Tuesday, 6 November 2018
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Today's Government business shall be No. 17, motion re title of physical therapists, back from committee; No. 18, motion re EU agreement with Kazakhstan, back from committee; No. 1, Data Sharing and Governance Bill 2018 [Seanad] - Second Stage; and No. 33, Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Bill 2018 [Seanad] - Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' business shall be No. 207, motion re water services, selected by the Rural Independent Group.
Wednesday's Government business shall be No. 34, Home Building Finance Ireland Bill 2018 - Report Stage (resumed) and Final Stage; No. 2, Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2018, amendments from the Seanad; No. 35, Children’s Health Bill 2018 [Seanad]- Order for Report, and Report and Final Stages; No. 1, Data Sharing and Governance Bill 2018 [Seanad]- Second Stage (resumed); and No. 33, Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Bill 2018 [Seanad]- Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' business shall be No. 208, motion re apprenticeships, selected by Fianna Fáil.
Thursday's Government business shall be No. 1, Data Sharing and Governance Bill 2018 [Seanad]- Second Stage (resumed); No. 33, Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Bill 2018 [Seanad]- Second Stage (resumed); and No. 19, Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Bill 2018 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. Private Members' business shall be No. 19, motion re the report of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills, entitled Report on Positive Mental Health in Schools.
I refer Members to the second revised report of the Business Committee, dated 5 November 2018.
In relation to today's business, it is proposed that:
(1) No. 17 shall be taken without debate;
(2) No. 18 shall be brought to a conclusion after 45 minutes if not previously concluded. Speeches shall be confined to single round by a Minister or Minister of State and the main spokespersons for parties and groups, or a Member nominated in their stead, for a period not exceeding five minutes each, with a five-minute response from a Minister or Minister of State. All Members may share time.
In relation to Wednesday's business, it is proposed that there shall be no questions to the Taoiseach and the sos, in accordance with Standing Order 25(1), shall be taken at conclusion of Questions on Promised Legislation.
I propose that the Business Committee should be asked to reconvene sometime today or tomorrow to place on the agenda of this Dáil the scandal relating to schools and Western Building Systems, WBS. In my area there are still 1,200 children who are not in school today. They have missed a whole week apart from the mid-term break. We have a scandal that has not been answered in this Dáil. Yes, there is a committee hearing later today, but that is not a full Dáil discussion and this issue merits one, given that it concerns 42 schools, that Western Building Systems is now building hospitals and that the same company apparently has a tender for modular housing.
The question the Minister needs to answer is this. Why did he say he had no issues with the work on which he signed off with Western Building Systems on the 42 schools in question when no oversight was done by the Department?
I also object to the proposals in view of the fact that the House has been informed that there will not be an opportunity for all Deputies to contribute to the budgetary debate. The budget was announced on 9 October and we are in the first week of November. We have the Finance Bill, yet not all Deputies have had an opportunity to contribute on the budget. Historically and traditionally, every Deputy is given an opportunity to contribute to the budgetary debate. The debate has now been shelved. If we keep going like this, it is likely we will be speaking about the budget next year.
Deputy Kelleher's party Whip raised that matter at the Business Committee meeting and asked for a debate on the budget. That was not possible in the current week because of the business set out before us. However, it is my understanding that it is intended to return to the debate on the budget as soon as time allows.
Given the strength of feeling on these matters, we will convene a meeting of the Business Committee this afternoon at which we will seek to arrange for additional time to discuss the budget and the issue of schools.