Thursday, 14 April 2016
Business of Dáil
The first item of business is the nomination of a Taoiseach. Before receiving nominations, I call on the Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Deputy Paul Kehoe, to propose arrangements for the taking of today's business.
Paul 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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It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or the order of the Dáil of 6 April 2016, that the following business shall be transacted today: No. 1, nomination of Taoiseach (resumed); No. 4, statements on housing; and No. 3a, motion re establishment of special committee on housing and homelessness.
It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the arrangements in respect of the nomination of Taoiseach shall be as follows: the speech of each proposer and seconder shall not exceed five minutes in each case, following which the Chair shall allow contributions for a period not exceeding 30 minutes, whereupon the Chair shall put the question on any motion made in the order in which such motions were received; on the conclusion of the votes on nomination of Taoiseach, the Ceann Comhairle shall call on all nominees to make a five-minute statement in each case; and on the conclusion of statements by nominees, statements shall be made by the main spokespersons for Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, AAA-PBP, Independents 4 Change, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and a non-party Deputy or a Member nominated in their stead which shall not exceed five minutes in each case and such Members may share time, provided such Member has not spoken already.
The proceedings on No. 4 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. and the following arrangements shall apply: the statements of a Minister or a Minister of State and the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, AAA-PBP, Independents 4 Change, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and a non-party Deputy or a Member nominated in their stead shall not exceed ten minutes in each case and such Members may share time; the statement of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; and a Minister or a Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply that shall not exceed five minutes.
On the conclusion of the statements, No. 3a, motion re establishment of a special committee on housing and homelessness, shall be taken without debate and the Dáil on its rising shall adjourn until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 20 April 2016 and the only business to be transacted on that day shall be, by order, agreed on that day.
There are five proposals to be put the House, the first of which concerns the motion to establish a special committee on housing and homelessness. Is that agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal regarding the arrangements for dealing with the nomination of Taoiseach agreed to?
Not agreed. I propose that we postpone this section and allow for more urgent and meaningful debates on issues that are pressing down on people, for example, health, the Luas dispute, NAMA and Moore Street. Today's vote, if it goes ahead, will be inconclusive. We should ask those who want to be nominated to go off and discuss policy matters which we understand they have not yet discussed. The Dáil has met only four times in seven weeks. There are major issues affecting citizens, from homelessness to child poverty, health, water charges and industrial agreements, that we should be usefully discussing. I propose that we allow these discussions to proceed and that we put off the election until there is a proposition that can be conclusive.
I do not doubt the seriousness of all of the issues the Deputy raises, but the proposal before us concerns constitutional business and precedent dictates that constitutional business must take precedence over everything else. Therefore, I am afraid that we cannot take the direction the Deputy is suggesting. Neither should he nor I pre-empt what the House will decide to do in the possible nomination of a Taoiseach.
Is the proposal regarding the arrangements for the making of statements on housing and homelessness agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for the taking without debate of the motion to establish a special committee on housing and homelessness agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal regarding the adjournment of the House until next Wednesday at 10.30 a.m. agreed to?
There are Ministers in place who were sacked by the electorate but who are implementing policies for which they have no mandate and that the majority of Teachtaí Dála were mandated to change.
We are going to come in here for a few hours and then go off again until next week. The Ceann Comhairle rightly acknowledges the seriousness of the issues I have raised. We have no monopoly on these issues - let me be clear about this - but why are we not discussing these issues, holding Ministers to account and trying to bring about some resolution?
We argued last week to have an Oireachtas committee put together to deal with the housing emergency. We were disallowed. I am not objecting to that as the Ceann Comhairle did what he believed was appropriate. We are now dealing with it but a week has been lost. We need to give people some sense that this bubble is not what envelops everyone in here, that we are conscious of what we were sent here to do and that we will come back tomorrow, the next day and the next. If the two leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael want to cavort with each other, that should not stop us in the meantime from getting along with the business we were sent here to deal with.
I am very disappointed about what is going on in the House regarding Dáil structures, the wider issues in society and the major problems that are being experienced. Not reconvening until next Wednesday is unacceptable. We are all paid Deputies. Some of us, I accept, are working on trying to form a Government while others are staying off the pitch; that is their choice. However, the bottom line is that a sitting next week is too far away. We should be getting down to business and getting on with tackling some of the issues, such as health, disability and cystic fibrosis, and the considerable housing issues. We need to get on with addressing these. Staying off the pitch again by not sitting until next Wednesday is not acceptable.
Gabh mo leithscéal. I support the proposal made by Deputy Adams. We should be sitting an extra day next week. An excuse of constitutional business has been offered. Obviously, constitutional business is very important but if we are to continue to come back week after week without this being rectified and without dealing with the issues, it is unacceptable. I am sure that, like many other Deputies, I picked up-----
Along with a number of Deputies, I am sure, I have encountered many issues of local and regional importance. It is high time that we considered some model, such as the taking of a Topical Issue debate next week.
There are issues of particular urgency in my constituency. For example, the dockyard in Passage West requires the attention of the Office of Public Works. There needs to be some kind of avenue whereby we can tease out these issues with Ministers.
Bobby Aylward, Maria Bailey, Seán Barrett, John Brassil, Declan Breathnach, Pat Breen, Colm Brophy, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Peter Burke, Joan Burton, Mary Butler, Catherine Byrne, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Ciarán Cannon, Joe Carey, Pat Casey, Shane Cassells, Jack Chambers, Lisa Chambers, Niall Collins, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Simon Coveney, Barry Cowen, Michael Creed, John Curran, Jim Daly, Michael D'Arcy, John Deasy, Pat Deering, Regina Doherty, Paschal Donohoe, Timmy Dooley, Andrew Doyle, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frances Fitzgerald, Peter Fitzpatrick, Charles Flanagan, Seán Fleming, Pat Gallagher, Brendan Griffin, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Martin Heydon, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Billy Kelleher, Alan Kelly, Enda Kenny, Seán Kyne, John Lahart, James Lawless, Michael Lowry, Marc MacSharry, Charlie McConalogue, Helen McEntee, Michael McGrath, John McGuinness, Joe McHugh, Tony McLoughlin, Josepha Madigan, Micheál Martin, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Margaret Murphy O'Mahony, Dara Murphy, Eoghan Murphy, Eugene Murphy, Hildegarde Naughton, Tom Neville, Michael Noonan, Éamon Ó Cuív, Darragh O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, Kate O'Connell, Willie O'Dea, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, Kevin O'Keeffe, Fiona O'Loughlin, Frank O'Rourke, Jan O'Sullivan, Willie Penrose, John Paul Phelan, Anne Rabbitte, Michael Ring, Noel Rock, Brendan Ryan, Eamon Scanlon, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, David Stanton, Robert Troy, Leo Varadkar.
Gerry Adams, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Tommy Broughan, Pat Buckley, Seán Canney, Joan Collins, Michael Collins, Catherine Connolly, Ruth Coppinger, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Clare Daly, Pearse Doherty, Stephen Donnelly, Martin Ferris, Michael Fitzmaurice, Kathleen Funchion, Noel Grealish, John Halligan, Michael Harty, Séamus Healy, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Mary Lou McDonald, Finian McGrath, Mattie McGrath, Catherine Martin, Denise Mitchell, Kevin Moran, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Denis Naughten, Carol Nolan, Eoin Ó Broin, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Jonathan O'Brien, Louise O'Reilly, Maureen O'Sullivan, Thomas Pringle, Maurice Quinlivan, Shane Ross, Eamon Ryan, Róisín Shortall, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Mick Wallace, Katherine Zappone.