Dáil debates

Friday, 20 April 2012

10:30 am

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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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.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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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?

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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It is not. Once again, a very important debate is to be guillotined in this House.

A Deputy:

Where was the Deputy yesterday?

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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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.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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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.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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However, I refer to the point raised by Deputy Ó Snodaigh to the effect that Members are present on a Friday. This appears to be the first meaningful Friday sitting to have taken place.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I say "well done", to the Minister, Deputy Burton.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Where is Deputy Kelleher? There is no sign of him.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy should show a bit more respect for her. She is a good one.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Order, please.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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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?

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Finian McGrath, on the same issue.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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I strongly oppose the guillotine on the debate on the legislation for the 30th amendment to the Constitution. This is a crucial and critical time for Ireland and a balanced debate is needed.

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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Is the Deputy in favour of the amendment?

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Moreover, Members must watch their language, judging by the comments made by Labour Party Members yesterday, some of which were outrageous.

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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Will the Deputy vote "Yes"?

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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I refer to use of words such as "lunacy" and so on. Consequently, a proper, balanced and decent debate is required.

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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Will the Deputy vote "Yes"?

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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As for guillotines, I remind Deputy Ó Ríordáin that in the last Dáil, Labour Party and Fine Gael Members jumped up and down any time legislation was guillotined. That is the reality.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Finian McGrath was supporting the Government at the time.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The Deputy was supporting Bertie at the time.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Consequently, Members should quit the hypocrisy and get over it. Let us get on with it.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Order, please.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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I also wish to state from a democratic point of view-----

(Interruptions).

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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-----with the Leas-Cheann Comhairle's permission and protection-----

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Deputies, order, please. Deputy Finian McGrath has the floor.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The reason the Deputy was not jumping up and down was that he was supporting Bertie.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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I supported the people and always stuck by them. That is my position.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Except when the Deputy supported Bertie.

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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Will the Deputy vote "Yes"?

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Finian McGrath, without interruption.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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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.

Photo of Eamonn MaloneyEamonn Maloney (Dublin South West, Labour)
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My God.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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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.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Please, can we have order please?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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In reply to Deputy Ó Snodaigh, as for votes of confidence in Ireland and it being in a position to recover its economic independence and sovereignty-----

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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No thanks to the Minister.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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-----I welcome the announcement of the investment by Apple in Cork that will lead to 500 jobs.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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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.

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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Hear, hear.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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This is one of a string of announcements and I note that announcements of this nature will provide economic recovery to the country.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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What about economic sovereignty?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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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-----

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Even though 39% of them still do not know how they intend to vote, the Government wishes to guillotine the Bill.

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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The Deputy is one of them.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Order, please.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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Deputy McGrath should note the citizens-----

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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This is a disgrace as the Government seeks to kill the debate.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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This is coming from those who did not accept the will of the people previously.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy McGrath, please.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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The citizens of our republic-----

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Yes, 39% of whom do not know.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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-----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.

Deputies:

Hear, hear.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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Will the Government accept it?

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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The Government is closing down debate.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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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.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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The Government is closing down debate. This is censorship.

Question put:

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.

11:00 am

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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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.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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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?

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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This is a matter of Dáil reform so perhaps it can be taken up with the Whips in that context.

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy's party had 14 years.

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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There was no restriction on the Order of Business.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy might not remember but there was no restriction whatever.