Order of Business

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 758 No. 1

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The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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. [42]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: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  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: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on 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.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Tá an cheist chéanna agam agus a chuir an Teachta Martin faoi Bhille na Gaeltachta. Cén uair a mbeidh sé againn?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Cén fáth go bhfuil an Rialtas á dhéanamh sin? Nach drochscéal atá ann, i ndáiríre?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Ní drochscéal é ar chor ar bith. Tá a fhios mhaith ag an Teachta Martin go mbeidh údarás ann agus go mbeidh cumhachtaí faoi leith ag an údarás.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Ní bheidh aon chumacht ag an ghnáth dhuine.

[43]The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Ó thaobh shábháilt airgid de, sílim gur maith an rud é seo. Beidh an tAire Stáit ag teacht isteach leis an mBille agus beidh díospóireacht ann faoi.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  An féidir leis an Taoiseach an Bille sin a chur ar ceal? Bheadh sin i bhfad níos fearr do mhuintir na Gaeltachta. Tá siad ar buillle faoi seo.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Tá a fhios agam go mbíonn muintir na Gaeltachta agus muintir gach uile áit eile ar buile faoi nithe de shaghas éigin an t-am ar fad. Bím féin ag caint leo go minic faoi sin.

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 Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Aithníonn ciaróg ciaróg eile.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Beidh ceisteanna as Gaeilge. Más mian le Teachtaí go gcaithfear níos mó ama ar an díospóireacht déanfar sin gan deacracht ar bith.

The Government has made a collective decision on the sale of State assets. The Minister, Deputy Howlin, will speak with coherence——

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  As Gaeilge?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——and conviction in respect of this matter on behalf of the Government.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  For his Labour Party colleagues?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  We will be very happy to extend the time if Deputies feel more time is warranted.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Will the Taoiseach explain to the Minister Fine Gael’s long-term commitment to this in its policy? Does the Labour Party understand and realise this?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Ministers of the Labour Party are very articulate——

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Era Nua.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Ar thuig siad gur Era Nua a bhí i gceist ag an Taoiseach féin?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  ——and they understand the details of the policies of their partners in government.

Deputy Eric Byrne: Information on Eric J. Byrne  Zoom on Eric J. Byrne  Fianna Fáil nua.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on 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.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  I call Deputy Adams. Deputy Martin, please.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Gabh mo leithscéal.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Tá mé an-sásta go mbeimíd ag díospóireacht i nGaeilge amárach. An Teachta Aengus Ó Snodaigh a mhol an rún sin.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin  Zoom on Brendan Howlin  He circulated it widely.

[44]Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Did he issue a leaflet on it?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on 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: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Tuigeann an Taoiseach all right.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Tuigim sin.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

I do not have a date for the Deputy in respect of the European Communities Act 1972 (amendment) Bill he mentioned.

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 Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams  Zoom on Gerry Adams  Go raibh maith agat.

Deputy Robert Troy: Information on Robert Troy  Zoom on 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: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

[45]Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on 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?

  5 o’clock

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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.

Next year, Derry will be the city of culture and will host the Fleadh Cheoil, which will have an enormous impact on tourism.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  Will the Fleadh Cheoil improve access to credit?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  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: Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on 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?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  As I do not have an accurate date, I will have the Minister for Health revert directly to the Deputy.

Deputy Derek Keating: Information on Derek Keating  Zoom on 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?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  That is not a matter for the Order of Business. I suggest the Deputy table a parliamentary question on the issue or raise it as a Topical Issue matter.

Deputy Brendan Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on 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.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Deputy refers to an important Bill which is due for publication and will be brought to the House in this session.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  On a point of order, the Spent Convictions Bill I introduced to the House is on the Order Paper. We are waiting for the Minister to produce amendments.

[46]The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  They tell me Deputy Calleary applied for another position on that side of the House. I am not sure if he will be given consideration by Deputy Martin.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen  Zoom on Barry Cowen  It does not depend on the enactment of the Spent Convictions Bill.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  I am not worried about having any convictions spent.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  The Deputy can take it that I will look after matters. He will be all right.


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