Tuesday, 31 May 2016
Order of Business
The Ceann Comhairle might start the curtailment when I have finished since he was generous with others.
I bring the Taoiseach's attention to the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016. It was the last Act passed by the House on 11 February. It is now 110 days later. In three and a half months we have not passed a single Bill. I cannot recall in my time here a period of time elapsing like this. The Taoiseach has indicated a list of Bills, some of which I have in front of me, which are ready to roll. Some of them have passed Second Stage and others are in the middle of Second Stage. The Taoiseach mentioned the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill, and legislation dealing with paternity leave and with standards in public office, in which I was involved. All of these Bills are ready. Why are we not dealing with legislation this week? We need to have a real legislative programme to get our teeth into and I ask the Taoiseach to ensure that we have this. I am amazed we do not have it for this week, but certainly we should have a comprehensive legislative programme for next week.
On a similar issue, we are halfway through the year and we have not passed any departmental Estimate. It cannot be that more than half of the allocated resource to a Department is extended without the authorisation of the House. It is constitutionally fraught to allow this. When will the Revised Book of Estimates be published so we can refer the Revised Estimates to committees and give them legal authority?
The Taoiseach will share with me the following deep concern. This morning, I heard that the Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath, is finding life at Cabinet very difficult. Is there anything we can do at this time of trauma for him to ease the burdens which are obviously placed upon him?