Tuesday, 19 April 2005
Order of Business.
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.
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.
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.
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a responsibility to oppose the imposition of a guillotine on the legislation which is so flawed that it needs to be withdrawn.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?