Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

11:00 am

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. 10, motion re leave to introduce Supplementary Estimate [Vote 6]; No. 10a, motion re referral of Supplementary Estimate [Vote 6] to select committee; No. 9, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; No. 10b, motion re appointment of ordinary Members to the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission; No. 10c, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of the agreement between the Government of Ireland and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China; No. 10d, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the terms of certain Acts of the 2004 Congress of the Universal Postal Union; No. 14, statements on the meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference, Lisbon; No. 8, motion re pre-budget Estimates for Public Services 2008 (resumed), to be taken not later than 3.45 p.m.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted on the conclusion of Private Members' business which shall be No. 22, motion re agrifood industry (resumed), which shall be taken for 90 minutes at 7 p.m., or on the conclusion of No. 8, whichever is the later; and the suspension of sitting under Standing Order 23(1) shall take place at 1.30 p.m., or on the conclusion of No. 14, whichever is the later, until 2.30 p.m.; Nos. 10, 9, 10b, 10c, and 10d, and subject to the agreement of No. 10, No. 10a (referral to select committee), shall be decided without debate and any divisions demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; the proceedings on No. 14 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 80 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply. The statements shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 60 minutes and shall be confined to the Taoiseach and to the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time, which shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; immediately following the statements, a Minister or Minister of State shall take questions for a period not exceeding 20 minutes.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the proposal that the Dáil sit later than 8.30 p.m. agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 10, 10a, 9, 10b, 10c and10d agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 14 agreed? Agreed.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Does the Government intend to introduce legislation governing the licensing of cosmetic surgery? A number of serious cases of procedures that went wrong have been highlighted recently. Apparently there is no licensing system in place at present, which is a cause of obvious concern to the people involved.

The Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht affairs has had a report on his desk since last September, which was the result of a study commissioned on the status of the Gaeltacht areas. It is a secret document that has never been released. Apparently, its findings are serious and it is about time it was published and a debate conducted in this House. The Minister has been speaking recently about how the west and the mid-west should move forwards rather than backwards. Perhaps the Taoiseach would call the Minister into his office and tell him to publish the report so we can see its contents and discuss its findings.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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On the first question, I do not know that information. I will check to see whether there is pending legislation. I understand the Deputy's concerns that there is no inspectorate or control in the area. I will raise that and bring the publication of the report to the attention of the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Ó Cuív.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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An industrial dispute is threatened at the Moneypoint power plant relating to subcontracting. When will the employment agency regulation Bill and the employment law compliance Bill be dealt with by the House? Does the Taoiseach have plans to intervene in the dispute at Moneypoint, which, if it got bad, could result in power cuts?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The second question is not in order.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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Both Bills are ready, but there are some outstanding issues with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. The Minister is ready to bring both Bills forward in this session.

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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When will the promised report into the investigation in the Department of Transport on the withdrawal of Aer Lingus's Shannon-Heathrow services be presented to the House? Will the House have an opportunity to debate it?

In view of the resignation yesterday of the executive chairman of the Shannon Airport Authority board and the clear precedent created where Ministers were not informed of the decision to change the Aer Lingus service, when will the Taoiseach insist on the independence of Cork and Shannon airports from the Dublin Airport Authority, as envisaged by the State Airports Act 2004?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is already laid out in legislation. A business plan must be put in place before matters can be taken forward.

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Four years on.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The report will be published as soon as it is available.

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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Will the House have an opportunity to debate it?

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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There will be no need to do so.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I hope it will be self-evident.

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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Another whitewash.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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That is a terrible thing to say about our civil servants.

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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Legislation dealing with anti-social behaviour in local authority housing estates needs to be strengthened. When will the social housing miscellaneous provisions Bill be published? This Bill will give greater powers to local authorities to deal with this issue, which costs the State a fortune.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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In early 2008.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order, am I in order to ask about the transposition of EU directives into Irish law? Is that implicit in promised legislation?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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It comes under secondary legislation.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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EU Directive 85/377 EEC deals with environmental impact assessments. The European Commission will refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice on this directive. Has it been transposed? It has to do with incinerators and so on.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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I will get the information for the Deputy.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Agency workers tend to be treated less fairly than their counterparts and an EU directive is in place regarding their treatment. We have not transposed that directive. In the context of underpinning the charter of fundamental rights, legal force will only be given to this when it is transposed.

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The employment agency regulation Bill, to regulate the employment agency sector and put it on a statutory basis, is due this session.

Photo of Joanna TuffyJoanna Tuffy (Dublin Mid West, Labour)
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Last week Ireland was referred to the European Court of Justice on failures of the Seveso directive relating to chemical plants. Will the chemical regulations and enforcement Bill deal with that issue?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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Yes, it will provide for measures to enforce the EU chemicals-related legislation. It is due next year.

Photo of Michael D HigginsMichael D Higgins (Galway West, Labour)
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The European Council Regulation 954/93 of May 2002 deals with the allocation of slots at airports. It states the use of flexibility is limited. It cannot be used for slots related to routes considered vital for economic development of the region where the airport is located nor disturb airport operations. Will the Taoiseach agree that legislation relating to the privatisation of Aer Lingus must include compliance with this regulation? If not, how did the State comply with its legal obligations arising from the regulation? Did it instruct the airline's board? Did the board delegate that to the executive? Does the Taoiseach envisage the introduction of special legislation removing the State from its responsibility relating to the Council regulation?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy should put down a parliamentary question to the Minister on the matter.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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Is it a bit too technical for the Taoiseach?

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
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Is it still intended to publish the nursing home support scheme Bill in this session and, if so, what is the timeframe?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is due before Christmas.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Will the Taoiseach update the House on proposed legislation on noise pollution? Has it been discussed at Cabinet? If not, with whom have discussions taken place? When will it be ready for publication?

Photo of Bertie AhernBertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
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The legislation is due in 2008.