Order of Business.

It is proposed to take items Nos. 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 15, 17 and 18. It is also proposed, subject to the agreement of the House, that the sitting shall not be suspended at 1.30 p.m. today; that item No. 15 shall be decided without debate; that consideration of item No. 17 shall be adjourned at the conclusion of proceedings on amendment No. 38 and that the order shall not be resumed thereafter.

Private Members Business shall be item No. 33, motion 47.

Is the proposal that the sitting shall not be suspended at 1.30 p.m. today agreed? Agreed.

Is it agreed that item No. 15 be decided without debate? Agreed.

On the Order of Business, the Government have circulated details of business that will be dealt with in this House between now and Christmas. There does not appear on that list of proposed legislation the Environment Protection Agency Bill. The Taoiseach promised that that Bill would be published during the course of the so-called Green Presidency. When are we likely to see the Environment Protection Agency Bill circulated? When the Taoiseach has replied, Sir, I should like to seek your permission to raise a matter on the Adjournment.

The Environment Protection Agency Bill is No. 1 on the list. It has been circulated. I beg the House's pardon, I understand it has not been circulated but that it will be circulated very shortly. It will be taken during this session and we hope to make considerable progress on it during this session.

Sir, may I seek your permission to raise on the Adjournment the position of Romanian children adopted by Irish couples and the problems pertaining thereto that need to be resolved?

I will communicate with Deputy Shatter in respect of that matter.

May I ask the Taoiseach and the Minister for the Environment whether they can indicate to the House when the National Roads Authority Bill will be circulated and debated in the House?

I find that Bill also on my list, No. 3.

It appears the Taoiseach is the only Member of the House with the list.

I am probably the person in this House best entitled to the list.

We are all entitled to it.

Perhaps the Taoiseach could share the list with the rest of the House. More to the point, may I ask him whether he could perhaps share the legislation with the rest of the House?

In the interim if the Deputy asks me any question I will be delighted to answer him.

When will we see the Bill?

Very shortly.

How shortly? Five years we are waiting now.

(Limerick East): Let me ask the Taoiseach when the 1991 Estimates will be circulated.

In plenty of time.

(Limerick East): Will it be before or after the Presidential election?

It will have no relevance to the Presidential election.


(Limerick East): Can the Taoiseach assure the House he is not holding anything back?

You might not have a candidate yet.

I can give the Deputy this assurance, that there will not be the same last minute rush after Christmas as——


In view of the fact that my Dáil question to the Taoiseach seeking information about the plight of Irish people in Iraq and Kuwait was disallowed, could I have your permission, Sir, to raise on the Adjournment the situation particularly of Irish people trapped in Kuwait where they are now reduced to flour and water as their only food?

I will communicate with the Deputy.

I would like some clarification from the Taoiseach in relation to the matter raised by Deputy Noonan, because the Government Press Secretary very recently berated me when I said the Estimates would not be published before the Presidential election. Can the Taoiseach not categorically stand up in this House and say one way or the other whether they will be published before 7 November? Otherwise either he or his press secretary, somebody, is telling lies.


The Deputy should be very careful with those accusations because we might be prepared to send some back to him, and he knows exactly what I am talking about.


His penchant for personal vindictive insults might suddenly be exposed for what it is.

Will they be published?

Of course they will be published, in plenty of time.

Before 7 November?

They have nothing to do with 7 November.


Deputies, be patient. Deputy Pat Rabbitte.

On the Order of Business I ask the Taoiseach to have another look at his list of legislation to confirm whether the much promised Part-Time Workers Bill will be taken in this term.

I find here at item No. 7 Part-Time Workers Protection Bill. By the way, I am sorry I missed the Deputy at Tallaght yesterday. I am sure he feels a bit embarrassed now about that picket he put on when the sod was turned.


Only I was on the picket the Taoiseach would not have been at Tallaght yesterday.

An dtuigeann an Taoiseach an díomá atá ar ghluaiseacht na Gaeilge faoi tharraingt siar an deontais do Ghlór na nGael i mBéal Feirsde agus an iarrfaidh sé ar an Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha é a thógáil ag an chead chruinniú eile den Chomhdháil Angla-Éireannach a bheas ann gan mhoill.

Beidh sé ar an agenda.

I wanted to raise two matters. One relates to the reported statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Collins, regarding the willingness of the Irish Government to consider the question of defence in the European Community context. Does the Taoiseach propose to make a statement in the House with regard to that matter to clarify whether he was reported correctly?

That is hardly relevant now.

I wanted to put the second question to the Taoiseach regarding the appalling murder of six people in Northern Ireland and the injury of many more. Will he give an opportunity today, perhaps half an hour or an hour, for statements to be made by the parties in this House regarding the situation there?

There are many ways open to the Deputy to deal with such matters.

I think it is normal practice to allow the Taoiseach to respond when a request is made regarding statements.

On the question of the EC matter, it is intended, subject to agreement between the Whips, to have a debate on the whole situation very soon, possibly next week. The Government have already issued a strong statement condemning these outrages, these murders, and perhaps that will suffice, but we are open to suggestions on the matter.

Deputy Gay Mitchell has been offering. A large number of Deputies have been offering.

Item No. 1 on the Order Paper today is in relation to the special report of the Committee of Public Accounts which has been on the agenda for a considerable time. Will the Taoiseach make some time available in the near future to debate that report since it has been there for several months?

I will consider that. I will ask the Whips to discuss it.

Before I begin, there is a problem about the acoustics in the House since the installation of these new microphone systems. Perhaps they should be explained because we cannot hear responses from other Members.

I seek your permission, Sir, to raise on the Adjournment this evening the question of the practical collapse of the Teagasc advisory services and the extraordinary change in the appointment system of senior agricultural advisers, That is for the Minister for Agriculture.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

Will the Taoiseach let us know when the long promised Colleges Bill will be taken, whether it will be taken in this session, and will he confirm to the House what the Minister said outside, that it will include the College of Music?

The Deputy was referring to the Colleges Bill?

Not likely this session.

Is the Taoiseach aware that has been promised for the last two sessions?

In view of the outrageous happenings in Northern Ireland last night and the fact that I have been calling for tighter security along the Border particularly at Lifford Bridge, I ask that I be allowed to raise on the Adjournment this evening the entire matter of Border security in the Republic.

I will be in touch with the Deputy.

Let me ask the Taoiseach or the Minister for the Environment, as we are now well into the statutory period for preparing local authority estimates, when the rate support grant will be notified to local authorities, as it is farcical to be trying to prepare estimates when you do not know the basis of your income for the coming year.

After the election——

A Deputy

On 11 November.

——on 8 November.

There is a Dáil question.

In the absence of a response, and obviously much information will become available after 7 November, I ask your permission, Sir, to raise this matter of vital interest to every local authority on the Adjournment this evening.

I am afraid you will be disappointed——

I will be in touch with the Deputy concerning that matter.

I would like to raise on the Adjournment the serious matter of the hunger strike of Dessie Ellis.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

Let me ask the Taoiseach when it is proposed to bring Report Stage of the Child Care Bill before the Dáil. While I am on my feet, Sir, I ask your permission to raise on the Adjournment the issue of the Government plan for the privatisation of the Sugar Company.

I will be in touch with the Deputy concerning that matter. Deputy Andrew Boylan has been offering for some time.

On the Child Care Bill, it is expected to commence by the end of November. The reason it has not been taken earlier is that there are some further amendments the Department of Health are anxious to incorporate into it.

Let me seek to raise on the Adjournment as a matter of extreme urgency the major blunder made by the Government in excluding large portions of the constituency of Cavan-Monaghan from the severely handicapped areas application to Brussels. While I understand that has been returned——

The Deputy need not elaborate now. I will communicate with him.

I wish to raise the matter of your decision not to allow questions to the Minister for Tourism and Transport in relation to clarifying whether local bodies promoting Irish tourism etc. on the Continent can say specifically that Ireland is a free fishing resort. The Ceann Comhairle has said this is a matter for Bord Fáilte. In my opinion either the Minister or the Government should clarify that.

Deputy Moynihan will find other ways and means of raising that matter. My decision stands.

There is one point I want to make——

You may not pursue it now, Deputy.

Another wink and nod job for the Government.

I wish to know who is going to advise bodies collecting money on behalf of themselves and their community whether or not it is legal——

The Deputy may raise it at another time and the Chair will be glad to assist in the matter.

Will the Bill to replace the 1932 Road Traffic Act, the Bus Competition Bill, be brought in during this session? I would also like to ask the same question in regard to a Bill to transfer air traffic control services out of Tourism and Transport to a separate commercial semiState body.

No. Neither.

The answer is no on both counts?

Not in this session.

A Cheann Comhairle, you disallowed a question of mine to the Taoiseach today. I want clarification as to whether he will be in the House tomorrow——

First of all, I want to make it clear that the Chair's rulings may not be challenged in this fashion by the Deputy or the previous Deputy.

I am not challenging the Chair. I want to find out if the Taoiseach will be here at the agriculture debate tomorrow to answer the questions that I have put down specifically to him. If he is not here, will the Minister for Agriculture be here to answer them on his behalf? I want to know what the Taoiseach, along with the other EC Heads of State, did about the GATT negotiations this autumn? In fact the Taoiseach did nothing. He let every farmer in Ireland down. As far as your Minister is concerned he is not in the ratings at all.


We will make the Taoiseach say whom he contacted.

When does the Taoiseach propose to introduce the new Competition Bill as promised?

It is at an advanced stage but I do not think it will be in this session.

Is it not the case this legislation was promised in the joint programme?

Is Deputy Barrett not able to follow up his own question?


On a point of order, is it not reasonable to expect from the Taoiseach an answer as to why these various pieces of legislation will not be taken in this session? Will the Taoiseach give an explanation as to why he presides over a Government that over a six month period from 13 July last to the end of January could only sit 25 days in all? Is that not the problem? He is ignoring the democratic procedures of this House.

The Deputy may not make a speech.

There are two matters I wish to raise.

The reason I wanted to make my point is that there are times when the Chair asks us to use the parliamentary question method to extract information. I want to point out to you, Sir, that we use that method but unfortunately the information we are given is not always accurate. There is no point in being told that legislation will be introduced shortly only to find on coming back after four months that it is still not going to be in the next session.

If the Deputy is dissatisfied in that regard he does have a remedy.

What can you get done in a 20 minute session?

There are two matters I wish to raise. On the Order of Business, I would like to ask the Taoiseach if the promised legislation to reorganise local government will be circulated before the end of this session? Second, I seek to raise on the Adjournment, with your permission, the long waiting lists of public patients for heart by-pass operations.

I will be in touch with the Deputy.

Can the Taoiseach answer the question I raised on the Order of Business about local government?

I gather that there is no legislation promised.

I beg to differ. The legislation was promised in the debate to postpone the local elections last year. It was promised that that legislation would be enacted before the end of February.

That is correct.

My question is, if the Bill to reorganise local government will be circulated before the end of this session, which would seem necessary if it is to be enacted before the end of February. It is promised. It is on the record.

Let us not argue interminably about the matter. I am calling on Deputy Carey.

Obviously promises made to this House are only conditional.

It is some time now since this matter was raised. When Deputy Connaughton asked the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture questions whether they would attend here tomorrow a Deputy on the far side, I think Deputy Connaughton's constituency colleague, Deputy Treacy, referred to Deputy Connaughton as a windbag.


The Chair allowed that. If Deputy Treacy wants to call the farmers of Ireland windbags, he is entitled to do that but he is not entitled to call a colleague that in this House. The Chair should ask him to withdraw that. It was unparliamentary.


It is a political term, is it, Sir?

The first point I wish to make is that the incredible deterioration in the acoustics that are available to the Members on the benches on all sides of the House is not conducive to the good order of this House. While this form of microphone may facilitate the transmission of the proceedings of this House it is clear that for the whole of the period in which proceedings have been conducted this morning Deputies from all sides have had the greatest difficulty in hearing replies and points being made, I would ask you, Sir, to communicate with those responsible.

In reply to that matter, I am sorry the Deputies are experiencing some difficulty in this regard. I am told that the technicians have been asked to raise the acoustic levels and that they are doing so. I hope it will be satisfactory very soon.

There are no replies coming any way.


I am grateful to you, a Cheann Comhairle, because there are some of us who feel at a great loss if we missed even a single word.

The issue I wish to raise on the Adjournment this evening ag deireadh na hoibre nó ba mhaith liom an cheist seo faoi Theilifís Gaeltachta agus céard tá in aigne an Rialtais faoi a ordú ag deireadh na hoibre inniu.

Cuirfear freagra chugat ar ball, a Theachta.

I would like to ask the Minister for Agriculture if the application he submitted to Brussels for the reclassification of the disadvantaged areas has been withdrawn or sent back. Throughout rural Ireland the information is that it has been sent back.

I thought the Deputy had a legitimate question.

Would the Minister answer either yes or no?

In connection with the item raised by Deputies Harte and De Rossa regarding the terrible atrocities that were committed last night and over the last few weeks, would the Taoiseach consider advocating the wearing of some national symbol for one day, first in sympathy with the people who have died——

Deputy Enright knows the procedure in this House. I want to facilitate him in eliciting information, but he must do so in the proper manner.

I appreciate that, but we should express our abhorrence of the crimes that are being committed. In support of Dr. Eames——

Sorry, Deputy Enright, I have ruled the matter out of order.

I would ask the paramilitaries to call off the destruction——

Deputy Pat McCartan.

I would ask the Taoiseach to consider that matter.

Can the Taoiseach give an undertaking or an indication that the Rape (Amendment) Bill which has been awaiting Committee Stage for some considerable time — the Bill has been making very slow progress, it is almost two years since it was first circulated — will be dealt with in this session and that it will be on the Statute Book before the end of the year?

It is on the list — No. 8. It is at Committee Stage, as the Deputy knows, and certainly we will see if we can expedite it.

I would like to ask the Taoiseach when he will set up the appeals board, as promised, to investigate the exclusion of certain areas from the disadvantaged areas scheme.

I respectfully suggest that the Deputy puts down a question on the matter.

This is a very important matter. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture and Food have promised that an appeals board would be set up.

The Minister made a cock-up of it.

When will it be set up?

Deputy Sheehan, resume your seat.

A Cheann Comhairle, will the Taoiseach answer the question?

No, he is not entitled to answer questions that are not in order.


I want to raise two matters: I want to ask the Taoiseach if the Colleges Bill will be introduced this session, and to raise on the Adjournment the undue delay in the decentralisation of a Government Department to Waterford.

I will be in touch with the Deputy concerning the latter matter.

I would like to raise on the Adjournment the centralisation of the Garda Síochána in the larger towns and the reduction in the standard of service being provided in rural Garda stations.

I will communicate with Deputy Enright.

May I ask for your permission to raise on the Adjournment the question of the non-disclosure of critical forensic evidence in the case that has become known as the Tallaght Two?

I will communicate with the Deputy.

I would like to raise on the Adjournment the extreme difficulty being experienced by geriatric patients and their families in finding accommodation in long-stay public hospitals and in particular the case of a constituent who is over 80 years of age. This person is suffering from cancer and glaucoma, as well as being arthritic, incontinent and a diabetic. Her family, who can no longer care for her, are being pressured by the hospital authorities to take her home.

I will be in touch with the Deputy in regard to the matter.

I would like to raise on the Adjournment the position of a 15 year old boy who is homeless and for whom no suitable accommodation can be provided by the Eastern Health Board.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

I would ask your permission to raise on the Adjournment the absence of a cardiac ambulance service in the Cork-Kerry region and the failure of the Government to provide the Southern Health Board with funds for that service.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

I would like to ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food, following the strike in the farm development services in Leitrim and Donegal which thankfully has now been settled, if payment will be made to the 350 farmers who are awaiting grant payments since last February.

That is not in order now. The Deputy has many ways and means of raising it.

May I raise it on the Adjournment?

I will communicate with the Deputy.

They will have the cheques on 6 November.

Further to the matter raised by my colleague, Deputy Paul Connaughton, and in view of the serious impact of the GATT negotiations, would the Taoiseach consider allowing a fullscale emergency debate on the impact of those negotiations on both industry and agriculture in this country? In order to impress upon——

I thought the Deputy had a relevant question to raise.

It relates to the Order of Business.

There will be a debate on that matter tomorrow.

That is not a debate.

The bland statements of "tomorrow" are not sufficient to impress upon our European partners the dependency of this country on agriculture and industry and the likely negative impact——

You may not debate the matter now, Deputy.

I would call on the Taoiseach——

It may not be debated now. There are other ways in which this matter might be raised.

There are no other means by which the matter can be raised. In order to protect Irish interests and ensure that the trust we placed in the Single European Act is not displaced, I call on the Taoiseach to consider this as a matter of urgency.

Resume your seat. I am going on to deal with the Order of Business proper.