Order of Business.

The Order of Business shall be No. 11, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the World Intellectual Property Organisation Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties of 20 December 1996; No. 12, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Official Languages Act 2003 (Section 9) Regulations 2006; and No. 13, motion re Book of Estimates 2007.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 11 and 12 shall be decided without debate; the proceedings on No. 13 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m. tomorrow and the following arrangements shall apply: the speech of the Minister for Finance and the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case; the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; Members may share time; and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed ten minutes. Private Members' Business shall be No. 61, motion re housing.

There are two proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 11 and 12 without debate agreed?

No. Ba mhaith liom chuir i gcoinne an rún seo a chuir chuig an choiste. Measaim gur chóir go mbeadh díospóireacht ar an rún sa Teach seo ar dtús, sular gcuirtear é go dtí an choiste. Déanfaidh an coiste déileáil leis an rún ansin ina iomlán agus, más gá, tiocfadh sé ar ais anseo arís ionas go mbeidh díospóireacht againn ó thús deireadh ar an cheist mór tábhachtach seo.

Question: "That the proposal for dealing with Nos. 11 and 12 without debate be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 13, motion re Book of Estimates 2007, agreed?

I object to the guillotining of the motion relating to the Book of Estimates at 7 p.m. tomorrow. I do so because the opportunity for debate in respect of a raft of public expenditure proposals, involving a sum equating to €54 billion in public moneys, will be curtailed by the exercise of this guillotine. We should allow all Members the opportunity to properly participate in the debate. There is another day's sitting this week on which a further opportunity for input and participation could have been accommodated. The Estimates will be referred to Oireachtas committees, but that will be months after the event. I am a member of the Select Committee on Finance and the Public Service which has made the point on numerous occasions that this is absolutely unacceptable. Some of the most far-reaching measures in respect of expenditure on the part of the Government are not included in the Estimates, are not provided for in any motion laid before the House and are not even catered for in legislation. However, the Government is going to proceed in respect of a number of them without their being addressed in the House.

I wish to provide one instance, the Minister for Health and Children's proposals in respect of the co-location of private, for-profit hospital facilities on the sites of public hospitals. This has never been provided for in any shape or form — motion, legislation or Estimate — and it is indicative of the general attitude of the Government towards public expenditure and the use of public moneys. These matters must be properly addressed and debated in the House. On those grounds, I object to the proposed guillotine in respect of the motion on the Book of Estimates.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 13 be agreed to," put and declared carried.

I wish to begin by paying a compliment. I suppose it is unusual for a Member on this side of the House to do so. I note the circulation of information from the Library and Research Service of the Houses, probably through the Commission of the Houses of the Oireachtas, which is much better staffed than used to be the case and should be available, for information and research purposes, to Deputies. That is a good move on the part of the commission.

There are 11 sitting days remaining until the House proposes to rise at Christmas. When one takes account of the day on which the budget will be introduced and the following day when it will be debated we are effectively left with nine sitting days. Of the 21 Bills that have been mentioned by the Government Chief Whip for publication, three have been published and one is currently going through the House. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether the other 17 will be published before the end of the session or how many of them are likely to be forthcoming during that period?

The Health Service Executive made reference to its interest in a patient safety agency being established. Fine Gael and the Labour Party produced a Bill relating to the establishment of a patient safety authority. In the light of the validity of arguments in favour of such an authority, is the Government prepared to accept the Bill to which I refer or does it intend to introduce its own legislation and if so, when?

Arising from the recent report which shows that Border areas are the most dangerous in the country regarding fatalities resulting from road accidents, is legislation to make provision for equality of penalties, North and South, likely to be introduced in order that this serious matter might be addressed?

Is there any intention to introduce legislation in respect of the governance of primary schools? As a result of the lack of clerical personnel, governance has changed in this regard. There are problems in a number of areas. Are they likely to be legislated for with a change in responsibility provided?

I do not know about legislation but the issue of governance is being discussed by the Minister for Education and Science and the church authorities because of the change in numbers, which the Deputy outlined.

On the patient safety issues, three health Bills will come before the House and they can be raised with the Minister for Health and Children then. I am not aware of a proposal to equalise legislation between the North and South, although it would not be a bad idea to keep control of issues. The legislation will be introduced at the beginning of the next session. I do not know whether all the legislation will be reached but a few Bills were before Cabinet earlier and a number of others will come before Cabinet in the next week or two. A large number will be published and circulated during the Christmas recess, if not before.

Is it correct that Fianna Fáil backbenchers forced the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to back down on his refusal to budge on the deadline of 25 November regarding the electoral register issue?

That matter does not arise on the Order of Business.

Does it not, Sir?

Does the Deputy have a question appropriate to the Order of Business?

I do. The Ceann Comhairle will recall that the electoral register's latest state is worse than its first with deletions, inconsistencies, people removed to a——

The Deputy has other opportunities to raise this and we cannot have a debate on it. It would set a dangerous precedent for the House.

I am grateful to you, Sir, as always. Is it true that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has compounded the mess by extending the deadline from 25 November to 29 December?

That matter does not arise on the Order of Business.

It arises from the point of view of every Member, who ought to be concerned that there will be an electoral contest based on a fair and accurate representation of the people entitled to vote.

A number of ways are open to the Deputy to raise the issue. Does the Taoiseach wish to respond?

Has the Minister extended the deadline from 25 November to 29 December? Will the resources be supplied to the local authorities to ensure they will have no excuse to fail to achieve 99% accuracy in the register? When the people were paying rates, there was no difficulty having an accurate register. It is a scandal that we are in this situation.

The Chair will allow the Taoiseach to answer his question but we cannot have a debate on the issue because it is out of order.

We cannot have a debate on anything in here, Sir.

If it is helpful, I will make a brief comment. Earlier this year Members asked that we take a serious look, for the first time in 30 years, at the state of the register because all of us knew that it was packed with people who did not live where they were supposed to live and people who were dead or did not exist in the first place. The Government took up the suggestion made in the House to bring in the census enumerators and that job was done. As I knew at the time, that meant all the dead wood on the register, including those who were long dead, would be removed.

That is not fair on Deputy Wall who is still alive.

If the Government keeps going at its current rate, nobody will be left.

Please allow the Taoiseach to reply without interruption.

I will leave it at that, if the Members do not want to know.

I apologise to the Taoiseach that he did not get a silent hearing. I wish he would resume.

A number of requests were made by political parties and local authorities seeking additional time to complete the work on the register. The deadline for members of the public to send corrections to the draft register is 25 November while that for the local authorities is 13 December. Local authorities and political parties have asked for the deadlines to be changed and the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, therefore, has decided to extend the deadline for local authorities to complete their work on the register to 29 December. In these circumstances he has decided to give an additional fortnight to members of the public to submit corrections and he also decided to request councils to hold registration clinics in their offices and public libraries until 9 December to further facilitate the public. The advice on this, as I stated last week, is that this will probably require amendment. We will provide for these changes by amending the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2006, which is before the House.

Given the Taoiseach mentioned dead wood, I would like to ask about the forestry (amendment) Bill which will not even achieve half of the Government target of 20,000 hectares of forestry per annum. The budget for the forestry programme was slashed by 3% in the Book of Estimates. Will the Bill come before us in 2007, as provided for, or has the Government given up on it?

Has the Taoiseach also given up on introducing legislation on the price of building land? The Bill is not on the legislative programme but the Taoiseach promised he would work on it over the summer. Will the Bill be included in the programme after Christmas or is it on a list we have not seen yet?

With regard to the forestry (amendment) Bill, a comprehensive review of the sector, including potential legislative implications, commenced in the latter part of 2005 and a consultative group, representative of all the stakeholders, has concluded its evaluation. It will meet again before the end of the year to finalise matters. That should provide for the completion of the Bill. A great deal of work has been done and, while the heads have not been agreed, hopefully, if the work is completed before Christmas, which it should be, we can proceed with the legislation.

We are still working on the Bill relating to withholding land for planning permission. The Bill is at an advanced stage and it is still hoped to try to deal with it.

Next year.

I have previously raised concerns expressed by many people regarding abuse of the Internet by sexual predators who prey on women and young children and the general use of the Internet for the glamorisation of illegal practices and wrongdoing generally. Will the Taoiseach ask the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to withdraw the Electronic Communications Bill and redraft it to put such people out of business rapidly as opposed to waiting for something untoward to happen?

The Deputy asked this question twice last week and it was answered.

I will ask it again and again.

The Bill will be taken this session.

What legislative proposals has the Government to deal with the U-turn by the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in Kerry last weekend regarding Dingle, Daingean Uí Chúis?

Is legislation promised?

It is required. When it is proposed to introduce this legislation?

I do not have a clue.

The Taoiseach surely read about it.

Do not leave the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs hanging out there.

Níl fhios againn.

Is fada an bóthar gan casadh.

That is how the people of Dingle felt after the meeting.

Given the continuing deterioration of morale among frontline hospital staff, will the Taoiseach guarantee the passage of the nurses and midwives Bill before the dissolution of this Dáil?

It is due in the spring session.

Will the Taoiseach guarantee its passage?

There will be three health Bills in the next session.

Prior to the summer recess, I asked the Taoiseach the position regarding a number of long-term objectors outside Leinster House. The Tánaiste met one of the objectors and the matter was resolved. Another has been at the front gates for 15 years.

I suggest the Deputy find another way to raise the matter. The Chair will facilitate him.

I have written to the Taoiseach, the Minister for Agriculture and Food, the Tánaiste and——

The matter does not arise on the Order of Business.

——all of the Government's members. There are some 11 sitting days left before Christmas, but nothing has been done. Will the Taoiseach do something about the matter?

I suggest the Deputy find another way to raise it in the House.

How could I when it has been raised?

The issue does not arise on the Order of Business.

It is sad——

It should be raised in an appropriate manner, not on the Order of Business.

——when I cannot raise the matter of the man in question, whose daughter travels from Northern Ireland every day to protest alongside him. Nothing is happening in this regard.

If I were to allow the Deputy to raise the matter in an ad hoc fashion, I would have to allow every Deputy to do likewise.

I have raised the matter every other way. There is no way left.

The Deputy should allow his colleague to speak.

I understand the Taoiseach stated the Electoral Act would be amended in the light of the problems experienced with the electoral register. Will the Government ensure all local authorities will place their tenants on it?

I suggest the Deputy raise the question with the line Minister.

It would be a simple matter to cross-reference the register with their housing departments.

The legislation will be dealt with next week. The Deputy's suggestion was made to local authorities approximately one month ago.

In advance of preparations for a constitutional referendum on the protection of the child, will the Government ratify any of the four conventions on the rights of the child that it has not ratified? Of 23 signed but unratified UN conventions, four deal with the rights of the child, including the convention against the trafficking of women and their children. The protection of the child is sometimes misstated as the protection of the rights of the child.

I will bring the matter to the attention of the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Lenihan.

Given that a young woman, a constituent of mine, was gunned down outside her home, that a paedophile is at large in my constituency and that there have been 21 savage murders in the country this year, when will the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill be introduced? In the meantime, what protection will be given to the public?

The Bill will be published early next year.