Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 10 — Motion re. Transport (Dublin Light Rail) (No. 2) Bill, 1996 and, subject to the agreement of No. 10, No. 11 — Financial Resolution re. Transport (Dubling Light Rail) (No. 2) Bill, 1996 and No. 6 — Transport (Dublin Light Rail) (No. 2) Bill, 1996, Second Stage. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the proceedings on No. 10 shall be brought to a conclusion within 50 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) speeches shall be confined to the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications and to the main spokespersons for the Fianna Fáil Party and the Progressive Democrats Party and shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; (ii) the Minister shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes. (2) Subject to the agreement of No. 10: (i) No. 11 shall be decided without debate and (ii) the proceedings on the Second Stage of No. 6, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 6.45 p.m. today. Private Members' Business shall be No. 38 — Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill, 1996, Second Stage.

There are three proposals to be put to the House. First, is the proposal for dealing with No. 10 agreed?

I ask the Taoiseach to consider a proposal from this side of the House. When a Bill comes before the House the Opposition, and outside groups, are normally given 14 days to consider the legislation. In this case the Bill has been before the House and was defeated. That is only the second occasion since the foundation of the State a Bill has been defeated, and the first defeat of a Government Bill; on the other occasion, in 1976, there was a free vote. This Bill was defeated not just because people were missing for the vote but because of a lack of consultation.

On two occasions last week on the Order of Business I requested that the proposal put forward by our Whip be considered. The Taoiseach stated on Thursday morning he was in the process of considering the proposal and he would come back to us on it. I found out subsequently that on Wednesday the Minister's first reaction was to bring forward the Bill again this week without any amendment. He changed his mind in that regard following advice — I will not speculate from where — that he should make some cosmetic changes. He did that and the Bill was presented on Friday. I did not see the Bill until the latter part of the weekend but my colleague examined it on Friday evening. We have not had any opportunity to consult the outside groups that had lobbied and put forward their views — whether or not one agrees with them — over the past months.

I do not have any objection to the commencement of this legislation today but I ask the Taoiseach to leave the remainder of the Second Stage debate until next week. If that were done, those of us on this side of the House would have an opportunity to consult on the Bill in the coming days and we would make sure the Minister had the Bill in its entirety before the House adjourns in early July. I ask the Taoiseach to agree to my request.

I appreciate the way in which the Deputy has approached the matter. I have carefully considered the timetable put forward by his party which would involve postponing the completion of Second Stage until next week. The difficulty with the proposal is that we need to get the Bill into Committee in sufficient time to allow Report Stage to be subsequently taken and for the Bill to go to the Seanad. If any amendments arise in the Seanad, the Dáil would still be in session and in a position to deal with them. We do not want to be in a position where Seanad amendments cannot be made because the Dáil is not in session to affirm them. The Deputy's proposal would, by virtue of the lapse of time, exclude the possibility of Seanad consideration being meaningful on the matter. As this is a bicameral system we must be able to ensure that the Seanad amendments can be taken into account also. That is the reason, and the only reason, for the timetable we have put forward.

I appreciate the points the Deputy has made but I would say to him in response that the proposal the Government is making involves taking Second Stage today, starting, but not concluding, Committee Stage next Thursday — Committee Stage would be taken in Committee the following Tuesday also — and having Report Stage on Thursday, 27 June. There will be quite an amount of time, therefore, for the Dáil to make changes and to consider the matter carefully. Furthermore, it is envisaged that the Seanad will sit to consider the matter on 2 and 4 July. All of those procedures for discussion will allow all relevant interests to have their viewpoints considered.

The Government has made significant changes to the Bill from that which was considered in the House earlier and I understand extensive consultations were provided to Opposition spokes-persons in which the nature of those changes was explained, as well as the good and sufficient reasons some other changes, which might have appeared to be attractive, could not be made. Whether the Opposition accepts those explanations is a matter for themselves which they can discuss in the debate I have outlined.

I thank the Taoiseach for outlining the reason behind the Government's decision. The Taoiseach stated that the only reason he could not agree with our proposal was that the House might have gone into recess but my colleagues and I would be willing to make ourselves available in July — we will probably be here anyway for committees — to debate the Bill in the House. This Bill deals with the biggest infrastructural change to the capital city since the report of the Wide Streets Commission published approximately 100 years ago. If the Taoiseach insists that Second Stage must be finished tonight, I will have no option but to call three votes. We will then go into a debate on whether the Government has the right to suspend Standing Orders, which may result in Opposition spokespersons not having an opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Bill.

I would like to speak on the Bill because in the past four months I have been involved in various consultations on it, along with many of my colleagues. We had to fight to get a debate on the suspension of Standing Orders. For the first time in the history of the State we are being asked to reintroduce a Bill which was defeated and which will be railroaded through in approximately 40 minutes. What the Minister is asking his colleagues to do — by supporting him they are, in turn, asking the House to do the same — is unreasonable and unfair. We have not had an opportunity to consult residents' groups as they were not available on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday. They saw the Bill for the first time yesterday.

It is unreasonable to try to complete the Second Stage debate on this major legislation in one day. Will the Taoiseach allow the debate to begin this evening and to continue next week? If he does this he will have our support in ensuring the Bill is passed by the House. If this is not achieved by 5-6 July, the proposed adjournment date, we can reconvene for one day later in July, as we did last year. I presume the Dáil will reconvene for a day as the Taoiseach has given me a firm commitment that I can put down questions on a certain date in July. It should be possible to deal with any remaining sections of the Bill on that day. Will the Taoiseach agree to my reasonable proposal?

The Deputy will recall that the Government will have many responsibilities during July in relation to the Presidency. Obviously we are anxious to fulfil these responsibilities to the best of our ability. I understand the Deputy's concerns about the Second Stage debate of the Bill and his anxiety for more time for consultation. All we are asking is for the Second Stage debate to be taken today. If it is of any assistance to the Deputy, we could, of course, agree to conclude the debate tomorrow. Obviously we have looked very carefully at the Deputy's suggestion but, as I explained to him, if we do not begin the Committee Stage debate next Thursday and allow it to be pursued the following week we will not get committee time and will have difficulties dealing with any Seanad amendments. I am now offering, if it is of any advantage to the Deputy — which it does not appear to be — to extend the Second Stage debate to tomorrow. Although changes have been made to it, the Bill is largely similar to the earlier Bill in its content.

Cosmetically.

And there has still been no consultation.

The Government is aware that the Opposition parties indicated they have no objection to the broad thrust of the Bill or light rail. If we delay the legislation for whatever good reason——

For consultation.

——to a point where we are not able to start light rail in time the people who visit this city and wish to be able to move around it will be the losers. I do not think any of us will be thanked for that. The timetable put forward by the Government is the only viable one for ensuring that the legislation is passed so that the light rail project can commence in time.

The Taoiseach said the Bill is largely the same as the previous Bill but earlier he said that there were substantial changes in it.

Both statements are true.

Those statements are contradictory.

They are not.

Last week the Dáil in its wisdom passed judgment on the previous Bill and voted against it by a majority. We represent the public and while democracy is not always convenient it is the best system. However, because the Dáil went against the wishes of the Executive on this occasion the Government, which has committed itself to accountability, proposes motion No. 10 which will set aside our Standing Orders to literally streamroll through the legislation.

Our problem with the legislation does not merely relate to the timescale; it is that the Government has made no effort to deal with substantive defects in it. These defects were ably pointed out by Deputy Costello last week when he said the Government was taking a blinkered approach. Will the Taoiseach think again about this proposal? Not once in 20 years has a Government sought within a week to undermine the wishes of the people as expressed in the Dáil and to ignore the vote passed here last week. Last Tuesday evening a majority of the Deputies in the House passed judgment on the Bill, and it shows scant regard for the wishes of the House, the public and democracy for the Government to ignore that fact simply to make it convenient for itself.

Strictly speaking, we should not debate this matter now. The only proposal before the House is the manner in which item No. 10 will be dealt with. Does the Taoiseach wish to reply? Deputy Seamus Brennan is offering.

The Deputy does not want the line to run to Dundrum.

I wish to bring this matter to a conclusion. Many Deputies are offering but I cannot allow a full debate now. I propose to put the question shortly.

My comments deserve a response from the Taoiseach. It seems that he resents even coming into the House and sees it as a big chore every week.

I love it.

The Taoiseach promised much but he does not even want to respond to Deputies. Will he withdraw item No. 10 and take on board the wishes of the House, as expressed here last week?

I look forward to coming into the House every day. No one has enjoyed the role I fulfil more than I do.

That is probably because he knows it will be short.

I appreciate the point made by Deputy Harney but she should appreciate there is a traffic problem in Dublin which needs to be resolved urgently.

This is not the answer.

Minister Lowry is your man.

One of the ways of resolving this problem is through the provision of a light rail system. While I congratulate the Opposition parties on what they achieved in the vote, that is defeating the Bill which provided for light rail——

The Taoiseach should not treat the Dáil in such a cavalier manner.

—— I believe the people of Dublin, future generations of Dubliners and future generations of visitors to Dublin want a light rail system in the city and there will not be a light rail system in this city without the Bill. While the Government congratulates the Opposition on its parliamentary gamesmanship and achievement——

The famous five.

—— at the end of the day the public wants to see this Bill passed. If the Opposition looked at the wider issue I am sure it would agree with us on that.

Before I call Deputy Brennan——

He does not want the system to run to Dundrum.

——Deputy Ahern may wish to comment on the Taoiseach's offer to extend the debate until tomorrow.

The Taoiseach correctly interpreted my views — we need a few days to consult.

Twenty years.

That is what Deputy Fitzgerald might think if the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications had not been running around Dublin thinking people were following him he could have been drafting the Bill.

(Interruptions.)

We have put forward a very reasonable proposal.

What about Mr. Tuffy?

Eric to the rescue.

Did the Deputy meet Mr. Tuffy on his rounds?

He is looking around——

Deputy Byrne, please desist.

(Interruptions.)

I want an orderly Order of Business and we cannot have these interruptions. I propose to put the question very shortly. Deputy Ahern is in possession and I ask Deputies to please listen to him.

We should let the leader of the main Opposition party resume the statesmanlike role he is trying to cultivate.

I am trying to argue the issue in a reasoned way and I think the Taoiseach has acknowledged that.

As Deputy Harney said, for the first time in 20 years a Government Bill was defeated last week.

The Deputy already made that point.

We are asking the Government to allow the Bill to be debated properly. Last February and March I asked the Taoiseach if the Minister would consult Deputies and others but none of the issues was resolved. I understand that last Saturday night people were running from pub to pub in an effort to consult the public. The Government had months in which to engage in such consultation but refused. I am asking the Taoiseach for the last time to take the Second Stage of this Bill next week; otherwise there will be no debate on it. The Government is making a joke of this issue and should not pretend it cares about transport in this city because it has no intention of getting this project started within the timescale the Minister proposed. The working group on the Luas project maintains this Bill is urgently required, so that the project can begin in October next, while privately telling residents' associations that it will not commence until some time late next year. The Minister issued a letter dated 14 June contradicating what he told the House a week ago on conclusion of Second Stage of the original Bill. He is making a joke of the House, the Opposition and everyone else.

The Deputy is.

(Interruptions.)

As the Leas-Cheann Comhairle said earlier, this debate is quite out of order and it should be brought to a conclusion.

It is not merely a question of extra time needed to debate this Bill. The Bill was published on Friday last, allowing Members approximately one and a half days within which to consider the amendments in it.

The Deputy should be on the job full-time.

(Interruptions.)

I ask the Government not to bulldoze this Bill through today. We are agreeable to tighten the schedule for the debate if that will assist the Government but to ask Members to deal with a Bill published on Friday last amounts to bulldozing it through and is most unfair to the development of this light rail project. I suspect that this bulldozing has more to do with the Minister's pride than with the light rail project.

The Minister is not dealing with a county council but with the Parliament of the people.

Is the Taoiseach aware that the background to the defeat of the Second Reading of the Bill last week was a series of well organised, very responsible and democratic local meetings held over the preceding three or four months, when Members consulted and listened in a democratic way to the views of communities north and south of the Liffey? Those communities received a copy of the new Bill yesterday and, over the past two days, the promoters of the Luas project engaged in more consultation with them than they did in the preceding four months, having proposed practically a dozen alternative routes——

We cannot dwell any longer on this subject.

Does the Taoiseach agree it is unreasonable to expect a vote to be taken on a Second Reading of this Bill without Members being given an opportunity to consult those same communities again, listen to their views and return here in the normal democratic way? If that procedure is not followed today's Government proposal is clearly undemocratic. I ask the Taoiseach to consider what I said and allow Members consult with their respective communities which, while small, have very strong voices to be carried into this House. Will the Taoiseach respond?

That is the Taoiseach's prerogative.

I might explain to Deputy Gregory that all that is being sought is that the Bill on Second Reading, in other words, in principle, be approved today. All the detailed points to which the Deputy referred, heard at various meetings held around the city, are more appropriate for discussion on Committee and Report Stages. The Committee Stage will commence on Thursday and conclude the following Tuesday; in other words, Committee Stage will not be completed until approximately ten days after the Bill's publication. That will afford Deputy Gregory and other Deputies who are consulting people in Dublin an opportunity to collect all the necessary data and information they want brought to the attention of the House. The Deputy should understand that he will have an opportunity of pursuing the various points he raised.

The Taoiseach is forcing a debate.

He does not give a damn, this is a cavalier approach to the House.

In ainneoin an méid atá ráite ag an Taoiseach faoi na Teachtaí sa bhFreasúra, ba mhaith liom a iarraidh air an bhfuil fhios aige to n-admhaíonn ceann de Theachtaí an Rialtais an tseachtain seo go bhfuil an Bille seo amadach?

I am now putting the question——

Muna dtuigeann an Taoiseach an cheist i nGaeilge, I will put it in English——

(Interruptions.)

Tuigeann sé gan dabht.

The Taoiseach made accusations against Opposition Deputies in both parties. Is he aware that Members on his side of the House, including Deputy Costello, described this Bill as stupid and it is in that that a great deal of the opposition to it resides?

Question, "That the proposals for dealing with item No. 10 be agreed to", put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 69.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Eithne.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gallagher, Pat
  • (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bhreathnach, Niamh.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Walsh, Eamon.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P. J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Question declared carried.

Is it agreed that item No. 11 be decided without debate?

Question put: "That item No. 11 be decided without debate."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 67.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bhreathnach, Niamh.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Eithne.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P. J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Walsh, Eamon.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P. J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Question declared carried.

I am putting the question: "That the proceedings on the Second Stage of No. 6, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 6.45 p.m. today."

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 68.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bhreathnach, Niamh.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Fitzgerald, Eithne.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gallagher, Pat
  • (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Walsh, Eamon.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P. J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Question declared carried.

On behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party I send heartfelt sympathy to the people of Manchester for the injury and suffering caused by the callous bomb attack on last Saturday morning.

The elected Members, without exception, condemn and repudiate the totally unwarranted attack against the entire civilian population of Manchester. The effect of this action together with the murder of Detective Garda McCabe in Adare, County Limerick is to undermine continued peace in Ireland as well as to prejudice prospects for the viability of the inclusive peace process for which all in this House have worked so hard. The Fianna Fáil Party regards the restoration of the ceasefire as an absolute necessity, as I am sure everybody else in the House does. I urge the Government to steer a steady course and not allow anyone to close off the window of opportunity for a renewed ceasefire and participation in all-party talks.

While not strictly relevant I hesitate to rule on the matter.

I join with the Leader of Fianna Fáil in extending my sympathy and that of my party to the people of Manchester and to the victims of the bombing last Saturday.

On Tuesday last we extended our deepest sympathy to the family of the late Detective Garda McCabe and roundly condemned those responsible for his murder and the attempted murder of Detective Garda O'Sullivan. We wish Detective Garda O'Sullivan a speedy recovery.

I wonder how many more acts of violence it will take before the IRA and Sinn Féin decide that democratic politics is the way forward, not the bomb and the bullet. I had hoped the Government would cut off all official contact with Sinn Féin because I believe the time has come to get tough. We were tough last week and because of that and the public pressure that was put on Sinn Féin we at least got a half-hearted comment from it on Detective Garda McCabe's murder. The leader of Sinn Féin, whilst he could not bring himself to condemn that murder, was prepared to repudiate it. If we are tough we will get more from Sinn Féin than from pandering to them and appeasing them.

If Government officials meet Sinn Féin officials once more, the only question they need ask is when the IRA ceasefire will be restored. If there is not a positive answer to that question, I believe that must be the end and we must cut off contact and ensure that we take a tough stand with terrorists. Sinn Féin and the IRA are the same organisation and there is no point in somebody asking Sinn Féin to go to the IRA. They are synonymous. Sinn Féin is the political wing of the IRA and we must never ever forget that. It has carried out dreadful atrocities in the name of Ireland. I hope what happened in Manchester is the end of it. I hope and pray that next week we will not have to rise on the Order of Business and condemn another atrocity. They are doing a great disservice to the people and to constitutional politicians in Ireland, Britain, the United States and elsewhere who have gone out of their way to bring Sinn Féin into the democratic political process. Many people now feel we have had enough. I hope that lessons have been learned and people use the leadership they have, which is considerable, to have the ceasefire fully restored.

I wish the Government well in the talks process, but all politicians who participate in them carry an enormous responsibility. I hope they have the courage to show real leadership and to compromise. If they do not reach a political agreement they will simply give the initiative back to the men of violence. I hope and pray the politicians on all sides will not allow the opportunity which exists in Northern Ireland to be squandered.

I wish to be associated with the expressions of sympathy to those who suffered at the hands of IRA violence recently, both in Adare and Manchester. On behalf of the Green Party, I urge that the main energy be put into the behind the scenes talks and that efforts be redoubled. Once the politics of the North become identified with megaphone diplomacy, attitudes become polarised and progress stagnates. I urge people to take that on board so that we will see more progress.

I join Members who have expressed their revulsion at the action of the IRA in igniting a bomb in a shopping centre on one of the busiest days of the year in Manchester. Not only was Manchester that day filled with the normal, happy, summer shopping crowd who come into the centre of the city on Saturdays, there were also people there from all over Europe, including German and Dutch people who had come to Britain for the European Championship.

What image of Ireland is presented by the bombers to the people of Manchester? What image of Ireland is presented by the IRA to the people of Germany and the Netherlands who will report back on what was perhaps their first contact with an Irish phenomenon? If the IRA cared about Ireland, it would care about how we as a people are seen by the world at large. Unfortunately, the image of bleeding people with glass embedded in their faces is the image the IRA is seeking to implant in the minds of people all over the world. Nothing could be more unpatriotic, anti-national or contrary to a true sense of Irishness than the activities of the Irish Republican Army. The IRA does not represent Ireland. It is anti-Irish. It is an organisation which is antipathetic to the interests of Irish people and to the interests of peace and reconciliation.

The republican movement spent many months agitating for peace talks. It wanted an opportunity to talk. It has had that opportunity for a full week now, on terms which were carefully worked out to make it as easy as possible for Sinn Féin to participate, by making it as easy as possible for it to go to the IRA and ask it to stop. What was the reaction of the IRA to the fact that talks are available to it? It killed a member of the Garda Síochána in Adare and shattered the peace of the city of Manchester. Its action created maximum difficulty for Irish people living in Britain, making their daily lives more difficult than at any time in the past 18 months. The reaction of the IRA to the fact that peace talks have been available to it for a full week was to deliberately plant a bomb a number of days after 10 June when it knew the talks would start. It was a very deliberate action. That bomb had to have been planned well in advance of 10 June to concide with the end of the first weeks of the talks.

Last night the Government put a simple question to Sinn Féin —"Do you, as a political party, continue to support the armed struggle of the IRA?" That is a very simple question. We in this House, as representatives of political parties, would have no difficulty in answering it. It is a question of supporting violence or not supporting violence. No question could be simpler or more fundamental and there has to be a simple answer to it.

Sinn Féin campaigned in the recent elections in Northern Ireland and got many votes on the basis that it was working on a peace strategy. I put it to Sinn Féin that continued support for the IRA and its campaign which involves the use of kalashnikovs in armed bank robberies and igniting heavy explosives in shopping districts of heavily populated cities is not consistent with a peace strategy. I do not believe Sinn Féin would have received the number of votes it did in Northern Ireland if it had indicated it would continue to support an armed strategy by the IRA which involved bombs in Manchester and armed robberies with kalashnikovs in this jurisdiction. An answer is required from it now.

The talks will go on. They are the best hope for the Irish people. We have fought long and hard politically to have those talks start on the best possible basis. The Tánaiste and other Ministers have deployed the very best diplomatic skills on behalf of the people to have those unprecedented talks start on the most inclusive basis possible, and in a way which I know has already created considerable confidence among all the politicians participating in them. The bomb in Manchester and the shooting in Adare are simply a hangover from a past which I hope will soon disappear. The talks in Stormont buildings, and the conciliation and compromise being deployed there, represent the future. Therefore, I have confidence in the future.

On a number of occasions during the year I asked the Government to proceed with the Adoption Bill. As you are aware, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, it voted against the Bill we presented in Private Members' time. We welcome the Bill it has produced because it meets the requirements we identified. When is it intended to take it?

That matter will be the subject of discussion between the Whips tomorrow. The exact timetable has not been decided.

Earlier this year the Taoiseach and, I think, the Government Chief Whip agreed to a full debate and question and answer session on the Price Waterhouse report on the errors in respect of last year's arts examination——

I must insist on relevant questions. Otherwise I will move on and the half a dozen Deputies offering will lose out.

I accept that and have no wish to labour the point but there is a motion on the Order Paper in my name. The Minister announced today that she has received the Price Waterhouse report and will make it available to Members next week. I am making a reasonable request that the debate and question and answer session we were promised should be held the following week to ensure there is a thorough examination of the report, which is essential to the integrity of the public examinations system, before the recess. Given the errors that have been made and continue to be made the Taoiseach should give such a commitment.

Will the Taoiseach confirm that the broadcasting Bill dealing with Teilifís na Gaeilge will be taken in the autumn? Given the concerns which have been expressed what does he intend doing to secure funding for the station?

The legislation in question will be available in the latter half of the year.

What about the second part of the question?

It is not relevant to the Order of Business.

It is relevant to the people working in Teilifís na Gaeilge and those who wish to watch it.

Approximately one year ago the Minister for Justice promised to review the situation and, if necessary, bring forward legislation concerning fines petitioned to her Department following a High Court judgment. What precisely is happening in relation to the thousands of fines petitioned to the Department of Justice and when will the legislation be brought forward?

Has legislation been promised in this regard?

Yes. It is a very important matter.

The only item of legislation on the programme as promised is the indexation of fines Bill which is at an early stage of preparation. I will make inquiries about the matter to see if there is any other provision being made.

As the Taoiseach is aware, it is part of the Government's legislative programme to amend the law of defamation. Has the drafting of amending legislation started? What stage is it at and when can we expect it to be published?

This matter is being addressed in the context of the report of the commission on the newspaper industry which I understand will be available in the middle of this year. I am not able to give the Deputy a precise date by which any legislation arising from that report will be ready.

On a point of order, I will not be fobbed off. As the Taoiseach is aware, this is part of the Government's legislative programme. There should be no red herrings about newspaper industry commissions. Has the drafting started?

This is ridiculous.

When will the Bill to extend the remit of the Ombudsman be introduced? I hope we will have an opportunity to debate Kevin Murphy's recent report which we all found interesting and logical.

Arising out of his reply to Deputy O'Dea, is the Taoiseach prepared to make Government time available to deal with the Defamation Bill which is awaiting an order to send it forward to Committee Stage in view of the fact that the Government has not drafted any legislation?

It is not proposed to make Government time available for that Private Member's Bill. The Deputy's party may decide to take it in Private Members' time.

A number of EU directives-protocols have been ratified recently. When does the Taoiseach expect the copyright Bill to implement a number of EU directives to be published?

At 500 sections, this will probably be one of the largest pieces of legislation to be presented to the Dáil this decade. It will probably be available in the second half of next year.

Before the election?

Another one gone.

Another one bites the dust.

The Government is railroading through the House the legislation dealing with one mode of transport, light rail. In respect of another mode of transport, the horse, when will the debate on the Control of Horses Bill resume?

That Bill would have been taken today if the Taoiseach had not decided to bulldoze the light rail Bill through the House.

Next week.

The Minister, Deputy Lowry, wanted his own way and the Labour Party lost.

(Interruptions.)

Will the Taoiseach confirm or deny that the Government has purchased 25 new State cars for the joyride during the Presidency at a cost of £1.5 million to the Exchequer?

When will the divorce Bill be published?

That legislation will be published tomorrow. The hope is that is will be discussed on Thursday week.

I hope adequate time will be made available to debate it. I wish to speak on behalf of those — almost half of the electorate — who do not support the introduction of divorce. The Bill needs much discussion. May I take it that it will not be put through the House before the recess? This is a serious matter, as the Tánaiste will find out when he goes before the people. That will knock the sweetness off him. Will the Bill be the subject of a detailed discussion or will it be put through the House before the recess? That is a fair question.

It will be the subject of a full debate both on Second Stage and Committee Stage, the most important part of the consideration of legislation. The Deputy's contributions will be attended to with care.

Recently my party leader visited a fine engineering firm, Turmec, which is in the Taoiseach's constituency. There is another fine firm in County Mayo awaiting the Fisheries (Amendment) Bill. Although this is very complicated legislation I am sure the Taoiseach realises that unless the heads of the Bill at least are published soon the possibility of 400 new jobs will be delayed by approximately six to eight months. Will the Bill be published before the summer recess?

I expect the legislation will be published in the second half of the year. I am, of course, aware of the importance of this legislation from the point of view of aquaculture. Not only have I visited the plant to which the Deputy referred, where the fish cases are manufactured, I have also visited the Deputy's constituency where they are in use.

I cannot continue to call Deputies indefinitely. I am moving to the item of business soon.

In the week in which the newspaper commission has completed its deliberations, is legislation promised which would have the effect of preventing the Taoiseach's persona being used in an advertising campaign on RTE to support the sale here of an English newspaper,The Times, at 30p? Will such a campaign affect employment levels in the surviving titles of the Irish newspaper industry? Such a campaign is being conducted with the Taoiseach's persona and others underpining and supporting that campaign. I ask the Taoiseach to ensure he does not give tacit support to such a campaign.

I am very glad the advertisers in question have come to the view that the use of my image will improve the sales of that newspaper.

Little do they know.

I wish to raise a very serious matter regarding a woman who has been detained against her will in an institution. A mental health Bill which has been promised for a long time by the Department of Health will allow for a more liberal approach to those detained against their will in institutions. When is this Bill likely to be published? In dealing with this matter in my constituency I find this woman has no redress. She was put into the institution against her will without any formalisation on her part or redress to any course of action or justice. This is a grave injustice and it has happened to many women.

Has legislation been promised?

This 94 section Bill will be presented to the House probably in October or November of this year.

In the meantime is there any avenue of redress a woman in such a situation can take?

The fewer interruptions there are the sooner this part of the business will be completed.

In respect of Dublin Port tunnel, for which provision has been made for an EIS and a public inquiry, will legislation be introduced to provide for enhanced consultation procedures in line with those being provided under Transport (Dublin Light Rail) (No. 2) Bill, as demanded by residents' associations? Following improved consultations for one major DTI infrastructural development people want an assurance that the same conditions will apply to other projects. May I have that assurance please?

Has legislation been promised?

Legislation has not been promised in regard to the matter raised by the Deputy, or in regard to various parts of the country where major road projects are being contemplated. No changes are contemplated. As the Deputy is aware, provisions concerning public inquiries and so forth are already established in law for dealing with matters of this nature.

What we are doing today——

The matter may not be debated now.

The Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications will attend the Council of Energy Ministers' meeting shortly to finalise the electricity directive which is expected to come into force before the commencement of the next Dáil term. When will the Electricity Bill — under which the proposals expected in the directive will be given effect — be published?

The Bill will be published in March or April 1997.

Has the report on the investigation by the Minister for Finance into the salary structures in the semi-State sector been completed and presented to Government and, if so, will it be published? This arises out of the serious salary breach in respect of the chief executive of Bord na Móna. Will it give rise to legislation?

That is not appropriate to the Order of Business.

When is it intended to take the employment equality Bill in view of the fact that the Sunday newspapers say Fine Gael Ministers are unhappy with it and with the proposals of the Minister, Deputy Taylor? We have been waiting since early 1995 for this Bill and have been told repeatedly that it will be published. Will the Taoiseach tell us the present position?

That legislation will be taken shortly after its publication. It is at an advanced stage of consideration at this juncture.

By Order of the House Item No. 6 must conclude within 50 minutes. I call the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, Deputy Lowry, to move the motion.

On a point of order, you said the debate that is about to commence shall last for 50 minutes. When will it conclude?

That will not be 50 minutes.

We should clarify this. Because of the overrun on time and the lengthy Order of Business we must, as has been correctly pointed out, conclude at 6.45 p.m.

For what purpose?

I call on the Minister to move the motion.

My point of order which relates to this matter has not been finalised yet. The adjournment at 6.45 p.m. is for the purpose of concluding a Bill. Am I correct in asking whether that Bill will not even have commenced by 6.45 p.m.? If the Order for the day relates to something concluding, how can it conclude when it has not even commenced?

We have already been through this and we have the Order of the House before us. I have to proceed in accordance with the Order of the House.

If English is to mean anything then we have to read the meaning into the words placed on the Order Paper today which states that something shall conclude at 6.45 p.m. — presumably the vote will then take place. If the debate on that Bill has not even commenced by 6.45 p.m. surely the Order of Business for the day is incorrectly worded and we cannot possibly proceed to take the Bill when it has not commenced in the House.

For the Deputy's information, the question will be put as is the norm at 6.45 p.m. regardless of whether the matter has concluded. That is the Order of the House.

How can it conclude when the question has not even been put?

The question will be put.

Can a motion in this House be voted on even if nobody has moved it?

The Minister is about to move the motion.

He cannot move the motion as there is no time on the Order Paper.

On a point of order, the issue before the House is item No. 10 which will be debated for 50 minutes which will bring us past 6.45 p.m. by which time item No. 6 is to be voted on. Item No. 6 will not and cannot be moved under the Order of the House at that stage by the Minister. How can we vote on item No. 6 — Transport (Dublin Light Rail) (No. 2) Bill, 1996? It will not be moved because the debate on the other item will be debated continuously until 6.45 p.m.

I will not allow further debate of this matter. I will endeavour to clarify the position. As ordered by the House, the question will be put, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders. That is the position and I intend to proceed with the order.

Is the Leas-Cheann Comhairle suggesting that Standing Orders shall be set aside twice in one day?

That happened once, Deputy.

The Order of Business for the day is incorrectly worded due to the time factor.

It is the order of the House.

Item No. 6 cannot be properly taken because it will not be moved; aside from the point that it will not be debated. The order states that the Government, Fianna Fáil and Progressive Democrats Members shall have 15 minutes each to contribute and the Minister shall have five minutes to reply.

On the motion.

Members will not have started their contributions because the order of the House states that the debate about to commence shall last for 50 minutes. However, 50 minutes do not remain prior to 6.45 p.m. The order is inaccurate, faulty and should be withdrawn.

Members are in a farcical situation. A Bill will be bulldozed through the House at 6.45 p.m. and Members will not be allowed to debate it. This brings the House into disrepute. The Minister should withdraw the Bill immediately and reintroduce it next week. This is crazy.

The Chair must proceed with the business as ordered.

This never happened before.

I wish to be helpful and I am not trying to create problems for the Chair. The Minister will not have moved Second Stage of the Bill. He cannot do so within the timeframe and he will not have done so by 6.45 p.m.

It is impossible.

How can the House vote on something which has not been formally moved, never mind debated? It appears this matter bores some Members on the Government side.

I will endeavour to clarify the matter once and for all. The Minister is not required to move the Bill and the order of the House overrides all else.

Is that democracy?

I will not call any more Deputies on this matter. I intend to move on.

Is the order of the House a farce?

It is the order of the House as made by the House.

Does the order of the House mean anything?

The relevant term is "Notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders." I intend to call the Minister to move the motion.

The House voted on the procedures in relation to the motion. It voted that each spokesperson shall have 15 minutes, but they will not have that time given the way the matter is being taken.

The order is null and void.

The vote of the House either means something or it does not.

This is nonsense.

This is filibustering.

Time is being eroded.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,