I wish to announce for the information of the House that the Government have decided to nominate the Minister for Finance, Deputy Ray MacSharry, to be a member of the next Commission of the European Communities which is to take up office on 6 January next.
Nomination of EC Commissioner: Announcement by Taoiseach.
On the last two occasions——
To reiterate what I said this morning, the announcement made by the Taoiseach is for the information of the House. No debate or statements by other Members may arise.
Could I bring it to your attention that, on the last two such occasions, the Chair allowed the then Leader of the Opposition, on one occasion Deputy Haughey and on the previous occasion my colleague, Deputy Barry, to make a brief comment? You will be doing no damage or injury to the order of the House if you allow that on this occasion. I will not detain you for very long.
I am sorry, Deputy Dukes, I will not allow the Deputy to circumvent my ruling in this fashion. I wish to reply to him briefly in respect of the matter he raised appertaining to the rules governing an announcement.
I refer you to the debate on 10 October ——
I will deal with that matter, Deputy Dukes. I must insist that there can be no comment or debate.
That is entirely unreasonable and in the light of the proceedings on the previous two occasions——
I am on my feet, Deputy Dukes. Lest there be any ambiguity about the matter in respect of what Deputy Dukes said this morning and just now in respect of the ruling on the matter of an announcement——
On 2 December 1976 in respect of the appointment of a commissioner and on 16 December 1980 announcements were made by the then Taoisigh to this House. No other announcement or statements were made. On 31 March 1982 in respect of the appointment of a commissioner an announcement was made by the Taoiseach. Brief congratulatory remarks on behalf of the two main Opposition parties were made. On 10 October 1984, on the appointment of a commissioner, a rather lengthy announcement was made by the then Taoiseach and the Ceann Comhairle stated on that occasion: "I called on the Taoiseach to make an announcement. In such a case there would not be any statement from any other Deputy in the House. However, the Taoiseach's intervention went somewhat beyond an announcement and, in these circumstances, I will give both Deputies Haughey and Mac Giolla an opportunity to intervene if they so wish". The leaders of the two parties in Opposition made brief interventions. I am completely satisfied that what we have heard here today is an announcement and that is the end of the matter.
On a point of order, your ruling is doing three things——
If Deputy Dukes feels that the ruling of the Chair is inaccurate he has a way out, but he must accept my ruling for the time being.
On a point of order, may I ask for your guidance? Would it be correct for me, by way of a point of order, to offer on behalf of the Labour Party from the bottom of my heart congratulations to Deputy MacSharry and to wish him well in his assignment?