On a point of order, on the Order of Business this morning you were reminded by Deputy Callanan, who was strongly supported by Deputy Lynch that a Member of the House occupying the Chair yesterday had disallowed attempts by Opposition speakers to raise the matter of CIE charges. You promised to look into the matter and I just wish your indulgence for a moment to say that since then I have looked through the carbons of yesterday's Transport and Power debate and I observed that Deputies O'Leary, Connolly and Hussey all dealt at length with this topic. I found no trace in the carbon reports of yesterday's debate that they were interfered with by the Chair or any occupant of the Chair. The carbons are not always reliable and it may be that I have missed something that you, Sir, have since been able to find but I would be grateful for your view on this because it is part, in the form in which it was raised this morning, of an attempt by the Opposition to make out that they are being muzzled if not by us, Sir, then by you. Both suggestions are equally unfounded and disgraceful and I would like, Sir, if you would let the House know whether you have been successful in the meantime in finding any trace of what Deputy Callanan, mind you, did not say he himself had heard but evidently had been asked by someone over there to raise.
Business of Dáil.
The matter to which the Parliamentary Secretary refers is still under investigation.
Is it in order for the Parliamentary Secretary or any other Deputy to abuse the privilege that Deputies have to raise points of order in order to make unfounded allegations against members of the Opposition or any other Deputy in the House? Is the Parliamentary Secretary not availing of this facility that Deputies have got in a most unfair way to make an unfounded attack on a Member of this House?
The Parliamentary Secretary has stated that Deputy Callanan did not say he heard it himself. He did say he heard it himself but he was doubtful as to who was in the Chair at the time.
I do not think we should argue the merits of this matter just now. I am passing on to Questions.
I took that to mean that Deputy Callanan was not present.
Surely Deputy Gibbons has raised a point of order?
I am sorry, Deputy Moore. Will you allow me to make some progress?
The Parliamentary Secretary has abused this House and Deputy Gibbons has raised a point of the utmost importance. Can a member of the Government come in here and abuse the rules and privileges of this House in order to attack the Opposition?
This was a point of order raised by yourselves and you will not get away with it.
Your own backbenchers are not allowed to ask questions here.
On a point of order, I want to say that Deputy Callanan is a responsible Deputy. He is certainly not an untruthful Deputy and if he indicated that he heard that then I am quite positive that he did hear it. The Parliamentary Secretary has indicated that carbon copies are not always reliable and on this occasion they may not have been that reliable.
These are not points of order. I am proceeding to Questions. I will hear no more on this matter.
On a point of order, the Parliamentary Secretary said that somebody told me to make a statement. I never acted as a tool for anybody in this House. I heard the statement here. I do not know who was in the Chair at the time. Somebody was speaking. I think it was Deputy Connolly, and he was told that it did not refer to this Estimate. Nobody told me to raise the matter. I just heard the debate going on and I mentioned this but I was not told or prompted by anybody from any side of the House to do so.
On a point of personal explanation, with your permission, Sir, I want to apologise to Deputy Callanan but I want to add to the apology my explanation that I took his reference to not being sure which Member of the House was in the Chair as meaning that he himself was not present.
I was present.
I accept that the Deputy was here but he may be interested to know that the interference by the Chair which he mentioned in the House this morning does not appear on the record.
It is a cover up.
I have been here for two years and I cannot be accused of ever having made a statement that I did not think was true. I was in the House. I heard it. I do not know what the record says. If the record says "no" accuse me of being a liar.
I did not make any accusation against the Deputy but the Opposition are consistently complaining about being muzzled and they were not muzzled yesterday.
Nobody is being muzzled and Deputy Dowling least of all.
Deputy Dowling, the Chair is on his feet. Please resume your seat.
A man's character is in question here.
Protect him if you like.