Dáil debates

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

12:00 pm

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. a16, statements on Northern Ireland; No. 12, Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006 — motion to instruct the committee; No. 1, International Criminal Court Bill 2003 — amendments from the Seanad; No. 16, Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 17, Health (Nursing Homes)(Amendment) Bill 2006 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings on No. a16 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 65 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the statements shall be confined to the Taoiseach 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, which shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes. The proceedings on No. 12 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 40 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, which shall not exceed ten minutes in each case.

Private Members' business shall be No. 27, Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006 — Second Stage, resumed, to conclude at 8.30 p.m. tonight.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are two proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. a16, statements on Northern Ireland, agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 12, Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006 — motion to instruct the committee, agreed? Agreed.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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When is sale of alcohol Bill likely to be published by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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Early next year.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Will the Taoiseach allow time to debate the situation at Aer Lingus?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I will consult with the Minister. We agreed we would do so at the appropriate time, but I will check with him.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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I, too, would like to see that debate on Aer Lingus take place as soon as possible. On promised legislation, I raised on Taoiseach's Questions how some legislation has a long gestation period. Few have the gestation period of the Charities Regulation Bill. Given that the European Commission has complained about the Government's position on charities, although I am not sure I would agree with its complaint, we need this legislation which dates back to the 1990 Costello report. Given that many charities have charitable status and yet there is no legal basis for it and no registrar of charities, does the Taoiseach not see an urgent need to publish this legislation without further delay?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I understand that they are within a month or two of finishing the work on this. This has proved to be a complex Bill because it dates back to all the old charitable bequests and donations and regulations that were built up. It is also one that creates much heat around many bodies on both sides of the argument around the country.

Photo of Trevor SargentTrevor Sargent (Dublin North, Green Party)
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It is causing heat in the European Commission.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The heads of the Bill have been approved. The work is going ahead but it has been a complex Bill. They hope to have it at the beginning of the new year for the spring session.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Is the withdrawal last week of the proposed inquiries Bill indicative of the Government's recognition of the inadequacies and the difficulties that would arise——

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

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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——and is it intended to withdraw it altogether?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is obvious that there is considerable demand to bring it forward again. I will consider that.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are moving to No. a16, statements on Northern Ireland.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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The House was suspended three times last week.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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We are entitled to ask questions.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Order of Business should have been taken at 11.36 a.m., according to Standing Orders.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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That is not our problem.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will call Deputy McManus first tomorrow.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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We are entitled to ask questions.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Chair cannot go on like that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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On the Order of Business, I seek the Chair's advice and guidance. In respect of the Morris tribunal report, I have been informed by a legal firm of its view of an injustice against one of its clients by virtue of the tribunal reaching a conclusion.

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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I am seeking advice regarding a debate on this matter. The courts have made one decision and the tribunal has made another.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy must put a question.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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When the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform finishes advising the Taoiseach, are we likely to have a debate on the Morris tribunal reports that have been published? I am not sure how to proceed with this issue, in view of the feeling that there is a wrong here. I am unable to adjudicate on that aspect. Are we to have a discussion on it?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform informs me that he has examined those issues. There is not a legal problem about us debating reports and we hope to have an early debate on the Morris, Nally and Barr tribunals with the agreement of the Whips.