Dáil debates

Thursday, 5 July 2012

10:30 am

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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It is proposed to take No. 15, European Arrest Warrant (Application to Third Countries and Amendment) and Extradition (Amendment) Bill 2011 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 5, Personal Insolvency Bill 2012 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, to adjourn at 2.30 p.m. today, if not previously concluded; No. 16, Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 17, Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill 2011 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of oral questions; (2) Report and Final Stages of No. 16 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 4 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 the Environment, Community and Local Government; (3) Report and Final Stages of No. 17 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 5.30 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 Education and Skills, and the order shall resume thereafter with the Topical Issue debate and oral questions; (4) in relation to the Freedom of Information (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012, the Second Stage of which shall be considered tomorrow, the following arrangements shall apply: (i) the opening speech of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Technical Group and of a Minister or Minister of State, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; (ii) the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 15 minutes and such Members may share their time; (iii) a Minister or Minister of State, who may speak twice, shall be called upon not later than 1 p.m. to make a speech which shall not exceed 15 minutes; (iv) the main spokesperson for Fianna Fáil shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16, Report and Final Stages of the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2011 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 17, Report and Final Stages of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill 2011 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for the sitting and business of the Dáil tomorrow agreed to? Agreed.

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister is aware of the plight of a number of trainee pilots who have been stranded in the United States after their families paid a king's ransom in fees for their course. Has the Government had any engagement in the situation, in particular the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade? Will the Government arrange for the consular section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to get those people together to talk-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a matter for the Order of Business and it will be discussed in the Topical Issue debate.

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
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-----to them and to arrange for them to be brought home? The Minister wishes to comment.

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. It will be dealt with during the Topical Issue debate.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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The matter is being dealt with but I cannot discuss the matter on the Order of Business.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I must be fair to the Deputy who raised the matter in an orderly fashion and who has been granted permission to raise it during the Topical Issue debate.

11:00 am

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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I wish to ask the Minister about the Joint Committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions. As he is aware, there is a commitment in the programme for Government that this would be a powerful committee to receive petitions in respect of public bodies. Ironically, there has been much foot dragging on this very committee that was flagged by the Government as a landmark innovation. Why are the Chief Whip and others dragging their feet and why has a motion not yet been brought forward to set in place the Standing Orders for this committee to allow its members to get ahead and do the work of a powerful committee, as the Government described it?

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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The Deputy should ask her own Whip to do something about it.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I thank Deputy Mary Lou McDonald for her question. I am informed by the Chief Whip that the Committee on Procedure and Privileges will meet next week to deal with the matter. The details of the arrangements made will be conveyed to her.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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I am sure her own Whip will be able to do something.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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My Whip cannot move the motion.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It has been announced that the European Stability Mechanism will recapitalise banks directly. Will this require a change to the ESM treaty and an amendment to the European Stability Mechanism Act 2012? If so, is that amendment likely to be brought before the House soon?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I do not have the accurate information sought by the Deputy. I will try to find it and communicate it to him directly.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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A number of gas Bills have been proposed, including the common arrangements for gas Bill. Bord Gáis Éireann is transferring work to a company called Balfour Beatty. Subcontractors and employees have been treated shamefully.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, we will not go into that matter.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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It is happening.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We do not deal with the treatment of subcontractors on the Order of Business.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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There has been a breach of faith with good workers.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should submit a parliamentary question on the matter.

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I am informed that the Bill will be agreed to later this year, but the heads have not yet been cleared.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Has progress been made in bringing before the House the collective investment schemes (consolidation) Bill, having particular regard to the need to tighten legislation in that area? What about the criminal law (human trafficking) (amendment) Bill which has been promised and seems to have achieved a higher prominence than heretofore?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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There is no date for introduction of the collective investment schemes legislation. The second Bill will be published later this year.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Is having a minimum price for alcohol Government strategy and does the Government intend to introduce legislation in this regard? Why did the Minister decide not to have a schools summer works programme this year, given that for the past seven or eight years-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, tabling a Topical Issue would be in order.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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I asked a question, but I did not received an answer.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We will try again.

A Deputy:

Raise it at the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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I cannot do so, despite my colleague's suggestion.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy cannot raise it on the Order of Business either. He should submit it as a Topical Issue.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Perhaps the Minister might tell us. We were discussing the construction industry and the need for investment. He has a new schools programme, but why is there no summer works scheme?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Has legislation been promised on the issue of cheap alcohol?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I am not aware of promised legislation, but I will obtain the information for the Deputy. If he wants to submit a question on the other matter, I will happily answer it.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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A statutory instrument to amend copyright law was introduced via ministerial order and passed without a vote. Yesterday the European Parliament rejected the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement. All Labour Party MEPs voted against us, while all four Fine Gael MEPs supported us. Was there a Government line on the vote and what is the status of the statutory instrument?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The statutory instrument was passed. I call Deputy Joan Collins.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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It is like Sinn Féin voting in favour of cuts in the North but not down here.

Photo of Ciarán LynchCiarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
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Is it a cross-Border thing?

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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Does the Minister of State, Deputy Paul Kehoe, know where the North is?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I suggest the Deputy submit a specific question on the matter. He has raised issues about which I do not have information.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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What is its status?

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Ask the lads in the North what it is like to vote in favour of cuts.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have called Deputy Joan Collins.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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What is the status of the statutory instrument following the vote in the European Parliament yesterday?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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We will need to wait for information to know the implications. I cannot give an off-the-top-of-my-head answer.

Photo of Joan CollinsJoan Collins (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I wish to ask about two Bills. First, the working group on the X case was to revert to the Government with recommendations this month. When will the legislation be enacted? Second, the heads of a Bill on transgender rights were due to be laid before the Dáil in June. When will the legislation be brought before the House?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I am sorry, but will the Deputy repeat the second part of her question?

Photo of Joan CollinsJoan Collins (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The heads of a Bill on transgender rights were to be laid before the Dáil in June. When will that be done?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I am informed that the Bill is being drafted and will not be published this session. It will be published in the next session.

Photo of Joan CollinsJoan Collins (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Is that the Bill on the X case?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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No, on the second issue.

Photo of Joan CollinsJoan Collins (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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What about the Bill on the X case?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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The Cabinet has not yet received the report on it.

Photo of Joan CollinsJoan Collins (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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When does the Government expect to receive it?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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I cannot say at this time, but I will find out and let the Deputy know.

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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When is the data sharing Bill due before the House? Is it expected to apply not only to businesses, but also to public bodies in an effort to clamp down on social welfare fraud?

Photo of Ruairi QuinnRuairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
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We have no date for publication of that Bill.