Order of Business.

The Order of Business today shall be No. 5, Twenty-first Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 2001, (Death Penalty) – Order for Second Stage and Second and Remaining Stages; No. 25, Motion re Statement for the Information of Voters in relation to the Twenty-first Amendment of the Constitution (No. 2) Bill, 2001, (Death Penalty); No. 26, Motion re Referendum (Ballot Paper) Order, 2001; and No. 6, Twenty-third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001, (International Criminal Court) – Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. and business shall be interrupted not later than 10 p.m., the Second and Remaining Stages of No. 5 shall be taken today and the proceedings on Second Stage, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 1 p.m. and the following arrangements shall apply: the opening speech of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes; Members may share time; a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which will not exceed five minutes; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Nos. 25 and 26 shall be taken immediately upon the conclusion of No. 5, and shall be decided without debate; and the Second Stage of No. 6, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. Private Members' Business shall be No. 125 – Motion re Garda Reform (Resumed) to conclude at 8.30 p.m.

There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal regarding the late sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 5, Second and Remaining Stages of the Twenty-first Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001, agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 25 and 26, the motions on the referendum, agreed?

On that point, Sir, we are accepting this but the Taoiseach might be able to indicate to the House when we will have details about the referendum commission and matters related to the conduct of the four referenda that are proposed.

On the same point, when replying will the Taoiseach specify whether the commission will issue a booklet to each household as it did at the time of the Amsterdam Treaty outlining both sides of the story?

On the referendum commission, the Financial Resolutions have gone through but the work and all the appropriate arrangements will be made as soon as possible. I will inform the party leaders as soon as we move on that.

The Taoiseach did not answer the question I put to him. Will a booklet be issued to each household?

That will be a matter for the referendum commission. The same rules will apply but once it is set up, the commission will be independent so I am sure it will do that.

Will it be given—

We cannot continue with questions and answers on that matter. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 25 and 26 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 6, the conclusion of Second Stage of the Twenty-third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2001, agreed?

May I make a point on that matter?

Not unless the Deputy is opposing this proposal. It is not in order to make any point at this stage unless the Deputy, on behalf of his party, is opposing the resolution. Otherwise it is disorderly.

Perhaps you might hear me first.

If the Deputy is opposing on behalf of his party—

If you force me I will oppose it. The position, Sir, is that this is a measure to amend the Constitution. I will not be opposing it but a number of speakers on Second Stage may not be accommodated up to 10 o'clock. On that basis an opportunity should be provided for them to contribute to the debate. Committee and Report Stages of the Bill are scheduled for tomorrow morning. I do not anticipate that will take much time. On the other hand, if I had a formal understanding from the Government that speakers on Second Stage who could not be accommodated this evening would be accommodated tomorrow morning instead, I would be prepared to agree to the proposal if the Government would fall in with that arrangement.

As I understand it, Committee Stage will be taken tomorrow. Perhaps, with a bit of latitude, they could make some of their points at that stage. If that is possible, and with the agreement of the Chair, I have no problem with it.

Would the Taoiseach agree to reconsider on the basis that—

The Deputy is being disorderly. You can only speak once on this matter. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 6 agreed? Agreed.

I regret that the Tánaiste is not here this morning. Will the Taoiseach agree that his proposal on the new national stadium is now a complete shambles and that this monument to his own ego is no longer viable? Will he agree that there is a complete contradiction between the commitment he has given to the Tánaiste that £60 million will be given to the GAA only if they open Croke Park to other codes and the commitment given to the GAA as confirmed by its president that the offer was made without any strings attached? I put it to the Taoiseach also that if and when, and it is clear now that that will be the case, Croke Park is opened up to other sporting codes, the national stadium is no longer viable and makes neither financial nor sporting sense. Does he appreciate that the commitments now made to both the GAA and the FAI have reached the original estimated cost of the stadium which he presented to this House when he first talked about it?

Would the Taoiseach like to take the opportunity to correct the record as reported in today's Irish Independent, among others, that the proposals that were discussed at the congress over the weekend did not purport to make it a requirement that every GAA pitch will be open to all other kinds of sports, particularly soccer and rugby, but that the motion from Roscommon was confined to give to the central council the power to open Croke Park, and Croke Park alone, to soccer and rugby should they so decide?

In reply to Deputy Noonan, I would not share that view. My vision of sport is shared by most of the national sporting bodies, namely, that this country needs two stadiums and proper sporting complexes. Hopefully that will happen as soon as possible – in 2005 or 2006.

As far as the decision made on the congress motion is concerned, my difficulty with that motion, as I said many times in the past few days, is that it was a limited motion. The fact that it only included Croke Park is not what should happen in the long run.

Two spins.

That is unbelievable.

It is unreal.

Order. We are dealing with Leaders' questions.

The infrastructure that the Government and the taxpayer puts in throughout the country should be used. I cited the other day the case of a Limerick rugby ground which held 12,000 or 13,000 people while the athletic ground could hold far greater numbers, and that those facilities should be shared. Ultimately that is a matter for the conventions at Croke Park. The Government will give its view and it will urge that those facilities should be developed.

For the information of the House, and this point has been missed, the reality of Stadium Ireland never existed. The Government was faced with the position of having to help Croke Park. Croke Park ran into enormous difficulties, not all of their own making. The costs escalated dramatically and they required assistance. Their resources would have been entirely soaked up by Croke Park and it would not have been able to use those facilities in any other way.

Who will keep the Taoiseach's project going?

In the next few years I hope we will see the full development of Croke Park. As the GAA and its advisers and technical experts have stated, Croke Park will not, when it is fully developed, be able to host soccer, Gaelic and rugby matches. That is not even a likely dream, not to mention an eventual possibility. Senior officials of the GAA have made it absolutely clear to the Government that the ground will not be able to host those matches.

As a result of the soil test.

I call on Deputy Noonan to ask a supplementary question.

The Taoiseach knows more about the GAA than he does about hospital waiting lists.

We will provide the facilities lads.

The difficulty we face on this side of the House is that the Taoiseach's principles change on a daily basis. We have been informed by the president of the GAA that money was offered with no strings attached. The Tánaiste has objected to this and the Taoiseach is now suggest ing that not only must Croke Park be open to other sporting codes, particularly soccer and rugby, but so also must all GAA grounds throughout the country.

When hell freezes over.

This is an extraordinary shift. Will the Taoiseach clarify the position to the House? We are not discussing small amounts of money, we are discussing enormous amounts. The Taoiseach has already committed almost £1 billion to his extravagance at Abbotstown which, I presume, he believes will stand as some sort of monument to him. What is the position vis-à-vis his relationship with the Tánaiste? Has he said the offer is conditional? Has he informed the GAA authorities – particularly the president and the chairman of the Leinster council who are both on the record as saying there are no strings attached – that there are now strings attached? Has the Taoiseach informed them about this morning's new set of strings, namely, that every GAA ground throughout the country and not merely Croke Park will have to host other codes?

What about the hospital waiting lists?

We have doubled the amount available to the health services in recent years to £5 billion.


Order, please.

The Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Martin, has provided £5 billion, which is a 100% increase.


Order, please.

We are providing good facilities for Irish people.

In reply to Deputy Noonan—

Let us hear the answer.

—the position is that the Government has negotiated with the GAA but we still have to draw up a legal contract with the organisation.

Are there strings attached?

There are some strings attached.


The Taoiseach without interruption.

There are a number of issues outstanding, including the standard of the medical, research and anti-doping facilities.


These issues are very important in sport.

Mr. Hayes

What about the changing rooms?

The Taoiseach without interruption.

Is there provision for artificial insemination?

Ceann Comhairle, I will not continue with my reply.

I call Deputy Quinn.

Deputy Quinn rose.

Who is the dope in all of this?

Where does Deputy Allen stand?

The Minister of State knows where I stand.

He wants it for Cork.

I would not spend £1 billion on a stadium.

Not even in Cork?

No, not even in Cork.

No vision.

Deputy Quinn should proceed, he has the floor. By his silence he is allowing people to interrupt.

I am not, Sir. I am trying to exercise my right as a party leader to exclusively ask a question.

The Deputy is well capable of doing that, he should proceed.

Will the Taoiseach clarify for the House, the nation and the taxpayer the exact status of the offer communicated to the congress of the GAA on the eve of last weekend? Will the £60 million be made available without conditions, will it be allocated on condition that GAA teams play some games at Stadium Ireland or will it be given in return for Croke Park – and only Croke Park—

For a few tickets to All-Ireland finals.

—being made available for soccer and rugby matches? Will the Taoiseach indicate when, as required under the procedures of collective Cabinet responsibility, a memorandum setting out clearly the terms and conditions upon which taxpayers money will be allocated will be brought before Government? In light of a statement made earlier by one of their spokespersons that they will only agree to the £60 million being granted to Croke Park alone – to which £25 million has already been given – on explicit condition that the stadium would, subject to normal conditions, be made available to the soccer and rugby authorities, have the Progressive Democrats agreed to the allocation of these moneys?

Will the Taoiseach clarify the position vis-à-vis the timing of the offer to the GAA? Did he make the offer in order that the Roscommon motion would not be passed which would ensure that the rugby and soccer matches which might be played in Croke Park would be played at the proposed Stadium Ireland instead? Did he have some convoluted notion that by making the offer at that point—

That is a convoluted question.

—he would have helped the motion to be passed?

I answered Deputy Noonan's question in detail yesterday. The offer had nothing whatever to do with the Roscommon motion, it had to do with the GAA.

Brian Carthy said something different.


A supplementary question from Deputy Quinn.

I am sorry the Taoiseach is so sensitive.

He is very touchy today.

Members should allow leaders' questions to continue without interruption.

I know democracy can sometimes be difficult, even within the Taoiseach's party. However, he will be obliged to deal with that matter later today.

I want to answer but I cannot do so if Members keep interrupting.

The Taoiseach just interrupted Deputy Quinn.

If the Taoiseach wishes to continue, I will make way for him.

We were totally silent when Deputy Quinn was speaking. My colleagues can also make a racket.

No better men.

I merely want the same consideration because I want to answer the questions.

They are not making much of a racket on this issue.

All they can do is create a racket.

I will have to ask Deputy Belton to leave the House if he continues to interrupt.

Put him out, a Cheann Comhairle.

I was merely replying to the Taoiseach.

The Deputy has no right to reply. He will have to leave the House if he interrupts again.

He wants to be leader of Fine Gael.

The Taoiseach without interruption.

I answered Deputy Noonan's question yesterday. The offer had nothing to do with the Roscommon motion. The GAA had to put to its annual congress its position on playing matches in Stadium Ireland and details on its financial position. That had to be cleared because the consortium which will build the stadium and which is obliged to make its proposal by 31 May needed to have the position clarified. That was the reason the GAA urged the Government to make its position clear before the end of last week.

On the second issue, the Government and I have sent letters to the FAI and the GAA. We are still in discussions with the IRFU because there are a number of outstanding issues which must be resolved. These mainly involve coaching, which means the position is different to that involving the FAI and the GAA, but they must be resolved in fairness to the IRFU.

A legal agreement will have to be drawn up with the three organisations. The process for doing so has not commenced but it will eventually have to be put in train. The discussions and negotiations on that matter will allow the Government to put forward its views on certain matters. We cannot force them to do anything. However, the Government will put forward its view that because the State and the taxpayer are expending large amounts of money on sports infrastructure, that infrastructure should be used in as wide a manner as possible. It is not always practical that one sporting body can use another sporting body's facilities. However, where possible, different sporting organisations should be able to use each others grounds and there should not be a ban in that regard. That is the Government's position. We cannot force organisations to comply, but we have made our views known.

Croke Park is already used for Gaelic football, hurling, ladies' football and camogie. It will also be used for the special Olympics and for many other events. It is used extensively for GAA field sports. It is the view of the GAA that Croke Park will not be able to be used for other sports. However, that does not mean other grounds throughout the country cannot be shared on an agreed basis. We will state our position but we cannot force it or make it a precondition. We can only state that is what we think should happen. That is our view even if there was not a Stadium Ireland.

Croke Park gets the money but the clubs around the country get the games.

Perhaps the Taoiseach did not hear the first question I asked. He answered Deputy Noonan's supplementary question extensively. Am I still on my first question or am I in injury time?

This is the Deputy's final supplementary.

The Taoiseach may be against doping but he is not a dope.

It is an important issue in sport.

Yes. I put a clear question to the Taoiseach which he studiously avoided answering. I must repeat it now. Have the Progressive Democrats, who I believe are still in Government, although the Tánaiste does not come into the House for the Order of Business anymore—

That is not true.

It is true.

—said, as reported in the newspapers today, that the £60 million announced over the weekend is conditional on being given by the Government through the procedures of Cabinet collective responsibility and on Croke Park being made available to soccer and rugby fixtures on terms to be agreed? When will the memorandum be brought to Government – I am repeating of necessity because the question was not answered – and will it contain the conditions described by the Progressive Demo crats, the junior partners in the Government for the time being? Will the Taoiseach publish the correspondence to which he referred in relation to Stadium Ireland? Is the £60 million, as reported by the Progressive Democrats, conditional on only Croke Park being made open for set rugby and soccer fixtures? Will the memorandum contain those conditions? Will the Taoiseach publish the correspondence between the three sporting organisations to which he referred earlier?

I did not answer the question about the memorandum because I answered it yesterday, but I will answer it again today. That memorandum will come to the Government in the next few weeks. There will be a full report from the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation about all the negotiations, including those which have taken place up to the date the memorandum is brought forward. It will include the points we have put in our various discussions. Both the Tánaiste and I have said it is our view that when we build a large sporting infrastructure, as we will do in the next few years, we hope the sporting bodies will make the decision to open up the facilities where possible.

Is the £60 million conditional?

Both the Tánaiste and I know we cannot force those organisations.

The Taoiseach is not answering the question.

He is answering it.

Order, please. The Taoiseach is in possession.

In the discussions on the legal issue, we will make our point clear. We must acknowledge it is a democratic organisation which must deal with its procedures and we will make those points in our discussions.

On a point of clarification—

The Deputy must be brief, but we cannot have any more supplementary questions.

I want to ask a supplementary question as well.

We must conclude leaders' questions. I ask Deputy Quinn to resume his seat. We will now proceed to the other relevant questions on the Order of Business.

On the Order of Business, is it the Taoiseach's intention to introduce legislation so that not only would the £60 million be granted to the GAA in accordance with—

Unless it is promised legislation, the question is not in order on the Order of Business.

A memorandum will go to Government and it usually involves legislation. I want to make a straightforward point about legislation.

If it is not promised legislation, the question should not be raised.

You, a Cheann Comhairle, are aware that £60 million can be put into the Book of Estimates and it does not require legislation. On the other hand, if the £60 million is subject to conditions, it requires legislation. Is there legislation envisaged to set out the conditions? Will this be done in the Finance Bill or will separate legislation be introduced in the House?

This money is for the next three years up to 2004 and legislation is not necessary. The Stadium Ireland Bill is being prepared and it will be ready later this year.

When will the Stadium Ireland legislation be introduced? Will it outline the contents of the memorandum to which reference was made earlier? The GAA will get a total of £85 million for the completion of Croke Park, which we all hope to see. Will the extra £60 million contain an a priori condition before the money is handed over that it would be open to—

We are talking about the content of a Bill which is not in order on the Order of Business.

I have asked this question four times already and the Taoiseach has studiously avoided—

We have moved on from leaders' questions. We are on relevant questions on the Order of Business.

This is relevant. This is £60 million of taxpayers' money—

The content of any Bill is not the subject of questions.

—which one section of the Government says is free of conditions, while the other section says something else.

The Deputy must find another way to pursue the matter. It is not in order.

There is total confusion.

We find ourselves in an extraordinary situation. The Government, as is customary, has circulated a programme of its intended legis lation. However, the Stadium Ireland Bill does not appear in its promised legislation. It has been dropped out of a clear blue sky this morning. What is the purpose of this Bill?

A question on the purpose of the Bill is not in order on the Order of Business.

Have the heads of the Bill gone through the Government?

Only the timing of the Bill is in order. We cannot discuss the purpose of the Bill.

I will not do so. I just want to tell Deputy Noonan it is on the list on page 32. It is listed No. 110.

The Deputy must come out of the stratosphere.

Do I understand the Taoiseach to say that Croke Park gets the money but GAA pitches around the country must throw open their grounds to other games?

That is not in order on the Order of Business. The Deputy must address himself to a relevant question on the Order of Business.

That is what the Taoiseach said.

The Deputy should resume his seat. He is not in order.

The Deputy got it wrong.

If the Deputy has a relevant question, he should put it.

The Taoiseach is giving the money to the GAA and grounds up and down the country must be thrown open to other games, but not Croke Park.

The Deputy is being disorderly. He should resume his seat.

This is extraordinary. We should have an opportunity to discuss it and preferably with the Tánaiste.

The Deputy should resume his seat. I call Deputy Ó Caoláin on what I hope is a relevant question on the Order of Business.

Given that the Taoiseach has told us that Partnership for Peace, the rapid reaction force and the Nice Treaty do not threaten Irish neutrality now or in the future, will he allow Government time for the Second Stage of the Twenty-fifth Amendment of the Consti tution Bill, which I introduced in this House last Thursday and which would enshrine neutrality in the Constitution if approved by the electorate?

It is a Private Members' Bill which must be considered in the normal way.

On 14 September last year the Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Sport and Recreation held an investigation into the Abbottstown stadium and its report has since been published. Will the Taoiseach allow a debate in the Dáil on that report? How can the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Deputy McDaid, explain his comments on television that he inherited the problem only in January when he answered questions on 14 September?

That is not a relevant question on the Order of Business. The Deputy is being disorderly again. I ask him to resume his seat.

Can I get an answer to my question?

No. The Deputy's question is not in order.

The Deputy will get a yellow card.

Can Government time be provided for a discussion on the worsening situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories where up to 500 people have been killed since the peace negotiations broke down last September?

That is a matter for the Whips.

We will consider it.

Will the Taoiseach tell the House when the Mental Health Bill will come back into the House on Report Stage? There has been a long delay in taking this Bill which is important in terms of the human rights of people who suffer psychiatric illness. Can the Taoiseach indicate when exactly it will be taken?

It is awaiting an order for Report Stage. I do not have an exact date for it, but I will ask for it to be taken as soon as possible.

Given that the Taoiseach has appointed a new national crime council under the direction of the distinguished former civil servant Padraig White, does he intend to introduce any legislation to try to give the real indication of crime in the north side and west side of this city? Can we have legislation that could give us the relevant statistics? This Minister gives us fantasies and fairy tales about crime statistics.

That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

In relation to the Twenty-second Amendment to the Constitution Bill, I asked yesterday that the Minister would publish the accompanying legislation. I ask the Taoiseach when we will see the accompanying legislation?

The Minister stated last week that that matter was being considered. I shall ask him to communicate with the Deputy.

He said there was not a snowball's chance.

There has to be legislation. That is acknowledged.

He is giving the matter consideration so we have to wait until the Minister comes to a conclusion whether there will be legislation.

Does the Government plan on taking any action following the disturbing revelations on "Prime Time" last night?

That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

Section 7 of the Courts and Court Officers Act creates a conflict of interest for the Attorney General. When will legislation be before the House so that we may expose that conflict of interest?

The legislation has recently been published so I hope it will be in the House after the Easter break.

There were indications some time ago that the law on domestic violence would be updated. Yesterday there was an indication that there would be updated legislation on rape, particularly to speed up cases and provide awareness training for the legal profession on such cases. Is it intended to produce such legislation?

I think there already is legislation dealing with some of those matters, particularly training. There is no further Bill listed and I do not believe that those issues need further legislation.

Mr. Hayes

It was confirmed to me that it takes up to eight to ten months for a homeless person—

The Deputy is making a statement. He got the floor to ask his question.

Mr. Hayes

This Government is now four years in office and it takes eight months before people can get appropriate accommodation. When will we have the much promised private rented accommodation Bill and when will this Government deal with the housing crisis?

Look at the housing list now.

The Deputy is bringing argument into his question.

Mr. Hayes

It is a straightforward question on legislation; when will we get the private rented accommodation Bill. It takes eight months to get accommodation for someone who is homeless in this city.

The legislation is being prepared. I know the Deputy would want to know that a few years ago when his party was in office £600,000 was spent on homelessness and now it is £19 million.