Order of Business.

It is proposed to take No. 12, motion re Statement of Estimates for the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission; No. 13, motion re Supplementary Statement of Expenditure for Houses of the Oireachtas, No. 13a, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann for a Council Decision concerning the signing of the agreement between the European Union and Japan on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and a Council Decision concerning the signing of the agreement between the European Union and the United States of America on the processing and transfer of Financial Messaging Data from the European Union to the United States for purposes of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme; No. 29, Statute Law Revision Bill 2009 — Order for Report, Report and Final Stages, and No. 5, Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Bill 2009 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: (1) Nos. 12, 13 and 13a shall be decided without debate; and (2) there shall be no Adjournment debates under Standing Order 21 next Tuesday, 24 November 2009.

There are two proposals to put to the House today. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 12, 13 and 13a agreed to?

The Labour Party will not agree to the Order of Business and to this proposal in particular. We are just a few days away from a major strike in this country. In the past number of days I have asked the Taoiseach what action the Government is taking to avert that strike. I have urged him and his Ministers to seriously engage in discussions and negotiations to try to avert the strike, which will close every school, reduce hospitals to merely a Christmas Day level of service and which will have every public office in the country closed. The entire public service operation of the country will be closed next Tuesday.

There is nothing on the Order Paper today indicating that a Minister will come in here to explain what is being done to try to avert that dispute. The Tánaiste is the line Minister who has responsibility for industrial relations in the country. She does not have any proposals to avert it. The only matter on the Order Paper today is a tacit acceptance by Government that the strike is going ahead anyway because there is a proposal here that there will be no Adjournment debates on Tuesday next, presumably because, not only will there not be sufficient staff in the House to manage that, but there will not be staff right up to principal officer level in the Departments concerned to prepare responses to Adjournment debates for Tuesday next. If there were ever a giveaway that the Government has tacitly accepted that the strike will go ahead and that it is making no effort to avert it, it is that particular proposal, which is on the Order Paper today, effectively stating that the Government accepts there will be a strike on Tuesday next and it does not propose to do anything.

I do not know of a Government anywhere in Europe or elsewhere that would take the same kind of blasé attitude to a major strike in the public service where the entire service will be closed down. It is as if the Government wants this strike to take place.

That is not so.

The Deputy wants it.

The Government is doing nothing to prevent it happening. It is now presenting an Order of Business which is tacitly accepting that it is going to happen.

Will Deputy Gilmore turn up on Tuesday and pass the pickets?

The Labour Party is not agreeing to this Order of Business because of the Government's ineptitude in handling this issue and because of its failure to do anything to try to avert this dispute.

I was going to raise this matter under No. 2 because that is where it is referred to in the Order of Business. It would be helpful if a statement was made to the House detailing what arrangements are being put in place to protect emergency services next Tuesday. If the Government regards the strike as inevitable and if no action can be taken to prevent it, this House should be informed of the arrangements being made to facilitate the running of the House and to maintain a record of what is happening here. I appreciate that this is more relevant to item No. 2 than No. 1, but I regard it as unacceptable that the sovereign parliament of this country should be curtailed in properly conducting its business by any strike action. Adjournment debates should be permitted next Tuesday. Such debates are often the only mechanism for Opposition Deputies — and, indeed, on occasion, for backbench Government Deputies — to raise urgent local or national issues of public importance and to get a Government response to them. It is a negation of democracy that, if this strike does take place, the workings of this Parliament should grind to a halt or only function partially. On that particular matter we will be opposing the Order of Business. In the cataclysmic economic circumstances in which the State finds itself, I do not believe that this strike is helpful or can contribute to a resolution of our major economic or fiscal difficulties. The fact that this strike is taking place and the Government is essentially falling asleep on the job, is a damning indictment of the Government's incompetence.

The Deputy is asleep himself.

It is also proof of the extent to which we need a general election in order to have a Government with a mandate to take the economic measures that are so badly required to tackle the problems of this country.

There are two propositions on the Order Paper this morning. On the grouping of Nos. 12, 13 and 13a, I would have appreciated some elaboration on the guarantees of protection of citizens concerning No. 13a and the right to privacy. We are not allowed to address 13a because the proposition is that it be taken without debate. I have no issue with the intent and purpose of No. 13a. It concerns the guarantees and assurances that citizens are entitled to, not only of this State but of all the states named in the proposition. Relevant and pertinent questions need to be addressed regarding No. 13a, but we will not be afforded that opportunity, which is wrong.

We are not saying that.

I would like the Tánaiste to address that matter in her response.

I know we have not yet come to No. 2, but as the matter is now under discussion in the Chamber, I want to state clearly that the Sinn Féin Members will not and cannot support this Order Paper which fails to recognise the reality that is being presented here today. A major industrial action is pending for next Tuesday, yet the Government is taking no action. They are sniggering away on the Front Bench about whatever amuses them in No. 13a. It would not take an awful lot of intelligence to figure out what they think is funny about it. Nevertheless, I have asked the question and I hope they will address it. The main issue is what is pending next Tuesday. There will be more such Tuesdays as this Government is quite clearly driving the economy headlong into disaster. That is the situation, but the Government is failing to face up to the facts that ordinary people must contend with every day. The only approach the Government can adopt is a recognition that it is unable to respond to Adjournment debate matters that will be granted here on Tuesday evening. That is a pathetic response to what is ahead of us next Tuesday. What is the situation for Deputies and Senators when they come to this institution next week and our co-workers will be picketing the various gates into Leinster House? Will we shamefully pass those picket lines——

Will the Deputy?

——or will the elected representatives of the people stand solidly with those who, I repeat and underscore, are our co-workers in this institution? We in Sinn Féin will certainly not besmirch our record of solidarity with Irish workers making a justifiable demand for the Government to address its failures and its absolutely pathetic efforts to address the deepening crisis in the economy.

The Deputy cannot make speeches on the Order of Business.

We will stand with them and we will not cross the picket lines.

I call the Tánaiste to reply briefly before I put the question.

I will take the question in the context of what is in order for discussion, namely Nos. 12, 13 and 13a. I am assuming that Deputy Ó Caoláin will have an opportunity to contribute when we refer this matter to the joint committee. We are looking in particular at terrorist finance trafficking programmes. I am sure he will be supportive of that and will make a fine contribution on it at the joint committee in the context of what it is all about.

The second matter concerns the strike situation. As the Taoiseach, all other members of the Government and all Members of this House have indicated, we do not feel the withdrawal of labour will be constructive or add in any way to the discussions that are currently ongoing between the Government, employers and public service unions. In normal circumstances, a withdrawal of labour takes place after something has been decided, as opposed to pre-empting something that is being considered and has not been decided. Equally, this House — apart from one party — came to an agreement during the pre-budget outlook debate that we must find an adjustment of €4 billion. It was the only thing we did agree on. In the context of how that can be achieved, the Government has indicated that public sector reform and pay will be part of those discussions, although no final decision has been made. In the context of the ongoing discussions between the social partners, I certainly feel there is still time to allow those discussions to continue to take place.

We need a decision so I am now putting the question.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with Nos. 12, 13 and 13a, without debate, be agreed to.”
The Dáil divided: Tá, 64; Níl, 54.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Áine.
  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Browne, John.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Conlon, Margaret.
  • Connick, Seán.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Curran, John.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Michael.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Flynn, Beverley.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Hanlon, Rory.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Behan, Joe.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McEntee, Shane.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Mahony, John.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • O’Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sheehan, P. J.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal that there shall be no Adjournment debate under Standing Order 21 next Tuesday, 24 November 2009, agreed to?

That is not agreed. I note that the Tánaiste did not respond. It is the Government, by its majority, that essentially controls the workings of this House. I assume that when the proposed public sector strike takes place next week Ministers and Ministers of State will not join the demonstration outside the gates and participate in the strike as part of the public sector. I presume they will attempt to do the work they have been elected to do. In those circumstances, a Cheann Comhairle, I do not understand, if that is the case and if this semi-dysfunctional Government is continuing to function to whatever extent it is able to function,——

Any more jokes, Alan?

——why, in the context of the proposed strike next Tuesday, Ministers are apparently incapable of dealing with Adjournment debates.

I am allowing contributions on the Order of Business.

This is on the specific issue.

We are dealing with the Oireachtas commission.

The Government is saying, because it is a public sector strike, not a single senior Minister, nor Minister of State has the competence in an Adjournment debate to deliver a five minute speech——

No problem. Any time.

——without a speech prepared for them to respond to the specific important issues raised, be they national or local.

Of course we can.

This is a parliamentary matter.

We are drifting away from the Order of Business.

At least we will not plagiarise the scripts.

It is not acceptable that part of the business of this House would close down because——

(Interruptions).

What will the Opposition do without the scripts? It is not able to write them anyway.

Sir Humphrey is on strike.

We oppose the Order of Business.

I hope I can dissuade Deputy Shatter from making long speeches. I call Deputy Gilmore. He should be allowed to speak without interruption.

On the proposal, that there would be no Adjournment debate on Tuesday, this is not an issue as to whether Ministers or Ministers of State can come into the House and give an answer without a script. We know they cannot.

Of course we can.

The problem is——

On yesterday's Order of Business the Deputy asked for the script.

(Interruptions).

I challenge Deputy Gilmore to a script-less duel.

Could Members allow Deputy Gilmore to speak without interruption, please? I ask the Deputy to address his remarks through the Chair, please.

I would be able to write some of the scripts for them, a Cheann Comhairle.

Would you be able to read my writing?

We only ask for the script to see how challenged the Minister is at reading. Adjournment debates are about the kind of problems we all come across in the course of our work as public representatives. If there is closure of an enterprise, a problem in a hospital or some area of the public service we want to come to the House and get some answers and accountability.

Deputy Gilmore will not be here. He will not be able to pass the picket.

(Interruptions).

I ask the Minister to refrain from interrupting. Deputy Gilmore should be allowed to speak without interruption, please.

The problem is that the staff who would normally respond to this will be on strike. Staff in Departments right up to and including the grade of principal officer will be on strike. The difficulty is that today is Thursday and the strike is not due to take place until Tuesday but the Government has already thrown in the towel on this dispute and has accepted that it will take place. The Government thinks it is a big laugh. It clearly has no intention of sitting down with anyone and using the industrial relations machinery of the State to try to avert the strike.

We have explored that avenue.

Any responsible Government would do its damnedest to try to avert that strike on Tuesday.

This is not a strike.

The Government has already decided it is a big laugh and it will not do anything to avert it.

The Deputy is clutching at straws.

We have already abandoned the idea of having an Adjournment debate on Tuesday.

Could we have some ciúnas? I am now putting the question: "That there shall be no Adjournment debate——

No, a Cheann Comhairle——

Deputy Shatter should resume his seat.

The Tánaiste should address the House on Ministers preparing scripts in response to Adjournment debate matters. That is a reasonable question, Sir. She is sitting there but she is not replying. If Ministers lack the capacity to prepare their own scripts, they should leave office and let us have an election.

She is on strike today.

Deputy Shatter should resume his seat, please.

If Deputy Shatter's solution to the Adjournment debate question is to have an election then that says something about the Opposition.

What does it say?

The running of the House is a matter for the Ceann Comhairle and his office. I believe he will advise all Members of the House as to——

This is a Government motion——

Deputy Shatter, please.

Fianna Fáil runs the House when it suits.

The Ceann Comhairle will advise the Members of the House as to what will happen in the event of a withdrawal of labour on 24 November. On the issue of Adjournment Debate Matters, as has been indicated to the House, jovially and seriously, any Minister and Minister of State is more than happy and has the capacity to answer any questions——

That is news to us.

The Government should withdraw this motion.

Please, Deputy Shatter.

——that are raised on the Adjournment. This is a recommendation from the commission and I propose the motion.

I am now putting the question.

On a point of order.

We cannot have a point of order when we have disorder in the House.

Bring back Kenny.

The Deputy should be very brief.

On a point of order, under the rules of this House that you administer, provision is expressly made for an Adjournment debate. There is no difficulty on this issue and this motion, which is a Government motion, could be withdrawn. No difficulty arises if Ministers are willing to come into this House and respond to the Adjournment debate.

That is not a point of order.

It is not a point of order.

That is what this is about. Members on this side of the House seek to raise a matter on the Adjournment——

That is not a point of order. I ask Deputy Shatter to resume his seat, please, and allow me to put the question.

If Ministers are willing to respond, this motion should be withdrawn. It is a Government motion.

Deputy, resume your seat.

A Deputy

The Tánaiste confirmed——

Let us have a real debate.

(Interruptions).
Question put: "That there shall be no Adjournment debate under Standing Order 21 next Tuesday, 24 November 2009."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 53.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Áine.
  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Browne, John.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Conlon, Margaret.
  • Connick, Seán.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Curran, John.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Michael.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Flynn, Beverley.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Martin, Micheál
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Hanlon, Rory.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Behan, Joe.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McEntee, Shane.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Mahony, John.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • O’Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.
Question declared carried.

I want to raise three matters on the Order of Business, two of which relate specifically to promised legislation. On the first one I intend to raise, the Ceann Comhairle might give me some leeway when he hears the topic.

It is appropriate, and I am sure the Tánaiste would agree, that this House extends its congratulations to the Irish team and to manager Giovanni Trapattoni on what was a magnificent performance in Paris last night. Unfortunately, we discovered last night that major matches too frequently can be won by sleight of hand. I suppose in football as well as banking, light touch regulation does not work. I want to suggest to the Government a specific initiative that might be taken, and I hope the Tánaiste can constructively respond.

What happened last night, in the minds of many people, not just in this country but across the world, contaminated the credibility of the World Cup competition. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and it is one in which the Government can take a constructive role in addressing. Next autumn, the preliminary rounds of the European championships commence. Those championships are dominated by teams from the European Union——

The Deputy is straying somewhat from legislation or business.

I am coming to the question of legislation. Those championships are dominated by teams within the European Union. Sport is a competence within the Lisbon treaty. I believe we should have legislation enacted across Europe, if need be a European Union directive, which requires FIFA to use video refereeing in major football competitions in the same manner as it is supplied in other major sports such as rugby, cricket and tennis.

I suggest to the Tánaiste that the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism calls a meeting of all Ministers for sport to take an initiative in that regard. This issue impacts on the hopes and expectations of millions of people and football is a major commercial enterprise. We must restore fairness to international football and we must ensure the type of event we saw happen last night is not repeated. I hope the Tánaiste will respond and that we will see a Government initiative on that issue.

Today marks exactly six months since the publication of the Ryan commission report in institutional abuse. Legislation was promised by the Government to address the making of additional financial contributions, as was promised by religious orders and congregations. That legislation awaits two events, the completion of a report by a committee appointed by the Government into the financial assets and income of 18 religious orders and congregations and the making of specific offers by the congregations and orders as to the additional sum they may contribute to benefit the victims of institutional abuse. I understand that the Minister for Education and Science has received in recent days the long-awaited report of this committee.

Can the Tánaiste confirm that it has been received, when it will be published and if it will be placed in the Oireachtas Library? When will the House get the opportunity to debate that report? What religious congregations have made offers to date, from how many are offers awaited, and, more particularly, when will we see the necessary legislation to deal with the additional financial contribution?

I have one more issue I wish to raise that perhaps the Ceann Comhairle might allow me to raise after the Tánaiste has responded. It relates specifically to promised legislation.

The matter has not been considered by the Government so I am not in a position to give any information or to say if the Minister has received the report but I will revert to the Deputy on that.

If we had started this morning at 10.30 a.m. without having any votes and I had put a motion before the Dáil Éireann to say we want a replay, it would have passed d'aon ghuth. Having said that, in the context of video refereeing, it is part of public discussion today. It is available in rugby and tennis and I am sure the relevant sporting organisations should be in a position to pursue this vigorously and I will advise the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism that the matter was raised on the floor of the House.

The people are being refused a replay because they would put Fianna Fáil out of Government.

This has gone past the point where we leave it to the relevant sporting organisations. FIFA, to its absolute shame, on its website ignores the incident that happened last night. There is no mention of Thierry Henry or handling the ball, it has been air-brushed from the record.

The Deputy has already spoken about this issue. Could we leave it now?

This is a deeply suspect organisation in the manner in which it does business and it is time the European regulation of football, not just as a matter of major interest of people across Europe but as a major commercial enterprise——

The Deputy must find an alternative way of pursuing this matter. It could be raised on the Adjournment or through a parliamentary question.

He cannot raise it on the Adjournment on Tuesday anyway.

There may be a difficulty raising it on the Adjournment.

The Deputy is calling for strong arm diplomatic tactics.

I would like the Tánaiste to indicate that the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism will take the initiative and organise the meeting I have suggested with the other 26 Ministers who deal with sport in the European Union to formulate a specific policy.

I wish to raise the promised legislation on bank regulation. The NAMA legislation is now through the House and one of the great difficulties that gave rise to the cataclysmic economic circumstances in which we find ourselves in the banking collapse was the failure of regulation. Legislation has been promised to address the regulatory issues but it has still not been published. In the meantime, in other countries, including the United States, substantial regulatory measures have been put in place. When will we see the new regulatory legislation? What is the reason for the delay? Does the Tánaiste acknowledge this legislation should be given priority? Does she agree with the view expressed yesterday by the Governor of the Central Bank that salaries of bank executives should not be capped? Is that the reason the Government made a hames of the AIB issue?

On the legislation, this matter has been raised on a number of occasions and the reply is that it is important legislation and it is being worked on. It is proposed that it will be available next year.

When next year? January? February? December?

Early next year.

The Deputy has had a good innings and I must move on.

A very good innings.

Deputy Martin is on good form this morning. It is great to see him here.

I had the porridge this morning.

Were there raisins in it?

Could we hear Deputy Gilmore without interruption?

We all share the disappointment at the result of last night's match and a certain amount of anger and frustration at the unfair way it came about. The one thing we all feel is enormous pride in the team that played for Ireland last night.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

We can be proud in defeat, even in circumstances where the defeat is unfairly inflicted.

It strikes me that the referee, Martin Hansson, might have a future. There are people trawling the world at present looking for those who might be able to help the banking sector. It struck me that he might have a future as a banking regulator, turning the blind eye and deaf ear to complaints. He has many of the qualities we have seen in banking regulation in this country over the number of years.

He would be paid the full salary.

On the subject of the legislation the Minister for Finance has been promising for some time, in an interview with theFinancial Times on 17 March, he said that Ireland is planning to introduce tough legislation to clamp down on crony capitalism and excess bank lending in the wake of the property bubble. He said the measures would include a ban on cross-directorships and on chief executives becoming chairmen, as well as creating a Central Bank commission. Eight months later there is no sign of the legislation.

Not only that, the Government appears to have changed its mind on the measure because this week it has approved the chairman and chief executive being the function of one person in one of our largest banks. What has happened to this legislation that was going to put an end to crony capitalism? Is cronyism alive and well again both in Government and for its associates in the business world?

The legislation that has been promised that is of huge consequence concerns the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator. On the other legislation, there have been some discussions, particularly in the context of company law and no final decision has been made on who would be responsible for that legislation but I will revert to the Deputy with an update.

I thought the Tánaiste is responsible for company legislation.

I am but I am referring to discussions that are ongoing between my Department and the Department of Finance in the context of that legislation.

The Tánaiste does not know what is happening in those discussions? That is extraordinary.

The Deputy is extraordinary in his flippancy, which is typical.

That is an extraordinary situation. This country has been destroyed by lax regulatory practices and the Tánaiste, who is also Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, does not know what is happening with the legislation the Government is supposed to be preparing.

I will revert to the Deputy with an update on the discussions that are taking place as to which Department will be responsible in the context of that legislation. Further discussions are ongoing between my Department and the Department of Finance.

I must have due regard to the Upper House where I am expected to deliver a speech in five minutes.

Yesterday I asked the Taoiseach a question he had difficulty in understanding so perhaps the Tánaiste might be able to help me, particularly because it falls within her remit.

Does it relate to legislation?

It clearly relates to legislation. It relates to the Finance Act and whether the current situation, which allows a particular company to recruit off-shore and avoid PRSI, with uncertainty about whether those people, who are resident in Ireland, pay tax——

The Deputy will have to put down a parliamentary question for the Minister.

This is too important. There are hundreds of jobs at risk, and the finance Bill is coming up.

There may well be. I do not disagree. However, this matter can be raised by way of a parliamentary question.

I am sorry a Cheann Comhairle, but I am referring to the finance Bill. Other people have been given a good deal of latitude and I am asking a simple question. Is this legal, has Revenue given an opinion and if it is legal, is it intended to close it off in the finance Bill?

I have to ask the Deputy whether legislation is promised in relation to this matter. If not, and if he is seeking information about the finance Bill, he should put down a parliamentary question.

I am trying to find out if legislation is promised to correct this loophole.

There will be a finance Bill, the contents of which will not be familiar until we have the budget. If the Deputy articulates his concerns about the issue he has raised to the Minister for Finance and asks him to consider this in the context of the finance Bill, then I am sure he will do so.

Deputy O'Dowd has put down two parliamentary questions and received no answer. This is on the same issue. Hundreds of jobs are at stake here and this matter is important. Aer Lingus is transferring planes onto the UK register, with hundreds of Irish jobs at stake.

There is nothing about legislation in this matter. Will the Deputy please resume his seat?

It wants to transfer the jobs to that register and have English-based staff.

That is the bottom line.

It is a race to the bottom here.

The Deputy will please take his seat.

This is too important an issue, a Cheann Comhairle, and it needs to be resolved.

There are ways and means, such as a parliamentary question and the Adjournment.

Well, they did not work——

I should like to briefly endorse the earlier comments of my colleague, Deputy Shatter, on the matter of the football match last evening, particularly given that the Minister for Foreign Affairs is in the House. Might he not consider contacting his counterpart in France to encourage them to take a leaf out of the GAA's book in County Laois on the matter of a disputed point in a first round match with Carlow? In an act of generosity and as a matter of honour, a full replay was offered. I suggest that this is a matter of honour and the Minister for Foreign Affairs may well have a role to play in dealing with this.

He would be a hero.

There is an alternative way of raising this matter, Deputy Flanagan. I fully understand your good intentions in the matter.

On the matter of legislation, I should like to ask the Tánaiste——

Deputy P. J. Sheehan knows what Kerry did to us over the years, but I will take the matter up with Mr. Bernard Kouchner.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Charles Flanagan, please, without interruption. I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs to restrain himself.

(Interruptions).

Having regard to the fact that President Sarkozy was seen entering the dressing room, I am sure it would be appropriate for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to take action in that regard.

Earlier this year the House enacted legislation to facilitate the appointment of a Legal Services Ombudsman. The Bill passed all Stages in this House and in the Seanad. Will the Tánaiste say whether consideration has been given by the Government to this appointment? When will the appointment of a Legal Services Ombudsman be made?

I cannot recall this being discussed, but I will revert to the Deputy in the matter.

Yesterday I raised the issue of delays in the processing and payment of higher education grants. On today's Order Paper a series of vocational education committee reports is being placed before the House. Will the Tánaiste say whether a debate might be arranged through the aegis of the Whips to discuss that very important issue, which is causing serious problems? I should like clarification on another issue, too, as raised by Deputy Shatter. In relation to the terms and conditions of employment in respect of the higher officials in a major bank that are the subject——

Deputy Durkan.

It is promised legislation, a Cheann Comhairle, and this has not been referred to already.

Will the Tánaiste say whether any information was sought or received by the Minister for Finance as regards the reasons for some of the higher appointments? For instance, some appointments are temporary or interim, and was any——

The Deputy is talking about specific detail and if the matter is going to be the subject of primary legislation, he will have ample opportunity at that stage to articulate these points.

I agree with the Ceann Comhairle except for one aspect. The legislation is coming after the event. Events have taken place in this country over the last year that should not have. They took place in the face of legislation and in defiance of the law.

Deputy Durkan——

It is a serious question and relates to the Financial Services (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, as urgent miscellaneous amendments to financial services law.

What is the question?

Is the information I asked for being sought, and can the Tánaiste give any information to the House?

There are draft heads as regards that legislation and it is anticipated that it will be published next year. The other matter is a subject for discussion with the Whips, as to whether time will be available to discuss the issue.

What about the appointments to which I referred?

I am not in a position to refer to——

That shall be dealt with when it comes in the legislation.

The legislation is passing as we speak.

The Deputy is talking about the detail of legislation.

It is very crucial detail.

It may well be, but that information clearly is not available at this point, and neither can we expect it to be.

Is it true to say, therefore, that these appointments have taken place and none of these questions were asked as to why the appointments were made in such a fashion? I am not asking about the salaries, but rather the nature of the appointments.

The Deputy has got the answer on it. I call Deputy Ring.

I want to raise three items. First, I want to remind the Tánaiste that today is World Men's Day. Has she any message from the Government for the men of the world, or Ireland?

On Tuesday of next week the public services will be on strike. There is an embargo in the health service----

Has the Deputy a question on legislation?

We have an embargo in the public services. Does the Tánaiste believe it is right that there should be an embargo in every section of society and that the Government next week or the week after will fill two seats in the Seanad, when there is no need for them? Why does the Government not lead by example——

Please, Deputy, that has nothing to do with primary legislation.

——and leave those two seats unfilled.

My next question is on legislation and it relates to EU Council Directive 2001/44/EC. I heard the Tánaiste last week calling on the people of Ireland to be patriotic and to shop in this country. Has legislation been promised in this regard, or has it gone through the House already? A person in this State got a letter from the sheriff, to collect money for the Queen of England.

That has nothing to do with legislation. This can be the subject of a parliamentary question or it may be raised on the Adjournment.

We are now tax collectors. Will the Queen of England be making a speech to the House shortly, or have we handed the country back to England again?

The Deputy should avail of a parliamentary question or the Adjournment.

I am surprised that Fianna Fáil, the republican party, is collecting money for the Queen and getting my constituents to pay tax to her.

The Deputy should resume his seat. I call Deputy Joan Burton.

The Queen will be in here.

We have been advised that the report examining the salaries of top people in the public service, which includes Ministers, Ministers of State, senior civil servants and the heads of public bodies was received, probably three weeks ago, by the Minister for Finance. Yesterday, in the finance committee when Professor McCarthy and the members of an bord snip nua were present, the deputy secretary general of the Department of Finance, Mr. Donal McNally, confirmed that the report had been received. In the context of so many public servants earning €40,000 a year or less and who are rearing families——

The Deputy should refer to legislation.

This is very pertinent to the work of Government. This is a report which has been received by Government. Ministers are paying themselves €240,000 a year and asking civil servants who are bringing up three and four children——

To get the information she requires, the Deputy will have to put down a parliamentary question.

——-on €40,000 a year to take cuts. Will this report be published and laid in the Oireachtas Library?

That is detail.

I am sorry, it is not. That has been the practice as regards the two previous reports on top persons' salaries. If we do not want to return to strikes, as this Government appears to want, badly paid civil servants are being provoked by not releasing this information.

We do not have promised legislation in this area and the Deputy should table a parliamentary question if she requires detailed information.

Will the Minister arrange to have the report placed in the Oireachtas Library? The Minister for Finance promised this but has not yet done so. Where is it?

Deputy, please.

Where is the report? Members were told yesterday——

I ask the Deputy to table a parliamentary question to the Minister for Finance on the matter.

No, that is not adequate.

This is an appropriate matter to raise on the Order of Business.

It is not appropriate for the Order of Business.

It is a report on which the Minister has made a statement in the House.

I ask the Deputy to resume her seat.

I seek an answer. This is an ordinary question about the report that has not been published.

This is detail pertaining to legislation. The Deputy must find an alternative way of getting the information.

No, there is not. This is a standard question.

We will move on.

Under the proposed health information Bill, can the Tánaiste tell me the reason an elderly constituent of mine was obliged to wait two weeks——

Deputy Sheehan——

——for an appointment to have a plaster cast applied in another hospital 50 miles away——

——after an X-ray showed she had a fractured wrist?

Deputy Sheehan, please. A telephone call to the local HSE should provide the information.

Is the Ceann Comhairle joking?

I do not think the Ceann Comhairle is living in the real world. The benefits of being in the Chair have affected him within the past three weeks if he believes the local HSE will provide an answer.

In a written reply to a question dated 17 November 2009——

This has nothing to do with primary legislation. The Deputy should resume his seat.

——the Minister gave me a naïve reply.

Deputy Sheehan——

If the Minister will not answer a parliamentary question——

I suggest the Deputy should raise the matter on the Adjournment.

——what is going on in this House?