Dáil debates

Wednesday, 14 June 2006

11:00 am

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It is proposed to take No. 12, motion re Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998; No. 1, Employment Permits Bill 2005 — amendments from the Seanad; No. 23, National Sports Campus Development Authority Bill 2006 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 21, Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Bill 2006 [Seanad] — Second Stage, resumed; No. 22, Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill 2005 [Seanad] — Second Stage, resumed; and No. 2, National Oil Reserves Agency Bill 2006 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is proposed notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders that the proceedings on No. 12 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 70 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the speeches shall be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and to the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time, and which shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed ten minutes. Unless the Dáil shall otherwise order, the following arrangements shall apply to the sitting of the Dáil tomorrow: business shall adjourn not later than 2.30 p.m., oral questions shall not be taken and matters may not be raised under the provisions of Standing Order 21(3) or 31.

Private Members' business shall be No. 55 — motion re Marty report on extraordinary rendition in the United States, resumed, to conclude at 8.30 p.m. tonight.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There are two proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 12, motion re Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998, agreed to?

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

No. We in Sinn Féin oppose the endorsement again of the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act, which in effect suspends the protection and fundamental rights of citizens in this State. No emergency exists which could possibly justify these draconian measures. Accordingly we oppose No. 12.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 12, motion re Offences against the State (Amendment) Act 1998, be agreed to", put and declared carried.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Is the proposal regarding the sitting of the Dáil tomorrow agreed to? Agreed.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

With regard to the Voluntary Health Insurance Board corporate status Bill, can the Taoiseach say if that remains on line to be published in late 2006? The third level student support Bill was expected to be published at the end of 2006, but I understand the Minister for Education and Science has now indicated the Bill will not come before the House until 2007 because of the change of responsibility from local authorities to VECs. Will the Taoiseach comment? What is the status of the judicial counsel Bill, dealing with complaints about judicial misbehaviour? Is it expected by 2007?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The heads of the Voluntary Health Insurance board corporate status Bill have been approved. The Bill is being drafted and should be ready for the autumn session. The heads of the third level student support Bill are at an advanced stage and are expected to be before the Government shortly, but the Bill will not be ready before the next student grant period. The judicial counsel Bill will be published in 2007.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Will the Taoiseach say if I am correct in interpreting our exchanges this morning as meaning the Government is promising legislation to regulate and control housing estate management companies?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

What I said was that I have asked the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to see what it can do to resolve this issue. I told the Department that if it could not be done by instructions to local authorities, it should be done legislatively. I will have to check the state of progress since it is some months since the Department reported back to me on the matter.

Photo of Pádraic McCormackPádraic McCormack (Galway West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Will the legislation apply retrospectively?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

No. One can never have retrospective legislation. I will let Deputy Rabbitte know the conclusions reached.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It seems——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

We cannot have another question on the same Bill. The Taoiseach has replied and it appears legislation is not promised.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

A relevant case is coming to court next week involving 20 residents. Can the Taoiseach intervene to stop this?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Deputy cannot piggyback on Deputy Rabbitte's Leader's question this morning on the Order of Business.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Nobody is denying the urgency of that legislation. I urge the Taoiseach to hear the pleas.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

We have already discussed the matter.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I know from yesterday that the register of persons considered unsafe to work with children is effectively going nowhere under this Government. There is no date for publication of legislation and nothing will happen unless the Northern Ireland Executive is functioning. Can the issues be dealt with under legislation promised which has a timeframe such as the child care amendment Bill, given that the ISPCC says child protection legislation is needed as a priority, vetting systems for those working with children are needed and we need procedures allowing the Garda to act? The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is now in the House.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

If you have a question, Deputy, you should just ask it. You cannot make a Second Stage speech.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I am not doing so.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

You are, and the Chair has ruled.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Will the child care amendment Bill cover the area?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The relevant Minister will deal with the issues. The Department of Education and Science and the Department of Health and Children are in discussions on the register of those considered unsafe to work with children.

James Breen (Clare, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I put down a parliamentary question for the Minister for Transport that you disallowed. You told me the Minister for Transport had no responsibility to this House for what happens in the NRA. A vast amount of taxpayers' money is involved. The Ceann Comhairle tells me local authorities bear the responsibilities.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

James Breen (Clare, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I certainly have. Will the Taoiseach, who appoints the ministerial team say if mechanisms will be put in place to make the NRA answerable to this House for spending its budget on time? There have been long delays in progressing projects. If taxpayers' money is involved, and there is an overspend on NRA projects to date, the Minister must surely have responsibility for answering the questions, as should the NRA.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I would ask you to allow the Taoiseach to answer your question, or we will have to move on.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There is no legislation change promised in this area.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There is. The legislation ensuring that the Ministers would be responsible in the House for the quangos was promised in the context of the Dáil reforms proposed by the Government.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

That is a piece of fiction.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Can the Taoiseach say if the Deloitte & Touche report will be published before the publication of the single electricity market Bill? Will the broadcasting Bill be published before Christmas?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I do not know about the Deloitte & Touche report. The Deputy needs to put down a question for the relevant Minister. The single electricity market Bill is listed for this session. The heads of the broadcasting Bill will go before the relevant committee shortly for consultation.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Ahead of the health and information and quality Bill, reports need to be published. They are long overdue. The Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Harney, established an inquiry into the tragic death of Pat Joe Walsh, and the report was promised within weeks. We are now waiting months and there is still no sign of it.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The report does not arise on the Order of Business.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Ceann Comhairle allowed Deputy Durkan to raise the matter a minute ago. I ask for parity of esteem.

With regard to the report on the Leas Cross nursing home, which is also long overdue, I recall that in the past a mechanism was used to publish such reports. An example was in the area of sex abuse in swimming where a report was referred to the committee——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

We cannot have a speech.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Will the Taoiseach consider an appropriate mechanism to ensure that the information which is long promised is made available to us, so that when we work on legislation, we work in an informed way?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I will forward Deputy McManus's views to the Tánaiste.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Taoiseach referred earlier to the Defence (Amendment) Bill which is on the Government legislation list. It was due to be taken in the House tomorrow, but will not now be taken because of the rearranged schedule. When can we expect the Bill to be published? Has it been approved by Cabinet? If not we will be in the same situation next week, on Tuesday evening or Wednesday, with the Bill not published. Can the Taoiseach give an indication of when it will be published?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Cabinet is due to finalise this on Tuesday. In the normal course of events we would have perhaps been able to do it earlier but we will not now be able to do so until Tuesday.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Will it be taken next week?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

If it is agreed. However, I appreciate that creates difficulties.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

In view of the fact that the Cabinet decided to locate the national children's hospital at the Mater hospital site, will the project go ahead considering the new dispensation with the Rotunda and the Mater hospitals?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I suggest the Deputy submits a question to the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children on the matter.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

She will not answer it.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

This questions relates to legislation. Can the project go ahead without legislation? Will the Taoiseach——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Is legislation promised?

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

——indicate when the legislation will be promised?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

No legislation is promised.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I understand legislation is required for the dispensation to go ahead.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

No legislation is promised and it is not appropriate to discuss what legislation might be introduced.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

We will have another long delay in locating the hospital.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

If every Deputy on both sides of the House was to put questions to the Taoiseach on the Order of Business, we would be here all day.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I thought the Taoiseach would be anxious to resolve this matter.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

In the context of Limerick County Council bullying Pallaskenry residents to accept their water supply from a polluted source, the River Deel, when will the consumer protection Bill be introduced?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Taoiseach on the consumer protection Bill.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Will the Taoiseach and the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government intervene to stop this bullying of decent residents?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Sorry, Deputy, allow the Taoiseach to answer the question.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
Link to this: Individually | In context

A Cheann Comhairle, decent residents could go to jail tomorrow for simply protecting the natural spring waters in their area.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There are other ways the Deputy can raise the matter in the House, if he wishes to do so.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The consumer protection Bill will be introduced next year.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I understand there are plans to establish through legislation a register of guardianship of unmarried fathers. Will the Taoiseach confirm if that is the case and, if so, when will the legislation be published?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I have no knowledge of such legislation.

12:00 pm

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

When does the Taoiseach intend to notify the House of the de facto transfer of ministerial responsibilities for nuclear safety from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children? This arises from a question I tabled to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on nuclear safety and the disposal of the useless iodine tablets every household has in an environmentally friendly way. The question was strangely transferred to the Department of Health and Children. Yesterday the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children claimed it was her responsibility. Will a special order come before the House to transfer responsibility for nuclear safety to the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, particularly as the HSE seems to be doing everything else for her?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Deputy Stagg is a great man for the questions.