Dáil debates

Thursday, 4 November 2010

10:30 am

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. 8a, Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010 - Financial Resolution; No. 8b, motion re statement of Estimates for the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission; No 8g, motion re by-election for Donegal South-West; No. 8c, motion re by-election for Donegal South-West; No. 8d, motion re by-election for Dublin South; No. 8e, motion re by-election for Waterford; No. 8f, motion re by-election for Donegal North-East; No. 3, Local Government (Mayor and Regional Authority of Dublin) Bill 2010 - Second Stage (resumed), to adjourn at 1 p.m., if not previously concluded; and No. 4 Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 8a and 8b shall be decided without debate; in the case of 8g and in the event that any of the other motions for by-elections are being moved, Nos. 8g, 8c, 8d, 8e and 8f shall be debated together and decided separately, the proceedings shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 60 minutes, and the speeches shall be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and to the main spokespersons for Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order, who may share their time, and which shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are two proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 8a and 8b agreed to?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Before we deal with any business here, I should like confirmation from the Taoiseach that arising from the judgment of the High Court, yesterday, which is very clear in its ruling-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is the second item, so perhaps we might dispose of the first.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I understand that. We are now in a position where the Attorney General has not given clear advice in the event of the Government winning an appeal to the Supreme Court. We are in the throes of preparation for a budget and fiscal plans at a time special needs hours have been reduced and home help care is under pressure, and the Government is going to appeal to the Supreme Court on the definition of an inordinate amount of time-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy please, these matters can be dealt with under the second item.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----at a considerable cost to the taxpayer, when the Government was given a clear option last May, in a Bill published by Deputy Hogan, for the filling of casual vacancies arising in the Dáil to the effect that a time limit of six months should be imposed, which was constructive-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, please, these matters can be dealt with under the second item.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----objective and realistic. The Government refused to do that and voted it down. It was then ordered by the High Court, effectively, to hold this by-election.

Photo of Olivia MitchellOlivia Mitchell (Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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A Cheann Comhairle, this is unacceptable.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The point is that this appeal to the Supreme Court will not only cost the taxpayer money, but anybody in this House is capable of defining what an inordinate delay is, in this context. The Bill proposed by Deputy Hogan last May-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask Deputy Kenny for his co-operation in the matter. I have given him some latitude but he is out of order 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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I am not out of order on the Order of Business.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny is a long time Member of the House and knows the procedure.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I am not out of order on the Order of Business. As stated, before I agree to any of the proposals, I want my question answered.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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A Cheann Comhairle, can you ask that Deputy Kenny's microphone be turned on?

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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He is out of order.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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We cannot hear Deputy Kenny.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I recommend to the Government and Taoiseach that this decision not be appealed to the Supreme Court and that the Bill produced last May by Fine Gael be introduced, which Bill allows for orderly, realistic and objective legislation-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, please. I have allowed the Deputy to go on for some time when I should not.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----which would not require the Government to be involved in this mess whereby the High Court has effectively ordered it to hold a by-election and in respect of which it now intends to cost the taxpayer more money by going to the Supreme Court for a definition that any man in the street could give, namely, six months is the period within which all vacancies should be filled.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, please.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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What is going on here is that-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is showing disrespect for the Chamber.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----the Government by virtue of this appeal to the Supreme Court is prolonging its stay in Government. It is refusing the people their mandate in respect of other by-elections pending, namely, Waterford, Dublin South and Donegal North-East.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Deputy to co-operate with the Chair. I am putting the question. We need to take a decision on this matter.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I would like a response from the Taoiseach in regard to the reasons his Government has accepted the recommendation of the High Court and now wants to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court, which appeal will delay other legal actions being taken in respect of the other two by-elections.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We will be debating the matter when a decision on the Order of Business has been disposed of.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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This is wrong and costly-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is completely out of order.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----and is another example of blatant incompetence by this Government-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Resume your seat.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----which wants to put its party before country-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, resume your seat please.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----and prolong its stay in office.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Gilmore.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Likewise, before the Labour Party can agree the Order of Business proposed by the Taoiseach, which sets out a sequence for the taking of a number of motions for the moving of writs in respect of outstanding by-elections, we want a response from the Taoiseach in regard to the Government's decision to appeal yesterday's High Court decision in respect of the Donegal South-West by-election.

I will explain the reason this is significant in the context of the Order of Business. My explanation relates to the sequence in which this is presented to us. There are four by-elections-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I must remind the Deputy that we will be discussing these matters after the Order of Business.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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You cannot have the Order of Business until this has been determined. That is the point.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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This is the Order of Business.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle, please allow me-----

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Some Members will get to discuss it. The Independents have been excluded again.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Please allow me to explain.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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It is a great democracy.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Government has presented us with a list of by-elections on the Order of Business. The Government is asking us to deal with-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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That matter is catered for under the second proposal.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I am asking for a response from the Taoiseach before agreeing anything on the Order of Business, which I am entitled to do.

I understand that the Government has decided to appeal yesterday's High Court decision to the Supreme Court. Yesterday, the Taoiseach said that the holding of by-elections is a matter for the House. We know from what we have read in the newspapers that it is the Government's intention to hold the by-election in Donegal South-West and to oppose the holding of the by-elections in the other three constituencies. If the Government appeals the decision of the High Court to the Supreme Court it will prevent, I expect, the possibility of legal challenge to its refusal to hold the remaining three by-elections. The issue which will be-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore is promoting large-scale debate on this matter on the Order of Business.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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The Ceann Comhairle might listen.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are other times when these points can be made.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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No.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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They cannot be made on the Order of Business. Standing Order 26 does not accommodate this type of arrangement that is being proposed.

Photo of Pádraic McCormackPádraic McCormack (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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How long will it stand?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I am not proposing-----

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will allow a brief supplementary from Deputy Gilmore.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I do not wish to be at odds with the Ceann Comhairle but he should listen and show some respect to Members-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have been more than patient.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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-----of the House when we are making valid points. The point I am making relates directly to the Order in which we are expected to deal with these matters, as presented by the Taoiseach.

The Government is presenting a formula which will allow the Donegal South-West by-election to go ahead, in respect of which it has no choice because the High Court has stated that by-election must go ahead, but which is designed to stop the other three by-elections from going ahead. It is a manifestly political ruse by Government to deprive the Dáil from making a decision to hold the other three by-elections.

Like Deputy Kenny, before we agree the Order of Business I want clarification from the Taoiseach in regard to what is the Government's intention with regard to the appealing of yesterday's High Court decision.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Ó Caoláin.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Regardless of what response the Taoiseach gives to the questions posed, the fact remains that what the Government is now doing is utilising the judicial process to thwart the democratic process, as reflected upon but not specifically stated in the judgment delivered by the President of the High Court yesterday in regard to what the Government is doing. I ask that those entrusted with responsibility for same would take note of what the Government is doing in this instance. There is no substantive basis for the appeal Government is presenting. The process is about thwarting the opportunity of the people of Dublin South, Waterford and Donegal North-East to pass judgment on this Government's performance at an early opportunity. It is doing at the taxpayers' expense. Regardless of what answer the Taoiseach gives those are the facts of the matter. I would appeal-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We wish to bring this matter to a conclusion as quickly as possible.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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-----to the Judiciary not to accommodate this appeal which has no basis in law.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The Government has decided, having heard the advices of the Attorney General, to appeal yesterday's decision of the High Court-----

Photo of Pádraic McCormackPádraic McCormack (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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Why?

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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-----because the judgment gives rise to importance constitutional issues regarding the separation of powers and the boundaries of the court's role in the important matter of elections and its power to make declarations that have the effect of requiring Government to exercise its voting power in a particular manner, and the need for certainty on the legal position with respect to future by-elections. An important issue has arisen here.

The importance of an appeal is underlined by the fact that yesterday's judgment is the first time the courts have interpreted the Constitution to give rise to an obligation of this nature. In the case of Dudley v. An Taoiseach, the High Court merely held that there was an arguable case that the Government was under an obligation to move the writ for a by-election which had been outstanding for almost 14 months. When Senator Doherty received leave from the High Court in July of this year, it had been 11 months since former Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher had vacated his seat.

As regards the Government's constitutional obligations, the Government is appealing the decision for the reasons outlined on advice of the Attorney General. The Government has a constitutional obligation to do so. Like other litigants before the courts, it is fully entitled to await the determination of the matter by appeal. Pending the outcome of the appeal to the Supreme Court the Government decision remains unchanged with regard to the other Dáil vacancies that currently exist. In the interests of ensuring we respond in an appropriate manner to that which emerged yesterday from the High Court, the Government will proceed with the holding immediately of the Donegal South-West by-election.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am putting the question.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Can I ask------

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. The matter has been dealt with. I am putting the question.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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A Cheann Comhairle, Deputy Kenny was on his feet before you.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am putting the question and ask for the co-operation of Members.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputies, I am asking for the co-operation of the House.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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A Cheann Comhairle, Deputy Kenny was on his feet before you.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am putting proposal No. 1. We will then deal with proposal No. 2 in regard to the by-election issue.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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A Cheann Comhairle, Deputy Kenny was on his feet before you.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am chairing the proceedings. I will allow a brief supplementary from Deputy Kenny and will then put the question on proposal No. 1.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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No, you cannot do that.

Photo of Liz McManusLiz McManus (Wicklow, Labour)
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Turn on Deputy Kenny's microphone.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Taoiseach has responded to the matter I raised and that raised by Deputy Gilmore and Deputy Ó Caoláin. This is a matter for the House. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is not here-----

Photo of Arthur MorganArthur Morgan (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Again. He is hiding.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----again. He sat beside the Taoiseach yesterday and then walked out before it came to the crucial matter.

A Deputy:

They are all e-mailing.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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He is not here. It is his responsibility to table this in the House. This is the Bill published on 25 May by Deputy Hogan-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, we cannot have a full-scale debate on this 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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A Cheann Comhairle, I am not taking it-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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-----and I am not going to allow it. I will adjourn the House if you do not cease and resume your seat.

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

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, you are going off on a tangent that is not relevant to what we mentioned.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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A Cheann Comhairle, I have just a couple of years on yourself-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Yes, we can share some experiences.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----and you are treading very close to constitutional issues here. This Bill-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is the Order of Business and Standing Order 26 is quite specific on these matters about what is allowed to be debated.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will finish my point in less than two minutes.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Very briefly.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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This Bill was published to give the people of every constituency in our electorate the right of full representation in the Dáil. It was voted down by the Government, which could have prevented the mess it is now in, where the High Court has given a very clear instruction of which the Government had to take cognisance. Unless there is crystal clear evidence from the Attorney General to the Government that he had no doubt but that an appeal would succeed in the Supreme Court, this course of action should not be followed. The Taoiseach has a legal background.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, resume your seat.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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He understands that the delay in this being heard in the Supreme Court ......

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, will you resume your seat please?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----prevents the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, if you do not resume your seat I will suspend the sitting.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----and the Dáil dealing with the holding of the by-elections in Waterford-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are not co-operating with the Chair.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----Dublin South and Donegal North-East.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, I am suspending the sitting for ten minutes.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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This is a matter of constitutional importance.

Sitting suspended at 10.55 a.m. and resumed at 11.05 a.m.

11:00 am

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am now putting the question.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle-----

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, Deputy; we have finished. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 8a and 8b without debate agreed to? Na Teachtaí atá ar thaobh na tairisceana aibridís "Tá"; na Teachtaí atá ina coinne aibridís "Níl". Sílim go bhfuil an cheist rite.

Deputies:

Vótáil.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The question is carried. On a point of order, yes.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The question is not carried, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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It certainly is carried.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is not carried.

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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It is a heavy load, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Vótáil.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order, a Cheann Comhairle, as I was about to finish my short contribution-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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This is not Iran, you know. It is a democracy.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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It might not be Iran, but we need-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle is not chairing the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party at the moment. He is chairing this House.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy-----

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government has decided to appeal the judgment of the High Court-----

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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A Cheann Comhairle-----

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----on the question of the Donegal South-West by-election to the Supreme Court.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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It is not up to the Taoiseach to tell Deputy Kenny he is out of order.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Kenny, the vote has been called. The bells are ringing.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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He was told four times.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, Fine Gael)
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It is none of the Taoiseach's business.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We must now proceed to the vote.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with 8a and 8b be agreed to."

The Dail Divided:

For the motion: 75 (Bertie Ahern, Dermot Ahern, Michael Ahern, Noel Ahern, Barry Andrews, Chris Andrews, Seán Ardagh, Bobby Aylward, Niall Blaney, Áine Brady, Cyprian Brady, Johnny Brady, John Browne, Thomas Byrne, Dara Calleary, Pat Carey, Niall Collins, Margaret Conlon, Seán Connick, Mary Coughlan, Brian Cowen, John Cregan, Ciarán Cuffe, John Curran, Noel Dempsey, Jimmy Devins, Timmy Dooley, Michael Finneran, Michael Fitzpatrick, Seán Fleming, Beverley Flynn, Paul Gogarty, John Gormley, Mary Hanafin, Mary Harney, Jackie Healy-Rae, Máire Hoctor, Billy Kelleher, Peter Kelly, Brendan Kenneally, Michael Kennedy, Tony Killeen, Michael Kitt, Tom Kitt, Brian Lenihan Jnr, Conor Lenihan, Michael Lowry, Tom McEllistrim, Mattie McGrath, John McGuinness, Martin Mansergh, John Moloney, Michael Moynihan, Michael Mulcahy, M J Nolan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Darragh O'Brien, Charlie O'Connor, Willie O'Dea, John O'Donoghue, Noel O'Flynn, Rory O'Hanlon, Ned O'Keeffe, Mary O'Rourke, Christy O'Sullivan, Peter Power, Seán Power, Dick Roche, Trevor Sargent, Eamon Scanlon, Brendan Smith, Noel Treacy, Mary White, Michael Woods)

Against the motion: 68 (Seán Barrett, Joe Behan, Pat Breen, Tommy Broughan, Richard Bruton, Ulick Burke, Joan Burton, Joe Costello, Catherine Byrne, Joe Carey, Deirdre Clune, Paul Connaughton, Noel Coonan, Simon Coveney, Seymour Crawford, Michael Creed, Lucinda Creighton, John Deasy, Jimmy Deenihan, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Frank Feighan, Charles Flanagan, Terence Flanagan, Eamon Gilmore, Brian Hayes, Tom Hayes, Phil Hogan, Brendan Howlin, Paul Kehoe, Enda Kenny, Ciarán Lynch, Kathleen Lynch, Pádraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Dinny McGinley, Finian McGrath, Joe McHugh, Liz McManus, Olivia Mitchell, Arthur Morgan, Michael Noonan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Kieran O'Donnell, Fergus O'Dowd, Jim O'Keeffe, John O'Mahony, Brian O'Shea, Maureen O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, John Perry, Ruairi Quinn, Pat Rabbitte, James Reilly, Michael Ring, Tom Sheahan, P J Sheehan, Seán Sherlock, Emmet Stagg, David Stanton, Billy Timmins, Joanna Tuffy, Mary Upton, Leo Varadkar, Jack Wall)

Tellers: Tá, Deputies John Cregan and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe

Question declared carried

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We move to item No. 2. Is the proposal-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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On a point of order, a Cheann Comhairle, you moved to the vote after the resumption of the House without giving an opportunity to either Deputy Kenny or me, both of whom were offering. I had an issue I wished to raise with you, Sir, in respect of the reply the Taoiseach gave to the House to the questions we asked earlier. The Taoiseach said the issue being appealed to the Supreme Court related to the separation of powers. I had wished to ask the Taoiseach to clarify to which separation of powers he was referring. Was he referring to the separation of powers as between-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, that is not a point of order.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It is a point of order.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Would you please listen to the point of order?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I wish-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Order of Business is controlled by Standing Order 26.2.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I have a question.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is quite explicit on what is allowable and what is not.

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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It is out of date.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I have a question.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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If we need to change that the Committee on Procedure and Privileges is the avenue through which to do that.

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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Only one side can change it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Let us move on.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I have a question for you, a Cheann Comhairle, and I would like you to listen to it. The Taoiseach said the issue being appealed related to the separation of powers. I had wished to ask the Taoiseach if that was the separation as between the Oireachtas and the Judiciary since the holding of by-elections is a matter for the Oireachtas. Were you, Sir, informed by the Government that it was its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court a matter relating to the separation of powers between the Oireachtas and the Judiciary? There is also an issue about the separation of powers as between the Oireachtas and the Government.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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It is for Government.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The issue of the holding of by-elections is a matter for the House and is not a matter for the Government. If the Government-----

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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That is the issue.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Yes, that is the issue.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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That is the issue.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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That is the issue.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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That is the issue.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The point is that any appeal-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore, please-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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-----of that decision should be a matter for the House-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore, could I have your co-operation?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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-----and not for the Government.

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Gilmore is not a party to it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are moving on to proposal No. 2.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The House was not sued.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the proposal for dealing with-----

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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A Ceann Comhairle, let the Taoiseach respond.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please-----

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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If the Deputy wants me to uphold the right of the Oireachtas in regard to this matter, that is precisely why we need to appeal it to the Supreme Court.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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That should be our decision, not the Government's decision. It is a matter for the House.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore, will you resume your seat please.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore, resume your seat.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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It should be our decision, not the Government's.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am now putting the question.

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Gilmore is not in the case.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with Nos. 8g, 8c, 8d, 8e and 8f be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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You are not entitled to stand up there and make a decision in the way you have done it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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As I have explained to the Deputy, the Order of Business is controlled by Standing Order 26.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I want to talk about something new now.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Under Standing Order 26 I cannot allow a full-scale debate on the issues the Deputy wishes to debate. I do not mind. There are other ways to do it but the Deputy will have to find the other ways and not use the Order of Business. The Deputy must realise that. The control of the House is dominated and dictated by the Standing Orders set out and agreed by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. I cannot change that.

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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We cannot either.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have to implement them.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle made a decision unilaterally from the Chair in respect of No. 2. I wish to make a point on No. 2.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I put the question to the House.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Yes, and the Ceann Comhairle would not listen to any point of order or reason.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is not co-operating and he is being very unfair to other Members.

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 bulldozing his way through-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am not bulldozing my way; I am implementing Standing Orders. That is what I am doing.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle will not listen to any point of view. I am supportive of the Donegal South-West by-election being held. The Chair has decided on No. 2 about which I want to raise a number of points of order.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government who has responsibility for this is not here. He should be here. I want to save the Irish taxpayer serious money.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should be brief before we conclude and move on.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I offer the Taoiseach in the spirit of constructive progress a copy of our Bill, which was published in May this year by Deputy Phil Hogan, namely, the Electoral Representation (Amendment) Bill. This would allow for the business of the House to be conducted by itself and for the filling of all casual vacancies within a six-month period. If the Taoiseach decides to come in with his own Bill next week, I will facilitate him. There is no need to go to the Supreme Court for a definition of "an inordinate delay". We can adjudicate on that here ourselves. All casual vacancies should be decided within a six-month period.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Can I please have the Deputy's co-operation?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If the Taoiseach and the Government want to prolong their own stay in office by making an appeal to the Supreme Court, which will prevent legal action being taken by anybody else in respect of pending by-elections in other constituencies, that speaks for itself. It is an attempt to use court time to have a longer stay in a government, which is doomed.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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It is an important constitutional point.

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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God help the Oireachtas if Deputy Kenny ever gets over to this side of the House.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to find another way to have a debate on this. There are other ways.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I have a straight question. The Taoiseach has asked for constructive suggestions. Is he prepared to accept this Bill or to come in with his own next week to allow the House to fill all casual vacancies within a six-month period? If so, we will not have any further row about this.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We will have a debate on this matter as we move along.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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One debate-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We will have a debate on the matter later. I will suspend the House if the Deputy does not co-operate. I call Deputy Gilmore.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Clearly, the decision of the High Court yesterday was that the Government has acted unreasonably in holding off on, and preventing, the by-election from being held.

Photo of Michael MulcahyMichael Mulcahy (Dublin South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It did not say that.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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If Deputy Gilmore wishes to develop a debate on this matter, he should not do so on the Order of Business.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I am asking a question about legislation. The House can decide by legislation what is a reasonable period of time within which to hold a by-election. Deputy Kenny referred to the Bill that he has presented. There is also a report of all-party committee, which recommended to this House that by-elections should be held within a specified period of time. Without troubling the Supreme Court with this, the House can decide by legislation what is a reasonable period of time. The reality is the Government parties are going to the Supreme Court in order to string this out and in order to avoid holding the other three by-elections so that they can stay in office for longer that they are wanted by the people.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Can I answer that, although I am trying to find a strain of incoherence in what has been said?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Yes.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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First, writs were tabled to hold by-elections. We then had the leader of the Labour Party saying it is very important that the powers of the Oireachtas be confirmed in regard to the holding of by-elections-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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That is not what I said.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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-----which is precisely one of the issues that now has to be dealt with by the Supreme Court to bring certainty to future by-elections.

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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By legislation.

Photo of Brian CowenBrian Cowen (Taoiseach; Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Then we had the leader of the Fine Gael Party who suggested we should bring in a Bill and not hold by-elections until six months after its enactment, which is longer than the undertaking I have given regarding the other two by-elections. If the Deputy can try to figure out what he is doing, he can give us a shout.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If that is the way to run-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask Deputy Kenny to resume his seat.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If that is the way the Taoiseach runs his Cabinet, it is no wonder the country is in the state that it is in.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Chair is on his feet.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Leader of the Opposition; Opposition Spokesperson on Northern Ireland; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I never thought that this Government would show such cowardice in facing the people.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am suspending the House for ten minutes.

Sitting suspended at 11.25 p.m. and resumed at 11.35 p.m.