Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) (Amendment) Bill, 1993: Committee and Final Stages.

Thursday, 30 June 1994

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 140 No. 18

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Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

Government amendment No. 1:

In page 4, before section 6, to insert the following new section:

[1887]“6. (1) Section 4 of the Principal Act is hereby amended in subsection (1) by the substitution for paragraph (b) of the following:

`(b) in the case of a Member of Dáil Éireann who resides in his constituency —

(i) travelling facilities between Dublin and any place in his constituency,

(ii) travelling facilities between Dublin and his normal place of residence for the time being;”.

(2) This section shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 12th day of January, 1993.”.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  Earlier I referred to the anomaly that has arisen in relation to Deputies from Dublin and the payment of their travel claims. It has been the practice for many years to allow Members to claim travelling expenses in respect of journeys between a temporary holiday home and Leinster House. It has now emerged that while the legislation covers such journeys by those Members of Dáil Éireann who do not reside in their constituencies, it does not appear to cover similar claims by Deputies who reside within their constituencies. The amendment removes that anomaly.

Amendment agreed to.

Section 6 agreed to.

Question proposed: “That section 7 stand part of the Bill.”

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  The 21 sitting days are totally unnecessary. It is too long a period and it should be reduced to seven days. Perhaps the Minister would look at that.

Mr. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  It is a standard section and to my knowledge nobody has questioned it before. It is designed to ensure that Governments do not by sleight of [1888] hand get regulations through the Oireachtas. It tries to give Members of the House adequate time to ascertain the content of a Bill or an Order when it is passed and to allow them to annual it. It does not prevent the Bill or the Order coming into effect. It can come into effect immediately and perhaps be annulled later.

I will communicate the Senator's observations to the Minister.

Question put and agreed to.

Sections 8 and 9 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported with amendment and received for final consideration.

Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. Dempsey): Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  In case I do not return to the Seanad before the summer recess, and speaking in my capacity as Government Chief Whip, I thank Senators for their co-operation with my Office and with the Government in dealing with legislation during this session. I also thank the Members and staff of the Seanad for allowing the facilities of this Chamber to be used by Select Committees.

A number of Bills were initiated in the Seanad this year, although not as many as I had anticipated. That practice will be continued as much as possible. I formally apologise to the Seanad for withdrawing at the last minute a Bill which was due to be initiated here. I was obliged to withdraw the Bill because of lack of business in the other House.

Mr. Manning: Information on Maurice Manning  Zoom on Maurice Manning  I thank the Minister. The Minister recently produced elaborate and welcome plans for the restructuring of the House. A report on the future of the Library was also produced and there is a danger that the proposed immediate changes in the report could be delayed because of the Minister's plan. [1889] Would the Minister in the next session address the House about the plan and about how the immediate changes that must be made in the Library services can be expedited?

We accept the Minister's apologies for withdrawing the Bill at short notice. He gave us a grievance and that is always useful on a slack day.

Mr. Daly: Information on Brendan Daly  Zoom on Brendan Daly  I thank the Minister of State. He dealt with the Bill in a competent and professional manner. I hope he will take our points into account and deal with them when he has the opportunity.

Mr. Dempsey: Information on Noel Dempsey  Zoom on Noel Dempsey  It will be opportune to discuss the plan during the next session because greater detail will be available. I will be delighted to address the House.

Question put and agreed to.


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