Wednesday, 18 October 2006
Order of Business
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.