It is proposed to take No. 10, motion concerning Financial Resolution in relation to the Telecommunications (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 1996; No. 1, Sixteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1996 — Second Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages; No. 9, motion concerning statement for information of voters on the Sixteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1996; and No. 12A, statements on hepatitis C infection, which shall be taken at the conclusion of the announcement of matters on the Adjournment under Standing Order 21. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 10 shall be decided without debate; No. 12A, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. tonight and the following arrangements shall apply: statements which shall be confined to the Minister for Health and the main spokespersons for the Fianna Fáil Party and the Progressive Democrats Party shall not exceed 30 minutes in each case; and following the statements the Minister for Health shall take questions. Private Members' Business shall be No. 35, motion No. 1 concerning EU funding for Border counties (resumed) and the proceedings thereon shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. tonight.
Order of Business.
Is the proposal that No. 10 be decided without debate satisfactory? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with No. 12A satisfactory? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with Private Members' Business satisfactory? Agreed.
For the past few weeks I have asked for a debate in Government time on the BSE crisis. I ask the Taoiseach again this morning to allow a full-scale debate next week on the BSE crisis, particularly the latest development. That we have agreed to allow a third country market to create new barriers, excluding Cork, Tipperary and Monaghan, is a dangerous precedent for any market, particularly agriculture. We have had six debates in the House on that matter and to the best of my knowledge five of them have been taken in Private Members' time. Will the Taoiseach agree to my request?
Will the Taoiseach go to Russia to undo the damage done by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry?
Sorry, we cannot deal with that matter now.
Given that the Taoiseach said yesterday the Government does not intend to proceed with the referendum on Cabinet confidentiality and has therefore abandoned one of the pillars of openness, transparency and accountability, at what stage is the freedom of information legislation? The Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald, is busy trying to cap the earnings of low paid workers, but what is she doing about the freedom of information legislation?
The Government is implementing EU decisions which are part of the Social Charter.
The Government has been totally negligent in its handling of this matter.
If the Deputy wishes to indicate that she is opposed to the Social Charter being part of European policy she should do so. The approach the Minister is taking in this matter is entirely consistent with EU decisions.
The Taoiseach should talk to the workers involved.
Deputy Martin should not try to shout down any Member. He should restrain himself.
I would be interested to have the Deputy's views on that matter. On Cabinet confidentiality, I explained at considerable length yesterday the reasons for the decision in that regard. On the freedom of information legislation, it is hoped to have that legislation before the House before Christmas.
Why does the Minister of State exclude some categories of workers who seek exemptions and refuse to exclude other categories?
We cannot get into detail on that matter now.
Will the Taoiseach say what is the penalty for treason, which the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry has committed? He should be drummed out of Government. I call on the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste to remove him immediately because he has shown bias against Cork, Tipperary and Monaghan.
The Deputy should desist, please.
I thank the Taoiseach for his intervention yesterday which ensured the answering of parliamentary questions to which we had sought replies for some time. Will he intervene once again this morning to ensure that Questions Nos. 2, 4 and 21, which were not answered yesterday for some strange reason, are answered today in advance of the debate?
The offer of providing answers to those questions was volunteered by the Government. It was not sought by the Opposition whose quarrel was with the Chair in regard to the decisions to rule out questions. Contrary to the false statements made by Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn on radio this morning, the Government volunteered to provide the information. Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn should not use the privilege of the radio to say things that she knows she could not say in the House because they would immediately be contradicted as false. What Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn said on radio this morning was false.
Will the Taoiseach say that outside the House?
The replies were volunteered by me and we were happy to provide them. They were not sought by anybody. In the same spirit, I will make inquiries to ensure that information which may for any reason not have been supplied and that it is in order to supply is supplied.
I am pleased the Taoiseach has agreed to make time available for a debate on the beef industry. Does he agree that the outcome of the visit to Russia during the summer by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Deputy Yates, was held up as a great victory?
When the debate takes place the Deputy can comment thereon. I call Deputy O'Dea.
What action has the Minister taken to prevent the wrong signals being sent to third countries on which we depend and to correct the terrible mistake made in the case of Russia which has created internal divisions in this country?
I called Deputy O'Dea. He may not divert me to anyone else. The Deputy beside him is not in order. I now refuse to call him.
Show him the red card.
A Cheann Comhairle——
The Deputy may not play tricks with the Chair.
I was not trying to play tricks with the Chair, it was simply a question——
The Deputy was afraid to obey me in order to maintain disorder.
Let me clarify the situation. My colleague, Deputy Byrne, asked the question I was about to ask.
Let us hear the Deputy's comment appropriate to the Order of Business.
It is a legitimate question and deserves an answer. The Taoiseach should comment.
What action does the Minister for the Environment propose to take given that it has now emerged that the second source of public water supply in Nenagh, County Tipperary, has been contaminated?
I am sorry but that matter is not in order now.
It is very urgent.
Did the decision made yesterday by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry meet with the approval of the Taoiseach and the Cabinet? It was the most disgraceful decision ever made. It will affect 4,500 farmers in County Monaghan who are entirely dependent on beef production.
Will the Taoiseach clarify when the debate on the BSE crisis in the beef industry which has been struck a devastating blow will take place? The matter should be debated as a matter of urgency.
There is no need for the Deputy to elaborate now.
The Chair should, please, give me a chance. When will the Taoiseach seek the resignation of the weakest and most childish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry this country has ever seen?
The Deputy must refrain from speech making now.