Dáil debates

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

3:00 pm

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. 11, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Official Languages Act 2003 (Public Bodies) Regulations 2006; and No. 3, the Finance Bill 2006 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 11 shall be decided without debate and supplementary questions Nos. 10 to 23 addressed to the Taoiseach on the Order Paper of today shall be taken before questions to the Taoiseach tomorrow at the commencement of Taoiseach's question time. Private Members' business shall be No. 41 — motion re Irish farming sector.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are two proposals to put to the House, namely, the proposal to deal with No. 11 without debate, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Official Languages Act 2003 (Public Bodies) Regulations 2006, and No. 3, the Finance Bill 2006, Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

5:00 pm

Photo of Brian O'SheaBrian O'Shea (Waterford, Labour)
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Tá Pairtí an Lucht Oibre ag cur i gcoinne na tairisceana maidir le ceadú beartaithe ag Dáil Éireann i ndáil leis na Rialacháin um Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 (Comhlachtaí Poiblí) 2006. Is é an fáth go bhfuilimid ag cur ina choinne ná go bhfuiltear ag iarraidh orainn an rud seo a thógaint gan díospóireacht. Táimid á rá gur cheart go mbeadh díospóireacht ann i gcónaí nuair a thagann aon ábhar i leith na Gaeilge os comhair an Tí. Níor cuireadh na rialacháin seo faoi bhráid an chomhchoiste, fiú amháin.

The Labour Party is opposing the motion on the proposed approval by Dáil Éireann under the Official Languages Act 2003 of these two Schedules of organisations on the basis that it is being taken without debate. Even the Joint Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has not seen these regulations, nor has it had the opportunity to debate them. We seek a debate on these regulations in the Dáil and this is an ideal opportunity to review the operations of the Official Languages Act and for the Minister to explain why certain organisations are being included in the operations of the Act and others are not. In general, there is insufficient debate on Irish language affairs and an opportunity such as this should not be passed up.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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Ní chuirfidh mé moill ar an Teach, ach is féidir liom a rá go bhfuil an tAcht an-tábhachtach i saol na tíre seo má táimid i ndáiríre faoin Ghaeilge. Táim den tuairim go mbeadh an Rialtas sásta go mbeadh díospóireacht ann dá mbeadh sí ag teastáil ón bhFreasúra. Táim ag rá thar ceann an Chomhaontais Ghlais go bhfuilimid ag iarraidh díospóireachta ar an gceist seo agus go bhfuil sé tábhachtach go dtuigfeadh na heagraíochtaí poiblí a ainmneofar anseo cad go díreach atá i gceist, dár linne, ó thaobh Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla de. Táimid ag cur i gcoinne Uimh. 11 anseo de bharr go bhfuilimid ag iarraidh díospóireachta. Táimid ag súil go mbeidh an Rialtas sásta díospóireacht a thabhairt dúinn.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Cuidím leis an méid a bhí le rá ag an Teachta O'Shea. Ba chóir go mbeadh díospóireacht againn sa Teach seo. I support the opposition to the proposition put before us, as articulated by Deputy O'Shea. This matter merits a full and participatory debate and it is all too seldom we have the opportunity to debate matters and measures on the Irish language and its application in the affairs of State. This is a further opportunity to examine the proposed introduction of regulations on the Irish language. Accordingly, I join my colleagues in opposing the proposition as presented.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Cuidím leis an rún atá molta ag an Teachta O'Shea. Ba mhaith liomsa go mbeadh díospóireacht ar an nGaeilge.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Minister, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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Cén fáth nach gcuireann sé síos é?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Is minic a labhraímid Gaeilge anseo, agus ní thagann faic as. Más sin an dearcadh atá ag Páirtí an Lucht Oibre agus na Teachtaí eile, aontaím leo.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I have no difficulty with such a debate. Deputy O'Shea indicates he will agree to a debate of two hours and the Minister will also agree. Tá mé i bhfábhar na díospóireachta.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the proposal agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for taking Questions Nos. 10 to 23, inclusive, before questions to the Taoiseach tomorrow agreed? Agreed. Has any arrangement been made for the two-hour debate?

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
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The Whips will meet afterwards to arrange it.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Today we read the story of a school that had to pay €10,000 to parents of a child who was bullied. Since I raised the matter of the Martin report on indiscipline in schools, I have received a flood of correspondence from teachers and parents. Indiscipline seems to be endemic in some schools and is an issue that should be debated in this House. When will the Martin report on indiscipline be published?

I am concerned at a trend that seems to be emerging. The advice given by the Attorney General to the Government seems not to have been adhered to. For example, random breath testing was unconstitutional before Christmas but it is now both constitutional and legal.

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 Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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His advice to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Roche, to go to the United Nations in an effort to close down Sellafield was the wrong avenue and the Minister is now taking Britain and the European Commission to court.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is departing from 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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This is important.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Everything is important but it is does not arise 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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It does. I am aware that the Ceann Comhairle is from a land-locked county and that, if Ted Nealon's guide is correct, it is his birthday so I am going to give some flexibility. The advice given by the Attorney General was that it was impossible to introduce administrative fines in the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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That is not true. That is not the advice we received.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I do not know what advice was received but the Minister, Deputy Noel Dempsey, does.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask Deputy Kenny to return to the Order of Business and ask the Minister not to interrupt Deputy Kenny and allow him to raise a matter appropriate to 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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Will the Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources be removed to save the Government from embarrassment because of fines imposed by Britain?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I suggest the Deputy submit a question to the appropriate Minister or raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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How can the Minister publicly admit that organised criminality exists in the sea fishing industry and that he is doing nothing about it?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny cannot continue in this vein during the Order of Business. He knows Standing Order 26 quite well.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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In today's newspapers, the Minister with responsibility for the marine states that organised criminality exists in the sea fishing business. In respect of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, currently in abeyance on Committee Stage——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is still before the committee.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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——what has been done about this organised criminality?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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This does not arise on the Order of Business. I call the Taoiseach on the first question concerning the report.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As one of the Deputies in the Minister's party asked, how can we send a member of the Colombia Three to the United States with a presidential pardon while the son of a fisherman may be banned forever from entering the United States?

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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What has Fine Gael done?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Minister to allow Deputy Kenny to resume his seat. The Taoiseach on the first question.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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I was trying to be helpful.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I have requested that progress on the Martin report be checked and for Deputy Kenny to be informed.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I thank the Taoiseach.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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It emerged last week the Government does not know whether it is coming or going on the M50. I would like to hear the Taoiseach's views on legislation promised by the Secretary General of the Department at the Committee of Public Accounts. When will this legislation be before the House? Will it come before the House before the reshuffle of Ministers of State? The legislation would be concerned with whatever tolling——

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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Is the Deputy referring to the infrastructure Bill?

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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There is no point in the Taoiseach asking me. I do not know. The Taoiseach did not seem to know last week and the Minister for Transport now says it is not what he said on television at 9 o'clock. I do not know. There is no point asking me.

Photo of Martin CullenMartin Cullen (Minister, Department of Transport; Waterford, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Rabbitte is making it up as he goes along.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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What is the Government view of this? The unfortunate, hard-pressed motorist on the M50 certainly does not know and I have said that if the Minister raises four gantries, he will be strung up on one of them.

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

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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I will allow for a briefing as it is clear the Minister for Transport and the Taoiseach do not speak frequently.

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Is anyone surprised?

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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If they want a consultation on it, that is all right by me.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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There is promised legislation on freeflow on the M50, which will come forward in due course.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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With respect, this is not a response worthy of the Taoiseach. I asked a simple question, which the Ceann Comhairle accepts is admissible. When will the legislation be before the House?

While I am on my feet and the Taoiseach is receiving a more precise answer, what is the impediment to creating some new vacancies among these underworked Ministers of State and promoting some eager backbenchers?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should allow the Taoiseach to answer his question on legislation.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Is there any help the Opposition can give as the vacuum created is becoming embarrassing?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The answer to the first question is 2006 and, regarding the second question, I am keeping the vacancy open for Deputy Rabbitte.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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We will be waiting a long time.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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I have raised a matter of promised legislation for several years. The response is always that the legislation is pending, coming soon or that the legislation is large and difficult. This matter dates back to 1990, before I was elected to this House. According to reports, the Abbey Theatre will have charitable status. Legally, this requires a charities regulation Bill. The previous Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform did not introduce the Bill and I wonder if the incumbent will introduce it. Is it the case that it has been introduced unofficially and we have not been informed of this? I would like to know whether it will be published this year as we have been told. Will the Taoiseach give us an assurance? It has slipped year by year. If it is not brought forward this year——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Taoiseach will answer the question on legislation.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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There is no point in indicating a year.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is due to be published this year.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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It was due to be published last year.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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That is fantastic progress.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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It is great progress on nothing.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Before Christmas the Taoiseach promised us that the electricity Bill was due to come before the House in the next session. However, suddenly and mysteriously it disappeared off the promised legislation paper. What was the cause of this? Did the Minister get an electric shock? Has he seen or heard something that has convinced him to do nothing in this area? Will the Taoiseach give an indication as to whether the Deloitte & Touche report is likely to be incorporated in that legislation or the Single Electricity Market Bill, the only similar Bill on the clár?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I do not believe it was promised last year.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It was promised several times.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The legislation is still under discussion and will take some considerable time to complete.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It was promised, with publication expected in mid-2006.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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While the Taoiseach may not be embarrassed by the M50 debacle, I wonder whether he is embarrassed by the fact that elderly people and their relatives come to our clinics wondering when they will receive the money robbed from them. I am embarrassed because I told them the legislation would be introduced last autumn. That was what the Minister for Health and Children told me. I then told them it would be introduced before Christmas because that was what I was told by the Minister for Health and Children. When exactly can we tell them that they will get back their money which was robbed from them?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Tánaiste advises me that the legislation will be before the House this session. The scheme to pay out should be in place this summer.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Given the fact that the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission has now been discredited and the fact that it is the child of British securocrats, will the Taoiseach support an Independent Monitoring Commission repeal Bill brought forward by Sinn Féin Deputies last week? Will he allow Government time to take it and will he support it?

Regarding the Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill which is indicated in the current schedule for legislation and expected in mid-2006, will the Taoiseach indicate whether it will be addressed in the course of this or the subsequent term of this Dáil?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill is due to be published this summer. Regarding the first issue, there is no proposal for change.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Will the Taoiseach examine it?

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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Will the Taoiseach clarify the legal opinion and the factual position on the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005? The Bill has been discussed for the past couple of months——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Bill is before a committee and does not arise on the Order of Business.

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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Regarding the conflicting opinions on administrative sanctions, in his reply today the Minister stated the Bill was deemed unsuitable. Last week he stated it was unconstitutional——

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

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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Last week it was deemed unconstitutional. In a reply from the Minister today it was deemed unsuitable. There is a big difference between unconstitutional and unsuitable.

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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It is like random breath testing.

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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It is a serious issue.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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In support of Deputy Perry, the committee debate on the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005 collapsed this morning. We heard a fine valedictory speech from the outgoing Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Gallagher, who apparently has a different legal opinion from the Taoiseach. The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Noel Dempsey, has a third legal opinion and the Attorney General a fourth.

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

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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This Government is putting forward four legal views——

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy should get on with the Bill and not put the taxpayer——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is before the committee and does not arise on the Order of Business.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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On a point of order, is it possible for the Attorney General to attend the committee meeting tomorrow?

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

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Is it possible to organise that because we are at sixes and sevens?

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy is at sixes and sevens.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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The 15 or 16 failures——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Bill is before the committee and a matter for it.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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How many is it now?

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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I will remind the Deputy——

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

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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The 26 failures of the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Dempsey——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss the matter on the Order of Business.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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He had 15 failures when he left the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The number is now 25 or 26. We are in another mess. It is a total disaster.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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The Bill is being discussed by the committee but the Deputies do not want to hear the answers.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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We have four legal opinions and no one to arbitrate. A Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, is being tortured by the Government.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I suggest the Deputy submit a question to the Minister and that he answer it in an orderly and appropriate way.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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The Minister of State is a decent man but he is being tortured. He is being harpooned by the Government.

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

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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The Minister of State is destroying the fishing industry.

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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He is up the creek without a paddle.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Two Deputies cannot speak at the same time. Deputy Broughan should resume his seat. He has had a good innings.

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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Will the Taoiseach clarify whether the Bill is constitutional?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a matter for the Taoiseach or this House. It is a matter for——

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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It is just a question.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Someone should state the answer. The Taoiseach knows.

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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Will the Taoiseach comment on the Bill?

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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Make it to the committee tomorrow.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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A Bill on Committee Stage cannot be discussed on the Order of Business. I call Deputy Gormley.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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I thank the Ceann Comhairle.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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If Deputy Perry does not resume his seat, we will move on to the next business and Deputy Gormley who has been orderly will have to wait until tomorrow.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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We will discuss the Bill tomorrow at the committee meeting. Deputy Perry is in the pocket of the fishing industry. He is the mouth of the fishermen.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Remember the electronic ballot boxes.

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

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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The Minister stated I was the mouth of the fishermen. I am not. The Taoiseach sent a letter——

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

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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This Bill will not go away.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy is correct. It will not.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It cannot be debated on the Order of Business. The Deputy must find another way.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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On a point of order, is there a precedent for the Attorney General——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a point of order.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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——to attend the Dáil or a committee meeting?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair does not want to ask the Deputy to leave the House——

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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I am seeking the Ceann Comhairle's guidance on the matter.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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However, if he seems to wish to leave, the Chair will have no option.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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My question is on promised legislation. The Taoiseach is aware that yesterday evening Dublin City Council voted in favour of a scheme for the sale of local authority flats. For this to happen a number of legislative proposals on the desk of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government since July must be enacted. The Taoiseach will agree that this is important and must happen. The legislation concerns the common areas of flat complexes, service charges and changes to the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) Act 1978. When will we see these changes come before the House?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The matter should be taken up in a question to the Minister. This issue was cleared yesterday and would need to be debated with the Minister.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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Does the Taoiseach know whether there is legislation?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy should put a question to the Minister. Some of these issues did not come up previously, while some are old. It is best to put a question to the Minister.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Some old and some new.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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An Electoral (Amendment) Bill to provide voting facilities for prisoners is listed. The heads have been agreed and the text is being drafted. Does the Bill deal with anything else in addition to voting rights for prisoners?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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To the best of my knowledge, that is all that is provided for in the Bill. The Minister stated he would have it in approximately one month.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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Perhaps the Taoiseach can help me with a procedural issue on the Order of Business. What is the procedure if a committee refuses to accept a Bill on Committee Stage?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That matter does not arise on the Order of Business. It is a matter entirely for the committee.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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I will explain why it arises on the Order of Business.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair has ruled on the matter.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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May I explain why it arises on the Order of Business?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy does not need to explain anything. The Chair has ruled on the matter.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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A current Bill, the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005, has been refused by the committee.

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

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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On a point of order, how are we to get the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a point of order. I suggest the Deputy table a question to the Minister.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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I have a question on the Order of Business regarding the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That Bill cannot come before the House because it is already before a committee.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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What is the Order of Business for——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am not going to change Standing Orders. I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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A Cheann Comhairle, I asked a question——

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

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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What is the Order of Business for if it is not for me to ask a question on the Order of Business?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I suggest the Deputy reads Standing Order 26. The Chair would only be too delighted to read it out to him. Then he will know what the Order of Business is for if he does not know already.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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When will the national strategy on diabetes be published? It has been on the Minister for Health and Children's desk for a considerable length of time.

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

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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What legislation?

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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The Taoiseach is at sea.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It relates to diabetes.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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It is a strategy report.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There is no legislation promised.

Photo of Michael D HigginsMichael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)
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Will the Taoiseach clarify the position in regard to two international conventions? I understand the optional protocol of the United Nations Convention Against Torture has been transferred to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform for opinion and that it is his conclusion that Ireland will not sign or ratify it. In regard to the United Nations Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, I understand the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform may have advised the Government that it is not proceeding with ratification of that convention. Is that the case? Does the Government intend to ratify either or both of those conventions? Has it accepted advice not to ratify them?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I am not aware of either, so I will have to get a note for the Deputy.