It is proposed to take Business in the following order: 14, 15 and 16 (resumed).
Order of Business.
I do not wish to take No. 14 at the moment. There was a lot of confusion about this matter. Yesterday when we were on the Second Stage of the Local Elections (Petitions and Disqualifications) Bill, 1974, the Minister for Local Government indicated that he would let me have information regarding the intention of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and the Minister for Education in relation to the categories of employees which would be excluded from standing for election to local authorities and that this information would be given to me early in the morning, at least well before Question Time.
I accept that the Minister only became aware of the fact that I had not got this information half way through Question Time and he kindly gave me a copy of it which has an addition in biro which is not included in the copy which has now been circulated to me officially by the staff. I have just had a request now to speak to an official of the House concerning amendments to this Bill. I had to tell him I could not speak to him until I had dealt with this. This request came at 4 o'clock just as you were about to conclude Question Time so I would ask the Minister to agree to postpone taking the Committee Stage of the Bill until we have had an opportunity, first of all, to study the papers which have now been circulated which affect the Bill.
I am a bit surprised at Deputy Molloy's suggestion—perhaps, I am not. I thought he was as anxious as I was to have this matter clarified so that we could have everything in order for the local elections. I told him yesterday I would arrange to let him have the list to which he refers this morning and then he pointed out that there was a funeral this morning which both he and I would be attending. I suggested that I would let him have the list before 4 o'clock. I understand the record says so.
At 1 o'clock today the documents were in the House and were left in the pigeon holes for each Deputy. I know that possibly Deputy Molloy had already taken his post out and for that reason may not have got it but it is not of vital importance because of the fact that the categories mentioned are very easily identifiable. The only one I would like to refer to concerns the vocational teachers who are not included in the document which has been circulated but are people who will be allowed to stand for the local elections.
With regard to the other matter which the Deputy refers to, the question of laying the order before the House, in fact, he agreed with me yesterday that because of the time available he would be prepared to to accept a certain way of doing it. He asked: "Will I put down an amendment or will you put one down?" I think those are the words he used. I put down an amendment which, in fact, does what Deputy Molloy was prepared to agree to yesterday afternoon. If it was all right yesterday afternoon, I wonder why it is not all right now. I am prepared to facilitate Deputy Molloy any way I can. At the same time, I think it is urgent that we have the matter dealt with as quickly as possible and for that reason I would ask the Deputy if he wants to adjourn it that he should put it back for a short while. I am prepared to agree to adjourn it for another hour if that would satisfy the Deputy.
I propose that the second item on the Order Paper, No. 15, be taken now and that item No. 14 be taken after it.
No. That is a rather malicious suggestion on the part of Deputy Molloy because of the fact that he is aware certain arrangements were made on which agreement was reached. We are anxious to take item No. 14. If Deputy Molloy is not prepared to take item No. 14 now, then we will take it tomorrow.
Tomorrow will suit me fine.
Are Fine Gael and Labour agreeing?
Would Fianna Fáil agree among themselves?
You have enough trouble yourself.
It is the function of the Taoiseach or the Tánaiste in his stead to lay down the Order of Business. Is the Tánaiste agreeable to have this item removed from the Order Paper?
I am agreeable to have it postponed, as the Minister for Local Government suggested, until tomorrow. In the meantime, the Minister for Finance will not be available for the next five minutes. I do not suggest we adjourn but I would ask the Opposition to bear with us until he is notified that item No. 14 has been postponed.