Order of Business

It is proposed to take No.a3 — motion re restoration of Bills to the Order Paper; No. 5 — statements on the response to the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan; and subject to the agreement of No. a3, the Road Traffic Bill 2011 — Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders that No. a3 shall be decided without debate and that the following arrangements shall apply with No. 5: the statement of a Minister or Minister of State and the of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, the speech of each Member called shall not exceed ten minutes in each case, Members may share time, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes. Private Members’ business shall be No. 6 — motion re corporation tax (resumed) to conclude at 8.30 p.m. if not previously concluded.

There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No.a3, motion re. restoration of Bills to the Order Paper, agreed to?

It is not agreed. I made the point earlier that this is the only gathering anywhere in this island which is not allowed to discuss the Moriarty report. This is the Taoiseach's call and there is no need for a Whips' meeting or elaborate coming together. This is a pressing issue that reflects very badly on the Oireachtas, particularly as the Government has set an ambition to clean up the system and end the culture of corruption which existed for a long time. I hope it can be brought to an end in this term. We disagree profoundly with proceeding with this Order of Business without leave to have that necessary debate.

It is strange that the Taoiseach has not come forward with proposals on how and when we will deal with this. I have already suggested that we could bring the Dáil back, specifically for this issue, next Monday.

I apologise for interrupting but am I reading this correctly? We are discussing a motion for the restoration of Bills to the Order Paper.

We are objecting to the order.

It relates to the order in which items are being taken. We are putting the question to the Taoiseach.

This is dealing with the restoration of Bills to the Order Paper.

Yes, and I am entitled to comment.

The Deputy does not want them restored.

I want to be clear and we all should know what we are talking about.

Given the performance of those opposite in previous Dála, we are being most constructive and responsible in our demeanour and disposition. It is strange that we have not had any proposals from the Taoiseach on this and the Whips will only discuss it at 5 p.m. I asked yesterday that there be a debate and a separate session where Ministers and the Taoiseach would be prepared to answer questions on what happened around the Cabinet table at the time of the decision to award that licence. The Taoiseach yesterday gave a commitment that this would happen so does that stand? Will there be a separate session, apart from the debate, in a forum that can be agreed?

We are discussing the restoration of Bills to the Order Paper. I am not sure how many times I have to say this for the Deputy. I have already made some proposals of a serious nature in the matter he raises. I have asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to refer the report of the Moriarty tribunal to the Director of Public Prosecutions and Garda Commissioner, who are the appropriate authorities, for their consideration. I have also instructed the Fine Gael Party Whip to interact with the Whips of the other parties to have a real discussion on the issue next week, including questions at the end. That discussion will be an opportunity for all Deputies to have their say.

Deputy Martin has accepted the findings of the report, which make perfectly clear that members around the Cabinet table were exempted from decision making because the process was to be removed entirely from politics. If the Deputy accepts the findings of the report, he will accept that. In any event, as I indicated to him yesterday, I do not have a problem dealing with any questions he may wish to ask in regard to the Moriarty tribunal. I am happy to contribute on the matter.

I will put the question.

I wish to make a point. There is no reason the House cannot have the debate today.

I am on my feet.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 101; Níl, 42.

  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Collins, Áine.
  • Conaghan, Michael.
  • Conlan, Seán.
  • Connaughton, Paul J.
  • Conway, Ciara.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dowds, Robert.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Ferris, Anne.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • Harrington, Noel.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Keating, Derek.
  • Keaveney, Colm.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Kyne, Sean.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • Lyons, John.
  • McCarthy, Michael.
  • McFadden, Nicky.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Maloney, Eamonn.
  • Mathews, Peter.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, Derek.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O’Donnell, Kieran.
  • O’Donovan, Patrick.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Mahony, John.
  • O’Reilly, Joe.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Phelan, Ann.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Spring, Arthur.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
  • Walsh, Brian.
  • White, Alex.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Browne, John.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Colreavy, Michael.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McLellan, Sandra.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Brien, Jonathan.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Seán Ó Fearghaíl.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 5, statements on the response to the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, agreed to? Agreed. I call Deputy Martin on the Order of Business.

No. 6, a Fianna Fáil motion on corporation tax, is designed to reflect publicly the stated views of the majority of Members of this House. It also closely mirrors public commitments which the Taoiseach has given in recent weeks. However, the Government has tabled an amendment to the motion which in no way reflects the spirit of consensus articulated by the Taoiseach last week.

I ask Deputies to have respect for the speaker.

The Government amendment asks that we note the programme for Government statement on corporation tax and, unfortunately, leaves the door open for our participation on CCCTB. There can be no doubt in regard to the House's opposition to any reduction in the corporation tax rate and to our participation in CCCTB. To maintain the unanimity that applied in the previous Dáil, when the then Government supported a similar motion from the Opposition, I ask that the Government amendment be withdrawn before the vote on the motion tonight. It is a serious enough manoeuvre which could allow the charge to be made that we could ultimately participate in CCCTB.

The circumstances in regard to this matter have changed somewhat. I will explain the reason for this. It is important——

(Interruptions).

I ask Members to listen to the Taoiseach's reply.

——that there be no ambiguity about this matter. There is no ambiguity in terms of Ireland's position in respect of the corporate tax rate. The European Commission is legally entitled to bring forward any paper to initiate legislation. The Commission is to bring forward a proposal in respect of a common consolidated corporate tax base. I, nor anyone else, cannot prevent that. Our view in respect of a common consolidated corporate tax base has been well known for some time. We are prepared to involve ourselves in the discussions on the paper produced by the European Commission, taking into account our position.

The Deputy will be aware that what will happen is that the Commission will publish its paper following which it will be discussed around the table. We are prepared to involve ourselves in that discussion, taking into account our position, but within the parameter of the requirement of unanimity were that to become an issue. Following the long and tortuous process of discussion on the issue of CCCTB, unanimity would be required. I do not want any ambiguity in this regard. The Fine Gael amendment in the name of the Minister for Finance leaves no room for ambiguity.

Unfortunately, it does leave room for ambiguity.

It creates ambiguity.

This is a new development. During statements in the House yesterday on the forthcoming summit, no reference was made to this change in the corporation tax and the CCCTB. This is a significant development, as articulated by Government. The Commission has in the past brought forward proposals in regard to CCCTB and these were resolutely opposed by previous Governments of different hues and colour. We have been told during the past two weeks that Ireland will resolutely oppose any introduction of CCCTB. We are now being told that while the Government is highly sceptical of some aspects of the CCCTB proposal, it will involve itself in discussion and elaboration on the issue. I believe that is a grave mistake.

I am sure Deputy Martin does not expect us to sit at the table and not say anything.

No. I expect the Government to oppose the CCCTB proposal.

The Government should oppose it here too.

Please allow the Taoiseach to continue without interruption.

That is what I said. Ministers of the previous Government did not even bother to turn up at such meetings.

That is not true.

The Taoiseach would be better off staying at home.

It is a fact.

(Interruptions).

This is not Question Time. This matter will be debated this evening at 7 p.m. I allowed a brief question on the matter from Deputy Martin and a brief reply from the Taoiseach. Please respect the liberty I have granted on this issue. The matter will be debated at 7 p.m. this evening, when Members will have an opportunity to have their say.

I will be brief. The paper to be published by the Commission will be debated. Obviously, Ireland is opposed to it. Ireland has a particular view of opposition to it. As the Deputy is aware, countries which agree with the proposition of the Commission are entitled to have enhanced co-operation measures implemented. However, we want the principle of the issue of unanimity preserved and absolute clarity comes from the amendment in the name of the Minister for Finance.

A Deputy

That is shadow boxing.

It is Labour's way.

I will confine my questions to promised legislation.

Thank you, Deputy.

I note that on the list indicated by the Government for re-introduction in the House the opening paragraph states that the Bills shall be proceeded with at commencement of the Stage each Bill had reached. With specific reference to the Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2009, I recall the Taoiseach's party colleague, the then spokesperson on children, Deputy Charles Flanagan, the Labour Party spokesperson on children, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, and I in that role each had amendments presented on Report Stage that sought to ensure there would be after-care provision for children in State care when they reached 18 years of age. Do I take it that the Government, made up of both parties which were strong advocates of the point I have just shared with the House, is now going to return to the commencement of Report Stage and intends to present new amendments to the Bill as presented by the former Government and that this is now afforded to the Government by returning to the commencement of Report Stage? It is a hugely important matter and it was the key focus of each of the three Opposition voices on children's matters. If he is not in a position to give this absolute clarity in response to my question, I appeal to the Taoiseach to take it on board and ensure that it will be the case.

There is only one other tranche of legislation under the health portfolio in the list on the schedule, the Nurses and Midwives Bill 2010. The Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Bill was published in January of this year but it is not listed. There was cross-party support for the Bill which seeks to ensure women and young girls would not be subjected to this outrageous abuse either here in this country or to be taken from this country and subjected to this outrageous practice. Will this legislation, which had the unanimous support of all voices in the House, be brought forward? Will the Taoiseach indicate that he is willing to bring it forward?

Last year, a Private Members' Bill was introduced by the Labour Party spokesperson on health, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, to ban the use of sunbeds by those under 18 years of age. Has the Government had the opportunity to agree further legislation in the health area and will this important legislation to protect young people be part of the programme?

It is an important matter for amendments to be able to be tabled at the recommencement of Bills and that will apply. The Bill in question will be reintroduced and there will be an opportunity for Deputies to place amendments on Report Stage. The Minister may wish to introduce some new amendments as may other Members. Bills will be introduced at the point at which they were before the election and before the Government fell. There will be an opportunity for amendments.

The barbaric practice of female genital mutilation is a highly sensitive matter. This Bill is before the Seanad at the moment and when it completes its route through the Seanad it will be introduced in this House. Regarding the sunbed legislation, I have asked all the Ministers to produce their lists for legislation. We will have a full list of legislation inside two weeks and the Minister will consider the position in so far as the sunbed legislation in concerned.

Micheál Colreavy is ainm dom. I live in the northern half of the politically divided county of Leitrim and in the Sligo-North Leitrim constituency. Regarding proposed legislation, I note the Government proposes to reduce the number of Dáil Deputies. This will mean a re-drawing of the constituency boundaries. It was wrong that Leitrim was split and the fact that I won a seat against the odds — although I live in Country Leitrim — does not right that wrong.

Will the Taoiseach give an assurance that the terms of reference of the Constituency Commission will be changed to ensure that low-population counties such as Leitrim will no longer be politically divided in future?

I do not like to interrupt any new Deputy making their maiden speech——

Do not forget Dublin North Central.

Congratulate him on being elected.

Could I remind Deputies that we are on the Order of Business, which, strictly speaking, is regarding promised legislation and not for debating purposes. I congratulate the Deputy on his maiden speech; I did not wish to interrupt you. However, please do not take it that I am going to be as liberal to others in the future. I look forward to the promised review of Standing Orders such that we can have an orderly way to raise issues of a topical nature without my having to intervene and knock you down every time. I hope that will be introduced in the near future.

Since it is the Deputy's maiden speech I congratulate him on his election as well. Having had to swim against the tide in Leitrim, the Deputy is to be congratulated. Independent commissions draw up constituency boundaries based on census and population figures. They are given a remit but there is no interference from the political process after that. No matter where you start in the country, there are knock-on effects. Having met many of the people in Leitrim I know of their concern that the county was divided. It causes some difficulties for people at electoral time in the case of any county that loses a portion of its traditional ground to another county. I cannot give any guarantee that the Deputy will get a specific result from whatever commission is appointed. It will be based on the census and population figures when they are available. We take into account the point the Deputy makes about a small county with a small population being divided but the Deputy has proven to be the exception to the rule.

Perhaps the re-unification of Sligo-Leitrim could be a template for bigger things.

I call Deputy Willie O'Dea, who is not making his maiden speech.

The programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce new anti-corruption laws to punish white collar crime such as bribery and corruption. Will the Taoiseach give priority to that legislation?

This is certainly not Deputy O'Dea's maiden speech. The Minister for Justice and Law Reform is examining this and will bring forward his legislative proposals shortly. He has already commented in respect of white collar crime being a matter of priority and he will report shortly.

The programme for Government and the Fine Gael general election manifesto referred to burden sharing in respect of banking debt. We are to have burden sharing and the Taoiseach has clearly stated in one of his first addresses that there will be no additional money put into the banking system other than the money already committed. We will have the stress tests later next week which will probably require us to put in additional money. On the Taoiseach's word, that will not be forthcoming until burden sharing takes place. Legislation will be required to have burden sharing on senior bondholders.

What is the promised legislation in question?

This legislation is promised. Given that the amendment I submitted on behalf of my party in December was defeated, that legislation will need to be amended. When is it proposed that this legislation will come before the House such that burden sharing could be applicable to senior bondholders within our banking system?

The Deputy has tabled a series of questions to the Minister for Finance today. He will give a detailed response to any of the questions the Deputy wishes to raise then.

On a point of order——

It had better be a point of order.

It is. As a relatively new Deputy, something struck me. I am asking about proposed legislation. The Minister for Finance will be answering questions later. When will the Government present to the Houses legislation on dealing with burden sharing with senior bondholders in our banks?

Is this promised legislation?

The Deputy will have a full legislative programme inside the next two weeks. I have already said that today. It will be published, at which time Deputy Doherty can ask any question he wishes.