Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Order of Business
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?