There is an important European summit today. The clár of the meeting is not substantial enough to deal with the major issues we face, especially in the financial area. We cannot do anything about that today, but I suggest the Taoiseach take up the opportunity to meet President Sarkozy at the meeting.
Order of Business (Resumed)
This is the Order of Business relating to promised legislation.
I am coming to the point.
There are no Leaders' Questions today.
Point taken. I also suggest the opportunity should be availed of to arrange a substantive meeting such as that offered by President Sarkozy between the Taoiseach and the President.
I do not think you heard me.
Is it intended to have statements in the House next week on the summit? Perhaps the Taoiseach could come in at that stage and outline the reasons he has not availed of the opportunity to meet President Sarkozy.
You must not have heard me the first time.
If you did hear me, I ask you to respect the Chair. This is not Leaders' Questions. This is the Order of Business dealing with promised legislation. If you wish to stick to the Order of Business, you may proceed. Thank you very much.
It is also about——
It is not. I am telling you what it is about. Could you stick to the Order of Business, please? Thank you.
Agus an rud deireanach, ba mhaith liom fíafraí den Tánaiste, ó tharla go mbeidh Uachtarán Chomhairle an Aontais Eorpaigh ag teacht anseo——
The fact that you wish to speak in Irish in no way intimidates me. Would you please resume your seat?
——mholfainn go dtabharfaí cuireadh dó teacht i láthair an Tí seo.
I find your behaviour most objectionable. When you are in here acting as leader of a major party, please adhere to the rules of the Chair.
I call on the Tánaiste not to reply to something that is totally out of order.
This week's business, a Cheann Comhairle——
It is not on the Order of Business. It is not promised legislation. If Deputy Ó Cuív seeks a debate, he should go through his Whip. I will stick to the rules of the House. I call Deputy Pearse Doherty.
Yesterday, the Government announced that it would not impose cuts on existing public sector workers earning in excess of €250,000. The Government also announced that——
You are also out of order.
This relates to——
No, you will not subvert the rules.
I am asking about promised legislation.
Please proceed with it.
The programme for Government has a commitment to reduce the public sector wages of high earners. Will legislation be brought forward for existing public sector workers earning in excess of €250,000?
Is this promised legislation?
I put it to the Tánaiste that there is a mechanism, used in the Finance Bill——
Is there promised legislation? There is no promised legislation, Deputy. Please resume your seat.
It referred to excess banking remuneration and a charge could be imposed on existing public sector workers who are earning in excess of €250,000.
Please resume your seat. Thank you.
The Government's hands are not tied on this matter. What legislation will be brought forward to deal with this?
There is no legislation promised here.
There is; the programme for Government commits to this.
This was promised in the programme for Government.
Matters set out in the programme for Government are not the same as proposed legislation. Such matters do not always require legislation.
A promise was made in this Chamber.
It was not promised in the Chamber. Has legislation been promised on this matter?
The Government has made clear its intention and determination to reduce the pay of higher paid public servants and chief executive officers and others on high pay in the semi-State sector. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has set out the manner in which this will be done both in respect of the proposals agreed by the Government and the voluntary measures being introduced. In regard to the Judiciary, it is the Government's intention to hold a referendum later this year to amend the Constitution to allow for reductions in pay. In respect of the detail, Deputy Doherty might pursue the matter by way of parliamentary question to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.
On a point of order, will the Ceann Comhairle clarify whether promises made in the programme for Government may be raised on the Order of Business? My clear understanding is that such queries are permitted——
I will answer that question when the Deputy resumes his seat. The programme for Government is not a catch-all for raising matters on the Order of Business. Items included in the programme are in order to be raised only if they have been elevated to the status of promised business such as legislation.
Therefore, none of them is in order.
That is what is stated in Standing Orders.
Promises are made on a regular basis——
If Deputies ask a parliamentary question and there is a reference to promised legislation in the Minister's reply, the matter may be pursued on the Order of Business.
The programme for Government contains commitments——
I ask the Deputy to resume his seat. He asked a question and I have given him the answer.
With regard to the unfortunate experience of some investors in the banking sector in recent times, when will the collective investment schemes consolidation Bill be brought before the House? There is a need to ensure good and prudent investments are made by all institutions, including banking institutions, and individuals.
That legislation is expected next year.
Yesterday I asked the Taoiseach what advice the Government had received from the Attorney General in regard to a referendum being put to the people on the European Stability Mechanism, given that the latter constitutes an amendment to the Lisbon treaty. I understand the Attorney General has advised the Government that a referendum is not necessary. Will the Government publish this advice?
The Deputy's question is not strictly in order, but I will allow it.
The Attorney General has advised that a referendum is not necessary in respect of the European Stability Mechanism. It is intended to have the matter dealt with in the House and it will be prepared in due course by the Minister for Finance. I am sure Deputy Mac Lochlainn joins me in welcoming the announcement this week that the Government has secured a significant change to the terms of the ESM which will allow Ireland to re-enter the markets at a much earlier stage by removing the preferred creditor status that was part of the original agreement.
The markets are going crazy. Irish bond yields are at 11.7%.
Frankfurt won that one.
The voice of the markets.
I have called Deputy Bannon. Members should show respect to the Deputy who is on his feet.
When will the Construction Contracts Bill 2010 be debated in the Dáil? This Seanad Bill was introduced in the Upper House in May last year. There is great public disquiet about the numbers out of work, particularly in the construction industry.
I understand it is intended to bring that legislation before the House in September. In the meantime the Minister of State is consulting the stakeholders concerned.