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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 30 Mar 1994

Vol. 440 No. 8

Finance Bill, 1994: First Stage.

I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to charge and impose certain duties of customs and inland revenue (including excise), to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provisions in connection with finance.

Question put and agreed to.

Deputy Bruton wished to raise a point of order.

On a point of order, I ask for guidance from the Chair as to why he ruled Opposition questions out of order. We had a resolution in the House regarding promised Government business in relation to the taxation——

Deputy Bruton——

Just listen to him. It is about time the Chair listened to the Opposition.

Show some respect for the Opposition.

We have had a session of grave disorder.

I am asking for guidance on the basis of the Chair's order. My point of order is we had promised legislation because the Government——

That is not good enough.

Will the Chair just listen?

The Government came to the House with legislation.

I am proceeding to item No. 11.

The Chair must listen to the Deputy.

There is a long-standing tradition that the Chair hears a point of order but the Chair is not allowing Deputy Bruton to do so. How can the Chair rule on a point of order without hearing it? The Chair must hear the point of order before ruling on it.

I have heard the points of order and they are essentially points of disorder.

You are a disgrace to the Chair.

The Chair is anticipating——

The Deputy is challenging the Chair.

——what Deputies will say and ruling before he hears what they want to say. That is unreasonable behaviour.

The Chair is a disgrace. He protects the Government every morning.

I have had enough obstruction from the Opposition this morning.

I appeal to the Chair, as the leader of the main Opposition party, to hear Deputy Bruton's point of order.

I have heard his point of order and it is simply an attack on the Chair.

It is not. I will not allow a member of my party to be attacked in that way.

It is an attack on the Chair.

Deputy Bruton wishes to raise a point of order and I ask you to hear him.

The Chair was not elected to protect the Government. He does it every morning.

Deputy Barrett made an allegation against the Chair.

I stand over it.

I am trying to raise a point of order and have a right to be heard.

The Deputy has been heard.

I have not been heard.

He should withdraw that allegation.

An allegation has been made against the Chair of lack of fairness and impartiality.

That is correct and I repeat it.

If the Deputy does not withdraw the remark he must leave the House. I will not allow a slur of that kind to hang over me.

The Ceann Comhairle comes into the House every morning and the Taoiseach can say what he likes. If a member of the Opposition stands up the Chair shouts him down. We are not being protected by the Chair.

That is untrue and the Deputy will withdraw that remark or leave the House.

On a point of order——

I am dealing with disorder and it is not in order for the Deputy to raise a point now. If the remark is not withdrawn I will adjourn the House.

There would not be a problem if the Chair heard Deputy Bruton's point of order.

Deputy Bruton also has an obligation to protect the Chair.

If the Chair rules out Deputy Bruton's point of order we will accept that ruling. All we are asking is that the Chair would hear the point of order.

The Chair did not hear it as the Deputy was only half way through his first sentence.

The Chair stopped him.

A foul allegation has been made against the Chair. It is wrong and I deeply resent it. I ask the Deputy to withdraw it or leave the House.

The Chair should——

I have asked the Deputy to leave the House.

I will withdraw the statement if it insults the position of the Chair.

Thank you Deputy.

I ask the Chair to hear Deputy Bruton's point of order and then rule on it.

My point of order is that the Government came into the House a few weeks ago and proposed a resolution which would introduce the taxation of social welfare benefits. This was purported to be promised Government legislation and action. It now appears the Government intends to reverse that promise in the Finance Bill——

That is not a point of order; it is a statement.

Surely it constitutes——

We are supposed to be able to debate issues in Parliament.

——promised legislation if the Government said it would do something in the House.

The Deputy is embarking on a speech rather than making a point of order.

Will the Chair allow a Private Notice Question on it today?

If the Deputy submits a question I will look at it but I will not give any guarantee I will accept it.

I will submit it. It is due to commence on 6 April and many people will be affected. The matter must be taken today.