Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 December 2015

12:40 pm

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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It is proposed to take No. 14a, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2015; No. 2a, International Protection Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second Stage (resumed); and No. 2b, Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second Stage.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.30 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Topical Issues, and there shall be a suspension of sitting for 30 minutes on the conclusion of No. 2a; No. 14ashall be decided without debate; the proceedings on Second Stage of No. 2ashall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 4.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes; the proceedings on Second Stage of No. 2bshall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after two and a half hours by one question which shall be put from the Chair; and the Dáil shall sit tomorrow at 10 a.m., shall adjourn on the conclusion of No. 69, Coroners Bill 2015 – Second Stage, there shall be no Order of Business within the meaning of Standing Order 26, the sitting shall be suspended on the conclusion of No. 2cfor 30 minutes and the following business shall be transacted accordingly: No. 37, Finance (Tax Appeals) Bill 2015 - Order for Report Stage, Report and Final Stages, with the proceedings thereon, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion after two and a half hours by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance; No. 2c, Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second and Remaining Stages, with the proceedings on Second Stage, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion after two and a half hours by one question which shall be put from the Chair; the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in respect of amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance; and the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes; No. 7a, Appropriation Bill 2015 - Order for Second Stage, Second and Remaining Stages, with the proceedings on Second Stage, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion after 45 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair; the speeches shall be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and the spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, and shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, such Members may share their time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply, which shall not exceed five minutes; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 20 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform; No. a8, Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2015 - Order for Second Stage, Second and Remaining Stages, with the proceedings on Second Stage, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion after one and a half hours by one question which shall be put from the Chair; the opening speeches of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time; the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case and such Members may share their time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply that shall not exceed five minutes; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform; and the following Private Members' Bills shall be taken on the conclusion of No. a8 and any division demanded on either Bill shall be taken on the conclusion of the Order of Business on Tuesday, 15 December 2015: No. 68, Ramming of Garda Vehicles Bill 2015 – Second Stage, and No. 69, Coroners Bill 2015 – Second Stage.

In the event the following items of business conclude in the Seanad, it is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit on Monday, 14 December 2015 at 12 noon and shall adjourn on the conclusion of the Prisons Bill 2015 [Seanad], there shall be no Order of Business within the meaning of Standing Order 26 and the following business shall be transacted accordingly: Courts Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second and Remaining Stages, with the proceedings on Second Stage, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion after two and a half hours by one question which shall be put from the Chair; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice and Equality; Prisons Bill 2015 [Seanad] – motion to instruct the committee, with the proceedings, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion after one hour, the speech of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time; and Prisons Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second and Remaining Stages, with the proceedings on Second Stage, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion after two and a half hours by one question which shall be put from the Chair; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice and Equality.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 at 11 a.m. and the business to be transacted at that time shall be as follows: Bankruptcy (Amendment) Bill 2015 – Order for Second Stage, Second and Remaining Stages, with the proceedings on Second Stage, if not previously concluded, brought to a conclusion at 1 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair, the opening speeches of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, such Members may share their time; the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, such Members may share their time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply that shall not exceed five minutes; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1.45 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice and Equality.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Go raibh maith agat.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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I think I will sit down now and have a rest.

Photo of Tom HayesTom Hayes (Tipperary South, Fine Gael)
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Let them feed on that.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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There are seven proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with the late sitting agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 14a, without debate, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 2aagreed to?

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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No.

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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Not agreed.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Nine guillotines are being imposed on the House.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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She is some woman with a knife.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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This is due to the fact that there was a late return of the Dáil after the summer recess. The frequent use of the guillotine is undermining the call for a more transparent, open Oireachtas. In this light, I must object to the proposal and call for a vote.

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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A number of important Bills covering planning, crime, property, the courts and prisons are being guillotined between now and Tuesday in order to railroad them through the Houses before Christmas. Today, which is UN Human Rights Day, only two and a half hours are being set aside for Second Stage of the International Protection Bill.

Tomorrow, approximately two to three hours has been allowed for all Stages of each of the Finance (Tax Appeals) Bill, the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill, the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Bill and the Appropriations Bill. Although in some cases such Bills are considered within the time allowed and although the House has had to suspend in the past week because it did not have enough legislation to discuss, what is happening is not the way to do business.

12:50 pm

Photo of Joe HigginsJoe Higgins (Dublin West, Socialist Party)
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I strongly oppose the guillotining of the International Protection Bill. It beggars belief that a Bill with such profound implications for those seeking human rights protection in this State should be brutally guillotined on Second Stage today, with Remaining Stages probably rammed through next week. This Bill would abolish the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and have its responsibilities subsumed under the Department of Justice and Equality, thereby annihilating even a semblance of independence. The Bill would effectively remove the option of the State to grant leave to remain in Ireland on humanitarian grounds to those whose initial applications are unsuccessful. For those people, this is a rapid deportation Bill providing that applications for refugee protection may be rammed through on a fast-track basis, with those who are not initially successful denied effective recourse to the courts to challenge their threatened deportation. This effectively rules out leave to remain on humanitarian grounds. Many Deputies have lobbied on behalf of various individuals seeking leave to remain because it was correct to do so. The idea is that the whole process will be rammed through in nine months.

The Labour Party has said loudly over recent months that it will end the discredited and inhuman direct provision system for refugee status applicants. Now, in a move that can only be called Orwellian, it proposes to meet the objections to and repugnance towards the direct provision arrangement not by making it humane and changing it fundamentally, but by kicking out of the State anybody who, after a period of months, is not granted leave to remain without giving him or her further recourse to the courts or even the Minister and State to seek leave to remain on humanitarian grounds. It is grotesque in the extreme.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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The purpose of this Bill is to enact the recommendations of the recent report by retired judge, Mr. Bryan MacMahon, and the group working with him. In fact, people such as the Deputy have complained at length about individuals spending very many years in direct provision. Through the Bill, we are seeking to have a single procedure and a five-year period. That is what has been recommended by all those who have been knowledgeable about this down through the years.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 2a, International Protection Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second Stage, be agreed to."

The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 37.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Joe Higgins.

Question declared carried.

12:55 pm

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Is the proposal for dealing with No. 2b, Second Stage of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2015, agreed to?

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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I object again to the use of the guillotine for the same reasons I outlined earlier.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 2b, Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2015 Seanad - Second Stage, be agreed to", put and declared carried.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Is the proposal for dealing with the sitting and business of the Dáil tomorrow agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit at 12 noon on Monday in the event that certain business concludes in the Seanad agreed to?

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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I oppose the proposal on the basis that when legislation on which the House can divide comes before us either a Friday or Monday, the business should include Leaders' Questions, Topical Issues and Oral Questions, as is the case on normal sitting days.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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Will the Deputy be here on Monday?

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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Yes, I will be here.

Question, "That the proposal that in the event of certain items of business concluding in the Seanad, the Dáil shall sit at 12 noon on Monday, 14 December 2015, be agreed to", put and declared carried.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Is the proposal for dealing with the business and sitting of the Dáil at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 agreed to?

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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It is not agreed. There was a significant amount of downtime yesterday when we lost more than three hours in recession - in recess, I should say.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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The recession happened on the watch of the Deputy's party.

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Give him back his application form.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Many a slip is made in the Chamber.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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I appreciate that this is a laughing matter for many.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Order, please. Deputy Keaveney has the floor.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary South, Independent)
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The people will have the last laugh.

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Deputy McGrath voted for Bertie.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Order please. I have called Deputy Keaveney.

1:05 pm

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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I see certain people are suffering as a consequence of their Christmas dinners last night. For some, it is either the Christmas dinner or the last supper.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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I do not think it is a laughing matter to hear Pontius Pilate washing his hands.

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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Did you hear what he said, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle?

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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It is a good job Deputy Keaveney was not in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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It is no laughing matter, in light of the fact that-----

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I have only been in one party.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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I cannot hear what is going on.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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We will start again. Settle down.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Keaveney is some apostle to have.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Deputy Buttimer is the man who crossed the Rubicon more than once.

Photo of Jerry ButtimerJerry Buttimer (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I have only been in one political party.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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Come on, Deputy Keaveney, through the Chair.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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In light of the very serious issues raised this morning, in particular-----

A Deputy:

He is still pirouetting.

Photo of Colm KeaveneyColm Keaveney (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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We should consider this in light of the conversation we had this morning with respect to scarce resources. We had three hours of downtime yesterday. Despite scarce resources and the lack of investment in our health service, we had three hours of downtime in the Chamber yesterday. These are fair and good grounds to object to the waste of those resources. That is why we are objecting to the guillotine.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Sandra McLellanSandra McLellan (Cork East, Sinn Fein)
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I object to the guillotine for the reasons I have outlined previously. On a point of order or information, we had previously looked for Tuesday morning sittings but they were opposed because of Cabinet meetings. I object to that.

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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First of all, I wish to advise Deputy Keaveney that there was only one Opposition person here during three hours of debate on the Legal Services Regulation Bill.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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Second, the business of Tuesday morning is very important and significant for families throughout the country with debt difficulties. It has been very much inspired by the work of Deputy Willie Penrose. Not only that, I wish to advise Deputy Keaveney of something which may have escaped his attention. The leader of the Fianna Fáil party has put himself on the record on several occasions as supporting Deputy Penrose in respect of this legislation, so why Deputy Keaveney is objecting I do not know.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with the business and sitting of the Dáil on Tuesday, 15 December 2015 at 11 a.m. be agreed to," put and declared carried.