Requests to move Adjournment of Dáil under Standing Order 30.

Before coming to the Order of Business I propose to deal with a number of related notices under Standing Order 30 dealing with two different topics. I propose to deal with these two topics separately. I will call on Deputies in the order in which they submitted their notices to my office.

In regard to the first topic, I have received notice from Deputies John Bruton, De Rossa, Spring, Garland and MacGiolla. I call first on Deputy John Bruton to state the matter of which he has given me notice.

Following the decision of the Danish people to reject the Treaty on European Union signed at Maastricht I am seeking the Adjournment of the Dáil, under Standing Order 30, to debate the urgent and important matter of its consequences for our country and for the other member states of the European Community.

In accordance with Standing Order 30 I request leave to move the adjournment of the Dáil to discuss the implications for Ireland and the European Community of the outcome of the Danish referendum in which the Danish people declined to ratify the Maastricht Treaty, the need for the Government to take the legislative steps required to postpone the referendum scheduled here for 18 June as the Maastricht Treaty, in its present form, is now a dead letter and the absolute necessity for the Government to seek a renegotiation of the Treaty, to address its many shortcomings, in particular, and to secure the deletion of Protocol 17.

I served notice of my intention to raise a matter under Standing Order 30 at the commencement of public business as follows: (1) That Dáil Éireann views with extreme concern the decision of the Danish people to reject the Treaty on European Union; (2) Dáil Éireann calls on the Government to take the necessary legislative steps to postpone the referendum due to take place in Ireland on 18 June in order to allow for any necessary clarification and development of the position. I would have to say, Sir, that the position in relation to the Order of Business for today, in offering ten minute statements, is a total insult to democracy, is totally inadequate since there is a crisis and an absolute constitutional absurdity facing the people on 18 June.

The Deputy must confine his remarks to the notice he gave me.

I think I can take a reasonable guess at your deliberation on this, Sir, but I would suggest to the Taoiseach that this House, indeed every Member of it, should be heard on this issue today——

Sorry, Deputy Spring, there will be time for that today.

I propose a motion for the Adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 30 to discuss the failure of the Government to postpone or abandon the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty on 18 June in view of the fact that Denmark has rejected this Treaty, which means the Treaty cannot come into force without the unanimous consent of all 12 member countries of the European Community, and the fact that (1) the abortion question — dealing with the issues of freedom to travel, information and the possible introduction of limited abortion has not yet been settled; (2) the postal dispute which has not yet been settled and (3) the High Court action due to take place tomorrow regarding Government expenditure in promoting a biased campaign.

I request leave to move the Adjournment of the Dáil for the purposes of discussing the implications for Government policy with regard to the Treaty on European Union of the vote by the Danish people to reject the Maastricht Treaty and the need for the Government to make a statement on the matter.

I have been given notice that statements on this matter will be taken after Question Time today. Accordingly, as the Dáil, in practice, will have an opportunity of discussing the matter, I cannot grant leave to move the motion.

A blocking tactic.

Is it not the case, Sir, that you must decide Standing Order 30 on the merits of what is contained in it, that any separate proposals the Government might be proposing to make in the future in regard to that matter are not amongst the matters contemplated in Standing Order 30 and, therefore, do not constitute grounds for refusal of a motion under Standing Order 30?

I can only tell the House that the Dáil is allowed discuss this matter today by way of statements. Accordingly one of the long established guidelines for allowing such matters has not been met, namely, the matter is not likely to develop significantly before the Dáil, in practice, will have had an opportunity of discussing it.

We are being offered ten-minute statements which will not give some parties in the House an opportunity to speak on the issue. I also wish to point out that we are in the middle of a referendum campaign, a campaign which is fast becoming a total absurdity. The Government are offering ten-minute statements when they should be coming before the House giving the legal position offered to them. Will the Government come before the House and give the legal position which has been put before them by, I presume, the Attorney General? Ten-minute statements on this issue are not adequate and I again ask the Taoiseach to give more time to debate this issue in full.

The Deputy has made his point.

The Government are using the device of ten-minute statements to undermine what is clearly the right of this House to debate this issue. I believe that if the Government had not proposed this ten-minute statement device the House would have been adjourned to debate this issue at length so that every Deputy would have an opportunity to make a contribution. It seems to me that the Government are abusing the Standing Orders of this House.

Deputies will have an opportunity of ventilating their grievances when we come to the Statements.

No, they will not have.

There are 55 members in the Fine Gael Party——

(Interruptions.)

Deputy Mac Giolla.

I object to the ten-minute statements because I will not get an opportunity of saying anything. I am totally excluded and censored from speaking in this House on the issue. I object to the arrangement in relation to these statements which is being suggested by the Taoiseach in order to avoid any element of debate on the matter. I object to this proposal on the Order of Business.

I wish to protest very strongly at the absence of any input from the Green Party into this debate. It is outrageous that the Green Party and The Workers' Party should be totally excluded from this debate.

Did I understand you to say, a Cheann Comhairle, that Deputies will have an opportunity to contribute to these statements? Is that the case or will ordinary Deputies like me be excluded from contributing to the debate on this critical issue? Will you clarify your statement on that point, Sir?

I suppose the Order of Business will clarify matters but I agree that all Members will obviously not be facilitated.

On behalf of Fine Gael I wish to protest at this proposal as 54 members of our party will not have an opportunity to speak. This is a clear tactic by the Taoiseach to block an open discussion on this issue.

Obviously we have to accept your ruling, a Cheann Comhairle, on motions raised under Standing Order 30, even though we may not like it. The circulation of a proposed Order of Business which gives ten minutes to a small number of Deputies seriously compromises you, Sir, in terms of your decision under Standing Order 30. For example, it seems it cannot be assumed that this Order of Business will be carried. All it is a proposal for business. Therefore, how can something which is a mere proposal for business weigh on a decision under Standing Order 30? This seems to be highly improper. I join with the other Deputies in the House who suggest that on this occasion every Member of the House has a right to express their opinion as elected representatives and that the putting together of a set of resolutions under Standing Order 30 and the Order of Business is improper.

Please, Deputy. I must remind Members——

On a point of order——

Order. I am about to make a statement, Deputy. I have to remind Members that the only motion before the House under Standing Order 30 is that the House do adjourn to allow a discussion on the matter raised. Statements under Standing Order 41 treat the matter in a very similar way.

In effect, under both procedures the matter is discussed and there is no substantive motion before the House. Members could put down a substantive motion. That is their privilege.

On a point of order, is it not the case that in the event of your accepting my motion under Standing Order 30 I would have an opportunity, having moved the motion, to contribute at the end of the debate having heard the other speakers, whereas under the Statements now proposed the main Opposition party, which consists of 55 Deputies, will have but one speaker who will not have an opportunity to comment on anything which happens subsequently in the debate?

I understand that there is no right of reply in respect of the evocation of Standing Order 30.

I wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the only other item on the Order of Business for today is item 10, the Regional Technical Colleges Bill. I understand the Minister who is dealing with this Bill is out sick.

A Deputy

He is in Baghdad.

Tá sé as láthair.

Forty amendments have been put down——

Please, Deputy.

I have a proposal to make.

I have another motion under Standing Orders to dispose of.

As the Minister responsible for this Bill is not available and as, this morning, only 40 amendments have been circulated by him, I propose that the House be adjourned for ten minutes so that the Government Whip and other Whips can agree on a reasonable time to debate the outcome of the Maastricht Referendum in Denmark.

With regard to the second topic, I have received notice from Deputy Bernard Durkan——

It is a very fair proposal.

On a point of order——

I call on Deputy Bernard Durkan to state the matter of which he has given notice to me.

On a point of Order, I am asking if the Taoiseach and you, Sir, would agree to the adjournment of the House for ten minutes so that the Whips can sit down and arrange a proper debate on the outcome of the Maastricht Referendum in Denmark and that item 10 be deferred until tomorrow. It is a reasonable request.

This must come to finality. We are getting nowhere.

We will lose nothing by doing this.

Will the Taoiseach say something?

I have not had a chance to do so yet.

Stand up.

I call Deputy Spring.

By way of assistance to you, Sir, you said there was no substantive motion before you. I propose that the following motion should be discussed immediately by this House: that in view of the rejection by the Danish people of the Treaty on European Union, Dáil Éireann calls on the Government to take the necessary legislative steps to postpone the referendum due to take place in Ireland on 18 June in order to allow for the necessary clarification and development of the position.

The House can decide that issue when we come to the Order of Business. I now call Deputy Durkan to make his statement.

Before we move on from this matter, I ask the Taoiseach to consider the very reasonable proposition made by Deputy De Rossa that we adjourn the House for ten minutes to enable some reasonable discussion as to how we order our business for today.

I sense no inclination to do so, Deputy.

Will the Taoiseach consider——

I call Deputy Durkan to state the matter of which he has given notice.

With respect, a Cheann Comhairle, I do not think we should move away so readily from this very important matter.

Sorry, Deputy.

It is essential that this House in some way appears relevant——

The House can decide the matter on the Order of Business.

Why will the Taoiseach not say something?

This is a very important issue and it is essential that we discuss it. It is relevant to our referendum which will be held on 18 June——

Deputy McCartan will now resume his seat.

I am merely seeking——

Deputy McCartan, please desist.

——a response from the Taoiseach to the very reasonable proposition made by Deputy De Rossa.

I have advised the House that Deputies can raise this matter on the Order of Business and vote on it, if necessary.

With respect, a Cheann Comhairle, we hope that the request made by all parties on this side under Standing Order 30 will be——

I must ask Deputy McCartan for the last time to desist and resume his seat.

I do not wish to be disorderly; I am merely asking that the Government Whip meet with the other Whips to discuss——

Deputy McCartan, please desist.

——allowing adequate time in the House to debate——

Resume your seat, Deputy. Clearly the Deputy is showing a flagrant disregard for the Chair.

A Cheann Comhairle——

I have called Deputy Durkan and he will now be heard.

With the greatest respect, Sir, I wish to raise a point of order. I put it to the Taoiseach that there is enough confusion——

There is no confusion.

People do not know——

That is not a point of order. I call Deputy Durkan.

The Deputy should follow his leader for a change.

The Taoiseach should give an explanation as to why we are not having a proper debate in the House.

(Interruptions.)

If Deputy Durkan does not proceed I will go to the Order of Business.

It is essential that there is a full debate on this matter in the House.

Deputy Enright, please allow your colleague——

The people of this country are being let down——

Deputy Enright, please desist——

This is totally wrong——

——and resume your seat.

I seek your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, under Standing Order 30 to adjourn the House to discuss a matter of vital national interest, namely, the impending closure on Friday next of the Lullymore Briquette Factory in County Kildare and its implications for the Joint Programme for Government wherein it is resolved to protect indigenous jobs.

Having considered the matter fully, I do not consider it to be one contemplated by Standing Order 30. Therefore, I cannot grant leave to move the motion.