Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take No. 7, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of regulations of the European Parliament and of the Council and of the exercise by the State of the options or discretions in respect of Regulation (EU) No. 1077/2011; and No. 3, Euro Area Loan Facility (Amendment) Bill 2012 — 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 on the adjournment of Private Members’ business which shall be No. 50 — motion re turf cutting, which shall take place on the conclusion of the opening speeches of No. 3 or at 7.30 p.m., whichever is the later, and adjourn after 90 minutes; No. 7 shall be taken immediately on the conclusion of Order of Business and shall be decided without debate; the proceedings on Second Stage of No. 3 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 6.30 p.m tomorrow, and the proceedings on the Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7.30 p.m. tomorrow 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 Finance. Private Members’ business shall be No. 50, motion regarding the cutting of turf.
An Ceann Comhairle: There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 7 without debate agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 3 agreed to? Agreed.
Deputy Micheál Martin: I wish to raise a number of items. Maidir le Bille na Gaeltachta, tá sé ar intinn ag an Rialtas deireadh a chur le toghcháin Údarás na Gaeltachta ach cathain a mbeidh an Bille sin ag teacht ar an bhfód? Bunaíodh comhchoiste Chomh-aireachta na Gaeilge anuraidh ach níor tháinig sé le chéile ach faoi dhó. Is oth liom é sin a rá mar léiríonn sé easpa thiomántais don Ghaeilge laistigh den Rialtas. An féidir leis an Taoiseach labhairt faoi sin?
Maraon leis sin, amárach beidh díospóireacht tré Ghaoluinn againn. Táimíd ag lorg níos mó ama, i gcomhthéacs na díospóireachta sin, mar is mian le roinnt urlabhraithe ráitis a thabhairt don Dáil amárach. Iarraim an an Taoiseach é sin a dhéanamh, más féidir. We urge the Taoiseach to debate the sale of assets on Thursday for two hours. There has been a consistent and sustained campaign by Labour Party Members of Government to misrepresent the origins of this strategy. The Taoiseach knows well it has been his party’s policy for many years to sell State assets to fund the NewERA plan. Will the Taoiseach confirm whether he will be available in the Chamber on Thursday to explain this to his Labour Party colleagues? Will he consider making more time available to discuss this issue? People feel the timeframe for the statements on the issue is very constrained.
The Taoiseach: Cuireadh cinn línnte an Bhille sin os comhair an Rialtais cúpla seachtain ó shin agus tá an obair ar siúl faoi láthair. Tabharfar isteach é in am do chur i gcrích chóras nua Údarás na Gaeltachta agus in am do bhaill nua an údaráis a cheapadh, i dtreo is go mbeimid in ann déileála lena chuid oibre as seo amach.
Maidin amárach, ó thaobh seachtain na Gaeilge agus lá na Gaeilge de, tá Gaeilge mhaith ag an Teachta Martin agus ag an Teachta Adams, cé nach dtuigim gach uile fhocal a labhraíonn an Teachta Adams, leis an chanúint faoi leith atá aige.
Deputy Micheál Martin: Tá sean-taithí ag an Teachta Byrne ar páirtithe nua. Bhí sé chinn is dócha, ó Sinn Féin the Workers Party go dtí Democratic Left, go dtí the Workers Party, go dtí Páirtí an Lucht Oibre.
Deputy Gerry Adams: Tá a fhios ag an Taoiseach go ndéanaim féin mo dhícheall caint i nGaeilge achan lá, anseo agus taobh amuigh den áit seo mar is le mo chroi an Ghaeilge. Tá ceist agam faoi reachtaíocht atá forógartha.
So far the Taoiseach has refused to say when the Bill on the referendum will come before the Dáil. However, there are three related pieces of promised legislation, namely, the fiscal responsibility Bill, the treaty establishing the European stability mechanism Bill and the European Communities Act 1972 (amendment) Bill. Will the Taoiseach tell us when these will come before the Dáil? When does the Taoiseach expect the referendum commission to be established? Has he selected a chair?
The Taoiseach: Tá a fhios agam go ndéanann an Teachta Adams tréan iarracht Gaeilge a labhairt anseo gach seachtain. Tacaím go mór leis sin. Anois is arís ní thuigim go díreach céard atá i gceist aige, leis an chanúint faoi leith atá aige.
The Taoiseach: Sin an sórt Gaeilge atá aige. Gaeilge an iarthair atá agam agus Gaeilge na Mumhan atá ag an Teachta Martin. Bliain ó shin bhí díospóireacht as Gaeilge idir cheannairí na bpáirtithe, agus ba mhaith an rud é sin. Níl an Tánaiste anseo faoi láthair, ach bhí díospóireacht iontach idir an cheathrar againn. B’shin an chéad uair ariamh a tharla sé sin. Ba mhaith an rud é. Gabhadh an Teachta Adams mo leithscéal mar, anois is arís, ní thuigim go díreach míniú a chanúna.
The Taoiseach: The fiscal responsibility Bill is something the Minister for Finance will bring forward in respect of the issues in the stability treaty that need to be put into legal effect. The Minister is working on this and it will be produced in the reasonably near future; I cannot give a specific date but work is under way.
As I said to Deputy Martin, next week the Government will again consider the preparation of a referendum Bill and the appointment of a referendum commission and its chair. No decision has been made on the chair, the appointment of the referendum commission or the Bill, but work will proceed on some aspects of them this week. We will inform the House next week on progress made.
Deputy Robert Troy: What is the current status of the Construction Contracts Bill 2010? The Taoiseach will appreciate it is important legislation for sub-contractors to ensure they are paid for work completed. When will it come before the House? Is it possible to amend the Bill to ensure State jobs to be awarded are awarded to Irish contractors?
The Taoiseach: In respect of the final comment there are European requirements with regard to tenders as the Deputy knows, as contracts over a certain amount must go to European tender. The contractors Bill of which the Deputy speaks is important. It has been approved by Government. I understand the Whip is making arrangements to bring it before the House before the end of the month.
Deputy Dara Calleary: The Taoiseach may not have heard but the incoming president of the Irish Hotels Federation has pointed to the lack of credit as a major problem in his industry. We all know this. When will the legislation for the credit guarantee scheme come before the House?
The Taoiseach: It is a number of weeks away. I answered questions put by Deputy Martin on this in recent weeks. I hope it will come before the House in four or five weeks but I cannot give the Deputy an accurate date. I wish to point out to the Irish Hotels Federation that the Government is well aware of the infrastructure that exists for quality tourism in the country. This is why the PRSI rate was reduced and VAT was reduced in the hospitality sector. We hope events such as the tall ships, the Volvo race and the Titanic centenary celebrations in Cork will add immeasurably to this. Next year we will have The Gathering which has enormous potential to bring back people to the homeland. We are also preparing for a Davos-style forum for the creative and imaginative arts in 2014 which should have a big global impact for Ireland.
The Taoiseach: I take the issue of the Irish Hotels Federation and their business about credit. I note that a hotel with 50 rooms sold for €650,000 the other day. While the bank involved did not make the call in time to the new owner, whom I congratulate, he was able to make arrangements to buy the property. We will see a focus on this issue in a couple of weeks.
Deputy Barry Cowen: On the health (pricing and supply of medicines) Bill, which will allow generic drugs into the General Medical Services scheme, given the targeted savings referred to in the budget, will the Taoiseach outline when the legislation is expected?
Deputy Derek Keating: The Taoiseach may be aware that the Health Information and Quality Authority, HIQA, determined today that the protection and security of children at an institution in Ballydowd was unacceptable. Does the Taoiseach consider that additional legislation would be helpful or necessary to address this matter?
Deputy Brendan Ryan: Many people are awaiting the enactment of the spent convictions Bill, which features on the A list of the legislative programme. People who got into trouble several years ago and have not been in trouble since are experiencing difficulties obtaining certain types of employment. They are awaiting an opportunity to work their way out of these difficulties. I ask the Taoiseach to have this legislation expedited. It will, I believe, receive all-party support.
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