Questions—Ceisteanna. - Commemorative Events.

Bertie Ahern

Question:

1 Mr. B. Ahern asked the Taoiseach the plans, if any, there are to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the State. [20955/96]

Bertie Ahern

Question:

2 Mr. B. Ahern asked the Taoiseach if any commemoration is planned of the 1848 Rebellion; and if so, if there will be any effort to build into it an Australian/Tasmanian connection. [21740/96]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.

The Government has approved the issue of special stamps in the Ireland Series for 1997 to mark various aspects of the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of the State.

On a point of order——

On a point of order——

There are no points of order, but points of gross disorder.

As I informed the Deputy by way of a reply to a parliamentary question on 15 May, the 150th Anniversary of the Young Ireland Movement and the Rising of 1848——

Could we not have a suspension of Standing Orders to have this matter sorted out? It is outrageous.

On a point of order——

On a point of order, the Leader of the Opposition and the Taoiseach are on their feet at the same time. The Leader of the Opposition is seeking to raise a point of order and it is not unreasonable that the Chair should listen to it.

——will be among the events to be considered by the Government in the context of framing the 1998 postage stamp programme. This is still the position.

Deputy Andrews——

I appeal to the Chair to listen to Deputy Ahern's point of order.

The Deputy may not attack me in that fashion.

I am not attacking the Chair.

I have said there are no points of order, there are points of grave disorder and if the Deputy proceeds I will do what I said I would do.

I am terribly upset that the Chair suggested I am attacking him.

Will the Deputy allow me proceed with the business of this House?

May I pick up on the Chair's suggestion? Will the Chair call a Whips' meeting now to try to resolve this impasse? All we want is a meaningful debate.

That may be done some other time.

There is no other way of doing it.

This is a democracy.

This is our opportunity to ask the Government Whip through the Taoiseach, or the Minister of State who is acting as Government Whip, to arrange a meeting to have a meaningful discussion to allow a meaningful debate. A debate that allows Members to make 20 minute statements is not the type of debate we understood we would be getting.

I hasten to add that I do not believe the Chair ruled the questions out of order — and I accept the ruling — for them to be ruled out of order during the subsequent debate when the Taoiseach will not have to answer them. Neither will the matter be transferred to a committee. We are getting nothing.

I have said this is unprecedented and I will not tolerate any more of it.

The way the Government is handling this matter is unprecedented.

Either we proceed with questions to the Taoiseach now or we do not.

On a point of order——

On a point of information, we are on the Chair's side on this matter. We are looking for a solution to it.

I have no option but to adjourn the proceedings until this dilemma is resolved.

Sitting suspended at 2.40 p.m. and resumed at 4.15 p.m.
Written Answers follow Adjournment Debate.