It is proposed to take Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16.
Order of Business.
There is nothing to put to the House.
In regard to promised legislation may I ask the Tánaiste, in view of the highly ambiguous statement issued last night by the Progressive Democrats, what exactly is the status of the legislation promised in the Government's joint programme? Will the Government exist in order to introduce this promised legislation?
It is the Government's intention to proceed with their programme.
May I ask the Tánaiste if representations have been made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy O'Malley, in regard to any particular matter on the last day or if it is just for public consumption?
Let us have strict regard to what is in order at this juncture.
I wonder if the political stability of the country is in order?
Do not drop the ball, Deputy Spring.
I was there, the Minister was never there. By the time the Minister is finished in Dublin Castle, we will see how many he has left. May I ask the Tánaiste, in the Taoiseach's absence, if he is aware of the problems being caused to this country by the instability in Government particularly resulting from the statement of the Minister for Finance at the weekend that there was no confidence in the Taoiseach and the statement made last night by the leader of the Progressive Democrats? May I ask if he or any fellow member of Government intend to take any action?
The matters referred to by the Deputy are not in order on the Order of Business. They can be raised at other times.
May I ask the Tánaiste, or the Minister for Finance — whoever cares to reply — the position with regard to the Estimates? Will he indicate at what stage the preparation of the Estimates are at, or can he confirm to the House and the country that they are not making any progress on them, because of the paralysis in Fianna Fáil at present and the loss of confidence between the partners in Government?
The Government are considering carefully and punctiliously the Estimates for the coming year. They are showing great enthusiasm at knocking my Estimate in inverse proportion to the way they are knocking their own.
May I ask the Minister for Justice if any attempt will be made to resolve the courts dispute which is bringing our courts to a standstill?
That is not in order now.
I have endeavoured through your good offices to raise this matter by way of Private Notice Question, and I raised it on the Adjournment last week——
That is right. There are many ways of ventilating such matters in the House; it is not in order now.
May I ask the Minister for Justice if he will make a statement to the House today indicating what steps he proposes to take——
The Deputy has put his point of view.
May I join with Deputy Barrett in urging either the Minisiter for Finance, Deputy Reynolds, or the Minister for Justice, Deputy Burke, to take their attentions away for a few moments from the mad scramble for leadership within Fianna Fáil and address this very urgent problem of the courts dispute?
This is fiction.
Order please, the Deputy has made his point, and that should be sufficient.
I would like to oppose the arrangements for taking No. 13 today. At the end of today's business we will have spent four days on this debate which is more than adequate. I notice next week's schedule does not provide for the Environmental Protection Agency Bill to be taken. I suggest we bring Second Stage to a conclusion today by the Minister being allowed to wind up the debate and, in order to facilitate the remaining Deputies who wish to speak, a time limit of 20 minutes be imposed. This is very urgent legislation and it could be filibustered today and drag on until the week after next.
I would have preferred if the Deputy mentioned this matter before we formally adopted the Order of Business but the Deputy's request is something that might be considered by the Whips. May we proceed to item No. 13?
Will the Tánaiste agree that the events of the last two weeks on the floor of this House have created a highly charged political atmosphere and even heightened political tensions between Members on all sides and that these tensions are placing severe stresses and strains on the emotions and feelings of all Members?
The Deputy will find an opportunity of expressing that view later. It is not in order now.
It has heightened tensions——
Deputy Lee, please. I am proceeding now to the Order of Business proper.