Dáil debates

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

2:50 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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I call on the rapporteur for the Business Committee, Deputy Clare Daly, to announce the Order of Business for the week and to move the proposals regarding arrangements for the taking of that business.

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin Fingal, Independent)
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Today's business shall be No. 9, Financial Resolutions for the Finance Bill 2016, one of which is on today's Supplementary Order Paper. Government business shall be No. 3, Social Welfare Bill 2016 – Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. Private Members' Business shall be No. 77, motion re Deputy and Senator pay under the Lansdowne Road agreement. Tomorrow's Government business shall be No. 3, Social Welfare Bill 2016 – Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' Business shall be No. 22, Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership) (No. 2) Bill 2016 – Second Stage. Thursday's business shall be No. 10a,all-party motion re Calais to be taken without debate; No. 3, Social Welfare Bill 2016 – Second Stage (resumed); No. 15, Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016 – Second Stage (resumed); No. 16, Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016 – Second Stage (resumed); and No. 1, Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2014 [Seanad] – Second Stage. No. 11, the report on the formal recognition of Irish Sign Language from the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality, will be taken in the evening slot.

I refer Members to the report of the Business Committee of 3 November 2016. In relation to today's business there is one proposal. It is proposed that the Financial Resolutions for the Finance Bill 2016 shall be moved together and decided without debate by one question, and that any division demanded thereon shall be taken immediately.

In relation to Wednesday's business there is one proposal. It is proposed that Second Stage of the Thirty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution (Water in Public Ownership) (No. 2) Bill 2016 shall be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, at 6.30 p.m.

In relation to Thursday’s business, there are five proposals. It is proposed that:

(1) the Dáil shall sit at 10.00 a.m., and shall sit later than 7.48 p.m., and adjourn on the conclusion of the report on the formal recognition of Irish Sign Language;

(2) the all-party motion on Calais shall be taken without debate;

(3) Second Stage of the Social Welfare Bill 2016 shall be brought to a conclusion, if not previously concluded, at 3.30 p.m.;

(4) if the Social Welfare Bill concludes before midday, the weekly division time shall be taken at the normal time, that is, after questions on promised legislation, and, if the Social

Welfare Bill does not conclude before midday, the weekly division time shall be taken at 3.30 p.m.; and

(5) if the weekly division time is taken at 3.30 p.m., Oral Questions shall be taken on the conclusion of the weekly division time.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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There are three proposals to be put to the House today. Is the proposal for dealing with today's business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business agreed to?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It is not agreed. Since the Business Committee last met the week before last, an issue we have discussed this morning and which is of the gravest importance to the entire country has come into view. We have major disruption of our secondary schools. Students or teachers are locked out, depending on how one wants to view it.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Does the Deputy have a proposal in relation to the Order of Business?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I have a proposal. There has been claim and counterclaim today on the reasons for the teachers' dispute and the method by which it can be resolved and that requires that we have a debate.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Is the Deputy proposing-----

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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It is simply unacceptable that this could continue.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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What is your proposal, Deputy? Let us not have a debate about it.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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My proposal is that we have a debate. I accept that we cannot have it today given the schedule before us, but it is reasonable to propose that there is a proper debate tomorrow to give everybody an opportunity to clarify his or her views and to put forward proposals to resolve it so that this lock-out does not continue and tens and thousands of young people are not further discommoded.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Therefore, the question is being opposed.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Yes.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business be agreed to," put and declared carried.

3:00 pm

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Business Committee-----

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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What?

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The question was put to the Business Committee.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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That was two weeks ago. The lock-out has happened since then.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputies, please.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I am asking for a bit of urgency to respond to something that is happening now.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Deputy Boyd Barrett, please.

Photo of Bríd SmithBríd Smith (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
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We did not know two weeks ago that the gates would be closed tomorrow and on Thursday and Friday.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are proceeding to take Thursday's business. Is the proposal for dealing with Thursday's business agreed to?

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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We have a real problem with Thursday's business as we face the prospect on Wednesday that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are going to cut out the voices of smaller parties in the Dáil. I could not let Thursday's business go through without recognising that. Does the Taoiseach support the proposal that smaller parties would not be able to share time if they are in a common group and the time available being cut? How can we agree to Thursday's business when the Government party and Fianna Fáil are working together to shut down the voices of smaller parties, starting on Thursday-----

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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That is not true. That is outrageous.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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-----if the motion on Wednesday is passed?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy should not be telling untruths to the House.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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There is nothing that I see on the agenda to address the particular concern of Deputy Ryan.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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There is a danger that on Thursday we will not have the same speaking rights that we have today, if the Government and Fianna Fáil plans, working together, are agreed.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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You are pre-empting what might happen at a committee of the House. It is not in order to do so.

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin Bay South, Green Party)
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I wanted to flag my concerns. I will come back on Thursday if there is that eventuality.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Your concerns are noted.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Does Deputy Ryan believe in equality? He clearly does not.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please, Deputy Martin. Deputy Adams has the floor.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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I want to object to the imposition of the guillotine on Thursday on the Second Stage debate on the Social Welfare Bill. Teachta Aengus Ó Snodaigh objected to this in the Business Committee. The Government said very clearly there would be no more guillotines. That is the basis on which I am coming forward. I ask the Taoiseach to allow any Teachta who wants to make a contribution on the Social Welfare Bill to be allowed to do so.

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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As agreed at the Business Committee the other day, we have allocated nine hours to Second Stage of the Social Welfare Bill this week. The members of the committee were good enough to extend the sitting time to facilitate those extra hours. As agreed, if we have more speakers than there is time available, we can order the business to go on next week. Right now, I do not have any speakers to take me past tomorrow. Deputy Adams might tell his colleagues that if they want to keep the debate going, they might contact the Whips office to get some speaking time.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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I am pleased that the Government has conceded the point that there will not be a guillotine.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Please can we have order.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I want to repeat my point on the proposal in regard to Thursday. If the lock-out goes ahead on Wednesday, I simply cannot believe we will finish out the week without a serious discussion in this House. It is a dereliction of duty for the House not to debate the issue in detail and try to find a solution.

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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The Business Committee-----

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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The Business Committee did not meet last week.

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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We talked-----

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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This has come up since then. If the Minister of State, Deputy Doherty, does not understand that an urgent crisis has arisen since last week, then she is living on a different planet to the teachers and tens of thousands of pupils who have been discommoded.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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You have made your point.

(Interruptions).

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Can we have order?

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I urge the Government to allow for such a debate.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Wait now, please. Deputy Boyd Barrett, in fairness, is entitled to silence. Let him make his point.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I put that to the Government.

I refer to the all-party motion on Calais, to be taken without debate. The problem is that we have not seen the motion. When will we see it? I am not signing a blank cheque for a motion that relates to the fate of 200 extremely vulnerable children. I will not agree to an all-party motion, which we have not seen, without debate. Can we see the motion?

3:10 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The Deputy has made his point.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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If the motion is not what has been sought by the Not On Our Watch group, we want it amended and we want a debate. If it is what has been sought and what has been discussed in this House, happy days. If there is any row-back in the motion that is to be tabled by the Government in terms of the 200 unaccompanied children, we want a debate on it.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Let us get an answer to the Deputy's question. He might resume his seat. Will the Taoiseach take the question on the motion relating to Calais and the children from France?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Outstanding discussions need to take place between the relevant parties. This matter was referred to at Cabinet this morning and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality made observations on it. The House is aware that the Government agreed to take in 4,000 migrants, or asylum seekers-refugees, and that work is under way. We are cognisant of the difficulties with the Calais camp, which has now been dismantled. I understand that the situation has, if one likes, reduced from one that was a humanitarian crisis to one that is being somewhat better managed by the French social authorities. Tusla has made comments about the situation here also. Discussions are taking place between the parties to see if agreement can be reached. We would like to help, but there are other factors to be taken into account in respect of our capacity and available facilities. As soon as agreement is reached, if it is reached, everyone will see the motion.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Will there be correspondence to every Member?

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

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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Can I object to that?

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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No; the Deputy has raised the matter.

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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I am not agreeing to that. We cannot sign a blank cheque.

Question put: "That the proposals for dealing with Thursday's business be agreed to."

The Dáil divided: Tá, 93; Staon, 0; Níl, 25.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Richard Boyd Barrett and Joan Collins.

Níl

Question declared carried.

3:20 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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The business is agreed for Thursday. I call Deputy Micheál Martin.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Lansdowne Road agreement was a central part of the programme for Government and the confidence and supply agreement. Last evening, the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Leo Varadkar, made the comment that the context had changed. I understand the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is to meet the unions, and the Government has assessed the matter this morning. In negotiating the confidence and supply agreement, Fine Gael was adamant that the Lansdowne Road agreement would be central to public pay policy and that if there were to be any confidence and supply agreement, our party would need to sign up to it. Other political parties signed up to it subsequently. From what I am hearing from Ministers, it seems there is a change and that the Government is changing tack in regard to the Lansdowne Road agreement given what happened over the past week or so. That the Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Varadkar, said the Government would have to examine what changes could be made to the agreement and that the context had changed indicates the Government is changing course regarding the Lansdowne Road agreement. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform made comments last week on bringing forward the scheduling. Where stands the Lansdowne Road agreement now?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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We made it very clear that the Government stands by the Lansdowne Road agreement.

Clearly, the decision of the Labour Court has to be considered by the GRA and the AGSI in respect of their members balloting on its recommendations. Obviously, the Minister, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, met the public service committee of the ICTU and today sees the first meeting of the Public Service Pay Commission. This morning the Government obviously considered this issue. Following a discussion on the Labour Court's recommendations issued last week and pay policy more broadly, it reiterated its commitment to a collective approach to industrial relations and pay policy. It will have to reflect on the most effective means of delivering economic security and stability for the country. Clearly, the Lansdowne Road agreement is a central part of this and the Government will continue to stand by it. In the context of the Labour Court's findings, the recommendations will require careful consideration by the Government also. That is why the Minister met the public service committee of the ICTU. As I said, today also sees the first meeting of the Public Service Pay Commission.

3:25 pm

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister has already met the ICTU.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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Yes. He met it yesterday.

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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To be frank, I do not believe the Taoiseach has brought clarity to the issue.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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I will bring clarity to it.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Is Deputy Micheál Martin reassured?

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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We might have to meet to discuss this issue.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government issued a statement-----

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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Is Fianna Fáil still supplying?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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-----and the Minister will be responding later.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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Supply is getting scarce.

Photo of Gerry AdamsGerry Adams (Louth, Sinn Fein)
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Does Deputy Micheál Martin have confidence?

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government strongly supports and will stand by the Lansdowne Road agreement.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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Supply is limited.

Photo of Enda KennyEnda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
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The Government sees a collective approach to ensure economic stability and progress for the good of the country.