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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 28 Nov 1990

Vol. 403 No. 2

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 3, 4, 5, 8 and 17. It is also proposed, subject to the agreement of the House, that (1) business shall be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m. tonight and (2) No. 8 shall be taken without debate. It is further proposed that under Standing Order 41 statements shall be made at 3.45 p.m. in connection with the CSCE Summit in Paris. Private Members' Business shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. and shall be No. 26.

May I now ask if the proposal for the 10.30 p.m. sitting tonight is agreed? Agreed. Is it also agreed that No. 8 be taken without debate? Agreed. Is it further agreed that Private Members' Business shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m? Agreed.

I would like to ask the Taoiseach two questions this morning. First, in view of the fact that it is likely that the United Nations Security Council are today going to adopt a resolution sanctioning the use of force in the Gulf will the Taoiseach be prepared to engage in consultations with all parties in the House, through a foreign affairs committee or otherwise, on the position in which this now places the Irish people who still remain in Iraq?

I would much prefer if we had special notice of that matter, Deputy.

I ask that question in the context of special consultations through a foreign affairs committee or otherwise. I am sure the Taoiseach would wish to respond in view of the seriousness of what is likely to transpire over the next short while. The other question relates to legislation. May I ask the Taoiseach, in view of the imminence of the promulgation of the draft register of electors and in view of the court decision of yesterday that students are entitled to register in two locations, if any arrangements, by way of legislation or otherwise, will be made urgently to ensure that the new draft register takes full account of that court decision and allows students to register in the town in which they are living during their academic year? Is any legislation contemplated or necessary to deal with the granting of this right which the court has decided students have?

No legislation is promised in respect of the latter matter. I suggest that quite clearly it is a matter for a Dáil question which I would be very happy to answer. On that score we will have the constituencies revision Bill which will give Deputies an opportunity to talk about that and similar matters.

It is a matter of some urgency in view of the imminence of the completion of the draft register.

It should be raised at another time.

In relation to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1990 which is before the House today will the Taoiseach not try to provide time to make the necessary changes as recommended by the Supreme Court yesterday, otherwise further legislation will be necessary? It would be timely to try to bring it in with the Electoral (Amendment) Bill on which the Minister for the Environment is looking for a Second Stage debate today.

They are separate matters. Of course we are conscious of the Supreme Court's decision and it will be taken into account.

I call on Deputy Proinsias De Rossa.

I asked the Taoiseach yesterday——


They will only be allowed to vote once.

Even the Taoiseach's election agent will be allowed to vote only once.

I can assure Deputies that we have no intention of having a general election for four years.


Let us get down to ordinary business.

It is obvious that the Christmas holidays are coming up. When I asked the Taoiseach yesterday about the likely decision of the Security Council of the United Nations, and the impact this may have on Ireland's role in the Gulf crisis, he indicated that he would consider the issue. May I ask him if he has had an opportunity to consider the matter, if he will take the opportunity to make a statement on it to the House and enable Deputies to put their views. In my view, Ireland's role should be to insist that a peaceful solution be found to the Gulf crisis.

The Deputy has adverted to a matter which was mentioned earlier this morning——

Not in the same context.

——and clearly it is not relevant to the Order of Business.

The earlier question related to its effect on Irish people in Iraq and Kuwait whereas my question related to its effect on this country and its role in the Gulf and the United Nations. While I am on my feet may I also ask the Taoiseach if he has considered when item No. 14, the fourth Lomé agreement which requires ratification by this House, will be debated in the House?

Is that the APC-EEC Convention?

It deals with the APC-EEC Convention.

I will ask the Whips to have a look into that.

In relation to my first question does the Taoiseach wish to respond?

We have a new procedure for dealing with these matters.

The Deputy will have to raise that at a more appropriate time.

I appreciate that we have a new procedure but it is a very urgent matter and I do not think a one minute discussion tonight at 11 o'clock is really adequate to deal with it. It is an issue of major national importance.

There are other ways of dealing with the matter.

I do not think it should be dealt with under the so-called grievance time.

It cannot be debated now in any event.

Is there any relevance in the fact that the explanatory memorandum to the Exchange Control (Continuance) Bill, 1990, contains details of the constituency breakdown applicable to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1990? Similarly, the explanatory memorandum to the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 1990, contains details of the Exchange Control (Continuance) Bill, 1990. Will the Taoiseach give an explanation as to how this occurred and ensure that proper explanatory memoranda are circulated in relation to both Bills?

Perhaps it can be dealt with on the Bill when we come to deal with it.

Perhaps we could have an explanatory memorandum.

Please, Deputy Shatter, let us proceed in an orderly fashion.

In the area of promised legislation, I should like to ask the Taoiseach if he can say when the Minister for Labour intends to circulate the Bill dealing with part-time workers which was promised on numerous occasions and has not yet been circulated.

We expect to circulate it during this session.

In the area of promised legislation will the Taoiseach tell me when he proposes to introduce legislation which will deregulate public transport in urban areas? That legislation has been promised.

I will have to communicate with the Deputy concerning that.

Thank you.

Will the Taoiseach say when the legislation as proposed on moneylenders will be brought before the House?

Is this legislation proposed?

Yes, it is most definitely legislation that has been proposed. If you wish I will quote from a question by the former Deputy, Miss Colley, in which she asked whether the Minister for Justice had any proposals for legislation to tighten up on the licensing of moneylenders. The answer was that the legislation was in the early stages of preparation. Also on the same day the reply to a question was as follows: "In that context the Minister for Industry and Commerce will introduce the necessary legislation to implement the EC directive on consumer credit which will encompass moneylending. The directive is to be implemented by January 1990".

That does not comply with the rules in regard to promised legislation but, however, let me assure the Deputy that the matter is under consideration.

I support the Deputy and draw the Taoiseach's attention to the fact that it was also promised in this session by the Minister for Social Welfare when dealing with the problem in relation to his brief.

That is a different point.

That should not lead to argument now.

May I ask the Taoiseach when item No. 22 will be taken and when it was circulated?

It is not included for this session.

Will it be included for the next session?

I should like to ask the Taoiseach when will he honour the commitment he gave at the last Fianna Fáil public representatives' conference in Athlone to restore the committees of agriculture immediately? That was more than 12 months ago.

The Deputy should put down a question on the matter.

I must point out that I do not recall seeing Deputy Paddy Sheehan there.

That represents another broken promise by the Taoiseach. This is the only forum we have for discussing the serious crisis in agriculture. The Taoiseach is running away from his responsibilities.

I am calling Deputy Lee.

On an equally serious note, last night I had occasion to render medical aid to one of my colleagues in Leinster House. I should like to ask the Taoiseach if he is aware of the complete lack of medical and treatment facilities in the doctor's room in Leinster House. In short, they are pre-Edwardian. There are not even swabs, dressings, antiseptic creams or lotions, emergency medical equipment, not even a scissors.

There are other ways and means of raising that matter. I am proceeding to the first item.

May I ask the Taoiseach when it is intended to take item No. 24, the Report Stage of the Child Care Bill, 1988. Is it intended to complete Report Stage before Christmas as the matter is very urgent?

It is intended to complete it before Christmas.

On the matter of promised legislation, when is it proposed to bring forward the Bill to abolish the rod licences and replace them with voluntary contributions?

The Deputy should have the Bill tomorrow.