Seanad Éireann - Volume 127 - 21 February, 1991

Order of Business.

Mr. Fallon: It is proposed to take item No. 3 — the Environmental Protection Agency Bill, 1990 — and to conclude Second Stage today, the Minister to reply at approximately 12.45 p.m. There will be a sos between 1 and 2 o'clock. At 2 p.m. we will commence a debate on Second Stage of the Child Care Bill, 1988.

In regard to the Environmental Protection Agency Bill, if we examine the records we will see that approximately 40 speakers have spoken on it. I think that is an excellent performance.

Mr. Manning: Many of us on this side are very concerned about the conflicting reports about the future of An Post which have arisen from yesterday's events. The Minister told the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party as reported by their chairman, that the whole matter was now put on ice but the Minister gave a very different version of events here last evening. I ask the Leader of the House if he can clarify the plans for the future of An Post.

Mr. Howard: I wish to ask the Leader of the House if he will provide time for discussion of Item No. 13 as soon as possible. That is the Sixth Joint Committee on the Secondary Legislation of the European Communities, Report No. 4, Life Assurance and Motor Insurance. I raise the matter this morning particularly in view of a report in today's newspapers that a substantial increase in insurance premiums is imminent. If we were to have a discussion on this item this morning——

Mr. Fallon: Not this morning.

Mr. Howard: It is reported in the newspapers this morning. I appeal to the [1516] Leader to make time available for this discussion as early as possible.

Mr. Cosgrave: In relation to the Order of Business, I would point out that while we have had consultation on the time the Environmental Protection Agency Bill is to conclude, there was not a definite agreement that it had to conclude. There is one Member in possession. A few more are offering on our side and I understand there are some Members offering on the far side. Some of these Members have put in quite a bit of preparation on their speeches they have been waiting a long time. It signifies the interest in this measure that debate has gone on so long. It affects Members from all parts of the country and those of us who are members of local authorities have an additional interest. I ask that these Members be given an opportunity to contribute.

Mr. B. Ryan: Perhaps the Leader would tell us if it is intended to finish Second Stage of the Environmental Protection Agency Bill today in order to make sure that we have a reasonable interval between Second Stage and Committee Stage. It is a very long and complicated Bill. I anticipate, without having discussed it with anybody, a considerable number of amendments. In the interests of the Members and the Minister there should be a reasonable interval between Second Stage and Committee Stage.

There is a section in the Environmental Protection Agency Bill which refers to noise which is so loud, so continuous, so repeated and of such duration as to cause a nuisance. Every morning about 10.30 the noise in my office, when two conflicting noises emit themselves through the loudspeaker, could only be described as loud, continuous and annoying. I wish we could find some other way of calling us to assemble.

An Cathaoirleach: It often permeates here, too.

Mrs. Doyle: Would the Leader of the House indicate what we may have on our [1517] agenda for next Wednesday and Thursday, subject to the Whips agreeing? I am particularly concerned about whether we will reach the day long agricultural debate. Many Members from all sides of the House have been requesting that that debate take place. A little notice is often helpful to Members before they head to the country so that they can prepare and bring the relevant documents with them.

Mr. Fallon: With reference to the comments from Senator Manning on what he described as conflicting reports about the decision of An Post, I imagine the decision outlined by the Minister would be the definitive decision.

Mr. Manning: Where? In which Assembly?

Mr. Fallon: I will investigate the matter further and have discussions with the Senator. Senator Howard asked about item 13 on the Order Paper. I am particularly interested in this. My colleagues on this side of the House have been suggesting a debate on motor insurance in particular. We will examine this question and bring it forward in some form before the Easter recess.

Senator Cosgrave raised the question of the Environmental Protection Agency and the conclusion of Second Stage. We understood it would be possible to finish this morning, but if there are extra speakers we would extend the debate. We think it may finish but we may be wrong. We will try to make extra time available. Senator Brendan Ryan asked about Committee Stage. That is a matter for the Minister and her officials. There will be a number of amendments. There has been a great deal of interest in Second Stage. I may be wrong, but I believe that the Minister would want about three weeks before taking Committee Stage. However, that is a matter for her. The question of noise does not figure in this business.

We are actively pursuing the possibility of having a debate on agriculture next week.

[1518] Order of Business agreed to.