It is proposed to take Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 10 on the Order Paper. Private Members' Business will be taken between 6 o'clock and 7.30 p.m.
Order of Business.
Can the Taoiseach say when it is proposed to give time to Item No. 2 on the Agenda— the Disabled Persons (Employment) Bill, 1967? We want to have the Bill published.
The Minister responsible is examining the Bill at the moment. He has not made up his mind on his attitude to it, as the Deputy knows.
Would the Taoiseach let us know which Minister is responsible?
I will make inquiries.
The Cabinet have not yet decided which Minister is responsible. This has been going on for weeks. In fairness to Deputy Dunne who put down the Bill, surely we should be allowed to have someone designated to take charge of the Bill, and have it published.
Could the Ceann Comhairle or someone tell me what is the Private Business?
The first item of Private Members' Business on the Order Paper.
No. 19 on the Order Paper.
Could the Taoiseach give me a reply to the question I asked? There appear to be delaying tactics.
If the Deputy raises this matter this day week, I hope it will be possible to give him a reply.
This day week.
Is it proposed to sit next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?
I do not think so: Wednesday and Thursday.
Is it possible that the Government have not sufficient business to keep us going?
No, it is not.
Certain arrangements were made last year to expedite business and to ensure that the Dáil would adjourn by the end of July. It seems now that we will just have the usual pattern and that there will be an attempt to cram through important legislation in July and perhaps August.
I hope to take steps to ensure that that will not happen.
Apart from legislation, what about the Estimates? We were told that we would get the Estimates at the end of January and the beginning of February, but we have got only two.
There are a number coming up.
What about the Budget, at this slow rate of progress?
Deputy Sweetman and I, Deputy Corish and, I think, Deputy Tully, met Deputy Lemass at his request, and I think the present Taoiseach attended as Minister for Finance, and together we worked out a change in our procedure for the purpose of expediting the passage of financial business. One essential element was to permit the Government to bring in specified Estimates for discussion before the Book of Estimates was ready.
That is being done.
We have had two Estimates, one which was in substance a token Estimate for the Department of External Affairs——
The Minister was on a flying visit here.
——and the other for the Department of Labour.
Two more will be ready almost at once.
The Taoiseach will agree that there has been a falling down in this matter. Possibly this arises from the change in the Taoiseachship. Will he direct the attention of the appropriate authorities to the necessity for implementing not only the letter but the spirit of the new procedural arrangements which were agreed?
I shall be very anxious to do so.