Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Order of Business
It is proposed to take No. 8, motion re leave to introduce Supplementary Estimate [Vote 32]; No. 9 - motion re referral of Supplementary Estimate [Vote 32] to select committee; No. 10, motion re constitutional convention; and No. 17, Microenterprise Loan Fund Bill 2012 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages.
It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m.; No. 8 and, subject to the agreement of No. 8, No. 9 - referral to select committee - shall be decided without debate and any divisions demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; the proceedings in relation to No. 10 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after two hours and the following arrangements shall apply: the speech of the Taoiseach and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time, shall not exceed 15 minutes, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes and such Members may share time, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes; Private Members' business shall be No. 60, motion re the health budget, and shall take place on the conclusion of No. 10, or at 7.30 p.m. whichever is the later and adjourn after 90 minutes; and 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 10 p.m. tonight 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 Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
There are five proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 8 and 9, motions re leave to introduce and referral of Supplementary Estimate to select committee without debate, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 10, motion re constitutional convention, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 17, Microenterprise Loan Fund Bill 2012 - Report and Final Stages, agreed to? Agreed.
Every Member will agree that what occurred in the Phoenix Park on Saturday night, the deaths of three young people, nine stabbings and many more assaults, was appalling. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter is awaiting a report from the Garda Commissioner-----
-----and we need assurances that the requisite legislation to deal with such situations will be accelerated, that an in-depth inquiry will be held and which will involve the security provider to report on -----
----the Garda presence and resources. I refer to the access to alcohol and drugs. When is it proposed to introduce the sale of alcohol Bill and the criminal justice Bill?
On a point of clarification, did the Taoiseach indicate during Leaders' Questions that tomorrow's Order Paper would facilitate the Minister, Deputy James Reilly, to make a statement to the House? I ask for confirmation for the Whips.
Everyone is appalled at what happened in the Phoenix Park. The video of what happened is disgraceful and it is scandalous that three young people died. I made the point that 800,000 people were in Galway for the Volvo ocean race finale and there were no incidents. This particular concert in the Phoenix Park was one of a series of three concerts and there were no incidents at the other two concerts. It may be something to do with the type of music but it is a tragic happening for the families. The Minister, Deputy Shatter, will be happy to report to the House when he has been briefed by the Garda Commissioner. I heard the chairperson of the joint policing committee speaking about it this morning. There needs to be an in-depth analysis of what happened and there will be such an analysis.
The Minister of State, Deputy Shortall, has done a great deal of work on the sale of alcohol, as has the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter. I expect the sale of alcohol Bill will come before the House in the next session. I cannot be more accurate at this stage but it will certainly be introduced before the end of the year.
In response to an earlier question, the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, will be very happy to make a statement to the House when he returns from Cyprus where he is attending an informal health meeting arranged by the Cypriot Presidency.
A number of Deputies sought to raise the issue of the events at Phoenix Park as Topical Issue matters. Rightly or wrongly I decided not to grant those requests today until the Minister has had an opportunity to be informed of the details. I hope to be able to facilitate Deputies during the week when there may be more information.
I agree entirely with the Taoiseach. I do not agree it is down to the music but it is a terrible tragedy for the families involved. My question is about promised legislation. When will the HSE governance Bill be brought before the House?
I am hopeful this Bill can be published before the end of this session. As I informed the Deputy last week, a great deal of work is ongoing in respect of this Bill and it is a Government priority now that the Personal Insolvency Bill has been published.
The Taoiseach will be aware of the plight of a number of Irish students in Florida and the financial and emotional strain which they and their families are experiencing. An issue such as this requires swift Government action and we have seen anything but.
The Irish Aviation Authority (amendment) Bill which is on the C list of proposed legislation. Is it intended to introduce any additional measures to put in place the necessary bonding or insurance facility so that in a future event such young people's investment would be protected? Has the Government given consideration to providing financial assistance to ease the plight-----
The Bill is not due until next year. I note the Irish Aviation Authority proposes to fly some of the students home. We are concerned about this matter. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has been speaking about it.
I refer to the strategic infrastructure Bill. The Taoiseach informed the House last week that the national co-ordinating committee was meeting as a result of the flooding in Cork and elsewhere. I wish to speak on the plight of farmers and the tourism industry as result of the inclement weather. What action will be taken to compensate or to do something to help alleviate the desperate situation for agricultural contractors? As the Taoiseach said earlier, it has been the wettest June since records began and this weather is continuing into July. The implications are serious for the forthcoming harvest.
This matter was raised by Deputy Martin on Leaders' Questions. The weather has been atrocious and there have been significant losses for the farming community. I have seen attempts to cut silage in fields all over the country but the heavy equipment has become bogged down. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney, is concerned about the situation and he is reflecting on how best to assist the farming community in this crisis.
We need to tackle the negative effects of climate change not just in the developing world, but also here in Ireland. What is the stage of preparation of the heads of the climate change Bill? When will it come before the House?
This Bill would probably have been introduced before now but for the requirements of troika legislation. It will be later in the year. The Minister of State, Deputy Alan Kelly, is doing a great deal of work on that Bill.
The gender recognition Bill is due to be published this year. When will the heads of the Bill be published? The Minister for Social Protection has threatened to publish a pensions Bill which would make changes to contributory pensions.
It is not listed in the programme but can the Taoiseach give an indication whether it will be introduced in this session or before Christmas or will the changes be included in a Bill after the budget?
This is difficult legislation. The Minister, Deputy Burton, has commenced work on it but I will have to come back to the Deputy with a more accurate time for when it might be brought before the Government for approval.
I am seeking information on the criminal justice Bill and the judicial reform Bill. What progress is being made with regard to the licensing of the event security sector? This is obviously a great necessity following the debacle discussed earlier in respect of the concert in the Phoenix Park last weekend.
This will be part of the report by the Minister for Justice and Equality in respect of what happened recently and the tragic consequences. I will give Deputy Healy-Rae an indication of when the specific issue he mentions might be raised as part of that.
Given the fact that lack of adequate regulation is deemed to have been responsible for many of the ills this country is facing at present, when is it intended to bring the friendly societies regulatory Bill before the House? Can that Bill be extended to the regulation of charities given the concern expressed by a number of registered established charities about regulation in that area?
If it does not come within the ambit of that Bill, would it be possible for relevant legislation to be put on the legislative programme and brought to the House in the next session? Finally, what is the position with the housing regulatory framework Bill, which is also promised and is seriously required in the housing sector, particularly with regard to voluntary housing associations?
When is it proposed to publish the legislation to establish SOLAS? Second, there is a Bill to be published by the Taoiseach's Department entitled "Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of the Seanad) Bill". Has the Government signed off on that Bill yet? Third, when is it proposed to introduce the legislation on Cabinet confidentiality which is promised in the programme for Government?
The legislation to establish SOLAS will be published later this year. The Government has not signed off on the abolition of the Seanad Bill, and the question of legislation on Cabinet confidentiality has not yet come before the Government.
People in north Dublin who are currently living in homes that are falling down around them due to pyrite heave are awaiting a promised report from the pyrite panel. I understand that report is now with the Minister. Can the Taoiseach expedite the publication of that report? People are anxious to see what is in it and to assess if it gives them any hope for dealing with what they see as an absolutely hopeless situation.
This issue has had serious consequences. House pride is very important and people who have paid good, hard earned money for houses have seen their houses effectively destroyed in some cases. The report is before the Minister. He will bring it to the Government in the next two weeks. It will then be published.
Last week, we placed a motion on the Order Paper to annul the legislation enacted two weeks ago which barred applicants from obtaining mortgage interest supplement. The Chief Whip has said we must discuss the motion in Private Members' time. However, we can only annul the legislation within the first 21 days, so are we to stand idly by while this is taken away from the applicants who need it most? I do not believe it should be Private Members' business. It is something we put before the Government and we have asked it to respond. Can the Government not respond positively and allow us to debate this issue? It means that those who cannot acquire it now must wait 12 months to do a deal with a bank in order to apply for it. It is writing away the rights and assistance that were available to people for the past number of years and the tough times we are living through. It is also cheaper than the rent supplement, which the Government states is available.