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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 16 Feb 1989

Vol. 387 No. 3

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 5,6,7 and 8. It is also proposed that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.30 p.m. today and business shall be interrupted at 8 p.m.

Is the proposal for the late sitting today agreed? Agreed.

May I ask the Taoiseach if it is his intention to have a statement made to this House in relation to the obvious conflict of interest between the chairman of a Dáil committee and his private career?

That is not in order now, Deputy. There are many other ways and means of raising such a matter.

I would ask that the Taoiseach be given the opportunity of responding——

It is clearly out of order.

——because this is a matter of vital importance.

That may be so but the Deputy has many ways and means open to him to ventilate his views on it.

The Taoiseach should be given an opportunity——

I must ask Deputy Spring to desist from any further reference to the matter.

I must ask him——

Deputy Spring is taking up an attitude now of defiance of the Chair. I must ask the Deputy to either resume his seat or leave the House. Deputy Spring will now leave the House.


Deputy Spring, please leave the House.

Deputy Spring withdrew from the Chamber.

He was referring to Deputy Lawlor.

Please, Deputy Desmond, unless you want to go the same way.

May I ask the Taoiseach whether it is proposed to introduce legislation in connection with the establishment of the joint Anglo-Irish parliamentary assembly?

It is not in order at this stage.

On a point of order, under Article 12 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement the establishment of such a body is required for the parliamentary assembly.

That is not a point of order. I am not prepared to enter into argument about the matter. I am calling Deputy Stagg.

I ask the Taoiseach if it is the Government's intention to take any action concerning the under-price selling of bread by certain supermarkets and if an order will be made restricting such practices?

Deputy Stagg will have to raise that matter in another way.

I am asking if an order will be made?

It is not in order now, Deputy. Please desist.


I have ruled the Deputy out of order. I have informed him that he may raise the matter in some other form and at some other time.

May I ask when it is proposed to move the proposed amendment to provide for representation on the Western Health Board for Galway County Borough which was established on 1 January 1986.

This is a matter dealing with legislation.

The Minister for Health has indicated that it will be necessary for him to move an amendment to make provision for this.

Is this legislation promised?

I am not aware that legislation has been promised but I will look into the matter for the Deputy.

Concerns have been expressed by some trade union interests about a ship visiting Dublin port and allegedly carrying nuclear waste. I seek your permission to raise the matter on the Adjournment so that I can get some assurance——

I will communicate with the Deputy.

The Taoiseach last week rapped the Minister for Agriculture and Food on the knuckles. I wonder if he would now take time to turn his attention to the chairman of Teagasc, his good friend, whom he appointed because the demise of——

Please do not personalise the matter, Deputy.

We have to get the matter into perspective.


Deputy Farrelly, resume your seat, please.

The Taoiseach said——

I must now ask the Deputy to leave the House. Deputy Farrelly is still on his feet. I take it the Deputy apologises for his conduct; otherwise I must insist that he leave the House.

I am afraid I will leave the House.

Deputy Farrelly withdrew from the Chamber.

May I ask the Taoiseach if he would make it a regulation of the House that all members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on State Sponsored Bodies disclose their outside interests in the interests of the smooth running of the committee?

Clearly there are ways of dealing with that matter other than this.

In view of the importance of 1992 and the various contacts between State sponsored bodies and outside bodies for joint ventures and so on it would be in the interests of the House if all members at that committee disclosed their outside interests.

In view of what is happening here I must try to keep within the rules as much as I can. I am raising a question of legislation. I wish to ask the Taoiseach whether any necessary legislation to implement Article 12 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement is to be introduced to this House. Does the Taoiseach accept that such legislation is necessary and if so will he introduce it shortly; if not how does he propose to have the terms of Article 12 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement implemented?

Is this legislation promised?

Do I take it from that, Sir, that you are not going to introduce legislation?

Deputy Avril Doyle has been called.

As every bullock that will be killed between now and July will die in debt, with your permission a Cheann Comhairle may I raise on the Adjournment this evening the crisis facing beef producers, particularly winter fatteners?

I will communicate with the Deputy.

On Tuesday of this week I gave notice of a Private Notice Question dealing with the outbreak of salmonella in County Donegal. The Minister for Health, through no fault of his own, made an unfortunate statement indicating that the source of the salmonella had been traced. I seek your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to have the Minister for Health clarify the position in view of the very serious consequences of his statement.

I take it that the Deputy is seeking to raise the matter on the Adjournment, and I will communicate with him on that basis.

I beg that the matter be allowed as a Private Notice Question or that it will be taken on the Adjournment.

I am making no commitment in that regard.

I am not accusing the Minister of making a misleading statement, but the Minister was given a report——

The Deputy has made his point and it is not in order that he should elaborate on the matter.

A family business in County Donegal is being endangered by the unfortunate remarks.

Deputy Harte, please desist. I have been on my feet for some time and I must ask you to desist. I now call Deputy Mac Giolla.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I wish to raise on the Adjournment the matter of members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on State-Sponsored Bodies disclosing their interests, so that the examination of State-sponsored bodies would not be prejudiced.

The Deputy has already adverted to that matter and I have ruled it out of order.

I wish to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

I will communicate with Deputy Mac Giolla on this matter.

I do not want to be out of order this morning.


It took me long enough to get into this House and I do not want to be told unceremoniously to leave. Would I be in order, Sir, if I were to respectfully ask the Taoiseach if the Government have come to a decision on whether they will publish the draft plans which will be submitted to Brussels on behalf of the Irish people in six weeks time, on 31 March?

That is not in order, Deputy.

A Cheann Comhairle, you will recall that I have raised this matter a number of times and I think it is reasonable to ask if the Government intend to make time available to discuss such matters. Obviously the plans would have to be published before time would be made available to discuss them in the House. May I ask the Taoiseach if further consideration has been given to this matter?

I think this is a matter primarily for the Whips to decide on.

I wish to seek your permission to raise on the Adjournment the subject matter of the non-implementation by the Minister for the Marine of Statutory Instruments Nos. 107, 108, 109 and 110 of 1988 dealing with merchant shipping and safety at sea.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

I wish to ask the Taoiseach if he is in a position to tell us whether he intends to act on the recommendations of the all-party committee on lottery funds and their disbursement, and if he intends to give time to debate this issue.

The matter is not in order now. The Deputy has been forewarned.

May I raise a point of order?

Let us hear the point.

It is my recollection that apart from the discussion on legislation proper, it is quite common for requests in relation to——

That is not a point of order Deputy. The matter to which you refer is not in order. Indeed, there are questions tabled on the matter.

Can the Government simply ignore this?

Please desist, Deputy, from any further reference to this matter.

I do not wish to strain your patience, a Cheann Comhairle, but I am having fiendish difficulty getting out information——

The Deputy need not worry about my patience; the Chair is quite happy. I am merely concerned about the Order of Business.

I understand that matters relating to the Anglo-Irish Assembly are to come before this Parliament in some shape or form. Am I in order in asking whether it will come before the House by way of motion?

I suggest that the Deputy raise that matter in a proper way. My office will be glad to help the Deputy raise the matter properly.

May I seek your guidance on the matter? If legislation is not proposed, is it proposed that the matter——

On a number of occasions this morning Deputy O'Keeffe has sought to circumvent my ruling in respect of the subject he was raising. I want to hear no more of it. I have assured the Deputy that my office will be glad to assist him in raising the matter properly in the House.

I am trying to get information from the Government.

Yesterday on the Order of Business, I sought to raise on the Adjournment, or by way of Private Notice Question, the undermining of the bakery industry. May I raise this matter on the Adjournment this evening?

I will communicate with the Deputy.

On a point of order, I wish to raise the matter of Deputy Blaney's derogatory remarks about me. Yesterday evening during Question Time there was cross fire between Deputy Blaney and me arising from Question No. 17 to the Minister for Education. I brought the matter of Deputy Blaney's derogatory remarks to the attention of the Chair. I was seeking your protection, Sir, and I want to know why the Chair did not afford me the protection that Members of the House should be afforded by the Chair.

Deputy Harte, I am not going to review yesterday's proceedings for you or anybody else. However, I have a vivid recollection of intervening with the Deputy to whom you refer and I am satisfied that he withdrew the inference but the Deputy may not have heard him. The matter must end now. I would be glad to clarify the matter when I see the Official Report.

A Cheann Comhairle, yesterday I sought an interview with you——

Will Deputy Harte please resume his seat? If the Deputy wants an interview with me he may have it, but I will not allow my rulings to be raised in this fashion in the House.

I am not disputing your rulings, Sir, but I am seeking the protection of the Chair, which I am entitled to.

I am completely satisfied.

The reason I am raising the matter is that I am not satisfied with the way you handled the situation.

The Deputy is not going to get any further with this matter this morning.

I protest.

The Deputy is entitled to protest.

As a Member of this House I am entitled to ask that I be afforded the same protection as any other Member of the House but you, Sir, did not do that.

I think the Deputy's recollection of the subject is poor.

If the Chair had been as consistent yesterday evening as it is this morning——

Deputy Harte, I will take no more of your insults this morning.

There is no insult intended. I am merely stating a fact.

The Chair acts fairly and impartially.

If the Chair had been as consistent yesterday evening as it is this morning, I would not be raising the matter. I want to put this clearly on the record.

I am quite satisfied with the manner in which I dealt with the Deputy yesterday.

The Chair refused to meet me yesterday evening. I was told that the Chair was meeting dignitaries and foreign diplomats.


Deputy Harte is making a very personal attack upon the Chair.

I am protesting at the manner in which the Chair handled the situation. The Chair is obviously very partisan in its views.


Deputy Harte, I have taken enough from you this morning. The Deputy will withdraw unreservedly the remark he has just made or leave this House. I will not have a slur of that kind——

If I have been——

——hang over me in my capacity as Ceann Comhairle of this House.

I agree and I will withdraw the word "partisan".

The Deputy will withdraw it unreservedly. I will not have my honour, my character and my impartiality in the Chair impugned by the Deputy or anyone else.

When I say I will withdraw the word "partisan"——

I am withdrawing it. Will you give me an opportunity to?

There must be no quibble about it.

You asked me to withdraw it.

I have asked the Deputy to withdraw that remark.

Then will you give me an opportunity to do so?

The Deputy has that opportunity.

I wish unreservedly to withdraw the allegation that the Chair is partisan but I wish to put on record that the Chair did not handle the situation yesterday evening, and the Chair knows that.

That is the Deputy's opinion.

It is on the record. The record shows that I am right.

Let us see the record.

I am calling item No. 5.