Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. a11, motion re membership of committee; No. b11, Local Government (Household Charge) Bill 2011 [Seanad] — Financial Resolution; No. 20, statements on European Council, Brussels; No. 1, Local Government (Household Charge) Bill 2011 [Seanad] — Second Stage (resumed) and Subsequent Stages; and No. 6, Bretton Woods Agreements (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2011 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.
It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m.; Nos. a11 and b11 shall be decided without debate; the proceedings on No. 20 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after one hour and 45 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the statements shall be made by the Taoiseach and by the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share time, and shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, a Minister or Minister of State shall take questions for a period not exceeding 40 minutes, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; the following arrangements shall apply to No. 1: the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 5.50 p.m.; the proceedings on the Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. by one 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 the Environment, Community and Local Government; and Private Members’ business which shall be No. 43, motion re policies affecting rural areas (resumed) shall be taken at 7p.m., and shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes.
An Ceann Comhairle: There are five proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for the late sitting agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. a11 and b11 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 20 agreed?
Deputy Micheál Martin: No, but I hope we can resolve this quickly. Yesterday, the Taoiseach stated he was prepared to give this debate any time that was required. I welcome the additional time for questions but I would like to request two changes to the taking of No. 20. We would like the time for opening statements extended to at least 20 minutes because the issues are complex and comprehensive and 20 minutes might give Members a more reasonable timeframe. The proposal states a Minister or Minister of State shall take questions. At yesterday morning’s meeting with party leaders and again in the Dáil later, the Taoiseach indicated that he would take the questions and I propose that the order should be amended to reflect this. This is what was agreed and an additional ten or 20 minutes could be provided after 10 p.m.
Deputy Joe Higgins: I am amazed that the proposal refers to a Minister or Minister of State when the Taoiseach clearly gave the impression that he would be prepared to come in here to answer questions for 40 minutes. Perhaps that is the case. Perhaps I am wrong that it should have stated “Taoiseach” as the Taoiseach is a Minister of the Government in any case. It is absolutely incumbent on him that he comes in here to explain the import of what was agreed last week in Brussels. Nobody knows the extent or implications for our people of the institutionalisation of austerity or whether the Government proposes that the people be given a say by referendum on this. We need the Taoiseach here to answer those questions urgently this day.
The Taoiseach: I will be around anyway. If Deputy Higgins wants to come back Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday next week, just say so because I am serious about this. I have no difficulty with Deputy Martin’s suggestion of an additional five minutes for spokespersons. We can push that into the sos period. Deputy Higgins is precisely accurate in that I will be in attendance and I expect the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to be in attendance as well——
The Taoiseach: As Deputy Higgins will be aware, a political agreement was reached last Friday, in regard to which a great deal of work has to be done to flesh that out into a text that will be presented to the different parliaments around the EU.
The Taoiseach: I noticed that Deputy Martin said we should have a referendum anyway and that he would not have agreed to the agreement last week, which would have resulted in Ireland being the only eurozone country walking away from Europe and undoing 40 years of bridge building with our European colleagues.
Deputy Micheál Martin: I just want to welcome the Taoiseach’s response. Given the season of goodwill, when I went through the corridors this morning, there were many worried brows meeting me and saying to me “Whatever you do, don’t go to next week.” Whereas the Taoiseach and I might like to come back next week, we would be on our own.
An Ceann Comhairle: No, it is not my voice. I will read it again for the Deputy and I will even look at the Deputy when I read it. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 1, Second and Subsequent Stages of the Local Government (Household Charge) Bill 2011, agreed to?
Deputy Gerry Adams: It is not agreed. I want to oppose this proposal as it involves the Government again using the guillotine to rush through legislation which targets the most vulnerable of our citizens. Last week it was the Social Welfare Bill, this week it is the Local Government (Household Charge) Bill. By imposing this flat rate tax on everyone, the Government——
Deputy Gerry Adams: The Government is again abandoning its pre-election promises to protect the most vulnerable and families on low incomes. There needs to be time to debate this legislation and to give Government Deputies time not to heckle but to explain their position.
Deputy Micheál Martin: The only comedy is that I take seriously the commitments Deputy Rabbitte made. I take seriously the intense emotion of his outbursts in the last Dáil against the guillotining of Bills. I take seriously——
Deputy Micheál Martin: I am just making the point that there has been an extraordinary pattern of guillotining Bill after Bill in this House, and a lot of optics going on in-between. The once-a-month Fridays, for example, are a bit of a joke in terms of the Government’s contribution.
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: It is bad enough that the Taoiseach wants to impose yet another regressive charge on low and middle income families in this country on top of all the other charges, the rising prices and the austerity measures——
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: ——which are absolutely crucifying people. It is disgraceful that on this Bill, the Social Welfare Bill and almost any Bill that really matters to the daily life of ordinary people, the Taoiseach is imposing a guillotine. He should at least allow for a proper debate. I put it to the Taoiseach that, such is the severity of the austerity that is now being meted out to people and being rushed through with guillotines, pretty soon the anger of people will rise up——
Deputy Joe Higgins: We need time to explain the implications of this to the Minister, Deputy Hogan. It is not a grinning matter, this new imposition on individuals and families. The vast bulk of ordinary people, the vast bulk of the 1.6 million householders, as the Government says, which is the huge majority of householders and, therefore, a huge majority of the population, are to be coerced into paying this regressive tax.
Deputy Joe Higgins: Therefore, we need time to explain the implications to the Government. Perhaps it will see the light and withdraw it, and go after the bondholders instead and find the funds there——
Deputy Joe Higgins: ——or go after the super-wealthy, whose assets are not being touched by the Government, instead of coming back to the same well of ordinary people up and down this country. We need the time for that.
The Taoiseach: I have heard the four contributions from Deputy Martin, Deputy Adams, Deputy Boyd Barrett and Deputy Higgins. They are all looking for more time to debate the local charges Bill. They make a very good case to come back here next week. So make your minds up. We can go until midnight tonight if Deputies wish to have extra time to discuss this or come back next week. I advise them to make their minds up quickly.
The Taoiseach: If they are looking for extra time to debate this, we either take the time off an existing Bill, we extend the time tonight or we come back next week. The choice is yours. Do you want it? I will give it to you.
|Bannon, James.||Barry, Tom.|
|Breen, Pat.||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.||Costello, Joe.|
|Coveney, Simon.||Creed, Michael.|
|Daly, Jim.||Deenihan, Jimmy.|
|Deering, Pat.||Doherty, Regina.|
|Donohoe, Paschal.||Dowds, Robert.|
|Doyle, Andrew.||Durkan, Bernard J.|
|English, Damien.||Farrell, Alan.|
|Feighan, Frank.||Ferris, Anne.|
|Fitzpatrick, Peter.||Gilmore, Eamon.|
|Griffin, Brendan.||Hannigan, Dominic.|
|Harrington, Noel.||Harris, Simon.|
|Hayes, Tom.||Heydon, Martin.|
|Hogan, Phil.||Humphreys, Heather.|
|Humphreys, Kevin.||Keaveney, Colm.|
|Kehoe, Paul.||Kelly, Alan.|
|Kenny, Enda.||Kyne, Seán.|
|Lawlor, Anthony.||Lynch, Ciarán.|
|Lynch, Kathleen.||Lyons, John.|
|McCarthy, Michael.||McEntee, Shane.|
|McFadden, Nicky.||McGinley, Dinny.|
|McHugh, Joe.||McLoughlin, Tony.|
|Maloney, Eamonn.||Mathews, Peter.|
|Mitchell, Olivia.||Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.|
|Mulherin, Michelle.||Murphy, Eoghan.|
|Nash, Gerald.||Neville, Dan.|
|Nolan, Derek.||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.|
|Quinn, Ruairí.||Rabbitte, Pat.|
|Reilly, James.||Ring, Michael.|
|Ryan, Brendan.||Sherlock, Sean.|
|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.|
|Broughan, Thomas P.||Browne, John.|
|Calleary, Dara.||Collins, Joan.|
|Collins, Niall.||Colreavy, Michael.|
|Cowen, Barry.||Crowe, Seán.|
|Daly, Clare.||Donnelly, Stephen S.|
|Dooley, Timmy.||Ferris, Martin.|
|Flanagan, Luke ‘Ming’.||Fleming, Tom.|
|Grealish, Noel.||Halligan, John.|
|Healy, Seamus.||Higgins, Joe.|
|Kelleher, Billy||Kitt, Michael P.|
|Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.||McConalogue, Charlie.|
|McDonald, Mary Lou.||McGrath, Finian.|
|McGrath, Mattie.||McLellan, Sandra.|
|Martin, Micheál.||Moynihan, Michael.|
|Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.||Ó Cuív, Éamon.|
|Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.||O’Brien, Jonathan.|
|O’Dea, Willie.||O’Sullivan, Maureen.|
|Pringle, Thomas.||Ross, Shane.|
|Smith, Brendan.||Stanley, Brian.|
|Tóibín, Peadar.||Troy, Robert.|
|Last Updated: 08/03/2013 16:59:45||Page of 244|