Order of Business

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 751 No. 2

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Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  It is proposed to take No. 8a, Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] — allocation of time motion for select sub-committee; No. 12, Patents (Amendment) Bill 2011 — Order for Report, Report and Final [531]Stages; and No. 4, Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 — Second Stage (resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders and notwithstanding the Order of the Dáil of 11 January 2012, Private Members’ business, which shall be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes, shall take place immediately after No. 8a, which shall take place immediately on the conclusion of the Order of Business; No. 8a shall be decided without debate; and Second Stage of the Local Authority Public Administration Bill 2011 shall be considered tomorrow and the following arrangements shall apply: the opening speech of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Technical Group and of a Minister or Minister of State, 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 15 minutes in each case, Members may share time, a Minister or Minister of State, who may speak twice, shall be called upon not later than 1 p.m. to make a speech which shall not exceed 15 minutes, and the main spokesperson for Fianna Fáil shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members’ business agreed to?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  It is not agreed. This is a proposal for a variation of the Order of the Dáil yesterday and I oppose it on the basis that a further variation is required. It is unthinkable that there would not be a substantial feature in the House today of the disaster in Ulster Bank, notwithstanding the short exchanges by the Leaders this morning. We need the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, to make a statement to the House on the loss of 900 jobs, 600 of which are in this State and the bulk of which are low and middle income workers——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I must interrupt the Deputy. I do not like interrupting speakers but this is a technical issue. If the Deputy wishes to seek time later in the debate, I will certainly facilitate him.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  With respect, a Cheann Comhairle, this matter relates to the ordering of Dáil business today and the proposal is a variation of yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It is purely a technical issue in relation to when Private Members’ business will be taken. It is not additional business.

It is a technical issue, to which I will come back.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Fine.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members’ business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 8a, allocation of time motion for select sub-committee, without debate, agreed to?

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  No, it is not agreed. This involves the use of the guillotine on the Water Services (Amendment) Bill. We oppose this because there are a significant number of outstanding issues still to be resolved with regard to this Bill, the most fundamental of which concerns what standards will apply when the inspectors come out to the houses. We have suggested at the committee, in order to try and get more information on this, that we should invite in the EPA to address the committee and inform us of the standards. When we know [532]the standards, we will then know the likely cost implications for householders and what assistance they will need to get for the costs associated with the required upgrades. There is significant debate to take place.

The Minister could expedite the Bill by dealing with the serious issue we have raised. We ask him to agree that the Environmental Protection Agency, which under the proposed Bill must advise the Minister on the standard, be asked to come before the committee as the next step to advise on what standards will apply. Then we can move forward with the Bill in a logical process.

  11 o’clock

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald  Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald  I object to the use of the guillotine. This legislation is highly contentious and it has caused grave concern across rural Ireland. Time is required to examine it in great detail and to take the amendments. At least time must be given to consider the proposition and perhaps for the Government to reconsider it. The practice of using guillotines in important debates should not be tolerated in this Chamber or on Committee Stage. If we are to have our rightful say and to fulfil our representative duty, the Government cannot guillotine debate in an arbitrary and routine manner. It has become reminiscent of its Fianna Fáil colleagues with its increasing penchant for guillotines. We object to this proposal.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  The Deputies representing rural constituencies are well aware of this issue, but any Deputies from urban areas who ventured into rural Ireland over the Christmas period or who went back to their ancestral homelands will also be aware that this is a major issue which is causing huge concern to ordinary people in rural Ireland who have not had the benefit of the investment that went into the urban drainage schemes over past decades, at taxpayers' expense.

We want clean water and want our underground water resources protected absolutely. However, the level of cost that may be imposed on individuals and families is causing concern. Therefore, I agree that we need certainty. At a minimum, the EPA must outline the standards in advance in order that there is clarity. Then the Government needs to think further about how to ensure equivalence and justice for rural people through the type of public investment equivalent to what was done in the cities in past decades.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Deputies are familiar with the background to this issue. It has nothing to do with the troika or the bailout, but has everything to do with our treaty and legal obligations regarding clean water and ensuring our neighbour’s water, whether in urban or rural Ireland is clean. It also has everything to do with the fact that this Republic was cited as being in breach of the obligations and undertakings we gave. Deputy Higgins, as a former Member of the European Parliament, will be more aware of this than anybody else and knows the strength of the European Court of Justice.

I need not remind the Deputy of how the City of Galway was closed down some summers ago because of the poisoning of the water. That is what this is about. It is because we have failed to implement a clean water requirement in rural Ireland——

Deputy Ciarán Lynch: Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Under Deputy Ó Cuív’s watch.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  ——and because we have been in breach of undertakings that were given by representatives of this Chamber in the European Commission that if we do not have this legislation enacted by 3 February, we will be subject to a fine of €26,000 a day.

[533]I share and understand the concerns being expressed.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Please allow the Minister reply to the points made.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  There are three issues involved. There is the necessity to deal with this or otherwise we will be fined substantial amounts. We are agreed on that point. Is the Deputy agreed that we must have the legislation in place by 3 February? It seems he is not in agreement.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Let me——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy should resume his seat. He should not put any question, but let the Minister reply.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I am new to this role.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Minister is all right. He is doing fine, just keep going.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I am bound by the Chair. This is a matter on which there has been extensive discussion at committee. I listened to Deputy McGrath over Christmas also. We can deal with concerns about how this will function after the legislation is enacted. We no longer have the time to deal with it now, because on 3 February we will face a fine of €26,000 a day.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I will put the question.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  I object——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  The Deputy should resume his seat. There is no debate on this issue. I warn the Deputy that he will be taking a walk.

Question put: “That the proposals for dealing with No. 8a, without debate, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 79; Níl, 35.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Tom Barry  Zoom on Tom Barry  Barry, Tom.
Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P. 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 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 Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel. Information on Marcella MarcellaCorcoran Kennedy  Zoom on Marcella MarcellaCorcoran Kennedy  Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Jim Daly  Zoom on Jim Daly  Daly, Jim. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
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 Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien. Information on Alan Farrell  Zoom on Alan Farrell  Farrell, Alan.
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 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 Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Martin Heydon  Zoom on Martin Heydon  Heydon, Martin. 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 Alan Kelly  Zoom on Alan Kelly  Kelly, Alan. 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 Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane.
Information on Nicky McFadden  Zoom on Nicky McFadden  McFadden, Nicky. 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 Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Zoom on Mary Mitchell O'Connor  Mitchell O’Connor, Mary. Information on Michelle Mulherin  Zoom on Michelle Mulherin  Mulherin, Michelle.
Information on Dara Murphy  Zoom on Dara Murphy  Murphy, Dara. 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 Patrick Nulty  Zoom on Patrick Nulty  Nulty, 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 Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan. Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie.
Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann. Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  Quinn, Ruairí.
Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James. Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Ryan, Brendan.
Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  Shatter, Alan. 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 Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian.  


Níl
Information on Richard Boyd Barrett  Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett  Boyd Barrett, Richard. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan.
Information on Michael Colreavy  Zoom on Michael Colreavy  Colreavy, Michael. Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  Cowen, Barry.
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 S.
Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy. Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Ellis, Dessie.
Information on Tom Fleming  Zoom on Tom Fleming  Fleming, Tom. Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John.
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 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 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 Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. 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 Robert Troy  Zoom on Robert Troy  Troy, Robert.
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.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  On a point of order, is a precedent being set by the manner in which the Government intends to guillotine the debate on the Bill on Committee Stage?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not a point of order.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  It is a point of order.

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

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  Is this the promised Dáil reform?

Deputies:  Sit down, Mattie.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  It is shameful.

(Interruptions).

[535]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  All Members should show some respect for the House. I am moving to the next proposal. Are the proposals for dealing with the Local Authority Public Administration Bill 2011 agreed to? Agreed.

We are over time, but Deputy Joe Higgins has indicated. Is he requesting time for a debate?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins  Zoom on Joe Higgins  Yes. Will the Minister ensure the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will come to the Dáil this afternoon to make a statement and answer questions on the disastrous loss of jobs proposed at Ulster Bank? I ask him to forget the corrosive fatalism and institutionalised pessimism which states nothing can be done. If the banks were lending to small enterprises and individuals as they should be in order to recreate the domestic economy, none of these jobs would be lost. That is the road we should be going down.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn: Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  The House shares the Deputy’s concern on this matter. However, we do not yet have all the information necessary for an informed debate. We must let the facts emerge in the discussions that are ongoing between Ulster Bank and the IBOA. I suggest Deputy Catherine Murphy who is sitting beside the Deputy is well equipped to request that this matter be raised at the next Whips’ meeting and that time be made available in due course to debate it. As the Minister for Finance is out of the country, I cannot give an undertaking that he will be here this afternoon. This matter should be raised with the Whips and I am sure a satisfactory outcome can be achieved.


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