It is proposed to take No. 18, Disability Bill 2004 — Report Stage (resumed) and Final Stage; and No. 19, Driver Testing and Standards Authority Bill 2004 — Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' business shall be No. 46, motion re Aer Lingus, resumed, to conclude at 8.30 p.m.
Order of Business.
There are no proposals to put to the House.
The transport reform Bill is due in 2005. Has the Cabinet received and discussed the McCann report on the western rail corridor as part of the overall transport programme? When is it proposed to publish the report on the review of the inland fisheries? This report has been available for a number of months, but it has not been published yet.
Are there any proposals to amend the Education Act 1998? There is no general requirement on pupils, especially in second level schools, to abide by a set of rules and regulations. This means that in a small minority of cases where students disrupt class procedures, principal teachers and class teachers have no method of dealing with them. The Act needs to be examined as the situation is causing stress to teachers, pupils and parents.
I am aware of the problem but there is no legislation as listed. I will bring the Deputy's comments to the attention of the Minister for Education and Science. I have been told by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources that the report on the review of inland fisheries will be brought to the Cabinet and will be published in a few weeks' time. I have no date for the publication of the transport reform Bill, but the McCann report is being discussed within the Department of Transport and the infrastructure committee.
Has the Cabinet got the report?
It will be part of the discussion on the ten-year plan on transport which must come before Cabinet. It is being discussed by the infrastructure committee at the moment.
Has the Government decided that a Supplementary Estimate will not be necessary this year for the refund of nursing home charges?
There has been no Supplementary Estimate so far, but if the resources are needed, there will have to be one.
The Minister for Education and Science has just informed me that a task force is working on the issue of disruptive children in schools.
I understand from reports that the critical infrastructure Bill was to be raised at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. Given the circumstances, other issues were naturally given priority. Is there still a plan for an early publication date? Will the critical infrastructure Bill address any of the issues surrounding decentralisation?
We cannot discuss the content of the Bill.
I read in a report that the population of Dublin may reach 2 million by 2021.
The Bill will be published in the next few weeks.
Is the Government planning to introduce a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Education and Science to buy school buses that have seat belts fitted? Can this be fast-tracked? We have been told that it will take a couple of years and that it will cost €100 million.
There is no Supplementary Estimate yet, but we will await the three reports into the terrible tragedy in County Meath.
This is not just about that specific accident. This is about the general issue of safety on school buses.
It is only appropriate to ask on promised Supplementary Estimates.
I will be able to raise this issue today at the Joint Committee on Education and Science but it is also a matter for Government.
The alcohol products (control of advertising, sponsorship and marketing practices/sales promotions) Bill is listed under the Department of Health and Children and is due later this year. Why does that particular aspect of alcohol policy come under the Department of Health and Children, while promised legislation on café bar licences, which is a piece of kite flying on the part of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, is under his Department? Is that not also an issue of grave concern for the Department of Health and Children? How soon after the ending of the consultation process on 31 May can we expect the legislation signalled by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform?
The legislation covering the licensed trade comes under the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. That Department is consolidating all the legislation. There are a great number of Acts governing the licensing laws which date back to 1600. The alcohol products (control of advertising, sponsorship and marketing practices/sales promotions) Bill comes under the Department of Health and Children. The heads of that Bill have been approved by the Government and the Bill should be before the House in the autumn. The Bill on café bars is undergoing a consultation process before the Minister makes any decision.
The Government parties made a commitment in their programme for Government to tackle drug abuse. They claimed that by the end of 2002, they would publish a plan to end completely all heroin use in prisons. I know the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is quite busy running the country, but 2002 passed a few years ago. Has that plan been developed? Are there any proposals to put it together? When will it be published? When will this commitment be implemented?
I have no Bill listed. The Deputy should ask the Minister about it.
During the enactment by this House of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2004, an amendment was accepted requiring the labelling of individual items of drink with the place where they were sold. This amendment was accepted but never implemented. When will the secondary legislation be introduced to bring this section of the Act into effect or has the Government abandoned it? It would facilitate an effective assault on under-age drinking.
I understand the implementation of this provision is not a simple matter. There has been a deep examination of how this might best be done and a consideration of whether its implementation would stand up and be beneficial.
We should at least be able to identify where alcohol has been purchased.
There may be difficulties in proving the source from which alcohol has been purchased. I understand there has been quite a considered debate about whether——
Does the Taoiseach agree such a provision would be a useful device? The House accepted the relevant amendment.
The matter is under consideration. The reason it has not come through the process is that there has been much examination of whether it will work in practice. I understand this is the cause of the delay.
Debate on this matter has been ongoing for five years.
When can we expect the promised family law Bill and the Bill to consolidate social welfare legislation?
The family law Bill will be published in 2006 and the Bill to consolidate social welfare legislation is due in the autumn. The heads of that Bill have already been approved.
When will the coroners Bill be published? When will the debate on suicide, which was scheduled for last week but postponed because of emergency legislation, take place?
The coroners Bill will provide for the reform of the coroners service and replace the Coroners Act 1962. The heads of the Bill will be drafted during the summer and the legislation is expected to be ready for publication next year. I will ask the Government Whip about rescheduling the debate on suicide.
Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,