Dáil debates

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

11:00 am

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It is proposed to take No. 15, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the access to the Convention on the International Hydrographic Organisation, back from committee; No. 25, Criminal Justice Bill 2007 — Report Stage; and No. 26, Pharmacy Bill 2007 [Seanad] — Order for Report and Report and Final Stages.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m.; (2) No. 15 shall be decided without debate; (3) the following shall apply with regard to amendments and sections which may be recommitted at the commencement of Report Stage of No. 25 today: (i) the recommitted amendments and sections shall be taken first today; (ii) the ruling of the Chair that Report Stage amendments, when recommitted, do not have to have a separate Report Stage, shall not apply; and (iii) the proceedings on the recommittal shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. tonight by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, with regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform; (4) Report and Final Stages of No. 26 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. tonight by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Health and Children; and (5) Private Members' Business, No. 71, motion re Kyoto Protocol, Ireland's energy supply and green procurement, resumed, shall be taken at 7 p.m. tonight or on the conclusion of No. 25, whichever is the later, and shall be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes.

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

There are five proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for the late sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15 without debate, motion re the Convention on the International Hydrographic Organisation, agreed?

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

Normally we get a note indicating what was agreed by the committee, but I did not receive any extra information about the International Hydrographic Organisation. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the country is literally flooded at some times of the year. With all the water problems we have, there may have been something of relevance in the convention. The Whip should send a note the next time.

Photo of Tom KittTom Kitt (Minister of State (Government Chief Whip), Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Dublin South, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Certainly.

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

I support Deputy Kenny's request for more information. A debate on the issue in the House, of whatever duration that can be managed, would be appropriate. The matter I raised under Standing Order 31 referred to the problem in Galway. There is a need for an update on the situation and for us to learn from the mistakes of the past. The opportunity should not be missed to have that debate because there are current issues that were probably not dealt with at the committee as a result of the daily change in the situation.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 15 without debate 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 for dealing with No. 25, recommittal of the Criminal Justice Bill 2007, agreed?

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

First, I pay tribute to the Chair and those in the Bills Office who have worked under extraordinary pressure since last week, in particular yesterday, to deal with this matter. I welcome the recommittal of the untouched sections, but there was consensus at the end of our debate last week, when we dealt with 11 sections in as much detail as we could, that a good job was being done. There should be no guillotine on the remaining 41 sections. We will work diligently to make a better Bill if we are allowed and I ask, in that context, that there be no guillotine at 7 p.m. today.

This has been a very difficult situation, even for Opposition spokespersons. We now have two versions of the Bill, that as amended in committee before the House proper and that we are about to recommit. Most of us have done our work on one Bill, but we have a different Bill to cross-reference now. There are amendments which we saw for the first time yesterday. I have submitted amendments to the Minister's amendments and will have to find out how they fit into the discussion as we move through the Bill. There is enormous pressure on the Members of the House to do a proper job of parliamentary scrutiny and on the officers of the House to keep us in order in doing the job. I welcome the Tánaiste's reversal at the end of Committee Stage last week when, probably prompted by external pressures, he determined that we should have a proper Committee Stage debate on this Bill. Articles in today's national newspapers suggest that at least some sections of the proposal are unconstitutional. I wish to be assured that we can debate those matters so that we can be sure of the constitutional basis of our criminal law.

External comment that the Opposition is somehow responsible for not stopping this bulldozer is difficult to swallow when we oppose and vote against it but the guillotine is decided by the majority in this House which is determined that we do not have adequate debate on these serious and important provisions.

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I welcome the Tánaiste'sU-turn and the fact he has bowed to pressure from within and outside the House to have some extra hours of debate on this Bill. He is only agreeing, however, to make a very bad situation somewhat less bad. Everybody accepts that parliamentary democracy requires that Bills receive proper scrutiny. That is how it has worked for centuries. When dealing with serious issues proper debate is all the more necessary.

Our debate on 11 sections of the Bill and the amendments thereto last week was good and constructive. The Government side has admitted this in discussion. The right approach would be to continue that debate without a guillotine, or the sword of Damocles, hanging over our heads. I am pressing this because we have made clear that our approach has been to offer constructive comments on the Tánaiste's approach and amendments to some of which the Tánaiste agreed, although he said there would not be an opportunity to incorporate them into the Bill. Let us continue that constructive debate. The Taoiseach assured us yesterday that the Dáil will resume after Easter, so what is the rush? Let us do the job properly.

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

The Criminal Justice Bill is being cited outside the House as important for various reasons, beyond its substance, including how it bears on our democracy and how that must be taken into account. I have come from a conference in the National Library organised by TASC, entitled Power to the People — Assessing Democracy in Ireland. This Bill was cited as an example of whether it is progressive or regressive.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

That is the title of a song that won the Eurovision years ago.

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

To withold the temptation to use the guillotine means that democracy and accountability are not being further undermined and hopefully better legislation will flow from more reasoned debate.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I join my colleagues in opposing the imposition of the guillotine in this case. I understand from Deputy Ó Snodaigh that the recommittal process will not allow Deputies the opportunity to table amendments on Report Stage tomorrow. The closing time is 11 a.m. today. It is very unsatisfactory. The Tánaiste was putting down amendments up to yesterday evening. Where and how can Opposition voices respond to those with appropriate amendments? It is a closed operation.

The Tánaiste is being congratulated on the recommittal process and the opening of other sections but that is stunted by the imposition of the guillotine again which is unnecessary, unhelpful and will lead not to best practice but to flawed legislation. We oppose the guillotine and ask the Tánaiste to reconsider it.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

In case there is any misapprehension, I was willing to sit all day last Friday but people apparently objected to Friday sittings. I do not mind that.

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

Who objected?

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Who objected? That was never put to us.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Who objected?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I was willing.

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

Who objected?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I do not know.

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

The Government backbenchers objected.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I am only telling the truth. I was willing to sit all day on Friday.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Government could not get a quorum.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I had no objection to sitting all day last Friday.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Government ordered the business of the House.

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The debate was guillotined at 4 p.m. last Thursday.

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

The Tánaiste is never wrong.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I am just making the point that I was willing.

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

Could we have silence for the Tánaiste please? The Deputies cannot come into this House and frustrate a speaker whom the Chair has called.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Tánaiste has no respect for the House.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Tánaiste is misleading the House.

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

We would have been in the House on Friday.

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

This is a democratic Chamber and people are entitled to be heard. The Tánaiste is entitled to be heard. The Standing Order allows Deputy Howlin in this instance to speak on one occasion on behalf of the party. It is not possible for everybody to make a contribution. If that is what Deputies want to do I will put the question and get on with the business.

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

Let the record show that the Tánaiste is addicted to this House.

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

This is the first time we have heard about the offer of a sitting last Friday.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

We will take the recommitted amendments today and Report Stage tomorrow. There is plenty of time to debate the substance of the Bill in that context.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There is no time to table amendments before Report Stage.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Will the Deputies allow me to finish? Does everybody on the other side of the House think that they can shout whenever they want?

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Yes.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Fair enough.

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

That is right; the Tánaiste should sit down.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

At least I got an honest answer for the second time today from Sinn Féin, whose Deputies believe that they can shout whenever they want to. That is good.

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

At least the Tánaiste listened to them.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I appeal to the Deputies opposite to concentrate on what is in the Bill and not to bring in new extraneous matter because there was an interesting debate——

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

Hear this.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

We are not allowed to table amendments. This is terrible.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Deputies should allow me to finish.

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

Deputy Howlin will not be in the House for the debate if he does not remain silent now and allow the Tánaiste to speak.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It is becoming pointless for me to be in the House with the arrogance we have to face.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It is not.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

We are not allowed to table amendments. The Ceann Comhairle has a role too.

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

Deputy Howlin cannot treat this Chamber like a crèche.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Deputy praises the Ceann Comhairle.

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

On a point of information——

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

There is no such thing as a point of information. The Tánaiste is to speak without interruption.

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

Is there any reason, and maybe the Tánaiste would agree why——

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

Deputy Rabbitte is not entitled to speak on this issue. Deputy Howlin has spoken on behalf of the Labour Party.

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

I am not speaking on the issue. I am raising a point of information.

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

The Deputy is speaking on the matter. There is a procedural proposal before the House. The Tánaiste is entitled to be heard.

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

We cannot table amendments.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

That is not how parliament works.

12:00 pm

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I am asking people to concentrate on what is in the Bill. We had an interesting discussion, and I am not criticising it, on a new proposition that we should treat unconstitutionally obtained evidence in a new way. I am happy to discuss that type of issue but the Bill before us does not contain that proposal. I ask the Deputies opposite to concentrate on what concerns them in the Bill, rather than bring in new material which on any analysis has not been the subject of lengthy public debate. If we concentrate equally on material in or not in the Bill our time will be limited.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Let us have the public debate.

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

Would the Tánaiste like us to go away and leave it to him?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I am not suggesting that.

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

The Tánaiste is suggesting it.

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The proposal was in the Hogan report commissioned by the Tánaiste.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Yes but not all of the Hogan report is in the Bill.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It is only the Tánaiste who is capable of such arrogance.

Photo of Jim O'KeeffeJim O'Keeffe (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Tánaiste could bring forward a recommendation.

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

If the Tánaiste concludes I will put the question.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Would the Ceann Comhairle put the question?

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

Would the Tánaiste like to vacate his seat and come over to this side of the House to put his proposal?

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 25 be agreed to."

The Dail Divided:

For the motion: 63 (Barry Andrews, Seán Ardagh, Niall Blaney, Johnny Brady, Martin Brady, Séamus Brennan, Joe Callanan, Pat Carey, John Carty, Donie Cassidy, Beverley Flynn, John Cregan, John Curran, Síle de Valera, Noel Dempsey, John Dennehy, Jimmy Devins, John Ellis, Frank Fahey, Michael Finneran, Dermot Fitzpatrick, Seán Fleming, Pat Gallagher, Jim Glennon, Noel Grealish, Mary Hanafin, Seán Haughey, Joe Jacob, Cecilia Keaveney, Billy Kelleher, Peter Kelly, Tony Killeen, Tom Kitt, Brian Lenihan Jnr, Micheál Martin, Michael McDowell, John McGuinness, John Moloney, Michael Moynihan, Michael Mulcahy, M J Nolan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Willie O'Dea, Liz O'Donnell, John O'Donoghue, Denis O'Donovan, Noel O'Flynn, Batt O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Malley, Tim O'Malley, Tom Parlon, Peter Power, Seán Power, Dick Roche, Mae Sexton, Brendan Smith, Noel Treacy, Dan Wallace, Mary Wallace, Joe Walsh, Ollie Wilkinson, Michael Woods)

Against the motion: 48 (Bernard Allen, James Breen, Pat Breen, Tommy Broughan, Richard Bruton, Joan Burton, Paul Connaughton, Joe Costello, Seymour Crawford, Jimmy Deenihan, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Martin Ferris, Eamon Gilmore, Joe Higgins, Michael D Higgins, Phil Hogan, Brendan Howlin, Enda Kenny, Kathleen Lynch, Pádraic McCormack, Dinny McGinley, Paul McGrath, Paddy McHugh, Liz McManus, Olivia Mitchell, Arthur Morgan, Catherine Murphy, Dan Neville, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Fergus O'Dowd, Jim O'Keeffe, Brian O'Shea, Jan O'Sullivan, Séamus Pattison, Willie Penrose, Ruairi Quinn, Pat Rabbitte, Seán Ryan, Trevor Sargent, Joe Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Emmet Stagg, Billy Timmins, Liam Twomey, Jack Wall)

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Neville and Stagg.

Question declared carried.

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

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 26, Pharmacy Bill 2007, Order for Report, Report and Final Stages, agreed to?

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

This is the 11th piece of legislation to be guillotined this week. A dog's dinner has been made of the Criminal Justice Bill 2007 and three separate Bills are now to be passed almost at once, which is something I have not seen in all my time in the House. Bills are now being chopped, one after the other, without taking into account the requirement of the House to hold the Executive to account by scrutinising legislation. We oppose this guillotine as we do all others.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

This is a very important piece of legislation and has been long expected. It is unacceptable that it is to be truncated by guillotine. There are many interested parties to the amendments and they must be debated. I urge that the guillotine be lifted.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 26 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 for dealing with Private Members' Business 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

Can the Tánaiste give a more precise date for the introduction of the new ethics legislation in the Dáil? Am I to understand from his comments this morning that the legislation will be passed by the Dáil before it is dissolved?

Has the Government fixed a date for the resumption of the Dáil after Easter?

In view of comment in the public arena, has the Government sought advice from the Attorney General on the legality of holding a general election subsequent to the date of the final presentation of the census figures? If so, what is that advice?

Does the Tánaiste wish to comment on statements from the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors to the effect that he has interfered directly in the running of the Garda Síochána on a daily basis?

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

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)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It does arise.

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

I suggest the Deputy submit a question to the Minister.

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

It is an important issue and the Tánaiste is the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has criticised him for interfering directly in the running of the Garda Síochána.

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

Backbenchers in this House cannot get to ask a question on the Order of Business because of the amount of time taken up on this type of question. In fairness to them, I ask Deputy Kenny to stay within the terms of the Order of Business.

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

It was backbenchers who asked me to put the question.

Photo of Bernard AllenBernard Allen (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Ceann Comhairle should not lecture the leader of Fine Gael.

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

It is not ethical for the Ceann Comhairle to attempt to stifle the leader of Fine Gael.

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

I want fair play for everybody but, as the Deputy knows, week after week it is impossible to allow the Members who sit behind the Deputy to ask questions.

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

The matter was also raised by backbenchers on the Government side.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The ethics Bill will be initiated in the Seanad. The Government has approved its text and it will be put before the Seanad at the earliest available opportunity, although I do not know the exact timing.

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

In that case, the Tánaiste's promise of last October is broken.

Photo of Bernard AllenBernard Allen (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It is another broken promise.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There has been no broken promise.

I understand from the Chief Whip that the House will reconvene on 24 April. The Government has considered the issue relating to the census, raised by Deputy Kenny. There is no question of invalidity in holding an election in those circumstances.

If Deputy Kenny had raised the matter relating to the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors with me during Question Time today I would have given him a very long and detailed answer, to prove that there was no substance in those remarks.

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

I raise it now.

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

The Tánaiste said he could answer.

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

I will ask a question on the commitment given by the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment — with special responsibility for trade and commerce, Deputy Michael Ahern, to introduce a statutory restriction on the use of the term "accountant". Apparently people are misrepresenting themselves as accountants and causing damage. Will the relevant legislation be introduced during the lifetime of this Dáil?

I will also ask a question on the commitment of the Government to repay approximately €1 billion collected illegally from nursing homes and similar institutions.

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

The Deputy must ask a question on promised legislation.

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

After two years only €26 million has been paid out.

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

That does not arise on the Order of Business.

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

What is the difficulty?

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

The Deputy should submit a question on that issue to the line Minister.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Government has no proposals to introduce legislation relating to the term "accountant" as the term is rather generic. For example, there are turf accountants, as well as chartered and certified accountants, just as there are lawyers who are not barristers or solicitors.

Photo of Bernard AllenBernard Allen (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Chancers.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Bar-room lawyers.

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

There is promised legislation in an area which may be pertinent to the meeting between the Taoiseach and Northern colleagues today. It relates to paedophiles or suspected paedophiles coming here from abroad who have no legal obligation to inform the Garda when applying for a job that puts them in contact with children and with no mechanism to monitor this. The promised legislation on the register of persons considered unsafe to work with children may have an impact on this.

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

I call the Tánaiste on legislation.

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

Given that the assembly and institutions are to be re-established, hopefully, will that legislation be introduced and when will we have it?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I believe I have answered that question three or four times in the past month. Serious consideration needs to be given to the issue of legislation to give effect to the protection of children by preventing unsafe people from working with them. One of the problems relates to the issue of soft information and hard information. One of the points that arises in that contexts is what we propose to put into a constitutional amendment. We have not achieved consensus on the latter issue. How we deal with this legislation is contingent on reaching some view on whether we need a constitutional amendment in place before introducing the legislation.

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

Will we have the referendum first?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There is very close co-operation between the PSNI and the Garda Síochána regarding dangers to children from sexual offenders.

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

I have a question on secondary legislation. When will the outstanding sections of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 and the Public Health (Tobacco)(Amendment) Act 2004 be implemented?

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I will need to communicate with the Deputy on those matters. I do not know when the uncommenced sections of those Acts will commence. The Deputy will need to ask the Minister in question.

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

I have asked the Minister, but she cannot or will not tell me.

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

Under Standing Orders it is in order for the spokesperson for the Government to defer.

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

I am asking the Tánaiste who is in place of the Taoiseach on the Order of Business. I am entitled to ask about secondary legislation. I thought somebody might have an answer. However, this is a Government——

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

Standing Order 26 allows that a question on secondary legislation be deferred to another day, which is what I understood the Tánaiste to say.

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

The Tánaiste said I should ask the Minister for Health and Children. I am informing the Tánaiste that I have already done so and that I have not got the information to which I am entitled.

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

It can be deferred to another day. A question on secondary legislation does not need to be answered today.

Photo of Bernard AllenBernard Allen (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

There may not be another day.

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

What is the Ceann Comhairle talking about when referring to another day?

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

The Deputy should read Standing Order 26. I call Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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

Why would it be any different on another day? I do not have the answer now.

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

The Standing Order allows that the Taoiseach may defer replying to a question relating to the making of secondary legislation to another day.

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

I do not believe the Tánaiste made that commitment.

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

I call Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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

I would be very interested to know whether he has made that commitment which I did not hear. I do not know where the Ceann Comhairle heard it, but I did not hear it. If the Tánaiste is making that commitment, could I ask——

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I did not say another day. However, if the Deputy raises it in a week's time, I will be in a position to deal with it.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The Dáil will be in recess.

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

The Tánaiste is treating the House with absolute disrespect.

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

If the Deputy does not resume her seat we will move straight to the First Stage of the Private Members' Bill in the name of Deputy Morgan.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I do not know the answer to the Deputy's question and it would be disrespectful for me to wing it.

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

It never stopped him before.

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

Does the Tánaiste know the House is not meeting next week?

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Given that private developers interested in the hospital co-location sites are threatening to sue the State in the event of a future Government democratically deciding not to proceed——

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

Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

It is, if the Ceann Comhairle allows me to finish the sentence.

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

The Deputy should come straight to the question.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

While the Tánaiste knows I strongly disagree with the co-location proposal, nevertheless——

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

I call Deputy Stagg.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Can any legislation protect the position of the Government——

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 line Minister.

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

Arising from the Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006, mentally handicapped people aged 16 and upwards were allowed a disability allowance.

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

Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business.

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

I have.

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

I ask that he comes to it.

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

If I do not explain it the Tánaiste will not know what I am talking about. Under that Act, it appears that a charge has been made against these people, leaving the money——

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

In what legislation is the Deputy interested?

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

That is what I am trying to ask.

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

If the Deputy does not know, he should ask a different question of the line Minister.

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

If the Ceann Comhairle would stop interrupting me I would have the question asked by now. Is the Tánaiste aware that under the Act, people with mental handicap are now left with €35 per week and have received bills for back money——

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

That does not arise on the Order of Business.

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

It does arise if the Ceann Comhairle listens to me.

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

It does not arise on the Order of Business.

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

Has the secondary legislation enabling these moneys to be extracted from mentally handicapped people been enacted? Has it been laid before the House?

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

That is a question for the line Minister.

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

I am asking a question on secondary legislation, as I am entitled to do. I asked the question last week and was promised an answer in a day. However, I did not get an answer. The Ceann Comhairle is supposed to ensure that I do get one.

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

Conspiracy of silence.

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

No, Deputy, the Chair——

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

I want to know.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I do not know the section to which the Deputy is referring.

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

I do not know either.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

If the Deputy does not know, how do I know——

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

The Tánaiste knows everything.

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Tánaiste; Dublin South East, Progressive Democrats)
Link to this: Individually | In context

——and how can I answer?

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

On a point of order, under the rules of the House am I not entitled to ask about secondary legislation and get an answer?

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

Yes, but the Deputy needs to know the secondary legislation about which he is asking.

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

The Tánaiste is required to find the answer and give it to me.

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

However, the Deputy's question is more appropriate to the line Minister——

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

It is not more appropriate.

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

——unless he knows the legislation about which he is asking.

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

It is about secondary legislation.

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

I would not argue with the Chair if I were the Deputy.

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

I will and it is very necessary to do so.