Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 6, statements on the jobs initiative 2011. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the following arrangements shall apply to No. 6: the statement of a Minister or a Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 30 minutes in each case; the statement of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case; Members may share time; a Minister or a Minister of State shall take questions for a period not exceeding 30 minutes; and a Minister or a Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes. Private Members’ business shall be No. 3, Electoral (Amendment) (Political Donations) Bill 2011 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, and the proceedings on Second Stage thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 11 May.
An Ceann Comhairle: There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 6 agreed to? Agreed. With regard to Private Members’ business, is the proposal for dealing with No. 3 agreed to? Agreed.
The Taoiseach: Bhí cruinniú ag an choiste Rialtais faoi seo ach ní bheidh díospóireacht faoin ábhar go dtí go mbeidh díospóireacht anseo faoi chúrsaí Gaeilge. Ba chóir go n-iarrrfadh Aoire Shinn Féin ag an chruinniú anocht nó amárach go bpléifí an cheist sin. Tá an Rialtas toilteanach go mbeadh díospóireacht faoin Ghaeilge ann nuair a bheadh sin oiriúnach.
Deputy Gerry Adams: Déanfaimid sin ach nuair a dúirt an Taoiseach sin faoin Ghaeilge bhí Seachtain na Gaeilge ar siúl; tuigeann sé an méid atá le rá agam. Ní maith an rud é nach raibh seans ann ó shin go dtí seo agus nach bhfuil rud ar bith socraithe ag an Rialtas go fóill.
The Taoiseach: Dúirt an Teachta Ó Cuív go raibh seo ar an chlár aige nuair a bhí sé ina Aire. Nuair a bhí sé sa phost sin, chuir mé féin ceisteanna air maidir le straitéis na Gaeilge agus níor tharla rud ar bith ar feadh cúpla bliain in any event. Má tá an Teachta ag lorg díospóireachta faoin Ghaeilge nó faoi chúrsaí Gaeilge ag an chéad chruinniú eile leis an Phríomh-Aoire, beimid toilteanach go mbeidh díospóireacht ann ag am oiriúnach.
Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Tá tuairisc tar éis teacht amach faoin Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna faoin chóras aitheantais atá ann do ghaelscoileanna nua. Deir muintir na ngaelscoileanna go gcuirfidh an córas sin cosc ar bhunú ghaelscoileanna nua timpeall na tíre. An bhfuil an cinneadh sin déanta ag an Rialtas? An mbeidh seans againn an cinneadh a phlé sa Teach?
Deputy Seamus Healy: When is it proposed to bring legislation before the House to implement a commitment in the programme for Government to ensure the highest standards of transparency in the operation of NAMA?
The Taoiseach: It is not listed for this session but I assure the Deputy that the structure and working of NAMA is under active consideration. As soon as the Government is in a position to bring forward whatever legislation it proposes, it will be published.
Deputy Micheál Martin: In the week that the Moriarty tribunal report was published the Taoiseach informed the House that a comprehensive programme of legislation in response would be announced within four weeks. That deadline passed a fortnight ago. When is it now proposed that the list will be published? I ask the Taoiseach to consider supporting the passage of the Bill on corporate donations that we will debate this evening during Private Members’ time, to move it forward and accept it in order that the Dáil can proceed with it and that we can take action now without having to wait further.
The Taoiseach: Mirabile dictu. I can inform Deputy Martin that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government will bring forward the heads of his Bill in respect of corporate donations to Cabinet next week. The Ministers in their Departments responded to the request and the recommendations made by Moriarty. This will be brought forward as a matter of priority. For that reason and as the Deputy’s party has recognised the inadequacies in the Private Members’ Bill, we will not be supporting it in so far as the legislation to be introduced by the Minister, Deputy Hogan, will be comprehensive, clear and unambiguous in this matter.
Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Will the Taoiseach advise the House of any legislative change he understands will be required to facilitate the new portfolios he announced upon taking up Government? He announced his range of Ministers, which in some cases amounts to changing some aspects of portfolios to others and in two instances it amounts to brand new portfolios. Will he confirm what he understands, Department by Department, is required to make that happen and when it will happen?
The Taoiseach: A number of transfer orders have gone through the Cabinet in respect of changes in the titles and the responsibilities of different Ministries. The legislation in respect of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, for which the Minister, Deputy Howlin, has responsibility, will be before the Cabinet on Tuesday. The legislation dealing with the Minister with responsibility for children and youth affairs will be before the Cabinet in the first week in June.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue: On the legislation required for the referendum on children’s rights, does the Taoiseach concur with the timeframe given by his Minister on Highland Radio in Donegal last Friday for introducing that referendum within the next 12 months? Why has there been a U-turn when members of his party in government——
Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: ——committed to having that referendum in conjunction with the Presidential election? Why change that now? Does the Taoiseach commit to his Government bringing it in within the next 12 months? When can we expect to see that legislation before the House?
The Taoiseach: This is a complex matter and the reason I have not tied a timeline to presenting to the people a referendum on children’s rights is that it has got to be right. This is a sensitive issue. The Deputy will be aware that during the lifetime of the previous Government an all-party Oireachtas committee came forward with a specific wording, following its members from all parties having done a great deal work on it. The then Attorney General recommended a change in the wording. The children’s rights advocacy groups believe that wording is not sufficient to deal with the requirements involved in the referendum. The Minister with responsibility for children and youth affairs is now dealing with having to provide a number of Bills in respect of this. She will be dealing with the children’s rights advocacy groups in order that there be a thorough analysis of where best to go from the situation that exists. I did not tie a specific timeline on this because it is very important that it be got right. That is one of the reasons we have a front line senior Government Department dealing with children and children’s issues.
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