Dáil debates

Thursday, 3 February 2005

10:30 am

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. 17, the Water Services Bill 2003 [Seanad] — Second Stage (resumed); and No. 1, Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are no proposals to put to the House on the Order of Business.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Now that the Taoiseach appears to be intent on having a new outer radial route around Dublin, when is a decision likely to be made in respect of whether we are to have a Dublin metro and when is that Bill likely to be produced?

Second, is it intended that the Government will make time available today for statements in the House following the statement issued last night by the IRA which is an affront to Irish people, North and South? Great resentment is taken at the commencement of the statement, that the leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann makes the following points. There is one Óglaigh na hÉireann in this country and that is the Irish Army and the members of the Irish Army wear that logo with pride on their uniforms. Is it intended that time will be set aside today for statements in the House following this implied threat that the Good Friday Agreement will not be concluded unless the provisional republican movement gets its way in all circumstances?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The first question was dealt with on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Minister may reply to the second question.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Obviously these are matters that can be referred to the Taoiseach who speaks on behalf of the Government on them. It is not for me to make further comment except to say that from our point of view it is a matter for the two Governments to discharge their responsibilities in ensuring that the Agreement is implemented in full.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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I agree with the suggestion of Deputy Kenny. It would be appropriate if time were made available to discuss the situation in Northern Ireland after what was a petulant, belligerent and somewhat threatening statement last night from the IRA that seeks to lay the blame at everyone else's door for the stalling of the peace process.

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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The usual.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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It sees nothing wrong with the discharging of its own responsibilities under the Belfast Agreement.

In every Dáil session since spring 2003 the work permits Bill has been promised for that session. Every day and increasingly we hear stories of the most outrageous exploitation of non-national workers in this jurisdiction. That Bill has been promised for publication each session since January 2003. Will the Minister for Finance say when it will come before the House?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I have been assured it will be published this session.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Will the Minister reply to the question about Northern Ireland? Will time be provided for that debate?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It is always a matter for the Whips to decide at any time how the business of the House is ordered.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It is not, it is a matter for the Government.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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It is a matter for the Government.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The Government's position is clear. We will discharge our responsibilities and it is up to others to discharge theirs.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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On a point of order, a Cheann Comhairle, the Taoiseach and Ministers constantly state that it is a matter for the Whips to order business, but it is not a matter for the Whips, it is a matter for the House. The Government orders the business of the House. Therefore, it is a matter for it to make time available or not.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not really a matter for the Order of Business——

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It is very much a matter for the Order of Business.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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——unless a debate has already been promised.

Photo of Pádraic McCormackPádraic McCormack (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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It has been promised several times.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair has been lenient this morning in allowing questions.

Photo of Dan BoyleDan Boyle (Cork South Central, Green Party)
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The Green Party supports the requests for time to be made available to discuss last night's IRA statement, especially because of its belligerent tone and its implication that weapons can be used as some kind of bargaining chip.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Photo of Dan BoyleDan Boyle (Cork South Central, Green Party)
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I am stating the position of other Deputies. Will the Minister for Finance take the opportunity to correct errors made by himself and the Taoiseach reported in yesterday's Official Report? The Taoiseach made two factual errors in his reply to a question about the M50, stating that something cannot be done——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to find another way of raising the matter.

Photo of Dan BoyleDan Boyle (Cork South Central, Green Party)
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I am asking that the record be corrected in both instances. The Minister for Finance also seems to have made a factual error in terms of whether the European Commission had made a preliminary finding or not.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Minister has written to the Chair and will give a personal explanation.

Photo of Arthur MorganArthur Morgan (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Given that the Dublin Airport Authority intends to change the terms and conditions of its workers, in contravention of guarantees in the State Airports Act 2004, by ending the receipt of discounted flights by workers, does the Government intend to introduce amendments to the State Airports Act 2004 to facilitate that requirement of the airport authority?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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No such legislation is promised.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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To enable the Government to elucidate on the position at the ESB, is it possible to indicate when the ESB Bill will come before the House? Furthermore, can it be done so as a matter of urgency in order that the House might have an opportunity to discuss the issues which are likely to affect the ESB in future?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Revised heads of the Bill are being prepared and the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has announced a review of the industry.

Joe Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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Do the Government parties acknowledge that transport problems exist in the south as well as in the east of the country? When will the transport (increase in CIE borrowings) Bill come before the House? In the context of problems with the N72 and N73 in north Cork, when will the national roads infrastructure Bill come before the House?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The first Bill to which the Deputy referred should come before the House this year. The second matter to which he referred is under discussion by the Cabinet.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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The need for a debate on climate change was raised at the Whips' meeting last night. Will the Government indicate whether the House will discuss this most important national and international issue.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is a debate promised?

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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That is what I am asking. If a debate is not promised, I would like to hear why not.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Ryan——

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The Whips discussed the matter for all the good that did.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not appropriate to raise issues on the Order of Business which are not promised in the House. We would be here all day if every Member of the House wished to raise an issue either at a national level or concerning his or her constituency.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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This is not a small matter. It is an issue——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are other ways of raising the issue and I ask the Deputy to remain within the provisions of standing orders.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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Will the Ceann Comhairle tell me how we can go about this? Can I make a point of order? This is an issue which goes across every Department and has profound effects.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Yes. However, Standing Order 26 is quite specific and I request Members to remain within its terms.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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Can I hear the Minister's response?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy cannot raise this issue and ask for a debate if no debate has been promised.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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How do I find out if the Government will be willing to have a debate on the issue of climate change?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy knows the means afforded by the House for him to do so.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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How do I find that out?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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If the Deputy has a difficulty, he should call to the Office of the Ceann Comhairle, which will be glad to assist.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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How do I find out the Government's position on whether we will have a debate on climate change?

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The fines Bill allows for increases in fines and indexation and so on. The House was promised an attachment of fines Bill on a number of occasions. However, it is not on the list. Will the Minister for Finance indicate if and when it will be added to the list? If we increase fines, we must have some way of collecting them.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I understand the fines Bill will come before the House this year and whether the matters to which the Deputy has referred will be incorporated in the Bill is a matter for debate on Second Stage.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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What about the attachment of fines Bill?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I am not aware of any such Bill.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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When will the electoral Bill to revise the Dáil constituencies be published and when is it expected to be enacted or taken in the House?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It is expected to be debated this session.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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Since the Taoiseach's white elephant of the national stadium has been permanently parked, like many of my constituents on the M50 every morning, we have been waiting for plans for Abbottstown. In that context, when will the Abbottstown sports campus development authority Bill be brought before the House and debated?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Minister, Department of Finance; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I understand it will be during this session.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It will be a very busy session.