Dáil Éireann - Volume 413 - 19 November, 1991

Order of Business.

The Tánaiste: It is proposed to take Nos. 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 3 and 19. It is also proposed, subject to the agreement of the House that; No. 10 shall be decided without debate; that the proceedings on the Second Stage of Item No. 15 shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 7 p.m. today and the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment will be called on not later than 6.30 p.m. to conclude the debate. Private Members' Business shall be No. 36, motion 49.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Are the proposals for deciding on No. 10 agreed? Agreed.

Are the proposals for deciding on No. 15 agreed?

Mr. J. Bruton: No, Sir, we do not agree with that. The Environmental Protection Agency Bill 1990 contains 110 sections and we believe it should not be guillotined and any Member who wishes to speak should be allowed to do so. If [155] there is a wish to reduce the amount of time spent on the debate we suggest that the length of individual speeches might be curtailed but no Member should be prevented from contributing, as will be the effect if this motion is accepted. We object to that.

[156] Mr. Howlin: In the light of the urgency of this measure and the fact that we have spent a long time on it on Second Stage, the Labour Party will not be opposing the proposal.

Question put: “That the proposals in respect of dealing with No. 15 be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 73 Níl, 43.

Ahern, Bertie.

Ahern, Dermot.

Aylward, Liam.

Barrett, Michael.

Brady, Gerard.

Brennan, Mattie.

Brennan, Séamus.

Briscoe, Ben.

Browne, John (Wexford).

Burke, Raphael P.

Calleary, Seán.

Callely, Ivor.

Clohessy, Peadar.

Collins, Gerard.

Connolly, Ger.

Coughlan, Mary Theresa.

Cowen, Brian.

Cullimore, Séamus.

Daly, Brendan.

Davern, Noel.

Dempsey, Noel.

Dennehy, John.

de Valera, Síle.

Ellis, John.

Fahey, Frank.

Fahey, Jackie.

Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.

Fitzpatrick, Dermot.

Flood, Chris.

Flynn, Pádraig.

Gallagher, Pat the Cope.

Garland, Roger.

Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.

Harney, Mary.

Hillery, Brian.

Hilliard, Colm.

Hyland, Liam.

Jacob, Joe.

Kelly, Laurence.

Kenneally, Brendan.

Kirk, Séamus.

Kitt, Michael P.

Kitt, Tom.

Lawlor, Liam.

Lenihan, Brian.

Leonard, Jimmy.

Leyden, Terry.

Lyons, Denis.

Martin, Micheál.

McDaid, Jim.

McEllistrim, Tom.

Molloy, Robert.

Morley, P.J.

Nolan, M.J.

Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).

O'Dea, Willie.

O'Donoghue, John.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

O'Kennedy, Michael.

O'Leary, John.

O'Rourke, Mary.

O'Toole, Martin Joe.

Power, Seán.

Quill, Máirín.

Roche, Dick.

Stafford, John.

Treacy, Noel.

Tunney, Jim.

Wallace, Dan.

Wallace, Mary.

Walsh, Joe.

Wilson, John P.

Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

Ahearn, Therese.

Barnes, Monica.

Barrett, Seán.

Barry, Peter.

Belton, Louis J.

Boylan, Andrew.

Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).

Bruton, John.

Bruton, Richard.

Carey, Donal.

[157]Farrelly, John V.

Flaherty, Mary.

Flanagan, Charles.

Harte, Paddy.

Higgins, Jim.

Hogan, Philip.

Kenny, Enda.

Lee, Pat.

Lowry, Michael.

McCormack, Pádraic.

McGahon, Brendan.

McGinley, Dinny.

Connaughton, Paul.

Cosgrave, Michael Joe.

Cotter, Bill.

Creed, Michael.

Currie, Austin.

D'Arcy, Michael.

Deasy, Austin.

Deenihan, Jimmy.

Dukes, Alan.

Durkan, Bernard.

[158]McGrath, Paul.

Nealon, Ted.

Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).

O'Brien, Fergus.

O'Keeffe, Jim.

Owen, Nora.

Reynolds, Gerry.

Shatter, Alan.

Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.

Timmins, Godfrey.

Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies D. Ahern and Clohessy; Níl, Deputies Flanagan and Boylan.

Question declared carried.

Mr. J. Bruton: I take it, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, you do not wish to refer to Private Members' Business yet?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Private Members' Business shall be Item No. 36 — Motion 49. Is that agreed?

Mr. J. Bruton: Agreed. On the Order of Business proper I should like to ask the Tánaiste when the Government intend presenting the proposals, promised over the weekend, to close the loopholes disclosed in the recent Supreme Court judgment in regard to extradition. In that regard the Government ought to seek to close those loopholes quickly. My party are willing to offer the legislation we have drafted and our full co-operation to the Government in closing those loopholes in regard to extradition.

The Tánaiste: The judgments of the Supreme Court are receiving careful and detailed attention. As the Deputy rightly said, the Government are committed to make any appropriate amendments to the legislation found necessary as a result of that detailed and careful study.

Mr. J. Bruton: Is it not the case, that it was obvious that such loopholes existed for quite some time and that this has been confirmed by the Supreme Court judgment? Will the Tánaiste give some indication of the timescale involved? We do not want this part of Ireland to become a haven in which people can avoid extradition simply by claiming that they possessed semi-automatic weapons rather than actually using them?

The Tánaiste: As I said, we have taken due cognisance of the decision of the Supreme Court. As was announced, and as the Deputy has repeated, after this punctilious, detailed study, we will be making any appropriate amendments found necessary.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: In what year?

Mr. Spring: I seek some guidance from the Tánaiste on a curious item on today's Order Paper, Item No. 4: Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Bill, 1991. Can the Tánaiste say when we may expect this legislation to be introduced in the House? Can he say whether the Government intend proceeding with this Bill, as announced by the former Minister for Health, or whether we will have a mark III version of this Bill introduced by the new Minister for Health?

The Tánaiste: I listened to the Taoiseach reply to questions about this Bill——

Mr. Spring: ——that was last week.

The Tánaiste: ——on numerous occasins. All I can do is repeat what he said, that it is the intention of the Government that this Bill be taken this session.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I take it [159] that Deputy Spring is happy with that assurance?

Mr. Spring: A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, never presume on my happiness or unhappiness. May I seek clarification? I think you invited me to seek clarification, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: No, I did not.

Mr. Spring: Perhaps the Tánaiste will now tell us whether we will have the Bill as published before the House, or, as announced by the new Minister for Health, we will have a new form of this Bill. We are entitled to know that.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Tánaiste indicated to the House that he had nothing further to add to the assurance given in the House last week. I do not think we should attempt to encourage the Tánaiste to go beyond what he has already stated rather firmly.

Mr. R. Bruton: But there have been indications outside the House that the Bill is being withdrawn and a new one presented.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Indications outside the House are not pertinent to the Order of Business.

Mr. Spring: With respect, Sir, I would say that, in circumstances in which the new Minister for Health has indicated that she will bring forward a new Bill, I should have thought that the Tánaiste, out of courtesy, would inform the House of that.

The Tánaiste: Far be it from me to take from the happiness of Deputy Spring or to be discourteous to him. Whatever intentions the Minister for Health has indicated she will, in her usual clear minded and forthright way, let the House know in due course. I am simply replying to the question as it was posed, and as the Taoiseach answered last week, that [160] it is the intention to take that Bill in this session.

Mr. McCartan: Is there any clear indication as to when the Estimates will be published? Have the Government and the Attorney General considered the matter raised on the Order of Business by Deputy De Rossa on 6 November with regard to the absence of any fair representation of the public interest before the current Tribunal in Dublin Castle? In view of the way in which matters are developing, could the Tánaiste indicate——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Retrospection of the nature in which you are indulging is not in order on the Order of Business. The Deputy knows as well as I what is in order and what is not and I would ask him to co-operate.

Mr. McCartan: Deputy De Rossa was afforded an opportunity by the Chair to raise this matter with the Taoiseach. Is any reaction from the Government expected with regard to it?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I do not know the circumstances under which such concession was afforded. As far as I am concerned, it would not be in accordance with how I interpret the business appropriate to the Order of Business. I ask you to accept that.

Mr. McCartan: I accept that, but I am merely asking the Tánaiste to have regard to what has been said, no more.

Mr. J. Bruton: Three Supplementary Estimates are presented to the House today for consideration. How many other Supplementary Estimates will be presented for this year?

The Tánaiste: I have no information about the number of extra Supplementary Estimates to come before the House.

Mr. J. Bruton: When is it proposed to [161] take the Supplementary Estimates which appear on today's Order Paper?

The Tánaiste: As soon as the House can provide an opportunity for the Ministers concerned.

Mr. Howlin: Is it intended by the Government to bring the complement of Ministers of State up to 15, and is it envisaged that there will be a reallocation of responsibilities among Ministers of State?

The Tánaiste: That matter will come up for decision by the Taoiseach who, as the House knows, is in Europe.

Deputies: We are all in Europe.

Mr. Howlin: It is a matter for the Government.

Mr. Byrne: Will the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications deny the contents of the reports leaked by his Department to selected recipients that he intends to privatise the public transport utilities? Will he——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: This is not an occasion for denial or affirmation in respect of what is not promised legislation. There is no promise, therefore neither proposition can arise.

Mr. Byrne: It is in the context of promised legislation which is pending.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is no context that is relevant to what the Order of Business requires. You are out of order.

Mr. Byrne: How can promised legislation be out of order? I am referring to the bus competition Bill which has been promised. There have been widespread reports in the newspapers over the week-end.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: You may ask questions as to when promised legislation will be introduced but we cannot [162] anticipate questions on what might be in the Bill or omitted from it. I ask the Deputy to accept that.

Mr. Byrne: If you will let me ask the question——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: No, I will not let you ask what is not in order. You are not entitled to ask what is not in order and you should accept that.

Mr. Byrne: Can we get a response from the Minister?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: No, because the Minister would not be in order either.

Mr. Byrne: Then a response from the Tánaiste?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Tánaiste would not be in order.

Mr. Byrne: Eleven thousand CIE workers are concerned for their jobs owing to the statements which were leaked by the Minister's office over the weekend.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I call Deputy McCormack and I hope he will be in order.

Mr. McCormack: When will the rates support grant be made known to local authorities who are trying to struggle through the Estimates without this knowledge?

The Tánaiste: That is imminent.

Mr. Rabbitte: Will the Tánaiste say when the bus competition Bill will be introduced?

The Tánaiste: Will the Deputy repeat that? I did not hear the first word.

Mr. Rabbitte: The mode of conveyance that Deputy Flynn now uses.

[163] The Tánaiste: My list contains no indication of legislation with regard to CIE in this session. I will inform the Deputy later.

Mr. Durkan: A Housing Bill has been promised this session. Bearing in mind the urgency of the problem and the little time left, can the Tánaiste indicate when it is likely to be introduced?

The Tánaiste: I cannot give the exact date, but we are still holding to the statement made as to when it will be introduced.

Mr. J. Higgins: In view of the fact that the renegotiated Programme for Government makes a clear commitment to the publication of the Green Paper on Education before Christmas, is it anticipated that the deadline will be met?

The Tánaiste: In fairness to the new Minister for Education, the Deputy should address that question to him.

Mr. Farrelly: Has the Taoiseach decided to visit the Heads of State before the Maastricht Summit, now that he has at long last decided to leave the nest by going to see the President of the European Commission?

The Tánaiste: I can assure the Deputy that the Taoiseach is au fait with all the matters connected with Maastricht and the Government have the greatest confidence in his pre-Maastricht programme.

Mr. Spring: What about the post-Maastricht programme? Is there one?

Mr. Farrelly: The Tánaiste did not indicate whether the Taoiseach intends to visit the Heads of State before Maastricht. The fact is he has got out of the habit of leaving the nest.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The itinerary is not appropriate to the Order of Business.

Mr. McCartan: The Tánaiste overlooked the question I asked earlier regarding a [164] clear indication of the publication date for the Estimates.

The Tánaiste: The Estimates have been under consideration for some time and the Government are working strenuously on them. We will adhere to our promise of publication.

Mr. S. Barrett: When will the order be made under the Intoxicating Liquor Act relating to the sales of liquor from supermarkets?

The Tánaiste: I will research that very important matter and get the information for the Deputy.

Mr. J. Bruton: The new Minister for Education might take a new look at this.

Mr. J. Higgins: Will the House have an opportunity to debate the recently published report by the Comptroller and Auditor General?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: That would not be in order now. There are other means of eliciting that information.

Mr. Spring: Deputy Gay Mitchell is the man.