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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 15 Dec 2010

Vol. 725 No. 2

Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill 2010: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Remaining Stages

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
In page 9, subsection (1), to delete line 13 and substitute the following:
"2.—(1) Nothing insection 53 shall be construed as enabling orders to be made under this Act which purport to have the effect of making or changing laws, within the meaning of subsection 2 of section 1 of Article 15 of the Constitution.
(2) In this Act——."
—(Deputy Joan Burton).

I understand the Minister was in possession.

I was in possession but had concluded.

I was merely protecting the Minister's position.

I understand Members still are considering the amendment.

I wish to ask the Minister some questions in respect of the Labour Party amendment No. 1. Although the Minister explained his thinking on section 53, I am not convinced that this section does not give the Minister extraordinary powers that are outside the scope of the Constitution and I refer specifically to Article 15 of the Constitution. When the Minister spoke before the adjournment of this debate at 7 p.m., he created what in some ways was a very elegant construction that he as Minister had certain powers of direction and so on that he exercised and that having done this with consultation and so on, he then could go to the High Court, which could make a judgment. However, it appeared as though his approach was to make a construct that suggested the courts would have the say in this matter when, in fact, the powers he is taking are extraordinary. It appears as though he had created something of a castle in the air to devise a structure that would maximise the power of the Minister vis-à-vis Article 15 of the Constitution.

As for section 53, he described and read out its two parts. I had read them out previously and the Labour Party has no difficulty with the first part, which provides a recognition that much legislation provides for the repeal or amendment of existing legislation. This often is a function of legislation. However, our concerns are with the second part, namely, the powers the Minister will acquire under section 53 are so sweeping and draconian that they are outside the ambit of the Constitution. As I said, our Constitution recognises the law-making function of the Houses of the Oireachtas and specifically the Dáil. If we are to resign that function and hand it over to the Minister it would be an enormous diminution of parliamentary power.

On the IMF and European Union deal, Commissioner Rehn, whom almost all Opposition parties met during his visit to Dublin, in addition to setting out his thoughts on the likely level of the deficit also talked about the reform programme under the Lisbon agenda. The reform programme requires the consultation of not just member Governments but the Parliament, Opposition, civil society and other interested parties.

The Minister has still not answered Deputy Rabbitte's question. We have consistently called for bank resolution legislation since the time of the guarantee because it is a feature of American legislation, in particular. I and others gave the example of Washington Mutual. It was restructured and the bondholders took a part in the restructuring.

The Bill is very complex. I do not know whether the people in the Minister's office have been working on it for the past two years, perhaps they have been working at it every night. Perhaps the Attorney General has been working on it every night for the past two years. On the second last day of the Dáil session before it goes into recess for Christmas and the new year the Minister has introduced a highly complex Bill comprising 66 pages, 77 sections and several Schedules.

The Minister wants the Opposition to have it passed in under 24 hours. What Commissioner Rehn said in Dublin envisaged a very strong debate on the need for reform which involves not simply the Government — with which as Commissioner he obviously has the primary connection — but also the Opposition and civil society.

No academic lawyer in any of our universities, as far as I am aware, has had an opportunity to even cast a reflective thought on the Bill. The Labour Party has had members and lawyers talking to us about how they understand various sections. Yet, the main object of the Bill is to provide €10 billion to AIB — the Minister did not demur when I suggested it and perhaps he could enlighten us — before the end of the year or Christmas. He is exercising extraordinary powers in doing this.

People talk in Irish society and a lot of columnists write intensively on aspects of it. Fintan O'Toole recently wrote a book on reform. The fundamental reform required in terms of the Dáil is that its Members have an opportunity to scrutinise and examine legislation. People in civil society or those with specialised legal knowledge should be able to contribute.

With due respect, there was nothing in the Minister's response to our concerns. He has made up his mind, he has been the judge and jury and in future he will have an extraordinary collection of powers. The banking crisis is crippling the country. As a country and citizens we are allied to the banks' debt. Without a doubt, we have a difficulty with the gap between spending and taxation, in terms of the ordinary fiscal deficit. Were that this was the country's only problem, with a couple of difficult enough years and agreements on wage freezes and so on, we could deal with it without any difficulty. What is crippling the country and its borrowing rate is the weight of the bank debt.

The section in the Bill which relates to Anglo Irish Bank is extraordinary. It refers to involving the bank in some kind of reorganisation, revival and recapitalisation. I understand it is section 12. It is extraordinary. Can the Minister explain to the ordinary people in Ireland why the Bill refers to the recovery, reorganisation and recapitalisation of Anglo Irish Bank?

Most of us here thought we had this debate. Is the Minister expecting, with his extraordinary powers, to arrange for the ghost of Hamlet's father to appear in the Chamber to scare the living daylights out of every man, woman and child in the country? That seems to be what he has in mind. It is almost impossible in this context to read the section containing the description of the proposals in the Bill in respect of the reorganisation, recapitalisation and revival of Anglo Irish Bank.

The Minister is taking extraordinary powers. Is it to create a Lazarus out of Anglo Irish Bank in order that it lives to see another day? Is there a technical reason, in terms of the agreement with the IMF and the European Union, which requires the smelling salts for this bank for a period and which he has not shared with us? I invite the Minister to share a little information with the Deputies of this House about his exact intentions. Is €10 billion for AIB to be provided by 31 December? Will the ghost of Hamlet's father appear on the battlements of Leinster House and walk again? Is this the future the Minister has in mind for Anglo Irish Bank?

I ask the Minister to spell out the situation because he has taken extraordinary powers. Deputy Rabbitte said earlier that, in a way, this is something to facilitate the Minister between now and the general election. The requirement in the IMF deal the Minister signed is to publish real bank restructuring and reform legislation by the end of February.

Can the Minister tell us exactly what he is doing and why he will not accept the Labour Party amendment? It proposes a reasonable restriction on the Minister's powers in order that he exercises them as ordinary Ministers exercise them in the context of full respect for the Constitution? The Minister referred to getting the advice of the Attorney General who said the Bill was constitutional. However, as a Minister he is carrying a very heavy stick.

Even though only four hours of debate on this Bill are permitted, we deserve more explanation from the Minister on the concept of the Bill, what it is expected to do and what the description of what is to happen to Anglo Irish Bank is meant to mean. The Minister is providing for extraordinary powers in that regard. When the deal was reached with the IMF, we were told we had €10 billion with €25 billion in reserve. It now appears that €10 billion will go into Allied Irish Banks by the end of the year. Last Saturday, the chairman and public interest director of Anglo Irish Bank suggested in an interview, which was carried by the international media, that the reserves are likely to be used up by further requirements. Can the Minister tell us where it is at the moment? Why should the Dáil vote to give him these extraordinary powers?

In the time available tonight, this extraordinary Bill will receive little scrutiny. The Minister is proposing to take to himself extraordinary and very strong powers. I mean no disrespect to the Minister and his Department when I say their banking policy has not inspired confidence up to now. The proposal to make the Minister the sole agent of the development of future banking policy, with little or no recourse to the Governor of the Central Bank, no recourse to this Parliament and no requirement to consult the Government, is absolutely extraordinary.

Deputy Burton, who has proposed this amendment, is correct in her fear that the Minister is taking to himself one of the roles of the Parliament. The power being taken is, in effect, tantamount to the power to develop new law, using some kind of order as a mechanism. That is a very dangerous precedent. If one examines the measures being proposed in the Bill, one will have serious constitutional doubts about the Minister's approach. I cannot understand why the Minister does not amend the various sections of the Bill in which he takes powers onto his shoulders in a manner that seems quite arbitrary. I suggest that the term "the Minister may, on the instructions of the Government" should be included in such sections. It is extraordinarily peculiar that emergency legislation of this nature has such a long recital, which refers to "the public interest", in order to ensure its constitutionality. It seems the Minister will be able to act as a sole agent without recourse to the Government. I would have thought that a Government decision, on which the Minister of the day would act, would be a prerequisite in anything like this. That is not how the legislation has been phrased, however.

The Minister is encroaching on the constitutional role of the Parliament. There are serious doubts about whether he is also encroaching on the separation of powers with the courts. Various sections of the Bill propose to limit access to the High Court, the scope for appeal to the Supreme Court and the power of judicial review. Another section proposes that a person who loses his or her job directly by order of the Minister of the day, or through a person appointed by him or her, cannot take a case under the Unfair Dismissals Act. I would have thought that one of the rights provided for under that Act is the right of a person to vindicate his or her constitutional rights. It is not just a right in statute law — it is founded on a constitutional right. The Minister is proposing to remove the right of such a person to access a decision on whether his or her dismissal is unfair.

The relationship the Minister will have with the Central Bank under this Bill is peculiar, to say the least. It is not in accordance with what I know of bank resolution legislation across the European Union. The Minister is ignoring the Governor of the Central Bank, in effect. Some of the Bill's provisions will require the Minister to consult the Governor, but none of them will require the Minister to take the advice of the Governor at any point. The requirement is confined to consultation. Another peculiar provision will allow the Minister to issue a directive in writing, indicating what the role of the Governor of the Central Bank is, and what the role of the Minister is, in the exercise of these functions. It seems to me, from the manner in which the section is drafted, that the Minister will be able to send a letter to the Governor telling him it is not his business to interfere with what the Minister is doing under the provisions of this legislation. It is a very peculiar approach to law.

Not only is this Bill draconian in its intent, but it is unnecessarily draconian in the manner in which it empowers the Minister. I presume it has been signed off by the Office of the Attorney General in the normal way. The Government is relying heavily on the preamble to the Bill as a kind of force majeure clause. It seems to suggest the power to ride roughshod over the Constitution is required by the Minister because things are so bad. I am not sure that, in practice, the courts will see eye-to-eye with the Minister if this legislation is challenged. I do not understand why the Governor of the Central Bank is not being given a greater role. The token provision that he be consulted is no more than a nod in his direction. Nowhere in the Bill is there an obligation to take the Governor’s advice.

One peculiar section of the Bill before the House gives the Minister the power to delineate in writing where the power of the Governor of the Central Bank stops and the power of the Minister begins. I would have thought the independence of the Central Bank in law was a fundamental aspect of the monetary policy of this country. I appreciate that the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator have been criticised in recent years, but that does not detract from the principle that the Central Bank should be independent. The role of the Governor of the Central Bank is enshrined in law. He is independent in the exercise of his functions. That is a very important cornerstone of our fiscal and monetary position. However, the Minister seems to be proposing to do violence to all of that.

I know the Minister will not read the advice of the Attorney General into the record, but perhaps he can justify the legal approach being pursued in this Bill. I refer especially to the proposal to cut people off from accessing the courts.

To what section does the Deputy refer?

It is near the end of the Bill. We received the Bill at a late stage, as the Minister is aware.

It is section 53.

A series of sections, from section 53 onwards, limit the rights of people to proceed as I have suggested. I ask the Minister to give us more insight into the thinking behind those provisions. I am not sure where they have come from. I am not too sure where the Bill as a whole has come from. According to the explanatory memorandum, section 64 provides for the "limitation of certain rights of appeal to the Supreme Court", section 63 provides for the "limitation of judicial review" and section 62 provides for the "limitation of operation of section 61". I just do not get it, to use a colloquialism. I do not understand why the Minister feels it necessary to do this.

Quite frankly, I cannot see how these provisions are in accord with the Constitution. It seems that the Minister is relying on the preamble, which is an extraordinary piece of writing in its own right, to ensure their constitutionality. It refers to "a serious disturbance in the economy" and claims these "measures are necessary to address a unique and unprecedented economic crisis which has led to difficult economic circumstances". It mentions a "serious threat to the stability of certain credit institutions". Such a recital of how bad things are has been included to justify this emergency legislation. I do not think the preamble, extensive as it is, justifies this approach or protects the Minister from constitutional challenge to his efforts to limit the right of citizens to access the High Court or the Supreme Court on appeal. I cannot see how it does not infringe on the separation of powers. I would be glad if the Minister could give us some insight into it.

In his earlier reply, the Minister said that I said this is not bank resolution legislation. I did not say that — I said it is not like "the bank resolution legislation that has been put in place in other jurisdictions". A number of aspects of that have been dealt with. One of them, of course, is the resort to the courts. That is not normally the provision in a bank resolution Act. Normally the role of the Central Bank is central. It is curious here, and the Minister should explain why he has gone down this road rather than adopting the role of the provisional supervisor. One cannot ask a Fianna Fáil colleague in the House where the nearest ATM is, without him or her telling you, "Did you see that we appointed Dr. Patrick Honohan, and that was a stroke of genius by the Minister?".

When the Bank of Ireland ran into problems here last week with its technical hitch, I asked a Fianna Fáil colleague what was happening in the bank and he said, "Wasn't Lenihan a genius, appointing Dr. Patrick Honohan?" and we had another big discussion regarding how inspired the Minister's appointment was. Now we have appointed him and for some reason the Minister decides to bypass him here.

He was too good.

He is like our piano. It looks good in the corner but no one wants to play it.

He has a consultative role only.

It is nice to have him on the team.

He certainly looks well decorating the notepaper in this Bill, but that is all, and I do not know why the Minister chose to do that.

He is more than decorative, I can assure the Deputy.

The point has been well made by Deputies Burton and Noonan to the effect that the Minister is a one-man legislature. This Bill will be waved around classes in UCD, Trinity College and the education colleges for many years to come, whereby the Minister has taken unto himself powers that need neither the House or the Constitution. Again, he has not adequately explained why he needed to convert himself into a one-man legislature.

Deputy Noonan suggests that it is the preamble that gets the Minister off the hook. The preamble is fascinating because it is not a feature of Irish law making. We do not have this in Irish law making, generally speaking. As a result of it he would be free to make any type of law he likes for the plebs. I do not know why we have opted for this pattern that is more prevalent in the Mother of Parliaments than it is here.

The Minister must explain to us what this peculiar provision is in section 4 which provides that the purpose of the Act is "to continue the process of reorganisation...". There is very little reorganisation continuing, since we are exactly where we were when we were discussing the NAMA Bill. A few of the lads have relocated themselves outside the jurisdiction, but the institutions are not reorganised.

One of the purposes of the Bill is "to continue the process of reorganisation, preservation and restoration of the financial position of Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Limited begun with the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act 2009". This has been raised by a couple of colleagues and we still do not have an answer as regards what it means. All we know is that the chairman of the corporation told the New York Times that he thought the €35 billion provided would not be enough. The Minister told us that €10 billion of it would be needed, probably, and quickly, but that the other €25 billion would be in a contingency fund and the Lord help whoever might touch it, as it was unlikely to be drawn down. However, here we seem to be committed to a programme of restoration and preservation. Anglo Irish Bank is preserved in the minds of the Irish people forever.

The amendment touches on a very important point, namely, the powers to be conferred on the Minister for Finance, however long the present incumbent will last in that office. Given the difficulties my colleague, Deputy Arthur Morgan raised in regard to potential constitutional problems arising from this legislation overriding or supplanting laws already in existence, it is a minefield. I am curious to find out what type of legal opinion the Minister has received in that regard, knowing that the Government has received legal opinion in other cases, only to be defeated in the High Court and no doubt ultimately in the Supreme Court whenever the case will be heard in regard to the by-election.

If we look at the wider economy, while the Bill is important in terms of the powers to be transferred to the Minister for Finance to allow him or her to act unilaterally, the big problem arises from the powers that will not be transferred. That is where the gaping hole in the legislation lies, and none of the speakers from the other parties have raised this. One of the powers the Minister will have is to make a subordinate liability order, while he or she will not have the power to make a senior liability order.

The crux of the matter is that while burden sharing will be dealt with in regard to subordinate debt, no matter how toxic or insolvent the bank is without State support, senior debt will continue to be guaranteed. Unless that position changes we are headed into a very difficult position in the future. We have issues as regards expenditure and falling income receipts and these can all be dealt with, as the Minister has indicated in his four-year plan. I believe that this is not achievable, however, in terms of the desired outcomes because it will contract and strangle the economy. Sinn Féin has said it will take six years but not only is there a difference in timeframes, there is also disagreement in terms of how this is to brought about.

One way to proceed is through cuts in deflation, which is the Government's approach, along with those who have signed up to the consensus for cuts. The second approach is through a growth stimulus package. However, if we continue to allow private bank debt to be tagged on to the sovereign debt we will not be able to grow the economy in the way that is needed. The Government is planning to rape the National Pensions Reserve Fund to prop up the banks and the bondholders. Not just our party but also the Labour Party was planning to utilise some of that funding in terms of job creation and stimulating the economy.

Perhaps I am naive, but many experts are telling us that senior debt cannot continue to be guaranteed by the Irish State. There is no reason for it, and it can be looked at in two ways. The first is to look at it from a fairness viewpoint. As legislators and politicians elected on behalf of the Irish people we have to act in their best interests. This phrase — "acting in the national interest" — is probably the most bandied about misused phrase that I have heard since entering the Dáil or before that because of the many interpretations one may apply to it. Is it fair that we continue to allow the Irish taxpayer to guarantee senior debt? In this Bill the powers conferred on the Minister for Finance will be to deal with subordinate debt. I have looked through the measures that confer these powers and one of these is the likely extent to which subordinate creditors will be repaid amounts owing to them in the event of the winding up of an institution in the absence of such financial support.

These subordinate bondholders are investors. They invested in a bank which would not be functioning unless there was State support. However, the senior bondholders did exactly the same thing, so why should they not be treated in the same manner as the subordinate bondholders? The Minister continually poses the question of what will happen if we burn the bondholders, which Sinn Féin argues we should do in respect of those banks that have no future. Let us deal with Anglo Irish Bank in isolation. The senior bondholders in that bank should not get one red cent from the Irish taxpayer. There are other measures that can be used to address the situation in other banks, for example, debt for equity swaps, which is a measure with which the Minister is empowering himself in order to deal with subordinated bondholders.

The Minister has asked how we will get money from the market if we burn bondholders. The reality is that if we separate bank debt from sovereign debt our debt to GDP ratio falls to 75%. Mr. David McWilliams pointed out today how this compares with other European countries. Sinn Féin has been arguing for a long time for a separation of bank and sovereign debt. We cannot allow private debt to become sovereign debt. If we make that separation our debt to GDP ratio will be 75% compared with Greece which stands at 126%, Italy at 116%, Belgium at 96%, Portugal at 76% and France at 78%, with Germany — it is mostly German and French bondholders we are bailing out in this scheme — 2% below us in terms of debt to GDP ratio. The Minister should do what we are asking and at least allow himself the power to burn the bondholders or deal with debt for equity swaps in terms of senior bondholders, whether or not he invokes them. We argue that the Minister should invoke them. If the Minister had those powers and dealt with bank debt separately from sovereign debt there would be no reason we could not go back into the markets after a short period.

The Minister may laugh.

We are in Argentina now.

The reality is that four weeks ago he was defending the fact that we did not need the IMF, ECB or EU bailout.

The Minister took umbrage at the suggestion.

The Minister has turned many corners in his career and has made many U-turns and should not laugh at me when I repeat what he said in this Chamber and to the nation and whole world just four weeks ago. Either the Minister was lying to us then or he was wrong. The reality is that the ECB has——

Deputy Doherty, it is inappropriate to use the word "lying".

I did not say that the Minister was lying. I am saying he was either lying or——

It is inappropriate to use that word and I ask the Deputy to reconsider it. I am sure the Deputy can find an alternative word.

I accept it is not appropriate to use the word "lying" in the Chamber. The Minister either deliberately misled us or was ill-informed at the time. What I am saying is what the Minister said in terms of not needing the EU-IMF bailout because we could depend on the international bond markets. The difference between my approach and the approach taken by the Minister four weeks ago is that he was depending on the international bond markets and was allowing private debt to become sovereign debt. The reason our yields on ten year bonds has spiked to 9% is the international bond markets believe the Irish State does not have the ability to pay its debt. We do not have the ability to pay because we have tied in private bank gamblers' debt with sovereign debt.

I referred earlier to the information given by Mr. David McWilliams. If we separate bank and sovereign debt our debt to GDP ratio will be below that of other countries. Let us take the example of Belgium, which yesterday raised money at 1.8%. Our debt to GDP ratio and, indeed, our debt to GNP ratio would be below Belgium. It is implausible for the Minister to argue that the bondholders would not look at us if we took this approach.

We are not in government and cannot invoke the instruments that would burn the senior bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank. We are arguing that the Minister should at least empower the Houses of the Oireachtas, through this Bill, to take those measures. The Minister is attempting to enshrine in legislation debt for equity swaps and burning subordinate bondholders, gamblers who gambled in banks which, apart from being propped up by the State, are toxic and insolvent. The same should happen to gamblers who are called senior bondholders. That is the elephant in the room. We can waste as much time as we want discussing this. It is wrong that this legislation is being forced through the Houses of the Oireachtas in such a short period. The Minister cannot continually refer to the powers transferred to him under this Bill without dealing with the big issue, namely, that we cannot allow senior bondholders to be paid by the Irish taxpayer.

Our structural deficit can be reorganised. We may have differences of opinion in regard to how this can be done but it can be reorganised. We can get the deficit within the margins of 3%. There is only a year in terms of difference between the Sinn Féin approach and that of Government and other parties. I appreciate that I will not get to speak on the amendments I have tabled. However, I hope to have the opportunity to call a vote on them, thus exposing all the parties in this House in terms of whether they support the burning of senior bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank and the reduction of €1 in the minimum wage which will be pumped into those gamblers, the multimillionaires who are scattered across the world whom we have bailed out once more.

When summing up, perhaps the Minister will advise us——

We are on Committee Stage, I will not be summing up.

——-how he proposes to deal with the problem of too much debt, of which we have too much in this State because the Minister has linked private debt in the banks with State debt. The Minister has joined the two and made the taxpayer responsible for it. The Minister proposes to deal with our debt by linking bank debt to sovereign debt.

Does the Minister think that will work? Where is the logic in that? Does the Minister believe that, even on a good day, we have the economic base to produce the revenue to make that happen? If the Minister examines his Department's figures he will see that revenue streams are dropping rather than increasing. Before us is the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill 2010. Where are the stabilisation measures for the real economy and the people on the front line trying to feed their children?

Debate on this Bill is due to conclude at 10 p.m. I am anxious that the Minister will have an opportunity to reply and the Deputy's colleague, Deputy Ó Snodaigh, wishes to make a contribution.

I am most anxious to hear from the Minister.

We want to hear about the revival of Anglo Irish Bank.

I will be honest with the Minister.

There will be no revival or reanimation.

I can assure him that I do not mean to be personal. However, the decisions made by this Government over the past two years have not been good. The Government has spent the past two years dealing with the banks and ignoring the real economy.

The Deputy is moving away from the amendment.

It is now grabbing money from low income families and reducing the minimum wage, which is dreadful. Perhaps the Minister will deal in a straightforward fashion with some of the points I have made.

As I mentioned earlier, I am anxious to allow the Minister for Finance to respond.

We are anxious for a vote.

I too am anxious, but that the Minister give us enough time to deal with this legislation.

The Deputy is drifting from the amendment.

I have only uttered one sentence and the Ceann Comhairle is already down my throat.

I support the amendment, which relates to section 1 and deals with the Short Title and commencement of the Act. At the end of the day, this Act may be cited as the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010.

We are on section 2, amendment No. 1, in the name of Deputy Burton.

Táimid ar an dara leasú.

Tá brón orm gur dhéan mé botún.

Níl aon bhrón ar an Teachta. Bhris sé an geata lasmuigh den Tigh seo.

Tá brón orm. Tá sé seo níos tábhachtaí ná an chéad rud mar déaneann sé seo déileáil leis na príomhrialacha a bhaineann leis an Acht seo, agus an interpretation. Táimidne ag déanamh iarrachta déileáil leis seo. Táimid ag déanamh iarrachta cur ina luí ar an Aire go bhfuil gá le hathrú meoin ag an Rialtas.

Tá brón orm nach raibh mé sa Teach ar feadh tréimhse ghairid den díospóireacht ar an reachtaíocht seo, mar bhí cruinnú eile agam. Bhí mé anseo ag an tús agus ag an deireadh. Ní raibh an chuid is mó de Theachtaí an Rialtais sa Teach in aon chor. Is droch rud é sin, go háirithe toisc go bhfuilimid ag déileáil le cumhachtaí breise a thabhairt don Aire. Sa deireadh thiar thall, is rud tábhachtach é cumhachtaí breise a mholadh. Tá dainséar ann i gcónaí nuair atáimid ag moladh cumhachtaí breise don Aire. Sa chás seo, tá mise i gcoinne roinnt de na cumhachtaí atá á dtabhairt againn don Aire, mar níl an tAire ná an Roinn ag déileáil leis an bpríomhfhadhb. Tá siad ag cur léi ó thaobh an gheilleagair de. Tá siad ag cur leis an bhfadhb agus beidh siad ag cur léi amach anseo.

Sa deireadh thiar thall, seachas bheith ag déileáil leis an bhfadhb agus fáil réidh leis na fiacha atá againn ina leith siúd a bhfuil bannaí sinsearacha acu, táimid ag glacadh leis na fiacha leo mar fhiacha náisiúnta. Níor chóir go dtarlódh sé sin ariamh, mar is rud iomlán difriúil na fiacha sin. Ba chóir don Aire é sin a thuiscint agus déanamh mar a dúradh leis ag go leor eacnamaithe agus ag daoine ar na binsí seo. Ba chóir na creidiúnaithe sinsearacha sin a dhó. Dá mbeadh sé sin déanta aige le bliain anuas bheadh an geilleagair i staid i bhfad níos fearr agus bheimis in ann déileáil leis na cinntí atá sa chuid seo den reachtaíocht.

Táimid ag déileáil sa chuid seo den reachtaíocht le Coimisiún an Chúlchiste Náisiúnta Pinsean, mar is ceist mhór í ó thaobh an gheilleagair de agus leis an tslí a bheidh an tAire ag caitheamh leis an gciste amach anseo. Sin ceist mhór. Cuireadh le chéile an chiste chun brabús a dhéanamh chun déanamh cinnte de go n-íocfar an pinsean náisiúnta agus go mbeadh pinsinéaraí slán sábhailte. Leis an tslí atá an tAire ag caitheamh léi, tá an chiste á cur isteach i bpoll dubh, agus ní thiocfaidh an t-airgead sin as arís. Iad siúd atá ar phinsean a bheidh thíos leis amach anseo. Ní tharlóidh seo i mbliana nó sa bhliain seo chugainn ach amach anseo. Tá mé cinnte go mbeidh siad thíos leis.

Táimid ag déileáil le geallghlacadóirí. Is daoine iad a chuir geall ar rud. Cosúil le duine a chuireann geall ar chapall, ba chóir dóibh glacadh leis go mbeidís ciontach as pé geall a chuireadh. Má theipeann ar gheall, teipeann air. Má eiríonn leis, fair dues. Sa chás seo, níor éirigh leis an gheall agus ba chóir duinn "Slán libh; táimidne slán agus táimid chun déileáil lenár bhfadhbanna féin" a rá leis na geallglacadóirí sin. Ní sin an cinneadh atá déanta sa reachtaíocht seo. Tá an tAire ag iarraidh tacú leo siúd a bhíonn ag glacadh geallta.

Tá cúig nóiméad fágtha don díospóireacht.

Tuigim sin. Níl an locht ormsa nó ar aon duine ar an bhFreasúra as an easpa ama. Lorgamar níos mó ama níos luaithe inniu chun déileáil le gach uile leasú. Seo Céim an Choiste. Níl aon srian ar an méid ama atá agam, fad is atá mé ag déileáil leis an leasú. Níl mé sásta seasamh siar chun seans a thabhairt don Aire bladar nó shite as. Tá mé sásta déileáil leis an reachtaíocht atá os mo chomhair. Té mé chun leanúint agus níl mé sásta seasamh siar chun am a thabhairt don Aire. Tá mé ag déileáil leis an reachtaíocht. Deir sé anseo "Minister means Minister for Finance". Cén fáth?

Tá an Teachta Damien English ag iarraidh labhairt.

Tuigim go bhfuil daoine eile ag iarraidh labhairt, tá mise ag iarraidh ligean don Teachta Martin Ferris labhairt. Tá mé sásta ligean don 165 Teachta eile nach bhfuil anseo teacht isteach ach níor thug an Dáil seo seans do gach uile Teachta déileáil leis an reachtaíocht seo. Sin an scannal is mó. Tá seans againn teacht isteach an tseachtain seo chugainn ach ní raibh an Rialtas sásta leis sin. Tá seans ag an Rialtas, ní bheidh na scoileanna ar saoire an tseachtain seo chugainn agus beidh gnóthaí ag obair go dtí Déardaoin seo chugainn. Cén fáth nach bhfuilimid sásta sin a dhéanamh? Tá brón orm, níl mise sásta leis ach táim ag déileáil leis an mBille. Mar is gnách, ní féidir liom déileáil leis ó thaobh na Gaeilge de mar níl an Bille ar fáil as Gaeilge. Seo Bille um Fhorais Chreidmheasa (Cobhsúchán) 2010. Níor chuala mé an focal sin "cobhsúchán" riamh i mo shaol. Bheadh sé deacair déileáil leis sin in aon teanga.

Níl muinín agam as aon rud atá sa Bhille seo agus níl muinín agam san Aire. Dá mbeadh muinín agam san Aire, bheinn sásta tacú le haon chumhachtaí breise a thabhfar dó. Táimse ag cur go huile is go hiomlán i gcoinne na reachtaíochta seo agus an ailt seo.

Luaigh an tAire nach raibh mise ag déileáil leis an alt ceart. In alt 2, an phríomhalt i reachtaíocht ar bith, an interpretation section, déileáileann sin leis an treoir agus leis an mhíniúchán atáimidne ag déanamh ar fhocail dhifriúla. Sa chás seo, táimid ag déileáil le——

The Minister of State, Deputy Mansergh, to reply as Gaeilge.

Bheadh sé go hiontach dá mbeadh an tAire Stáit, an Teachta Mansergh, nó aon Aire, sásta tacú liom ó thaobh reachtaíochta as Gaeilge, as Béarla nó as teanga ar bith eile. Sa deireadh thiar thall, níl siad in ann aon fhreagra cuí a thabhairt in aon teanga.

Níl mise sásta tacú leis seo, níl mé sásta glacadh leis na míniúcháin sa chuid seo den reachtaíocht agus níl mé sásta glacadh leis go bhfuil an reachtaíocht cuí agus go mbeidh sé ag dul ar aghaidh. Déanfaidh an Bille damáiste don gheilleagar náisiúnta agus cuirfidh sé ualach thar fulaingt ar ghnáthphobal na tíre. Deir sé san alt, "'financial support' has the same meaning as the Act of 2008". Financial support has a different meaning to the vast majority of people because they do not have it, it has been withdrawn from in terms of the Social Welfare Bill last week.

Tá a lán eile lena bhféadfainn déileáil ó thaobh míniúchán de. Le nóiméad nó dhó fágtha, bheinn sásta seal a thabhairt do Theachta eile ach is scannal é go bhfuil an Dáil ag déileáil le reachtaíocht atá chomh tábhachtach leis seo i gceann cúpla uair an chloig agus nach rabhamar sásta déileáil leis i gceart, ar an Dara Chéim, nuair a bheadh gach duine in ann ráitis a thabhairt agus ansin déileáil leis ar Chéim an Choiste sa dóigh is go mbeimis in ann iniúchadh ceart a dhéanamh, líne ar líne, ar Bhille chomh tábhachtach seo. Líne ar líne. Ní rabhamar in ann seo a dhéanamh toisc go raibh an tAire ag iarraidh an Bhille a rith chomh tapaidh sin, in ainneoin go bhfuil seans againn suí i rith na seachtaine seo chugainn. Ní raibh mise sásta leis toisc nach raibh sé ag teacht ar ais.

Tá an t-am caite.

Is trua go bhfuil an t-am caite mar d'fhéadfainn labhairt níos faide.

Is there any chance of extending the debate by an hour? Can the Minister accede to an additional hour to allow him to reply?

It is not even 10 p.m.

As it is ten o'clock I am now required to put the following question in accordance with an order of the Dáil of this day: "That in respect of each of the sections undisposed of, the section is hereby agreed to in Committee, Schedules 1 and 2 and the Preamble and the Title are hereby agreed to in Committee, the Bill is accordingly reported to the House without amendment, Fourth Stage is hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed."

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 78; Níl, 71.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Behan, Joe.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Áine.
  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Browne, John.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • 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.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • 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’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Keeffe, Edward.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.


  • Bannon, James.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coonan, Noel J.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • 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.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Donnell, Kieran.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Mahony, John.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • O’Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies John Cregan and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe.
Question declared carried.

The Bill will now be sent to the Seanad.