Wednesday, 25 May 1983
Seanad Eireann Debate
Mr. Lanigan: On the Order of Business, is it in order for the Leader of the House to tell us when it is intended to take the motion on the Developments in the European Communities — Nineteenth and Twentieth Reports? At this stage these reports are nearly of historical value because it is so long since we have had a discussion on the developments in the EEC. It is about time that we discussed them. There has not been a meeting of the Joint Committee on the Secondary Legislation of the European Communities since this Dáil and Seanad started and there were only two meetings of that committee in the last Oireachtas. There was no meeting in the previous Oireachtas and if we are going to have reports from the EEC they should be taken as soon as possible.
Mrs. Robinson: My question fits in with the question asked by Senator Lanigan about the reports on developments in the Communities. I have asked, since the new Seanad was reconstituted and I will ask again, when the motions for establishing the Joint Committee on EEC Secondary Legislation will be coming before this House? I know that the matter is still before the other House, but it is time that the Seanad took an initiative. Like other Senators I feel there is very, very important outstanding EEC draft legislation which is getting no scrutiny from the Oireachtas. In addition, the statutory functions that the Joint Committee must perform of scrutinising the implementation of EEC legislation has not been performed for two years. This is a matter of very serious neglect at an official level of our duties and responsibilities, apart from the worrying aspects because of the importance of EEC law. This committee should be established forthwith and, if necessary, on the next sitting day we should have motions to that effect before us.
Mr. O'Leary: With regard to motion No. 5 on Developments in the European Communities, we are very anxious to take this at an early date. I will explain the difficulties the House is facing to the Senators so that they will appreciate that it might be a fortnight before this could be done. The difficulties that have arisen with regard to the discussion of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill and the length of time taken, which is in accordance with Senator Dooge's suggestion to the House that we would take as long as we felt was needed to discuss it, have put a number of things in arrears. I understand the Finance Bill will be coming to the House next week, and I understand that the Second Stage of the  Finance Bill is one of the occasions on which the House likes to have a wide-ranging discussion. It is, therefore, proposed that the Finance Bill would be taken basically on Wednesday, 1 June, Thursday, 2 June and Friday, 3 June. That would be the Second Stage of the Finance Bill. That, together with No. 4 on the Order Paper, which is a Money Bill — the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill — would form the business for the coming week. The Committee Stage of the Finance Bill would be taken either on Tuesday, 7 June or Wednesday, 8 June, as the Finance Bill requires to be law some time during that week. Due to circumstances outside the control of this House we find ourselves with a considerable time constraint in that regard. Because the Shannon Free Airport Development Company Limited (Amendment) Bill is, in fact, a Certified Money Bill it will be taken on one of the three days next week.
I agree with the indications of impatience with regard to the Joint Committee referred to by Senator Robinson. I think the approach of the House should be a co-ordinated approach and I would suggest that the Whips of the three parties should meet to see what initiative they can take in this matter if they feel an initiative is necessary by this House. That is the constructive way in which we can bring this thing forward. If it is necessary for the House to take the initiative on its own, that could well be a fruitful line of investigation.
Mrs. Honan: May I ask the Leader of the House why the Shannon Free Airport Bill is not being taken this week? I know we will be dealing with the Finance Bill next week but why is that Bill not being taken this week?
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