Dáil debates

Thursday, 25 May 2006

10:30 am

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The Order of Business is No. 3, Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Bill 2006 — Second Stage, resumed; and No. 19, European Communities (Amendment) Bill 2006 — Second Stage, resumed, to be taken not later than 1.30 p.m., and the order shall not resume thereafter.

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 Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Taoiseach said yesterday that the Prison Service was checking the number of prisoners who would be affected by the Supreme Court decision. Can the Tánaiste update us on this? Has the Government any information on the number of people currently going through the system who might be affected?

Taking into account that sentencing was adjourned yesterday because of the case taken under the 1935 Act, pending action by the Government, I believe this matter is serious. It is not party political and it is in the people's interest that young persons be protected.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is outside the Order of Business. Allow the Tánaiste to respond.

Photo of Pádraic McCormackPádraic McCormack (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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Legislation was promised yesterday.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Let me finish. This is a serious matter and I will not play party politics with the Ceann Comhairle. I want to make the point that, yesterday, Deputy Jim O'Keeffe——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I would allow a simple question. The Deputy asked a simple question on whether the Tánaiste could update him on yesterday's developments — I will allow that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If the Ceann Comhairle wants to get into a row with me, he can. I am going to ask my question.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair does not want rows with anybody, the Chair just wants to be fair to every Member.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will be fair to the Chair.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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If I allowed the Deputy to ramble all over the place——

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will not ramble on about a matter of very serious import.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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——I could not stop anybody in the House, on either side.

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

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy has asked a question——

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I did not ask a question.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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——and the Chair will allow it although it is——

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I asked one question and want to ask another.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am allowing the question the Deputy asked.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If the Chair wants to stop me asking questions——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I do not want to stop the Deputy at all.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will continue to stand here and make my point, which is as follows——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The same rules apply to Deputy Kenny as to every other Member. Standing Order 26 applies and the Chair appeals to Members to change it if they are not happy with it, after which the Chair will implement the change.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I want to ask a question on legislation.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy can ask a question on legislation.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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In the interest of supporting what the Government intends, will the Tánaiste or Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform assure us the legislation proposed by the Government will be introduced as soon as possible, that is, in three weeks' time, if not next week? Deputy Jim O'Keeffe has produced a Private Members' Bill on this matter.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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On the Deputy's first question, I understand that seven people are in prison on the basis of being convinced under section 1(1) of the 1935 Act. They are in custody solely on that basis. The prison authorities are in discussion with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General about those people. In addition to them, others affected by the Supreme Court judgement are persons charged under section 1(1) of the Act who are on bail, persons charged who are being remanded in custody pending trial, persons found guilty of an offence under section 1(1) of the Act who are awaiting sentence, persons who have completed a sentence on the basis of a conviction under section 1(1) of the Act who are subject to reporting requirements to the Garda Síochána under the Sexual Offenders Act 2001, and persons who have completed a sentence on the basis of a conviction and have a criminal offence recorded against them. I do not have the numbers for persons in that category.

On the legislation, I very much appreciate the support of the Deputy and the commitments he made yesterday and today on this matter. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell, will brief the Cabinet on Tuesday and the intention is to have legislation in about a fortnight. Given the complexity of the legislation and what we are seeking to deal with, that is reasonable in the circumstances. We would wish to have it today but that is not possible.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The Tánaiste has given us figures for imprisoned persons, but she does not have the figures for the other categories affected? I find that surprising in the sense that the Government would have been aware that this case was before the Supreme Court. It does not seem unreasonable to have expected that someone would have been monitoring what might happen in the event of the case being decided in the manner in which it has. Quite clearly, if an offence is deemed unconstitutional, the trial and conviction is invalid, as is the subsequent imprisonment. I heard the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform——

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

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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——this morning on "Today with Pat Kenny" explaining that the Chief Justice had warned of making haste slowly on this. However, this month last year, we took all sections of two different Bills, without notice, from Government——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Has the Deputy a brief question on the issue? We are outside the Order of Business, but I will allow the Deputy a brief question. We cannot have a full debate.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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We took the British and Irish Agreement (Amendment) Bill and the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) Bill without notice through all Stages in the morning.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask Deputy Rabbitte to obey the Chair.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Surely the Government is agreed that we want to avoid the ludicrous position of people who must now be released finding themselves in a position to take an action against the State for wrongful imprisonment if they are not released.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will have to move on.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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What I am trying to establish is when the necessary legislation in this case is being 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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Sexual assault is an alternative charge and an alternative verdict that can be made in these cases. That is important to recognise. As I have said to Deputy Kenny, it is intended that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform will discuss this matter at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and we expect to have legislation within a fortnight.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Surely it was reasonable to expect in a case of this moment, having regard to the law reform recommendation of 1990 and other considerations, that somebody would have been monitoring the case and that the Government would have been prepared for this situation.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That does not arise on the Order of Business. There is no provision for Leaders' Questions today.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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On the arms trade, namely, the export of military goods valued at €30 million and €4 million in dual use goods from Ireland every year, I see we have a control of exports Bill but, given that no date is indicated, could this matter be dealt with under the defence (amendment) Bill which is coming before the House this session? I want to ask about those two Bills in case there is any change in what I have before me here.

The Inequalities in Mortality report, published in 2001 by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, highlights how the lowest occupational class——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Will the Deputy come to the legislation?

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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——registers 100% to 200% more in terms of mortality than the highest occupational class.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We have to move on. I will allow the first question.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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The health Bill is on the promised legislation list and that is what I am asking about.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Yes, but the Deputy cannot make a Second Stage speech.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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It talks about establishing a health information and quality authority. Can we ensure that an equality authority is included given that inequality in society is causing people to die in greater numbers?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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On the control of exports Bill, it is not possible to say at this stage. I have published the heads of the health Bill for consultation and we will have the legislation later this year.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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Does equality come into it?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The issue of entitlements requires different legislation which we will have later in the year as well.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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Inequality is a problem.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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When will the business improvement districts Bill be published or will it be enacted in this session? When is the consumer protection Bill to establish the national consumer agency likely to be published given that the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment thought it was urgent last November?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The business improvement districts Bill will appear this session. The heads of the other Bill have yet to go to Cabinet, so I am not in a position to say when we will have it. I understand it may be later this year, perhaps.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Is the Tánaiste aware that children with special needs are being provided with taxi travel arrangements by Bus Éireann——

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

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Yes it is. They are provided by Bus Éireann with taxi arrangements——

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

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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——but the taxi drivers are not subject to any vetting or clearance procedures——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are not having an omnibus Question Time this morning.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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At what stage is the register of persons considered unsafe to work with children Bill because parents are very concerned——

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

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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——that there is no vetting of the taxi drivers involved? It is a perfectly reasonable question.

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

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Responsibility for drafting that legislation has now moved to the office of the Minister of State with responsibility for children, Deputy Brian Lenihan, and he is working on it. However, I have not got a specific date when we will have it.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Does the Tánaiste not consider it urgent for the safety of special needs children?

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I was very fortunate to receive a letter yesterday from the parliamentary affairs division of the Health Service Executive——

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

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle will be delighted to know that it does and that it falls well within his remit. It refers to the way that parliamentary questions are dealt with in this House.

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

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle might let me finish. The problem about this parliamentary question is that it was tabled——

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 this matter.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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——almost a year ago. I got an apology for the delay.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy must allow his colleague, Deputy Bruton, to speak.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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If that is the way the Ceann Comhairle believes parliamentary questions should be dealt with in this House, it is about time the Tánaiste recognised that the system operating in the Department of Health and Children is totally unsatisfactory.

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 Deputy Bruton.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I want to ask about promised legislation and the pharmacy (No. 2) Bill.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I might come back to the Deputy later, but not now. I call Deputy Bruton.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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We will hear about the pharmacy (No. 2) Bill, which is within her remit, when the Tánaiste is ready.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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In the context of the legislation the Tánaiste has published on nursing home subventions, when will we see the report of the working group chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach on the support of persons with long-term needs, because it is very difficult to debate one without the other?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I hope it will be published during June. Further proposals must go to the Cabinet in June and I hope to publish the report at that point. The report has been the basis of discussion at the social partnership talks as well.

Seán Ryan (Dublin North, Labour)
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Given the dangerous condition of Skerries and Balbriggan harbours, will we have to wait until the harbours Bill is introduced before this matter is resolved and we get funding from the Departments to deal with the issue? When will the harbours Bill be published?

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

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Durkan had a question on the pharmacy (No. 2) Bill.

Seán Ryan (Dublin North, Labour)
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That means it will not be enacted in the life of this Government. I hope the people of north County Dublin will not have to wait until the harbours fall in before receiving funding. It is an utter disgrace.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Deputy to resume his seat. Deputy Durkan had a question on legislation and we said we would call him again.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I had only one question, but now I have two——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy must confine his question to legislation.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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——as regards the pharmacy (No. 1) Bill and pharmacy (No. 2) Bill, which is much sought after by the industry. Perhaps the Tánaiste might deal with those.

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 pharmacy (No. 1) Bill were cleared by Cabinet recently and I hope to publish them next week for consultation. We hope to have the Bill in the House later this year. The pharmacy (No. 2) Bill, which deals with more technical rather than regulatory issues to do with the profession, will be ready later this year or early next year.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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In light of the long wait and the difficulties couples face when adopting, when will the Hague Convention adoption authority Bill be brought into the House?

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

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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I have a number of questions. The Taoiseach promised an inspectorate for social services. The Tánaiste said this morning the heads of the health Bill were published for consultation, but she did not indicate when we would see it in the House. When will that happen? When will we see the report on the Leas Cross nursing home? It seems——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should confine herself to questions. Some of her colleagues would like an opportunity to ask questions and I would like to facilitate them.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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The Tánaiste's predecessor was great for publishing reports, but the Tánaiste has the reports and will not publish them.

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 Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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For example, when will we see the final decision on a national children's 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.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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When will the PPARS report be published? We cannot pass legislation without having the published reports.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Reports, unless they are promised in the House, are not appropriate matters for the Order of Business. I suggest the Deputy should submit a question to the Tánaiste.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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The Ceann Comhairle has already taken a question on this so he should be consistent and not discriminate against me.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Tánaiste, on the health Bill.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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With regard to the hepatitis C and HIV compensation Bill, the Taoiseach said he hoped it would be introduced during this session. When will we have this Bill 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 hope to bring the Bill dealing with the insurance scheme for hepatitis C sufferers to the Cabinet in about two weeks. The social services inspectorate is part of the health Bill the heads of which have been published. We hope to have that Bill by the end of the year or at the start of next year. I have not seen the report on the Leas Cross inquiry. It is a matter for the HSE and I do not know when——

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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That is ridiculous. It has been produced——

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Contrary to what the Deputy may think, I have not seen it.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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Why does the Tánaiste not phone the HSE and ask for a copy? It has been there for weeks.

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

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Because when a report draws conclusions about people, under natural justice they are entitled to seek copies of the report. I understand that process is going on currently with regard to the inquiry.

On the issue of the children's hospital, the expert group concluded its work yesterday.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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When will we have a decision on it?

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

Photo of Michael D HigginsMichael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)
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Undertakings were given that the United Nations convention against corruption would be signed this year. When is it likely to be signed? The understanding on the human rights conventions that arise from the Good Friday Agreement was that Britain and Ireland would take the same position. Has Ireland ratified the optional protocol, the convention against torture?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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I will have to refer both matters to the Minister for Foreign Affairs for a direct reply to the Deputy because I do not have that information.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Labour)
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A road traffic Bill to introduce a number of safety measures was promised and we were told it was intended to publish, debate and pass it before the summer recess so that the new measures could come into force. We have not yet seen that Bill. Is it intended to keep to that timescale and when will the Bill be published?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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Yes and the Bill will go to Cabinet next Tuesday.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Will it be possible to organise a short debate on the European fisheries fund before the end of the session, particularly given its importance for coastal communities and deprived areas of the country?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is a debate promised? The matter is not appropriate on the Order of Business as a debate has not been promised.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Will the Tánaiste have any input into the capital programme for primary health care, given that a number——

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

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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I want to ask the Tánaiste, as Minister for Health and Children, because there seems to be——

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

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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On the first matter, the Government would be happy to facilitate a debate on it. Perhaps the Deputy will raise it at the next Whips' meeting.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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On promised legislation, I understand the Tánaiste has told the House that the amending Bill required as a result of the Supreme Court judgment on the consent case will be before the House in two weeks' time. Is the House scheduled to be in session in two weeks' time. This is an important——

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

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Is there any serious matter affecting our citizens that a Deputy in this House is entitled to raise without hectoring interventions from the Ceann Comhairle?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There is a whole book on Standing Orders and if the Deputy reads them, he will see there are ways and means of raising——

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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I want to clarify whether the Dáil will be in session and whether we will take that Bill. I intend to do that.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The intention of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is to have legislation before the Cabinet on 6 or 7 June that week. The Dáil will not be in session that week. If it is approved by Government at that time, I am sure Deputies would like to see it for at least a few days before we debate it in the House. Therefore, assuming it goes through Cabinet on 6 or 7 June, we could have it in the House the following week.

Photo of Shane McEnteeShane McEntee (Meath, Fine Gael)
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On the road safety Bill, last year following the Kentstown bus crash a meeting between the transport office, the Department of Education and Science and Bus Éireann was convened in August to update and examine how to improve the road safety Bill with regard to school children. It was decided at the meeting to have further meetings, but none has taken place since despite the fact that there have been five further crashes-——

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

Photo of Shane McEnteeShane McEntee (Meath, Fine Gael)
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Will the Tánaiste ensure that this group reconvenes immediately?

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

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

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Sixteen Bills are to be published before the end of the summer. Some have already been published, but will the full 16 be published before the end of the recess, which is fast approaching? When will the nurses and midwives Bill come into the House.

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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The intention is to publish the majority of those, if not all, before the session concludes.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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What about the nurses and midwives Bill?

Photo of Mary HarneyMary Harney (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Health and Children; Dublin Mid West, Progressive Democrats)
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That is due later this year.