Order of Business

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 735 No. 3

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The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It is proposed to take No. a9, motion re discharge of orders and referral of Bills to select committees; and No. 13, Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2011 — Committee Stage (resumed) and Remaining Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 4.45 p.m. and business shall be interrupted on the conclusion of Question Time, which shall be taken for 75 minutes on the conclusion of No. 29, and in the event of a private notice question being allowed, it shall be taken after 45 minutes, and the order shall not resume thereafter; and No. a9 shall be decided without debate; the resumed Committee and Remaining Stages of No. 13 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. by one [594]question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social Protection. Private Members’ business shall be No. 29, motion re water and sewerage services, to be taken on the conclusion of No. 13 and it shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after three hours.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 4.45 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. a9, motion re discharge of orders and referral of Bills to select committees without debate agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 13, Committee and Remaining Stages of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2011, agreed to?

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  It is not agreed. I fundamentally oppose guillotines and the progress made on this Bill last night suggests there is no need for a guillotine for the taking of remaining amendments on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill, or the taking of a Report Stage. Many matters have been teased out and most of what is remaining in the Bill is not contentious, although the Bill itself is. It is wrong at this stage to enforce a guillotine on a Bill which is quite controversial but which has far-reaching consequences for workers and pensioners. I urge the Government not to impose a guillotine and to allow people, if they so wish, to take part in the remaining debate. We can progress to Report Stage at a later time.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  I also oppose this as I cannot understand why the Government will not give whatever time is required to debate this issue in detail in the House. This is a very important Bill that affects people’s lives. The Government gave an undertaking there would be no guillotines and there are plenty of sitting days left until the end of the term.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Hear, hear.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  There are plenty of Saturdays.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  It should be debated in full and when it is concluded the Bill can be referred to the other House. An undertaking was given by the Government that Bills such as this would not be guillotined and there is no justification for such a guillotine. There is quite a good chance that if there was no guillotine, the matter would finish one way or another today.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  So much for Dáil reform.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I call Deputy Joe Higgins on behalf of the Socialist Party.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Is it the Technical Group?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am obliged to say that because only leaders of parties are entitled to comment on the matter.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Is that from Deputy Stagg?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I am not a leader.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I will leave that to the Deputy.

Deputy Simon Harris: Information on Simon Harris  Zoom on Simon Harris  We know that.

(Interruptions).

[595]Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I am privileged to speak on behalf of the Socialist Party and colleagues in the United Left Alliance.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  The Deputy is following the sheep.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  The Government promised us there would be virtually no curtailment of debate and no guillotines but the guillotine is now a weekly reality, cutting short debate. There should not be a guillotine on the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill so that Government backbenchers can have the opportunity to come into this Dáil to explain why they have been trooping in to support the absolutely reactionary measure of smashing the rights of workers to retire at 65.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Is this relevant to the Order of Business?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Workers now under 50 are being condemned——

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Deputy Buttimer should listen to the points.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  ——to stay at work until they are 68.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There is no need to expand into the content of the Bill.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I am explaining, as I am entitled to under Standing Orders, why the measure should be opposed. The Minister for Social Protection is rapidly becoming a misnomer as she is proposing the opposite of social protection. She was a forlorn figure in the Dáil without a single backbencher, particularly from her own party, to support her.

Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin: Information on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Not true.

Deputy Colm Keaveney: Information on Colm Keaveney  Zoom on Colm Keaveney  That is not right. We were here.

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  We were sitting here.

Deputy Colm Keaveney: Information on Colm Keaveney  Zoom on Colm Keaveney  The Deputy was not even here himself.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We are talking about a lack of time but we are now wasting time.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Get to it.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  He is definitely not a leader now.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Two or three of them mustered the courage to come in not to defend the reactionary measures but to mutter some words about an internship which they thought they might be safe in doing. Otherwise they were not seen. They should have the opportunity on Report Stage to explain why workers will be forced to work until they are almost 70 while they are bailing out the European bankers and speculators. Come in and do that.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I oppose this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I call Deputy Boyd Barrett on behalf of the People Before Profit Alliance.

Deputy Phil Hogan: Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Who is the leader?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  We do not have leaders.

[596]Deputy Paudie Coffey: Information on Paudie Coffey  Zoom on Paudie Coffey  Will the other 15 leaders stand up?

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  I am opposing the proposal on the basis that when the same proposal to raise the pension age was proposed by the Slovenian Government the people of that country demanded a referendum, such was the seriousness of forcing people to work longer and harder for less. The people of Slovenia got their referendum on the matter and they said “No”. The Government will not give us a referendum. It will not even give us a proper debate because it is cutting our time short and it appears as if democracy is being fundamentally undermined at the diktat of the IMF and the EU.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  On that basis I oppose the proposal and I appeal to the Government to stop kowtowing to the IMF and the EU and allow for a democratic debate on a very serious matter which attacks the basic rights and entitlements won by working people in this country.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am putting the question.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  The Tánaiste may want to reply.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I apologise, he wants to reply. I was merely trying to save time.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I will keep it short in that case. There has already been a lengthy debate on this Bill. Discussion lasted until 10 p.m. last night and the Minister for Social Protection was in the Chamber continuously from 2.30 p.m. until 10 p.m. without a break.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Fair play to her. Huge effort.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Deputy Ó Snodaigh rightly anticipates that the business will be concluded by 1.30 p.m. in any event if there is co-operation on all sides. A deadline has to be met because the Government has given a commitment that the reversal to the cut in the national minimum wage will be introduced on 1 July.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Is Deputy Higgins against that?

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  The JLCs will be the following week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Order, please.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Bearing in mind that the Bill also has to go to the Seanad, it is not unreasonable to conclude debate in this House today unless some Members opposite are suggesting we should delay reversing the cut in the minimum wage.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 83; Níl, 36.

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 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 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 Michael Conaghan  Zoom on Michael Conaghan  Conaghan, Michael.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul J. Information on Ciara Conway  Zoom on Ciara Conway  Conway, Ciara.
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 Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda.
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 Robert Dowds  Zoom on Robert Dowds  Dowds, Robert.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. 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 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 Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin. Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  Howlin, Brendan.
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 Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  Kelly, Alan. Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny  Kenny, Seán.
Information on Seán Kyne  Zoom on Seán Kyne  Kyne, Seán. Information on Anthony Lawlor  Zoom on Anthony Lawlor  Lawlor, Anthony.
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 Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky. Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny.
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 Peter Mathews  Zoom on Peter Mathews  Mathews, Peter. 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 Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán. 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 Joe O'Reilly  Zoom on Joe O'Reilly  O’Reilly, Joe.
Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan.
Information on Róisín Shortall  Zoom on Róisín Shortall  Shortall, Róisín. Information on Arthur Spring  Zoom on Arthur Spring  Spring, Arthur.
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 Liam Twomey  Zoom on Liam Twomey  Twomey, Liam. Information on Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack.
Information on Alex White  Zoom on Alex White  White, Alex.  


Níl
Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Boyd Barrett, Richard. Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara.
Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Colreavy, Michael. Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Cowen, Barry.
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 Tom Fleming  Zoom on Tom Fleming  Fleming, Tom. Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John.
Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus. Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Michael.
Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Higgins, Joe. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig. Information on Charlie McConalogue  Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  McConalogue, Charlie.
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 Sandra McLellan  Zoom on Sandra McLellan  McLellan, Sandra. Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  Murphy, Catherine.
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 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 Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  Pringle, Thomas. Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane.
Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan. 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 Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Order, please. Time is precious. Will Members stop speaking in the Chamber? We want to get on with business. People are complaining that there is not enough time.

[598]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Hear, hear.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  It is 100 days in Government for the Tánaiste. I am sure he has found out in the 100 days that whatever about it being Frankfurt’s way it is certainly Fine Gael’s way in Government.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I thank Deputy Ó Cuív for bringing it to our attention but we all know it.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Does the Ceann Comhairle mean that we all know about the 100 days or that it is Fine Gael’s way?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is 101 days now to be exact.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Could we deal with the Order of Business and promised legislation?

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Fianna Fáil is in opposition at last.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  It is called neutering legislation.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  On the ordering of the House, there is huge concern at the rumours and leaks about small hospitals and the mixed signals being given.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We are not dealing with leaks and small hospitals at the moment. We are dealing with promised legislation.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Absolutely. To allay people’s fears, will the Tánaiste facilitate a debate in the House next week on the future of services in small hospitals so that people know the truth about what the Government is proposing in that regard and——

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

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  ——that we know whether the commitments given by Fine Gael and Labour backbenchers will be honoured——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is out of order.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  ——or whether this will be another serious U-turn on Government policy?

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is a matter for the Whips to agree.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  It is 100 days without a job.

A Deputy:  Fifteen years of destruction.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I thank Deputy Ó Cuív for his acknowledgement——

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Good wishes.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——and congratulations on the achievements of the Government in its first 100 days. I am sure he will have noticed that, unlike during the 14 years in which he served in office, the Government spent its first 100 days here working——

[599]Deputies:  Hear, hear.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——and not on holidays, as had been the practice in the past.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  The Tánaiste was in Tanzania last week.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  With a big green tie on him.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  The man from Dar es Salaam.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  We have done a considerable amount in that 100 days to reverse a lot of the damage the previous Government did in its term of office.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  With regard to the issue the Deputy raised about small hospitals, I remind the Deputy that his party has Private Members’ time next week and it is a matter for himself, if he considers the issue sufficiently important, to make it the subject of Private Members’ time.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  We will certainly consider that very seriously.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  I note the announcement of the Minister for Finance that burden-sharing is to be imposed on senior bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide. I hope this marks a realisation in Government that senior bondholders must be dealt with rather than a stunt to mark its 100th day in office. When will the legislation required for such burden-sharing be brought before the House, given that the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 does not provide for it?

Furthermore, I ask the Tánaiste to give an assurance to the House that the Government will stand up for Irish interests irrespective of the position taken by the ECB——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  On promised legislation, please.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  ——and to assure the House that the burden-sharing imposed will be substantial and that it will extend beyond Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide to all the covered institutions. On this, the Government’s 100th day in office, I hope its efforts in respect of burden-sharing——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Sorry, Deputy; you are out of order.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  ——will meet with much greater success——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy’s party Whip is seeking extra time for the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  ——than its failed attempts to obtain a reduced interest rate on the IMF-EU deal.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask Deputies to stay in order. There are people who want to deal with the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill and we have until 1.30 p.m. to do so.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Minister for Finance yesterday expressed the Government’s position, on which we have been absolutely consistent, which is that the burden on the Irish taxpayer for losses incurred by the banks must be minimised. The Minister has reiterated the Government position on burden-sharing for senior bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, [600]and he has made it clear that this will be discussed with the ECB and particularly with the Commission. The question of the legislation required to implement it will be dealt with following those discussions.

  11 o’clock

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  I have a question about promised legislation. During the term of the last Government, it promised on numerous occasions to protect the rights of people with intellectual disabilities in long-term institutions through the mental capacity Bill. The publication of this Bill has been promised, including in the House. When will see this Bill, which will facilitate the Government’s adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? I believe there will be a further exposé this evening on the treatment of people with intellectual disabilities. I ask the Government to prioritise the legislation.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government is anxious to introduce this Bill to the House. It is intended to do so later this year.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  The Minister for public expenditure is quoted this morning as having threatened public sector workers with a continuation of the pay cuts that have been imposed. This is apparently their reward for achieving €600 million in savings.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Now, Deputy.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Can the Tánaiste tell us when that Minister will be accountable to the Dáil? When will he come in here and answer questions on this and other serious issues?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not in order under the Order of Business.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Why?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Because it is not promised legislation.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  It is to do with the ordering of business in the Dáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No. That is a matter for the Whips. The Deputy has a Whip beside him who is called Deputy Catherine Murphy.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  My——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is correct.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  A very good Whip, too.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  No. I am sorry, a Cheann Comhairle. It has to do with the ordering of business in the Dáil——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Yes, which we do not discuss in the Chamber.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  ——which is entirely in order under Standing Orders.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We discuss it among the Whips and they arrange it.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Deputy Murphy should whip him into shape.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is how business is done, Deputy. It is done between the Whips.

[601]Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  He is not used to Whips.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  If it is promised legislation or a promised debate, the Deputy may ask when that debate is due, if it has been agreed to. Asking for a debate must be done through the Whips. That is the procedure.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  We have been promised that the Minister for public expenditure will be accountable. When will it happen?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill is before the Dáil. Committee and Report Stages are intended to be taken next Thursday.

Deputy Anne Ferris: Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  I welcome the passing of the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill in the Seanad yesterday. Before I ask a question, I take this opportunity to commend my colleague Senator Ivana Bacik for introducing this Bill on behalf of the thousands of women and girls who have had to undergo such a monstrous procedure. Can the Tánaiste tell us when this Bill will be coming before the Dáil, in order to give us a chance to debate it and make sure the legislation is enacted as soon as possible?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  It is listed for Second Stage in the Dáil. If there were agreement across the House among the Whips, the Government would be minded to introduce it to the Dáil as early as possible, but there would need to be co-operation.

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  When will the Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Bill be on the agenda? I asked this question two weeks ago. I know the committees are being set up next week. There is interest in this, particularly from the Communications Workers’ Union.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  I understand that Bill will go before the relevant committee of the House. Now that the committees have been established, it is a matter for the committee to schedule a date and time for Committee Stage.

Deputy Joan Collins: Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  That is what the Tánaiste said the last time I asked. Is there a date?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  When the Deputy raised this on the last occasion, the committees had not been established. They are now established, and it is a matter for the committee to set the date for dealing with the Bill. The Deputy can be sure the Minister will be agreeable to facilitating early consideration of the Bill by the committee.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Does the Government have plans to introduce an amendment to the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill, or introduce another social welfare Bill, to restrict payments to single mothers or fathers? Are any changes planned in this regard?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Social Welfare and Pensions Bill is before the House today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We hope to have it in a few minutes.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Other than the amendments tabled by the Minister for Social Protection already, I am not aware of any others.

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

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  The issue has been dealt with.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Thank you, Deputy.

[602]Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  I have two questions about promised legislation. With regard to burden-sharing by senior bondholders, yesterday the Fianna Fáil Party was briefing heavily on RTE and so on that legislation had been passed to impose losses on senior bondholders. We know that is not the case, because my amendments to the Bill last December were not accepted. Is it the intention of this Government to introduce legislation to impose losses on senior bondholders, or is the legislative programme being dictated by the EU and ECB? Can we have a statement of intent? Does the Tánaiste not believe such enabling legislation passed by the House would strengthen the Government’s hand?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is this promised legislation?

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  It is promised legislation in the programme for Government, and it has also been promised outside the House.

Does legislation need to be passed by this House to give effect to the commitment in the programme for Government to ensure the pension entitlement for retiring Deputies will not begin until they reach the national retirement age? As the Minister is well aware, TDs elected before 2004 who retire at this stage can get their pensions at the age of 50. The commitment is to extend that age so no political pensions can be obtained until the national retirement age.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is there promised legislation?

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  Is legislation required to give effect to that commitment, which is in the programme for Government?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Government is advised by the Attorney General as to whether legislation is required in respect of any particular measure. In respect of the two matters raised by Deputy Pearse Doherty, the Government will rely on the Attorney General’s advice.

Deputy Brendan Griffin: Information on Brendan Griffin  Zoom on Brendan Griffin  The Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 will restore the bilingual name of Dingle-Daingean Uí Chúis. When will the Bill be brought before the House?

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Someone should tell Senator Tom Sheahan about that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is on Committee Stage. It is a matter for the relevant select committee to set a date for dealing with it.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  We were promised legislation to establish a strategic investment bank. The Tánaiste will agree small and medium-sized businesses are screaming for a bank open to lending. When will the legislation establishing such a bank be introduced?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  When the Government has completed its consideration of that matter, any legislation required will be prepared.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  It is under consideration then.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  The Tánaiste has acknowledged the committee system will begin operating soon. The Government has given a commitment to establish a fiscal policy council. When will the fiscal responsibility Bill be published?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The establishment of a fiscal council is under consideration by the Government. Again, when this consideration is completed, the measure will be brought before the House.

[603]Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Is legislation on social housing promised? Reports this morning suggest that affordable housing is to come to an end with the Government in favour of the renting rather than the purchase of houses in affordable housing schemes.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government with responsibility for housing and planning, Deputy Willie Penrose, will publish the Government’s housing strategy statement today.

Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Will it be possible to have a debate on this issue in the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Yes, we will consider requests for a debate on it. This is a matter that can be discussed by the Whips.

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  The Government has committed to having a referendum on whistleblower legislation in October. Considering the Technical Group has legislation on whistleblowers on the Order Paper, will the Tánaiste consider giving it time, particularly as it does not require a constitutional referendum? There seems to be a strong lobby against whistleblowers, including the Department of Finance and IBEC. It might be good to get a debate on the matter early and urgently.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is it a Private Members’ Bill?

Deputy Shane Ross: Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Yes it is.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  The Bill can be taken in Private Members’ time. The Government intends to have a referendum on whistleblower legislation in conjunction with the presidential election in October. It will be a number of constitutional amendments that the Government intends to bring forward. I am sure Deputy Shane Ross will welcome such a move.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  A man is facing a possible jail sentence——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Oh my God, please no.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  ——for displaying his national flag, the tricolour, on his taxi.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, we do not deal with such matters here.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  It is about promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Now we are fine.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  This is an absolute waste of Garda time and resources and taxpayers’ money. It is scandalous.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Which is scandalous?

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Is any legislation planned to protect a person’s right to display the national flag? It so happens that the court case in question falls on 4 July — US independence day. If it were an American flag that was displayed on the taxi, we would be the laughing stock of Europe.

[604]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Ellis has had his say. Is there promised legislation about flying flags?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  No, there is not. However, now that the Deputy has mentioned it, it has often crossed my mind that we do need some ground rules about the appropriate and non-partisan use of the national flag.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.

Deputy Ann Phelan: Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  We should thank Deputy Ellis for flagging the issue.


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