Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 7, motion re referral to Joint Committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Risk Equalisation (Amendment) Scheme 2008; No. 8, motion re referral to Joint Committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Employment Equality Act 1998 (Section 12) (Church of Ireland College of Education) Order 2008; No. 21, Dublin Transport Authority Bill 2008[Seanad] Second Stage (resumed), to adjourn at 7 p.m., if not previously concluded; and No. 22, statements on committee report on the enhanced role for national parliaments in the Lisbon reform treaty.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. and business shall be interrupted not later than 10 p.m; (2) Nos. 7 and 8 shall be decided without debate; (3) the following arrangements shall apply in respect of No. 22: (i) the opening statement of the Chairman of the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny and of the main spokespersons for the Government, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; the statements of each other member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; and members may share time; and (4) Private Members' business, which shall be No. 46 — motion re allocation of carbon allowances, shall take place at 7 p.m. or on the conclusion of No. 21, whichever is the later, and shall also take place tomorrow after the Order of Business and be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes on that day.

There are four proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 8.30 p.m. agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 7 and 8, motions referring to the joint committee without debate, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 22, statements on the committee report on the enhanced role of national parliaments in the Lisbon reform treaty, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal dealing with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed.

Having agreed the proposal for No. 22, I wish to raise a matter brought to my attention by Deputy Flanagan in respect of this committee for scrutiny of the European Union. I commended the Taoiseach's predecessor for upgrading the committee to what is currently a full-scale, all-party committee. We must understand there is a river of initiatives and proposals coming down at this committee. Although it is a full-scale Oireachtas committee, it must be resourced properly and have access to legal personnel and those who can interpret many of the initiatives so the Members of Dáil and Seanad can do their job properly.

We do not want a case where a few years down the road, people will say a proposal was approved by the Oireachtas committee charged with European scrutiny but there were unwanted consequences. Having endorsed the committee's elevation to a full-scale committee, I ask the Taoiseach to consider the question of access to proper resources for the committee in the context of these statements. I state this now because I will not have an opportunity to speak in the debate later.

In respect of the Roads Act 2007, I note the very critical comments of the chairman of the Road Safety Authority, Mr. Gay Byrne, on the continued delay and complication in the roll-out of speed cameras. This arises either from administration problems or a lack of finance. Will the Taoiseach comment on freeing up that bottleneck given last weekend's carnage on the roads, with the loss of another seven or eight people? It is a matter requiring some clear direction.

On the second matter raised by Deputy Kenny, speed camera roll-out, we thought the process finished last December. We are now reaching the end of another Dáil session and it still seems to be stuck at some sort of tendering stage. We had discussions last year with the Ministers for Transport and Justice, Equality and Law Reform, who indicated a cost issue was involved and that was the reason the roll-out was not happening. Will the Taoiseach clarify the matter and explain why the roll-out is not happening?

Notification has been issued to the preferred bidder and arrangements are in train for the contract discussions to take place. Those negotiations will be led by the Garda as the contracting authority and the body with the expertise in this area. As soon as the contract is concluded, the start-up and roll-out of the network can commence. It is not possible to give a precise timetable in advance of contract discussions being concluded.

Does the Taoiseach wish to comment on the first point made by Deputy Kenny?

It is a matter that will have to be considered. I note what Deputy Flanagan has indicated.

It will be considered.

On Thursday, the Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Harney, who was taking the Order of Business, told me the employment agency regulations Bill will be published this session. She told me that in response to a question I put to her about the Government's position on the temporary agency workers directive being considered by the European Union at present.

I indicated to her that the British Government, which, together with Ireland and Hungary had been one of the last three opponents of the directive, had reached agreement with the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry and was withdrawing the objection to the agency workers directive. I asked the Minister, as there is an Employment Council on 9 June, if the Government would withdraw its block on the temporary agency workers directive.

In view of what the Minister, Deputy Harney, had to say about the employment agency regulations Bill and that it would be published this session anyway, I ask that the Government withdraw its objection to the temporary agency workers directive at EU level.

As the Deputy knows, the question of agency workers is under the aegis of social partnership discussions, which are ongoing. That is the forum in which discussions can and are taking place to see in what way it could be possible to progress the issue to everyone's satisfaction. I suggest that these discussions must take place and we must continue with them to ensure progress can be made.

As the issues arise in the Social Affairs Council they will have to be dealt with by the line Minister in terms of the monthly meetings. I cannot give a commitment on the area until such time as the social partners have discussed the matter further and we can see what way to proceed.

I do not understand the answer. The social partnership talks surely do not include what will be in a European directive. There are two issues. I can understand social partnership discussions will clearly involve what will be in domestic legislation but the immediate matter is that Ireland and Hungary are now the only two countries blocking a European directive on temporary agency workers. The British have now lifted their objection.

We cannot debate it now.

I am not debating it but I want to know if the Government will drop the veto it is exercising on the introduction of European legislation to protect temporary agency workers.

It might be helpful at this time to say "Yes" to that for other reasons.

The bottom line, as I have said, is the text of the issue is being considered for next week's meeting. Until we have finalised the arrangements next week, I cannot say which way that will go. I will investigate the matter.

That will be too late.

Is that in terms of the Employment Council?

Yes, the Employment Council meeting on Monday.

The Taoiseach means next Thursday.

On promised legislation, I refer to the Bill to update and consolidate company law, which will allegedly bring greater clarification and simplification to the companies code and modernise Irish company law through the consolidation of the existing 13 Company Law Acts, other regulations and case law. I wonder about the timescale, which appears vague. It is indicated that publication is expected but it is not possible to indicate it at this time. When will this be possible?

Will the Taoiseach indicate progress on the five or six most pertinent pieces of justice legislation, which are deemed necessary in order to make an impact on the area referred to by my colleague, Deputy Charles Flanagan, and by us all at one time or the other?

I understand there are five justice Bills on the A list for this session. It is not possible to offer a date for publication of the first Bill mentioned by Deputy Durkan.

Is there any white smoke on the fair deal legislation?

It is still expected this session.

There is no date?

There is not even a slight indication of one?

People will have to continue to pay their inflated bills right through the summer by the looks of it.

It is promised this session.

On the same topic, I asked the Taoiseach and his predecessor on numerous occasions about this legislation. People are waiting for it and have no financial arrangements in place. Each time Deputy Jan O'Sullivan or I ask for it, we are told the Bill will be this session. We were told that before Christmas and Easter. After tomorrow, there are a mere nine days left this session. Is it really realistic to think we will see it this session? If so, we need ample time to debate it clearly because it is complex legislation that will impact on many people. I am told there have been 14 drafts already.

This session means the next session.

My information is that it will be this session.

When the Whip announced the legislative programme on 1 April, he indicated we would see during this term the social housing (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. That Bill has been doing the rounds for a number of terms. When questioned on the matter last week the newly appointed Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Finneran, said every effort is being made regarding outstanding legal issues to allow publication of the Bill before the end of the term. Given that there are nine days left in this term; will the Taoiseach indicate a specific date in the coming weeks when this Bill will come before the House? As the Taoiseach knows, some tenants have been trying to buy their homes for the past ten years but cannot do so until this Bill is resolved.

This matter has been raised since the new Dáil resumed last autumn and it was mentioned several times during the life of the last Dáil. Will the Taoiseach give a date when this Bill will come before the House? Will it be during this term?

I was informed last year that it would be introduced before Christmas.

It is like Santa Claus.

I understand it is due during this session, though it is not normal to give a specific date.

With respect, it may not be normal to give a date but there are only nine working days left during this term.

The Taoiseach said the Bill will come before the House during this session, though there may only be nine days left.

Will it come before the House during this session?

There have been legal issues but I expect that it will come before the House during this session.

I am asking the Taoiseach a simple question.

I am trying to give the information available to me.

Will it come before the House during this session? Will the Taoiseach answer this question?

It is expected that it will. That is the information I have.

That is the same response we have received on this issue for the past three years.

It has long been in gestation.

I have answered in good faith.

This session goes on until 24 September.

I want to ask the Taoiseach about the Mental Capacity and Guardianship Bill that was promised for this session. It was published as a Private Members' Bill, which the Government did not oppose, but I do not see it anywhere. Where is it at the moment?

Cervical smear testing has been rolled out to the entire country and that is welcome, though overdue. Every woman in the country will be grateful for that. Are there proposals to negotiate with GPs to stop them charging women with medical cards €55 for a smear test?

The Deputy knows that is not relevant on the Order of Business. I am sure she can find another way to raise the matter, either through a question or another means.

I understand the legislation referred to will come before the House later this year.

I wish to ask about forthcoming legislation, specifically the Civil Partnership Bill, the publication of which was promised in March. The Taoiseach will be aware of recent newspaper articles suggesting there may be disagreements between the Government parties on this legislation. I suspect this may have more to do with the mindset of the new Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, given the somewhat medieval comments he made on civil rights issues in the past.

When will the Bill be published? Will it be published before the conclusion of this session? If the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has a difficulty with equality and law reform will he assign the Bill to another, more appropriate, Minister who is prepared to pilot it through the House?

I understand the Bill is due to be published later this year.

Earlier today in a press release the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, who was skirting the House just now, requested the co-operation of the Opposition in the easy passage of the Sale of Alcohol Bill through the House before the summer recess. As there are only nine sitting days left and this Bill was only published today, it is one of five on the A list in the area of justice and one of 49 in the entire legislative programme, will the Taoiseach prioritise this matter? He might think it only fair and reasonable that consideration will be given by the Opposition to co-operation in the passage of Bills provided that ample time is allowed for debate.

It seems the Government is building up to a massive guillotine in the last nine days of this session. Ministers seeking co-operation from this side of the House should know it will only be forthcoming for legislation flagged well in advance with ample opportunity allowed for appropriate scrutiny of the sort expected under the Constitution. For a Minister to send out a press release implying that if legislation is not passed by the summer the Opposition is somehow responsible is unsatisfactory and fundamentally unfair.

This matter arises from a report issued under Gordon Holmes so that there would be a fair degree of knowledge of its content. As Deputy Flanagan said, the legal text is also to be examined in the context of its passage through the House. As the Bill has the broad support of all parties in the House I hope it will be possible to see it enacted before the end of this session. I note the Deputy's comments.

Has there been progress on the Enforcement of Fines Bill? It would release gardaí to go out on the beat.

There has been much discussion of the number of millionaires created by the legal costs issue. When will the Legal Costs Bill be brought before the House to allow us to discuss the issue and its causes?

I urge the Taoiseach to get the fair deal Bill up and running as patients have been in hospitals for seven weeks due to the failure to deal with this issue.

That matter has already been raised by two Deputies. I ask the Taoiseach to address the first two Bills.

There is no date for the Enforcement of Fines Bill and I understand the Legal Costs Bill will be dealt with next year.

The Taoiseach is aware, as is everyone else, that the Health Information and Quality Authority, HIQA, issued guidelines for the control of infections in hospitals. This is a serious issue that has cost lives in the past and I welcome the guidelines, as I am sure we all do. However, regarding underpinning legislation relating to HIQA, will resources be given to the authority to ensure standards are adhered to and will it be able to censure hospitals that do not reach the mark? It is ridiculous that a health inspector can close a restaurant at the drop of a hat but people are left in hospitals exposed to infections because the necessary facilities are not in place.

That would be an excellent question for the Minister for Health and Children.

When will the legislation go through?

Is legislation promised relating to HIQA?

If the Deputy is referring to the Health Information Bill, it will come before the House next year.

I already asked a question on speed cameras. Is it intended to bring forward road traffic measures on anomalies in the amendments to the Dublin Transport Authority Bill? Will there be significant amendments to the road safety aspect of the Bill?

I understand there are no significant amendments to consider on the road safety aspect of the Dublin Transport Authority Bill.

The legislative famine we have endured since the last general election is catching up with us and we have had examples of how it is impacting on the lives of people. My colleague, Deputy O'Sullivan, raised it in respect of the fair deal, Deputy Lynch raised it in respect of social housing and so on.

Is the Taoiseach aware that a matter referred to committee last week, which is, essentially, a planning application for the new prison at Thornton Hall, is being considered by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights and is required to be returned to the House by tomorrow evening? If one was building a conservatory at the back of one's house the local authority would make one wait two months or more before giving approval. It is not possible to operate a committee system where Departments, in this case the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, which is the only Department to produce legislation since last June, expect matters to be turned around in 24 hours. We cannot operate a committee system where Departments dictate the agenda. Is the Taoiseach prepared to agree to an extension on this matter? We can discharge our function by examining the planning application and returning to this House one week after we resume after the Lisbon agenda.

Make an application for an extension.

There have been discussions since this matter was raised and I understand the committee will be able to examine it again on Tuesday week and then return to the House.