Business and Sittings of Dáil: Motion.

Dún Laoghaire): I move:

That notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders the following arrangements relating to business and sittings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays shall apply forthwith:—

(1) the Dáil shall meet on Tuesdays at 2.30 p.m. and on Wednesdays at 10.30 a.m. and the interruption of business provided for in Standing Order 20 (2) shall take place on those days at 8.30 p.m. or at such hour as proceedings, if any, under Standing Order 123 shall have concluded and the Dáil shall adjourn not later than half an hour after the interruption of business;

(2) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays—

(a) notice of intention to raise a matter under Standing Order 20 (3) shall be given not later than 4 p.m.;

(b) a motion that the Dáil sit later than the time provided in paragraph (1) shall be moved not later than 6.30 p.m.;

(c) the provisions of Standing Order 30 shall apply with the substitution therein of 7 p.m. for 9 p.m.

(d) Questions shall be taken from 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.; and

(e) Government business or Private business, as the case may be, shall be interrupted between 7 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. to take private Members' business: provided that where leave has been given to move a motion under Standing Order 30 the latter shall have priority;

(3) sittings shall be suspended from 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. on Wednesdays and business shall be interrupted accordingly; and

(4) the provisions of Standing Order 123 shall apply with the substitution therein of 8.30 p.m. for 10.15 p.m.

Items Nos. 4, 5 and 6 are standard items gone through in the course of the last three Dálaí. I congratulate the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach on his appointment. We had an undertaking in the last Committee on Procedure and Privileges, and between the Whips, that these would be dealt with as part of Dáil reform. Following yesterday's announcement that the Minister for Industry and Energy, Deputy Bruton will have special responsibility for Dáil reform, I wonder will Dáil reform now be excluded from the Committee on Procedure and Privileges or will the Minister for Industry and Energy be a member of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges? I might ask further will the work done to date, including all the documents prepared by all parties, including Independents, be discussed or will it now be dealt with separately? We have done a lot of work. We have contacted other Parliaments. We have examined the Committee system, we had gone through the new Minister for Industry and Energy's two documents, and the third Fine Gael document and taken submissions from a number of other people. Will that process be continued through the medium of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, will there be a new committee, or will the new Minister for Industry and Energy be a member of the new committee if and when set up?

Dún Laoghaire): Strictly speaking that does not arise on the Motion we are discussing here. Bearing in mind the respect I have for my colleague on the far side of the House — and I thank him for the compliment he paid me — I want to assure him that the Minister for Industry and Energy will guarantee that any consultations in regard to Dáil reform will be done on an all-party basis. I would ask that it be left to the Minister concerned to decide the most appropriate way in consultation with all parties in this House. That would be the most satisfactory way of dealing with it. I should like to assure the Deputy that no reform will take place without prior consultation with all parties.

Would the Minister of State tell us of his plans to sit on Mondays and Fridays. Could he give us some details on that matter. I think it is appropriate to do so under this motion.

(Dún Laoghaire): It does not arise under this motion. All we are doing here is what we have done in the last three Dálaí. Until such time as the necessary reform is implemented this is merely a standard motion passed by the House.

I take it that a similar motion will be brought in if it is decided to move in that direction.

(Dún Laoghaire): I would regard that as part of the overall necessary Dáil reform.

But a similar motion will be brought in?

(Dún Laoghaire): Yes, there would have to be.

Would the Minister of State consider proposing to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges that the Orders of the House be amended in such a way as to permit, on Fridays, when normally the House sits, that no questions be taken but that Private Notice Questions be taken, because it came to be established in the last Dáil, and perhaps the one before that, that no matter what matter of urgency might arise between the time the Dáil rose on Thursday and the following morning or mid-day, the rule which precluded questions on Friday was interpreted in such a way as to exclude even Private Notice Questions for which an urgent reason might have existed. There is a fair distinction between a Private Notice Question of that sort and questions of the ordinary kind where no great issue arises if they are left for a few days.

(Dún Laoghaire): I believe we can give the Deputy that guarantee. We will look at all issues mentioned by the Deputy.

In consultation?

(Dún Laoghaire): Yes, in consultation.

Question put and agreed to.