Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

5:50 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Order of Business is No. 21, Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Second Stage (resumed); and No. 1, Industrial Development (Science Foundation Ireland)(Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Second Stage. Private Members' Business shall be No. 91, motion re job creation and economic growth.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are no proposals to put to the House.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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As we discussed, there are 168,000 people in mortgage arrears. The heads of the Personal Insolvency Bill were first published on 25 January 2012. It is now March 2013. How many sections of the Personal Insolvency Act have been commenced? I have asked this question on a number of occasions on the Order of Business in recent months and the Taoiseach indicated he would check that and get back to me. Given the urgency and all the pronouncements, it is important that we would know the number of sections that have been commenced. Can the Taoiseach provide a timescale for the commencement of any remaining sections that have not been commenced to date?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I cannot recall the Deputy asking me the number of sections that have commenced-----

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I did, yes.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----but we referred here previously to the extent and complexity of the Personal Insolvency Act. As I have told the House, the personal insolvency agency will be open for business in early summer. The director has been appointed. Recruitment is taking place. Arrangements are being made to open this. The Deputy will get the details he seeks tomorrow when the Minister for Finance addresses the mortgage situation in so far as the future is concerned and dealing with the 100,000 people who are in limbo.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I think I am entitled on the Order of Business to ask about sections of Bills that have commenced or are awaiting commencement. I asked about that previously. I am simply asking when the sections of the Act will be commenced.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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No. The Deputy asked me the number of sections that had commenced.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Yes. How many have commenced-----

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I do not have that detail.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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-----and when will the remaining sections be commenced?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The detail of that can be given to the Deputy tomorrow by the Minister for Finance.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I am amazed the Taoiseach does not have the detail because this is an urgent issue.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I am not in a position to be able to tell the Deputy-----

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Everybody has been saying for a week that this is the most urgent issue facing us-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot have debates on the Order of Business.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I am not in a position to be able to tell the Deputy the number of sections of any particular Bill-----

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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-----and the Taoiseach cannot tell me whether even one section of the most important Act has been commenced.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Taoiseach said he would get the information.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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No. If I give the Deputy a figure and I am out by one, he will say I was incorrect in my address to the House.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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But I asked the Taoiseach-----

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy wants the number of sections that have commenced and the date for the commencement of operation by the insolvency agency. All of that detail is under way. The Minister for Finance will update everybody on that tomorrow.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Taoiseach should have it on the Order of Business.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not a matter for -----

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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The programme for Government contains commitments to enhance trust between local communities and the gardaí, and also through the policing partnerships, to give greater priority to community policing and higher Garda visibility in local neighbourhoods. What is the position on that issue? The Minister of State, Deputy O'Dowd, and I were in St. Patrick's GAA Club in Lordship, of which Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe was an active member. He was killed recently a mile from where we met. There is widespread concern in the area that 21 Garda posts have been cut. There is one van patrolling a 45 km stretch of the Border.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy might put down a Topical Issue matter and I will consider it. That is not an issue for the Order of Business.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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I did.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If the Deputy puts it in tomorrow I will consider it.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Go raibh maith agat.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy McGrath, you are the temporary leader of the-----

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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"Temporary" is the word.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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He is the real leader, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have to respect your request-----

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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"Temporary" is the operative word.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are temporary for today.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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You will be delighted when I will be-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. I have no problem with you taking up the leadership on a daily basis.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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He is the man from Del Monte.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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While I am temporary I have a lot to do and therefore the Ceann Comhairle might allow me discretion-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy will have to be in order as well.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I hope my questions for the Taoiseach are in order. The first concerns the Defence (Amendment) Bill and Civil Defence. A number of different directives have been issued to Civil Defence which are conflicting in terms of what its members can do. They can no longer use the blue flashing lights but when they are called out to accidents to help the gardaí or ambulance staff they have to use those lights. Those directives are conflicting, and the Taoiseach might examine them under the Defence (Amendment) Bill because they are getting different-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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When is the Defence (Amendment) Bill being brought forward?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That will be next year, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I know that, but many accidents will occur before then.

The other question is on the local government reform Bill, which contains many proposals to abandon and merge councils. The Leader partnership companies are now being denied all funding because everything is on hold until such time this so-called merger takes place or they are succumbed into the county councils.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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When is the local government Bill due?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The local government Bill will be a very extensive Bill. It will have to be enacted before the end of this year because of the local elections to be held next year.

Deputy Martin asked me about the number of sections of the Personal Insolvency Act that are in operation. It is a little like the time the late Noel Lemass asked my father, who was a Member at the time, how many seagulls flew over the Phoenix Park in 12 months.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I do not get the connection.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I said I wanted to raise three items.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Go ahead.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I asked about funding for the Leader partnership companies, which has been frozen. The Taoiseach knows what they do better than I do, and perhaps that could be released.

The more important question refers to the Finance Bill. I ask the Taoiseach, and the Minister for Finance, if there is any possibility they might rein in the Secretary General, Mr. Moran, for his comments in which he attacked-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Hold on.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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-----the householders, and all of us, including that the banks were not doing enough repossessions.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is stretching it now.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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He is the Secretary General. As the Taoiseach knows, he was in banking in America.

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

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I objected to his being appointed here to his job.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please resume your seat, Deputy. Do not spoil it.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I am not spoiling it.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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As you did well, do not spoil it.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I am asking if the Taoiseach can rein him in.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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No rest for the Labour Party. Jack O'Connor is trying to do that.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The Central Bank and the Secretary General of the Department of Finance in turn have given rise to major concern among many people with distressed mortgages. Essentially, they have been urging that people should be turfed out of their homes by the banks in terms that-----

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Nonsense.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, we are not discussing that issue.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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-----are full of cruelty and cold-bloodedness. It is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to somebody.

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

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The Taoiseach has responded to me already and the Government has said, in essence, that it will bring in legislation to facilitate that. Is that still the Taoiseach's intention? What kind of legislation will be brought forward? Will it be simply to close the loophole from the High Court case, which prohibited evictions, or will it bring in legislation which is needed to protect people's right to their home and to write down impossible debt?

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

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Government wants to have a fair and transparent process for dealing with all of those cases that are in distress. I have pointed out on many occasions that this is about ensuring that a resolution, and a solution, can be got in each individual case, which are all different, in order that the people concerned can be taken out of the limbo they are in and contribute to the economy. The last resort clearly identified by Government, and referred to by banks, is the question of repossession of any of these houses. The vast majority of people involved in this can have resolutions brought about for their security and their future in a way that does not involve repossession.

The Government will deal with the question of the loophole in the law because that loophole was being used by some lending institutions to say they cannot settle with clients in particular positions. It is only to have a process that is fair and transparent in the interests of the clients to ensure they will not lose their houses but will have a resolution they can meet and with which the lending institutions are satisfied.

6:00 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I want to press the Taoiseach on that issue of-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No, you cannot because we are not having a debate on it.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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No, because he did not answer. Hold on, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. We are not having a debate on this issue. It is as clear as that.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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No, it is not.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. I had you last week and you are not going to do it again this week.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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No. Hold on.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You either sit down or ask a question about promised legislation.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I am asking about legislation. You did not even let me get one sentence out of my mouth before you cut across me.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, when I stand, will you please be seated? Please, be seated.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I want to ask about legislation.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am on my feet.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Are you going to let me ask a question?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am on my feet. This is about promised legislation.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Yes.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not following on a debate arising from a comment by the colleague beside you.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It is about legislation that I wanted to ask.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please ask but not the same question. A new question. Let us be clear on it.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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What I wanted to know, if I can be allowed to ask a question------

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If it is on promised legislation, you can.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Given the concern about this issue after the comments that were made last week, when is the legislation going to come forward and what is that legislation going to be? That is what people want to know, Taoiseach-----

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

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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-----to allay their concerns.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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When is legislation due?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Excuse me, a Cheann Comhairle, I have not finished yet. On a second piece of legislation, I want to ask when the forestry Bill in section A of the legislative programme is going to come through. Is that going to happen this session-----

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

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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-----and can the Taoiseach give a commitment that the Bill will come before the House before the Government makes any announcement or decision on the sale of the harvesting rights in Coillte? Both questions are about legislation.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Two pieces of legislation. When is the forestry Bill promised?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The High Court issue was dealt with this morning and approved by Government under the Land and Conveyancing Bill. The forestry Bill referred to by Deputy Boyd Barrett will be published during the current session.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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Lack of heating kills 1,200 people in this country every year. That shocking fact was disclosed yesterday at a fuel poverty conference in Dublin. On top of that and despite the trebling of grant aid from St. Vincent de Paul-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Sorry, where are we going on promised legislation, Deputy?

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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I am going there, a Cheann Comhairle. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has trebled its support to elderly people who are in need of heating from €3.8 million in 2008 to €10.4 million last year. I ask the Taoiseach to take the opportunity presented by the fact that the Finance Bill is before the House this week-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Hold on a second.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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-----to reverse the cuts to the free fuels------

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy, resume your seat.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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-----and electricity scheme.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Catherine Murphy. Deputy Healy should table a parliamentary question.

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)
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The delay at drafting stage on the mental capacity Bill has now been overcome. When is the Bill likely to be published and what is the intended timeline for its enactment?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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What was originally referred to as the mental capacity Bill is now known as the assisted decision-making (capacity) Bill. I confirm that work on the Bill is very advanced and we will let the Deputy know exactly when the Bill is to be published.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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Members of the SOUND support group for children who developed narcolepsy from the Pandemrix injection wonders why the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, has refused to meet them and bring forward a package-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Hold on a second.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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No, this is under the------

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not under anything and you know it as well as I do. What promised legislation are we talking about? This has nothing to do with meeting the Minister, Deputy Reilly.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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The health (amendment) Bill.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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When is the health (amendment) Bill due, Taoiseach?

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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When will the Minister bring forward the package he promised to support these children?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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There is a whole range of Bills on health. Legislation on persons aged over 70 years was approved this morning.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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What about the narcolepsy issue?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is that the Bill you are looking for?

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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No, I asked a specific question.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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But you do not ask questions------

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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It comes under the health (amendment) Bill.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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How do you mean?

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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The Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, made a commitment to the parents of children suffering because of narcolepsy from the Pandemrix injection. This is a fact the Taoiseach knows about. Can he please tell us when the Minister will meet these people? It comes under the heading of the Bill.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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When the Minister will meet people and when the Bill will be published are different issues.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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You are right.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Table a question about when the Minister will meet the group. We will get the Taoiseach to talk about when the Bill is due.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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Can the Taoiseach not just answer us now?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Taoiseach cannot answer a question about when the Minister will meet someone. He is good, but he is not that good.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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Why not? He is the Taoiseach. He is supposed to answer questions.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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He is not doing it on the Order of Business in any case. Has the Taoiseach given an answer about legislation?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I am not sure the Deputy's question relates to the health (amendment) Bill.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Healy-Rae had better have a chat with the Minister himself.

Photo of Dessie EllisDessie Ellis (Dublin North West, Sinn Fein)
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The Taxi Regulation Bill is due in the House shortly. It has already had an airing in the Seanad. The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Alan Kelly, has said he will meet with taxi representative groups who will outline a large number of problems they have with the legislation. Can consideration of the Bill in the House be delayed until after the meeting takes place to allow the representative groups to air their concerns?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I do not know about that, now.

Photo of Dessie EllisDessie Ellis (Dublin North West, Sinn Fein)
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Can I be given a time as to when it is coming to the House?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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When is the Bill coming to the House?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is on Report Stage in the Seanad. The Whips will have to make arrangements to bring it in here. I am quite sure the Minister of State, Deputy Alan Kelly, will be able to meet with the representatives before that happens.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Ellis should have a chat with his Whip, Deputy Ó Snodaigh. He might be able to help.

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
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The Taoiseach will be aware like other Members that many families have been destroyed by gambling. Recently, there was an advertisement on RTE for the Rutland Centre which was followed two seconds later by an advertisement for a well known bookmaker. Many other European countries have put in place a health warning on gambling. Is there any proposal in Government to introduce similar health warnings in respect of these ads, particularly given the week that is in it?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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What Bill are we talking about?

Photo of Seán CroweSeán Crowe (Dublin South West, Sinn Fein)
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Possibly, we are talking about the gambling control Bill, a betting Bill or communications legislation. It is a difficulty and the irony is not lost on many families. We have seen the advertisements ourselves and other countries have introduced measures.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Crowe raises a very serious matter which affects families to their detriment. The heads of the gambling control Bill have not come before Government yet. I understand that quite extensive work has been done and will update the House on the current stage of it.

Photo of Aodhán Ó RíordáinAodhán Ó Ríordáin (Dublin North Central, Labour)
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The Government has confirmed to the Council of Europe that it intends to legislate for the X case, that the legislation will be published next month and passed by July. Can the Taoiseach confirm that to the House?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Work is proceeding in the Department of Health following the information meetings and as part of the process we outlined before. The Minister for Health has not brought the heads referring to the regulations to Government yet. Clearly, we want to deal with this in a proper, comprehensive fashion given the sensitivities involved. We do not want it unduly delayed. When the heads of the Bill come to Government, the Oireachtas committee will have the opportunity to debate them. Everybody will get an opportunity to contribute.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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It was promised that a number of Bills would be published during this session including the Houses of the Oireachtas (inquiries, privileges and procedures) Bill and the protected disclosure in the public interest Bill. When is it hoped to publish the social welfare and pensions Bill?

In 2004, a White Paper on regulating better was produced, the purpose of which was to develop principles and practices to provide reassurance that regulation was being made in a transparent and accountable manner. The paper was distributed to all Deputies. Can the Taoiseach look at the White Paper again given the guillotines last week and the issues of property tax and taxi regulation? A process was set out in the White Paper whereby the House was encouraged to produce legislation through various stages including hearings on heads of Bills. In most cases, heads of Bills have not been discussed in the House since 2004 notwithstanding that we are supposed to discuss them before legislation is published. There has only been one instance since the Government took office when heads of a Bill were discussed by a committee before being published.

6:10 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I did not catch the third question, after the questions on the Houses of the Oireachtas Bill and the whistleblower legislation.

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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It referred to the social welfare and pensions Bill. When will it be published, and will the heads of the Bill be published in advance?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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That Bill will be taken this year. The Houses of the Oireachtas (inquiries, privilege and procedures) Bill and the whistleblower legislation are on track and on target for this session. The question of better regulation is something we must have a general discussion about. I would like to see further improvement in our capacity to do business competently and to give everyone an opportunity to talk.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Have the heads of the criminal justice (legal aid) Bill and the criminal law (human trafficking) (amendment) Bill been discussed and approved, and when is it likely they will come before the House?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The criminal law (human trafficking) (amendment) Bill will be taken this session as it is in section A of the Government legislation programme. The criminal justice (legal aid) Bill will be taken later this year.

Photo of Anthony LawlorAnthony Lawlor (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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There has been a name change for the mental capacity Bill. Can the Taoiseach confirm that the Bill will be taken in this session?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I cannot give the exact dates but I expect it will be taken early. The Government dealt with elements of it this morning. I will update Deputies Lawlor and Catherine Murphy.