Dáil debates

Thursday, 11 November 2010

10:30 am

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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It is proposed to take No. a5 - Motion re: membership of committees; No. b5 motion re proposal that Dáil Éireann notes the report of the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service entitled Report on Macroeconomic Policy and Effective Fiscal and Economic Governance; No. 14 -Local Government (Mayor and Regional Authority of Dublin) Bill 2010 - Second Stage (resumed) to adjourn at 1 p.m. today, if not previously concluded; No. 5 - motion re: proposal that Dáil Éireann notes the fifth report of the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security entitled Second Report on Climate Change Law; No. 13 - Education (Amendment) Bill 2010 - Second Stage (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: Nos. a5 and b5 shall be decided without debate; that the proceedings in relation to No. 5 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.30 p.m. today and the following arrangements shall apply: the speeches of the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security or a person nominated in his stead and of the main spokespersons for the Government, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; the speech of each other member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; and Members may share time.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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We oppose the Order of Business. I am very sorry.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I want to advise the House that two proposals are to be put to the House today. Is the proposal for dealing with No. a5 - motion re: membership of committees; No. b5 Motion re: proposal that Dáil Éireann notes the report of the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service entitled Report on Macroeconomic Policy and Effective Fiscal and Economic Governance, without debate, agreed?

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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No. Can I explain why, which is normal practice? No. b5 concerns the Report on Macroeconomic Policy and Effective Fiscal and Economic Governance, which is a key part of what Deputy Bruton has been talking about for several years and is part of our document Reinventing Government, the thesis and essence of which we support. Part of the document relates to transparency and accountability in government. Today we have seen more of the same of what the Government demonstrated for many years, that is, a lack of transparency and accountability, an unwillingness to discuss and debate an issue which caused the demise of an important industry in this country and affects the livelihoods of many farmers and workers.

There are 450,000 people out of work, people are facing economic uncertainty and are threatened with many other kites being flown by the Government on the budget, an area into which I will not stray. As the Tánaiste would not agree to a meeting between the Whips to set aside time for a debate of such importance, we oppose the Order of Business.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Labour Party opposes the Order of Business because of the failure of the Tánaiste and Government to address the closure of the Mallow sugar factory. Yesterday the report from the Court of Auditors was published which states this was one of Europe's most efficient producers and closed down its large, modern and potentially efficient sugar factory. In plain English, this factory did not have to close. A profitable factory and industry was closed with the loss of 300 jobs and the knock-on consequences for local businesses in Mallow and north Cork and farmers which were supplying it across a large area of Munster and Leinster.

We have attempted to have this matter addressed properly in a number of ways. There is no point in having an Adjournment debate where a Minister of State will come in and read a script. Private notice questions will be answered by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Deputy Smith, who he was not the relevant Minister at the time. The Tánaiste was the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when this happened, and attended the Council of Ministers and has responsibility for this decision. We need to have accountability in this House for how she carried out her role at the time and why a factory was closed with the subsequent consequences.

There was a perfectly profitable industry which was scuttled with the loss of jobs, business and the farmers who supplied it. The Tánaiste spoke as if the discussion earlier had not taken place and bizarrely read out the Order of Business as if this was not an issue. It is an issue and it will have to be addressed.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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I suggest, as I did earlier, that we amend the Order of Business. I oppose the proposal in order that No. 14 is adjourned at noon and that another section be inserted, No. 15, which would be statements on the Greencore factory in Mallow and that the Ceann Comhairle allows the proper procedure of statements of 15 minutes each and a question and answer session at the end of the debate. That would facilitate the House in debating this urgent matter. This is the correct place to argue this because it is an amendment to the Order of Business which the Ceann Comhairle has put to the House. I ask that it be adjourned-----

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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There is no explanation; that is why they will not bring it to the House.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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I know that but I asked for an adjournment in order that the Whips could deal with the matter. My proposal is in order.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We need to move on.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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I ask that the Ceann Comhairle put the amendment I proposed to the Order of Business. It is in order and I would like the Ceann Comhairle to allow us to have a vote on it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We need to make a decision-----

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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Is the Ceann Comhairle ignoring a proposal for an amendment?

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

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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There is absolutely no point in Whips being in the House if we cannot make suggestions to change the Order of Business.

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

(Interruptions).

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

11:00 am

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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The Ceann Comhairle is ignoring my request to adjourn the House-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The amendment is out of order. Will Deputy Ó Snodaigh resume his seat, please?

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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That is not out of order. That was an amendment.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have called the Tánaiste. Resume your seat, Deputy Ó Snodaigh.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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There is no point in the Whips meeting on a weekly basis and reaching this position unless the Ceann Comhairle is willing to accommodate that. It is pointless.

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

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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This dictatorship of the Ceann Comhairle in shouting over me while I am talking does not wash with me either.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Will Deputy Ó Snodaigh resume his seat?

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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I can shout louder than the Ceann Comhairle if he wishes. Deal with the amendment properly, in a proper structure.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have allowed Deputy Ó Snodaigh considerable latitude this morning. I ask him to resume his seat, I have called the Tánaiste.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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Suspend the House and let the Whips meet and do this.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Ó Snodaigh should resume his seat. All right, we would be asking him to leave the House.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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First, as all Members know full well, it is not my job or that of the Government to adjudicate on Standing Orders or on the independent decision-making of the Ceann Comhairle's office.

Photo of Pádraic McCormackPádraic McCormack (Galway West, Fine Gael)
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What about closing the beet factories?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Second,-----

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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It is the Whips' job.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Sorry, I am entitled to say what I must say. Second, the logic-----

A Deputy:

Not if she is incorrect.

A Deputy:

She did not say it when she should have said it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Allow the Tánaiste without interruption, please.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The logic of Deputy Gilmore's argument is that if issues arise now in the context of health when Deputy Howlin was Minister or in finance when Deputy Quinn was there,-----

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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We usually win our arguments. We would not be in the mess we are in now.

Photo of Brian HayesBrian Hayes (Dublin South West, Fine Gael)
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It is 15 years ago. A long time ago.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----or Deputy Noonan, then they would be accountable,-----

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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That was when we had a surplus.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----but the position is that the matter is one for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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It is a ridiculous argument.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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Is the Tánaiste saying she does not stand over her decision?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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However, as somebody who is-----

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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On a point of order,-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Sherlock, resume your seat. The Tánaiste is in possession.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----the most familiar with this issue,-----

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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On a point of order,-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Tánaiste, there is a point of order.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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One cannot have a point of order.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I am on my feet, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Sherlock has called a point of order.

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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With all due respect to the Tánaiste, I am up on a point of order, which is that we are asking for an account to be given of the night of 20 February 2006-----

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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If Deputy Sherlock would listen to the answer, it is quite clear from what is being said.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a point of order. Resume your seat.

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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-----and the people in north Cork and the former workers are entitled to that.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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As the person who is most familiar with this issue and the person who gave a considerable amount of time to it, I will give it in the context of what has happened. First, the Court of Auditors has reflected on the Commission's, not the Irish Government's, decision. Second, this was part-----

(Interruptions).

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Sorry, a Cheann Comhairle,-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Could we hear the Tánaiste without interruption, please?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----I am entitled as a Member of this House to be heard.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Let there be a proper debate.

Photo of Dick RocheDick Roche (Minister of State with special responsibility for European Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs; Minister of State, Department of An Taoiseach; Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Is it right of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to shout a Minister down when she is in possession? I am very surprised at him.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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If they are to have a debate, have it now.

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

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Not a one-sided debate.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputies, could we hear the Tánaiste without interruption, please? We cannot proceed if Members are not going to be allowed to speak.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Suspend the House.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call the Tánaiste.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste is now misleading the House.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I am not.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste is misleading the House.

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

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Minister, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food; Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Durkan should withdraw that.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste is misleading the House.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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If Deputy Durkan does not resume his seat, I will ask him to leave. Resume your seat, please.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Tánaiste is in possession.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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All right, can I make this point?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. Deputy Durkan, just resume your seat. Resume your seat.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I want to make a point, I want to make a point of order.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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As I stated earlier, this is a criticism of the European Commission.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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No, it is of the Tánaiste.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, we deal with the facts of the matter or what people think are the facts of the matter.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste agreed to it.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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In 2006, there was a restructuring of the sugar regime arising from the WTO negotiations with which all Members are familiar.

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

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

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Second, as then Minister for Agriculture and Food, I opposed the Commission's proposals, as the Members will be aware,-----

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste did not do it behind closed doors.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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She stated there was no beet in Donegal.

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

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----and led the group of 14 in its opposition to that reform.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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Hear, hear.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I led that opposition with a number of other colleagues in the European Union.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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That is-----

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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But the Tánaiste give not give the Commissioner the----

(Interruptions).

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, 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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Deputy Reilly, please resume your seat.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Burton knows nothing about it and, therefore, is not entitled to criticise me.

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

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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A Cheann Comhairle,-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Reilly resume your seat or I will suspend the House.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Close down the House.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----I am entitled to articulate the position.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle should close down the House.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We have complete disorder. Resume your seat Deputy. The Tánaiste is in possession.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Resume your seat, please. The Tánaiste is in possession.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle has often accused us in this House of entering into debate on the Order of Business. Is that not precisely what the Tánaiste is doing?

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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One should not be interrupted a response.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Why not have a proper debate?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Tánaiste is in possession.

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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We want to know what way the Tánaiste voted on 20 February 2006. That is what we are entitled to.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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If the Deputies would sit down, I would tell them.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Sherlock will be leaving the House.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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If Deputy Sherlock sat down and listened, he might hear.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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On a point of order,-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Stagg, could we hear the Tánaiste and we will take the point of order then.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I am entitled-----

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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No, the Tánaiste is not.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----to deal with political accusations across the House.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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No, she is not. She is entering into the debate now.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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Is Deputy Stanton bringing out the jackboot now? Are we not entitled to answer?

(Interruptions).

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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On a point of order,-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Stagg, the Tánaiste is on her feet.

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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No, she is not. We are either having the debate or not.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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Let us have the answer.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Let us have a proper debate, for one hour.

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

Sitting suspended at 11.05 a.m. and resumed at 11.15 a.m.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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I was seeking to make a point of order when the Ceann Comhairle adjourned.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Tánaiste was in possession and I will call on Deputy Stagg when she has finished.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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On a point of order-----

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It is important that I make my point of order before the Tánaiste continues. If the Ceann Comhairle does not interrupt me I will be very brief. Earlier, the Ceann Comhairle prevented, perhaps rightly, other Members from making statements on the substantive issue which we are discussing. However, he is allowing the Tánaiste make a long statement defending her position.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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Be fair.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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That is not in order.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy can take it that the Chair is conscious-----

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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What is good for one should be good for the other.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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-----of these matters.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I was trying to articulate the position with regard to the issues raised by Members of the House. As I indicated, this is a criticism of the Commission. It was in the context of the WTO. We led the group of 14 at that time-----

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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You fought a bad fight.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----in opposition.

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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You were a weak Minister. That is what happened. That is the problem.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Hayes, the Tánaiste without interruption.

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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You should apologise to the people of Ireland.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Tánaiste without interruption. We cannot proceed on this basis.

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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I am only telling the truth.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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When it became clear at that time at political level that support was not going to be-----

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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On a point of order, the Ceann Comhairle prevented other Members but you are allowing the Tánaiste to make a statement.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I am as entitled as anybody-----

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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You should apologise.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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When Deputy Stagg sat down I advised him I was conscious of the point he made. The Tánaiste without interruption.

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Sauce for the goose and the gander.

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

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The situation is that-----

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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If we had statements we could do all of this.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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-----I have been asked in my capacity as a former Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to give my views to the House.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Dublin South East, Labour)
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In a structured debate.

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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With questions included.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I can agree to a debate with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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No.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order-----

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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When will that happen?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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That proposal is not satisfactory.

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

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Tánaiste has given a part-----

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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On a point of order-----

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Ministers are making points of order now.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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The Tánaiste has put the order of business and the Ceann Comhairle has put the question to the House.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Yes, I am conscious of that. We are allowing-----

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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According to the Standing Orders, one Member-----

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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That is instructing the Chair.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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This is a point of order.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Yes, we know it is.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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That is dictating to the Chair.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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According to the custom and practice and the Standing Orders-----

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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We are definitely into the last days of the Roman Empire if Deputy Dempsey is-----

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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-----one Member of the Opposition has an opportunity to speak to that. The Tánaiste has an opportunity to respond-----

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

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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Is that a point of order?

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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That is not a point of order.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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-----and then the question has to be put.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is my intention-----

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Deputy Dempsey is trying to run the Chair, the Opposition and the Government.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Is the Ceann Comhairle giving an instruction?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Tánaiste has had an opportunity to speak-----

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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No, that was in reply.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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-----and it is my intention to afford a brief opportunity to Deputy Gilmore and to Deputy Reilly if he so wishes.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Deputy Dempsey is dictating to the House.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Not for the first time, the Minister for Transport is wrong-----

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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I am not wrong.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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You are never wrong.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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-----because the Tánaiste is in effect amending the order she put before the House earlier as she now proposes that there will be a debate.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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She is not.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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She is proposing a debate.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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What is the proposal from the Tánaiste?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Gilmore without interruption.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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She is proposing that there should be a debate, which would be led and responded to by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food-----

Photo of Dick RocheDick Roche (Minister of State with special responsibility for European Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs; Minister of State, Department of An Taoiseach; Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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She is making an offer.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Do not be shouting people down.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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-----and I am now responding on behalf of the Labour Party to that proposal.

Photo of Dick RocheDick Roche (Minister of State with special responsibility for European Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs; Minister of State, Department of An Taoiseach; Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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It is an offer.

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

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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My response to it is that it is not satisfactory because the issue at stake here is the Tánaiste's handling of this matter when she was Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. I will give one example from the statement she made. She says that the Court of Auditors laid the blame at the feet of the European Commission. The Court of Auditors blamed the European Commission for working off old figures and that it did not take into account Greencore's consolidation as a result of the closing of the Carlow plant.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are getting into a detailed debate on this matter at this point.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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There is only one side of the debate to be heard.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Who was responsible for the Commission working off old figures? Who was responsible for it having the old figures and who was responsible for it not knowing what consolidation took place between Carlow and Mallow? Was it the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the time, whose job it was to tell the Commission?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will not allow this incident to develop into a full-scale debate on the matter.

Photo of Andrew DoyleAndrew Doyle (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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The Ceann Comhairle made the point that each Member on the Opposition benches is allowed respond to what the Tánaiste said.

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

Photo of Andrew DoyleAndrew Doyle (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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On the same point, the blame cannot be laid at the Commission if the Commission was working off information that was inadequate, out of date and inaccurate. If we are going to have a discussion we need to have the person responsible. The Government at the time held a golden share in Greencore-----

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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It was a special share, not a golden share.

Photo of Andrew DoyleAndrew Doyle (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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It is the same deal. We need an explanation as to how the Government was overseeing the information being supplied by Greencore and what efforts it made to ensure that the information was correct.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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All these questions can be asked later.

Photo of Andrew DoyleAndrew Doyle (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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To whom?

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Will the Tánaiste be there to answer them? On a point of order, the Tánaiste has been kind enough to tell the House we will have a debate. Will she say when that debate will be held, its duration and who will represent the Government?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I put the Order of Business to the House. In the ruckus that was happening earlier in the House I indicated that I was prepared-----

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Who caused the ruckus?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I was prepared to give my views on this issue, even though I am not the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste was the Minister at that time.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The Members opposite did not have the manners to afford me that opportunity. I said that on this basis I was prepared to amend the Order of Business, in consultation with the Whips, to provide for a debate today in which the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will be present.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Will the Tánaiste be present?

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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On a point of order, what is the timeframe for the debate and will there be a question and answer session?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Surely the Whips can decide this matter.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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I propose a debate for one and a half hours and a question and answer session for half an hour.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does the Tánaiste propose to amend the Order of Business?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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It is a matter for the Whips. I have offered to afford the opportunity for a debate today and I am prepared to amend the Order of Business to facilitate this.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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I suggest the suspension of the House for five minutes.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Tánaiste's proposal is not acceptable to the Labour Party because that proposal involves a debate which will not have the Tánaiste responding to the questions that need to be addressed.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I am not the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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She was the Minister at the time.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The Tánaiste has to be responsible for something.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We have spent virtually an hour on this matter and we have to make decisions about the Order of Business for the day.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I will explain why this is important. The Carlow factory closed down and the operations were consolidated-----

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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It was nothing to do with restructuring at all.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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That is not what the report says.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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The Government should store e-voting machines in it.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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-----in Mallow. The Commission did not know what had happened. We are told by the Court of Auditors that the Commission did not know what happened and it did not have the up to date figures and that the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food at the time was the Minister responsible for making sure the Commission had the figures.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I propose to put the question to the House and the Whips can meet afterwards to refine the arrangement.

(Interruptions).

Question put: "That No. a5, motion re membership of committees, and No. b5, motion re proposal that Dáil Éireann notes the report of the Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service entitled "Report on Macroeconomic Policy and Effective Fiscal and Economic Governance", be decided without debate."

The Dail Divided:

For the motion: 70 (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, John Cregan, Ciarán Cuffe, John Curran, Noel Dempsey, Jimmy Devins, Timmy Dooley, Michael Finneran, Michael Fitzpatrick, Beverley Flynn, Paul Gogarty, John Gormley, Mary Harney, Seán Haughey, Jackie Healy-Rae, Máire Hoctor, Billy Kelleher, Peter Kelly, Brendan Kenneally, Michael Kennedy, Tony Killeen, Michael Kitt, Tom Kitt, Brian Lenihan Jnr, Conor Lenihan, Tom McEllistrim, Mattie McGrath, Michael McGrath, John Moloney, Michael Moynihan, Michael Mulcahy, M J Nolan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Darragh O'Brien, Charlie O'Connor, John O'Donoghue, Noel O'Flynn, Rory O'Hanlon, Batt O'Keeffe, Ned O'Keeffe, Mary O'Rourke, Christy O'Sullivan, Peter Power, Seán Power, Dick Roche, Eamon Ryan, Trevor Sargent, Brendan Smith, Noel Treacy, Mary Wallace, Mary White, Michael Woods)

Against the motion: 64 (James Bannon, Seán Barrett, Joe Behan, Pat Breen, Tommy Broughan, Richard Bruton, Ulick Burke, Joan Burton, Catherine Byrne, Joe Carey, Deirdre Clune, Paul Connaughton, Noel Coonan, Joe Costello, Simon Coveney, Seymour Crawford, Michael Creed, Lucinda Creighton, Michael D'Arcy, Jimmy Deenihan, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Olwyn Enright, Martin Ferris, Charles Flanagan, Terence Flanagan, Eamon Gilmore, Brian Hayes, Tom Hayes, Brendan Howlin, Paul Kehoe, Ciarán Lynch, Kathleen Lynch, Pádraic McCormack, Shane McEntee, Liz McManus, Olivia Mitchell, Denis Naughten, Dan Neville, Michael Noonan, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Kieran O'Donnell, 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, Róisín Shortall, 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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Is the proposal for dealing with No. 5, motion re the proposal that Dáil Éireann notes the fifth report of the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security entitled "Second Report on Climate Change Law", agreed? Agreed.

We move on to the motion re membership of committees and I call the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Deputy Curran.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The Order of Business, a Cheann Comhairle.

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

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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It is normal, a Cheann Comhairle, to deal with a number of matters on the Order of Business.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We have lost a lot of time.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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A Cheann Comhairle, I wish to raise a number of issues on the Order of Business with the Tánaiste.

(Interruptions).

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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I am aware that the Ceann Comhairle is keen to proceed with the Order of Business.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am anxious to make up for lost time.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Had we received agreement from the Tánaiste at the outset, we could have reached this point one hour ago. It is a pity she will not be here to answer questions herself.

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I call for order.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Could we have ciúnas, please?

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Can the Tánaiste offer clarity on the upcoming Finance Bill? This morning's Irish Independent reported that thousands of households in mortgage arrears may be facing a property tax. The last thing people who are caught in the high debt, no job trap need is to read such a report.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to find another way to deal with this matter.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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It is a matter for the Order of Business because it will be in the Finance Bill. Will provision be made in that Bill for a property tax and, if so, will the Government outline how it intends to introduce it in a context of 100,000 mortgage holders in negative equity?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot discuss this on the Order of Business.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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This is an important issue.

Photo of Dick RocheDick Roche (Minister of State with special responsibility for European Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs; Minister of State, Department of An Taoiseach; Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Wait for the budget.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Can she clarify whether it will be provided for in the budget and the Finance Bill?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The Finance Bill will be introduced in the normal manner.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Reference was made earlier to the Reinventing Government document. According to the Irish Independent report, a property tax would raise €1billion, which is the amount paid out by a single organisation last year.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Reilly will have to await the publication of the Finance Bill before pursuing a debate on the matter. We cannot provide for a debate on the Order of Business.

Photo of Dick RocheDick Roche (Minister of State with special responsibility for European Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs; Minister of State, Department of An Taoiseach; Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Does Deputy Reilly favour consultants' salaries being cut?

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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I am merely seeking clarity on behalf of the people of this country who are facing Christmas with great uncertainty.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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It will come on 7 December.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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I wish to ask about the eligibility for health and personal social services Bill. In light of the furore that resulted when families and their loved ones were forced to pay for private residential nursing home care because of collusion between the Department of Health and Children and the HSE to deprive them of their rights, can the Tánaiste confirm that the cap on the current fair deal scheme will not put people into similar circumstances once again?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to pursue that matter by way of parliamentary question to the line Minister.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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It is important.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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He is looking for detailed information on the Order of Business. That is out of order.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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The Government is flying kites about threatening pensions for older people. We should at least give them some certainty that if the money for the fair deal scheme runs out-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We do not have provision to discuss this on the Order of Business.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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-----it will be supplemented so they are not forced into private nursing home care.

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

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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They are entitled to care.

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

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste wants to reply.

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Older people deserve an answer.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are not going to have a question and answer session on the Order of Business. The Deputy should submit a parliamentary question to the line Minister.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Proposals for legislation will be available at the end of the year but a date has not been set for the publication of a Bill.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Today's Financial Times contains three articles on Ireland's economic difficulties, including a front page report on yesterday's increase in Ireland's cost of borrowing. I understand our cost of borrowing has risen still further this morning. I ask the Tánaiste whether the Minister for Finance plans to make a statement before the weekend either in the House or outside it to address the issues being raised in the international financial press about Ireland's cost of borrowing.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister will not be making a statement and, as Deputy Gilmore is aware, the Irish Government is not in the market.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It might be yet.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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It was announced yesterday that the Social Welfare Bill will be published next week and debated during the following week. Is it intended to immediately publish the heads of the Bill, which have been agreed yesterday, to allow proper preparation given that it will amend the social welfare code to reflect the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, the transfer of certain functions of FÁS to the Department of Social Protection, changes to the rent supplement and the computerisation of social welfare payments? Even though we have not seen the heads, we will be expected to pass the Bill in advance of the budget.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Legislation is promised in this regard. The matter will go before the Government next week and it is the intention to publish the Bill at the end of that week.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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I specifically inquired about the heads of the Bill.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The specific answer is "No".

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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That approach is contrary to the Government's own White Paper, Regulating Better.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Yesterday morning, Deputy Broughan and I raised with the Taoiseach the deontas of €43,000 paid to Independent Deputies, for which they do not have to account. The Taoiseach stated it was a matter for the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission. On 11 February 2009, the Commission decided that the payment would have to be made accountable in accordance with the law and that it should be equivalent to the party leaders' allowance.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot pursue the matter on the Order of Business.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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I am simply correcting the record.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to pursue the matter in a different way.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The decision required payments to Independent Deputies to be audited in the same way, and only spent on the same items, as the party leaders' allowance. Currently, they are paid €43,000 into their pockets, tax free and to be used on whatever they like.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to pursue the matter through another channel.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It gives them an unfavourable advantage over other Members. I ask the Government to act on the Commission's decision to correct this anomaly.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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He will have to pursue the matter elsewhere.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It is a matter of legislation required to implement the Commission's decision and I ask the Tánaiste when the Government will introduce it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not relevant.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It was a decision of the Commission, on which the Government has a majority.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I am not aware of the matter but I am sure it will be dealt with in the normal way.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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It was not dealt with in the normal way because a decision was made on 11 April 2009 and €43,000 is still being paid to Independent Deputies as a deontas to keep them sweet.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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They are not complaining.

Photo of Ciarán LynchCiarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
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The working group on mortgage arrears published its preliminary report on the same day that the Dáil went into recess for the summer. I understand the group's final report is due to be completed in the next three to four days. Can the Tánaiste confirm when the Cabinet will receive the report? Will the matters set out in it be discussed in the House?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should pursue the matter directly with the line Minister.

Photo of Ciarán LynchCiarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
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I understand the Cabinet will receive the report next Tuesday and ask whether time will be set aside next week to discuss its contents.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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We expect to receive the report before the end of the month.

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will be brief and in order. Two years ago I was on RTE with a European Union official who would not debate with me on air, which meant we had to be interviewed separately. Has the Government removed from its website the names, addresses and payments made to farmers in light of the EU ruling that the information does not need to be published?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to pursue the matter with the line Minister. It is not appropriate to the Order of Business.

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is of course appropriate because we were told it was legal and constitutional, and that it had to be done. Two years later, Europe tells us there is no need for it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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A question should be put to the line Minister.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Can I ask the Tánaiste about the commitment the Taoiseach gave me ten days ago concerning the appointment of the NAMA oversight committee? I have yet to receive a letter on the matter. Does the Tánaiste know when the Government will bring this proposal to the House?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The letter will be with the Deputy shortly.

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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I will be getting a letter shortly.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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Yes.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The issue of mortgage arrears has been raised by Deputies Reilly and Ciarán Lynch. It was raised yesterday by my party leader, Deputy Kenny. The House has been given a commitment that legislation will be introduced to deal with the problem. Such an undertaking was given to the House during the debate on the National Asset Management Agency Bill 2009. The Opposition parties tabled amendments in an attempt to accommodate people with mortgage arrears. The Minister said at the time that he would take the "legislative route". He said he would tell the House when he proposed to introduce such legislation. I had a meeting yesterday-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, you are promoting discussion on the Order of Business.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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No, I am not. I want to explain what has happened.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not appropriate.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Government has been in discussions with the lending agencies. I discussed these matters with one of the agencies yesterday. I am sure other Members have had similar discussions. A huge committee is not needed to develop the issue that is arising. It requires a commitment in relation to compound-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot have a debate on promised legislation on the Order of Business.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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This is promised legislation.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Yes, but we cannot have a debate on it at this point.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I know, but I want to set out what is required.

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

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Attention needs to be paid to the issue of compound interest, which is making it impossible for people who have arrears to recover. Will the Tánaiste give the House an undertaking that legislation will be introduced in the House as a matter of urgency to deal with the issue of compound interest, which is a burden on many of those who have mortgages?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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There is no promised legislation on that specific issue.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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There is.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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If the Deputy wishes, the specific matter he has raised can be brought to the attention of the committee.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I am sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, but the Tánaiste is incorrect.

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

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The legislation was promised in the House by the Minister.

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy asked me about the specific issue of compound interest. One cannot legislate for compound interest.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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That was the subject matter which was under discussion at the time.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Deputy to pursue the matter with the line Minister. Perhaps he can table a parliamentary question.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It is most unsatisfactory that I have received an answer of that nature when we all know what is the issue.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, we cannot-----

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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We have been sitting in this House for the past two years.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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There is no permission to have a debate on the detail of this matter on the Order of Business.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I do not want to debate it. I want the Tánaiste to answer my question, rather than laughing and smiling about it.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Strictly speaking, all the Deputy is entitled to ask is-----

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Instead of having a snigger about it-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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-----when the promised legislation is due.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I have already cited when the legislation was promised.

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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It is not on the list.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I have stated the type of legislation that was indicated by the Minister at the time.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is seeking information.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I am asking the Tánaiste once again-----

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The only information to which he is entitled on the Order of Business is information on when the promised legislation is due to be published or provided.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I did not get that information.

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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Tánaiste, do we have promised legislation in this area?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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On Tuesday evening, the Taoiseach advised the House of a number of measures that have been undertaken by this Government. Further measures will be taken after we have received the final report. As I indicated previously, the report will be available at the end of the month. It will have to be considered by the Government. Actions that arise from those considerations can be then progressed.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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That is not what was promised and the Tánaiste knows it.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Minister, Deputy Gormley, has increased by 300% the rate of taxation that applies to vans and similar vehicles. He has also classified privately owned vans as private vehicles. Why is he continuing to insist that such vehicles be classified as commercial vehicles for test purposes?

Photo of Séamus KirkSéamus Kirk (Ceann Comhairle; Louth, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is going to have to raise this issue by means of a parliamentary question to the line Minister, or by some other means.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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When will a new motor vehicle (duties and licenses) Bill be brought to the House to allow us to discuss the matter properly?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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That will happen next year.

Photo of Seymour CrawfordSeymour Crawford (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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It will be too late for some.

Photo of Joe CareyJoe Carey (Clare, Fine Gael)
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A number of months ago, during the debate on the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010, the Minister for Social Protection announced that a new community employment initiative would be launched by the Government. He promised in July that it would happen in September, but September and October have come and gone and we are now in the middle of November. Can the Tánaiste tell the House where this new jobs initiative stands now?

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Education and Science; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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I will ask the Minister to revert to the Deputy on that specific issue.