Dáil debates

Thursday, 20 September 2012

10:50 am

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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It is proposed to take No. b11, motion re membership of committees; No. 1, Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 Seanad - Second Stage (resumed), to adjourn at 1.30 p.m. today if not previously concluded; and No. 4, National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Bill 2012 - Second Stage (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. b11 shall be decided without debate.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the proposal for dealing with No. b11, motion re membership of committees without debate, agreed to? Agreed.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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I welcome the publication yesterday of the wording for the children's referendum and commend the Minister for Children on the work she has done. As Deputy Troy said, the Fianna Fáil Party will support the amendment. I hope we will have a sensible campaign in the coming weeks around this very important issue.

The CSO quarterly national household survey statistics were stark and unfortunately may have been lost among other issues. Long-term unemployment is now 60% of total unemployment. There have been some good announcements this week and the IDA continues to do some fantastic work but we have a serious problem. Has the Cabinet subcommittee met to discuss unemployment recently? There is nothing on job creation in the A or B list of the legislative programme, while on the C list there is only legislation to abolish county enterprise boards. Given the challenge presented to the political system and the country by those figures, what plans does the Government have?

Deputy McConalogue and I were wondering what the Tánaiste has done with the Government's allocation of tickets for the match on Sunday. It is one of the allowances the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform was not able to abolish. Has he given them to the Taoiseach or to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources? If there are any tickets left over, we will be able to look after them on this side of the House.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I welcome the support of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Deputy Catherine Murphy for the children's referendum. I hope we will have a campaign that is measured, reasoned and informative. I am confident that will be the case.

Deputy Calleary is right to raise the major challenge we face in getting people into employment and back to work. If I was on the other side of the House this morning, that would be the first topic I would raise. The current Opposition obviously has its own priorities.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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The opposition to the Tánaiste is sitting behind him.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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We cannot legislate people back into work so we will not see that reflected in the legislative programme. There was a Cabinet sub-committee meeting on the matter this morning and a range of measures is being implemented, such as the €90 million microfinance loan scheme, the €450 million credit guarantee scheme, the €150 million development capital scheme and the proposals for Innovation Fund Ireland.

We have taken a range of initiatives, including the establishment of a manufacturing development forum, the clustering development team in the digital sector and in regard to cloud computing and the health care-life sciences area. There will be a meeting of the export trade council this afternoon. Not a day goes by without the Government working on some initiative or other to get back people back into employment.

As regards the allocation of tickets, it has come as a bit of a revelation to me to discover how many Mayo and Donegal people are in government or working for the Government. There is huge demand for tickets and I am sorry for Deputy Calleary but we will not be able to help him from this side of the House.

11:00 am

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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How about a swap for the hurling?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The hurling tickets are even more sought after.

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

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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A Cheann Comhairle-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Will the Deputy hold it a moment? I will call him in time. Let people speak. I assure him that I see him up there.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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I do not know whether to laugh or cry when the Tánaiste extols the priority the Government attaches to job creation and then refers to the damning figures in today's newspapers. The initiatives the Government is taking are failing.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is the Order of Business.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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The Ceann Comhairle gave leeway to others.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I know but I was distracted, unfortunately.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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Perhaps the Ceann Comhairle will be momentarily distracted again.

The Tánaiste should give over. Is he seriously suggesting the Government is dealing with the jobs crisis in this State? He is not codding anybody with that nonsense.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Can we have something on the Order of Business?

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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Reference was made earlier to the Tánaiste's colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Roisín Shortall, and her dysfunctional relationship with the Minister for Health.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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ADHD I would say.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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I am not so worried about that; I am more worried about the delivery of the service. The Minister of State raised the issue of the health (amendment) Bill, under which it is intended to provide free GP care services. She clearly feels there is not sufficient priority attaching to this matter. When will it be resolved? When will the legislation be forthcoming? The Minister of State was also critical of failures to deal with a litany of issues, including primary care and consultants' salaries. Will the Tánaiste address, in particular, the legislation on free GP services?

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

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Yes, there is. Deputy McDonald, if I can put it kindly, has a habit of misrepresenting the facts.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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Really?

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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The Tánaiste is good at that himself.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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She talked about Government initiatives failing. She said the same when we introduced the jobs initiative. It was targeted at the tourism industry.

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein)
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There are 33,000 fewer jobs than 12 months ago.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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Labour's way or Frankfurt's way.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Listen to the facts. The Deputy should stop making it up.

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein)
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More jobs have been lost in Ireland over the past three years than in any other western country.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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With all the cackling that is going on, I cannot hear what is being said. Please allow the Deputy to have a reply to her question.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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There are 10,500 additional jobs in the tourism industry as a result of the jobs initiative. It is working. The Deputies should give a little credit where things are working.

The Bill to provide for the phased extending of a publicly funded GP service without fees is on the A list. It is a priority for the Government and it will be published this session.

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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Do not forget that.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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On the Order of Business yesterday the Taoiseach indicated that he might be willing to allow for a debate in the House following the report by the Irish fiscal advisory council on the state of the economy. Given his challenge to me earlier about the need for different sides to outline their alternative ways of dealing with the deficit and debt problems, will the Tánaiste confirm that the Government will allow for a debate on the financial situation we face running into the budget and what the options might be in regard to taxes and so on to deal with the State's financial crisis?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I can confirm that it is our intention to have a debate in the House on the economy and provide for an opportunity for Deputy Boyd Barrett and other Members to set out their proposals.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I look forward to it.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The business for next week is settled. The referendum Bill will be taken but the Government Chief Whip is considering this debate and will arrange time for it.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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The Tánaiste's party in opposition made a great deal of the concerns of small and medium-sized enterprises and the impact the lack of change to upward only rent reviews was having on them. The party promised to bring legislation to outlaw upward only rent reviews before the House when it got into government. When does he expect to do that?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Government is pursuing a programme to provide support for small and medium-sized businesses and that includes the setting of lending targets by the banks and a variety of ways in which credit can be extended to them to enable them to create jobs, to which I referred earlier. The Minister for Finance, in his Budget Statement, set out the Government position on legislation relating to upward only rents based on advice from the Attorney General.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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When will the Valuation (Amendment) Bill 2012 be taken in the House? Will the Tánaiste confirm it will not contain any provision to ease the burden on retailers, hoteliers and small businesses in respect of their rates bill and not address that in line with recommendations that have been made, which would have an economic benefit for all?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Bill was published in August and will be introduced in the Seanad. I understand it will be taken this session but we have to await the Seanad's deliberations on it before it comes to the House. The content can be debated then.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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The Tánaiste has been giving replies to questions about job creation, jobs initiatives and so on. I want to ask under promised legislation about sick leave for employees. Small businesses will be closed down-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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To what legislation is the Deputy referring?

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I am sure it is employment law. The Minister for Social Protection is making soundings about it on a daily basis and it is a huge concern to employers.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the Deputy asking about a particular Bill that has been promised?

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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Yes.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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What is the name of it?

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I am sure she is involved in the social welfare Bill. I am more interested today in social welfare than animal welfare. Businesses will be driven-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I thank the Deputy. Is there promised legislation?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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No.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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We will have no jobs and the Ministers knows that. It is no laughing matter.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy is making it up as he goes along.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I got no answer.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There is no promised legislation.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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There is, according to the Minister.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have been told there is not.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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With regard to the strategic infrastructure Bill, what proposals has the Government to deal with the alarming crisis facing our farmers this winter because of the very bad summer we had and the woeful inadequacy in the fodder available-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is there promised legislation? The Deputy should table a parliamentary question.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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I did that already. I thank the Ceann Comhairle.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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What legislation is the Deputy speaking about?

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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Surely the Tánaiste will talk for the farmers of Ireland-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Very happily.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There is no promised legislation. The Deputy should table a parliamentary question.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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This does not arise under the strategic infrastructure Bill. The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has announced a range of measures to bring forward the dates for direct payments.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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That will not solve the fodder crisis.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Minister and the Government are very aware of the difficulties the weather presented for farmers this summer.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I want to make it clear the Order of Business is about promised legislation. We have six minutes left and a number of Deputies are offering. Could Members cut out the codology of trying to make speeches when they are asking about promised legislation?

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I got no answer. If we got an answer, there would be no codology.

11:10 am

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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The programme for Government promised legislation to make NAMA transparent and accountable and to make it subject to the Freedom of Information Acts. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, has promised this a number of times and may be able to help the Tánaiste in this regard. When will this legislation be brought before the House?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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I understand it is hoped that heads of a Bill dealing with these matters will be sent to the finance committee of the House this session.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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I thank the Tánaiste.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Mattie McGrath could learn from his colleague, who got an answer.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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Can we get a translation?

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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When can Members expect the publication of the landlord and tenant Bill to reform and consolidate the law in respect of landlord and tenants? I refer in particular to young people who require accommodation for third level study.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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It is expected that Bill will be published late next year.

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

Photo of Emmet StaggEmmet Stagg (Kildare North, Labour)
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For a proper question.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Tánaiste should indicate the progress on the preparation and presentation to the House for a First Reading of the companies miscellaneous provisions Bill, which purports "to strengthen and streamline the functions of certain company law enforcement agencies and to make other necessary amendments to the Companies Acts"? This has been called for by authorities outside this House. The Tánaiste should indicate when it is likely to come into the House and whether it has been discussed at Cabinet.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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There are two companies Bills. The companies Bill is intended to bring greater clarification and simplification to the companies code and to modernise Irish company law through the consolidation of the existing 15 Company Law Acts, other regulations and case law. This Bill is on the A list of legislation due to be published this session. I expect the other companies Bill will be next year.

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)
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Following all the confusion and messiness this week, does the Government have plans to bring in changes to the student grants scheme? If not-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, hold it a second.

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)
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It is a fair question.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not a fair question on the Order of Business.

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)
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It is a matter that must be brought before the House.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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But it is not on the Order of Business. I am sorry.

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)
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If not, it is incumbent on the Government to make clear the responsibility for amending the scheme rests with the Minister for Education and Skills.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Thank you. We heard that yesterday.

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)
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This should be made clear to county councils as well.

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry South, Fine Gael)
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Yesterday, I raised in this Chamber the issue of post-release electronic tagging of sex offenders and other criminals such as subversives and organised criminals.

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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And non-payers of the household charge.

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry South, Fine Gael)
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I was told that legislative proposals would be brought forward to provide for such measures. The Tánaiste should indicate when this might be provided.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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A criminal justice, forensic evidence and DNA database system Bill is due for publication this session.

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Sinn Fein)
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During the week, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation heard evidence that, per capita, this State has lost more jobs in the past four years than any other western state since the Great Depression. In respect of the fall-off in the small businesses in this State, when will promised legislation be introduced with regard to county enterprise boards? Cathain a bheidh torthaí an athbhreithniú a rinneadh ar Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla cúpla mí ó shin á fhoilsiú ag an Rialtas? Cathain a thiocfaidh reachtaíocht os ár gcomhair?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Tánaiste, on two items of legislation.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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First, the heads of the Bill regarding the county enterprise boards are in preparation. Caithfidh mé teacht ar ais chuig an Teachta mar gheall ar chúrsaí teangacha chun eolas a thabhairt dó faoin reachtaíocht agus faoin tuarascáil a luaigh sé. Gheobhaidh mé an t-eolas agus seolfaidh mé chuig an Teachta é.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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A number of years ago, three fishing vessels perished off the south coast of Ireland, namely, the Maggie B, the Honey Dew II and the Père Charles. Nine fishermen lost their lives and their bodies were never discovered. I understand that two years ago, partial remains were found at Hook Head and Helvick Head. I also understand the testing available to determine whether those partial remains belonged to any of the aforementioned nine men who were lost at sea has not been carried out. Can the Tánaiste give me a guarantee in this Chamber today that whatever tests are necessary will be carried out?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy-----

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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One member of the Government already has been contacted about it but did not respond very favourably towards the family member in question.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, sorry, this is not on the Order of Business.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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Can the Tánaiste give me a guarantee today that whatever is necessary to determine whether the skull and femur bones that were found can be traced will be done to alleviate the pain those families are suffering at present?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I suggest the Deputy tables a request for a topical issue.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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I have had it down all week as a topical issue but it has been ignored.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will oblige the Deputy next week, if that is all right. He should table it next week.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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Can I get a response from the Tánaiste?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, while it is a serious matter, I cannot allow it on the Order of Business.

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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It is a serious matter for the family members.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I understand the sensitivity of the point being made by the Deputy and therefore I will consider the matter next week. Is that all right?

Photo of Martin FerrisMartin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
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Can the Ceann Comhairle establish how I will get an answer?