It is proposed to take No. 2, the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and Private Members' business shall be No. 52, motion re report of the Comptroller and Auditor General for 2005.
Order of Business.
There are no proposals to put to the House today.
As we continue this debate, we do not technically know whether we have a Government because the junior partners are meeting.
It is nearly 6.40 p.m.
We will not rehearse issues we have debated for hours.
I have no intention of rehearsing them. I am merely giving the Ceann Comhairle——
The Deputy's own "Tánaiste" has gone.
Does Deputy Kenny have a question on the Order of Business?
Yes. I am merely giving the Ceann Comhairle some information.
Deputy Rabbitte is on his way to the bar.
We do not know whether we have a Government.
That does not arise. If the Deputy does not have something appropriate on the Order of Business, we will move on to item No. 2.
It arises because the Ceann Comhairle's job is on the line if the people who are absent decide that the Taoiseach did not do very well.
It is current legislation.
We will not start discussing a matter we have debated for the past three hours.
Perhaps if the Ceann Comhairle focuses on his job, he might begin to consider this matter. Will the House have an opportunity to discuss the Green Paper on Energy launched by the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources on Sunday? This would be appropriate as it is a central issue. Staying away from the topic we were discussing some minutes ago, a matter was brought to my attention where a tribunal has come to a conclusion on a particular issue. Information has been given to me that seems to put forward a strong point of view that was not expressed to the chairman of the tribunal before he arrived at his conclusion. If there is validity in such an issue, is there a facility whereby an aggrieved person is enabled, entitled or authorised——
This is not a question for the Order of Business. I would prefer that the Deputy submit a question on the matter to the appropriate Minister.
Who is the appropriate Minister?
It depends on the tribunal.
If the Deputy submits the question, I am sure it will be taken.
The Minister, Deputy Roche, deals with some of these tribunals. It is a serious matter. I do not want to stand against the adjudication of the tribunals, but does the Taoiseach, as Head of Government, know whether there is a facility whereby if a claim is valid——
This is not appropriate to the Order of Business. As the Deputy rightly said, it should be raised in the proper fashion if it is a serious matter.
If Deputy Kenny contacts me with a question about a tribunal, I will ensure that my answer is as helpful as possible.
The Government would welcome it if time could be made available to discuss the Green Paper.
I want to reassure my colleague from Fine Gael that there is absolutely no doubt that the Government is intact. The junior partners would not leave with an atomic bomb under their noses. There is no doubt about it.
On the matter of promised legislation, I have asked the Taoiseach regularly about the matter of television coverage for the Irish in Britain and the communications Bill that is promised in that regard. The Taoiseach indicated that they would have coverage in time for the all-Ireland final. Seeing the job Mayo did, maybe it was just as well they did not get that coverage. I would be anxious that the legislation would be brought forward as quickly as possible to ensure it is in place at least for the next all-Ireland final.
Kilkenny won it.
Deputy Stagg has raising this repeatedly. There is much merit in the points he has made. The Bill is out for consultation under the e-consultation process. I do not know when that process ends.
On 4 December.
It is out for consultation for the next two months.
I asked this Taoiseach about this legislation, the Charities Regulation Bill, with the question I asked him in 1999 about being a beneficiary of gifts etc. I asked then and repeatedly since I was elected to this House because the 1990 Costello report indicated there was a need for reform of charities. Some 127 bodies benefiting from charitable status were not in the public domain at the time. Is this not an urgent matter? Can we have a date for publication of the Bill? The report was published a long time ago.
This has proved to be a difficult and detailed Bill because it goes back over a long period involving all charitable bequests and donations. The heads of the Bill have been approved for some considerable time. It went for drafting. It is likely to be published just after Christmas, but it is hoped to have it done before Christmas.
We hope to publish it this year. It is a large Bill and it will be a difficult Bill.
Publication of the Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill, which until the summer recess was expected between now and Christmas, is expected early in 2007 according to the new programme. Will it be published before the dissolution of the current Dáil?
Publication of the Health Bill, which we were told in the last programme would be in the summer, is now expected in 2007. Does the Taoiseach intend to publish this important Bill within this current Dáil?
The Ombudsman (Amendment) Bill is not as long a Bill. The heads of that have been approved and it is listed for early 2007.
On the Health Bill, the consultation process is under way and once that is finished, revised proposals will be submitted to Government. The heads of the original Bill had been approved since 7 March. That consultation process will really decide how long it will take, but much work has been done on it already.
Does the Taoiseach expect it will be published before the general election?
Yes. It is hoped that it will be published early in the new year.