Order of Business

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 4

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The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It is proposed to take No. 15, Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 — Order for Report Stage and Report Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings on No. 15 shall be taken today and, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. tomorrow by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. Private Members’ business shall be No. 38, motion re promissory notes (resumed), to conclude at 9 p.m., if not previously concluded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15 agreed to?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  No. This legislation discriminates against citizens across rural Ireland and has not been properly discussed. Like others, my party has brought forward a series of amendments, some of which might not even be reached. We are proposing, for example, a grants system to ensure those who cannot bear the cost involved would be assisted. The standards against which septic tanks will be measured have not yet been set down and homeowners do not even know the size of the bill they could be faced with to upgrade their septic tank.

I am mindful that this issue dates back to 1975 and was dealt with by a number of Governments involving the Labour Party, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil and that there is now a rush to deal with it. It seems to be a characteristic of the Government to rush measures through the House. However, I ask the Taoiseach to allow adequate time for discussion of a raft of amendments to the Bill.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am sorry, but only leaders can raise issues at this time.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Deputy Mattie McGrath is not the leader yet.

[789]The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I understand the debate on Committee Stage of the Bill concluded last Wednesday three hours ahead of schedule. This is a matter on which the debate should continue in the way proposed by the Chief Whip. I do not see any reason it should not proceed in that way. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has listened to a great range of arguments and will shortly be in a position to make his decisions known.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 78; Níl, 32.

Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Tom Barry  Zoom on Tom Barry  Barry, Tom.
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 Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Joan Burton  Zoom on Joan Burton  Burton, Joan.
Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Buttimer, Jerry. Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Byrne, Eric.
Information on Ciaran Cannon  Zoom on Ciaran Cannon  Cannon, Ciarán. 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 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 Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John. 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 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 Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  Ferris, Anne. 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 Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian.
Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom. Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil.
Information on Heather Humphreys  Zoom on Heather Humphreys  Humphreys, Heather. Information on Kevin Humphreys  Zoom on Kevin Humphreys  Humphreys, Kevin.
Information on Colm Keaveney  Zoom on Colm Keaveney  Keaveney, Colm. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny  Kenny, Seán.
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 Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  McGinley, Dinny. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Tony McLoughlin  Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  McLoughlin, Tony. Information on Eamonn Maloney  Zoom on Eamonn Maloney  Maloney, Eamonn.
Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia. 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 Eoghan Murphy  Zoom on Eoghan Murphy  Murphy, Eoghan. Information on Gerald Nash  Zoom on Gerald Nash  Nash, Gerald.
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 Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Zoom on Aodhán Ó Ríordán  Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
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 Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Ann Phelan  Zoom on Ann Phelan  Phelan, Ann. Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat.
Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Sean. 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 Jack Wall  Zoom on Jack Wall  Wall, Jack. Information on Brian Walsh  Zoom on Brian Walsh  Walsh, Brian.



Níl
Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Adams, Gerry. Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Browne, John.
Information on Joan Collins  Zoom on Joan Collins  Collins, Joan. Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall.
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 Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Donnelly, Stephen S.
Information on Dessie Ellis  Zoom on Dessie Ellis  Ellis, Dessie. Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin.
Information on Tom Fleming  Zoom on Tom Fleming  Fleming, Tom. Information on Noel Grealish  Zoom on Noel Grealish  Grealish, Noel.
Information on John Halligan  Zoom on John Halligan  Halligan, John. Information on Seamus Healy  Zoom on Seamus Healy  Healy, Seamus.
Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Michael. Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P.
Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn  Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig. 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 Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  O’Dea, Willie. 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 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 Catherine Murphy.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I call Deputy O’Dea. Can I have order in the Chamber, please? Only ten minutes more remain for the Order of Business and those who are chatting are wasting time. I ask Deputy O’Dea to proceed.

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  In an uncharacteristic outburst of magnanimity the Minister for Justice and Equality has promised to pardon various members of the Irish Army who deserted to join the British Army during the Second World War. Can the Taoiseach advise if legislation will be necessary to make that pardon a reality or can it be done by way of statutory instrument?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is a matter for a parliamentary question; it is not a matter of promised legislation.

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  The Taoiseach wants to answer it.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Tá ceist agam faoi reachtaíocht atá fógartha, a Cheann Comhairle. In regard to the fiscal responsibility Bill, if I heard the Taoiseach correctly, he said he intends to bring in some of the outworkings of the treaty. When does he expect the fiscal responsibility Bill to be published and is it possible to publish the heads of that Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Bill is due this session. I cannot give the Deputy an exact date for it. Clearly, the Government wants to deal with this as a matter of some priority. I will send the Deputy an update from the Minister for Finance as to when that is likely to happen but it is due this session.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Will that be before or after the referendum on the austerity treaty?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Deputy is speculating again, and not for the first time. I explained yesterday how this will work. When the Heads of Government agree, disagree or whatever in respect of the final text of the intergovernmental treaty on Monday, that will then be sent for signature and it is at that stage that the Attorney General here will give formal legal advice. While it is correct to say that personnel from the Attorney General’s office have looked at the draft as it moves along, it is not until the text is complete in its entirety that a full formal response can be given.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  There is much concern about legislation proposed by the Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Sean Sherlock, for Tuesday next. I have been contacted, as I am sure many Deputies have, by many people who are concerned about this. I have just got off the phone from someone who runs a major Internet company in Ireland. His concern, and that of his colleagues who are running other Internet companies, is that they will immediately have to shut down all operations because this legis[791]lation would force them into the courts because they cannot control all links to IP. There is huge concern about this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  What is the legislation? What is the name of it?

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  The people I talk to say they cannot get their hands on the legislation to see it and debate it.

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

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Then what is the name of it?

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  It is due to be passed as secondary legislation by ministerial order on Tuesday. Would it be possible to pause the ministerial order, even for a few days, and to have the legislation published and debated by the House? I have spoken to some very credible people in Ireland who are saying this has serious implications for Internet provision in Ireland, for American multinationals here and for the smart economy and so forth.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I have read the report of this. The Minister of State, Deputy Sherlock, is dealing with the matter. In the High Court judgment of 11 October 2010, in the case of EMI & Others v UPC, Mr. Justice Charleton decided he was constrained by the wording of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and thus could not grant an injunction to prevent infringement of copyright against UPC, which is an information service provider, ISP, in the circumstances of mere conduit, or transient communications. In doing so Mr. Justice Charleton stated that Ireland had not fully transposed the relevant directive. The mere conduit principle provides that if an ISP does not initiate a transmission or modify the material contained in the transmission and does not select the receiver of the transmission it is granted safe harbour against liability by virtue of the eCommerce Directive 2000/31/EC. However, according to the same directive this freedom from liability does not affect the power of the courts to require service providers to terminate or prevent copyright infringements.

This gets very complicated. I understand the matter is being brought before the Cabinet, so there will be some short period for explanation. I could give the Deputy a very detailed response.

The Attorney General, at that time, was asked by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for his advice as to the implications of the High Court judgment. While the Attorney General considered that the position is not as clear cut as Mr. Justice Charleton suggests, his advice was that as long as the Irish courts take the view that subsection 40(4) of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 does not implement Article 8.3 of the relevant directive, Ireland is exposed to a claim for damages for failure to implement EU law. The prudent course he advised was to introduce a regulation to ensure compliance.

It is a complicated procedure but I expect the Minister of State will explain it more fully. I am aware of the comments some providers have made.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Could I speak for ten seconds?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  No, we cannot debate this. You have your commitment, Deputy. We are short of time. There is a list of Deputies waiting.

Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly  Zoom on Stephen Donnelly  Could the legislation be paused, even for a few days before it is published?

[792]The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It will be before the Cabinet shortly and there will be an opportunity to discuss that.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  I wish to raise two issues on promised legislation. In light of what is proposed by the European Union with regard to doubling the stocking density and retention period for sheep and cattle on farms in order to qualify for the single farm payment——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Hold on, Deputy. Does this relate to promised legislation?

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  I am asking the Taoiseach if the Government will come up with any legislation to counteract what is being proposed in Europe.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not promised legislation. I call Deputy Anne Ferris.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  I have a second issue. Regarding the Fines Act 2010, last week I asked the Taoiseach if the Government was bringing forward proposals to stop people’s money at source if they failed to pay the household charge——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Deputy, you must understand this is about promised legislation. You may put down a parliamentary question to the Taoiseach and he will answer it.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  I did so, and the Taoiseach gave me an answer, but ten minutes later Deputy Martin Ferris asked the same question and was given a different answer. I need to know, from the Taoiseach.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  What is wrong with that? Two different questions and two different answers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am not here to adjudicate on those matters.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  You were here, a Cheann Comhairle. You heard him. In a ten minute period the Taoiseach gave two different answers.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Please resume your seat. I call Deputy Ferris.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  Can the Taoiseach answer?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  He cannot answer here. He can answer a parliamentary question. This is about promised legislation.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae  Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae  I would like the Taoiseach to give me an answer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Please resume your seat. Put down a parliamentary question and you will get an answer.

Deputy Anne Ferris: Information on Anne Ferris  Zoom on Anne Ferris  When does the Taoiseach expect the transgender Bill to come before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Bill is being drafted and will be published later this year.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  We are facing potential meltdown in our public health system with the departure of thousands of health care workers by the end of February. With the publication last week of the HSE National Service Plan 2011 which implements serious cuts in the current year and beyond, will the House have an opportunity to debate the national [793]service plan and to ask pertinent questions? When is it intended to schedule that opportunity for Members, given the enormity of what is involved?

The HSE governance Bill was promised for publication during the spring session. This Bill is to tweak the overarching governance of the HSE for the future and until its possible abolition. When will the legislation be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Deputy Ó Caoláin is normally up to speed on matters related to health. I answered the question yesterday, maybe in his absence. The HSE service plan will be debated in the Dáil next week. The Bill is due this session. I cannot give the exact date. As it says in the Bible, “you do not know the day nor the hour”. It is due this session.

Deputy John O’Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  Can the Taoiseach clarify an issue related to the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2011. Last week, the Minister for Social Protection stated that funding to community employment schemes whose existing contracts have time to run would be honoured in full, yet local FÁS offices are saying cuts are to be implemented immediately. Will the Taoiseach ask the Minister to issue a directive to FÁS officers to do as she said last week?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Does your question relate to promised legislation and when it will be taken?

Deputy John O’Mahony: Information on John O'Mahony  Zoom on John O'Mahony  Yes. I am asking about the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  When will the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill be taken?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  It is due this session. There is an evaluation of all the community employment schemes. Deputy O’Mahony might submit his query to the Ceann Comhairle for the Topical Issue debate.

Deputy Dan Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Tomorrow, the Irish Council of Psychotherapy will mark its 21st year with a conference in Dublin Castle. When will the social care professionals (amendment) Bill, promised for this session, be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I do not have a date for Deputy Neville, but it is due this session. I will try to get a more accurate fix on what stage of preparation it is at by tomorrow.

Deputy Ciara Conway: Information on Ciara Conway  Zoom on Ciara Conway  Legislation is promised on the registration of lobby groups and lobbyists. In light of the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Health and Children on the misuse of drugs and alcohol, can the Government ensure that the recommendations are implemented and that no undue influence is brought to bear by any particular lobby? Will the registration of lobbyists Bill come before the House sooner rather than later so that we can get on with our business?

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  The Bill is published.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I have seen some publication from the party opposite. The Bill is not on the A list, as far as I know. I am aware of work being done by the Minister of State, Deputy Róisín Shortall, on the alcohol issue. Deputy Conway’s point is valid. The Chief Whip will give her an indication of what is happening from this end.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  This morning, I received a letter from your good self, a Cheann Comhairle, about the Water Services (Amendment) Bill. I am not blaming you——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Resume your seat, please. We are discussing promised legislation.

[794]Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  We need legislation for this. Anything can be raised here. Last week a matter was dismissed because it would have placed a cost on the Exchequer.

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

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  This is farcical, a Cheann Comhairle. I am not blaming you but——

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

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  It is outrageous that anything that places a cost on the Exchequer cannot be raised.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am sick to death of you criticising me when I am not here.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  You are here today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Now you are totally out of order.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You accused me of showing bias against you.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  He did not blame the Ceann Comhairle, in fairness.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  He did it last night, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You are totally out of order.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  I did not blame you.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  The Deputy did it last night.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  I did not blame you, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You did yesterday.

Deputy Niall Collins: Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  He did not blame the Ceann Comhairle.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  I did not blame you.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  It happened during the debate on the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer  Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  Deputy McGrath did it last night in the House, when the Ceann Comhairle was not here.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  I did not do it today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  You do not have enough guts to do it while I am here.

Deputy John Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  Deputy Buttimer should not be telling tales.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I previously brought to the attention of the House the increasing number of cases of Members of the Oireachtas not being given information to which they are entitled. It is being refused to them on the basis of data protection.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  We are over time, Deputy. Come on, quick.

[795]Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I did not delay the House. Deputy Mattie McGrath delayed the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I know, but we are over time.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I am trying to help, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I am trying to stick to Standing Orders.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  The confidential communications with Oireachtas Members Bill has been promised. Increasingly, we have to seek permission from the Data Protection Commissioner before we can receive communication from State and semi-State agencies. This is a violation of everything we ever stood for. When we are elected, we are given permission to speak on behalf of the public. I would like to ask the Taoiseach whether it might be possible in the context of the Bill in question, which is No. 109 on the C list, to review the impact——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Come on, Deputy. We are over time.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  ——of the involvement of the Data Protection Commissioner on the right of Oireachtas Members to liaise and communicate with their constituents without fear or favour.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  I share Deputy Durkan’s thoughts about the right of elected representatives to be able to communicate with their constituents. The Bill he mentioned is listed for later this year. In view of his comments, I will inquire as to whether it might be expedited.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  I thank the Taoiseach.


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