Thursday, 30 May 1991
Seanad Éireann Debate
Mr. Falllon: It is proposed to take item No. 2, the Child Care Bill, 1988, Committee Stage, until 1 o'clock and, subject to the Health (Amendment) Bill being received from the Dáil, it is proposed to take all Stages of that Bill from 2.30 p.m. until not later than 8 p.m. The sos will be from 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.
Mr. Manning: Could I offer, on behalf of my group, my congratulations to Archbishop Daly on his appointment as Cardinal? All our good wishes go to him on his new appointment. It was very encouraging yesterday to see genuine goodwill coming from all sections of the community in the North on his appointment. On the Order of Business——
Mr. Norris: I, too, would like to join in the message of goodwill and congratulations to the new Cardinal. It is appropriate that this island should have  at least one Cardinal. Archbishop Daly is a very distinguished scholar and a distinguished churchman. One thing that I was particularly pleased about was the very warm message of congratulations that was sent to the Cardinal from the primate of my own Church, the Anglican Church in Ireland. The new Cardinal is a man who is very distinguished, rather conservative, but a man for whom even those who do not necessarily agree with him theologically would have a great deal of respect. He is also a man of compassion and great standing. We are lucky to have this new Cardinal in this country.
Miss Keogh: On behalf of the Progressive Democrats I would like to join in the congratulations that have been expressed by my colleagues. It is very significant that from all sides in Northern Ireland there have been messages of goodwill to the Cardinal. He is a figure who, to some extent, represents unity. I hope his influence can be brought to bear in the future. I hope he will have a long and happy reign in Armagh as Cardinal.
An Cathaoirleach: I would like to be associated with the remarks of the Members of the various groups in the House. I regret that we had to intrude, Senator Manning, but we will return now to the Order of Business.
Mr. Manning: I want to object to the way in which business is being ordered today. It is not right that a Bill should finish in the Dáil at 1.30 p.m. and come straight in here. It is not even on the Order Paper. We do not know what changes are being made in the Dáil. Surely the whole point of the second Chamber is that we have time to look at the changes made to the Bill in the Dáil and to come in here in a calm way next Tuesday or Wednesday, if needs be. It is totally unacceptable. This is not the first time Bills have been rushed in here from the Dáil and on a guillotine basis.
Mr. Manning: We have become a sausage machine as far as the processing of Bills is concerned. I find it unacceptable. It is bad for the House; it is bad for legislation. I ask the Leader of the House what sort of pressure he is under that makes it so imperative that this Bill has to be rushed through all Stages today?
Mr. B. Ryan: I am the senior Member here this morning. I support Senator Manning. If the Leader can give me a reason why this Bill has to be rushed through today I will listen to it. Although he has his moments, he is usually a very reasonable man, so there may be a good reason for this. If it is simply that it happens to be convenient, and there happens to be a convenient slot of time and he is rushing the Bill through now for ministerial or Government convenience, that is not good enough. It is ridiculous for this legislation to pass in the other House at 1.30 p.m., be brought in here at 2 p.m. and expect some sort of serious discussion on it. You will have smart aleck comments from the other side of the House about amendments being the same as ones tabled in the Dáil. What else can people do when they do not have a chance to seriously reflect on changes made in the Dáil? I agree with Senator Manning.
Mr. O'Reilly: As health spokesperson for our party I want to join with our party leader, Senator Manning, in complaining about the ordering of business today. We will not have a adequate amount of time to discuss this important legislation. We will not have time for the necessary reflection on the Bill or to propose the necessary amendments. It is all too hasty. Unless there are very compelling reasons involving the welfare of a lot of people. We should not rush the Bill through. I cannot see such reasons and I do not think it should be rushed through.
I also want, as an Ulsterman, to associate myself with the congratulations to the new Cardinal-designate. As a man of  peace, he is a very appropriate person to be Cardinal at present. There is nothing needed more in Ulster at this stage then peace and reconciliation. We are all hopeful that the disgusting cycle of violence there will end shortly. This has a lot of implications for the whole country.
Mr. Norris: I would like to share the concern expressed by Senators Manning, O'Reilly and B. Ryan about the way in which this legislation is being rushed through. Senator Ryan spoke very reasonably when he said that if there was some reason why it had to be through, then perhaps the Leader would explain it. I would like to ask the Leader of the House to give the House an explanation, if one exists. With the Local Government Bill there was a clear problem, although I have to say that even on that occasion a small group of us dealt with the amendments during the day. I had to leave for about an hour and when I returned here the debate had collapsed. Yesterday the same thing happened with the Finance Bill. I was in my office waiting for a particular section to come up. The House was at section 43. I ran down to the House but when I got here they were at section 74.
Mr. Norris: That is obviously the case. I am glad this has registered with you. It is a pity if the Upper House is being regarded merely as a rubber stamp. Constitutionally we have not only a right but a duty to contribute to the refining of legislation. If legislation comes direct to us from the Dáil, there is no time for reflection. There is no time to table amendments. I share the general concern.
I would like to ask the Leader also if he can clarify a point for me about the regulations in the Control of Dogs Act. It was stated today on the radio that the regulations are now in force, including the provision regarding bulldogs. I wonder if that could be clarified. I thought — but perhaps I am wrong — that regulations needed to be placed before the House and approved. Perhaps they do not have to be approved. If they do, I would like them to be brought forward so they could be sent back in order to exclude bulldogs. It is a pity to have a Bill that is nonsense.
I would like if the Leader of the House would convey, or if he would think it appropriate to convey, what I am sure must be a general feeling in this House of great sadness and outrage at the appalling bombing in Northern Spain apparently by the forces of ETA, collaborators with our own Provisional IRA. I would like the Leader to convey our sympathy to the Spanish Ambassador.
Mr. Fallon: In reply to a number of queries from Senators in regard to the Health (Amendment) Bill, I have been informed that the benefits of this legislation come into play on Saturday, 1 June and the Bill must be signed, I understand, tomorrow. Therefore, on completion of the Bill tonight we will have an earlier signature motion for completion.
The other query raised by Senator Norris concerns the control of dogs regulations, I will investigate that, Senator Norris, and inform you of the position. I will convey your concern at the bombing in Northern Spain to the appropriate authority.
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