Dáil debates

Tuesday, 19 April 2005

5:00 pm

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. 8, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the convention on social security between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; No. 9, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the accession by Ireland to the Rotterdam Convention; and No. 15, Disability Bill 2004 — Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' Business shall be No. 43, motion re housing.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted on the adjournment of Private Members' Business, which shall be taken for 90 minutes at 7 p.m., or on the conclusion of No. 15, whichever is the later; that Nos. 8 and 9 shall be decided without debate; and that the resumed Second Stage debate on No. 15 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. tonight.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for the late sitting agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 8 and 9 agreed to?

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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It is not. I oppose the proposal for dealing with No. 9, motion re the Rotterdam Convention, because the matter needs to be debated in the House. The convention which is relevant to sectors other than agriculture because it relates to the international trade in hazardous chemicals was considered by the Select Committee on Agriculture and Food for just nine minutes. It should be considered as part of the ongoing incineration debate. The Departments of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Enterprise, Trade and Employment have certain responsibilities in this regard. The motion should be debated in the House because it has not been sufficiently considered. The nine minutes allocated to the matter by the select committee were not sufficient by any standard.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with Nos. 8 and 9 be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15 agreed to?

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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It is not.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I am opposed to the imposition of a guillotine on the Second Stage debate on the Disability Bill 2004 which is an important Bill about which the legislative consultation group issued ten serious recommendations. A number of Deputies wish to speak on it. I do not think it is appropriate to impose a guillotine on this legislation. I oppose the proposal to conclude its consideration at 7 p.m.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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All Members of the House have received many representations about the Disability Bill 2004. We have a responsibility to oppose the imposition of a guillotine on the legislation which is so flawed that it needs to be withdrawn. The Government should reflect on the matter before adopting a rights-based approach. I oppose the proposal and ask the House to vote against it.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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I also oppose the imposition of a guillotine on the Disability Bill 2004 at 7 p.m. I do not know how many Deputies have yet to contribute but I am aware that some Members who would like to speak on the legislation have not yet done so. It is unacceptable that a guillotine could prevent a Member from participating in the Second Stage debate on an important Bill. Not only do I not accept the guillotine proposed but I also find it most objectionable that a vote will be held on Second Stage at 7 p.m. this evening. The Bill needs to be redrafted.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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I understand the number of remaining Deputies who would like to speak on the Disability Bill 2004 is not substantial. That is why the Labour Party has not raised any particular objections to the proposed guillotine. I suggest that the Chief Whip should remove the guillotine because it is possible that the time remaining will be sufficient for the Deputies who have indicated that they would like to speak.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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There are very few remaining Deputies who wish to speak.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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Like Deputy Stagg, I understand very few Members who wish to speak on the Disability Bill 2004 have not yet done so.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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Yes.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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They might have an opportunity to speak before 7 p.m. this evening. The amount of time spent on consideration of the Bill to date is three times greater than the average.

Photo of Dan NevilleDan Neville (Limerick West, Fine Gael)
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That time was needed to give Members an opportunity to indicate the problems.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The House has spent almost 20 hours on consideration of the Bill. Nobody can suggest that the amount of time provided is insufficient when most Bills are considered in one third of that time. I am aware that the Chief Whip has held discussions about the amount of time to be allocated to Committee Stage. I intend to proceed with the proposal.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 15 be agreed."

The Dail Divided:

For the motion: 64 (Bertie Ahern, Dermot Ahern, Michael Ahern, Noel Ahern, Barry Andrews, Seán Ardagh, Niall Blaney, Johnny Brady, Martin Brady, Séamus Brennan, John Browne, Joe Callanan, Ivor Callely, Pat Carey, Donie Cassidy, Michael J Collins, Mary Coughlan, Brian Cowen, John Cregan, Martin Cullen, John Curran, Síle de Valera, Noel Dempsey, Tony Dempsey, John Dennehy, Jimmy Devins, John Ellis, Frank Fahey, Dermot Fitzpatrick, Seán Fleming, Pat Gallagher, Jim Glennon, Seán Haughey, Joe Jacob, Cecilia Keaveney, Billy Kelleher, Peter Kelly, Tony Killeen, Séamus Kirk, Tom Kitt, Conor Lenihan, Tom McEllistrim, John McGuinness, Micheál Martin, Donal Moynihan, Michael Mulcahy, M J Nolan, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Charlie O'Connor, Liz O'Donnell, Denis O'Donovan, Noel O'Flynn, Batt O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Malley, Tim O'Malley, Tom Parlon, Peter Power, Seán Power, Dick Roche, Mae Sexton, Noel Treacy, Joe Walsh, Ollie Wilkinson, Michael Woods)

Against the motion: 47 (Dan Boyle, James Breen, Tommy Broughan, Richard Bruton, Joan Burton, Paul Connaughton, Paudge Connolly, Joe Costello, Jerry Cowley, Seán Crowe, Ciarán Cuffe, John Deasy, Jimmy Deenihan, Bernard Durkan, Olwyn Enright, Eamon Gilmore, Phil Hogan, Brendan Howlin, Enda Kenny, Kathleen Lynch, Pádraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Dinny McGinley, Paul McGrath, Liz McManus, Olivia Mitchell, Arthur Morgan, Breeda Moynihan-Cronin, Dan Neville, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jim O'Keeffe, Brian O'Shea, Séamus Pattison, Willie Penrose, John Perry, Ruairi Quinn, Pat Rabbitte, Eamon Ryan, Seán Ryan, Trevor Sargent, Joe Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Emmet Stagg, David Stanton, Billy Timmins, Mary Upton)

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Neville and Boyle.

Question declared carried.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The charities regulations Bill is expected in 2005. Does the Taoiseach have any idea when that Bill might be produced?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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Work is continuing on the Bill. As I have said previously, it is a very complex Bill because of the old arrangements on charitable donations but work is continuing. I hope the Bill will be forthcoming but it is complex.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Will we see it some time next year?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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That is the hope.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Are Irish diplomatic personnel accredited to the region taking an interest in the case of the Indonesian boy, Tristan Dowes, who is an Irish citizen, and——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Sorry, Deputy, that does not arise on the Order of Business. We have just voted because Members were anxious to get on to the Disability Bill.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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——given the poignant circumstances——

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

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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——if our diplomatic staff——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I would prefer if the Deputy raised the matter in another way.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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No. 20 on the legislative schedule is the Adoption Bill. On No. 20, can I ask the Taoiseach whether our staff in the region are intervening or taking an interest in this case?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss what might be in the Bill, Deputy. I call the Taoiseach on the legislation.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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Mid-next year, a Cheann Comhairle.

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

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Do I take it from what the Taoiseach has indicated that Irish diplomatic staff are taking an interest in the case of Tristan Dowes?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Sorry, Deputy, I have called Deputy Sargent.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle, this is a young Irish citizen——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, the Chair has to take account of the fact that Members in this House voted to move on to the Disability Bill.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The Taoiseach would have replied.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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You cannot raise questions that are out of order on the Order of Business.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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You are utterly inflexible, Sir.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is a point of view, Deputy. I have called Deputy Sargent.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The Taoiseach would have replied a long time ago if you had permitted him. You are being completely inflexible and unreasonable.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy knows the rules. Leaders' questions have been provided for yourself and your Leader colleagues to ask questions. I call Deputy Sargent.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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This is a defenceless young Irish citizen and I am trying to establish whether our staff in the region are taking an interest and whether the Taoiseach has a view on the matter.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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I ask the Taoiseach to reply. My question is on promised legislation, which is pertinent following the uncovering of information on GAMA construction company. It is about a directive which it was promised would be imported into Irish law by March 2005. It is Directive 2002/14/EC but it relates to the right to information and consultation about a business in which 20 or more staff work.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should ask a question on the legislation. We have to move on to the next business.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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Given that March 2005 is passed, does the Government intend to revise the timescale for promising this legislation, which was published in consultation with——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Deputy to resume his seat and allow the Taoiseach to answer the question.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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It is very pertinent, given that the crocodile tears——

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It will be this session, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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This session is not April 2005.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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This session.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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So it is late.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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The Bill I wish to raise was first promised for publication in late 2003. Last year it was promised for this year and now we know from the latest published list that we are not to expect it before mid-2006. It is the Bill to which Deputy Rabbitte referred, the Adoption Bill.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That question has already been answered. I call Deputy Boyle whom I promised on Thursday I would call first.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Will the Taoiseach explain why there is not an urgency in addressing this important area?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Ó Caoláin, you have just complained about the lack of time for the Disability Bill.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Correct.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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If you are repetitive asking the questions Deputy Rabbitte asked, you are wasting the time of the House.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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We did not get an answer to the——

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

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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——issue of the young Indonesian child adopted by an Irish person. It is absolutely outrageous.

Photo of Dan BoyleDan Boyle (Cork South Central, Green Party)
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Will the Taoiseach explain the delay in No. 19 on the legislative programme — a Bill to extend the remit of the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill, given the haste with which this Government gutted the Freedom of Information Act?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It will be the beginning of next year.

Photo of Dan BoyleDan Boyle (Cork South Central, Green Party)
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Why the delay?

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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I heard the Taoiseach speak earlier about one of his two pet projects, the Abbotstown project. On the other one, the digital hub, would it be possible to schedule a debate before the end of the session——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call No. 8, proposed approval by Dáil Éireann——

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle, he is the Leader of the House.

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

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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We got very bad news for the south inner city today. Will the Taoiseach schedule a debate——