Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 12, motion re by-election for Dublin West; and No. 1, Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2011 [Seanad] — Second Stage. Private Members’ business shall be No. 28, motion re closure of Army barracks.
Deputy Micheál Martin: It has been reported that a decision on the next tranche of the Greek bailout will be delayed until the end of the month, and that EU states have again failed to reach agreement on the way forward. The situation in the European and international economy is grave, as it has been since 2008, yet the leaders of Europe continue to kick the can down the road. Tomorrow we will have a debate on the eurozone crisis, but according to the Chief Whip’s office, the Taoiseach will not be participating in it. What we are seeing across Europe is a failure of leaders to do what they know is necessary. Their unwillingness to take direct control is a large part of the problem.
The Taoiseach has yet to come to the House to discuss the report on the July summit and will attend another summit in two weeks. Will he make time tomorrow to discuss in the House the core part of his responsibilities rather than palming everything off to his able Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan?
The Taoiseach: I have never said I would not participate in the debate. However, as the Minister for Finance has just returned from the ECOFIN meeting and a specific request has been made on a number of occasions for this kind of debate, it is important that he should keep us informed as to the up-to-date position. I understand Greece is funded until November which would require that a decision be made by the end of October. I also understand the troika has not yet reported back with its findings and a recommendation. The Deputy will receive up-to-date, detailed information from the Minister for Finance who has just now returned from the ECOFIN meeting. I have never said I would not participate in this debate, no more than any other debate.
Deputy Gerry Adams: I do not want to interrupt the Government Chief Whip. I note from the legislative programme that the Government plans to introduce in this term an industrial relations (amendment) Bill to address the issues arising from the recent High Court challenge to the joint labour committee system. In the spirit of constructive opposition, I suggest the Government simply endorse the Sinn Féin Industrial Relations (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, which will be debated in the House on Friday. The legislation will provide for the continued protection of the poorest and most vulnerable workers in society. I make this offer as a means of finding space in the clár to discuss other business.
The Taoiseach: Work is under way on the Bill in question which will be published in this session. As the Deputy knows, as part of the great change that has occurred in the Houses of the Oireachtas, we allow Private Members’ Bills to be debated on Fridays. The Deputy’s party has taken up the option of having the first Private Members’ Bill discussed this Friday. The Government will not oppose on Second Stage the legislation on joint labour committees proposed by a Sinn Féin Deputy.
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