Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 10, Supplementary Estimate for Public Services [Vote 42] (back from committee); No. 10a, motion re Supplementary Statement of Expenditure for Houses of the Oireachtas; No. 11, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of Ireland’s participation in an EDA category A project on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protection and an EDA category B project on maritime surveillance; and No. 1, Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] — Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn on the adjournment of Private Members’ business which shall be No. 26 — motion re employment and the national internship scheme, which shall take place on the conclusion of the opening speeches of No. 1 or at 7.30 p.m. whichever is the later, and adjourn after 90 minutes; Nos. 10 and 10a shall be decided without debate and any divisions demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; the proceedings on No. 11 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 25 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the speeches shall be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and to the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, who may share their time, and which shall not exceed five minutes in each case, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; andthe Second Stage of No. 1 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 6 p.m. tomorrow and the following arrangements shall apply: the opening speech of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, Members may share time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes.
Second, is the proposal for dealing with No. 10, Supplementary Estimate for Public Services [Vote 42] (back from committee); and No. 10a, motion re Supplementary Statement of Expenditure for Houses of the Oireachtas (without debate) agreed to?
Deputy Joe Higgins: No. Before agreeing that No. 10, Supplementary Estimate for Public Services [Vote 42], should be taken without debate, will the Taoiseach give the House an assurance in regard to Ms Teresa Treacy of Clonmore, County Offaly, who is in Mountyjoy jail at the behest of a powerful semi-State company, the ESB? This is totally inappropriate when there is an alternative. Will the Taoiseach intervene to ensure this situation is resolved urgently?
Deputy Joe Higgins: I just wish to put it to the Taoiseach that there is a very reasonable alternative, that the lines are put underground which is more environmentally friendly. Will he not intervene to ensure that this poor woman is released from prison?
The Taoiseach: What we want is a just outcome to this problem. As I understand, the personnel in EirGrid have been trying to arrive at a compassionate solution to the problem and I hope this can be achieved.
Deputy Micheál Martin: It is not agreed. I oppose the Order of Business as regards this item. On the broader issue, I am very disappointed that time has not been allowed for a substantial debate on the eurozone crisis. The entire world is commenting on it, including President Obama.
Deputy Micheál Martin: I do not ask for a debate, I want to give the reasons for my opposition to the proposal. We asked last week for a debate on the eurozone crisis and this crisis trumps anything on the agenda for today or tomorrow in its urgency and importance. I find it extraordinary that this Parliament is the last place to debate and discuss the eurozone crisis when the entire world, at this stage, is discussing it and some fundamental questions regarding the eurozone which pertain to Ireland, are on the agenda while this House is not discussing it.
Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: I have two difficulties with the proposal. I find it strange that tomorrow’s business is being ordered today when there will be an Order of Business tomorrow. I note the proposal that Second Stage of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill shall be brought to a conclusion tomorrow at 6 p.m. I object to the guillotine and also to the fact that tomorrow’s business is being ordered today. I am also concerned that all too often, the opening speaking slots are now being reduced to 15 minutes on a number of Bills, in place of the previous arrangement of 30 minutes. I acknowledge the opening speaking slot can be shared. With regard to this Bill, a spokesperson might only want to speak for 15 minutes and that is his or her choice, but the reduction of time should not become common practice.
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: I also object to the guillotine being imposed on the Insurance (Amendment) Bill. I spent an hour at a Department of Finance briefing this morning trying to get my head around the quagmire of the collapse of Quinn Insurance and this Bill is yet again a case of the ordinary policyholders having to bail out this failed entity which is tied up with Anglo Irish Bank bondholders and all the rest of it. Policyholders will be forced to pay a significant levy for at least the next ten years or so.
There is no provision in this Bill to go after the €200 million in personal wealth which Seán Quinn gave to his children, yet ordinary people will be carrying the can. In that context, it is outrageous that something as important and as complex as this Bill should be rammed through the Dáil in such a short time without sufficient time for a debate and then to have a guillotine imposed on it. I urge the Taoiseach to give proper time and not to impose a guillotine on this matter which has far-reaching consequences for many citizens.
Deputy Joe Higgins: It is very objectionable that the Government begins this new autumn session in the same way as it went about its business during the first session of this new Dáil, with guillotines virtually every day. The same parties when in opposition were highly vociferous for many years against the Fianna Fáil Administration, for the same type of guillotines. What has changed?
Deputy Joe Higgins: There is a different way of doing this. The Taoiseach did not even ask to see how many speakers might wish to contribute to a particular Bill and then make an estimate on that basis. He has proposed the blunt weapon of the guillotine and it is not acceptable.
This is another bailout on the backs of ordinary people for the machinations of the sharks in insurance and high finance and it deserves to be teased out in great detail. I fully agree with the objections to this guillotine.
The Taoiseach: It is time for people to get real. I refer to the question raised by Deputy Martin in respect of a debate on the eurozone issue. The European financial stability Bill was debated here until late last Tuesday and Wednesday and this provided an opportunity for everyone to contribute. I have asked the Chief Whip to arrange a two-hour debate on this issue next week.
The Taoiseach: Yes. If the Deputy was listening to me instead of texting on his phone, he would know that last Tuesday and Wednesday we discussed the European financial stability Bill until late. I say to Deputy Higgins and Deputy Boyd Barrett, who come in here and bleat away every day about the ordinary workers——
The Taoiseach: ——that the sale of Quinn Insurance to Liberty will be raised in the High Court on 4 October and the question will be asked as to whether provision has been made in law for this levy to be paid. If the Minister for Finance had allowed this collapse, the cost would have been something of the order of €2 billion.
The Taoiseach: I remind the two Deputies who comment about the ordinary workers that 1,600 jobs are being protected in this case, in the Border counties and these are ordinary workers. It is about time that people faced that reality. This Bill has to go through the House. Second Stage will be dealt with today and tomorrow evening, Committee and Remaining Stages will be taken from 6 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. We can have Deputy Martin’s debate on the eurozone and listen to his proposals next week. This is the reason for the urgency in dealing with the Insurance (Amendment) Bill. The 1,600 jobs are of critical importance and the reduced saving brought about by the Government decision is very considerable. The reason for the quick passage is that the matter comes before the High Court on 4 October.
|Barry, Tom.||Breen, Pat.|
|Broughan, Thomas P.||Bruton, Richard.|
|Butler, Ray.||Buttimer, Jerry.|
|Byrne, Catherine.||Byrne, Eric.|
|Cannon, Ciarán.||Carey, Joe.|
|Coffey, Paudie.||Collins, Áine.|
|Conaghan, Michael.||Conlan, Seán.|
|Connaughton, Paul J.||Conway, Ciara.|
|Coonan, Noel.||Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.|
|Coveney, Simon.||Creed, Michael.|
|Daly, Jim.||Deasy, John.|
|Deenihan, Jimmy.||Deering, Pat.|
|Doherty, Regina.||Donohoe, Paschal.|
|Dowds, Robert.||Doyle, Andrew.|
|Durkan, Bernard J.||English, Damien.|
|Farrell, Alan.||Feighan, Frank.|
|Ferris, Anne.||Fitzgerald, Frances.|
|Fitzpatrick, Peter.||Flanagan, Charles.|
|Flanagan, Terence.||Griffin, Brendan.|
|Hannigan, Dominic.||Harrington, Noel.|
|Harris, Simon.||Hayes, Brian.|
|Hayes, Tom.||Heydon, Martin.|
|Hogan, Phil.||Howlin, Brendan.|
|Humphreys, Heather.||Humphreys, Kevin.|
|Keating, Derek.||Keaveney, Colm.|
|Kelly, Alan.||Kenny, Enda.|
|Kenny, Seán.||Kyne, Seán.|
|Lawlor, Anthony.||Lynch, Ciarán.|
|McCarthy, Michael.||McGinley, Dinny.|
|McHugh, Joe.||McLoughlin, Tony.|
|McNamara, Michael.||Maloney, Eamonn.|
|Mathews, Peter.||Mitchell, Olivia.|
|Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.||Mulherin, Michelle.|
|Murphy, Dara.||Murphy, Eoghan.|
|Nash, Gerald.||Naughten, Denis.|
|Nolan, Derek.||Noonan, Michael.|
|Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.||O’Donnell, Kieran.|
|O’Donovan, Patrick.||O’Dowd, Fergus.|
|O’Mahony, John.||O’Reilly, Joe.|
|O’Sullivan, Jan.||Perry, John.|
|Phelan, Ann.||Phelan, John Paul.|
|Rabbitte, Pat.||Reilly, James.|
|Ryan, Brendan.||Shatter, Alan.|
|Shortall, Róisín.||Spring, Arthur.|
|Stagg, Emmet.||Stanton, David.|
|Timmins, Billy.||Tuffy, Joanna.|
|Twomey, Liam.||Wall, Jack.|
|Walsh, Brian.||White, Alex.|
|Adams, Gerry.||Boyd Barrett, Richard.|
|Calleary, Dara.||Collins, Joan.|
|Collins, Niall.||Colreavy, Michael.|
|Cowen, Barry.||Daly, Clare.|
|Doherty, Pearse.||Dooley, Timmy.|
|Ellis, Dessie.||Ferris, Martin.|
|Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’.||Fleming, Sean.|
|Fleming, Tom.||Halligan, John.|
|Healy-Rae, Michael.||Higgins, Joe.|
|Kelleher, Billy.||Kirk, Seamus.|
|Kitt, Michael P.||Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.|
|McConalogue, Charlie.||McGrath, Mattie.|
|McGrath, Michael.||McLellan, Sandra.|
|Martin, Micheál.||Moynihan, Michael.|
|Murphy, Catherine.||Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.|
|Ó Cuív, Éamon.||Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.|
|Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.||O’Brien, Jonathan.|
|O’Dea, Willie.||O’Sullivan, Maureen.|
|Pringle, Thomas.||Ross, Shane.|
|Smith, Brendan.||Tóibín, Peadar.|
|Troy, Robert.||Wallace, Mick.|
Deputy Micheál Martin: The Taoiseach indicated in his previous response that he would allocate two hours for a debate next week on the eurozone crisis. I reiterate my disappointment that our request last week to facilitate a debate this week on the euro crisis was not met. It is incredible that the entire world is discussing the crisis and we, as a national Parliament, do not seem to have the facility to do that. It reflects badly on the Executive and those who table the agenda that they cannot allow for a reasonable debate. It is regrettable that we are not having that debate this week. Will the Taoiseach ask the Chief Whip to have a meaningful dialogue with the other Whips regarding the length and the organisation of the debate next week and, if possible, to include a question and answer session on key issues?
The Taoiseach: I repeat that it is opportune for Opposition Whips to raise requests at the Whips meeting. The House sat late on both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings last week to discuss the financial stability Bill——
Deputy Gerry Adams: We have called for a debate on the euro crisis for the past two weeks. I raised this with the Taoiseach two weeks ago and he promised me a debate. He referred me to the my party Whip. Deputy Ó Snodaigh raised it at the Whips’ meeting. Deputy McDonald then raised it in the House last week. We have ended up bringing the Government kicking and squealing to the House to have this debate. It is not good enough, as this is one of the biggest crisis facing the EU.
The Taoiseach: The Deputy’s comment about us being dragged kicking and screeching is nonsense. He can have a debate next week, put a structure to it and have his Whip raise at the Whips’ meeting the time he requires.
Deputy Joe Higgins: The Taoiseach announced a by-election in Dublin West on 27 October, which means the writ needs to be moved and ministerial orders made. I notice today with some alarm that the poles are rapidly filling up with posters of the growing list of presidential wannabees, which might indicate that in Dublin West there will be no space for the peasants if the Taoiseach delays.
Deputy Joe Higgins: Will the Government move the writ and put the process in place this week? Laochra Fáil can do it but they seem to be a little hesitant at the moment. Perhaps they will announce their intentions here but the people of Dublin West are anxious to begin the debate.
The Taoiseach: If the by-election is to be held on 27 October, the writ must be moved between tomorrow and 6 October. We have changed the regulations in order that by-elections will be held within six months of being caused. However, this by-election has resulted from the unfortunate death of a member of Fianna Fáil and Deputy Martin’s party will be given the opportunity to move the writ in accordance with precedent. I understand he will possibly do that on Thursday.
|Last Updated: 08/03/2013 18:44:42||Page of 436|