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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 17 Dec 1987

Vol. 376 No. 11

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 8, 10, 18, 20, 21 and 3.

It is further proposed that Nos. 8, all Stages, 10 and 18 shall be taken without debate.

It is further proposed that the proceedings on the remaining Stages of No. 20 shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 12.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only amendments set down by the Minister for the Marine.

It is further proposed that the proceedings on the remaining Stages of No. 21 shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 1.15 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only amendments set down by the Minister for the Environment.

It is further proposed that all Stages of No. 3 shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 5 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only amendments set down by the Minister for Tourism and Transport, whereupon the Dáil shall adjourn forthwith until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 27 January, 1988.

May I confirm the Order of Business?

Before you do so, Sir, I have given you notice of my intention to request leave to adjourn the Dáil for the purpose of discussing a specific matter of public interest requiring urgent consideration. It concerns an allegation in a television programme broadcast last night that there was an attempt to involve the Industrial Credit Corporation and perhaps also the Department of Agriculture in some rather questionable practices in relation to the purchase of a firm. I would ask you, Sir, if you would give me leave to move the Adjournment for the purpose of discussing that matter.

I have considered the Deputy's request and I do not consider the motion to be one contemplated by Standing Order 30. Therefore, I regret I cannot grant leave to move the motion. I am sorry to disappoint you, Deputy.

I must accept your ruling, of course, but I would make the point that this matter is one of some considerable concern. The House will not now have an opportunity of discussing it before 27 January 1988. It is a matter where a semiState company and, apparently, a Department of State have been involved, or an attempt has been made to involve them, in some questionable business practices. I think that is a matter with which this House should properly be concerned.

I am quite satisfied about my ruling on this matter. Is it proposed to take Nos. 8, all Stages, 10, 18, 20, 21 and 3?

On item No. 10——

Is the proposal to take these items Nos. 8, all Stages, 10 and 18, without debate agreed?

No, Sir. No. 10 should be debated. It is a matter that has given rise to many difficulties. Certainly, I have no wish to see it going through without any debate. The priority questions matter has proved very unsatisfactory. That is generally agreed on all sides of the House. The Private Members' time allocation is also extremely unsatisfactory, to say the least, in the way in which the last change has been made in it, which it is now proposed to maintain. My party would find it very difficult to agree to the retention of a system that appears in practice to allow Private Members' time on only definitely two, but possibly three, occasions in an entire year.

I am putting the question: "That items Nos. 8, 10 and 18, be taken without debate".

I seek clarification before you put the Order of Business to the House. In respect of item No. 3, am I right in assuming that amendments can be tabled today in relation to aspects on Committee Stage, since we are taking all Stages together?

Yes, the Deputy can.

Does Deputy O'Malley want to change the ground rules?


On item No. 8, it is proposed that all Stages be taken without debate.

Question, "That all Stages of item No. 8 be taken without debate" put and declared carried.

Is the proposal in relation to No. 20 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 21 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No 3 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for the Adjournment of the Dáil agreed? Agreed.

In view of the failure of the Minister for the Marine to secure at the Brussels table his much heralded and often promised increase in the mackerel quota for 1988, can we now expect him to do the only honourable thing and resign?


We have had a nod and wink in Donegal to all the fishermen all season, that this is the better way for the fishermen of Ireland. Where is Pat the Cope? What did he do for them in Brussels.


You had better stay in Dublin this Christmas.


In view of the fact that a super tanker trawler engaged in mackerel fishing was used in Killybegs last February to launch the Fianna Fáil manifesto, would the Minister consider it another broken promise?


What about The Way Forward and the promised increase in mackerel and herring quotas?


Please let the Business of this House proceed in an orderly manner.

Was the Minister at a conference at all or were they just sightseeing in Brusels?


Deputy McGinley may leave the House if that is the way he is going to proceed.

That is not the spirit, a Cheann Comhairle.

We are fishing in troubled waters now.


Is there provision for an Adjournment debate today?

No, there is no provision for it.

In the area of promised legislation, I have been patiently raising the question of legislation which was promised after the Raglan House explosion almost 12 months ago. The Minister has been promising that legislation would be introduced in this term. It has not been introduced. That is a very serious matter and it is time the Minister told us precisely when they are going to have this Bill introduced.

The Deputy may not make a speech.

The Deputy keeps referring to it as the Raglan House legislation. That is not true. It is a multistorey buildings regulations.

Let us have less stories and more action.

The legislation will not be before the House today, but the Deputy can rest assured that he will get a suitable opportunity to discuss it and debate it next year.

This is a disgrace.

It is not a disgrace but the Deputy is making it so. The Deputy has been patient and his patience will be rewarded.

It is a very serious matter.

Will the Taoiseach make a statement on the extraordinary lack of adequate preparation and total incompetence displayed in the processing of a bigamy case on behalf of the State?

That does not arise on the Order of Business.

If the Taoiseach is unwilling to make a statement today, will he consult with the Director of Public Prosecutions pursuant to the Prosecution of Offences Act in regard to this matter? It is a serious matter and this is the third case of this nature that has not been properly processed.

The Deputy will have to find another opportunity to raise it. It is not in order now. I am calling Deputy Jim Higgins.

We are having a bigamous charter developing in this country. It is quite extraordinary.

Will Deputy Shatter resume his seat. I have called him twice. If he does not resume his seat——

I would like to ask the Taoiseach if he proposes, when the Dáil resumes, to introduce the badly needed legislation to curb under age drinking of alcohol?

There is an Intoxicating Liquor Bill on the stocks and I hope to introduce it in 1988.

The same Bill?

It should be well matured.

With regard to long promised legislation, let me ask the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health if they would circulate the Bill on the care and protection of children so that interested groups and individuals can study it during the Christmas period? I take it it is coming up very early in the next session.

I will try to facilitate the Deputy and have it circulated as early as possible. I do not think it will be done before Christmas.

Will it be shortly after Christmas?

It will be circulated as soon as possible thereafter.

Having regard to the fact that the Taoiseach gave an indication with regard to legislation when this Dáil commenced, and following on the question raised by Deputy Mitchell, there are in draft form from the previous Administration pieces of legislation that are not contentious but are subject to some kind of technical problem somewhere along the line. I ask the Taoiseach to consider opening up discussions between all of the Whips in the recess, not just the Fine Gael Whip and the Government Whip, to discuss how we could advance this kind of legislation.

I am allowing the Deputy the facility of raising the matter. He may not make a speech.

The Bill in question has been around for a long time and is not politically contentious.

The Deputy has made his point.

Perhaps the Taoiseach would respond and give an indication as to how we might advance on this matter.

I ask the Taoiseach to give consideration, perhaps at this stage benevolent consideration, during the recess to the formation of an all-party joint Oireachtas committee on foreign affairs.

If I may on the Order of Business, and I hope you will find this in order, I would like to take this opportunity of wishing you, Sir, a very happy and peaceful Christmas and to express the same wish to all other Members of this House.

I thank the Deputy and wish all of you very many happy returns of the day.


Perhaps Deputy Spring proposes to amend that.

May I give notice that I wish to move the same motion.


Thank you, Taoiseach.

In wishing you a happy Christmas and appreciating the difficult tasks you have had during the year I feel, Sir, that you were rather harsh in asking Deputy McGinley to leave the House when making his protest about a matter which is of extreme importance in County Donegal. I just want to make my protest and say, Sir, that I did not think Deputy McGinley was going beyond the bounds of what was in order.

I am glad the Deputy raised the matter. I had no intention of pressing that point and I did not intend the Deputy should leave the House.

I take it that you are wishing Deputy McGinley a happy Christmas.

Very much so, and Deputy Harte and all the Deputies in this House.

And the Donegal mackerel.