Business of Dáil: Motion.

I move:

That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or the Orders of the Dáil of 27th June and 5th September, 2002:

(1) The Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. tonight and business shall be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m.

(2) The following arrangements shall apply in relation to the Second and Remaining Stages to the Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2002:

(i) the proceedings on the resumed Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 11th September 2002, and

(ii) Committee, Report and Final Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 11th September 2002, 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 Foreign Affairs.

Is the Taoiseach coming into the House?

If the Deputy were Taoiseach would he come in?

He is inspecting the sites.

That is not a matter for the Chair. I ask the Deputy to move his amendment No. 3.

I move amendment No. 3:

To insert the following paragraph after paragraph (2):

(3) That the Dáil shall sit on Thursday, 12th September 2002 from 10.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. to discuss the current state of the public finances and the potential impact of possible military action against Iraq.

Last week the Government voted down a motion on the state of the country's public finances. Now that the Taoiseach and Tánaiste are at least back in the country we should have a debate on this as a matter of urgency.

In respect of the public finances, we are facing into a critical period. The spending Estimates are being negotiated. The budget for next year will be formulated in the next 12 weeks. We hope a new partnership agreement will be put in place, which will have to include the report of the benchmarking body. It is therefore vital that we know the true position of the State's finances, given that spending is 19% higher than in 2001 and revenue is down by 11% for the same period. If the House agrees to my proposal, I would like to have a debate as a matter of urgency on the threatened—

(Interruptions.)

—military action on Iraq which would have the potential to wreak political and economic havoc on the world and on all our lives. As this country has a seat on the Security Council, it is imperative for this House to have a full debate on the issues surrounding threatened military action on Iraq before the Security Council meets.

Amendment No. 2 reads:

To insert the following paragraph after paragraph (2):

(3) That the Dáil on its rising on Wednesday, 11th September, shall adjourn until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 18th September 2002.

On this restricted Order of Business, there are two points I wish to make with the agreement of the House. I seek leave to withdraw a Private Members' Bill, which is in my name.

There is no Order of Business today.

I know that. However, we are discussing a motion.

We will deal with the item regarding the withdrawal of the Bill later after we have disposed of the amendments.

In the interests of brevity, I was going to combine the two. Due to the fact that the Government has acceded to our request to include in the referendum Bill the clause that would protect Ireland's military neutrality, I would seek, at the appropriate time, to formally withdraw from the Order Paper the Bill in the name of the Labour Party, namely, the Twenty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill.

Having said that, and recognising that we have been accommodated by this Administration in respect of this particular aspect, I wish to amend the order moved by the Minister of State and Government Chief Whip, Deputy Hanafin, so as to provide for this House to sit in the normal fashion after we have concluded this referendum business this week, and to resume and continue business in an orderly way. I do so because of a vast array of problems that continue to confront the people – insurance costs, the announced ESB increases, the deterioration in international relations with the proposed attack by the United States on Iraq, the ongoing dispute between the Government parties on the future of the national stadium, the inadequacy of the Lindsay tribunal's findings and report, not to mention the general perception that costs are out of control in this country.

If ever there was a time that the democratically elected assembly of this Republic should be in continuous session, it is now. It is a clear dereliction of our democratic responsibilities and duties that we are not proposing to sit next week where we will have a proper Order of Business. The Taoiseach, wherever he is, will enter this House in a few minutes and read a script into the record, and the Tánaiste, wherever she is, will do something similar.

They are together in discussion.

They are trying on the building workers' hard hats.

Please allow Deputy Quinn to continue without interruption.

If ever there was a time for this House to be in continuous session in the normal way, it is now. I put it to the Minister of State and her colleagues who are here that the Order of Business should be changed and we should agree to sit next week and continue on through. There is no excuse for this House not sitting in the normal fashion over the next couple of weeks. We should not adjourn until 9 October as proposed.

I concur that there is a need for us to continue business after the debate on the Nice treaty. I ask you, Sir, to throw some light on the convoluted way in which the Government appears to be trying to close down the debate in some cases, such as in the case of Second Stage of the Twenty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, which will be decided without adequate debate. When will Committee Stage be taken? There is a need to allow for Committee Stage and I wonder whether that is part of the Government's plan.

Is there a move to rule out the taking of the Opposition amendments to the motion? My party's amendment calls for discussion of the deteriorating situation in international relations, which, unwittingly, involves Ireland, due to the use of Shannon Airport as a stopover by United States military aircraft. We need to have this debated, a Cheann Comhairle. When I see that only matters put down by the Minister of Foreign Affairs are to be accepted, it suggests that we are doing away with the Parliament and simply relying on the diktat of the Government in this matter. Will there be debates on these important issues that the Opposition has tabled in a serious way?

No. 39 on today's Order Paper is a motion in my name and those of my Sinn Féin colleagues which focuses on the worsening international situation, the threat of a new war in the gulf and, indeed, the anniversary this week of the 11 September atrocities. Having requested a debate in direct correspondence with the Taoiseach, I again ask that time be made available for a special debate or, in its absence, statements on this serious and unfolding situation which threatens not only the gulf states, judging from the recent statements by the leaders of the USA and the UK, Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair, but also the rest of the globe.

We disagree strongly with the Government allowing the use on an ongoing basis of Irish airspace and landing opportunities by American military aircraft. We have already protested this and we want to know where the Government stands.

It is not appropriate to go into details.

Will the Government continue to accommodate military aircraft in this way?

It is not appropriate to discuss the matter now. We are discussing a procedural motion.

I am asking for an indication of whether such a debate will be accommodated and, if not, for statements.

Last week I raised a very serious and important matter at which some in the media scoffed in the intervening period. Members of this House continue not to be accommodated properly. A total of 166 Deputies were elected—

That does not arise at this stage.

—which was also the case previously, yet accommodation and facilities have not been provided to meet their needs.

The Deputy raised that point last week.

I must protest in the strongest possible terms about this and I also wish to make the point that there has not been accommodation made in the House for Sinn Féin, the Green Party and others.

The Government is behaving disgracefully in the matter of the proposed time arrangements. It now proposes to add several hours to the Nice treaty debate during Second Stage of the Bill. However, most of the leading opponents of Nice already spoke last week having run around the House cadging inadequate time from other parties at their grace and favour.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Now we have an extension of three or four hours which is almost exclusively for the "Yes" side. I support the amendments to the Order of Business because the international situation is very dangerous and must be discussed by our Parliament. The Prime Minister of the neighbouring island is scurrying across the Atlantic, suffering from acute delusions either that he is a great international statesman or that he is Tonto to Mr. Bush's Lone Ranger – I am not sure which. In any case, the consequences of a war for the people of Iraq would be absolutely appalling, adding slaughter to the ravages of a dictatorship and the criminal ravages caused by Western-imposed economic sanctions.

We are discussing a procedural motion about time. It is not appropriate to go into details.

The State proposes to make facilities available at Shannon for that criminal war effort should it happen.

Deputy, that does not arise.

We must discuss these issues and the Government should now indicate that it is willing to provide time for it.

It would be very helpful if the Chief Whip indicated the Government's attitude towards a discussion of the serious and deteriorating international situation which may lead to a pre-emptive strike and war. It is a most reasonable request and it would help the ordering of business for today and tomorrow if we knew the Government's intentions. When does it intend to provide scope and space for adequate consideration of these issues, including domestic questions about the relationship between Ireland and other states and the facilitation of any preparations for war?

On a point of information, will the Government accept the amendment in my name and that of the Labour Party? Will we be resuming business in the ordinary way after next week?

We propose to adjourn tomorrow evening and reconvene on 8 October. In the meantime, the IFI plant in Cork will be closing with the loss of 200 jobs and we will have no opportunity of discussing it.

Deputy Allen, that does not arise.

Everybody else was allowed to speak on the Order of Business.

Yes, but not in detail.

Will I be given an opportunity to question the Tánaiste on her determination to close IFI with the consequent loss of 200 jobs and the closure of the only fertiliser production factory in the country?

The detail does not arise at this time.

I am not sure of the Government's attitude to this amendment. Will the Government indicate whether or not it is accepting the amendment?

(Interruptions.)

I wish to put the question on the amendment in the name of Deputy Kenny.

On a point of order—

The Chair is on its feet to put the question. The Deputy has spoken on that amendment.

No, I did not.

The Deputy spoke on that amendment.

The Chair did not call me to speak on it.

Amendment put.

Allen, Bernard.Boyle, Dan.Breen, James.

Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard. Burton, Joan.

Tá–continued

Costello, Joe.Coveney, Simon.Cowley, Jerry.Crowe, Seán.Cuffe, Ciarán.Deenihan, Jimmy.Durkan, Bernard J.English, Damien.Enright, Olwyn.Ferris, Martin.Gilmore, Eamon.Gogarty, Paul.Gormley, John.Gregory, Tony.Healy, Seamus.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael D.Howlin, Brendan.Kenny, Enda.Lynch, Kathleen.McCormack, Pádraic.McGrath, Finian.McGrath, Paul.

McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Morgan, Arthur.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Noonan, Michael.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.O'Dowd, Fergus.O'Keeffe, Jim.O'Shea, Brian.Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.Pattison, Seamus.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Ryan, Eamon.Sargent, Trevor.Sherlock, Joe.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.Wall, Jack.

Níl

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, Barry.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Niall.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Seamus.Callanan, Joe.Carey, Pat.Carty, John.Cassidy, Donie.Collins, Michael.Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.Coughlan, Mary.Cregan, John.Cullen, Martin.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Tony.Dennehy, John.Devins, Jimmy.Ellis, John.Finneran, Michael.Fox, Mildred.Glennon, Jim.Grealish, Noel.Hanafin, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Healy-Rae, Jackie.Hoctor, Máire.Jacob, Joe.

Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kelly, Peter.Killeen, Tony.Kitt, Tom.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDowell, Michael.McEllistrim, Thomas.McGuinness, John.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Mulcahy, Michael.Nolan, M. J.O'Connor, Charlie.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donovan, Denis.O'Malley, Fiona.O'Malley, Tim.Parlon, Tom.Power, Peter.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Sexton, Mae.Smith, Brendan.Wallace, Dan.Wilkinson, Ollie.Wright, G. V.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Durkan and Stagg; Níl, Deputies Hanafin and S. Power.
Amendment declared lost.

Does Deputy Stagg wish to move his amendment?

I move amendment No. 2:

To insert the following paragraph after paragraph (2):

"(3) The Dáil on its rising on Wednesday, 11th September, shall adjourn until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 18th September 2002."

Amendment put.

Allen, Bernard.Boyle, Dan.Breen, James.Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard.Burton, Joan.Costello, Joe.Coveney, Simon.Crowe, Seán.Cuffe, Ciarán.Deenihan, Jimmy.Durkan, Bernard J.Enright, Olwyn.Ferris, Martin.Gilmore, Eamon.Gogarty, Paul.Gormley, John.Healy, Seamus.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael D.Howlin, Brendan.Kenny, Enda.Lynch, Kathleen.McCormack, Pádraic.McGrath, Finian.

McGrath, Paul.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Morgan, Arthur.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Neville, Dan.Noonan, Michael.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.O'Dowd, Fergus.O'Keeffe, Jim.O'Shea, Brian.Pattison, Seamus.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairi.Rabbitte, Pat.Ryan, Eamon.Sargent, Trevor.Sherlock, Joe.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.Wall, Jack.

Níl

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, Barry.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Niall.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Seamus.Callanan, Joe.Carey, Pat.Carty, John.Cassidy, Donie.Collins, Michael.Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.Coughlan, Mary.Cregan, John.Cullen, Martin.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Tony.Dennehy, John.Devins, Jimmy.Ellis, John.Finneran, Michael.Fleming, Seán.Fox, Mildred.Glennon, Jim.Grealish, Noel.Hanafin, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Healy-Rae, Jackie.Hoctor, Máire.

Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kelly, Peter.Killeen, Tony.Kitt, Tom.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDowell, Michael.McEllistrim, Thomas.McGuinness, John.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Mulcahy, Michael.Nolan, M. J.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Connor, Charlie.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donovan, Denis.O'Malley, Fiona.O'Malley, Tim.Parlon, Tom.Power, Peter.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Sexton, Mae.Smith, Brendan.Wallace, Dan.Wilkinson, Ollie.Wright, G. V.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Durkan and Stagg; Níl, Deputies Hanafin and S. Power.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 1:

To insert the following paragraph after paragraph (2):

"(3) That the Dáil shall sit on Thursday, 12th September 2002 from 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., to discuss:

(i) the deteriorating international situation with the imminent threat of military aggression against the state of Iraq, informing the Dáil of any use sought of Irish facilities (particularly airport facilities) in assisting such an adventure, allowing the Dáil to reject outright any Irish participation in such military adventurism; and

(ii) the report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into the Infection with HIV and Hepatitis C of Persons with Haemophilia and Related Matters to allow the Dáil to comment upon same and suggest what further courses of action should be pursued."

Amendment put.

Allen, Bernard.Boyle, Dan.Breen, James.Breen, Pat.Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard.Burton, Joan.Coveney, Simon.Crowe, Seán.Cuffe, Ciarán.Deasy, John.Deenihan, Jimmy.Durkan, Bernard J.English, Damien.Enright, Olwyn.Ferris, Martin.Gilmore, Eamon.Gogarty, Paul.Gormley, John.Healy, Seamus.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael D.Kenny, Enda.Lynch, Kathleen.

McCormack, Pádraic.McGrath, Finian.McGrath, Paul.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Olivia.Morgan, Arthur.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Neville, Dan.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.O'Dowd, Fergus.O'Keeffe, Jim.O'Shea, Brian.Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.Pattison, Seamus.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Ryan, Eamon.Sargent, Trevor.Sherlock, Joe.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Upton, Mary.Wall, Jack.

Níl

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, Barry.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Seamus.Callanan, Joe.Carey, Pat.Carty, John.Cassidy, Donie.Collins, Michael.Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.Coughlan, Mary.Cregan, John.Cullen, Martin.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Tony.Dennehy, John.Devins, Jimmy.Ellis, John.Finneran, Michael.Fleming, Seán.Glennon, Jim.Grealish, Noel.Hanafin, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Hoctor, Máire.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.

Kelly, Peter.Killeen, Tony.Kitt, Tom.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDowell, Michael.McEllistrim, Thomas.McGuinness, John.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Mulcahy, Michael.Nolan, M. J.O'Connor, Charlie.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donovan, Denis.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Malley, Fiona.O'Malley, Tim.Parlon, Tom.Power, Peter.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Sexton, Mae.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Wallace, Dan.Wilkinson, Ollie.Wright, G. V.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Boyle and Durkan; Níl, Deputies Hanafin and S. Power.
Amendment declared lost.
Motion put and declared carried.