Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Authority Rents.

6.

asked the Minister for the Environment if he will make a statement regarding the Government's policy on the method of determining local authority rents.

In the context of the commitment in the Government's election manifesto, a review of local authority rents is being undertaken in my Department in consultation with representatives of the NATO.

Is the Minister familiar with a letter which emanated from the office of the director of elections for his party at the time of election of representatives of the National Association of Tenants' Organisations and which was quite clear in its commitment to introduce certain specific changes which those among us who might be deemed to be uncharitable could interpret as having been politically popular at the time? Would he say whether those commitments are still Government policy? I might add that if the Minister experienced any difficulty in obtaining a copy of the relevant letter I should be happy to forward one to him. Is that letter now Fianna Fáil and Government policy?

I understand, Sir, that in its original submission, that matter was referred to and the question was disallowed by you. In the circumstances I do not see what particular relevance it has to the question as now framed.

I will clarify that, a Cheann Comhairle. The point is that in the general election the Minister's party were quite clear about what they proposed to do with local authority rents.

This is Question Time. The Deputy seems to be imparting information rather than seeking it.

The Minister sought it. I simply want to know if it is still his and his party's intention what he said in the letter he would honour at the time——

This is becoming repetitious.

That is all I am asking.

Another broken promise.

There is no need for this to be a vexatious matter. The subject matter which the Deputy raised is ongoing in the discussions that are taking place with NATO. The agreement between the Minister, the Department and NATO is that these should not become matters for public discussion until such time as they are finalised.

We must now proceed to other questions.

May I ask another question?

It must be very brief Deputy. The time for Priority Questions is exhausted.

What occurred since the general election that has caused the matters about which he was quite specific to need further consideration?

There have been several discussions with the organisation referred to in the question, and they are ongoing.

They were not ongoing two years ago.

Meetings are taking place all the time to discuss many of the major issues, such as tenant purchase, the sale of flats and related matters to the item the Deputy raised. He knows these discussions are ongoing——

There was no need for discussions when the election was on.

Discussions always take place during election time.

I think you understand what I mean.

I will hear Deputy Keating if he rises in his place. The Deputy should put a question in the proper fashion.

The Deputy will appreciate that the discussions are ongoing and the least he could do is wait until the matters are finalised.

That is what I would have thought two and a half years ago.

Some discussions take a little longer than others.

Deputy McCartan rose.

(Interruptions.)

Please Deputy McCartan, it is not orderly for you to intrude in Priority Time. Time is fast running out. Question No. 7, please.