Business of Seanad.

Wednesday, 22 July 1987

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 116 No. 20

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An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  As it is now 4.25 p.m., will the Leader of the House indicate if it is intended to take the next item.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  It is intended that we break from now until 5 o'clock. Since many Senators were interested in having the time for the motion extended, it is intended to take it at 5 o'clock, notwithstanding anything under Standing Order 41. The motion will conclude not later than 8 o'clock. I expected that we might have been able to take the motion immediately but there are technical reasons as to why we cannot take it which have nothing to do with the Government side. The intention is that we take Committee and Remaining Stages of the Restrictive Practices (Amendment) Bill at 8 o'clock and take the Adoption Bill tomorrow morning.

Mr. Doyle: Information on Joseph Doyle  Zoom on Joseph Doyle  I must protest at this change in the Order of Business. We spent the longest time ever — 40 minutes — discussing the Order of Business today. We said we were going to take items Nos. 1 and 2. For some reason, best known to the Leader of the House, No. 2 is not being taken now. I was in possession when this Bill was before the House last Thursday and I have waited around today to continue my contribution. I find it unusual that we are going to take the Restrictive Practices measure which was not even mentioned on the Order of Business today by the Leader of the House. Some explanation should be given to the House for this sudden change in the Order of Business, with which I totally disagree. I want to make the strongest possible protest against it as it is an inconvenience to Members. The Order of Business is set for the day and its purpose is to determine what the House will debate. If we are extending the time for the motion on education, and I agree it [2735] should be extended, it should not start earlier than was anticipated. The normal time for starting this motion is 6.30 p.m. There is something unusual about the Order of Business as it is now. It is not the one that was ordered today. I ask you, as Cathaoirleach, for your ruling on it.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  I am surprised that Senator Doyle is upset because he has to wait around. The House is sitting and I did not think that anybody was waiting around. On the Order of Business this morning I said that items Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 were going to be taken today and that the only item I would give a time for was the matter of the motion. It could happen that we will take the Adoption Bill later tonight. If Senator Doyle wishes we can take it at 10 o'clock tonight; I have no objection to that. I was quite prepared to take the education motion immediately, which is an anti-Government motion, and to give an extended time to it, but because I wanted to give an opportunity to the Seantors who proposed the motion to get in, it was agreed that we would take it at 5 o'clock.

Mr. Doyle: Information on Joseph Doyle  Zoom on Joseph Doyle  The reason we are not taking the Adoption Bill now and the reason it is proposed to take a break is that the Minister for Health or the Minister of State are not available at this time. That is why we are going on with this conniving and I object strongly to it. I ask for a ruling by you, a Chathaoirligh, on this matter.

Mrs. Bulbulia: Information on Katherine Bulbulia  Zoom on Katherine Bulbulia  I support my colleague, Senator Joe Doyle. I happened to be in possession on the education motion before it was adjourned. I was visited just now by Senator Willie Ryan who informed me that the debate would start immediately upon the conclusion of the Abattoirs Bill. I rushed here because I am determined to speak on this motion and did not want to risk losing my place, which would happen if I was not here. I have just come from a meeting of the Joint Committee on Women's Rights and [2736] purely by accident I met Senator Willie Ryan who informed me of the change; otherwise I might quite reasonably and legitimately have arrived here at 6.30 p.m. expecting the debate to start at that time. Senator Lanigan kindly told us that he would allow an extension of this debate and one normally thinks of an extention as being something that occurs at the end of a debate rather than at the beginning. There is an element of sharp practice in this because those who very much wish to speak on the education motion might not have been available at 4.30 p.m. or at 5 o'clock and it is less than fair.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  If the House wishes, we can start this debate immediately. I have been endeavouring all day to find members of the Opposition parties to seek their co-operation in attempting to get the Order of Business organised. One reason the Restrictive Practices (Amendment) Bill is not being taken now is that I have not been able to contact our Senator who has put down a number of amendments to it. Because of that we had to reorganise the Order of Business. I do not want the Restrictive Practices Bill to go ahead because of the Senator's absence. If the House wishes, I will be strict in the ordering of business and I will not afford to people who put down motions and who are not present in the House the opportunity to disappear. I will not allow the argument to be put back on this side of the House. We have tried to accommodate the House all day. The leader of the Fine Gael group and the leader of the Labour group have been contacted. We were unable to contact the leader of the Independent group because he is not available. We tried to contact various members of the Independent group, one of whom has put down amendments on the Restrictive Practices Bill. We can go ahead without her but that is——

Mr. Doyle: Information on Joseph Doyle  Zoom on Joseph Doyle  When we were ordering business this morning we did not hear what the Leader of the House is telling [2737] us now. Why is he not prepared to go ahead with the Adoption Bill?

Mr. W. Ryan: Information on William Ryan  Zoom on William Ryan  On a point of order, I informed the leader of the Fine Gael group about a half an hour ago or more that we intended making this change and he was agreeable to it.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Is the amendment to the Order of Business agreed?

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  I have some sympathies with the Government party. At the risk of provoking a massive row, I did not agree that the education motion would be taken at 5 o'clock. The row is not between me and the Leader but between me and my colleagues, if they are not here at 5 o'clock. I had to tell the Leader of the House that I could not agree to it because I was unable to contact anybody. I am very sorry, I was not going to get involved in the controversy. I could not agree because I had not the authority to do so. I have sympathy with the Leader of the House and with Senator Doyle. I feel the same as they do about the Adoption Bill. As regards the motion in our names, I could not agree to it beginning at 5 o'clock because I was not authorised to do so and I am very sorry if I gave the Leader a different impression.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  If the House wishes we will adjourn until 6.30 p.m. and we will take the motion from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. with no extension of time.

Mr. Doyle: Information on Joseph Doyle  Zoom on Joseph Doyle  Why must the House adjourn until 6 o'clock? It is now 4.30 p.m. Why not take the Adoption Bill now, the second item on the Order of Business, which the Leader of the House said this morning would be taken?

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  Because I decided it will not be taken.

Mr. Doyle: Information on Joseph Doyle  Zoom on Joseph Doyle  That is a very dictatorial attitude to take. If you had said that this morning it would have been much easier for us all.

[2738]An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Is the amendment to the Order of Business agreed?

Mr. McMahon: Information on Lawrence McMahon  Zoom on Lawrence McMahon  Which amendment?

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  If the House disagrees I am quite willing to leave this over until 6.30 p.m. and to have the debate from 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Since there is controversy we should adjourn until 6.30 p.m. and take the motion from 6.30 p.m. until 8 p.m. with no extension.

Mr. W. Ryan: Information on William Ryan  Zoom on William Ryan  Could the motion be taken at 6 o'clock?

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  I cannot accept two equally unpalatable alternatives. The last information I got from Senator O'Toole was that the Government group had agreed to an extension of the time and a restriction on the speaking time. That is the way my colleagues in the Independent group chose to order their day. Independent Members are not under the control of the Whips and, therefore, there is no way I can be sure they are here. I am not saying that I do not want to start at 5 p.m. I am simply saying that I cannot agree to it. I am not accepting responsibility which I am not authorised to accept. I have enough responsibilities without accepting those. If I could contact people I am certain they would agree to start at 5 p.m. But, as I have no guarantee they will be here, I cannot agree to it.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  Could we have some agreement on what we are doing?

Mrs. Bulbulia: Information on Katherine Bulbulia  Zoom on Katherine Bulbulia  The Leader of the House kindly indicated that he would give an extra half an hour to this debate if those contributing to it each spoke for ten minutes. It would be a satisfactory compromise if we commenced the debate at 6 p.m. this evening until normal concluding time.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  We should take Committee Stage of the Restrictive Practices (Amendment) Bill now irrespective of the fact that the Member who put down [2739] the amendments is not here and take the motion at 6.30 p.m. as planned.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  We will now take item No. 4. Is that agreed?

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Has the Leader of the House decided to extend the time for the education debate?

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  No.

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  From 6.30 p.m. until when for the education debate?

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  Two hours have been allotted.

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Are we reducing the time of speakers?

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  Each speaker will have ten minutes.

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  The debate will be from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. and each speaker will have ten minutes?

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  Yes.

Mr. B. Ryan: Information on Brendan Ryan  Zoom on Brendan Ryan  Thank you very much.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  The Leader of the House said he is not taking item No. 2.

Mr. McMahon: Information on Lawrence McMahon  Zoom on Lawrence McMahon  This is an amendment to the Order of Business. As I understood the Order of Business, we should now be taking item No. 2. Am I correct?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  The Leader of the House has said that he is not taking item No. 2 just now.

Mr. Lanigan: Information on Mick Lanigan  Zoom on Mick Lanigan  The order was items Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 but there was no suggestion as to what order we would take them in. We will have to sit tomorrow if the business of the House is not concluded.

Mr. McMahon: Information on Lawrence McMahon  Zoom on Lawrence McMahon  The Leader's comment is unfair. It is normal to give the [2740] Order of Business in the order in which it is taken in the House.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Tras Honan  Zoom on Tras Honan  With all due respect to the entire House we are wasting time now that was terribly valuable today at 2.30 p.m. Could you just make a decision?

Question, “That the Order of Business be amended so that item No. 4. be taken now,” put and agreed to.


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