Order of Business

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 737 No. 2

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Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It is proposed to take No. 12, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the report by the Minister for Defence regarding service by the Defence Forces with the United Nations in 2010, back from committee; No. 12a, motion re appointment of ordinary Members to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission; No. a2, Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2011, amendments from the Seanad; No. 2, Biological Weapons Bill 2010, amendments from the Seanad; and No. 6, Welfare of Greyhounds Bill 2011 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 12 and 12a be decided without debate.

[250]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There is one proposal to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 12 and 12a agreed to?

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  No.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Does the proposal concern the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2011?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It concerns the motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the report by the Minister for Defence regarding service by the Defence Forces with the United Nations in 2010 and the motion re appointment of ordinary Members to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I have no problem with No. 12, which concerns the approval of the report, but I would prefer if it were dealt with in the House as a whole. It was dealt with by a committee.

With regard to No. 12a, the motion re appointment of ordinary Members to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, it is proposed to nominate four Members of the Dáil, including three Fine Gael Members and one Fianna Fáil Member. A similar motion in the Seanad, if accepted, would result in the nomination of two Fine Gael Members and one Fianna Fáil Member. The sole Labour Party Member will be the Minister’s nominee. This is totally against the spirit of the Houses of the Oireachtas and contrary to precedent based on proportional representation.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Hear, hear.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I raised this with the Whip over a month ago and put forward a proposal, which was endorsed in a report by the committee secretariat. The proposal, based on proportional representation, is that all parties be represented on the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission. This would still allow a Government majority, a substantial one. The commission deals with the funding and running of this House. Every party has its own view and should have its own input into the running of the Houses and into how to save money, particularly in this era. The standards, practices and working conditions of the substantial number of staff in the Houses should also be reflected. If the voices of parties such as Sinn Féin and all the Independents, not just those in the Technical Group, are not represented on the commission, it will be difficult to ensure their points of views are represented. The positive role we can play should be borne in mind.

In the previous Dáil we were excluded and did not receive a report from the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, which meant a substantial number of Members were in the dark regarding its decisions and the subjects it discussed. We believe that in this era of openness, this should not occur in the current Dáil, especially given the increased size of my party and the increased number of Independents. The practice of proportional representation should have been reflected in the motion and we oppose it because it is not.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy  Zoom on Catherine Murphy  I wish to contribute.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Murphy, I have a difficulty in that, in accordance with Standing Orders on this issue — not this issue in particular but where there is a disagreement — only a representative of the parties in the House may speak.

[251]Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  To be helpful to both the Ceann Comhairle and Deputy Catherine Murphy, during my first five years as a Member I had occasion to study thoroughly the relevant chapter of Standing Orders. I noted the Ceann Comhairle is not precluded from calling other Members, although preference is given to parties. It is at the Ceann Comhairle’s discretion, which he may exercise occasionally.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The practice is that one representative from each party is called. I have a difficulty, therefore.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  The Ceann Comhairle can make an exception.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I can understand why Deputy Catherine Murphy wishes to contribute. If any member of a party wishes to raise an objection, he or she may do so.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I regret that because Deputy Catherine Murphy could have been allowed to contribute by the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask the Deputy not to question. I am not trying to preclude anybody. I am just pointing out what is the position. If Deputy Higgins wishes to make a point on behalf of the Socialist Party he may do so.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I do wish to make a point in support, which is essentially the same point made by Deputy Ó Snodaigh, that it is incredible the Government which came in promising all kinds of Dáil reform and new ways of doing business is now trying to ram through the management structures of the Houses of the Oireachtas and exclude 57% of the Opposition. It is wrong and disproportionate and it does not recognise the changed composition of the Opposition in the Dáil. I ask the Minister, Deputy Bruton, who is taking the Order of Business in place of the Taoiseach not to press this issue but to engage in further discussion.

Opposition Deputies, apart from those in Fianna Fáil, who have been in discussions on this matter with the Government Whip have made it clear it is a question of fair representation and that there is no question of finance involved. There may be an allowance for participation in this but they have no interest whatsoever in it. With regard to basic fairness, all we are asking is that this is not pressed today and the Government engages in further discussions and returns with a new proposal.

In view of controversies in recent days, the commission should be extended to include a genuine representative of the taxpayers of the country who would have, I suggest, good advice for Members of the Oireachtas considering the way in which funds have been frittered away in recent times.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I understand this matter has been discussed at length at Whips’ meetings and that the proposal is in accord with the guidelines of the Houses of the Oireachtas. The proposal stands.

Question put: “That the proposals for dealing with Nos. 12 and 12a, without debate, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 99; Níl, 28.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. 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 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 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 Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Cowen, Barry. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton  Creighton, Lucinda. Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim.
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 Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan.
Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  Ferris, Anne. Information on Frances Fitzgerald  Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  Fitzgerald, Frances.
Information on Peter Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Peter. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Sean. 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 Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
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 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 Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán. 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 Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael.
Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John. 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 Peter Mathews  Zoom on Peter Mathews  Mathews, Peter. 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 Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis.
Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan. Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael.
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 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 Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. 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 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 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 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 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 Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian.
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 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 Tom Fleming  Zoom on Tom Fleming  Fleming, Tom. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
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 Thomas Pringle  Zoom on Thomas Pringle  Pringle, Thomas.
Information on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Zoom on Shane Peter Nathaniel Ross  Ross, Shane. 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 Catherine Murphy.

[253]Question declared carried.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  I beg the indulgence of the Ceann Comhairle to raise a matter affecting citizens up and down the country, namely, the rapid deterioration in the service provided by the Passport Office in the past two months and the difficulties citizens are experiencing in exercising their constitutional right to travel as a result of delays in the office. I hear stories of passports which are ready for dispatch being left for days on end. Will the Minister make a statement outlining what immediate steps he will take to ensure people who need passports obtain them without delay?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is legislation proposed in this area?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  No. If, however, the matter were raised at the Whips’ meeting, the Whips would try to accommodate it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Perhaps Deputy Ó Cuív will arrange for the matter to be raised through the Whips.

  11 o’clock

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  In light of the Minister’s comments on the “Tonight with Vincent Browne” programme last night, will he confirm that the legislation to undermine the joint labour committees will end Sunday premiums and, in his own words, significantly reduce the take home pay of new entrants in the relevant sectors? Will he indicate what legislation is promised to protect existing workers from being fired and rehired under the new, lower Sunday premium rates? Will he indicate when the relevant legislation will be published given the recent arguments he has had with the Labour Parliamentary Party? Is he in a position to state whether the legislation will reflect Burton’s way or Bruton’s way?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I ask the Minister to reply to the questions which are in order.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Legislation is promised in this area and will be introduced as soon as possible. Given the Dáil schedule, it is likely to be after the summer recess. Government policy is to retain the joint labour committee, JLC, system while reforming it as has been recommended. The enforcement of the JLCs, which protect vulnerable workers, will continue.

It is also important to point out many of the misunderstandings about this. In the case of proposals relating to Sunday working, for example, people are already protected and Sunday working is recognised for all workers. Any change will continue that. That is the current position.

It is important to point out that where reforms such as this have been undertaken elsewhere there has been a significant employment bonus. That happened in the UK. Existing workers are protected by their existing contracts. This legislation was flagged in the programme for Government. It is part of a suite of measures that restores the minimum wage and reforms but retains the JLC system. It is the Government’s intention to achieve a balanced solution to this problem that will promote employment for many thousands of young and lower skilled people who, as the Taoiseach said yesterday, are locked out of the jobs market.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  The Minister should not mislead the Dáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We are not having a debate on this issue now. This is the Order of Business.

[254]Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  There is a huge difference between the JLC protection and ordinary legislation, and the Minister knows it. It is not the same protection by any means. The idea that driving down the wages of low-paid workers——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Higgins, I told you we are not having a debate on this.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  ——will create thousands of jobs is cloud cuckoo land.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am not sure if the Deputy heard me.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  I wish to ask a question, a Cheann Comhairle. Will the Minister be more precise about the timing of this legislation? He has been shouting about it from the rooftops for some time and apparently considers it very urgent. Let us have a firm timescale for it.

We learned this morning that the Irish ship MV Saoirse has been sabotaged in a Turkish port by agents acting for the Israeli Government——

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

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  ——thus preventing it from bringing aid to the imprisoned people of Gaza.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is not on the Order of Business. The Deputy should resume his seat.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Will the Minister call in the Israeli ambassador and demand an explanation for this?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Will the Minister answer the question on the legislation?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There are a number of issues involved. There is a court case pending and we await its decision. There will then be a Government decision. I will proceed to prepare heads of a Bill on that basis and we will make rapid progress in introducing a Bill to the Oireachtas.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  This morning the Government published the Electoral (Amendment) Bill which contains a provision that allows the total number of Members of the Dáil to be reduced to 152. That is the lower figure in the range the Bill will provide for at the next election. I took out my calculator——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Sorry, Deputy, but we cannot debate the legislation now.

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Will the legislation now be withdrawn in light of the preliminary census results, which might mean that the Bill will become unconstitutional? It comes very close to the maximum ratio of people to Deputies that is provided for in the Constitution.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  The Bill has been published today and will be debated next week, when such issues can be raised. The Bill provides for a range, not a specific proposal——

Deputy Joanna Tuffy: Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Which is unconstitutional.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There will be an opportunity to debate it in the House next week.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Will the Minister consider amending the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Act to respect the mandate of Members of this House who are Independents and [255]members of smaller parties? It is a sham and a national disgrace that we are being excluded from the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission——

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

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  There are four Fine Gael Members, one Labour Party Member but not one Member from Sinn Féin or the Technical Group.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Sorry, Deputy, we have dealt with that issue. There was a vote on it.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  That is undemocratic.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Resume your seat, Deputy.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  It is undemocratic, particularly when members of the Independent group are saying they will do it for nothing and bypass the €15,000.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Resume your seat.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Give up your €40,000 then.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  You give up yours.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  You give up your €2.3 million and the Labour Party can give up the €1.4 million.

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

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  You give up your €100,000.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Read the report.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Give up your leader’s allowance.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  Read the report.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Give up yours too.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  It is €80,000.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  We are happy to account for it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Please, Deputies.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  My apologies, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is not good enough. There is no point in laughing about it. The rule that Members should talk through the Chair applies to Ministers and backbenchers and Members on both sides of the House. Deputy Finian McGrath, you were totally out of order and refused to resume your seat. I will not tolerate it.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath  Zoom on Finian McGrath  I did resume my seat.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You did not. Deputies should stick to the Order of Business. There is a Committee on Procedure and Privileges and if you wish to have Standing Orders amended, [256]submit proposals. In the meantime, I will apply the Standing Orders as they stand at present. That applies to every Deputy on both sides of the House.

I call Deputy Boyd Barrett. He must stay within Standing Orders and the Order of Business and ask about promised legislation.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  On forthcoming legislation on maritime matters, will such legislation include the most severe criminal sanctions against the Israeli state——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Boyd Barrett should resume his seat.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  ——or any other state that attacks Irish citizens and Irish territory on the seas——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy must resume his seat.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  ——endangering the lives of Irish citizens trying to bring aid to the people of Gaza?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is the last time you will be called.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Everybody else can do it but I cannot.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am warning Deputies again that I will ask them to leave this House if they continuously refuse to obey the Chair, which you elected. That applies to every Deputy. This is becoming a farce every morning. I call Deputy Ó Snodaigh.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I will try to stay within Standing Orders.

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

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I will try.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Especially given that you are a Whip.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  There has been much debate about Dáil reform. A disgraceful decision was taken earlier, which gave €121,000——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You had your say on it so please proceed with your question relating to promised legislation.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  A sum of €120,000 is going to Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not within the Standing Orders. Resume your seat.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  It is. I have to give the context.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, you do not give the context. You may ask a simple question about promised legislation.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  It is a simple question relating to Dáil reform and whether there is promised legislation to remove the €120,000 which is granted to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission to give to its Members.

[257]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not in order under Standing Orders. Please resume your seat.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Will there be an amendment——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There is no promised legislation in that area.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  I can ask about this. A huge promise has been made by this Government relating to Dáil reform and transparency. I am asking if this is included in it. Is a change to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is not on the Order of Business. Put down a parliamentary question.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  To which Minister?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Put it down for the Taoiseach, if you wish.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  He will not answer it because it is not his responsibility. It is your responsibility, a Cheann Comhairle.

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

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Given that the preliminary census figures were published today and the electoral constituency commission Bill is due to be published, will the Government consider the creation of more six-seat constituencies——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Sorry, Deputy, you are out of order. That is not promised legislation. Resume your seat.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Are the heads of the Bill not being published next week?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Put down a parliamentary question and you will get a reply to it. This is not Question Time and there are no Leaders’ Questions today. We have business to do so please let us get on with it. Resume your seat, Deputy.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Are the heads of the Bill not being published?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Resume your seat, Deputy. I call Deputy Tóibín.

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín  Zoom on Peadar Tóibín  The all-Ireland economy is growing and businesses on both sides of the Border are increasing their business levels. It is the opinion of a number of business people that the previous and current Governments are behind the curve with regard to infrastructure——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Will the Deputy please ask about promised legislation?

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: Information on Peadar Tóibín  Zoom on Peadar Tóibín  Will the industrial development (amendment) Bill provide for the amalgamation of agencies and provide the infrastructure to harness the development of all-Ireland trade?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  We have no date yet on that legislation. Its content will be debated at that time.

Deputy Robert Troy: Information on Robert Troy  Zoom on Robert Troy  Amendment of the existing European treaties is required to establish the European stability mechanism which is likely to be needed by Greece in September. It is [258]complex legislation but the Taoiseach said he expects it to be published, debated and enacted within the next fortnight. Will the Minister explain how this will happen?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Minister does not explain how it will happen. The Deputy asked when the Bill would be taken. When will it be taken?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  I will get back to the Deputy with the precise date it will be taken. It is a matter of some urgency. The Government will present it at an early date.

Deputy Michael McGrath: Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  In light of the disclosure of salary and bonus arrangements at the NTMA and the Minister, Deputy Howlin’s comments last week about the element of secrecy in that area, does the Government have plans to bring forward proposals to ensure greater transparency and accountability with regard to paying bonuses at the agency?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It is not intended to deal with this matter by legislation. As the Deputy knows, the Minister for public expenditure and reform has been pressing for transparency and to reform a system the Government inherited, where bonuses paid were not related to genuine performance. There is now greater transparency. For the first time, details have been published of earnings in the NTMA and NAMA. That is a significant step forward. The Government is keen to curb bonuses and to introduce a scheme where bonuses would only be paid for genuine performance.

Deputy Anthony Lawlor: Information on Anthony Lawlor  Zoom on Anthony Lawlor  Is legislation promised to allow Ministers remove directors of semi-State bodies before their terms of office expire?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There is no promised legislation. Existing legislation provides for the appointment of board members.

Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  When is it proposed to publish the planning and development (foreshores) Bill, in view of the fact that many water and sewerage schemes are held up because licences have not been granted? I am sure rural Deputies could tell the Minister of these delays, particularly in coastal communities.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  The Government is conscious of that matter and has approved legislation. It will be published tomorrow and debated, I hope, next week.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe  Zoom on Paschal Donohoe  I wish to raise the fiscal responsibility Bill. This week, a report indicated that the formation of a fiscal council is imminent. It was my understanding that the Bill was needed to allow that body to be formed. Can the Minister indicate when the legislation will come before the House?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  It is hoped that the membership of the fiscal council can be appointed shortly on an informal basis, and that the legislation to underpin it will be published in the autumn.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  I ask for your assistance, a Cheann Comhairle, with regard to Standing Orders. Last week on the Order of Business, you ruled me out of order when I raised a matter. I pointed out that legislation promised outside the House was within Standing Orders, specifically Standing Order 26(3).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  To what legislation do you refer, Deputy?

[259]Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  I am speaking about any legislation promised outside the House. You said legislation could be raised on the Order of Business only if it had been promised within the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I did not.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  You did.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Legislation may be promised in or outside the House. Last week, I said matters contained in the programme for Government may not be raised on the Order of Business. If legislation is required——

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Surely the programme for Government is promised outside the House. Any issue in the programme for Government is promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  If something is in the programme for Government, it does not necessarily mean legislation is required. With regard to matters in the programme for Government, Deputies should submit a parliamentary question. If he or she is told legislation is required, the matter can be pursued on the Order of Business.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  He has it spot on, Billy.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  If a Minister says, outside the House, the Government intends to bring forward legislation——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  In that case, the legislation may be raised on the Order of Business.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Thank you for that clarity, a Cheann Comhairle. There was confusion after last week, on my behalf of course.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There is still confusion.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  These are extraordinary times.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I know they are.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  We need quick and drastic action against cronyism and opportunism, and not against the health service. When will legislation be brought before the House to bring the salaries of top earners back to levels the country can afford?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There is not promised legislation but the Minister for public expenditure and reform has already taken steps to reduce salaries. Within the public service that has been done on a voluntary basis for all senior appointments. That is part of the Government’s programme.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  A Cheann Comhairle, I wish to raise two items of promised legislation and one in respect of which you might be able to offer assistance. The first is the criminal law (sexual offences) Bill. What steps have been taken to bring it before the House? Have the heads of the Bill been discussed or is it prepared and ready for publication? Second, the legal services Bill is to provide for the regulation of the legal professions and give effect to the reports of the Competition Authority and the legal costs working group. This is an issue that affects the entire economy. To what extent has the preparation of this Bill been pro[260]gressed? Can the Minister give the House some indication of its progress and the date of its introduction in the House?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  In the case of the first Bill, the heads have not yet come to Government. The second matter is a priority of Government and there is a commitment in the memorandum of understanding to publish that legislation at an early date. Intense work is ongoing on it. The intention is to meet that schedule.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I thank the Minister. A Cheann Comhairle, you might be able to assist in a matter that affects the way we do our business.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy, I would like to assist you but other Deputies are waiting to ask questions.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Will you assist me when other Deputies have asked their questions?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  If you come to my office, I will certainly assist you.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Thank you for the invitation, a Cheann Comhairle. Your predecessor gave the same invitation to me on numerous occasions. You will be glad to know I did not accept.

The issue is this, a Cheann Comhairle. Are the restrictions placed by the Data Protection Act on——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy, you are out of order. Please resume your seat.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  May I raise the issue?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, Deputy. Your issue has been dealt with.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  A Cheann Comhairle, I do not want to have a row with you.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy, please resume your seat.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, but I asked you——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Resume your seat.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Please let me finish the sentence.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Resume your seat, please.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I will, but will you allow me to finish the sentence then?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy, you asked two questions on legislation and they were answered. You cannot hop up again. Other Deputies are waiting.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I indicated at the outset that I would raise three questions.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, you said two questions.

[261]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  There were two on promised legislation and a third on which I said I would require your assistance, a Cheann Comhairle. I raised the same question when I was on the other side of the House.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Did the Deputy get the same answer?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  We will not go there.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We are in a House of Parliament. It is becoming a circus on Thursday mornings.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  This is an important issue that is fundamental to the way we do business in the House. If you let me finish, I will sit down.

The Data Protection Act is now preventing access to information to which Members of the House have an entitlement. Will we repeal, review or amend the Data Protection Act?

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

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There is no promised legislation on that matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy Durkan, I suggest you put down a parliamentary question.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  We had an interesting exchange this morning on the payment of party leaders’ allowances. Is there promised legislation to require Independent Members to account for their party leaders’ allowances?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There is no promised legislation on that matter.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  In view of the serious financial implication for various local authorities, can the Minister tell us the stage of planned legislation to reform local government and appoint, by plebiscite or referendum, directly elected mayors for certain cities?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There is work in the office of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government on this issue but it has not yet come to Government. As there are no heads of Bills, I cannot give the Deputy an accurate date.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Is legislation promised to support the commitment in the programme for Government to establish a commission on taxation and welfare to adjudicate on the issue of welfare rates? If so, how does that sit with the Taoiseach saying outside the House that there would be no increase or decrease in rates?

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

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  There is a commission and it does not require legislation. That commission is working.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  I have asked a few times about promised legislation on the strategic investment bank but I am finding it hard to get a clear answer.

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  Join the club.

[262]Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace  Zoom on Mick Wallace  Does the Government intend to introduce this? The main banks are unlikely to lend to business this year and the strategic investment bank has been promised. When will the legislation be introduced?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Legislation will be needed and the Minister for Finance is working on this issue. The priority was the restructuring of the existing banks and the creation of two pillar banks. There is a greatly strengthened unit within the Department of Finance which is riding shotgun on those pillar banks to see that they meet the criteria set. Work is ongoing on the strategic investment bank in the Minister’s Department but I cannot at this stage give a precise date for the legislation.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  When will the promised legislation on noise pollution be published? Will it cover issues such as dogs barking and noisy neighbours? Nothing is in place to address these issues, which are becoming a major problem.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Unfortunately, I cannot shed light on the content of the legislation but no date has been set for its publication.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  My question relates to the sittings of the House, not promised legislation. The ministerial rota has been circulated and it is clear that the Minister for public expenditure and reform will not be accountable to Members until at least September. With regard to the sittings of the House, when is it intended that the House will rise for the summer recess? When is it intended that Deputies will be back in the Chamber doing their business following the recess?

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  The House will rise on 21 July and it will return on 14 September. The rota for parliamentary questions will be amended as soon as the House approves the legislation currently before it. There will be an opportunity for parliamentary questions to the Minister for public expenditure and reform.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  What about oral questions?

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  If the rota permits. I hope so.

Deputy Pearse Doherty: Information on Pearse Doherty  Zoom on Pearse Doherty  So do we.


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