It is proposed to take Nos. 3 to 43, inclusive; 44, 48 and 45. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders that (1) Nos. 3 to 43 shall be moved together and decided without debate by one Question which shall be put from the Chair; (2) No. 44 shall be decided without debate; (3) the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage of No. 48, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.45 p.m. today and (4) the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 4 May 1994.
Order of Business.
Is the proposal that Nos. 3 to 43, inclusive, shall be moved together and decided without debate by one Question from the Chair satisfactory and agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that No. 44 shall be decided without debate agreed? Agreed. Is it agreed that the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage of No. 48, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 4.45 p.m. today? Agreed. Is it agreed that the Dáil on its rising today adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 4 May?
In view of obvious fears that the rail strike will commence at midnight on Monday which is a Bank Holiday and the Dáil will not sit on Tuesday, what plans has the Government to try to avert this strike and, should the strike proceed, what plans has the Government to provide communter services to the public? It is important we know that before we go into recess until next Wednesday.
The procedures of this House permit that matter to be raised another way.
We are asked to agree that the Dáil will not resume until next Wednesday. That will prohibit us from raising this important issue. A Private Notice Question tabled on this matter was disallowed, so it is only fair that the Taoiseach should outline to us what procedures are in place should the strike proceed.
I cannot facilitate the Deputy by giving way to questions now or tending towards debate. There is still time to deal with the matter.
Since we are being asked to agree to the adjournment of the Dáil until Wednesday——
This is not appropriate to the Order of Business and there are procedures whereby we can discuss the matter.
Will the Taoiseach agree to make a statement later today about this matter?
The Taoiseach should be allowed to answer if he so wishes.
There are questions, motions, adjournment debates and so on available to Members of the House for dealing with these matters.
We endeavoured to raise this matter by way of Private Notice Question but it was disallowed. There is no other way, therefore, that the Opposition can raise this, particularly since we will not sit on Tuesday.
Hope springs eternal.
Hope springs eternal for the poor commuters.
Spring is not eternal.
We are told by you, a Cheann Comhairle, that we can raise matters in another way, but when we put down a question to the Taoiseach on his statement in Killarney, it was transferred to the Minister for the Environment. It would avoid us having to ask questions later if the Taoiseach could simply tell us whether he intends to have the Minister for Enterprise and Employment intervene in this dispute. The Minister, Deputy Quinn, was very quick when in Opposition, as was the Tánaiste, to urge the Government to intervene in the threatened ESB strike. Given that Monday is Labour Day——
——the Minister for Labour should become active over the weekend and intervene in this dispute.
May I again advise Members that if they communicate with my office I will strive to facilitate them in respect of this matter and any other urgent matters that may arise.
The Taoiseach is on record yesterday on this matter appealing to the parties to resume discussions.
The Deputy should not pursue something about which I have advised the House. It is not appropriate now.
Perhaps I can deal with it by way of Private Notice Question.
Will a resolution be put before the House amending the trustee status of the Trustee Savings Bank and will there be amending legislation to the ICC Bank Act, 1992 in this session?
I am not aware that any such legislation has been promised.
That was not the question.
Is the proposal regarding the Adjournment of the House to next Wednesday at 2.30 p.m. satisfactory? Agreed.
Will the Taoiseach indicate the concern of the House at the continuing carnage in Northern Ireland? Would he agree there is urgent need for a debate on the Government's Northern Ireland policy and on what is clearly now the failed policy of seeking the IRA——
This is not relevant to the Order of Business. The Deputy can pursue the matter in another way.
——and Sinn Féin to deliver peace?
That is not relevant now.
On a point of order, I question——
The Deputy may not seek to obstruct me by raising a spurious point of order.
I am raising a point of order.
No. I am on my feet and I will not listen to the Deputy.
I am on my feet.
The Deputy will resume his seat.
I am asking the Taoiseach to provide an opportunity in this House to debate his policy on Northern Ireland.
The Deputy can raise that matter by way of appropriate question.
There is urgent need for such a debate.
I seek the Chair's indulgence to extend our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery to our two colleagues, the father of the House, Deputy Blaney, and Deputy Ferris. A message should be sent out loudly and clearly from this House condemning the sectarian killings, six in the last eight days. I would like all sides of the House to join in condemning that and to send a message calling on those carrying out such atrocities to stop.
I hesitate to say I could rule against the Deputy in respect of the first matter.
I join with Deputy Barrett in extending the best wishes of the Government and the House to Deputies Ferris and Blaney for a speedy recovery. I met with the Leaders of the Opposition last week and brought them fully up to date on the information available to the Government regarding developments in Northern Ireland. Consequently I do not think it either appropriate or necessary to inquire about a debate at this stage.
The Garda investigation into the source of the leaked document on Northern Ireland policy has failed to identify the person they want to prosecute.
That matter is not appropriate to the Order of Business. There are other ways to pursue it.
Will the Government include in the ethics Bill the army of programme managers, personal staff, consultants and Ministers so that the Official Secrets Act will apply to them as they are not following typical Civil Service procedures?
The Deputy may not make a speech.
It is at an advanced stage and will be brought forward as soon as it is completed.
Will measures to deal with the defects in the grocery orders be included in the competition Bill? These result in forcing consumers to pay more than they should for white bread. We are at risk of another price war which damages——
The Deputy may ask when legislation will be introduced but may not elaborate on it.
Legislation regarding the competition Bill has been promised on numerous occasions in this House. It is essential that the Bill should deal with the defects in the grocery orders that are forcing up the price of white bread.
The legislation is almost complete and the Deputy will have an opportunity to air his views on it and table amendments when it comes before the House.
I extend good wishes to my old adversary Deputy Blaney, the father of the House, and I wish him and his family well. I also wish my colleague. Deputy Ferris, well and thank Deputy Barrett for taking this initiative.
There are procedures for dealing with such matters under Standing Orders and the Taoiseach has a special prerogative in the matter.
Does the Government intend bringing a Bill before the House this year to provide for the holding of the divorce referendum?
As I stated last week, there are appeals before the higher courts in the land and the Government is not in a position to speculate on the timetable for dealing with matters before the courts. It is our intention to proceed as outlined on a number of occasions but of course a change in the timetable could be forced on us by circumstances outside our control. If that happens the agenda will have to change, it not, we will continue as outlined.
Does the Taoiseach propose in the Ethics in Government Bill to amend, withdraw or delete any or all of the Bill in order to accommodate special advisers, programme managers or other Government assistants who——
Who serve this State well and work harder than the hacks advising Fine Gael.
Am I stirring up a hornet's nest?
Not at all.
He who laughs last laughs longest.
Is it intended to introduce amending legislation to the Trustee Savings Bank Act, 1989? Can we take it that the proposal for a third banking force as envisaged in the Programme for Government has, like Shergar, disappeared forever?
Did we not have a worthwhile debate on that last evening?
One would get more information from a weather forecast than from a Minister.
Is legislation being brought in?
I answered that.
The Taoiseach did not; he said no legislation was promised.
That is the position.
Will there be any legislation?
There is no legislation promised and our proposal for a third banking force is continuing.
What did the Minister meet Jim Lacey about last evening? Was it to give him tax advice on his £¾ million?
That is a scandalous remark. It ill behoves the Deputy.
Will the Taoiseach clear up the growing confusion about the divorce legislation by publishing the proposed wording? Will he take the opportunity to state publicly that his party is committed to the provision of divorce——
This is not Question Time.
——and not depend on an expensive media campaign?
I have no intention of allowing the Order of Business to become a mini Question Time.
It is the Programme for Government. The Deputy should read it.
I shall deal with the Business of the House.
The Chair's advice to Deputy McDaid intrigues me. Which Standing Order deals with sending good wishes to Deputies who are ill? I failed to find any. What is happening to the Milk (Regulation of Supply) Bill?
It is a Bill. It is promised legislation. What is happening to it?
I expect it to be introduced in the Seanad by the end of this session.
As the second longest serving Member of this House, together with Deputy Pattison, I know you will allow me, a Cheann Comhairle, to extend my good wishes to the father of the House, Deputy Blaney, a fellow Donegal man. I also wish to extend good wishes to Deputy Ferris, your fellow Tipperary man. We should not forget Deputy Gerry O'Sullivan who has been very ill for a number of months and to whom I also wish to extend good wishes.
I am sure the Deputy has expressed the sentiments of all Members of the House in that regard.
In view of the concern about the departure from traditional Civil Service standards, is it in order to seek the laying before the House of the report of the Garda Commissioner on the inquiry into the leak of the Northern Ireland policy document?
May we seek the laying of that report before the House?
Deputy McDowell has been offering for some time.
There was a very serious breach of Civil Service traditions and Government practice when that document was leaked.
This is a very serious matter and it should be treated in a very serious way, not on the Order of Business.
I am asking you if it is in order to seek the laying of that report before the House.
You are not in order now, Deputy.
This report should be laid before the House and I will have to raise this matter in another way.
Mar is eol duit, a Cheann Comhairle, do mhol an Taoiseach Dé Máirt seo caite ag Comóradh na Chéad Dála go déanfaí níos mó de ghnó an Tí seo as Gaeilge. Cén saghas agus cé mhéid gnó a bhí in aigne aige agus an raibh 30 faoin gcéad i gceist?
Níl sé in ordú anois, a Theachta.
On legislation which has been promised for a long time, may I ask the stage of preparation of the landowners liability Bill, which is necessary to allay the fears of property owners as we approach the holiday season?
Why did the Government not accept the Deenihan Bill?
As I said last week, we will proceed with our proposals in this regard after we receive the Law Reform Commission report, which is expected shortly.
That has been the stock answer for the last six months.
It is still the answer.
Will the Taoiseach say if the rumours that the head office of An Bord Bia will be located in Portlaoise are true, even though the Bill has not yet gone through the House?
The Deputy should put down a question on that matter.
Cork is being left high and dry by Minister Walsh.