Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 21, Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2007 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 22, European Communities Bill 2006 [Seanad] — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 23, Medical Practitioners Bill 2007 — 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 that business shall be interrupted not later than 10.30 p.m; that Report and Final Stages of No. 21 shall be taken today and that the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1 p.m. 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 the Environment, Heritage and Local Government; that Report and Final Stages of No. 22 shall be taken today and that the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 4.45 p.m. 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; that Report and Final Stages of No. 23 shall be taken today and that the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. 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 Health and Children. Private Members' business shall be No. 37, Appointments to Public Bodies Bill 2007 — Second Stage (resumed), to conclude at 8.30 p.m.

Is the proposal for the late sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 21, Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2007, Report and Final Stages agreed?

I established before that we objected to these three Bills being passed with the use of the guillotine. We have made the point previously.

Standing Orders were established over a long period of time to ensure the Executive would be kept accountable by the House in matters of legislation. We are witnessing panic on the part of the Government to rush legislation. On many occasions in the last term there was no legislation available to debate. The need for the required accountability and scrutiny that Standing Orders must ensure is set aside by the Government on a regular basis to pass legislation on a rubber stamp basis. Standing Orders were not designed to do this and we are opposed to such an approach. This week the debate on eight Bills will be guillotined by setting aside Standing Orders. It was the intention that Standing Orders would be set aside only in exceptional circumstances, yet there are eight cases involving non-exceptional circumstances where Standing Orders are to be set aside to allow legislation brought forward by the Executive to be rubber stamped. We oppose this proposal.

The Government has forgotten the basic principle that one should not use the guillotine unless one has to. No explanation has been given. Does the Government consider the Dáil to be an inconvenience and is use of the guillotine a way to get through business without being accountable? I ask that we desist from use of the guillotine when there is no explanation as to why it is needed.

Little can be added to what has been said because Deputy Stagg covered the key points. On behalf of my colleagues in Sinn Féin, I make the point that this is an abuse of the House and will lead to deficiencies in legislation. There are many examples of rushed legislation in recent years with no opportunity being given to properly address amendments and the reflective opinion of Opposition Deputies on deficiencies in legislation. I urge the Taoiseach to prompt a revisitation of this approach.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 21 be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 56.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Browne, John.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Tony.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connolly, Paudge.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McHugh, Paddy.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22, European Communities Bill 2006, Order for Report and Report and Final Stages, agreed to?

Deputies

No.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 22 be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 23, Medical Practitioners Bill 2007, Order for Report and Report and Final Stages, agreed to?

Deputies

No.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 23 be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 54.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Browne, John.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Tony.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connolly, Paudge.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.
Question declared carried.

Under the legislation setting up the tribunals, is it intended to implement the Government decision to reduce fees for persons serving on the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals?

That matter does not arise on the Order of Business.

The Chair is being very——

The Chair will assist the Deputy in finding another way to raise this matter.

What arises are the rising lawyers' fees which were supposed to be cut.

Under the regulations setting up the Dublin Airport Authority, is it proposed to give effect to the commitment that Cork Airport should be debt free on becoming an independent board?

That matter does not arise either on the Order of Business.

It does, charges are increasing.

I do not want to spend time reading Standing Order 26 but I will do so if necessary.

The Taoiseach made a mighty burst at the auld Irish language on Saturday night. I was in Berlin at a meeting of the EPP and did not get to see him.

The Deputy can check the video.

I am not sure what the Taoiseach said——

He is not sure himself.

——but we still have to debate the Harris report on the quality of Irish language in primary schools. We have had no publication from the Minister, Deputy Ó Cuív, of the regulations covering the Gaeltacht areas and no publication from the Minister for Education and Science of the proposed changes to the curriculum. It is proposed to have those matters discussed or reports on them published before the white flag is raised?

On the Harris report, I raised it previously with the Minister for Education and Science and I will raise it with her again. I cannot recall what I said about it the last time so I had better check it.

It appeared on the Order Paper at one stage and then it disappeared.

I do not believe she agreed to publish it but I will ask her about it again.

During Question Time yesterday the Taoiseach was asked how the discussions about fees at the Mahon tribunal were going and he said "I can ... inform the Deputy that those matters remain under discussion". He said later that "I stated [already] that those matters are ongoing". The matters had been decided earlier in the morning and the Taoiseach was there. Why does he give answers like that to the House?

I have a question on the same matter. It was I who asked the question on the Mahon tribunal. I wanted clarification on it because clearly the record of the House showed that the Taoiseach indicated that the issue of fees in the Mahon case was "[still] under discussion". When did the Cabinet meeting take place yesterday? We learned this morning that the decision had been taken.

The Deputy has made his point.

The decision was certainly taken yesterday to continue the old fee structure. If an error has occurred here, whatever way it has occurred, the Taoiseach has a responsibility to correct the record.

The position is that discussions are ongoing with the Minister, a group of officials and the Mahon tribunal on a number of issues. Until those discussions are concluded, the fees stay in place. It is not a question that we have changed it. That is the position and I do not believe it has changed. I had gone to lunch with the President of Slovakia so I was not actually there. I did not even know that they had extended it further but I knew that the discussions were ongoing, and that is still the position.

I indicated that I was offering.

A number of Members did so but it is now 12.35 p.m. and the debate we are moving on to is due to conclude at 1 p.m.