Dáil debates

Thursday, 9 November 2006

10:30 am

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The Order of Business today shall be as follows: No. 10a motion re the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Bombing of Kay's Tavern, Dundalk; No. 16, National Oil Reserves Agency Bill 2006 — Report and Final Stage, resumed, to adjourn at 1 p.m. if not previously concluded; and No. 18, statements on Transport 21, resumed, in accordance with the Order of the Dáil on 2 March 2006. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 10a shall be decided without debate.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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There is one proposal to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 10a agreed?

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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On a point of clarification, will the Tánaiste confirm that the House will have an opportunity to address the report of the sub-committee in the Dáil Chamber as early as possible? Will he accommodate the earliest address of the report in December rather than allowing it to drift in to the more difficult period prior to the Christmas recess when there is limited media attention to such matters? If the Tánaiste is in a position to clarify both of those issues, I would be grateful.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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As the Deputy knows, the sub-committee is seeking a two week extension of the time within which to prepare its report. The report will then come back to the House and if the Deputy's Whip raises the matter with the Government Whip, I am sure his desire will be accommodated.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the proposal agreed? Agreed. I call Deputy Kenny 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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Will the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform state if he proposes to make a statement to the House on the spate of tiger kidnappings in the country?

Second, what is the status of the two reports into the Garda published by Senator Maurice Hayes and Ms Kathleen O'Toole which state that there are 66 gardaí working in the IT section, 88 in human resources and 14 in the Garda press office? Are they to be translated into change and will legislation be required?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is a question for the line Minister.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Third, the Tánaiste is always prepared to be accountable to the House. Last week, I raised with him the number of cases likely to be dropped under the statutory rape charges process. The Tánaiste did not answer that question. Last June, a letter from me and Deputy Rabbitte was required to elicit responses. Can the Tánaiste now give us the answer to that question, in view of the work of the committee?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny should submit those questions to the line Minister.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle thinks I should submit questions to every line Minister.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is important that Members remain within Standing Orders.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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My job is to stand here and ask, under the appropriate legislation, questions of the Tánaiste.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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There is no need for the Ceann Comhairle to protect the Tánaiste. He is able to answer for himself.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair is not protecting anybody. If the Deputy is not happy with Standing Order 26, he knows what to do.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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There is no need for the Ceann Comhairle to make suggestions about what we should ask because we understand the rules.

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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We are on the Order of Business. Deputy Kenny should ask about legislation.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Unfortunately for Members on both sides of the House ——

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Both sides.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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——the Chair has to rule on what is and is not appropriate——

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Chair presumes to know what Opposition Deputies want to ask.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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——in accordance with Standing Orders laid down by this House.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I understand that. I have asked the Tánaiste four perfectly legitimate questions. He is a man given on occasion to not incomplete sentences, so I am sure he is prepared to answer my questions in the public interest.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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I want to be orderly.

Photo of Bernard AllenBernard Allen (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
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That is a change.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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Deputy Kenny will be aware that I answered questions on tiger kidnappings during oral questions this week, during which time a lengthy discussion was held. I congratulate the Garda Síochána on the work it is doing with regard to investigating these cases and I had discussions on the subject with the Commissioner today.

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

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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I am not in a position to give an answer to the Deputy on decisions taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions with regard to whether individual cases will be prosecuted because that is a matter for the independent judgment of the DPP. If I come into possession of information which I can pass on to Deputy Kenny and others, I will do so.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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What is the status of the reports produced by Senator Maurice Hayes and Ms Kathleen O'Toole?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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With regard to the Garda Síochána, the implementation of the recommendations contained in the reports by the Garda Síochána Inspectorate and Senator Maurice Hayes will not require legislation and it is the intention of the Garda authorities and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to expedite their implementation.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The Tánaiste advised us that he was to receive the report of the working group on domestic partnership by 20 October. Has he received the report and does he anticipate that a constitutional amendment will arise from it? Given the apparent intention of the Government to hold a referendum in the near future, would it be appropriate to take the entirety of amendments at the same time?

When the amendment on judicial misconduct collapsed and was withdrawn in 2001, the Government promised to introduce legislation. Some five years later, that legislation, the judicial council Bill, remains on the legislative programme. Without making any reference to current matters, when is it proposed to bring the Bill before the House?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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I am told that I will receive the report to which Deputy Rabbitte refers in the next two weeks. I have seen a draft of the report and I will publish it as soon as I have it to hand.

Regarding the Deputy's question on a referendum, the Taoiseach has indicated that the Government will propose to deal with the issue of civil partnerships on a sub-constitutional basis because it is his judgment, which I share, that a constitutional referendum on the matter would be divisive and unlikely to succeed.

I have made proposals in respect of the judicial council Bill which are currently being considered by the Chief Justice. I am awaiting his views before proceeding and, as soon as he offers me a clear opinion on alternative methods for dealing with the matter, I will arrange for the legislation to be expedited.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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Will the Tánaiste join me in condemning the comments of certain irresponsible public representatives that is all right to drink and drive? Does he agree that the Government's own attitude to our biggest drug problem, alcohol, is somewhat ambivalent?

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

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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It pertains to promised legislation. The reason for the Government's ambivalence is that it dropped the alcohol products Bill.

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

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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I am not debating, I am asking a question.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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If the Deputy has legislation in mind, he should ask a question on it.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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With regard to my question on the alcohol products Bill, I ask the Tánaiste to refrain from offering the stock answer about voluntary agreements. Will he join me in condemning those public representatives?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should confine himself to the legislation.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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When will we have the alcohol products Bill?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Crawford asked about the alcohol products Bill yesterday and his question was answered.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The position regarding the alcohol products Bill is that voluntary agreements have been reached with the alcohol and advertising industries.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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It is always the same answer.

Paddy McHugh (Galway East, Independent)
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Deputy Gormley does not want that answer; he wants a different one.

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

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The Department, therefore, wishes to delay the introduction of this legislation pending the outcome and evaluation of the voluntary arrangements. I am aware it is hard for some people to accept that it is sometimes better to achieve ends by means of voluntary agreements than by compulsory legislation.

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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The Government is kowtowing to the alcohol industry.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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Did Deputy Gormley have a second question?

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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Does the Tánaiste condemn the public representatives to whom I referred?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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I certainly condemn anybody who defends breaking of the law. We all live in a constitutional democracy and Article 9 of the Constitution states that loyalty to the State is the fundamental duty of every citizen. Those elected to public office have a special duty to uphold the law.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Today, the Central Bank alerted us to the totally dysfunctional nature of the Government's housing policy, which at present provides only one affordable house for every 40 houses built.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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I refer to the housing miscellaneous provisions Bill, which is intended to provide for the rental accommodation scheme. The Central Bank has advised that four out of five people will not be able to afford housing.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy cannot discuss on the Order of Business matters he could raise on Second Stage of a Bill.

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Is it the sole element of Government policy that people will be restricted to renting because of the problems that have emerged in terms of affordability?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The legislation will be introduced next year.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Yesterday, Deputy Rabbitte told the House that Deputy Wall's name had been removed from the register of voters. Last night, I checked the register and discovered that not only was my name removed but so also were the names of my entire family. I am not paranoid——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does Deputy Stagg have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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——but that does not mean they are not out to get me.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Minister, Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism; Kerry South, Fianna Fail)
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It sounds like a purge to me.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Yesterday, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government suggested legislation may be required to deal with the Deputy Rabbitte's proposal. Although the Minister for Finance, who took the Order of Business yesterday, knew nothing about the issue, the Tánaiste may be better informed. Can he tell us how, in terms of legislation, the Government intends to address the issue?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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I understand that legislation is not promised. If Deputy Stagg was to look more carefully at the register for County Kildare, he would find himself in the K Club.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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My colleague is doing well for himself.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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That goes to prove Labour's responsibility for creating the Celtic tiger.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Can the Tánaiste indicate whether the Chief Whip will accommodate an opportunity in the coming week to debate the issue of voter registration with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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If a debate is not promised, it is a matter for the Whips.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Will time be allocated in the coming week to address the substantive issues which have been highlighted in regard to the electoral register?

With regard to the promise by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to introduce a broadcasting Bill in the coming year, can the Tánaiste indicate when that legislation will be brought before the House?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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With regard to the Deputy's second question, an e-consultation process is under way. When that process is completed, the matter will be further progressed.

No proposals have been made in respect of holding a debate in the House on the issue of the register. I urge everyone, as has the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, to check the register and to comply with the legal provisions. I note that some counties, Louth and Donegal, have an unexpectedly higher number of people on the register than in others.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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The Tánaiste has the right man sitting beside him.

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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When is it intended to commence Operation Freeflow? I ask the Tánaiste to respond to calls from this side of the House to introduce it early, particularly in the vicinity of the M50 where conditions are appalling.

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

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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There should be.

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

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I believe the Tánaiste would like to answer.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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In light of the extraordinary increases in the cost of electricity and gas, when will the protection of employment Bill be introduced to deal with redundancy issues? As it took more than six months for a person to be cleared to become a carer, when will the register of persons who are considered unsafe to work with children be introduced so that we can discuss the issue? Approximately one month ago I was promised that the Whips would discuss and agree when the Teamwork report would be discussed in the House——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That matter was raised yesterday. I call the Tánaiste on the first two issues.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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When will the report be debated? Deputy Kehoe has raised the matter, which is extremely important.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot have a debate on it now. The Deputy was doing very well on the first two issues.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The report into the death of Pat Joe Walsh was never discussed in the House.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The last matter is a matter for agreement between the Whips.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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We asked for it.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The protection of employment legislation is expected next year, although it does not deal with energy issues.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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It deals with redundancies.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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However, it does not deal with energy issues. On the third matter raised by the Deputy, it is impossible to say at this stage.

Photo of Michael D HigginsMichael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)
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The United Nations Convention against Corruption is held up in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. I received a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs stating that it is awaiting a review by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on the necessary adjusting legislation. Does the Tánaiste believe that the convention will be ratified in the lifetime of the Government? Does he accept that the failure to ratify the convention is a serious erosion of the commitment in the White Paper on development aid?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The Bill is expected in 2007. As the Deputy will appreciate, it requires legislation and the Bill is scheduled for publication next year.

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

Photo of Michael D HigginsMichael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)
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It becomes law at the end of this year. What will the Government do then? It has been ratified by the required number of countries.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should allow Deputy Joe Higgins to speak without interruption.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The White House has just removed from office its resident psychopath, Mr. Rumsfeld——

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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When will we do the same?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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Yes.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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It should relate to legislation.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The Taoiseach, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and his predecessor have said over the past three years that as events developed in Iraq, they would keep it under review and we would——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Sorry, Deputy, it does not arise on the Order of Business. I suggest the Deputy tables an appropriate parliamentary question on the matter.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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It is in order for me to ask about debates that have been promised. There is an implied promise——

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

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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——to have a debate as policy on Iraq changes.

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

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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As the Bush regime has been subjected to shock and awe by the American electorate——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Sorry, Deputy, we need to establish whether a debate has been promised. We will hear the Tánaiste.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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Can we have an early debate——

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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There is shock and awe when the Deputy is coming.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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——on the changing situation in the United States, particularly its policy towards Iraq and its implications for the Government regarding whether it will continue to facilitate the Rumsfeld war machine, now that he has gone?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The Deputy should table questions to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the implications for Government policy of any developments in Iraq.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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What about a debate?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The Deputy used the phrase "implied promise". He should wait until he has an explicit promise.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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I am asking for a debate on the issue.

Photo of Michael D HigginsMichael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)
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We could have a celebration in the interim.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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In view of the clearly illustrated unreliability of electronic voting, as shown in the recent mid-term elections in the US, does the Government intend to review the system of electronic voting as proposed here?

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

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Could the discussion take place under the electronic communications Bill or perhaps——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy has already raised the matter this week.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle has not heard the next one. Perhaps it could be dealt with under the crimes Bill.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call the Tánaiste on the electronic communications Bill.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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It is to be published this session.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It could also be dealt with under the crimes Bill. I ask the Tánaiste when that Bill is likely to come before the House. Could the discussion into the scandal of electronic voting and the cost to the taxpayer——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss what the Deputy would like to see in the Bill.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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——be undertaken in the context of that Bill?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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It will not arise in the context of the crimes Bill.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It could arise.

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

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Will the father of electronic voting step forward as the surrogate father is not here this morning?

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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I ask about the long-promised postal miscellaneous provisions Bill. Given the spate of attacks and kidnappings, has the Tánaiste held or does he intend to hold any talks on security with the new chief executive of An Post?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The first question is in order on the postal miscellaneous provisions Bill.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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The matter is within the Tánaiste's portfolio.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The particular Bill has been removed from the list, as the Deputy will appreciate. I do not know whether the Deputy was here earlier when I said that I spoke to the Garda Commissioner today. The Garda Síochána is in consultation with all relevant levels of An Post down to post office and sub-post office level to ensure that proper security is put in place.

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)
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Given that 27 licences for public transport have been issued for new routes in the greater Dublin area with no provision for integrated ticketing under the 1932 Act, when will the public transport regulation Bill be published. Essentially we are making matters worse in the absence of regulation.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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That legislation is promised for next year and I cannot say any more at this stage on the matter.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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When will the roads amendment Bill be before the House? Will it give additional powers to local authorities? I raised the issue of the Teamwork report at the Whips' meeting in recent weeks. Can we get an understanding or commitment from the Government that it will be discussed in the House?

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is a matter for the Whips.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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On Operation Freeflow, is it true that the Department of Transport is receiving advice from Deputy Callely on how to implement it?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The Government Whip informs me that a discussion on the Teamwork report can be arranged by agreement among the Whips. The heads of the roads amendment Bill were approved by Government on 17 October and it will be published next year.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Will the Tánaiste acknowledge that the usual mayhem occurred this Hallowe'en? No vehicles were confiscated indicating that no Border patrols took place.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Will the Tánaiste acknowledge that the recently introduced legislation has not functioned?

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

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Is the Tánaiste considering amending the legislation to bring it in line with legislation in Northern Ireland so that——

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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No legislation——

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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——we can co-ordinate the activities rather than having two separate——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should allow the Tánaiste to reply.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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——regimes operating on either side of the Border, which makes it impossible? Will the Tánaiste now acknowledge——

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

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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——that his approach has been a disaster and that the situation this year was worse than it has been before?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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Deputy Ó Caoláin asked me about the matter a fortnight ago.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Hallowe'en came after that.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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The legislation has recently come into operation.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The legislation is a joke.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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It was a different question.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Did he have a good Hallowe'en before it happened?

11:00 am

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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Deputy Ó Caoláin asked me whether there was a proposal to approximate our legislation with that of Northern Ireland and I answered him in the House. That legislation was recently enacted by the Oireachtas. This year there has been a dramatic improvement in terms of the problem of fireworks. Instead of them going off for a month prior to Hallowe'en and for two weeks afterwards——

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath, Fine Gael)
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Or for two months.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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There were some isolated——

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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They started in September this year.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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Deputy Burton is being disorderly again.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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The debate should take place by way of a question to the line Minister.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The fireworks started in early September this year.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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Not where I live.

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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The Minister is living in a new dream world.

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

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, Deputy, I will not hear you on the issue. You asked a question on legislation and it was answered. We are not having a debate on the issue now.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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I am not asking for a debate. I asked the Minister if he intended to amend the legislation to make it more pertinent to the situation.

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

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
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No legislation is promised.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Deputy Fiona O'Malley told the House last night that the price of electricity could be brought down immediately by 10%——

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Hear, hear.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Sorry, Deputy, that does not arise on the Order of Business. I understand Deputy Burton wishes to move a Private Members' Bill.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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She said it appears that ESB management is behaving in a nakedly profit-seeking manner in preparation for privatisation.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, you are out of order. I call Deputy Burton to move a Private Members' Bill, the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2006. I have called your colleague, Deputy Rabbitte.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Will the Tánaiste indicate if legislation is contemplated in this area?

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

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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I am accustomed to the major party in Government behaving as if it is in Government and Opposition but if the Progressive Democrats has taken up the——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Rabbitte, the Chair facilitated you by calling you twice, which is most unusual. The least I expect from you——

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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Let us hear what he has to say.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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——is that you would adhere to Standing Orders and obey the Chair.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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It is most unusual, Sir. It demonstrates uncommon generosity on your behalf coming up to Christmas.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Burton wants to introduce a Private Members' Bill.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Can I ask the Tánaiste if this is more of the Progressive Democrats posing as the defenders of the poor and the vulnerable?

Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
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On a point of order, a Cheann Comhairle——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Connolly on a point of order.

Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
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I have been trying to——

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Just one moment, Deputy. I would like to hear the Tánaiste on the issue I raised because to put the Tánaiste in charge of the poor and the vulnerable——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Rabbitte, you are out of order.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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——would be like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank.

Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
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On a point of order, I have been trying to speak on the Order of Business. It strikes me that the Pat Joe Walsh report is being dropped. I want it debated in conjunction with the Teamwork report.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, have you a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
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I want to ask the Tánaiste a question about post mortems in view of the fact that we intend to change the law governing the retention of organs. Will he take on board the fact that sudden deaths from road traffic accidents——

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a point of order, Deputy. I called you on a question appropriate to the Order of Business.

Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
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It is. I want addressed in legislation the fact that people should not have to wait unduly for the post mortem to be carried out.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Rory O'HanlonRory O'Hanlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Ceann Comhairle)
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That does not arise on the Order of Business, Deputy. I suggest you submit a question to the line Minister.