Dáil debates

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

11:00 am

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is proposed to take No. a7, motion re membership of committee; No. b7, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; and No. 14, Financial Resolutions 2014 from the Minister for Finance, resuming on Resolution No. 8.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. a7 and b7 shall be decided without debate; and the following arrangements shall apply in regard to the resumed debate on No. 14: the speech of the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, or persons nominated in their stead, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 30 minutes in each case, and such Members may share their time; the speech of each other Member called upon, who may share time, shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case; and the suspension of sitting under Standing Order 23 shall take place on the conclusion of the leaders' speeches for one hour.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. a7 and b7 without debate agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 14 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for the suspension of the sitting today agreed to? Agreed. I call Deputy Martin on the Order of Business.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The new HSE national director of acute hospitals, Mr. Ian Carter, warned of further dysfunction if the Government kept taking money out of the system. Since yesterday, there has been a major lack of credibility with regard to the figures presented for the health budget and the proposed cuts of some €666 million. The Minister, Deputy Reilly, did not do a good job of explaining this yesterday. Many people were not impressed at the press conference and the general impression was that, to be fair, the Minister of State, Deputy Alex White, dug him out of a hole and saved the day.

The figure involved is €666 million. Are the Secretary General of the Department of Health and the chief executive officer of the HSE standing over the figures? Do we have background documentation that can support the figures for each provision in that Estimate? When can we expect the promised Health Service Executive (financial matters) Bill, which deals with a statutory financial governance framework for the HSE? Will the Taoiseach confirm the accuracy and credibility of those figures?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The position is that, as the budget resolutions went through yesterday, the HSE must now prepare its service plan within 21 days to give effect to the plans it will implement based on that budget.

Obviously, that will come back to the Minister, and he must bring it to Cabinet to have it signed off. They can then get on with spending the moneys allocated.

11:10 am

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Do they stand over the figures?

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

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There will be a debate on the budget after the Order of Business.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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My question is about the Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Bill. I understand this is the legislation in which the provision of GP cards to children aged five years and under will be contained. When will that be introduced? Will that also contain provisions for the same extension to people with long-term illness? The Taoiseach will recall that this promise was made in his Government's first budget.

A separate issue that I have raised with the Tánaiste on a number of occasions relates to the Magdalen laundries and the redress scheme. The women are still waiting; none of them has seen a shilling. I have correspondence from both the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, and from the Tánaiste indicating that there is some logjam in respect of agreement on pension and health supports. The clock is ticking-----

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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That term is not used in the letter.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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That is what it says.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Where does it say logjam?

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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It says that payments cannot commence until decisions have been made on the other recommendations which include pension and health supports.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Where does it say logjam?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We cannot debate it now.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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It is a logjam. Urgency was promised and many of these people are elderly.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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The Deputy made that up.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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The Tánaiste should give over.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Tánaiste made up a lot of stuff himself.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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When will the women get their payments? When will the issue surrounding health and pensions be resolved? That is what the women want to know.

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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And the supports for education.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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Really, it is very unedifying for somebody in the office of Tánaiste to be so petty and childish at this hour of the day.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is the Order of Business and we will move on to a debate on the budget. Members should stick to matters that are suitable for the Order of Business. We cannot have debates.

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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We cannot have lies either.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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The Deputy is sensitive on the issue.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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As the Tánaiste has confirmed in respect of the Magdalen women, there is no difficulty-----

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)
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A Cheann Comhairle, the word "lie" was used. That is outside Standing Orders.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----other than the verification-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Will the Deputy please withdraw the word "lie"?

Photo of Kathleen LynchKathleen Lynch (Cork North Central, Labour)
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I withdraw it. It is untruths.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Misleading information.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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There is no difficulty other than verification and validation of the paperwork that has been submitted. Some of it is complex, but there is no problem. The Deputy's use of the non-existent word "logjam" is irrelevant in this.

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

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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I also asked about the general practitioners Bill.

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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We have the largest binge drinking population in Europe-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We do not need statements, Deputy.

Photo of James BannonJames Bannon (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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-----and there is a huge increase in below cost selling and in the number of outlets selling cheap alcohol. This is very harmful to people's health. When can we expect the Public Health (Alcohol Labelling Provisions) Bill to be brought to the House? It is urgent.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I can confirm that this matter was on the agenda for the Cabinet yesterday, but because other matters had to be dealt with it was not taken. It will not be long.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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My question is about the promised health identifiers Bill, which will provide for an identification system throughout the health services through a single and unique identifier. Have the heads of the Bill been discussed and has it been progressed? When can we expect it to be brought before the House?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is expected to have it by the end of the year, but the Cabinet has not yet discussed the heads of it.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I have a question about the Data Sharing Bill. WikiLeaks is in the ha'penny place after the leaks about the budget in the last few days. I heard the entire budget on Sean O'Rourke's programme yesterday. I know he is trying to outdo Pat Kenny but he had the entire budget, line for line and syllable by syllable. When the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, was Minister of State at the Department of Finance some years ago he had to resign over a leak half an hour before the Budget Statement. This budget was completely leaked. It is making a farce of this House.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy can deal with all those issues when he speaks on the budget.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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The entire budget was leaked, although it was all the good bits, not the bad bits.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Perhaps the Deputy got the data mixed up.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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I am not mixed up. The Taoiseach is mixed up, with spin doctors.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I do not have a date for the publication of the Data Sharing Bill but I will advise the Deputy as progress is made on it, so he will be fully informed line by line.

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Deputy Mattie McGrath should change the dial.

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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The Minister for Social Protection has stated that people who are in trouble should go to their local social welfare offices. Unfortunately, these offices have been closed and there has been a targeting in the budget-----

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

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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The Social Welfare Bill, which will provide for amendments to the Social Welfare Consolidation Act and other relevant legislation arising from the measures to be announced in the budget. The Government has closed many small community welfare offices, but the Minister is telling people to go to those offices. It is a hide and seek exercise.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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It is a treasure hunt.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Every morning I have to correct the Deputy and I do not like doing that. Will he try to stick to the rules occasionally and not make statements?

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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It is the Social Welfare Bill.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Social Welfare Bill will be discussed next week.

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
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The Government has introduced a number of schemes to extend credit, particularly to SMEs, and they have been less than successful, to put it mildly. The Government acknowledges that because it is proposing legislation, the Credit Guarantee (Amendment) Bill, to "enhance the success of those schemes". That is urgent legislation so when can we expect to see it?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I do not have a date for it. However, I remind the Deputy that the first full commercial licence for a lending bank in a number of years was issued recently by the Central Bank. It is applicable to firms. It is not a mainline bank but is for those who use technology produced by a company, Dell, located in the Deputy's constituency. It is one of a number of groups interested in acquiring full commercial licences for lending money to small and medium enterprises. The Deputy will also be aware that the Government has set new lending targets for the pillar banks of €4 billion each to be achieved this year. I will advise the Deputy as to the stage of preparation of the Bill.

Photo of Peter FitzpatrickPeter Fitzpatrick (Louth, Fine Gael)
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When can we expect the publication of the Noise Nuisance Bill, which is to extend and improve the power available to enforcement authorities to prevent, reduce and abate noise nuisance by allowing for on-the-spot fines and providing for mediation between neighbours?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I wonder if we could extend that to this Chamber.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I have no date for the Noise Nuisance Bill. All is silent on that front.

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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Earlier the Taoiseach spoke about a guy who was on a three day week and was receiving unemployment assistance. The Taoiseach said he was getting rent allowance and his income was getting up to €900. How is that?

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.

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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Has there been a change? I do not believe he would qualify for that.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy should put down a parliamentary question.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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They are the figures given to me. They may not be correct, but I was talking about incentive.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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They are not. The fact he is working for three days means he does not get rent allowance.

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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One will not qualify for rent allowance.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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There might be other benefits.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It was a nice piece of fiction.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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There was a nice amount of fiction from the Deputy for ten years.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I was talking about incentive. The figures might not be correct, but I am talking about incentives.