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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 8 May 1991

Vol. 408 No. 1

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 10 and 11. Private Members' Business shall be No. 20.

In view of the fact that we have been told for the second month in a row that unemployment is at the highest level in this country's history as a proportion of the workforce, would the Taoiseach agree, now that he is considering the establishment of a number of committees, to establish an all-party committee of the House on employment to carry out an audit of all Government schemes that may prove to be an obstacle to the creation of jobs?

The Deputy should raise that matter in a more appropriate manner.

I realise, Sir, that the matter is so urgent——

It is not relevant now.

——that appropriateness and orderliness do not arise in the context of such a serious national crisis.

There are many ways of raising that matter in this House.

May I ask the Taoiseach if the Government intend, as a matter of urgency, to introduce a Supplementary Estimate to enable the Government and the House to donate funds to famine relief in Bangladesh or Ethiopia?

There is no need at this stage for a Supplementary Estimate. Funds are being provided for three areas of distress at the moment, the Kurds in Iraq, Bangladesh and Africa, particularly Sudan.

Is the Taoiseach aware that a Private Notice Question from the Labour Party on this matter was ruled out of order yesterday on the grounds that it lacked urgency. The urgency was determined by the fact that the Ceann Comhairle's Office was informed that there are no plans to introduce a Supplementary Estimate, and a Supplementary Estimate would be required for this purpose.

This is leading to argument.

I would just like to put it to the Taoiseach that the response from the Government——

The simple position is that there is no parliamentary, legislative or administrative problem in making funds available for these three areas.

Could the Taoiseach outline now or at some appropriate time what the full extent of that response will be? There is widespread concern in the country about this matter.

I think the Deputy has made his point.

In view of the general goodwill in this House towards the Brooke talks that are attempting to get underway at present, would the Taoiseach be prepared to make a statement to the House on the current problem that exists with this matter or would he undertake to brief the party leaders in Opposition on the problem?

The matter to which the Deputy refers is clearly not relevant to the Order of Business.

I fully appreciate that it is not strictly in order on the Order of Business, but I sought to raise a Private Notice Question yesterday which was refused on the grounds that it was not urgent. I believe the matter is urgent and I am simply seeking a response from the Taoiseach that some consultation would take place with the parties in Opposition on this extremely grave position.

I would suggest to the Deputy that a statement by me at this stage on the matter would be far from helpful.

That would surely depend on the content of the statement.

I would be grateful if the Taoiseach would consider the possibility of asking for a summit of all EC leaders to consider the tragic position in Bangladesh. It would be constructive to call for such a meeting at this point.

I would like your guidance in these matters, Sir. I would like to respond to these questions if they were put down in the proper way, and it is not strictly in order on the Order of Business. The position in regard to all these very distressed areas is that the Council of Foreign Ministers discuss these matters regularly and decide on action to be taken at Community level.

I understand the Taoiseach's concern to remain within the rules of order. In order to proceed with the matter further I will raise it on the Adjournment.

The Deputy knows the procedure in that regard.

May I ask the Taoiseach when item No. 5 on today's Order Paper, which relates to the establishment of a select committee on crime will be moved, together with the parallel committee on foreign affairs? There have been several discussions among the Whips on this matter and the Taoiseach indicated to the House that he would proceed with it. When can we expect the resolutions to come before the House?

We are moving on both those committees.

May I ask the Taoiseach, in his dual role as Taoiseach and Minister for the Gaeltacht, if he is concerned or familiar or indeed agrees with the findings of a Bord na Gaeilge commission report stating that the number of native Irish speakers has declined to the critical level of 10,000?

I thought Deputy McGinley had a relevant matter to raise. He will have to raise that question some other time.

It is most relevant to Members of the House and the people whom we represent——

I am calling the Deputy's colleague, Deputy Creed.

Will the Taoiseach make a copy of the report available to Members of the House and to the Joint Committee on the Irish Language?

The Deputy should raise the matter in the appropriate manner.

I put down a question to the Taoiseach last Friday week relating to the alleged sale of Cabinet posts to Cork politicians, which does not appear on any Order Paper.

Please, Deputy Creed. Deputies will have to obey the rules governing the Order of Business.

On a point of order——

I will not entertain a point of order when I am dealing with disorder from you, Deputy.

On a point of order——

No, resume your seat.

My understanding of the Order of Business is that it relates to question——

Resume your seat, Deputy Creed.

Perhaps the Taoiseach will avail of the opportunity——

I ask you, for the second time, to resume your seat or to leave the House.

This is disgraceful.

There are Cabinet posts for sale; £30,000 is the going rate for a Cabinet post.

They may be Cabinet posts but they have to be as thick as planks.

What about accountability?

I do no think the Deputy would ever be in the running.

The Taoiseach should never say "never".

The new slogan is "Come on down if the price is right".

Will price control apply to it?

The interruptions from that side of the House must cease.

They have a new dancing master.

It is lotto on the Taoiseach's side of the House.

I want to return to the question of the crime committee and the foreign affairs committee and the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition regarding an employment committee. Is the Taoiseach considering setting up an employment committee in view of the fact that, for the second month in a row, there have been record levels of registered unemployment?

I am proceeding to——

My question is in order and I am entitled to a reply.

Please, Deputy, I have already ruled on a matter appertaining to that question here this morning.

Does the Taoiseach not care about the record unemployment?

When will the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 1990, dealing with arrangements for pensions for judges, be taken? Will he confirm whether a certain legal threat of action has now been lifted as a result of progress made in this matter?

The Deputy should raise a matter appertaining to legislation and he should not bring in extraneous matter of that kind.

I want to know when the Committee Stage will be taken. The threat of legal action——

A straightforward question is sufficient.

It is certain that the legislation will be taken this session.

Is it true that a tradition in this House means that an abuse of privilege should be referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges? Is it also true that this House never discussed or denigrated a member of the Judiciary without giving that person an opportunity to defend himself?

There are procedures as outlined by the Deputy for dealing with such matters.

Having regard to the fact that my parliamentary——

They probably will not even turn up for Committee Stage.

I saw where Deputy McCartan received £126,000 from free legal aid.


Order for Deputy Rabbitte, please.

A Deputy

The next thing will be that Deputy McCartan will be a Minister.

If all the interests of the members of Fine Gael were declared we would know what they were making.

(Limerick East): It is better than printing their own money.


A little joviality may be welcome but let us get back to the serious business of the House.

Having regard to the decision yesterday to rule my parliamentary question out of order, can your office give me guidance whether there is any procedure now open to me to raise the question of the abandonment of Tallaght hospital which affects so many people in the west of Dublin?

I will communicate with the Deputy.

It is a very serious matter.

I will see whether I can be of assistance.

(Carlow-Kilkenny): I ask your indulgence to raise a matter. I have just left the Gallery having brought in a group of children who cannot hear a word up there. The sound in the Gallery is hopeless. This is a genuine complaint and I ask the Ceann Comhairle to look into it.

The Taoiseach answered a question yesterday regarding legislation to implement the extension of eligibility from 1 June. In view of the fact that a document has been circulated in the Southern Health Board area that this will be phased in over a three year period and that no additional funding will be made available, will the Taoiseach make a statement on the matter?

To what aspect of legislation is the Deputy referring?

The legislation to give effect to extending eligibility by abolishing category 3 under the health services.

I dealt with that yesterday.

It is being phased in over three years.

I would prefer the Deputy to raise this matter in another way.

It would give me guidance in my reply to the Deputy if he could tell me whether he belongs to the reconstructed or the deconstructed section of the party.

The Taoiseach got a lot of construction work done.

Will the Taoiseach say when it is intended to circulate the promised family planning amendment legislation? It was indicated that it would be imminent; will that be in the next week or two?

It is even more imminent.