Dáil debates

Friday, 12 December 2014

Water Services Bill 2014: Committee Stage (Resumed)

 

Question again proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

10:00 am

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am going to be very strict on this. I advise Deputies to read the rules of debate. We cannot have Second Stage speeches simply because we are dealing with a section of a Bill. We are examining amendments to, or amendments proposed to, the Bill. The debate on the section is to pass the Bill and not to have a general debate, so let us be clear about that.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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Say that to Deputy Durkan.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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It applies to everybody-----

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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I agree with you.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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-----across the House.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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The section deals with the water conservation grant. It was absolutely right, as is normal on Committee Stage of a Bill, that Members would tease out with the Minister the effect in regard to the public finances of such a measure. There was a long discussion yesterday, which the Minister was unable to resolve and, therefore-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Sorry, he is not entitled to resolve it. This is not about how this is being paid for. This is about the technicalities of the section. This is not a debate on how anything is going to be funded or how the money is provided. That is a different debate altogether and you are not entitled to debate it on the section.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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Yes, but I am sorry-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I do not want to have a dispute. I will make a ruling and I will ask the Minister to put the question. This charade will not continue. I watched it last night and it was a debacle. I will not put up with it so, Deputy, please understand and read the Standing Orders. You are a long time in this House, so read the Standing Orders. You know I am perfectly correct. There will be no filibustering.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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I will be finished in 120 seconds.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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All right, but do not open up another debate.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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No. I will leave it to the Minister to resolve, which he has had time to do overnight, because he was giving figures we had to query and try to resolve. The nub of the issue is that the Minister said the €100 so-called conservation grant will cost €130 million. We looked at the number of private households, which would be entitled to that grant, and it should be €165 million.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not relevant to this section of the Bill. It has nothing to do with the money or the cost.

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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That is the nub of the first issue. The second and last point I will make is that the Minister said that water charges will bring in €271 million, but when we did the figures for the one and two person households, the figure should be €389 million. How does he explain the difference between them?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is not a debate on the finances of this exercise. This should never have been tolerated as a debate. I ask the Minister to finally put the question on this amendment.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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A Cheann Comhairle-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You have all had a go. Every one of you has been up and down and I am asking the Minister to put the question.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent)
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You are not-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are not going to filibuster anymore, Deputy Donnelly.

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent)
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We are in the middle of a Committee Stage debate. You do not have the right to stop us debating this.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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What did you say?

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent)
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We are in the middle of a Committee Stage debate-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are not in the middle of a debate on the Bill. You are on Committee Stage of the Bill and are dealing with section 5. It is not about how moneys will be met or where the money comes from. That is not part of section 5.

Photo of Alan KellyAlan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)
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A Cheann Comhairle, I put the question.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am putting the question.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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On a point of order-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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On a point of order.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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There is a question of accuracy in regard to figures.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is not part of the section. It is irrelevant.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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We have not been given the figures. We asked the Minister-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are not entitled to do so under section 5.

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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-----to qualify those figures overnight. We asked him to come back with the figures today and to clarify them. I ask that they be clarified before we vote on this.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will put the question: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Independent)
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This is outrageous behaviour.

(Interruptions).

Question put:

The Committee divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 29.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Barry Cowen and Brian Stanley.

Question declared carried.

SECTION 6

Question put: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 17.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg; Níl, Deputies Barry Cowen and Brian Stanley.

Question declared carried.

SECTION 7

10:20 am

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 29:

In page 8, line 32, after “Water” to insert the following:
“including householders, commercial water users and representatives of the trade unions with members in Irish Water”.
Section 7 deals with the establishment of the public water forum, the purpose of which is supposed to be to ensure that people will be represented in some fashion and that they will have a say with regard to the way in which water services are delivered. The latter is, of course, very important. To date, the board of Uisce Éireann has not facilitated much of either. There has been an absence of representatives from the trade unions and householders from the process. Members of the public are very frustrated by the fact that they have not had an input. Section 7 states that the forum shall consist of at least 12 and not more than 60 members. Obviously, there is a massive gap in this regard and it will be necessary to decide whether to opt for a membership or 12 or one of 59 or 60.

Sinn Féin is of the view that householders have been left out of the process completely. The word "consumer" has been used in respect of the people who will use the services of Irish Water. That word should be banned. The words "householders" and "citizens" should be included in the Bill instead in order that people will be recognised as human beings rather than machines. At this point, commercial water users are not sure what charges they will be obliged to pay. They are facing a very uncertain future. Currently, they pay charges that are set by the local authorities. The Minister has indicated that this will remain the case for the time being. Commercial users - our household would be classed as such because of the existence of a small business there - are facing a very uncertain future in respect of this matter. Such users will not be represented on the forum.

The position is similar for trade unions. There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the employees of Irish Water. The focus has been on those employees who are well paid and on the bonuses on offer, and rightly so. However, there are many employees of Irish Water who are not that well paid and who are on either low enough or middle incomes. There are people who are working under the service level agreements, SLAs, to provide services on behalf of the local authorities. These individuals were responsible for providing the service before the concept of creating Uisce Éireann was even mooted.

There is a massive vacuum in terms of the fact that there will be no representation for key stakeholders, namely, householders and citizens, commercial water users and trade unions. I request, therefore, that the Minister and the Government accept the amendment before the House. There has been a great deal of recent discussion among those opposite about the fact that they are listening to people. They now have an opportunity to ensure that representatives from the key sectors will have a say.

Photo of Finian McGrathFinian McGrath (Dublin North Central, Independent)
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I strongly support the amendment, which advocates the inclusion of householders, commercial water users and representatives of the trade unions among the membership of the public water forum. In light of what is happening at present, this is a strong, important and very decisive amendment. However, a broader issue arises in the context of ensuring that the democratic voices of people - particularly those of stakeholders - will be heard. It is important that we should hear from those representative voices. The amendment refers to householders. On Wednesday, a huge crowd gathered outside Leinster House and many among its number were householders who are under severe pressure in terms of their ability to afford to pay water charges. The other issue which arises - and which is often ignored - relates to commercial water users. People must wake up to the reality that SMEs and other small businesses are finding it extremely difficult to survive. It is important, therefore, that we should ensure they are represented on the forum.

I have a difficulty with regard to the establishment of all sorts of forums to deal with different issues. We must ensure that the Dáil and the councils are the relevant forums. A large number of subgroups are being established throughout the State and I am concerned about that. Priority must be given to the Oireachtas and the city and county councils.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Independent)
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I also strongly support the amendment. I heard what the Ceann Comhairle had to say about the debate which took place last night. I am of the view that it was very much directly related to the actual content-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Perhaps the Deputy will confine himself to discussing the amendment before the House.

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Independent)
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-----of the Bill and the fact that we were not provided with the relevant figures.

Amendment No. 29 is very good in that it moves the concept of the forum away from reference to "customers". Citizens of this State are increasingly being turned into customers and consumers by the Government. In that context, the amendment refers to householders, commercial water users - obviously, commercial water use is a key element in the context of the remit of Irish Water - and representatives of the trade union movement. As the Minister is aware, the latter have expressed their intense disapproval of the entire construction that is Irish Water.

The amendment is very timely, particularly in the context of questions regarding the Minister and the performance of the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER. This State has a chequered history when it comes to the performance of its regulators. The House has not yet had an opportunity to consider that matter. In the past ten to 15 years, the phenomenon of regulatory capture has arisen whereby regulators have effectively been nullified by major companies operating in certain sectors. As a result of this kind of capture, the regulators involved tend to dance to the tune of the companies in question. In this instance, we are dealing with a company which will have a monopoly and which may be privatised at some point in the future.

The machinations of Irish Water and CER have been designed to totally confuse the people and householders of Ireland. I am of the view, therefore, that it would be appropriate to expand the concept of the public water forum to ensure that ordinary householders will have some say. I regret that the establishment of a forum of this nature is necessary.

I appeal to the Minister, particularly after the debacle of last night and the performance of the Department, to give consideration to withdrawing all of this nonsense and water taxes and returning the water function to the local authorities which can produce water at a far cheaper rate. I warmly support Deputy Stanley's amendment.

10:30 am

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Independent)
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I support the amendment although I would have the same reservations about people becoming customers of Irish Water. I do not see in the definitions section how a customer is constituted or defined. We heard last night that anyone who sent a pack back to Irish Water is regarded as a customer. Yet the declaration under section F of the application form states:

By completing and returning this form, I declare that to the best of my knowledge all of the information provided is true and accurate. If I have confirmed that I am connected to the public water main and/or the public sewer then I declare that I am a customer of Irish Water otherwise I am declaring that I am not a customer of Irish Water.
People are being asked to tick a box at the bottom of that section. Yet there are people who have sent that form back without filling it in and now they have been declared customers of Irish Water, but there is no definition of a customer in the legislation. According to the representative from Irish Water, once one is connected to the public main or if one is connected to the public sewer, one is deemed to be a customer. Who exactly will define who a customer is, if there is no definition of a customer in the legislation?

If this is going to be confined to those who have returned the packs and declared themselves as customers, we will not get a broad range of voices. We have all noticed that there have been very few dissenting voices at fora or in board rooms but inquisitive voices are exactly those that are needed. However, what this proposed forum seeks is people who are of like mind but that will not be of much value. The forum needs to be broader than that and it must include dissenting voices. Given that the word "customer" is not defined in the legislation, how would the Minister define a customer?

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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One of the issues since this scenario commenced has been a lack of adequate scrutiny and accountability and the way in which this is configured and set up, it does not have the sort of democratic access or accountability that one would expect. Bearing in mind that the local authorities played a major role in this respect in the past, they have been completely shafted in what is proposed in this section. Given that the staff are retained under service level agreements for the next 12 years, I would have thought their representatives and the democratically elected representatives in those areas would be best placed to contribute in a forum such as this. I question the understanding one has of the democratically elected personnel that we have even in this Chamber. It is only incumbent on the committee with jurisdiction in this area to meet once a year to discuss the goings on within Irish water. The lack of adequate scrutiny and debate has led to the scenario in which we now find ourselves. This effort on the part of the Government is to give the impression that there is or will be some form of accountability and transparency but it lacks the democratic accountability that I believe would be necessary and appropriate in such circumstances, which is the only way forward. Aside form that, in the context of what has been put forward, despite my objections to it, I can only agree with the proposal in the amendment to the legislation in order to have better personnel better placed to contribute to such a forum.

Photo of Jonathan O'BrienJonathan O'Brien (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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On this section, we need more meat on the bone because what is being proposed is vague. What we do know is that the commission will establish a forum and its membership will be between 12 and 60. That is a wide variation in numbers. The section states that the Minister will elect a chairperson and a chairperson designate in the absence of a chairperson and it lists the functions of the forum. It states: "The forum will have the following functions:...to represent the interests of customers of Irish Water;... to provide Irish Water with comments and suggestions [on its] ...performance;... to comment on any policy document produced by Irish Water." However, apart from that we have very little information on it. We do not know its composition, how the Minister will decide who will and will not sit on it. The section does not state that the forum should be reflective of the customers, rather it states it should "represent the interests of customers". One could read into that that somebody could sit on the forum and not be a customer of Irish Water but as long as they represent the interests of customers they would be quite capable. Obviously this forum will be hand-picked by the Minister; through regulations he will decide who sit on it. If it is not to become simply a talking shop and a rubber stamp forum, it must be reflective of society in general. Will people who are opposed to water charges and water metering get a position on the forum? Will they get an opportunity to comment on the policy documents and the performance of Irish water? Those are all questions that have yet to be answered. We should be given information on how many members the Minister is considering having on the forum. The range 12 to 60 is a wide variation. Will the membership comprise 13 or 59? The Minister must have some idea about that. Will the number vary over the three-year period? Will members come and go? Could the number be 50 one month and 13 the next month? There is very little detail on this and we need more information on it.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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I support the amendment. Householders should preferably make up a majority of this forum and they should certainly be very strongly represented. Dealing with Irish Water is already a disaster for the public, householders and public representatives. Every Member in this House who has been dealing with Irish Water since last January knows that one cannot talk to Irish Water. The public and public representatives cannot talk directly to Irish Water. Irish Water will not allow the public to talk to the local authority people who are contracted to it. They will not allow public representatives to talk to the local authority staff who are contracted to it. One can only talk to call centre employees. This has been going on since 1 January.

Deputy Grealish told us yesterday of an incident involving a major water leak in his constituency of a weekend. He was told by the call centre personnel that they had registered his complaint and would report it on the Monday morning. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water were leaking from the system as a result of a burst pipe.

An elderly constituent of mine and his wife have been without water for eight days. That constituent was in touch with Irish Water and he got his reference number. He telephoned them again and again and they gave him a different registered number. I rang them and I got a different register numbered and I emailed them but we made no progress.

Eight days later the elderly gentleman and his wife still had no water supply and but for the understanding of a local authority employee, who effectively did us a favour, the individual in question would be still without water today.

I put a question to the Minister yesterday but he did not reply to it. I would like him to reply specifically to the query. The situation relates to a blockage in the sewerage system. I am currently dealing with a matter in that regard. I had to leave the Chamber yesterday evening to take a call-----

10:40 am

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am sorry, but we cannot deal with individual problems.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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This is not an individual problem.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are discussing the forum.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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This is not an individual problem. I am just giving an example of what is happening on a daily basis.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are talking about the make-up of a forum.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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Yes, and I say that membership of the forum should have a majority of householders.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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That is fine.

Photo of Séamus HealySéamus Healy (Tipperary South, Workers and Unemployed Action Group)
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The reason for that is that currently one cannot deal with Irish Water. For the past fortnight I have been dealing with a case which involves a blockage in the sewerage system, not on a householder's premises, front garden or back garden, but on the public road outside the property. The householder was told yesterday evening that it was a matter for himself to deal with. The blockage is on the public road, not on the person's property. I want the Minister to tell me how that can be the case. I want the Minister to instruct Irish Water to clear blockages in the sewerage system, as has been always done by local authorities, whether the blockages are on the public road or on private property, including private estates and local authority estates. What I have outlined is happening on almost a daily basis.

Recently, Irish Water allowed a blockage to continue in Clonmel and sewage seeped out onto the public road. The Minister must instruct Irish Water to deal with blockages and to clear them in the very same way as has been always done by local authority employees.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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One of the most important roles we have, as Members of this House, is to scrutinise legislation. That is what Members on this side of the House were doing last night. They asked very straightforward, pertinent questions on the financing model of Irish Water. Regrettably, the Minister was not able to answer those straightforward, fundamental questions about his proposal. Overnight, we thought the Minister would check out the position-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am sorry but we are now dealing with section 7, which is about the setting up of a forum. Deputy Shortall should please speak to the section.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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I appreciate that. We expected the Minister to be in a position to answer those very basic questions this morning. It is a matter of extreme regret, a Cheann Comhairle, that when you came into the Chamber this morning, you came with the intention of shutting down the debate.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I certainly did no such thing. Deputy Shortall should not make such a charge against the Chair.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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A Cheann Comhairle, your role is not to protect the Minister and silence the Dáil.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not Deputy Shortall's role to make a charge against the Chair which is totally and utterly untrue.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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Your role, a Cheann Comhairle, is to uphold the rights of Members of this Dáil.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall should resume her seat. I call on Deputy Wallace.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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We have a right to question the basis of the Government for proposing legislation.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall has a right at the moment to speak to the amendment before her, which relates to setting up a public forum.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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By your actions this morning, a Cheann Comhairle, you have brought this House into disrepute.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask Deputy Shortall to please withdraw that remark.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You have denied the rights of Members of this House to question legislation-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall should please withdraw that remark.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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-----being brought forward by the Government.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall is totally out of order.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You have denied us our rights this morning and you have shut down the debate in a most undemocratic manner.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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She should resume her seat.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You are not acting in the interests of democracy, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If Deputy Shortall wishes to speak to the amendment, she can do so, but if she does not I will call Deputy Wallace. I will not take a lecture from her.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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This is a charade.

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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That is a serious charge.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You have denied us an opportunity to contribute in a legitimate manner to the passage of legislation.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call Deputy Wallace. I am not denying anyone. I am asking people to adhere to the rules of the House and to speak to the section.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You are bringing this House into disrepute by doing that, and you are denying Members of this House our right to participate in parliamentary debate.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If Deputy Shortall does not resume her seat I will have to ask her to leave the House.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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There was a time, a Cheann Comhairle, when you said you would uphold the role of Parliament.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall should please leave the House if she is not prepared to adhere to the rules of the House.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You did not do that this morning.

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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Is this a charade?

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall cannot obstruct the proceedings of the House.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You acted to protect the Minister and to shut down debate.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall should please resume her seat.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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That is undemocratic.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I again ask Deputy Shortall to resume her seat.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You have not fulfilled your role this morning, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I again ask Deputy Shortall to resume her seat.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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This is a charade. You have contributed to the charade this morning-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall is entitled to speak to the amendment and nothing else.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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-----by protecting the Minister and silencing this House.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall is really tempting me. She should please resume her seat.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You have not acted in a democratic manner this morning.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If Deputy Shortall wishes to get thrown out, she should leave gracefully and not have the House vote on the matter.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You have-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall should please make up her mind.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You have made a joke of our parliamentary democracy.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does Deputy Shortall wish to get herself thrown out? If she does, she should do it gracefully. She should not bring the House into disrepute.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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We cannot fulfil our role as parliamentarians in scrutinising legislation if you do not give us an opportunity to speak.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am afraid that Deputy Shortall must leave the House.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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It is very disappointing.

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

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Shortall should respect the Chair.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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There is no point in continuing with this charade when the very basic questions that have been asked of the Minister-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall should stop obstructing the proceedings of the House.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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It is quite clear that the Minister is not in a position-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall should show some respect. She is a senior Deputy. She should not make a show of herself.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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-----to answer questions about the financing of Irish Water.

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

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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You are expecting us to go along with this charade and to participate in a debate which is meaningless.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I totally reject Deputy Shortall's allegation that I am presiding over a charade. I have allowed every Deputy who wishes to speak to an amendment to do so and I have not interfered or interrupted anyone.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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We did not get any answers.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall knows her business.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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We did not get any answers this morning.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Shortall is really testing my nerve.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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We did not get any answers and it is quite clear that the Minister-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I will have to put Deputy Shortall's expulsion to the House if she is not careful.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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-----is on very shaky ground.

Photo of Paudie CoffeyPaudie Coffey (Waterford, Fine Gael)
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He is not on shaky ground.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Independent)
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It is quite clear that he is not in a position to answer the most basic questions on the financing of Irish Water.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.