Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 12, Supplementary Estimates for Public Services — Votes 6, 9, 10, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 27, 32 and 35 — back from committee; No. 13, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Bovine Diseases (Levies) Regulations, 2004; No. 20, Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Bill 2002 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 21, Social Welfare Bill 2004 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages.

It is 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.; Nos. 12 and 13 shall be decided without debate and in the case of No. 12, the Supplementary Estimates for Public Services — Votes 6, 9, 10, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 27, 32 and 35, shall be moved together and decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; Report and Final Stages of No. 20 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, with regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform; and Report and Final Stages of No. 21 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, with regard to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social and Family Affairs. Private Members' business shall be No. 45, motion re An Post.

There are four proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for the late sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 12 and 13 without debate agreed?

When he spoke in the debate on the budget, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Cowen, said he would favour a more radical and comprehensive approach to conducting the business relating to the budget, Estimates and so forth. Has the Minister indicated when he might bring forward proposals in that regard, arising from suggestions made by Deputy Bruton to make the conduct of business more professional? I do not object to the proposal but I seek clarification in this regard.

The Minister for Finance said in his Budget Statement, and since then, that he is prepared to examine proposals in the context of a reform of Dáil business. It can be channelled through the Government Whip. We are ready to start it but we wish to deal with it in the context of general reforms. It makes sense. We have been using this system for a long time and there are some good suggestions for reform.

Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 12 and 13 without debate agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 20, conclusion of Report and Final Stages of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Bill 2002, agreed?

Notwithstanding some improvement since the Minister for Education and Science achieved high office, we have had to respond completely unnecessarily to guillotines on a great many Bills throughout the term. A total of 72 amendments have been tabled to the Bill, of which 34 come from the Minister. The Minister has made more law by amendment than he has by original Bill and we are asked to agree to this process again between now and 7 p.m. I am afraid my party cannot agree. It is completely unreasonable to expect that the legislation will have been subjected to quality scrutiny in the time available.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy McDowell, takes offence at having to come before the House to have his legislation examined. He thinks he ought to be let off to go back to his office to make laws and diktats and announce them from that location. He thinks the people should recognise the inherent sagacity of that position. We are not prepared to do so and will not agree to the Order of Business for that reason.

The Green Party opposes the use of the guillotine, especially where it has not been demonstrated to be absolutely necessary. In a demonstration of a practice which is not completely confined to Progressive Democrats Party members of the Cabinet, the Tánaiste acted like an Opposition spokesman in bringing forward so many amendments to the Health Bill 2004. The farce of asking the House to deal with a new thrust in legislation which has not been debated on Second Stage is compounded by the use of a guillotine. As Deputy Rabbitte stated, the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Bill is another case in point. The Government must take stock and cease to introduce legislation to which late amendments indicate was rushed at the drafting stage.

Sinn Féin objects to the guillotining of this highly controversial Bill. We note that the Minister has completely failed to address the concerns raised by the Human Rights Commission and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, both of which organisations have indicated the Bill constitutes a further infringement of fundamental democratic rights and freedoms. While Deputy Rabbitte was correct to refer to the number of amendments tabled, the Bill is 111 pages long and contains 66 sections and seven Schedules. The legislation was first published two years ago. Despite the passage of over a year since Second Stage was completed, the Bill is being rushed through the House before Christmas in 90 minutes. It is disingenuous of the Minister to act in this way.

I believe what colleagues have said to be the case. The Minister does not want scrutiny of legislation, especially of this kind. Given the Minister's recorded acknowledgement that the framework decision on which the Bill is based is fundamentally flawed, we must ask why it is being rushed through. It must require careful scrutiny and a full opportunity to address all amendments which have been tabled. It is likely that the most controversial provisions, which are set out in Schedule 2 on page 74, will not be reached. Clearly, this is a very serious matter indeed and I must record that Sinn Féin cannot accept the application of a guillotine. The Bill requires full airing in the House. I request the Taoiseach to overturn the proposition.

I take the point. During the session, we have endeavoured to pass legislation while avoiding the guillotine, but it is unavoidable in the last week as we come to the end of the session. Most of the amendments the Minister has tabled to this Bill relate to the European arrest warrant. While it is obvious there will not be much time for debate, it is important to get the legislation through before Christmas.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 20 be agreed."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 55.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Brennan, Seamus.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghail, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wright, G. V.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Breen, James.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Padraic.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Murphy, Gerard.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Neville and Stagg.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 21 agreed?

It is not agreed. In regard to Report and Final Stages of the Social Welfare Bill, we are asked to accept a guillotine to this very important legislation of 10 p.m. The Social Welfare Bill, and all the amendments thereto, should receive a full airing in this House and, accordingly, I cannot accept a guillotine in this case. I point out that the use of the guillotine has become almost standard over the past few weeks and, as we indicated previously, that is not the way to proceed with critical business. We do not oppose it totally, but this Bill and the legislation on the guillotining of which we expressed our opinion are very important Bills which require full address by the House. Accordingly, I oppose the imposition of a guillotine on Report and Final Stages of the Social Welfare Bill.

We also oppose the guillotine of this matter.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 21 be agreed."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 55.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Brennan, Seamus.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghail, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wright, G. V.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Breen, James.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Padraic.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Murphy, Gerard.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Neville and Stagg.
Question declared carried.

In his speech to the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis two years ago, the Taoiseach made a central point of the necessity for an impetus on major infrastructural projects. Out of that came the national infrastructure Bill. I understand the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has put a damper on the incinerator for Ringsend, with the approval of the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government who is currently in Buenos Aires discussing climate change.

This matter is not appropriate to the Order of Business.

It is very appropriate.

The Minister for Transport, who was in Ballina yesterday, emphasised the necessity for infrastructure to be developed speedily and on time and of getting value for money. Will the Taoiseach, therefore, explain why the Bill, which was published and brought before the Cabinet, has been withdrawn? Why has it not proceeded to a point where the House can debate it?

The Minister has been re-examining the Bill and looking at why there are delays in the legislation. He said there are more delays in the courts than in the planning process. The House will be delighted to hear that the Bill will be back after Christmas.

Is the Government making representations to the United Kingdom Government regarding the Bill published in pursuit of the Weston Park agreement in respect of Mr. Pat Finucane?

Yes. We cannot give our support to the Bill in its present form. It is not in line with what was agreed in Weston Park. We will continue to oppose the Bill and work with some of the Northern Ireland MPs to try to have the Bill changed during its passage in Westminster.

Will the Taoiseach correct the impression given in newspaper reports that the infrastructure Bill is dead? That is not what he just said. During Question Time, Opposition Members attempted to raise the matter of Aer Lingus. On the basis of the Goldman Sachs report——

That matter does not arise on the Order of Business. I call Deputy Crawford.

There is an air navigation and transport Bill. I am talking about promised legislation.

The Taoiseach last week promised a debate on the Goldman Sachs report.

I am talking about a promised debate and promised legislation. I cannot see how that is not in order. I am asking a straight question and I would like a straight answer regarding when we will have the debate and whether legislation will be introduced or the issue will be debated on its own merits.

It will be debated in the new year. I am not certain legislation is required. We will have a debate in the new year.

What will be the structure?

I have replied to that question.

After Christmas. The Taoiseach said it was off the agenda.

I refer to the desecration of a crib and other objects in Clones as a result of drunken misbehaviour. When will Alcohol Products (Control of Advertising, Sponsorship and Marketing Practices/Sales Promotions) Bill be taken so we can have a full debate on the problem of drunkenness and disorder?

The heads of the Bill have been approved. It is being drafted and should be available in the spring session of next year.

I have asked this question a number of times but I am asking it again in view of the continued sustained activity in the construction industry and record outputs in most sectors. The building control Bill has been promised for almost two and a half years. It will cover a number of sectors of relevance and importance to different professions and consumer safeguards. The traditional response has been that it will be published some time in 2005. Is there new urgency regarding its introduction because it would add a dimension of protection for citizens, which they require?

The Deputy is correct that I have replied to him about this a number of times. I will take it up with the legislative committee.

One of the commitments in the programme for Government under the heading, working for peace, is the implementation of an all-Ireland travel scheme for pensioners resident in all parts of the island. Where does that commitment stand? Is legislation required? Why is it taking so long to implement such a relatively straightforward provision?

That commitment has been made and it is being discussed with the Northern authorities.

How soon will it be implemented?

Roadstone is one of the companies that admitted to illegal dumping on its property and it may not be prosecuted. Has the Taoiseach plans to amend the legislation in this area? When will the companies Bill be published?

The Taoiseach may answer the second question.

He might like to comment on the first question.

That question is more appropriate to the line Minister.

The heads of the Bill are expected after Christmas. It will be called the company law (consolidation and reform) Bill and it will be introduced later next year.

The Taoiseach promised legislation relating to the charges for nursing home care in reply to Deputy Kenny last week. Will the legislation be rushed through the House before Christmas? The Health Bill 2004 has just been rushed through the House in a most disgraceful manner. Will the Taoiseach clarify whether there will be an even faster track for legislation to address this issue, which should have been dealt with years ago?

The Deputy is probably correct. If the Act had been amended in the 1970s, we would not have been talking about it every decade since.

What about the past seven years?

The Attorney General has given advice that we must stop raising the charges and that primary legislation is required. The Government's view is that we should legislate now. The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children will discuss it with the health spokespersons and the Government Chief Whip will discuss it with the other Whips later.

Will we deal with this before Christmas?

The Government would like to take the legislation before the recess.

The Taoiseach stated the Government would re-examine the strategic national infrastructure Bill and it would be re-introduced after Christmas. Will the Bill come back to the House in some shape or form? How will it be re-examined?

I refer to the International Criminal Court Bill, which was published in August 2003. Does the Taoiseach share my concern about reports from Fallujah that napalm is being used to terrorise the citizens and that this legislation is needed to bring the United States to heel, even though it does not support the court?

That issue does not arise on the Order of Business. The Deputy can raise it when the Bill comes before the House.

The International Criminal Court Bill 2003 is awaiting Committee Stage. I am not sure what is holding it up at the committee. The Minister will report on his proposals regarding the critical infrastructure Bill in the new year.

Is it coming back to the House?

Will it include incinerators or has the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform put that off the agenda?

When will the Postal (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2001 be brought before the House notwithstanding the recent explanation of the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources? Will there be a dramatic input by the Minister into the plethora of legislation promised by his Department, because nothing will happen this year?

I do not have a date for the Postal (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2001.

It is in the post.

It is some time since the Bill was ordered for Second Stage and I do not know what is the latest position.

In recent days, the National Roads Authority has been running Michael O'Leary style advertisements regarding the M3 issue, which is currently under consideration by a committee of the House.

Has the Deputy a question relevant to the Order of Business?

Has the money to pay for the advertisements been voted by the House?

That does not arise on the Order of Business.

It does. The House votes the money allocated to the NRA, which has no other source of——

The Deputy should table a question to the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Transport.

Has the money been voted or is a Supplementary Estimate required?

Is a Supplementary Estimate promised?

No, but the costs of the NRA is a matter for the authority.

It is a quango so it does not need the approval of the House.

The Labour Party has a problem with the facts. It does not want the public to know the facts.

The problem is the public does not know them.

Given the great difficulty experienced in recruiting and retaining overseas nurses to work in our hospitals, will the issue of their spouses being allowed to work in the State be dealt with under the immigration and residence Bill?

As I understand it, they can work here.