh na Gaeilge agus cúrsaí Gaeltachta ar maidin agus do bhí an Bille sin idir lámha ag an bhfocoiste. Tá sé ar intinn ag an bhfochoiste agus an Aire dul ar aghaidh leis an mBile sin chomh luath agus is féidir.

On the national vetting Bill, there is no date for its publication as yet, but I will communicate the Deputy’s concerns and anxieties to the Minister for Justice and Equality so that the legislation may be proceeded with as quickly as possible.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  On the forthcoming minimum wage legislation to which the Tánaiste referred, would he agree that while the introduction of that legislation is something many workers would have looked forward to as——-

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is not a question of agreeing with anybody. This is about asking when legislation is due.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am sorry, but I have not finished, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  This is the Order of Business.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  While it might have been something they were looking forward to, will the Tánaiste not comment on the shocking comments made by the Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation on the minimum wage legislation?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, he cannot comment.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  This is not something workers should look forward to, but rather something 260,000 workers should fear because low-paid workers, precisely those who thought they would be protected, in hair-dressing, contract cleaning and agriculture will now have their wages and conditions attacked by this Government when they might have thought they would be protected.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Will the Deputy please resume his seat?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am asking about the legislation, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy is not asking about the legislation.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I just wonder whether this vendetta, as it seems, against low-paid workers——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Does the Deputy hear me? I am asking him to resume his seat.

[201]Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I have not finished, a Cheann Comhairle. I am just asking questions about minimum wage legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Will the Deputy resume his seat? Did he hear me?

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Please, Deputy Boyd Barrett, the Tánaiste is on his feet.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  There are occasions when the word “welcome” is appropriate to be used in this House and this is one of them. If the Deputy had a tither of genuine concern for people on the minimum wage he would have welcomed this morning the clear commitment by the Government to reverse the cut in the minimum wage.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Michael McCarthy: Information on Michael McCarthy  Zoom on Michael McCarthy  The programme for Government refers to the deposit retention scheme. This is very important legislation dealing with the unfair retention of deposits. Obviously, it affects thousands of vulnerable students who find it difficult enough to finance their third level education. Will the Tánaiste say when it is expected this vital legislation will be brought before the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  That legislation is not listed in the programme as published. I shall return to the Deputy on this issue.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  On No. 13, the ministers and secretaries (amendment) Bill, the Minister, Deputy Brendan Howlin said this morning that the Civil Service was generally not fit for purpose. What proposals will be in that Bill to correct that assertion and what are the Tánaiste’s thoughts on the performance of the Irish Civil Service?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The legislation to which the Deputy refers is being worked on and will be published shortly.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Mary Lou McDonald

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. To return to the scene——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  What scene, please?

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  I refer to the minimum wage. Will the new deal, the revised memorandum of understanding between the Government and the IMF come to this House for a vote?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Let us be clear, what is under way is the quarterly review of the memorandum of understanding. This is part of the deal entered into last autumn. There is provision for a quarterly review of those arrangements.

The first quarterly review was due to take place somewhat earlier this year, but due to the general election and so on it was put back until now. The discussions on that review are continuing and I understand they are due to be completed tomorrow. We will have to await the outcome of those discussions.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  Is that a “Yes” or a “No”?

[202]Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  When will legislation regarding the abolition of upward only rent reviews for existing leases come before the House? This issue is mentioned in the programme for Government and I understand that discussions are under way between the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Attorney General. Will the Tánaiste indicate when we will see legislation on this matter in the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Discussions are taking place between the Minister and Attorney General on this matter. The intention is that the legislative provisions dealing with upward only rent reviews will be dealt with as part of an existing Bill before the House, the Property Services (Regulation) Bill.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  I wish to inquire about the Education (Amendment) Bill. However, may I first remind the Tánaiste regarding his comments about Deputy Boyd Barrett that the Deputy has a strong track record in defending workers’ rights?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No. Will the Deputy please put his question on legislation?

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  I just wanted to point that out. He has always defended the workers of this country and I will back him 100% on those issues.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask the Deputy not to do so in this Chamber. Please deal with the issues.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  My apologies. On the Education (Amendment) Bill, is it now Government and Labour Party policy to cut, slash and burn the resources for children with special needs?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Minister is working on the Education (Amendment) Bill and it will be brought forward as soon as it is available.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  It will not do what is suggested.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Yesterday, negotiations with over 100 workers at Aetna Limited in Castleisland broke down, despite tremendous efforts by the workers representatives to facilitate the company.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  This is not on the Order of Business.

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  I am coming to the point. Is there any legislation promised to protect the rights of workers or does the Government have any intention of trying to compel the company to meet the demands and entitlements of the workers at this premises who will almost certainly lose their jobs in the next two weeks?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is legislation promised? The issue is more a matter for the Adjournment.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am not familiar with the issue of the breakdown in discussions, but I hope discussions can either be resumed or that the industrial relations machinery of the State can be used to deal with the issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  These are matters appropriate to the Adjournment debate or, hopefully, when Dáil reform provides for it we will be able to raise topical issues. We are on the Order of Business now which deals with promised legislation and when it will be introduced. I ask Deputies not to abuse the hospitality of the House by constantly trying to raise issues that [203]can be dealt with either by parliamentary question or the Adjournment. We have four Deputies to call yet and it is almost 11 a.m.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  The programme for Government makes a commitment to remove the criminal sanctions that have so aggrieved fishing communities around our coast and to replace them with new administrative sanctions. When will the Government introduce legislation to make that happen?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I will raise that issue with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. No legislation on the issue is expected in this session. It is in the programme for Government and as with all the matters therein, progress will be made on them by the Ministers concerned.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Will the Tánaiste get back to me on that?

Deputy Thomas Pringle: Information on Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  With regard to the legislation promised on upward only rent reviews, will that legislation cover leaseholders from the State who are subject to such reviews on a constant basis? Will the legislation cover people who have leased property from the State?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  As already indicated, the legislation is being discussed by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Attorney General. It is intended to use the opportunity of another piece of legislation to bring the legislative proposals before the House. Obviously, I cannot comment on the detail of what will be in the legislation until the discussions are completed.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  With regard to the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill, work had been going on in the Department with regard to reform of the mortgage interest supplement to make it more accessible to people and to eliminate the 30-hour rule which meant that those who worked more than 30 hours a week, no matter what their income, were not entitled to a mortgage interest supplement. Will that Bill include amendments to the mortgage interest supplement provision to help those with mortgage arrears?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The content of the Bill is not a matter for the Order of Business.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Yes, but the brief we got on the content of the Bill is very vague. On the week of St. Patrick’s Day, a debate was promised on the Irish language. When will that debate take place?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Tánaiste, on promised legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  As the Ceann Comhairle is aware, I cannot comment on the content of the legislation. That is a matter the Deputy can pursue with the Minister directly. With regard to the debate on the Irish language, the arrangements for that can be made by the Whips.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  We were given that answer last week. The Government has an overwhelming majority. Can the Tánaiste give a date for that debate?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  He said he cannot. It is a matter for the Whips. The Deputy has a Whip there behind him.

Deputy Arthur Spring: Information on Arthur Spring  Zoom on Arthur Spring  Mention is made in the programme for Government with regard to innovation and commercialisation of the need for a national intellectual property protocol. Will this need legislation and, if so, what timeframe will be allowed for it? This is essential for the pharmaceutical industry and the development of jobs in the digital industry. With regard to what is relevant to the Order of Business, I will wait for the Adjournment debate to deal with the issue of the workers in Castleisland.

[204]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  If the Deputy submits his request in the appropriate way, it will be considered.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I am not in a position to say at this point whether the intellectual property protocol will require legislation. It is something that is being considered by the Minister.

  11 o’clock

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  The jobs budget has now become a jobs initiative. Will the initiative be subject to a statement in the House? A budget would require a statement, but will the initiative be subject to a statement? Second, when will the fiscal responsibility Bill be published? The Government has promised a comprehensive public expenditure review in September. How does that relate to the fiscal responsibility Bill? Is it a stand alone item, a sort of McCarthy for slow learners?

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  What was the Deputy’s comment on slow learners?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The jobs budget will involve a statement to the House. The Government is giving priority to jobs and to getting people back to work. No matter the semantics of what it is called, let us be clear that the Government is determined to deal with the issue of jobs as part of the process of economic recovery we want to bring about given the mess we have inherited. The fiscal responsibility Bill is to be published this session and will be dealt with by the House in due course.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  At last.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy has already been on his feet for five minutes. He cannot be jumping up and down every five minutes.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I have a direct question for the Tánaiste.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Are you looking after this man?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Well the Ceann Comhairle is not. That is for sure.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask the Deputy to withdraw that remark.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I withdraw it.

On the minimum wage——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  This is Parliament, not a county council.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Indeed. On the minimum wage, can I ask the Tánaiste a direct question?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, the Deputy cannot. We are on the Order of Business.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Are the IMF and the European Union demanding an input into draft legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I have already told the Deputy.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  ——or demanding legislation on JLCs?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Tánaiste, please do not——-

[205]Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  My second question is on the Order of Business. I ask the Tánaiste to comment on the second document mentioned on the Order Paper on a Council decision to conclude an agreement between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not in order.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  It is included in the Order Paper. I ask the Tánaiste to say a word about exactly what the agreement is and whether the liberalisation of trade with the West Bank and Gaza regarding the Palestinian Authority——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Does the Deputy have any respect for the Chair?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  It is on the Order Paper.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy knows he is not allowed to make ongoing statements——

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  It is a question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  ——on a continual basis.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  It is a question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy is abusing the House. Will he, please, learn the rules?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am asking a question.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  This is not Question Time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy may ask a question, but he is not entitled to make a statement.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am asking for an explanation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy is not entitled to ask for one.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Can I not ask about what is on the Order Paper?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am not allowed ask about what is on the Order Paper.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is a document which has been laid before the House.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am not allowed to ask what it is about.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy should read it.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I have——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Then he should not be asking questions about it here.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  ——and I am looking for an explanation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy should table a parliamentary question. Will he, please, show some respect for the Chair?

[206]Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  It is on the Order Paper and we are on the Order of Business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I know it is on the Order Paper which is coloured green in case the Deputy——

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Am I not allowed ask about the Order Paper on the Order of Business?

Deputy Lucinda Creighton: Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask the Deputy to resume his seat and try to respect the Chair.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Will the Tánaiste respond and explain——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  He will not explain anything. He will answer questions.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  ——whether the agreement extends to the elected authorities on the Gaza Strip?

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  The Minister must obey the Chair.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  It is bizarre.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy does not like the Order of Business. It is not a question of making ongoing statements every single morning. Will he, please, respect the Chair?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am asking a question about the Order Paper.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There are other Deputies in the Chamber. Tánaiste, is this a matter for the Order of Business and if so, will you, please, answer the question?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It is not. It is about a document that has been laid before the House.

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

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  In order to be helpful to Deputy Boyd Barrett, again this is something I would have thought he would have welcomed. It is a proposal for an agreement——

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I just asked the question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Will the Deputy, please, let the Tánaiste answer?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Let me give the Deputy the answer. It is a proposal for an agreement between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority, providing for the liberalisation of trade between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority. I would have thought this is something he would have warmly welcomed.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I call Deputy Ellis.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Does it extend to——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I will be asking the Deputy to leave the House shortly if he continues to behave like this. He will have to learn to respect the Chair.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  On a point of information——

[207]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There is no such thing as a point of information. I call Deputy Ellis.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  On a point of order, is it possible to arrange a crash course for new Deputies——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I thank the Deputy.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  ——who do not understand the rules and regulations of the House? Based on what we have been listening to this morning, it is very poor procedure to run the national Parliament. It is high time people——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask the Deputy to resume his seat. That is not a point of order.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Some of us have been here for many years and we want to run our business much better.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am trying to do so. Will the Deputy, please, resume his seat?

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  It is a learning curve for some of us. The programme for Government refers to cutbacks in capital programmes. Some of the capital programmes, including metro north——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  This is not a matter for the Order of Business.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Will the Tánaiste outline if there are any future plans to cut capital programmes?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, he cannot do so on the Order of Business. The Deputy can table a parliamentary question.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Will there be legislation or anything brought forward in that regard?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Tánaiste cannot do so. It does not deal with promised legislation.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  The Deputy can ask about proposed legislation.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  I am asking about proposed legislation.


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