Order of Business.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: No 7 shall be decided without debate; and Private Members' Business shall be No. 24 and the proceedings thereon shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. tonight.

Is it the proposal that No. 7 be decided without debate agreed?

I wish to move an amendment to No. 7 and I would like your guidance as to whether this is the appropriate time to do so.

Perhaps when we come to that matter the Deputy wll move his amendment.

I need to explain in about three sentences why I wish to move this amendment. Obviously, if you rule that that constitutes debate I would be in difficulty.

The Chair would be in greater difficulty as it was agreed that the matter would be decided without debate.

I promise you, Sir, that it will take only three or four sentences at the most.

The Deputy may briefly make his comments now.

I wish to amend motion No. 7 on the Order Paper of 21 October in regard to sittings and business concerning the Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. I propose that: We delete all words after "Minister for Justice" in paragraph (5) of the text and substitute the following under the heading "Proceedings": Tuesday, 27 October, Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, Third Stage, to conclude by 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 27 October, Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, Third Stage, to conclude by 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 27 October, Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, Third Stage, to conclude by 10.30 p.m.; Tuesday, 3 November, Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, Fourth and Fifth Stages to conclude by 6 p.m.; Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, Fourth and Fifth Stages to conclude by 9.15 p.m. and Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, Fourth and Fifth Stages to conclude by 11 p.m.

The main difference between my proposal and that of the Government is that it allows a delay of a weekend between Committee Stages and Report Stages of the various Bills. It is usual in debates on legislation in this House that points are raised during Committee Stage discussion which suggest amendments that need to be drafted and brought in on Report Stage. If Report Stage immediately follows Committee Stage it will not be possible to draft those amendments or to take advice on them. I propose, therefore, that there be a further gap of a weekend between Committee Stages and Report Stages of the Bills to allow any points that arise during Committee Stages that warrant amendment, either from the Government or the Opposition, to be framed and discussed. That is a reasonable proposal which would not unduly delay the timetable — it would simply delay it by one week. It would not add to the amount of debating time in the House but would allow a period wherein amendments arising on Committee Stage can be drafted for discussion on Report Stage.

I will entertain the Deputy's amendment when we come to No. 7. He has already made his contribution. In matters of this kind the Chair would prefer if formal notice were given.

Notice was given.

I am not aware of such notice.

My office gave notice to the General Office last night of the intention to move this amendment. We gave as much formal notice as we could.

My advice is that no copy of such an amendment was submitted to my office. It certainly did not appear before me.

If that is the case it is a matter for your services to consider.

I shall be looking into the matter.

I object to the taking of No. 7 without debate, as I did yesterday, because it is the wrong way for this House to do its business. If the Taoiseach persists in holding the referendum on 3 December he is doing a great disservice to the way we do our business. Given the divisiveness in the debate yesterday evening, perhaps the Taoiseach would consider allowing more time for consideration of this issue so that the House might arrive at a consensus. The error on the Taoiseach's part is his persistence in holding the referendum on 3 December.

I see no problem with Deputy Bruton's proposal in so far as it seeks to provide additional time for debate, and I hope it will be possible to reach agreement in providing it. The main reason I rise is to point out that the Referendum (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, which provides for the holding of the referenda and the form of the ballot, was circulated this morning but there is no indication in the schedule of business as to when this Bill will be discussed. Will the Taoiseach say when the Bill will be introduced and how much time will be provided for its discussion? Will he say why the so-called substantive issue will be headed on the ballot paper, "The Right to Life"? This is an under-handed, "sleeveen" way of dealing with the issue.

The Deputy will have an opportunity of raising these matters when we come to the appropriate Stage or Stages of the Bill.

That is a slogan from one side of the debate and it is a disgraceful way of dealing with the issue.

It is not in order now to go into detail of that kind. It is more appropriate to Second and Committee Stages.

Perhaps the Chair would allow me to conclude. The title of the Bill on which the people are being asked to decide, according to the schedule of business for the House this week, is Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution Bill (Abortion).

The Deputy has made his point, we cannot have a speech now.

The Bill to which the Deputy referred will be dealt with tomorrow in the normal way. He knows that quite well. It will be the choice of the people as to what way they will vote——

It is a one-sided debate.

The Taoiseach is trying to mislead the people.

I listen to all Deputies but when I rise it is interruption after interruption. I will repeat what I said yesterday, we never at any stage tried to stifle debate; we offered whatever time was required but we were never told distinctly what this was. We said yesterday that we would discuss it last night and there was agreement on an extension of time. Let us hope people are satisfied with that. I gave my word to the people which will be kept, my word is my bond, let everybody else sort himself out.

(Interruptions.)

I agree with Deputy John Bruton as I have constantly called in the House for an interval of one week between Committee and Report Stages.

I am putting the question——

On a point of order——

I hope it is a point of order, Deputy.

Is it in order to proceed when we are not sure whether, in the case of the Bill published this morning, it is in accordance with the legislation governing the holding of referenda?

There will be ample time to deliberate upon these matters.

Question put: "That No. 7 shall be decided without debate."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 65.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
  • Cullimore, Séamus.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Hillery, Brian.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kelly, Laurence.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, Jim.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Toole, Martin Joe.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

  • Ahearn, Therese.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Belton, Louis J.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Cotter, Bill.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Reynolds, Gerry.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick J.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Garland, Roger.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lee, Pat.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • McCartan, Pat.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Gerry.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Dempsey and Clohessy: Níl, Deputies Howlin and Kenny.
Question declared carried.

May I now ask if the proposal dealing with Private Members' Business, which shall be No. 24 and which shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. this evening, is satisfactory? Agreed. We now come to item No. 7.

On the Order of Business, a Cheann Comhairle, I have already asked the Taoiseach, in relation to the referendum amendment (No. 2) Bill, two questions to which he has not replied. One question is when will the Bill be taken and how much time will be allocated to it? I also ask the Taoiseach why it is that he is insisting on describing the white ballot paper on the abortion question as "the right to life", which is misleading in view of the debate that is taking place in this House?

The Bill to which the Deputy has referred is the referendum Bill itself. It will be taken on Tuesday and the Whips will be meeting to agree on how it is to be done.

Even if the motion——

This kind of argument may not continue. There will be ample time to discuss in great detail the various aspects of these measures.

We are about to take a motion without debate which already allocates the time for Tuesday.

I am aware of all that.

Therefore, how can the Taoiseach tell the House that on the basis of agreement with the Whips we will allocate time for this Bill on Tuesday, when it is not mentioned in the motion? Can the Taoiseach tell us when this Bill will be taken?

The Bill concerned, as the Deputy knows well, must be taken after the other Bills and it will be dealt with on the Order of Business on Tuesday.

Will time be provided?

When will the Bill be taken?

The business has been ordered for Tuesday.

Deputy De Rossa rose.

Please, Deputy De Rossa, this cannot and shall not continue. I am calling Deputy John Bruton.

On the Order of Business, Sir, and before we come to items Nos. 7, 16, 17, 18 and 24, may I ask the Taoiseach if and when it is proposed to have a debate in this House on the prospective loss of up to 2,000 jobs in Aer Lingus when one bears in mind that these losses would be equivalent in a recession to the effect of 30,000 miners' jobs in Britain?

That is not one for the Order of Business and the Deputy knows that.

It is very relevant.

There are many ways and means of discussing that matter in the proper way. It is not one for the Order of Business.

May I put something that is entirely in order? Has the Government any intention of introducing legislation to increase the capital of Aer Lingus in order to allow the House to debate a loss of the scale that would be as great as the loss of 30,000 miner's jobs in Britain?

The Deputy is circumventing the ruling of the Chair. I am calling Deputy Howlin.

Sir, does unemployment not matter to the Government? Are they so preoccupied with other issues that this matter cannot be debated here?

I am surprised at the Deputy.

If you want more time——

Surely the House can deal with more than one issue.

This is a matter affecting the lives of up to 2,000 people.

Deputy Bruton must desist from any further reference to the matter. It is not in order now. I am calling Deputy Howlin.

How is it that an item of this kind can be debated in the House of Commons and we cannot debate it here?

I have called Deputy Howlin.

May I ask, by way of clarification, if item No. 7, which actually sets out the timetable of debate on Tuesday, is passed, first, will there be an Order of Business on Tuesday, and, second, will it be possible, subsequently, to have a debate on the referendum Bill and take amendments we have already tabled?

Yes, there will be an Order of Business on Tuesday.

When will the Bill be taken?

That is the prerogative of the Taoiseach.

We are now about to pass item No. 7 which is a guillotine motion allocating time on Tuesday. When will the Bill be taken and when will amendments already tabled by some parties be taken or will there be an opportunity to do that?

There will be an Order of Business on Tuesday to order Tuesday's business. If the Deputies would make up their mind as to whether they want to sit on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we will respond to them.

That is——

As long as they want to go on coming in here wasting time and seeking more time it is no wonder the public outside want this item debated——

Just answer the question.

——and off the agenda and want to get down to real business as well.

Save the jobs in Aer Lingus.

It is a matter for this House but as far as we are concerned there will be an Order of Business on Tuesday.

Deputy De Rossa rose.

I am calling Deputy McCartan.

May I ask the Taoiseach if he is aware that the schedule of business published for this week from his office proposed in respect of the enabling Bill for the referendum that all Stages would be taken without debate? Is it his intention that when we get to the stage next week of dealing with that Bill to repeat the same arrangements — that it would be taken without debate — or will there be time for debate on Second and Committee Stages next week?

I have already said that the Bill will be taken in the appropriate order in which that Bill is due to be taken and that that matter will be discussed by the Whips in the ordinary way.

That is very formal.

Just to follow up on the point raised by Deputy John Bruton, is it the Taoiseach's intention to allow time for statements to be made on the situation in Aer Lingus either today or later?

That can be raised in the appropriate way.

A Deputy

The Taoiseach should respond.

May I ask the Taoiseach in respect of the debate on the report on the semi-State bodies on Friday whether a Minister will be available to respond to the scandalous situation in Aer Lingus whereby 2,000 jobs are to be lost?

I am proceeding to the Order of Business proper.