Wednesday, 15 May 1991
Seanad Éireann Debate
Dr. Upton: I should like to join in the request that the Minister for Agriculture and Food be invited to come into the House and make a statement on the crisis which has taken place in agriculture over the past few days. The beef industry is now in a grave crisis that seriously damages the whole credibility of the industry right across the continent of Europe. I would welcome the opportunity for the  Minister to come here to try to arrest the haemorrhage before it becomes totally out of control.
Professor Raftery: I, too, would like to support the call by Senator Doyle and Senator Upton to have a discussion on the question of the Goodman affair, as it is known. As I pointed out to this House before, beef contributes 20 per cent of our net exports. It is in crisis for a number of reasons. This is just the latest crisis and the most serious one.
Professor Raftery: I would like to ask the Leader to allow time today or tomorrow for the Minister for Agriculture and Food to come to this House and tell us what is happening and to clear up the issue if possible.
Mr. Hanafin: In view of the widespread concern and anger being expressed by some very fine and decent people in the Fine Gael organisation in Wicklow, I would like to know if Senator Ross has got permission from the Fine Gael front bench and from those fine decent people who have always been loyal to the Fine Gael Party to sit among them here today. A Chathaoirligh, you are a very knowledgeable man, you might be able to tell me.
Mr. B. Ryan: It is a long time since Senator Ross was a maiden, a Chathaoirligh. It is the most extravagant claim I have heard from Fine Gael, that you can reclaim your virginity by joining Fine Gael.
Mr. B. Ryan: I do not want to go over the unfortunate happening of a moment ago. Suffice it to say, I know that with your well recorded respect for the procedures of the law you would have no option but to do what you did.
An Cathaoirleach: Senator Ryan, I want to advise you here and now that you will not fudge any barbed remarks directed towards the Chair. I am advising you now that if you have something to contribute to the Order of Business, please do so, but do so in a manner that is appropriate to the Order of Business.
Mr. B. Ryan: Can I have some information from the Leader of the House about Item No. 5 on the Order Paper as to when it will be taken, how much time will be given for it and what procedures he proposes to adopt?
Mr. Cosgrave: May I ask the Leader of the House what are his intentions in relation to taking the Local Government Bill? Will he ensure that the House has adequate time to discuss the matter in all its Stages? I hope he will be able to confirm to us that it is not his intention to guillotine this matter through the House. May I also say to the Leader that, having regard to the fact that it is only going to leave the Dáil around 4.30 p.m. or 5 p.m., tomorrow we would propose that we take all Stages next week.
Mr. Lanigan: On the Order of Business, may I ask the Leader of the House if he could arrange to have a debate within the next couple of weeks in relation to postering before the local elections? Decisions have been taken in various places around the country that there should be no political postering before the local elections. I suggest that coming into a tourism season which is not looking very good this postering is not going to do any great good to the tourism seaon. I ask that the Leader of the House would arrange to have that matter addressed in the House.
Mr. Hourigan: Together with the other Senators who have made the point with regard to the Goodman affair, I, too, would like to know from the Leader if it could be arranged at the earliest opportunity for the Minister of Agriculture and Food to come into this House to clarify an extremely difficult but very imporant situation, that is, all the various reports that have been issued in recent days visà-vis the Goodman affair, all the wrong-doings that have been reported? I would like to ask the Leader if he can urgently arrange for that meeting which has been referred to by other speakers.
Mr. H. Byrne: For the umpteenth time I want to mention again the problem of falling farm incomes. If any other sector in the community were under such a threat we would have an immediate debate. This House should support the Minister for Agriculture and Food in his  opposition to leaked proposals. Therefore, I ask that we have an immediate debate and I plead with the Leader of the House to arrange for such debate.
Mr. O'Toole: I work as hard as anybody to keep the structures and procedures of the House in place. I am making the point that what happened today was incorrect. What has happened reflects badly on the House and on your judgement, Sir——
Mr. O'Toole: I am opposing the Order of Business and I will be calling a vote on it because we had looked forward to a debate on an issue about which we are all concerned. What has happened today has been a cowardly hiding behind procedures.
An Cathaoirleach: I have put it to the House. I remind the Senator that it is not my ruling he is challenging at this stage but the ruling of the House. The House has voted on my ruling and supports it overwhelmingly.
Mr. O'Toole: I am opposed to the Order of Business because it does not allow us to discuss the question of the Irish language, and caomhnóirí na Gaeilge on the other side of the House should be as concerned as I am. It is an outrageous decision and a majority will never create a morality.
Pól Ó Foighil: Ba mhaith liom a fhiafraí den Cheannaire cathain a thabharfaidh sé cead dúinn an Ghaeilge mar ábhar a phlé sa Teach seo mar a d'iarr mé an tseachtain seo caite. Tá sé soiléir óna tharla anseo inniú nach bhfuil suim dá laghad ag an Aire sa cheist.
Mr. Fallon: A number of Senators, including Senator Doyle, requested a debate on the beef industry which I will seriously contemplate and will ask the Whips to have a discussion on it this evening with a view to doing something positive in that regard. Senator Murphy's position has been explained.
Senator Upton also raised a question on the beef industry. Senator McGowan asked a question not appropriate to the Order of Business but he certainly raised the serious matter of gifts being confiscated by the Customs and Excise people from Irish soldiers. I share the Senator's concern in this matter. It is deplorable that gifts were taken from Irish troops returning from Lebanon. I understand that one of the gifts was a gold chain and a United Nations medal which was a gift made to each member of the Irish army. It is wrong and Senator McGowan has my assurance that I will take it up with the Minister for Finance.
In regard to Senator Cosgrave's query about the Local Government Bill, appropriate time will be given to it and there will be discussions with the Whips on that matter. Senator Lanigan asked about  postering at local elections which is a matter for the local political groupings. Senator Hourigan asked questions on the beef industry. Senator Bryne asked for a debate on agriculture. There is no plan for one at present; we had a debate before Easter and perhaps in the future we will have another. I accept it is an important issue and I will examine it again. Senator Howard asked about a Competition Bill which I understand is in the other House. As soon as it is finished there we will have it and I will keep him informed on the matter. Senator O'Toole and Senator Ó Foighil raised another matter. I do not want to reopen the issue but the Cathaoirleach made a very reasonable offer to Senator Murphy and to the Independents in this regard that they meet with him so that an amended form of the motion might be prepared. I urge the Senators to do that.
Question put: “That the Order of Business be Items 2 and 3 on the Order Paper, that Item 2 be taken until 6 p.m., that the sitting be suspended from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and that Item 3 be taken between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.”
Haughey, Seán F.
Ó Cuív, Éamon.
Hourigan, Richard V.
|Ó Foighil, Pól.
Ross, Shane P.N.
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