Friday, 20 April 2012
Order of Business
It is proposed to take No. 17, Revised Estimates for Public Services 2011, Votes 1 to 6, back from committee; No. 4, Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012 - Second Stage (resumed); No. 13 - motion re statement for information of voters in relation to the Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012; and No. 34, Burial and Cremation Regulation Bill 2011 - Second Stage.
It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or the order of the Dáil of 22 March, that: (1) No. 17 shall be decided without debate - Votes 1 to 6 shall be moved together and decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; (2) in regard to No. 4, the proceedings on Second Stage (resumed) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 12.30 p.m. and that the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade; (3) No. 13 shall be taken immediately at the conclusion of No. 4 and decided without debate; (4) No. 34 shall be taken at the conclusion of No. 13, that the proceedings thereon shall be brought to a conclusion after three hours and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) the opening speech of Deputy Tommy Broughan and the contributions of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein, the Technical Group and a Minister or Minister of State, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; (ii) the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; (iii) Members may share time; (iv) a Minister or Minister of State, who may speak twice, shall be called upon not more than two hours and 30 minutes from the commencement of the proceedings to make a speech which shall not exceed 15 minutes; (v) Deputy Tommy Broughan shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes; and (vi) if a division is demanded on the Bill, it shall be postponed until immediately after the Order of Business on Tuesday, 24 April, in accordance with Standing Order 117A; and (5) for the purposes of Standing Order 117A, the first Friday of the month in May shall be Friday, 11 May, the time and date by which notice of a Bill in connection with that sitting will be received by the Clerk shall be 11 a.m. on Friday, 27 April, and related Standing Orders shall apply accordingly.
There are five proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 17, Revised Estimates for Public Services 2011, Votes 1 to 6, to be taken without debate, agreed to? Agreed.
Is the proposal for dealing with Second Stage (resumed) and Committee and Remaining Stages of the Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012 agreed to?
The record will show that I was in attendance. To clarify for Members opposite, it is proposed that the debate on Second Stage of this very important Bill which could cause a loss of Irish sovereignty and tie us to austerity indefinitely should be guillotined at 12.30 p.m. and that the time allocated for Committee and Remaining Stages should be limited to one hour. Even though it is very difficult in any referendum Bill to alter the wording on Committee Stage, the guillotine should not applied in this instance. I acknowledge that we are sitting on a Friday, which is a welcome change. However, on this occasion we should sit for as long as is necessary today, tomorrow and Sunday, as long as there are speakers who wish to contribute to the debate. Therefore, I urge the Government not to proceed with the guillotine. I have opposed guillotines on a range of issues but this is one of the most important debates to have taken place in respect of the future of Ireland.
Notwithstanding the validity of the point about guillotines, I am conscious that only one amendment has been tabled in respect of this legislation. Consequently, it should be possible to deal with it within the envisaged timeframe and Fianna Fáil will not oppose this proposal.
I commend the Government on moving towards the sort of proposals regarding Friday sittings that Fianna Fáil has had on the table for a long time. It is good there is an Order of Business and that legislation is before Members today. Can the Minister assure Members that future Friday sittings to deal with Private Members' business, which is important and has been a positive initiative in this House, will expand to do precisely what is being done today? Will such sittings have an Order of Business, will Ministers answer questions and will legislation be brought before Members?
I revert to the issue of the 30th amendment and note that guillotining legislation is a dangerous step for this House to take. It also is highly undemocratic. If this Bill is guillotined today, my good colleague, Deputy Ross, is one of those Members who will not be afforded an opportunity to speak on this issue.
My point is that regardless of one's political party or political view, one should be allowed to speak in this House. This is a democratic issue and shame on all the Deputies opposite. They have not argued the case for the guillotine.
I also welcome the successful negotiations being concluded in China in respect of further investment in Ireland. My colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney, has been involved in these negotiations on behalf of the Government and the Irish people.
I note to the Deputy that were we to decide in some way to retreat from our position at the core of the eurozone, it would leave investors in Ireland perplexed and bewildered. The reason they are investing in Ireland is because it is a critical location for multinational and international companies to invest in the eurozone.
In response to Deputy Finian McGrath, the legislation in respect of the referendum on the 30th amendment has been debated in the House all week. I understand one amendment has been tabled for Committee Stage. Ultimately, the referendum is the property of the citizens of Ireland, who will vote-----
-----will be those who will make the decision as to whether to vote "Yes" or "No" to the referendum question. The arrangements in this House are to give the citizens an opportunity to make their decision at the ballot box on the referendum.
The referendum already has been debated in the House throughout this week for approximately nine hours. One amendment has been tabled for Committee Stage, for which one hour of debate is provided. As all Members are anxious to be able to go to the citizens and have political discussions and conversations with them about what, in their wisdom, they should decide to do, Deputy Finian McGrath should not seek to impede the citizens' ability to have a full and proper debate on the referendum.
The Dail Divided:
For the motion: 69 (James Bannon, Tom Barry, Pat Breen, Tommy Broughan, Joan Burton, Ray Butler, Jerry Buttimer, Catherine Byrne, Eric Byrne, Dara Calleary, Ciarán Cannon, Michael Conaghan, Seán Conlan, Paul Connaughton, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Joe Costello, Jim Daly, Jimmy Deenihan, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Timmy Dooley, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Alan Farrell, Frank Feighan, Anne Ferris, Frances Fitzgerald, Charles Flanagan, Terence Flanagan, Brendan Griffin, Noel Harrington, Simon Harris, Martin Heydon, Heather Humphreys, Kevin Humphreys, Derek Keating, Paul Kehoe, Seán Kenny, Seán Kyne, Anthony Lawlor, Kathleen Lynch, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Eamonn Maloney, Peter Mathews, Olivia Mitchell, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Michael Moynihan, Michelle Mulherin, Dara Murphy, Dan Neville, Éamon Ó Cuív, Seán Ó Fearghaíl, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Patrick O'Donovan, John O'Mahony, John Perry, Ann Phelan, John Paul Phelan, James Reilly, Brendan Ryan, Brendan Smith, Arthur Spring, Emmet Stagg, David Stanton, Jack Wall, Brian Walsh, Alex White)
Against the motion: 16 (Gerry Adams, Joan Collins, Michael Colreavy, Clare Daly, Martin Ferris, Luke Flanagan, Tom Fleming, Michael Healy-Rae, Finian McGrath, Sandra McLellan, Catherine Murphy, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jonathan O'Brien, Shane Ross, Mick Wallace)
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Catherine Murphy.
Question declared carried.
Is the proposal for dealing with No. 13, motion re statement for information of voters in respect of the Thirtieth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union) Bill 2012 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 34, Burial and Cremation Regulation Bill 2011 - Second Stage, agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for the sitting and business of the Dáil on Friday, 11 May 2012 agreed? Agreed.
Before moving on and with regard to Dáil reform, we will have no opportunity today to pursue Order of Business matters, and that should be looked at. When a vote is called, the time for the Order of Business is consumed but the Tánaiste agreed some time ago to examine the issue. Could it be put back on the agenda so we can do something about it as a matter of urgency?