Order of Business.

It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 4, 5, 1 and 2. Business will be interrupted at 3.30 p.m. today to take item No. 1 followed by item No. 2, and the Order will not be resumed thereafter. By agreement the Dáil will sit later than 9 p.m. today and not later than 12 midnight to enable the Financial Resolutions, with the exception of the General Financial Resolution, to be concluded and to allow item No. 2 to be disposed of. It is proposed that, following the budget statement of the Minister for Finance and the statements of the spokesmen of the parties in opposition, the sitting will be suspended for 30 minutes.

Are the proposals for the suspension of the Dáil and the late sitting agreed?


May I ask a question?

I do not know whether the Taoiseach or the Minister for Finance, without disclosing any of their budgetary strategy, are in a position to give us any indication of the number of Financial Resolutions there might be.

The number, I understand, is 17.

Perhaps it would be an idea for the Whips to get together and allocate some period of time to each separate resolution or groups of resolutions.

As soon as the budget statements are concluded, during that 30-minute interval, that could be done. I am sure there will be no difficulty in reaching agreement on whatever is convenient to the Opposition in this respect.

Is it proposed to hold the referendum on the eighth amendment on the same wording as that circulated in the Bill?

That will arise on the Bill we are about to deal with now. The same question was raised yesterday.

Having regard to a commitment given by the Taoiseach to the Dáil about two weeks ago that the Whips of the Labour Party and the Fianna Fáil Party would be consulted about the possibility of having a debate on phone tapping and related matters, may I ask him if the Whips have been consulted and if a date has yet been fixed?

We said we would be willing to have the discussions but we have had no approaches from the Whips so far as I understand. It is a matter for the Opposition parties to raise it if they wish the debate to take place.

We cannot have a discussion on this. The Chair's understanding is that when it was raised before, the Chair suggested that the Whips might deal with it. It was also stated that perhaps the Opposition Whips, if they so desired, would approach the Government Whips to arrange the matter.

The Taoiseach is aware that our position on this matter is that we wish to have a judicial inquiry established at the earliest possible moment into allegations which have been made from time to time about interference in the administration of the Garda Síochána and the recently disclosed developments also.

There must be another way of dealing with it, but not on the Order of Business.

I attempted to raise this matter by way of ordinary question to the Taoiseach which was referred to the Department of Justice.

The Chair suggests that Deputy De Rossa should approach the Minister of State at the Taoiseach's Department in his capacity as Government Chief Whip.

I also tried to raise this matter on the Adjournment but was refused. I should like to know precisely what the Taoiseach and the Government are afraid of.

We cannot deal with it now.