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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 27 Mar 1969

Vol. 239 No. 8

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 1 and 16 and in 16 Votes 45, 36, 41, 26, 38 and 8. Questions at 2.30 p.m. By agreement the debate on Votes 45 and 36 will be concluded and the items disposed of, but, if the debate on Votes 41, 26, 38 and 8 is not concluded at 5 p.m. today, the Chair will put the Questions on the outstanding Estimates and an opportunity for debate on the items involved will be given after the Recess.

Could the Taoiseach tell us what is the date of the resumption?

The Tuesday after Easter Week.

The position, therefore, is that the Dáil will not assemble for two and a half weeks. Is it a fact that the Taoiseach intends to adjourn the Dáil until the middle of April at 5 o'clock today?

And there is not going to be an Adjournment Debate?

Does the Taoiseach not consider, in view of the statement of the Minister for Finance on television on 18th March, that we should be debating the state of the economy in view of the fact that the Dáil will not meet for two and a half weeks?

I proposed last week that there should be such a debate but it has not been possible to get agreement. I suggested, first of all, that we might debate the Third Programme this week. I think Labour Party Members asked if it could be done and they specifically suggested that the state of the economy be included in that. I said I was agreeable. Then it was conveyed to me that the Opposition Parties thought that the time available this week would not be sufficient to debate the Third Programme and the state of the economy. Then I had a suggestion conveyed that I could make a statement on the state of the economy on the Adjournment and that the Adjournment Debate on Friday would cover that item. It was conveyed to me then that that would not be satisfactory either. The third suggestion put forward was that we debate the Estimates that would require to be taken this week including tomorrow and include in that debate the debate on the economy. That was not satisfactory either. Now we have come to the situation that we have found agreement on the Order of Business.

Perhaps the Taoiseach might consider meeting next Monday and Tuesday?

May I say that the position is that the Taoiseach suggested to the Whips that he would make a statement. The Whips disagreed with this because they wanted a discussion on the Taoiseach's statement. Can the Taoiseach say whether there is any good reason why we should not meet next week to have an Adjournment Debate?

Deputies have made arrangements now on the assumption that we were adjourning this week.

What arrangements have been made? Nobody knew anything officially about this until this minute. Most of the Members of the House did not know.

It has been traditional down through the years not to meet in Holy Week or Easter Week. I had no reason to assume until now that that tradition was to be changed.

I do not think it is necessary. The Opposition Deputies had an opportunity of taking this debate this week. Nevertheless, the debate on the Health Estimate was continued over a period of three weeks. There was plenty of opportunity last week to wind up the Health Estimate.


So far as we are concerned we are prepared to meet on Monday or on Tuesday to have a debate on the economy if that suits the convenience of the House.

Will the Taoiseach consider a meeting next week?

Then he must admit that all this talk about the seriousness of the state of the economy——

What did your Whip agree to yesterday?

If agreements are reached between the Whips and announced here by me and then suggestions are flung across the floor just for Party advantage that is ridiculous. There was plenty of opportunity last week and this week to debate this but the Opposition Deputies did not take advantage of it.

You were not prepared to come in.

Joe Louis.


Order. We cannot have a debate on the matter now.

We suggested at the Whips meeting that we would meet next week to discuss the economic situation. We did not object to the proposal. We suggested this as a suitable arrangement and I do not want anyone to be under the impression that we sprung this across the House now.

I think I told you last night, Sir, that I intended to raise this matter this morning. I am not conversant with these matters. I do not know whether or not you told the Taoiseach.

No. We cannot have a debate on this matter.

I only want the position made clear. There is nobody on these benches looking for publicity.

What did your Whip agree to?

The Whip could not be here this morning——


There is no better attender in the House. The last word I had from our Whip was to the effect that the Taoiseach wanted to make a statement and have no discussion. I think that was unreasonable.

That was never suggested.

I was not present but Deputy L'Estrange was.

We cannot discuss this matter further.