Wednesday, 2 March 1988
Seanad Eireann Debate
Mr. Lanigan: We are used to your intimidatory manner here at times but definitely there was nothing intimidatory about it. It was the inimitable Tras. You brought a breath of fresh air into the proceedings last week for which we thank you very much.
Mr. Manning: A Chathaoirligh, I should like to join with the Leader of the House in saying how proud we all were of you last Friday and thank you for the very stylish way in which this House was represented.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I wish to raise the question of item No. 59 on the Order Paper dealing with the nuclear industry. I asked the Deputy Leader of the House a few weeks ago for a very wide-ranging debate on the nuclear industry. This might be put down as an all-party motion if that is agreeable to the Leader of the  House. If he was not prepared to consider this precise one, would he consider putthing down an all-party motion, or something approaching an all-party motion on it?. Also, a Chathaoirligh, I would like to join with him in his comments on the way you represented all of us. I felt proud to be represented by you last week end in the Dáil Chamber. I certainly think you did us proud.
Could I also draw attention to item No. 16 on the Order Paper? In the light of all that has happened over the past number of weeks with regard to Anglo-Irish relations, I would like to raise two points. First of all, I wish to refer again to the need for a debate on Anglo-Irish relations in this House and to ask the Leader of the House if he would consider putting such an item down for discussion. I would like to raise the need for movement on the Extradition Act which now, more than ever, needs to be amended. We have a clear duty to see to it that people we extradite have a fair trial and that we have confidence in the legal system in the country to which we are extraditing people and that we——
Mr. Ferris: A Chathaoirligh, on the Order of Business, I wish to join with the Leader of the House in his tributes to you on the way you represented all of us at the special Joint Sitting on the occasion of the visit of President Mitterrand. We were very proud of you as I have already told you privately. The Chair should be commended when it is appropriate to do so, privately or otherwise. We were very proud of you and you did it in our own natural way. That was what we liked about it.
May I ask if it is the intention to take item No. 42 this week or next week? I understand why the Leader of the House had to postpone the agreement to take it last week. Perhaps he would intimate whether he intends to take it tomorrow or next week as we want to inform the  people who have an interest in this item which is, in fact, an all-party resolution.
Mrs. Fennell: I would like once again to raise the matter of item No. 8, which is the Adoption (No. 2) Bill, 1987. This Bill is very badly needed. The debate on it began in this House last July. Again and again I and other Members have asked about it, but there does not seem to be any sign of it coming through. It will deal with possibly 1,000 abandoned, legitimate children. We need legal provisions to help these children. It is an indication of the Government's lack of concern and interest in social issues that this Bill has not come through. It is absolutely inexcusable.
Mr. B. Ryan: I am grateful for the listing of item No. 17 today. As the House knows, it is simply a formal introduction. Could I further impose on the Leader of the House by asking that item No. 17 be taken first? It is a formality. If he agrees we could take it first and it would be over in less than five minutes.
Mr. Connor: Could we ask for the nth time if there has been any progress on the establishment of a foreign affairs committee? The Leader of the House promised last week that he might have news for us soon. I wonder if “soon” is now.
Mr. Lanigan: I take the point raised by Senator B. Ryan. Yes, item No. 17 can be taken as the first item. With regard to Senator J. O'Toole's request that Ireland be declared a nuclear free zone — item No. 59 — we have a clear and unambiguous position regarding the nuclear industry. I am not too sure whether declaring Ireland a nuclear free zone would be of any benefit to the people of Ireland because at this stage we are a nuclear free zone but, unfortunately, we are being imposed upon by outside influences. It might have some outside influence from a moral point of view if Ireland were declared a nuclear free zone. I do not think it has any practical value at all. However, the Whips can get together and  discuss that. I have no hang-ups about having a discussion on that.
I can guarantee that item No. 16 will not be taken for a debate on Anglo-Irish relations. There is no problem about having a debate of this nature. In view of the request made by Senator Ferris about item No. 42, a debate on Anglo-Irish affairs would probably be of more importance than a debate on item No. 42. If agreement can be reached, we might have that debate on Thursday of next week. That can be open to discussion during the day. In actual fact, I think it would be better if item No. 42 was put back. I do not want to go into the details of that. I disagree with Senator Fennell's remarks about this Government's lack of concern on social issues. This Government have proved their concern in the area of social issues but the Government——
Mr. Lanigan: ——will not allow a Bill to come forward which might have very serious implications for very many children born, and not yet born, in this country. The Bill she refers to — the Adoption (No. 2) Bill — is very important. It brings in changes in legislation which affects families now and will affect families in the future. There is no way that it is through lack of concern that this Bill is not before the House. The Bill will be brought forward as soon as all the inhibitions in terms——
Mr. Lanigan: As soon as possible. There was a question about a foreign affairs committee. Again, I will discuss  that with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Government. There is no indication at this stage that a committee on foreign affairs will be set up, but I will bring the matter to the Government.
Mr. Manning: Very specific commitments were given by the Leader of the House to Senator Ryan, Senator O'Toole and Senator Bulbulia over the past number of weeks about the urgency of the Adoption (No. 2) Bill. We are being told here today that it will come in at some date in the future. It does not seem to be important. I must say I have to register our very strong objection to the way in which this is being handled.
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