Dáil debates

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

11:00 am

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. 1, Dublin Transport Authority Bill 2008 — Second Stage. Private Members' business shall be No. 32 — motion re cancer services (resumed) — to conclude at 8.30 p.m. if not previously concluded.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are no motions to be put to the House.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle is in a very poetic mood this morning.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Not really.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Milton himself wrote, "...courage never to submit or yield".

Has the Taoiseach read reports concerning the difficulties the Irish troops are having in Chad because of the damage done to a number of their vehicles under the Defence Act? This was raised earlier in the year by Deputy Deasy when the Minister for Defence, Deputy O'Dea, said he was being irresponsible. It is a dangerous mission, as the Taoiseach is aware, in temperatures of 45° or 50° Celsius. Will the Taoiseach ask the Minister of Defence to ensure that every facility is put in place so that our troops——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not in order. The Deputy must speak 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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——are not endangered? Will the Taoiseach say when the regulatory Bill in respect of mineral exploration will be produced, as some time in 2008 had been indicated? When is the Bill due for the conferring of statutory responsibilities on the Commission for Energy Regulation to deal with mineral exploration and petroleum rights, since 2008 was indicated for this as well?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I understand both those items of legislation are due later this year.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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This morning we really have the tale of two turkeys. No sooner has one turkey bitten the dust in Belgrade than another rises to try to drag the President into the referendum campaign. Having noted the comments the Taoiseach made last week about discipline on the Government side——

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

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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——will he say whether there is anything he can do with the former Independent Deputy, who now supports the Government——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot have that.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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——to exercise some——

(Interruptions.)

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The question is out of order.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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I want to speak on that as well.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Timmins will have to take his turn the same as everybody else.

Photo of Brian HayesBrian Hayes (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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Bring back Senator Ivor Callely.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I asked last week for a debate on the report of the Morris tribunal. The Tánaiste replied at the time that there were other reports pending and the Taoiseach indicated it would be published in mid-June. Can I have an assurance that the debate on the Morris tribunal will take place in this session of the Dáil, and not be postponed until after the summer recess?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I hope that will be possible, yes. Agreement must be reached among the Whips on those issues, but I have no principled objections to the recommendations or the outcome of that tribunal report, when it is published, being laid before the House and discussed. This is the place to discuss it.

I am not sure what the arrangements were when the Fianna Fáil-led Administration had the support of the Workers' Party, as regards whether it had total control of its deliberations at the time.

Photo of Brian HayesBrian Hayes (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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That lasted six months, though.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I presume the Taoiseach is aware that this is Say No to Ageism week. Will the Taoiseach say whether there is any legislation pending from the Government to terminate discrimination against older people? Also, in that context does he agree with me that the poster advertising campaign launched by the Equality Authority, the HSE and the Council for Older People, which depicts older people——

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

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——at bus shelters and on public transport throughout the country——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shatter is out of order.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——in a grossly uncomplimentary fashion, is in fact——-

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is legislation promised in this area?

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——discriminating against older people?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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To my knowledge, no legislation is promised.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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No legislation is promised in this area. I call Deputy Charles Flanagan.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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Does the Taoiseach agree those posters should be withdrawn?

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

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The question is out of order.

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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Before Christmas, amid some controversy the Government introduced the Tribunal of Inquiries (Amendment) Bill, which concluded Second Stage here before the end of the year. In view of Deputy Cowen's current status as Taoiseach, will he say whether it is the Government's intention to enact that legislation before the summer recess?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I am not so sure that it will be enacted before the summer recess, but that Bill improves on the much older legislation, which needs to be updated. We discussed, yesterday, during Question Time, what the benefits of that Bill were.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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In light of what we are rightly celebrating — the ten year anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement — and given that the George Mitchell conference is in Belfast this week, when will the George Mitchell scholarship fund Act 1998 (Amendment) Bill be brought before the House? Also, in light of the continuing criticism of tribunal costs and all the rest, when will the legal costs Bill be introduced in the House?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The second Bill will be next year, and the other Bill, about which I notified the Deputy a couple of weeks ago, will be introduced later this year.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Article 26 of the Constitution, which deals with the referral of Bills from the President to the Supreme Court, expressly prohibits the referral of money Bills and Bills proposing to amend the Constitution. Deputy Finian McGrath would have known this, and it is outrageous for a Member of this House——-

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot be dragging the President into debates in this House.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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——-to try to carry out a publicity stunt such as this. It is unbecoming of a Member of this House.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, it cannot be done.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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When we had the proposal for a vote, in fairness to Sinn Féin, they stood up. Deputy Finian McGrath was hiding around the corridors of this House.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy cannot be making political points such as that on the Order of Business, as he well knows.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Then he goes out to try to bribe the President. It is an absolute disgrace.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Timmins is out of order and will have to take that matter up somewhere else and do it in another way.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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May I please finish? Let us be quite clear about this now, because it is important. I would remind Deputies that it is a long-standing rule of the Dáil that the President should be outside and above debate in this House.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Take action against him.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I cannot allow the Office of the President to become a subject of controversy on the floor of the House. I call Deputy Pat Breen.

(Interruptions.)

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Is there any mechanism inside this House to deal with a Member who seeks to do just what the Ceann Comhairle has mentioned?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I cannot allow this. I have made my ruling.

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order——

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy should stop badgering the Chair.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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If I allow Members to raise matters which might be regarded as an attempt to protect the President, by the same token, the President could then be open to criticism, and I cannot allow that. There is no point of order. I call Deputy Charles Flanagan.

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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In view of what the Ceann Comhairle has just said, I suggest he call an immediate meeting of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to deal with the matter.

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael)
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Why are negotiations with the US authorities taking so long as regards the provision of pre-clearance facilities at Shannon and Dublin Airports? Originally the deadline was 1 May 2008 and now we are being told by the Minister for Transport that it will be the end of the year. This relates to the air navigation and transport Bill. Is there any urgency on the talks at the moment? If not, we shall not have any pre-clearance in place until 2009——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot debate the talks now. The House will hear the Taoiseach on the legislation.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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We do not have a date for the Bill that Deputy Pat Breen suggests, but obviously we continue to discuss the matter.

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael)
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Is there any hope of fast-tracking those talks?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot go into that now. There is another way to raise that and the Deputy can bring it up on the Adjournment, if he wishes.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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There are two sides in the negotiations.

12:00 pm

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle will be glad to know I am not going to ask about diesel prices this morning. I am not even going to ask about the pharmacy Bill and the discussions with the pharmacists. I am not going to ask the Tánaiste to come back to me regarding the update on her discussions with Commissioner Mandelson, although she promised to do that. However, I am going to ask about the unfortunate Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. According to my calculations, it will take about 15 years to complete the legislative programme laid before him, at the present rate of progress. Not wishing to advert to ageism or anything like that, I would, nonetheless, be concerned for his welfare. Would it be possible to consolidate the 36 Bills on the Order Paper into four or five that might encompass the required legislative provisions as a matter of urgency? There is no hope whatever——

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

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Thirty Bills——

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Even the Minister for Foreign Affairs would be incapable of dealing with that.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Has Deputy Durkan a specific question on legislation?

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I have. The Ceann Comhairle will be glad to know I do not intend to read out the titles of the 36 Bills. I have a composite question for the Taoiseach. Will there be an evaluation of the proposed programme for justice to determine whether steps can be taken to combat crime and bring the legislation up to date?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is completely out of order. I call Deputy Bannon.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It is not out of order.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should ask about specific legislation.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Does the Ceann Comhairle want me to ask about specific legislation?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot have an omnibus question.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I could not state the specifics but the Bills are on the Order Paper. If the Ceann Comhairle wants me to read them out, I will do so, but I do not want to delay the House. I am merely asking whether the Taoiseach will consider the possibility of determining the most urgent Bills and bringing them forward?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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As I said, the legislation committee is meeting this week and the new Chief Whip will assess what is possible. In fairness to the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, it has a legislative record second to none.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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We will see.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
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Last week I called for an urgent debate on the loss of all cytology screening from Ireland to a US company. This will result in a loss of expertise and jobs. We are training young people in the Dublin Institute of Technology for jobs that will not exist — we are training them for export. Have the Whips discussed this issue and will time be allowed for a debate? The contract will be signed by the end of this month or early June. We will literally lose an entire cohort of expertise from this country. There was some debate in the House on this. We have a number of accredited laboratories in this country.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss that now.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
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We need an urgent debate.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is a debate promised on this issue?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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These are matters for the Whips to discuss with a view to determining whether a debate is possible.

Photo of Jan O'SullivanJan O'Sullivan (Limerick East, Labour)
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It is an urgent matter.

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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I had the dubious pleasure of having another question disallowed by the Ceann Comhairle.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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It was disallowed under Standing Orders.

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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It related to the requirement on students to purchase student travel cards for identification purposes. This strikes me as another way of penalising students financially. When will the public transport regulation Bill come before the House?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I understand the earliest it can be expected is next year.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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There are three Bills on the legislative programme dealing with agriculture but I am concerned about the animal health and welfare Bill, which seems to be delayed. Will it be introduced? If Commissioner Mandelson gets his way, we will not have any animals left in the country. Will the Taoiseach clarify the position on this?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I do not yet have a date for that Bill.

Photo of P J SheehanP J Sheehan (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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Is the Ceann Comhairle or the Taoiseach aware that there are more than 50 children from St. Patrick's school in Skibbereen visiting the Dáil today?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is hardly relevant to the Order of Business.

Photo of P J SheehanP J Sheehan (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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They are in the Visitors Gallery and there is not an information booklet on the House available to any of them.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss that.

Photo of P J SheehanP J Sheehan (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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Who is responsible?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Regardless of who it is, we cannot discuss it now.

Photo of P J SheehanP J Sheehan (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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An information booklet is supposed to be given to each pupil——

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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A guided tour would be far more interesting.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Varadkar.

Photo of P J SheehanP J Sheehan (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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It is a case of more cutbacks by the Department of Education and Science. Is the Taoiseach responsible? What about the Ceann Comhairle?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not in order and it cannot be raised now.

Photo of P J SheehanP J Sheehan (Cork South West, Fine Gael)
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As the head of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, maybe it is the Ceann Comhairle I should be dealing with.

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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They were not available last week either.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Sheehan should call up to see me some time.

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I have two questions. Given that this is Say no to Ageism Week, instead of spending so much money on advertising, the Government should inform us whether it intends to introduce legislation to end the prohibition on people over 70 from serving on juries, which is appalling discrimination against them.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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That has been addressed.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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That is done.

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I am glad that is done.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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We looked after that.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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On promised legislation.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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There is a need to update the software.

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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I will promise to read about these matters more closely in future. Will the Taoiseach allow more time to discuss the Lisbon treaty given that it appears that members of his Government, particularly the Tánaiste, do not seem to be aware of its provisions?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss that now. That discussion is over for today. I call Deputy Burton.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Bearing in mind the collapse of PPP projects in Dublin on foot of the withdrawal of Mr. McNamara's company therefrom, what is the position on legislation governing PPPs? A financial services regulation Bill has been promised but there is no regulation of PPPs other than through the mechanism in the NDFA for the NTMA to help with the financial structure——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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To what legislation is the Deputy referring?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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There is a huge gap. There are people all over Dublin who will live for another ten years in dreadful conditions in O'Deveney Gardens and St. Michael's Estate.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should ask a question on legislation.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Finglas village is now in a complete state of uncertainty——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot have a speech on it.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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——because of the withdrawal of the developer from the PPPs.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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To what legislation is the Deputy referring?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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May I approach the matter in a slightly different way?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I must keep Deputies in order.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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This is a massive issue for more than 20,000 people in Dublin.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are several massive issues that do not relate to the Order of Business.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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It also applies to a whole range of PPPs throughout the country.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Shatter.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Can we have a full debate in the Dáil?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is a debate promised?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It is a matter for the Whips. On the basis of the setback that occurred during the week, we are now concentrating our efforts to determine whether it is possible for others to take the place of the developer. That is the focus of our attention and we should not assume all is lost. There are people trying to decide whether the matter can be addressed.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot go into that.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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On a second issue, we were advised yesterday that the Opposition is to be invited to discussions on the three or four Bills required in respect of management companies. This is a major issue, particularly for my constituency.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot go into that now.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Can we have some indication as to the arrangement the Taoiseach referred to yesterday in this regard? What briefs apply? Deputy Rabbitte, my colleague, will be very anxious to know about this. We have already produced our guide to management companies.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I assume that is a matter for the Whips.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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What are the arrangements?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not in order. The Deputy knows very well these arrangements are a matter for the Whips.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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This issue affects thousands of young homeowners who are being completely fleeced by excessive management company charges.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Every other Deputy has issues that affect thousands of people also and I cannot allow them on the Order of Business although I wish I could. I do not draw up the Standing Orders; Members of the House do and I must abide by them, just as the Deputy must.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The Taoiseach made an announcement yesterday on consultation with the Opposition.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Shatter.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Can we have an indication as to what the arrangements are?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Shatter.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The Taoiseach wants to answer on this very important issue.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is a matter for the Whips.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The Ministers will be in touch with the spokespersons concerned.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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On a point of order, the Taoiseach referred to this matter in the House yesterday. Surely, therefore, it must be in order to try to obtain clarity on it.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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In an effort to be helpful——

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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I understand and appreciate that.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It was an effort to be helpful, yet there is still a problem when one is helpful. To be helpful, I suggested the three Ministers considering the matter should discuss it with Opposition spokespersons to try to determine whether progress could be made. Deputy Burton asked about the arrangements. When the three Ministers meet, they will put forward a proposal or ideas and talk to the Opposition spokespersons. The Deputy should not ask me to micro-manage the meetings.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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Will they meet the Opposition spokespersons——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Shatter.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Why not? I do not know. Let those concerned make the arrangements. It is not rocket science and the arrangements will be made.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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May I return to the issue I raised previously in a way that is in order? The poster campaign being run on older people is grossly offensive to a large number of people. If a similar campaign were run——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy cannot discuss that now.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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If the Ceann Comhairle bears with me, I promise I will be in order. If a similar campaign were run with regard to a racial or religious group, or individuals of a particular sexual orientation, there would be a national outcry. Has the Taoiseach had an opportunity to consider the poster campaign? If he does not realise its implications, he should request the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, who is responsible for the Equality Authority of Ireland, to make a statement to the House today on this issue.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I cannot allow that, it is out of order. I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I ask the Taoiseach and the Minister to withdraw this campaign.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I hope Deputy Lynch will be in order.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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It is an entirely——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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It does not matter, it is not in order.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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It is entirely unacceptable targeting of older people based——

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

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——on misconceived advice and very poor judgment. It should be withdrawn and——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——taxpayers' money should not be wasted on it.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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One will have seen major effects during a week designed to promote the elderly in a positive, rather than a negative, light among the people.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Kathleen Lynch.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle, may I——

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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It is extraordinary that three State bodies——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shatter is completely out of order.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——are portraying older people in a grossly negative manner——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Unfortunately, Deputy Shatter now is testing the patience of the Chair.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——and in an insulting manner——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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——during the course of what is meant to be a week to promote older peoples' rights.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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This is quite extraordinary. Does the Taoiseach have——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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I thank the Ceann Comhairle——

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy is out of order.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is completely out of order.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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He should use the opportunity to express his view.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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This campaign should be brought to an end.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is completely out of order.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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It is a national disgrace.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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It is a disgrace to the organisation promoting it, which should know better.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Lynch.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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I thank the Ceann Comhairle for calling me. A delegation appeared before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children yesterday to discuss acquired brain injury. The Taoiseach has taken an interest in this issue in the past. I refer to the health amendment Bill. While Members normally cannot speak on this——

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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No.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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——I beg the Ceann Comhairle's indulgence. Will there be provision in that Bill to have a debate on the provision of rehabilitation services for the south of Ireland?

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot go into that now. When is the health amendment Bill due?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I do not have a date for the health amendment Bill. Again, however, if such a debate is sought either in committee or in plenary session, it is a matter for discussion among the Whips.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Brian Hayes.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I am aware of the issue.

Photo of Brian HayesBrian Hayes (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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As the Taoiseach is aware, one of the clearest rights given to Members of the Oireachtas in the Constitution is the right to impeach a judge on the basis of stated misbehaviour. As he also is aware, this issue came to public attention some years ago in respect of a clear case. On that occasion, however, the judge in question resigned. Following the report made by a select committee of both Houses, it was agreed the Government would introduce legislation for judicial misconduct. While I understand it is promised, where does this legislation stand at present? Were this issue to come to public attention again within six months or a year, Members could again face this situation without having legislation in place.

Photo of John O'DonoghueJohn O'Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle; Kerry South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Taoiseach, on legislation on the Judiciary.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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I understand a Bill called the judicial council Bill that would cover that scenario is in preparation. While it may not be introduced to the House until later this year or next year, I understand this is the position.