Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 February 2005

10:30 am

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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It is proposed to take No. 1 the Garda Síochána Bill 2004 [Seanad] — Second Stage; and No. 15 the Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill 2004 — Second Stage (Resumed).

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

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Within the next half hour the International Monitoring Commission will publish its report. When will the Government give its official reaction to the report? I understand the Government has had advance sight of the report and the House would like to be party to whatever comments and reaction the Government might make in this regard.

Today will also see publication of a report into the sad death of Róisín Ruddle. The Order Paper contains a Nurses (Amendment) Bill. It is a sad reflection on our health service to plan for a known shortage in intensive care nursing. I understand the report will indicate that the Department of Health and Children was aware for years of this growing problem. What changes will be made to address these shortages? We read in the newspapers this week that the national task force on medical staffing has been abandoned by the Government. What does the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children propose to do to allow a proper debate on this matter in the context of greatly needed reform in the nursing area.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy McManus on the second issue raised by Deputy Bruton.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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We all feel great sympathy for the family of Róisín Ruddle on a terrible tragedy. I hope that at least some good can come of the matter. Will the Tánaiste finally recognise the serious deficiencies in the flow of nurses into our hospitals? We have a major problem in retaining nurses, particularly in the Dublin hospitals, even though a sufficient number of them is being trained. When the report is published will the Tánaiste allow a full debate in this House? We are all extremely concerned, particularly as no new nurses will graduate or qualify this year due to changes in the training scheme. I urge the Tánaiste to agree to a debate on the report and the issues relating to it in the House at the earliest opportunity.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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Does the Tánaiste agree that the sad and tragic death of Róisín Ruddle is symptomatic of the crisis in our health service? We do not seek the world-class health service the Tánaiste has promised. Instead, we would like a simple assurance. Can she promise the House that she will speedily implement the health strategy? That is all we are looking for. We do not expect the fantastic health service the Tánaiste has promised at this stage, but simply a basic health service.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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I raised issues relating to the death of Róisín Ruddle earlier under Standing Order 31. I join other Deputies in appealing to the Tánaiste, who is responsible for this area as Minister for Health and Children, to consider the report into the death of Róisín Ruddle, which will be published today, and subsequently to take a proactive approach to the critical needs within the acute hospital services system. I emphasise the importance of tackling the shortage of front-line health care workers.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Deputy Bruton asked about the report of the monitoring committee. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform will make a statement when the report is published.

Our thoughts today are with the parents of the late Róisín Ruddle, Helen and Ger Ruddle, who have had to come to terms with the tragedy of the unexpected death of their daughter at the age of two. The publication today of the report on her death will cause them to recall in stark detail the trauma they suffered at that time. We have to learn lessons from what happened in this case. Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin has taken corrective action on foot of many of the report's recommendations. Earlier this week, I met the new manager and director of nursing who have been appointed. A number of the report's recommendations on the management of the hospital have been taken on board. In particular, a person has been appointed to take charge of the recruitment and retention of nurses.

We are changing the requirements for entry into the nursing profession. Deputy McManus has acknowledged that a graduate programme is being put in place. Some 1,640 nursing students were recruited this year. We need to establish a graduate programme for midwifery and paediatrics to shorten the timeframe for training in such areas. It can take up to eight years to become an ICU paediatric nurse. There is a worldwide shortage of such workers. Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin has been given the resources to help it to engage in international recruitment. I discussed the hospital's plans to recruit overseas with its officials the other day.

There are more nurses in the Irish health service, proportionately, than in almost any other country in Europe. We have substantially more nurses than the UK. We need to ensure that the particular shortages of nurses in intensive care, paediatrics and other areas are addressed. There is substantial interest in the new education programme for nursing. The number of students who applied for nursing last year was eight times greater than the number of places. It is clear that we have to resolve some of the issues relating to retention. I have had discussions with the nursing authorities in that regard.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The simple solution is to make more training places available.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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We have established 13 nursing schools in recent years.

Photo of Paul GogartyPaul Gogarty (Dublin Mid West, Green Party)
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All the nurses are emigrating.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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We have invested capital expenditure of €240 million in the development of such schools.

Photo of Paul Connaughton  SnrPaul Connaughton Snr (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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It is not enough.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Everybody has acknowledged that it is a substantial amount of money. Most independent analysis supports that.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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The nurses are going to the United States and Australia.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Nurses from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and many European countries are going overseas as well. The report into the death of Róisín Ruddle contains recommendations about gaps, particularly in ICU, which affect cardiac and other serious forms of surgery. We need to ensure that intensive care units are staffed at all times so they can deal with patients who require surgery.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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On a point of clarification——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot have a debate on the matter.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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I am not asking for a debate. I would like clarification of the Tánaiste's comments.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair has a dilemma.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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I would like to ask about the international monitoring committee.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I allowed questions this morning that did not relate to the Order of Business.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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I raised an issue and the Tánaiste responded.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is correct.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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We are entitled to know whether the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform will make a statement in the House, thereby giving Deputies an opportunity to participate in a debate.

Photo of Paul Connaughton  SnrPaul Connaughton Snr (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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Exactly.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste said that the Minister will make a statement and the House should hear that statement.

Photo of Paul Connaughton  SnrPaul Connaughton Snr (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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The Minister will not be shy anyway.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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It is obvious that Deputies will be given copies of the report. I am sure they would like an opportunity to study it. Some of the issues raised in the report were discussed during the debate on the Private Members' motion tabled by Fine Gael this week. The Minister intends to issue a statement when the report is published.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Not in the House.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Not in the House today, no.

Photo of Paul Connaughton  SnrPaul Connaughton Snr (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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Why does he not make a statement in the House?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I assume Deputies would like an opportunity to study the report before it is discussed in the House. I would have thought that such an approach would be better.

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I would not like to deprive him of the opportunity to have a press conference.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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I asked a question that was not answered. It is important that there should be a debate in the House——

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

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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It was not answered.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair used its discretion this morning to allow a question that was not in order under Standing Order 26.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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I appreciate that. I thanked the Ceann Comhairle at that time.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair will not be in a position to do that in future if it develops into a wholesale debate.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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I do not mean to be disorderly. I was very grateful to——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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If I allow the Deputy to speak, everybody else will be entitled to speak on the matter.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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I am seeking a simple answer.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Ring.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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I asked the Tánaiste if we could have a debate on the nursing crisis. I hope the Tánaiste——

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

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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——appreciates the importance of such a debate.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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No debate is promised.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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I hope the Tánaiste will agree to have a debate.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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As no such debate is promised, the Deputy will have to find another way of raising the matter.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I understand there will be questions on the matter today. It is not correct to suggest that there is a nursing crisis.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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The Tánaiste's failure to recognise the crisis is part of the problem.

Photo of Michael AhernMichael Ahern (Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Cork East, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy is the problem.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Ring.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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The Deputies on the Government side do not see any evil.

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I would like to raise two issues. Will the Údarás na Gaeltachta Bill be introduced in the House before the Údarás na Gaeltachta elections take place on 2 April next? When I walk in here every morning when the House is sitting, I look up to see the tricolour flying over Leinster House. As I was coming in this morning, however, I noticed that the flag was missing. Does the Tánaiste know anything about it? Does Deputy Ó Caoláin know anything about it?

Photo of Paul Connaughton  SnrPaul Connaughton Snr (Galway East, Fine Gael)
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Good man, Michael.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I understand that there was a difficulty with the rope used to suspend the flag. It is being attended to as a matter of urgency.

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I take it that there will not be any hangings.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Does Deputy Ring have any evidence of Deputy Ó Caoláin's involvement?

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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It was not a matter of taking down the mast.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Perhaps Deputy Ó Caoláin or Deputy Ó Snodaigh had the rope.

Photo of Conor LenihanConor Lenihan (Minister of State, Department of Foreign Affairs; Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
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It might be found with Deputy Ó Snodaigh's posters.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The heads of the Údarás na Gaeltachta Bill will be published later this year. I do not think they will be published before the elections in early April.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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When the Tánaiste was Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, she promised that the employment permits Bill would be introduced. She confirmed to the House that it would provide for a change in procedures so that permits would accrue to individuals rather than to companies. Her successor, Deputy Martin, gave a different indication on "Morning Ireland" this morning. When will the Bill be published? If the Government has already approved the heads of the Bill, is it the case that there has been a change of policy since the Tánaiste left the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The Bill will be published in this session.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Have the heads of the Bill been approved?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Yes.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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The Tánaiste knows the content.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The Minister will bring the Bill back to the Cabinet.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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He should read the Bill.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Has there been a change since the Tánaiste left?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I do not intend to anticipate the contents of the Bill.

Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
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The Tánaiste recently lifted the suspensions on two consultants at Cavan General Hospital. When will the saga at the hospital——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
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When will the health complaints Bill be introduced?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should submit a question.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Many family law cases have been ongoing for two or three years. The family law Bill needs to be introduced as soon as possible. The Chief Whip said it is expected that the Bill will be published in 2005. Is it possible that the Bill will be introduced sooner than that?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The Bill will be published later this year. I will discuss it with the relevant Minister to see whether it can be introduced sooner.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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When will the yellow pack medical cards partial alleviation of acute distress Bill be brought before the House?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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They are the doctor-only medical cards. For somebody who was so critical, the Deputy seems very anxious about them. As I stated previously, in light of legal advice, legislation is required and it will be presented to the Cabinet on Tuesday week.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Why does it take so long?

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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Tuesday week. It was a tiny Bill that the Tánaiste talked about.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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It is not.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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For tiny medical cards.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I am delighted the Deputy is anxious to have them issued given that she was very critical of them at first.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call on Deputy Coveney.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The idea is that they will be issued in April.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Allow Deputy Coveney to submit his question.

Photo of Michael D HigginsMichael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)
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For the comfort card.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The Ceann Comhairle keeps interrupting the Tánaiste and we cannot hear what the she is saying.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has promised repeatedly that he will introduce an independent press council of sorts. Does this require legislation? If so, what is the timescale?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform tells me he will be ready to present the relevant legislation to Government in a couple of weeks.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
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The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Amendment) Bill is listed for this session. Does the Tánaiste know the timescale?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I believe it is almost ready to go to Government and will be dealt with this session.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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A few weeks ago, the Taoiseach assured the House that peace had broken out regarding the strategic national infrastructure Bill. It is good to see the Ministers for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Justice, Equality and Law Reform sitting side by side. Will the legislation contain references to incineration? The original idea was to fast-track incineration. Will it be dropped?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy cannot discuss the content of the legislation? I call Deputy Bruton.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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When will the legislation come before the House?

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It will not be in Wicklow anyway.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Two exclusion zones.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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It will be in Wicklow but after the election.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Allow the Tánaiste without interruption.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The legislation will be introduced later this year.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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Will it provide for incineration?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I will not comment on the content of the Bill. The Deputy will have to wait to see it.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss the content of the legislation. I call Deputy Bruton.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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What are the respective positions of the Ministers for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Environment, Heritage and Local Government?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gormley should allow Deputy Bruton without interruption.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Members from any rung of the ladder could get into that Government.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Everyone in this House will——

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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If one is in Government one can do something about it.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Everyone in this House will welcome the apology for the denigrating terms that were used in one of our national newspapers to describe lone parents. However, there are questions on this matter that require a legislative response. Do we genuinely seek to remove welfare traps from our welfare code? Will the Social Welfare Bill address this? Do we genuinely seek to maximise the chances that parents will raise children together in the context of enduring commitments to one another?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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It does arise.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I suggest that the Deputy submit a question to the line Minister.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Clear issues arise in respect of the legislative programme. The Social Welfare Bill and the Finance Bill fail to address them.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Quinn.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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That is the reality. We are failing to provide proper family support.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I suggest that the Deputy submit a question to the line Minister.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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Will the House be presented with the Bill to ratify the constitutional treaty of the European Union before or after Easter? Given that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is beside the Tánaiste, will she ascertain from him the position on the building control Bill? Will it be presented to the House before the summer recess?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The Bill on the constitutional treaty will not be presented to the House before Easter. It will be after Easter and before the summer. The building control Bill will be introduced in autumn of this year.

Photo of Dan NevilleDan Neville (Limerick West, Fine Gael)
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With the permission of that Ceann Comhairle, can I, too, ask the Tánaiste if she will allow time today or use a mechanism to address the report into the death of Róisín Ruddle? Having been a friend of her family and a fellow parishioner all my life, I extend my sympathy to them on their tragedy.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That matter has already been dealt with.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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I am sure the Tánaiste is aware that the National Aquatic Centre, which cost €70 million to build, had its roof blown off in high winds after Christmas. This has absolutely flummoxed engineering experts in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. It involves a consortium——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Yes, I have.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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What legislation?

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The fixing of roofs Bill.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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A consortium is running the National Aquatic Centre. When does the Minister propose to introduce the Abbotstown sports campus development authority Bill? There is no legislation——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That question was dealt with on Tuesday this week.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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——governing the spending of €70 million of taxpayers' money.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The Taoiseach indicated on Tuesday that legislation will be published this session.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The reason I ask is that the Ceann Comhairle sent me and my colleague Deputy Wall a letter indicating that he would not take questions on the National Aquatic Centre because it is not covered under any legislation. He relented subsequently and allowed to me an Adjournment debate, but my colleague Deputy Wall——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That does not arise on the Order of Business. I call Deputy Rabbitte.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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——is still not being allowed to ask questions to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, the Taoiseach or the Minister for Finance, who are the shareholders in the company.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We will hear Deputy Rabbitte.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Given that we have no legislation, we cannot obtain answers regarding what happened.

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

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Will the Ceann Comhairle help me? It is a perfectly legitimate question pertaining to €70 million of taxpayers' money.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should submit a question to the line Minister.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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But they were refused.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Our questions were refused.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The Ceann Comhairle refused them.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That question was raised on the Adjournment.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The Ceann Comhairle refused them.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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He allowed them after a long debate but he will still not allow——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It has already been raised in the House by Deputy Burton.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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——my colleague Deputy Wall to——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is being disorderly. We cannot have a debate on this matter.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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We do not even know who the Minister is.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Allow Deputy Rabbitte.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Is the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism responsible——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should allow the leader of her party to ask a question. He has been called.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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——or is it the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Allow Deputy Rabbitte.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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They are the shareholders in the company. The Progressive Democrats——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask Deputy Burton to resume her seat.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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We did not take the roof off it.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We will move to No. 1 on the Order of Business if the Deputy does not want to allow her leader to contribute.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The roof is off the centre and it is closed.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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We want to take the lid off it to see what is going on.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It is an outdoor pool now.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Why is the Social Welfare Bill on the agenda for next week but not yet published or available to Members of the House? Time and again, the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach have made commitments to the House to the effect that there would be a minimum of two weeks allowed to examine major legislation.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I understand the Bill will be published this week.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Three days before it is taken.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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It is a shame.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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It is to put into effect the budgetary provisions. All Members are aware of that.

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael)
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On the company law consolidation and reform Bill, is it the Tánaiste's intention to disengage from Shannon Development and transfer it to the IDA and other national agencies for job creation, given that 70 jobs are to be lost in Shannon this morning?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call the Tánaiste on the legislation.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The company law consolidation and reform Bill has nothing to do with Shannon Development, as the Deputy well knows. We will do whatever is in the best interest of the region.

Photo of Dan BoyleDan Boyle (Cork South Central, Green Party)
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Will the Tánaiste allow time to discuss the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty in light of the differing approaches being taken in respect of Iran, for instance, and the news emerging from North Korea on the extension of its nuclear programme?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Time will be allowed later this year.