It is proposed to take Nos. 1, 17, 18, 19 and 4. It is also proposed that No. 1 shall be taken without debate.
Order of Business.
Is it agreed that Item No. 1 be taken without debate? Agreed.
Would the Taoiseach inform the House when the Minister for Justice will give a report to the House about the results from his massive search operation?
As soon as it is possible to do so. The search operation is still under way and our advice is that the security authorites would prefer not to make a statement at this stage. I assure the House that as soon as possible full information will be given.
I understand that the information is to the effect that the search is being wound down. I also understand from reports, which may or may not be accurate or complete, that almost nothing has been found in the way of firearms. If that is the case, would the Minister indicate during the course of that report what has happened to the firearms that he believes the search was launched to find in the first place and, if he believes that they are still there, what further actions will he be taking and if the searching of further houses will continue in the context of a search of that kind?
The Deputy appreciates that we cannot debate the matter now.
The Deputy is welcome back.
Could I ask the Taoiseach on the Order of Business if, given the Law Reform Commission's report on rape, this Government will now bring forward proposals to amend the law in this area?
Yes, I can assure the Deputy that the report will be considered as expeditiously as possible.
Could I ask the Minister for Health if he will make a statement of clarification on the future of the North Infirmary in Cork——
That does not arise on the Order of Business.
——in view of a statement by the Minister of State, Deputy Lyons, that the hospital may be reopened——
That clearly does not arise on the Order of Business. The Deputy will have to find alternative ways and means of raising that matter.
——if undue pressures are put on the Mercy Hospital in Cork? May I raise the matter on the Adjournment?
I shall communicate with the Deputy.
Is it in order for a Member of the House to half say outside the House that a hospital will be half reopened? Is that not a breach of privilege, Sir?
He is only half telling the truth.
Could I ask the Taoiseach when it is proposed to take Committee Stage of Item No. 33, the Courts Bill, 1986, in view of the assurances that were given about a month ago by the Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce that this Bill would be through both Houses and signed into law before Christmas? It is the Bill dealing with the abolition of juries in civil damages cases.
It will be progressed as quickly as possible.
What is the reason for the undue delay since that announcement was made a month ago?
There is no undue delay. It is just a matter of the Whips ordering business. The Deputy, as usual, is being perhaps a little bit over-influenced by what he reads in the newspapers.
I am sure that in this case the newspapers printed only what they were given to print. I am sure they printed it in all good faith. It may be a mistake made in good faith, too, but I hear that there is a bit of a row——
I call Deputy Quinn.
——about the coming into effect of the Bill.
May I ask the Taoiseach if he proposes to give a report to the House following the European Council meeting and, if in so doing, he will make reference to the question of Sellafield and the fact that the British authorities are now imprisoning a campaigner, Mr. Hans Guyt from Greenpeace who attempted to block off pollutant from that plant into the sea? Could he raise that matter as part of the agenda at the Council meeting?
It would be my intention to give the usual report after the European Council meeting.
Would that report include references, if appropriate, and does he propose to raise a general question of European pollution at such a council?
The Deputy will have to find another opportunity to raise that aspect of the matter.
Would the Taoiseach instruct the Minister for Education to withdraw notices from several thousand teachers that they are to lose their jobs from 1 January?
The Deputy must find alternative ways and means of raising that matter. It does not arise on the Order of Business.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the matter of the resignation of four members of the five member board of the Irish Hospitals Trust arising from the rejection by the Government of the tenders submitted by the board to the Government? Furthermore, I wish to raise the fact that the questions submitted by me for today's Order Paper have disappeared.
I shall communicate with the Deputy in respect of his request to me to have the matter raised on the Adjournment.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the scare caused about poultry disease in County Monaghan because of the announcement before the disease was established, thus causing unnecessary publicity which will seriously damage the industry.
I shall communicate with the Deputy.