It is proposed to take Nos. 1, 7 and 8. It is also proposed that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. today and business shall be interrupted at 10.30 p.m. It is further proposed that No. 1 shall be taken without debate. It is further proposed that No. 8 shall be taken not later than 8.30 p.m. It is further proposed that Private Members' Business, which shall be No. 16, shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m.
Order of Business.
Is the proposal for a late sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that No. 1 be taken without debate agreed?
This item relates to the appointment of Members to the five committees that have been constituted, four of which The Workers' Party have been excluded from. Notice in regard to the convening of the Committee of Selection was not delivered to The Workers' Party until after that committee had sat. That is not a satisfactory way to deal with the business of the House. We do not think we have been properly dealt with in regard to this matter. We object to item No. 1 being taken without debate and we propose to register our protest when the question is put.
Is the proposal that Item No. 8 be taken not later than 8.30 p.m. agreed? Agreed. Is it agreed that No. 16, Private Members Business, shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m.? Agreed.
I should like to ask the Taoiseach if at some stage in the next few days he will make available time to discuss the present position of Irish Steel because there appears to be a contradiction between what the Minister for Industry and Commerce said in the House yesterday in reply to parliamentary questions and a report in one of this morning's newspapers to the effect that the German company involved are in the process of dismantling part of the financial arrangements.
That is not an appropriate matter for the Order of Business.
The House will be aware that there has been a lot of attention in recent months paid to the question of Structural Aid to Ireland from the European Community and I should like to ask the Taoiseach, or the Minister for Finance, or a spokesman on his behalf, if it is a fact that none of those funds will be drawn down by any organisation or group here before the end of the year. I should like to raise this matter on the Adjournment.
I should like to ask the Taoiseach if he has any proposals to update the law on child kidnapping and if he will outline the present position in relation to the signing and ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
That is hardly promised legislation.
Legislation has not been promised but, with the permission of the Chair, I can tell the Deputy that legislation is in the course of preparation.
Is the Taoiseach in a position to give any indication when that legislation will be before the House?
I should like to ask the Taoiseach to make the necessary arrangements to give all VAT which will be paid on the remake of the Live Aid record to the people of Ethiopia in accordance with what was promised in the House in the debate on Ethiopia.
The Deputy should raise that in another way.
On the Adjournment I should like to raise the inhuman and intolerable conditions that the people of Swords have to endure when queueing to sign on on Tuesday. The conditions are not only inhuman but a danger to their health. It is wrong that they should have to queue in this smog.
I should like to ask the Taoiseach if he will consider asking his Whip to negotiate with the other parties in the House to co-ordinate arrangements in the new year in respect of the ordering of business having regard to the fact that for the first time the Irish Presidency of the EC will be for the first six months of the year rather than the second half. That will have implications for the processing of business in the House.
That is a matter for the Whips.
I am glad the Deputy raised that issue because it is a matter to which I have been giving some thought. It was my intention to speak to party leaders about it.
In view of the disclosures on last night's "Today Tonight" programme, will the Taoiseach say if he proposes introducing legislation to protect the members of pension funds?
The Deputy should table a question about that matter.
Legislation has been promised.
The Deputy should deal with that matter in the proper way.
I should like to ask the Taoiseach, or the appropriate member of the Cabinet, when the promised legislation to implement the recommendations in the report of the National Pensions Board will be introduced. I should like to ask the Taoiseach if, when that legislation is introduced, it will be able to deal retrospectively with the hardship that some employees have had to endure after pension funds have been used imprudently or without proper care.
May I communicate with the Deputy about the matter? There are a couple of different types of legislation involved.
I should like to raise on the Adjournment the contribution which the Government are making to the smog problem by issuing coal vouchers to social welfare recipients for bituminous coal. They should be changed to smokeless fuel.
First, I seek permission to raise on the Adjournment the need for proper access to Baldoyle Industrial Estate, Dublin 13.
Second, in relation to a matter raised by Deputy Spring, may I inquire of the Taoiseach whether or not he will confirm reports that the Belfast railway line has lost a grant-subsidy from Brussels in the order of £35 million because of the continued attacks on that line?
The Deputy will have to raise that matter in another way. It is not in order now.
This is a matter which has only recently come to light and it should be addressed in this House.
I seek permission to raise on the Adjournment the issue of security of pensions in the light of last night's programme on H. Williams.
In view of the Minister for the Environment's refusal to sign the Liffey Valley special amenity area order which, in turn, is inhibiting the Dublin county manager from preparing a special amenity area order for the Howth peninsula, I wish to raise this matter on the Adjournment.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the failure of the VEC to honour the decision of the Labour Court to pay part-time teachers pro rata rates to those of their full time colleagues.
I seek permission to raise on the Adjournment the threats by Kildare County Council to a householder in County Dublin to use Stubbs debt collection agency to force payment of local charges to Kildare County Council although the house in question is in County Dublin.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment with the Minister for Energy the question of whether he has been in touch with the ESB or whether the ESB have been in touch with him in regard to the proposed closure of the coal burning station at Arigna, County Roscommon.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the serious over-crowding at Cork Regional Technical College and the failure of the Minister for Education to provide the promised library space.
On the Order of Business, can the Taoiseach tell us if it is the intention of the Government to ratify the 1980 convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction having regard to the comments in yesterday's case that the failure to do so has proved a major stumbling block?
I have already answered that question.
Not specifically in relation to the 1980 convention.
I seek leave to raise on the Adjournment the total inadequacy of the speech therapy services in the Eastern Health Board area.
I will be in touch with the Deputy. Two Deputies are offering.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the obvious change of policy by the Department of Education on the need for a new school building in Swords for Fingal Community College.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the provision of finance for the proposed extension to Listowel Vocational School, County Kerry.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the question of a new postprimary school for Mooncoin, County Kilkenny.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the plight of the tannery industry in Ireland, something which is close to your own heart.
I seek your guidance, a Cheann Comhairle, as I am not sure whether it is proper to raise this matter on the Adjournment or whether I should ask the Taoiseach, or the Minister for Finance, to make a statement on it. I wish to raise the position of traders in Border areas arising out of the parity between sterling and the punt, the possibility of sterling going to £1.05 against the punt and the contingency steps the Government are going to take to protect traders in Border areas. I am not sure whether the Taoiseach should answer this question now or whether I should raise it on the Adjournment.
My office will be happy to assist the Deputy in raising that matter in a formal way.
I seek leave to raise on the Adjournment the problem of the 10,000 students who annually fail to pass leaving certificate mathematics and the need to introduce three levels of certification for leaving certificate mathematics.
I seek permission to raise on the Adjournment the failure of the Minister for the Environment to approve the appointment of an additional assistant city and county manager for Dublin, which has left Dún Laoghaire Corporation without a borough manager since 1 September last. On the Order of Business, can the Taoiseach tell us if he intends to allow time in the House for the Minister for the Environment to inform the House of his proposals for the establishment of an environment protection agency?
That does not arise now, Deputy. I will communicate with the Deputy in respect of the first matter mentioned.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment with the Minister for Finance the need for State assistance to purchase the historic Dillon House in Ballaghadereen, County Roscommon. This is the former home of John Blake Dillon, John Dillon and James Dillon.
I seek permission to raise, once again, on the Adjournment the unprecedented and very serious problem at the Mater Hospital for the last two weeks where all routine admissions to that hospital have been cancelled.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the take-over of Irish Steel.
Would the Taoiseach clarify, arising out of his reply to Deputy Allen, whether the information he gave me earlier this session that the Government were at an advanced stage in the preparation of a Bill to regularise occupational pensions was incorrect?
I told Deputy Michael Higgins that I will communicate with him. I will communicate with the Deputy also.
The Taoiseach actually gave me a very specific reply on this matter earlier this session. I am wondering if the position has changed. In the light of this confusion, I would like to join with my colleagues in their request to raise this matter on the Adjournment.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the failure of the Bank of Ireland to comply with the provisions of the Postal and Telecommunications Act, 1983.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the alleged misuse of hormones and the consequences this has for the beef industry.
I will be in touch with the Deputy. Deputy Allen is offering once again.
May I also seek to raise on the Adjournment the take-over of Irish Steel by Korf and the reported collapse of the negotiations.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment an issue which has been brought to my attention by small farmers in disadvantaged areas, which is whether headage grant payments will be made before Christmas as in previous years.
I will be in touch with the Deputy concerning the matter.
Can the Taoiseach give us an update on the progress on the very long promised legislation to amend the Patents Acts?
It will not be this session.
Is the Taoiseach aware that he was somewhat more positive on previous occasions and has, at least twice, promised it for next session? Can the Taoiseach confirm that the Government have abandoned their intention to introduce this legislation?
It is with the parliamentary draftsman.
But it will not be next session.
Not this session. Live in hope.
Is that the way the Taoiseach lives?
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the withdrawal of school transport from a family in Walshestown, County Westmeath, and the failure of the Minister of State at the Department of Education to review this problem and his failure to keep an appointment with me last Friday morning to discuss the issue.
This is probably the twenty-seventh matter to be raised with me this morning.
That is appropriate——
I have got to make a choice later, Deputy.
——because it is almost the twenty-seventh time that I have sought your permission to raise on the Adjournment the question of the provision of a second level school at Castleview in Tallaght.
I will be in touch with the Deputy concerning the matter.