Dáil debates

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

5:25 pm

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is proposed to take No. 13, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 (section 44) (Variation of Indemnity Amount) Order 2016; No. 13a, Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 [Seanad] – Motion to Instruct the Committee; No. 13b, Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Financial Resolution; and No. 33, Technological Universities Bill 2015 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that in the event a division is in progress at the time fixed for taking Private Members' business, the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn on the adjournment of Private Members' business, which shall be No. 215, motion re social housing, and shall, if not previously concluded, adjourn after 90 minutes; and Nos. 13, 13a and 13b shall be decided without debate.

Tomorrow's business after Oral Questions shall be No. 33, Technological Universities Bill 2015 - Report and Final Stages (Resumed); No. 34 - Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 1, Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2014 [Seanad] - Second Stage.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are two 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 Nos. 13, 13a and 13b, agreed to? Agreed.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Potentially, we are heading into perhaps the last week of this House. The date has been in the Taoiseach's head for quite a long time. I merely want to commend the Taoiseach and the Government on their capacity for self-assessment. The prospect of the chapter in the programme for Government dealing with fairness, in particular, in dealing with the health service, will rank as probably the greatest act of political fiction ever written. It is tremendous stuff.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Martin should know all about that.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Five years ago, the following was stated in the programme for Government:

This Government will introduce Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all. Under this system there will be no discrimination between patients on the grounds of income or insurance status. The two-tier system of unequal access to hospital care will end.

The Universal Health Insurance system will be designed according to the European principle of social solidarity: access will be according to need and payment will be according to ability to pay. The principle of social solidarity will underpin all relevant legislation.

As a statutory system of health insurance, guaranteed by the State, the Universal Health Insurance system will not be subject to European or national competition law.

This Government will act speedily to reduce costs in the delivery of both public and private health care and in the administration of the health care system.

I will not read out the entire chapter on the health service but it goes on. The Government promised legislation for universal primary care under legislation to be called the universal primary care Act.

Are the heads of the Bill available? It was to be brought in. The claimants of drugs on the long-term illness scheme, at a cost of €17 million, was to be introduced. It read very well.

5:35 pm

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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I did not think the Deputy read reports.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It states:

A system of Universal Health Insurance (UHI) will be introduced by 2016, with the legislative and organisational groundwork for the system complete within this Government’s term of office. UHI will provide guaranteed access to care for all in public and private hospitals on the same basis as the privately-insured have now.

There is another full page on the universal health insurance Act, which is promised in the programme for Government, and on how hospitals and clinics will participate in supplying care under UHI, and so on. On the third page about UHI it states, "Under UHI public hospitals will no longer be managed by the HSE."

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Where are we going?

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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We are rambling.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is on promised legislation.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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It is the programme for Government.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is a fair point, a Cheann Comhairle. This is all promised legislation, which never arrived.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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It never came, like many of the Government's promises.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy's Government promised it ten years ago.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I do not need your assistance thank you, Deputy Durkan.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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I apologise. I just cannot bear this nonsense.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Would the Taoiseach agree that it is a great work of fiction and that none of the legislation has arrived?

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy is very familiar with fiction.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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For five years, I have been asking for these Acts periodically. Up to approximately three months ago, the Taoiseach kept saying there were delays but they were coming. Only in the past three months has the Minister for Health, Deputy Varadkar, ditched the entire chapter on universal health insurance. Will the Taoiseach confirm that he misled the people on it five years ago and that it has been a spectacular failure of implementation? Can he confirm that it belongs, and has always belonged, to the realm of fantasy in terms of political commitments and promises and creates serious doubt about any commitments he makes in health or any other area? What the Taoiseach said about health did not materialise.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy should know about that.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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No research or homework was put into the universal health insurance project.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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This is like a Second Stage speech.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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We were told it would happen. The pathways are detailed on the fifth page, starting with the enactment of the legislative basis for UHI. It did not happen, and I do not know why. Maybe the Taoiseach can give some indication. Can he confirm that it is unlikely to happen, given that we are, potentially, in the last week of the Dáil?

The Taoiseach attempted to introduce self assessment for the junior certificate. There was much objection by teachers. In the Taoiseach's self assessment of his record, he gave himself 93%. I begin to understand why the teachers have concerns about self assessment.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Where are we going?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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If all our schools had a similar pattern of self assessment, it would reduce our education system to ridicule. I have a far greater understanding of teachers' concerns about self assessment, given the Taoiseach and Tánaiste's self assessments.

Can the Taoiseach indicate how the report of the banking inquiry will be laid before the House and the arrangements for statements?

(Interruptions).

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I always like to facilitate the Chief Whip in briefing the Taoiseach.

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy is so nice.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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He is a decent guy. Regarding taxation-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are getting a great run. There are other Deputies here.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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I appreciate it. I am nearly finished. Can the Taoiseach clarify when the taxation and certain other matters (international mutual assistance) Bill will be published and whether it will allow for an extension of the maximum period of four years over which a taxpayer can reclaim any amounts he or she has overpaid to the Revenue?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy read out sections of the programme for Government. I have been upfront about it. There areas on which we have not been able to deliver, including universal health insurance. The Deputy asked why. Given the total collapse of the economy, there were no resources to drive any of the programmes to the extent one would wish. The Dutch health insurance system was not appropriate in Ireland's case, and we always made this point. The Minister has made it very clear that we have not been able to introduce universal health insurance, but the priority remains to introduce universal health care, which will be paid for by an insurance scheme. It will be introduced at the end of the lifetime of the next Administration.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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It is hardly credible that the Taoiseach would say that.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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It is not hard to credit. At that stage, there will be a universal health care system based on primary and community care and home care packages and on an increased capacity to invest in hospitals, medical personnel such as consultants, doctors and nurses, and other public services such as the Garda. Templemore was closed for some reason, which the Deputy might explain some time.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Why did the Government leave it closed for three and a half years?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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These are all reasons it is critical the momentum of growth pattern the country is on must be kept up to provide the resources to invest in all those public services. I will come back to the Deputy on the tax issue he raised.

The Chief Whip will move a motion tomorrow for the publication of the report of the banking inquiry. On Thursday morning, there will be an opportunity to debate it here, starting with contributions from the Chairman of the inquiry, Deputy Ciarán Lynch, and the members of the inquiry. They have laboured long and hard during the past 12 months in dealing with various elements of the inquiry.

Photo of Jonathan O'BrienJonathan O'Brien (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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Between the two political speeches, I thought for a moment the election campaign had already started. I wish to ask about the health information Bill and the patient safety licensing Bill.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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They have ditched those Bills too.

Photo of Jonathan O'BrienJonathan O'Brien (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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I know they have. Last year, at a meeting of the health committee, the Minister gave a commitment that he would bring forward a Bill which would include a duty of candour and a policy of open disclosure for doctors and other health professionals. It was in response to countless distressing examples of families having to go to court and force health professionals to reveal the facts when mistakes in treatment had occurred. In recent weeks, the Minister has decided it will not happen, and said that to legislate in this way would be counterproductive. I do not know what made him change his mind. Maybe the Taoiseach can shed some light on why the Bill will not be published.

The Taoiseach has reported that the monitoring of journalists' phones is a matter of grave concern. The review the Minister has ordered under the Communications (Retention of Data) Act will apply only to journalists. Would the Taoiseach agree, given the number of requests for monitoring, that it is a bigger issue than just journalists? Would he consider that the review should be broadened to include other members of society?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Work is proceeding on the health information Bill. It is not in the priority list and will not be published before the Dáil ends its duty. The Minister had intended to introduce a particular kind of Bill on open disclosure. This will not go ahead in the manner he first envisaged.

Regarding the review, the Government made a decision that a former Chief Justice should examine the application and operation of the law in this case. When the allegations were made that GSOC had been bugged, people were very strongly of the opinion that GSOC should be given a full range of powers and investigative facilities. However, when the recent incident came to light, they changed their tune and said we had to consider the question of the law.

I would say that this is not a simple matter. The question of the use, retention and retrieval of data is one that has other implications in terms of terrorist activities and relations between different countries and between companies and countries. For now, the Government has made a clear decision that a former Chief Justice should review the operation of the law as it applies at the moment to members of the journalistic profession and report to the Minister for Justice and Equality inside three months. I think that is appropriate and warranted.

5:45 pm

Photo of Billy TimminsBilly Timmins (Wicklow, Renua Ireland)
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The Taoiseach will be aware that the Heritage Bill 2016 is in the Seanad this week. Could he give us an assurance that this small but important Bill, which deals with canals and wildlife, will be dealt with in this Chamber before the dissolution of the Dáil? If it could be taken next Tuesday, my understanding is that there would be agreement right across the House on its contents.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Obviously, I do not speak for the illustrious Members of the Upper House. I cannot say how long they might wish to spend on the Committee Stage debate on the Heritage Bill 2016. After that debate, the Bill will be considered on Report Stage in the Seanad before coming back here. It is like a telescope beginning to shorten. I cannot guarantee Deputy Timmins that the Bill will be dealt with finally and fully before this House rises.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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The Taoiseach and my party leader spoke earlier about the programme for Government in the context of health. The programme for Government talks about giving "equal access to [health] for all" our citizens. I do not know whether the Taoiseach is aware that one citizen in Ireland suffers from Degos disease. Just 40 or 50 people in the world suffer from it. Does the Taoiseach think it is right or proper that a woman from my constituency has been refused access to a life-saving drug due to its cost?

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

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Does the Taoiseach think this is right and proper? Does he think it is a fair reflection of his time in Government? The programme for Government promised equal access to our health services. I ask the Taoiseach quite sincerely to look into this individual case.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy knows he cannot raise this matter on the Order of Business.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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I am raising it in the context of the programme for Government.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If the Deputy tables it as a Topical Issue, I will consider it favourably.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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I appreciate that, a Cheann Comhairle, but we are talking about a very serious issue.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy knows I cannot have people raising issues that are outside what is allowed.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Just one person in the whole of the island of Ireland suffers from this disease.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I appreciate its importance and I would be only too pleased to consider the Deputy's request.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Thank you, a Cheann Comhairle. I ask for your indulgence while I raise a second issue. The flooding in Athlone-----

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

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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The Taoiseach-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is the Order of Business. The Deputy should ask about promised legislation.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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We are in the dying days of this Government. The Taoiseach went to Athlone.

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

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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He made a promise to the people of the Carrick O'Brien and Golden Island areas that-----

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Taoiseach should take it up privately with the Taoiseach.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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-----the compensation package that had been introduced would be expanded to include those who are not eligible for rates.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I ask the Deputy to adhere to the instructions of the Chair.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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Four weeks later, nothing has happened.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Okay. I think the Deputy has made his point now.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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The people whose businesses were flooded continue to have no access to funding.

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

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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The Taoiseach met them at first hand. He promised he would listen to their concerns.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Would the Deputy listen to me for a minute?

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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He promised he would come back to them. Four weeks later, he has not done so.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy is showing total disrespect to the Chair.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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I apologise, a Cheann Comhairle.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy knows quite well-----

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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I have always shown the height of the respect to the Chair in my five years as a Member of this House.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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-----what he can and cannot raise.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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It is a pity the Taoiseach would not show the same respect to the people of Athlone.

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Roscommon-South Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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Come on.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I know it is an important issue. I know all that, but this is the Order of Business.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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I accept that, a Cheann Comhairle. I would appreciate it if the Taoiseach would at least acknowledge what I have raised here today.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. The Taoiseach has to-----

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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I ask him fulfil his promise to the people of Athlone by extending the scheme as promised.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Excuse me, Deputy. The Taoiseach is subject to the same Standing Orders as you are. Please resume your seat. You have made your point. I call Deputy Mathews on promised legislation.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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Am I right in saying I may also refer to the programme for Government?

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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No.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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To which programme for Government does Deputy Mathews refer?

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I refer to the programme for Government which is now ending.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is he speaking about the next one?

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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No. It is now in its last week.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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If it is to do with promised legislation, it is in order.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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Deputy Martin justifiably said that this is a moment for a bit of self-reflection.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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No. We do not have reflection on the Order of Business, as far as I am concerned.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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For God's sake.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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This is about promised legislation.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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A Cheann Comhairle, please.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Ask your question, please.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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Okay. The Government promised that there would be "burden-sharing" on the losses of the private banking sector. That was a promise in the programme for Government.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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It is not a promise on the Order of Business. We have been through this before

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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A Cheann Comhairle, my patience is at its wits' end.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Just stick with it, thank you.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I feel that I am being bullied at this stage.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are not being bullied.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I do, and I am saying the word advisedly. Please allow me to contribute.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You had better not accuse the Chair of bullying.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I have been here when there were 11 Members in the House, plus the Taoiseach, plus yourself.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Excuse me, Deputy.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I had my hand up for ten minutes.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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You have been at this for the last number of years, never mind today.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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For God's sake.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I have told you consistently that-----

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I care for the people of this country.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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-----there are certain things you can raise on the Order of Business.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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They have been served by a Government with a massive majority for five years.

Photo of Robert TroyRobert Troy (Longford-Westmeath, Fianna Fail)
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They have not been served. They have been ill served.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Mathews, you will be taking another walk if you are not careful. Now make up your mind. You either stick-----

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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Would you please stop bullying me? I am asking you to stop bullying me.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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Oh my God.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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I am not bullying you. I am not bullying you.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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You are. This is the programme for Government.

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

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I am not withdrawing the remark.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Well then, leave the House, please.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I will.

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

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I think it is a shame.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Thank you. Leave the House. I am not taking that abuse from you any more.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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Taoiseach, I think you should stand up and stop this nonsense.

Photo of Seán BarrettSeán Barrett (Ceann Comhairle; Dún Laoghaire, Ceann Comhairle)
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Would you please leave the House?

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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You will be missed, Peter.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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I do. It is disgraceful behaviour.

Photo of Paul KehoePaul Kehoe (Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Defence; Wexford, Fine Gael)
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You will be missed.

Photo of Peter MathewsPeter Mathews (Dublin South, Independent)
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There is one week to go.

Deputy Peter Mathews withdrew from the Chamber.

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

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Roscommon-South Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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On promised legislation, I wonder when the national monuments Bill will come before the House. Our national heritage needs to be protected and regulated. As certain structures and sites in this country are of national importance and are certainly worthy of State protection, the national monuments Bill should come before the House sooner rather than later.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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There is still some work to be done on that Bill. I will report progress to Deputy Feighan on where the officials are with it at the moment.