Wednesday, 17 February 1988
Seanad Eireann Debate
Mr. J. O'Toole: Having regard to the week that is in it, and with all that has happened, I have raised items ad nauseam in this Chamber over the past five or six months, and I have been told that they were timely or untimely. I have been given guarantees at other times that they would be taken. I am referring to Item No. 12 on the Order Paper. It seems to me that every State has a right and a duty to see that its citizens have fair play, whether it be inside or outside the State. I certainly believe that we have a commitment and a need to bring people to trial and to see that offenders——
Mr. J. O'Toole: I appeal to the Leader of the House to consider the guarantee and the promise he gave to me last October. It refers to Item No. 12 on the Order Paper. I also suggest on the same issue that, in the light of the events of the past week and the past month, when there were four or five other items which you would not allow me to refer to——
Mr. J. O'Toole: ——the Leader of the House should add Item No. 12 to the Order of Business today. I also ask him, as a supplementary, to allow my colleagues on the Fianna Fáil benches who I know would wish——
Mr. Manning: May I ask the Leader of  the House, through the Chair, if agreement has been reached to take next week the all-party motion on the AIDS question which was raised last week? May I also ask for information on the status of Item No. 8, the Insurance Bill and when we may expect to have that in Committee Item No. 9, the Adoption (No. 2) Bill; and Item No. 6, the Companies (No. 2) Bill. Has the Leader of the House some indication as to when they might be reached? Do I assume now, with the publication of the Government's Bill during the week for the Dáil, that Item No. 10 lapses?
Mr. Robb: I am a much more patient man than Senator O'Toole. Item No. 29 on the Order of Business has been there in its present form for some five years with different signatories, depending upon the various Governments who have been in and out of power. I call your attention to it, particularly as it has got very marked relevance to the possibility of movement in relation to the politics of this island, and the politics of division in this island. Before I sit down, I would like to add to that a word of congratulation or support for the way in which the Taoiseach has been handling the present crisis and for the support he has had from the various political parties, particularly with the ——
Mr. Norris: I will not make a speech. I would like to second what Senator Robb said about the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and seek further clarification from the Leader of the House regarding what other Oireachtas joint committees may be established. I feel it is particularly important that one  should be established in the area of law reform. I look for some information on that from the Leader of the House.
I will welcome, if we get it, an agreed all-party motion to replace the motion I placed on the Order Paper with regard to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. If this is accepted, I will be attempting to arrange a briefing session for all Members of the House so that it may be an informed discussion that takes place rather than one in the dim light of the collective ignorance of all the parties.
Mrs. Fennell: I would like to say to you that I had a question in for the Adjournment debate last week. This was on funding for a group called the AIM group. You notified me that it was out of order because it was——
Mrs. Fennell: I am not normally disruptive, but I have to say that I think this is very wrong and very unfair. The Government are wriggling out of paying the money that is necessary to these small groups who are suffering badly because of the national lottery.
Mr. Ferris: I saw a copy of the Whips' agenda for this week's business which included Item No. 38 as being taken tomorrow. I know it is not relevant to today but Senator Manning has raised a question. As Item No. 38 is so far down, is it still intended to take it tomorrow?
Mr. Mooney: I share Senator O'Toole's concern in relation to Item No. 12. If and when the Government decide to bring it forward, I will be happy to make my own contribution. In that context I hope my views will be shared by all sides of the House in the light of the  decision of the British Home Secretary to make the Prevention of Terrorism Act a permanent feature of British law and that we will not have the disgraceful situation where a citizen of this country who wishes——
Professor Murphy: I take keen relish in disassociating myself from the motion proposed by Senator O'Toole. I do not think Item No. 12 has any urgency. I do not think it has any relevance in view of the Taoiseach's firm assurance this morning that extradition will be operated only according to the law recently enacted, in accordance with the procedures that we, in the Oireachtas, have laid down. With regard to Senator Paschal Mooney's point, it is no harm to remind the House very briefly that the Prevention of Terrorism Act with all its inconveniences and unpleasantness for Irish citizens, both living in England and travelling to England, was brought in because of the mainline strategy of the Provisional IRA to carry on their campaign of terrorism and assassination against the people of the United Kingdom.
Mr. McGowan: Is it standard practice for the Leas-Chathaoirleach or the Cathaoirleach to accept that a certain number of Senators get away with making a speech and it is good enough to get a short version of what you intend to say——
Mr. Ross: I am speaking on the Order of Business. I wish to associate myself with the remarks of Senator Murphy on the Order of Business. What I would suggest is that perhaps because feelings are high on issues such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act and extradition the Leader of the House might consider giving us time for a debate on Anglo-Irish relations today or tomorrow such as is going on in the other House.
Mr. B. Ryan: I am a bit wary of rising in the light of Senator McGowan's remarks  but I will take the risk nevertheless. Senator Manning made some extraordinary reference to Item No. 10. I was beginning to wonder if we had arrived at 1 April, because I could not follow the logic of it. Item No. 10 is the Housing (Homeless Persons) Bill. The Government have introduced a Housing (Get the Local Authorities off the Hook) Bill. There is virtually no connection between it and my Bill, either in its intent or in the way it will operate as written. I will ask you to rule that my own Bill does not lapse. Given that you will rule accordingly, I want to assure the House that it will not be withdrawn.
Mr. Lydon: On a point of information, I do not have a copy of Standing Orders. I just want to ask a question. With regard to the Video Recording Bill I see that it is planned to introduce seven new sections. Will those sections be introduced on Report Stage, or will they have to go through all the stages the other sections of the Bill went through?
Mr. Lanigan: Starting with Senator O'Toole, Senator Murphy and Senator Mooney it is not intended that Item No. 12 will be taken today. On Senator Manning's request on Item No. 20, it is intended to have an early debate on that. It will not be taken tomorrow. It is more than likely to be taken next Thursday. I think there is very little difficulty as between the various parties in getting a formula of words. This matter was raised again by Senator Norris. I can assure him that I and the other Members of the House are possibly as well aware of the implications of AIDS as he is. I doubt that we will be dealing with it from the dim light of our collective ignorance.  That is not a term that I would like to have used in relation to any Member of this House. It is a term that I object to. I am sure other people in the House would object to it also. I suggest that his ignorance could be as abysmal as that of the rest of us.
The question asked by Senator Ferris regarding Item No. 38 was referred to again by Senator Manning. It is not intended that this motion will be taken at this time. I suggest there are difficulties which will be overcome within the next week or two. That matter can be debated within the next few weeks, but it will not be debated tomorrow.
The question raised by Senator Lydon has been dealt with by the Leas-Chathaoirleach. On the request by Senator Ross for time for a debate on Anglo-Irish affairs and the PTA, the Whips can get together to see if a formula of words can be agreed on so that a debate can take place on that item.
Item No. 6 was raised by Senator Manning. It is intended that Item No. 6 will be taken on Wednesday of next week. Senator Brendan Ryan raised the subject of Item No. 10. The Government have a Bill which was published this week. That Bill will be before us in due course. It will be taken as soon as possible. I believe it is intended to introduce the Bill in the Dáil so it will be debated in the Dáil before it comes to us.
Mr. Norris: I do not believe that the Leader of the House answered the query raised by Senator Robb and myself about the question of committees. Perhaps in the general clamour I missed this but, if he did not, perhaps he would address himself to that point.
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