Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
Deputy Patrick Nulty: There is a commitment in the programme for Government to legislate for companies which clamp vehicles on private property. Will the Taoiseach indicate when the consultation process for this will be finished? When will we see the promised legislation before the House?
The Taoiseach: I know that the Minister, Deputy Varadkar, has been interested in this question. This is now called the vehicle immobilisation regulation Bill. I will have to come back to the Deputy with a more accurate timeline.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Tá trí cheist agam. Will the Taoiseach indicate when items Nos. 57 to 59, inclusive, will be taken? Each relates to misinformation given to the House by the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister for Education and Skills——
The Taoiseach: Deputy Ó Cuív has been around long enough to know how to find out when matters will be debated. Any such questions should be raised through his Whip at the Whips’ meeting and the order is determined in advance. That is how these things apply, as the Deputy knows well.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Will the Taoiseach indicate when the regulations under section 70L of the Water Services (Amendment) Act will be published by the Minister? We were told they were to be published a fortnight ago but they were not.
In the schedule outlined by the Taoiseach, he stated he would introduce the Bill dealing with the European Stability Mechanism, ESM, this session. This would put an obligation of €9 billion on the people.
Deputy Willie O’Dea: There is a commitment in the programme for Government to establish a statutory register of lobbyists. Is it the Government’s intention to go ahead with that? When will we see the legislation?
The Taoiseach: The intention is to go ahead with that. I do not have an accurate timeline of when it will be produced. We will come back to Deputy Ó Cuív in respect of the statutory instrument raised by him.
Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: The Taoiseach has told us that the legislation in respect of the ESM will be brought before the House shortly. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether the Attorney General has been consulted in respect of the constitutionality of that Bill and the appropriate method of its ratification?
Deputy Billy Kelleher: The Madden Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance reported in 2008 that regulation was required for the licensing of health care facilities. There is growing concern with regard to Poly Implant Prothèse breast implants and that the fact that 1,500 women in Ireland have had breast implants of that nature. There is genuine disquiet on the matter. When will the licensing of health care facilities Bill come before the Dáil? It is due to provide a mandatory system of licensing for public and private health care facilities. The other issue of major concern is registration for medical practitioners engaged in clinical practice and the need for them to have in place adequate clinical indemnity. When will these tranches of legislation come before the Dáil? There is genuine concern among many people who have used invasive cosmetic surgery.
The Taoiseach: The second one has been approved by Cabinet and is due for publication shortly. I cannot give the Deputy an answer in respect of the timeline for the first query but I will come back to him on it.
Deputy Timmy Dooley: It has been reported that management at Aer Lingus and a US carrier have entered into discussions on a disposal through a trade sale of the State’s ownership of 25% of Aer Lingus. Is the Taoiseach aware of this and will he provide some details, if possible? When does the Taoiseach expect legislation to give effect to this event?
Deputy Timmy Dooley: I assume the State airports and aviation Bill will be used as a vehicle to give effect to that eventuality. The protection of the slots at Heathrow is of the greatest concern to all.
Deputy Brendan Griffin: When will the Criminal Justice (Fines) (Amendment) Bill be published? It is a common sense proposal and something that would be beneficial to the State should it become law. I ask for time to be set aside to discuss the deplorable humanitarian situation in Syria and the shocking human rights abuses taking place there currently. It is crucial we discuss this in the House.
The Taoiseach: With regard to the criminal justice fines (amendment) Bill, work on the draft heads is proceeding. On the question of Syria, we have had a number of interventions and questions and the issue may have been raised at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade. I responded to Deputy Timmins on this issue yesterday. It is a subject of serious and ongoing discussion at European level and was discussed at the European Heads of Government meeting. We support the decision taken by Europe in this regard and the clear statements made by the American Secretary of State in respect of the humanitarian crisis and the massacre that has been taking place in Syria.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue: With regard to the children’s referendum and the children’s Bill, which needs to be published in order to proceed with the referendum, the Taoiseach outlined earlier his reason for withdrawing from the commitment that it would happen in 2012 as being the complexity of the issue and the importance of getting it right. This issue is no more complex now than it was three weeks ago, when the Minister went on a big PR blitz announcing the fact that the referendum would happen in 2012. Three weeks later — and not for the first time — the Taoiseach is now rowing back on that and is once again using the rationale that it is a complex matter. Since the Taoiseach is no longer sticking to the commitment that this will happen in 2012, will he at least ensure that the legislation and the Bill will be published? There is no reason for that work not to proceed. We are now three months into the year. Will the Taoiseach give us a timeline for when the Bill will be published? That work should proceed and hopefully, once it is published, we can then push on with the referendum. I would hope that would happen in 2012 but having listened to the Taoiseach, I am not too confident of that.
The Taoiseach: The Deputy is wrong. I have not withdrawn from any of the timelines I have mentioned. What I said clearly was that it is very important that we get this right. Therefore, the legislation being prepared by the Minister is important. I will not say here that we will have a referendum on either of the two issues raised earlier until I am absolutely clear that we can do so within a specific period. Therefore, it is not true to say that we have withdrawn from either having a referendum in respect of the abolition of the Seanad or child protection in 2012. What I am concerned about is that we have clarity before we set out our horizon. I am sure the Deputy would agree with that.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: In view of the successful fight against organised crime in New York over a long number of years and in view of the obvious growth in that sector in this country over the past ten years, would it be possible to introduce two Bills for discussion in the House at the same time, perhaps on a Friday? These Bills are the money laundering Bill and the bail Bill, both of which are pivotal in the determination of the extent to which we can put a halt to this serious growing business of organised crime.
The Taoiseach: I have spoken to the Minster for Justice and Equality about the bail Bill which is a big piece of legislation. The Minister is interested in advancing it and work is ongoing on it. I do not have any date in respect of the money laundering Bill.
Deputy Dessie Ellis: Five families have been in caravans for the past two years in Avila Park in Finglas, having been moved there on health and safety grounds due to pyrite in their homes. Recently, officials from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government met with Dublin City Council and the capital project has been cut from €1.3 million last year to €50,000, a devastating cut. Will the Taoiseach outline when the committee that is responsible for discussing the pyrite issue will report back to the Government and whether legislation will be required as a result? Also, is there any legislation planned for the sell-off of Iarnród Éireann in the future? This issue has arisen recently.
Deputy Dessie Ellis: I asked about Iarnród Éireann. The other issue concerns pyrite and the committee set up to examine the issue. It is due to report back but do we know when it will report back and if legislation will be required to deal with this major issue.
The Taoiseach: I understand from Deputy Broughan there is a meeting on that issue today. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government has an interest in this issue and we are waiting for his report. On the other issue, as far as I understand, there is no legislation required in respect of not renewing the derogation in respect of Iarnród Éireann.
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