Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

4:00 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is proposed to take No. 1, Access to Central Treasury Funds (Commission for Energy Regulation) Bill 2011 [Seanad] - Second Stage; No. 5, Competition (Amendment) Bill 2011 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and Private Members' business shall be No. 30, motion re promissory notes.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are no proposals to be put to the House. Is the Order of Business agreed to?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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According to the programme for Government, this Dáil is due to consider at least ten constitutional amendments and an overall constitutional convention. Without a new approach and a willingness both to consult and listen to other opinions, many of these proposals will meet the same fate as the Oireachtas inquiries referendum. I hope we can be assured that the notable winning ways of Ministers Howlin and Shatter will be brought into line at some stage in the coming months.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does the Deputy have a question on legislation?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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In June, when I asked the Taoiseach a question about the constitutional convention and the constitutional amendments proposed in the programme for Government, he said: "Before I draft the final structure and terms of reference, party leaders will be consulted." In the months since then, there have been absolutely no consultations whatsoever. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, has now announced that the Government will publish the structure and terms of reference in a week or so. I have had no consultation from anybody, however.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are on the Order of Business now. Does the Deputy have a question on legislation?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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A constitutional amendment requires legislation and requires the implementation of the programme for Government. I am entirely within standing orders to ask the question.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Martin has raised a valid point.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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There you are.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is the supplementaries that I do not particularly fancy.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Before I make any public announcement about the constitutional convention I will of course consult with Opposition leaders. I might make this point about "people's day, people's choice" in respect of the recent referendum. I think we need a serious discussion here as politicians and public representatives about this situation for the future. For instance, the Government is committed to holding two referenda, on children's rights and the abolition of the Seanad, which have been agreed by all parties. We do need to consider, however, the way in which that can best be structured and whether one can actually hold two referenda on the one day. If so, and if they are quite complex, what is the capacity to inform citizens so they can make their judgment in the best possible way? If one cannot generate sufficient interest in them - if one does not have over 30% of the vote - they fall dead. The constitutional convention will have to examine quite a number of areas on a whole range of issues. It will make its deliberations before it comes back to the Oireachtas. I intend that we should have an opportunity for Members to give their views on this, as to whether in fact one can hold more than one referendum in future, on the same day, on what may be complex issues. If they are held individually, one runs the risk that there is a cost involved and it may not be possible to generate enough interest to have more than 30% of the vote in the first place. Before I pronounce on this matter, I intend to talk to the Opposition leaders.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I thank the Taoiseach for what he said but the Minister, Deputy Hogan, has said he will publish the material in a week.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Ba mhaith liom ceist a chur faoi reachtaíocht a fógraíodh. I wish to raise this matter under promised legislation, particularly that which was promised by the Taoiseach to ensure that banks would pass on the ECB rate reduction to customers. Earlier today, I heard the Taoiseach's attitude to this. I have to say that it causes me concern because it was so watery, given what he has said previously. According to reports, a leading mortgage holder, National Irish Bank, is defying the Government by pressing ahead with a 1% increase in its variable home loan rate, despite last week's interest rate reduction by the ECB. The NIB is challenging the authority and the Financial Regulator. It will cause untold hardship to already hard pressed home owners. The Taoiseach promised to introduce this legislation. When will it be brought before the Dáil?

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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On the very same issue, I understand National Irish Bank is owned by Danske Bank and that it does not have to adhere to ECB guidelines because it is Danish owned and Denmark is not in the eurozone. However, as Deputy Adams quite rightly stated, it intends to increase its variable mortgage interest rate by 0.95% this Friday. If legislation comes before the House in this regard, what can we do to ensure interest rate increases of such institutions, which work within our marketplace, will not have a huge impact on families across the State? What can we do with institutions that are foreign owned and outside the remit of the ECB?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I answered the questions of Deputies Ó Ríordáin and Adams in response to Deputy Martin. The Financial Regulator is completely independent and his job is to regulate and oversee a level playing pitch in respect of the banks. It is unfair and just not right that banks that set their prices in respect of tracker mortgages should attempt to make up losses by increasing interest rates on variable mortgages. Irrespective of whether a bank is State owned, there should be a level playing pitch.

Deputy Adams should note I actually said I would not introduce legislation until the regulator states to the Government he has a problem-----

Deputies:

He has a problem.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Deputies should bear with me.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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He is not elected by those who have mortgages.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Of course he is not, but he is completely independent of me. I cannot-----

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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He must regulate the financial sector and is not concerned about the people.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Taoiseach should be allowed to answer the question.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Before the Deputy entered the House, there was another regulator who said the banks were adequately capitalised, and the Government went along with that.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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The Taoiseach has much to say about him but-----

(Interruptions).

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Dooley should desist.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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He should be given the power.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Let me be clear. The point is that if the regulator, Mr. Elderfield, tells the Government he has a problem in implementing this-----

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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He said that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Deputies should hold on.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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It is not a problem for the regulator.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Dooley should please restrain himself.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If the regulator points out-----

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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It is not his problem; it is the mortgage bearers' problem.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If the regulator points out-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputies should listen to the answer, even if they do not like it.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If the regulator, Mr. Elderfield, points out where his powers should be enhanced in order to have interest rate reductions passed on to mortgage customers, be they in State or non-State banks, the Government will be very happy to engage with him in that regard. I want to hear from him as to what powers he is seeking.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Therefore, the Taoiseach is not going to bring in the legislation.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Actually, I will-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Dooley.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy knows that.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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In the run-in to the last election, the Taoiseach's party and the Labour Party made much of their desire to abolish upward-only rent reviews of commercial leases. There was a very strong position taken by both parties and a view obtained that legislation would be introduced very quickly in the House. When does the Taoiseach intend to have this matter addressed in the House?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That is on the A list and the Minister for Justice and Equality will report to the Cabinet thereon shortly.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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Now that the presidential election and Dublin West by-election are over, can the Taoiseach be more candid with us about the timescale for the local government (charges) Bill, which provides for the introduction of a new household tax that will affect an already over-burdened tax-paying public? Can he tell me the proposed schedule? The budget statement will be made four weeks from today. Will and must all Stages of the local government (charges) Bill be completed before that statement?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The local government (charges) Bill is expected this session. It is not necessary that all Stages be passed by the time of the budget. The timeline for the process leading up to the budget has been set out for Members like never before. I look forward to seeing Deputy Joe Higgins on Friday at the inauguration of President-elect Higgins, his namesake.

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

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That association might mean an invitation to the Phoenix Park for the Deputy; one never knows. However, the President-elect will not be able to comment on politics in the way he normally would with the Deputy in respect of their differences of opinion on a range of issues.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Calleary.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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On the timeline-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are not having a debate.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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I know; I am not having a debate.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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We know that.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The Taoiseach referred to a general timeline in regard to the budget. Can I ask him for the timeline for the Bill to which I referred?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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He told the Deputy.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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Yes, but he was not-----

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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This session.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This session.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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When will it be introduced and when will it be completed? On presidential inaugurations, I have spent my life trying to pull down useless institutions, not attend celebrations of them.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is that on the Order of Business?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is a bit like the biblical quotation to the effect that one knows not the time nor the hour. The Deputy quoted the Bible to me some time ago. There are quite a number of budgetary measures that have to be given effect after the budget, as applies every year. I cannot give the Deputy the exact date. The legislation is expected this session and there will not be any delay when we get around to considering it.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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We were due to debate the extension of the Smithwick tribunal this evening. This business was withdrawn at very short notice yesterday evening. Why and when will it come before the House?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I understand the Department is not ready to take it today. I hope it can be taken next week or the week thereafter.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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The programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a climate change Bill, which would be welcome in offsetting the negative impact of climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Last week, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government appeared to do a solo run-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should not mind that. He should refer to the legislation.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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-----by saying we would not have a climate change Bill, as promised. Will the Taoiseach confirm today that he was not doing a solo run, that the Government will introduce the legislation and that it will be introduced in the first quarter of 2012? I am sure the Labour Party wants this also. It was a solid commitment in the programme for Government.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Yes, and I expect that is an issue that will be dealt with pretty comprehensively. The Minister is being realistic in this instance about policy and the priority accorded to legislation. He has already made the point that we intend to meet the Kyoto targets signed up to. There are a number of policy issues and it is only right and proper that, in respect of these, there should be serious consultation with the sectors concerned. The Minister is prioritising this over the drafting of legislation which might not be appropriate.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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It is contained in the programme for Government.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Yes, it is in the programme for Government but the Minister's focus is now on dealing with policy priorities involving consultation. The question of the Bill referred to in the programme for Government will be dealt with when the consultation process has concluded.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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Will that be in the first quarter of 2012?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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To be honest with the Deputy, it probably will not be in the first quarter.

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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In Opposition, the Taoiseach's party and the Labour Party opposed the ban on the Ward Union stag hunt. Will the Government be introducing legislation to reverse the ban? If so, when?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is this promised legislation?

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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It is promised.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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This is not in the programme for Government, nor is it on the legislative list.

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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It is not happening.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Will the Taoiseach clarify his position on bringing forward legislation on ECB interest rates? It is not clear. Is he saying legislation will not be introduced unless the Financial Regulator tells the Government he wants legislation? Will the Government not respond to the outrage over the failure to pass on the interest rate reduction and will it bring forward legislation to ensure it is passed on?

Some time ago, I asked about the mental capacity Bill. We have Victorian laws to deal with vulnerable children and other persons-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is grand. Can the Deputy just ask about the legislation?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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When will the mental capacity Bill be brought forward?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is listed for early next year. With regard to interest rates, let me say again to the Deputy that the regulator is completely independent. If he tells the Government he needs extra powers in certain areas, it will deal with that. I have already said I want to see the interest rate decreases passed on. The Minister for Finance has been very vehement about that. Tomorrow, both banks will be attending meetings to deal with this matter and a number of others in respect of interest rate reductions-----

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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What if he does not?

5:00 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----and their lending issue.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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He does not recommend it.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is not for me to produce overall legislation for a regulator when what I want is for the Regulator to tell me if he needs powers and where he sees those enhanced powers would need to be.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The Taoiseach is the person who has been elected, not him.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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If the regulator wants extra powers, he has to come and say this is where he needs to be given extra powers in order to deal with this problem.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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The Taoiseach needs to summons him.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As Deputy Higgins is aware, the Regulator is independent of the Dáil.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Mattie McGrath.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I had indicated that I wanted to speak before Deputy Niall Collins raised the matter of the Ward Union. I know the Minister of State, Deputy McEntee is not present, but I did not hear the Taoiseach's answer on that.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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He said there was no promised legislation on this.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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Yes, but he made all kinds of promises on it before the general election last year.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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So did the Deputy.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I lost my party whip over it. I like to be a sport as much as anybody. Promises were made and now the Minister is saying one thing and the Taoiseach is saying another.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is out of order.

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy is rising the Taoiseach.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I am trying to raise the need for a debate on the issue.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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There will be a witch hunt after a stag hunt.

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy McGrath is rising the Taoiseach.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I did not hear the Taoiseach's answer.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I did not object to the Deputy's scrap metal Bill coming through here last week.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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Go raibh maith agat.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The matter the Deputy raised is not in the programme for Government.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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The Ward Union is on the scrap metal heap as well.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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What about all the Fine Gael cars with Rise! stickers displayed on their rear windows in the cark park? Will they be removed now?

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Mattie McGrath is rising the Taoiseach.

Photo of Ann PhelanAnn Phelan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Labour)
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Tally ho.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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On promised legislation, in view of the need for comprehensive and modern forestry policy, when is it expected that the forestry Bill will be brought before the House, have the heads of it been agreed or to what extent has the legislation being progressed? Similarly, will the Taoiseach indicate the level of progress on the housing Bill, which is No. 74 on the list?

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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Do not worry Fergus, it will not be that one.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I hear a babble of voices on the other side of the House in total confusion.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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That is the Deputy's reaction.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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Deputy Durkan is winding us up.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Settle down Deputies. You had a few days off but you should not go mad now.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Durkan causes confusion.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Durkan always asks valid questions. The heads of the housing Bill have not gone to Government yet. In respect of the forestry Bill, the heads of it were approved in 2009 and I expect that it will be published towards the end of first session in the spring.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The heads of it were approved in 2009.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Crowe.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Do the Deputies opposite remember 2009?

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy has made all the promises.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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There is delayed action on the opposite side.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It is about the only piece of delayed action over there.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I remind Members in case they have forgotten that they are in Parliament and not out on the street.

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

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Crowe.

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
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In view of the establishment by the Red Cross of a hardship fund for recent flood victims, are there any proposals for the Government to introduce similar supports for those families? Is there a need for further legislation to be introduced to provide for those victims who have been unable to get insurance cover-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That matter is not in order.

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
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It arises under legislation. Those victims are unable to get insurance cover because their homes have been flooded.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I suggest the Deputy seeks to raise that matter on the Topical Issue Debate.

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
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I did that but, unfortunately, I was not successful. I may be successful tomorrow.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should be patient. This matter is not in order on the Order of Business.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I was going to say that the Deputies opposite could not see the wood for the trees with the forestry Bill from 2009 with the banks and so on.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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Does the hunt go through it?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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They could not see the wood for the banks.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The woods are lonely, dark and deep.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Crowe raised a valid issue. The Government this morning approved a memo to deal with this in much the same way as it was dealt with previously through a combination of provision between the Departments of Social Protection and the Environment, Community and Local Government. I know that the Red Cross is providing some assistance at present with a fund of €10 million allocated for this. I hope this will go some way towards relieving a situation which is quite desperate for some people who have lost their homes. When a person's house has been flooded and it is ruined forever it is a very trying period for people. They cannot stop the flood waters coming through and it destroys the house. We approved a memo this morning on a single issue in this respect with a €10 million fund.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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The Taoiseach was rightly sympathetic to the plight of the people of Priory Hall in Dublin north east a few weeks ago in this House. He might have noted the city manager is now saying that it will be necessary to seek support to rehouse the families concerned or rebuild the complex from the Minister with responsibility for housing. Will the Taoiseach ensure that support for the city council will be forthcoming?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not in order.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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The Taoiseach wants to reply on this.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, it is not a matter for the Order of Business. I am sorry but I have to rule on that. I will try and co-operate with the Deputy in another way but not on the Order of Business.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Does the Taoiseach want to answer on that?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, if I open this up, everybody will quite rightly quote precedent. If it is not in order, it is not in order. I call Deputy Adams.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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I want to return to the issue about the Taoiseach promising to bring in legislation to ensure that the banks pass on the ECB rate reduction to customers. That promise was made and it was very clear. It was the right commitment to make.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, we have dealt with that issue.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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It now looks like the Taoiseach will not bring in this legislation.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Read it again.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We have dealt with that issue.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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What I said was that if the Regulator said he did not have sufficient powers, he might well come to Government.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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He has said that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That is what I said. I said if he does that, the Government will engage with him. Is that clear. I hope that is clear to the Deputy.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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That is not clear. That is not the Taoiseach's commitment.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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May I ask the Taoiseach-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Martin.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I give this commitment. If the regulator comes into Government and approaches the Minister for Finance and says "I need enhanced powers to deal with the question of passing on reduced interest rates to distressed mortgage holders, the Government will engage with the regulator in this matter". I hope that is clear, for the fifth time today.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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The Taoiseach was very clear in what he said, that the banks did not behave in this way.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are not debating it any further. I call Deputy Martin. Has he a relevant matter on promised legislation?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Adams is being very mischievous. What I said was let us see how the regulator gets on, if he comes back to Government and looks for extra authority or enhanced powers, we will engage with him. That is what I said and that is what I stand by. The Deputy should not put words in my mouth like he does in the case of many other people.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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The Taoiseach is putting the words in his own mouth.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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We dealt with this issue during Leaders' Questions-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If we dealt with it why are we dealing with it again?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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-----and the Taoiseach said he would not introduce legislation although earlier he said he would consider bringing in legislation, irrespective of what the regulator said. That is the problem. I am hearing the Taoiseach loud and clear now and I accept what he is saying.

When the Bill establishing the Department of the Minister, Deputy Howlin, was before the Oireachtas we were told that the Minister for Finance would announce the overall Estimate envelope in the Dáil and that there would be a debate on it. In terms of what happened subsequently, last Friday we had a public announcement on this-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is out of order. This is not relevant to the Order of Business.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is critical to the way the Dáil is treated.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I do not care. It is not relevant to the Order of Business.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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In terms of the commitment in the programme for Government-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy can raise it under Leaders' Questions.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I have raised it on Leaders' Questions. This is the Order of Business.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. The Deputy cannot raise it on the Order of Business.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The manner in which the budget-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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With the greatest respect, the Deputy cannot just stand up and raise it because it comes into his head.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Martin is the Leader of the Opposition.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is the Order of Business. The matter is not promised legislation.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is not something-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have already ruled Deputy Broughan out of order on the same issue.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I would like you to have some respect - this did not just come into my head. This is something the Taoiseach said on the floor of this House.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am saying the Deputy cannot raise it now.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It relates to the programme for Government in terms of the budget and how the budget will be dealt with here.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We do not deal with the programme for Government.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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We have had announcements from the Taoiseach on the Order of Business about the budget and how it will be presented. All I am asking is that in future on this issue and on the other instalments in regard to the budget and debate, announcements will be made in this House on fundamental issues that go to the core of what this House is about.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should speak to his Whip about having a debate on this issue. I call Deputy Halligan.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Will the Taoiseach give that commitment because he made a big noise about it when he was in Opposition on this side of the House?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Thank you, Deputy. I call Deputy Halligan.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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I ask the Taoiseach to clear the air on this issue for the thousands of people-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should tell us first what he is raising.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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-----who are outraged by the interest rate cut not being passed on. What if the Regulator does not-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is out of order.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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This is very important, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. The Deputy is out of order.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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If the Regulator does not come back to the Government-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We have dealt with this issue.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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-----will the Taoiseach then introduce legislation? Also, is the Taoiseach telling me the Minister for Finance has not been in regular contact with the Regulator in the past number of months?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is out of order. Please resume your seat.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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If the Regulator does not come back, will the Taoiseach then introduce the legislation?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The matter has been dealt with.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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That is a simple question. If the Regulator does not come back-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please, Deputy. We have dealt with that issue.

Photo of John HalliganJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent)
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-----will the Taoiseach then introduce the legislation?

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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The Taoiseach wants to answer that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I have to know what to introduce - if he says he is looking for powers.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Troy.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Will the Taoiseach indicate if it is the intention of his Government to bring forward the partial loan guarantee scheme for small businesses as promised in the programme for Government? Many small businesses are facing turbulent times and nine months later there is no sign of that being brought before this House. I ask when it will be given priority and when it will be brought before this House for debate.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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You had nine years and you did not do it.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The gestation period is not actually-----

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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I have only been here nine months. The Taoiseach has been here longer than I have been alive.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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If he keeps going this way he will not be here much longer.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It has not been nine months yet.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Through the Chair, please.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy will be aware that, because of the troika arrangements, we are required to introduced 30 items of legislation this session. I expect that one of these Bills will provide for the partial loan guarantee scheme. I hope it will be introduced before Christmas because it is an important issue and a considerable number of small businesses are concerned about it. I am sure every Deputy appreciates that. In respect of what Deputy Martin said earlier, he should feel free to raise this matter with the Whips.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Correct.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Stop.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Let us have a debate on the fiscal parameters announced on Friday.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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For God's sake, stop.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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We will do the same with the capital programme.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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We know all about that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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On top of that, even in these times of economic constraint-----

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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He means nothing he says.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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He could contact the regulator to have him reduce the rate.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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May I say this to Deputy Martin and all the other leaders opposite?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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He said this in June.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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He would be better off speaking to the regulator.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is up to him not to wait.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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You did not even know the regulator existed.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputies, please.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Durkan, sit back. Rest yourself.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will make available to them the costing facility of the Department of Finance. I would like to see Deputies from other parties come in with their alternatives as we prepare for the budget.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is totally out of order.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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We will follow the Taoiseach's lead on that.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Order should apply to everybody in this House when I ask for order.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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What the Taoiseach did to the Ceann Comhairle was outrageous.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I do not want any smart remarks from Deputy Dooley either.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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It applies to Deputy Dooley as well.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is a Parliament. It is not a protest out on the streets.

Photo of Ann PhelanAnn Phelan (Carlow-Kilkenny, Labour)
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It is a farce.