Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 4, Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; No. 5, Health (Provision of General Practitioner Services) Bill 2011 — Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and No. 14, statements on the report by the interdepartmental working group on mortgage arrears (resumed) to be taken no later than 9 p.m. and the order shall not resume thereafter. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m. Private Members' business shall be No. 27, a motion on health services delivery.

There is one proposal to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight agreed to? Agreed.

I wish to ask about forthcoming legislation which relates to a commitment to bring legislation before the House on another amendment to the Constitution, the children's referendum Bill. Will the Taoiseach agree that, in future, any such referenda will not take place in the context of a presidential, local or general election? Does he agree that a referendum should be separate from all of those in the future, given the dissatisfaction and unhappiness that exists with the debate on the current referenda? When eight former Attorneys General of different backgrounds ——

That is not in order on the Order of Business.

——have come forward to speak so strongly, they should not be dismissed as speaking nonsense.

That is a matter for a parliamentary question.

This is something we should reflect on in the House as we look at the constitutional conventions and the children's Bill.

Is there any matter of a children's debate or legislation?

I have noted the——

I asked for a timetable for the children's referendum Bill.

I cannot give the Deputy a date for the children's referendum Bill until such time as the children's advocacy groups, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the Attorney General are happy that a wording that is acceptable can be put into a Bill to be brought forward here. I hope that at the appropriate time in the new year, we can have a referendum on this. In response to the specific question, it is important to have an understanding of the balance between the interest in the referendums and adequate time to have them properly debated. On the question of whether they should be run in conjunction with any election, I do not propose to have an election next year and, in the context of a general election or presidential election, it will not arise.

The Taoiseach will not be in a hurry to have a presidential election again.

At least we have a candidate.

I take the point the Deputy is making. What Deputy Martin is saying is that there should be a specific run-in and a discussion about any referendum that will take place. We will give consideration to that.

I call Deputy McDonald.

Who gave Seán the envelope?

Finian will support the children.

Deputies should show some respect to Deputy Mary Lou McDonald, who is on her feet.

I saw the Fianna Fáil posters in Dublin West.

I will not ask Deputy Buttimer again. This happens every single day. I ask him to obey the Chair. There is a Deputy on her feet and he should show some respect.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for defending my honour against Deputy Buttimer, not for the first time.

I note that, according to this week's schedule, the Taoiseach will hear statements on the European Council meeting tomorrow and will take questions on that. What arrangements have been made for a report to the Dáil after the summit? Will there be a question and answer facility when he comes back? An mbeidh am chomh-maith le díospóireacht a bheith againn maidir lenár maoin a bheadh á bhronnadh ag an Rialtas ar Bhanc Anglo Irish? Will the Taoiseach allow a debate on Government plans to hand over €700 million——

Deputy McDonald is straying and has really gone off the rails.

——on 2 November to unguaranteed bondholders——

Deputy McDonald was going grand until that.

——rising to a total of €2 billion next January?

Deputy McDonald went a little bit astray but the first question is all right.

The Ceann Comhairle does not have to defend Deputy McDonald's honour on the latter part of the question. The proposition is to have a report on Sunday's meeting tomorrow morning and also to look forward to tomorrow evening's meeting tomorrow morning. It was not planned to have a question and answer session but if Deputies feel that a question and answer session would be important, we will give consideration to it. We will report back on the decisions taken at the European Council meeting if it concludes tomorrow night. I hear different versions, such as that it might go on for long time and that it might conclude very quickly, but we will report back to the Dáil as required, followed by a question and answer session. Leaders of the parties have the right to ask Leaders' Questions and other questions arising from that in any event.

Only once a week now.

With reference to No. 35 on the Order Paper, "That the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 477 of 2011) be and are hereby annulled.", will the Government give time to discuss this matter and debate it, given the penal sanctions included in these new regulations? One of these sanctions could mean that a turf cutter could receive up to three years in prison and €500,000 in fines and an old person could potentially have a mobile telephone taken off him or her and have the information on it used to prosecute for ringing a turf cutter to keep the house warm. Will time be provided to discuss and debate this and vote on the introduction of these regulations? If the Government is so fond of them and so keen on them, it should put them to a vote.

I heard Deputy Flanagan screeching on the streets of Ballinasloe. If I had got near him, I would have reminded him that turf smoke is very different to other kinds of smoke.

Has the Taoiseach tried both? There is no statute of limitations on the decision to prosecute.

I advise the Deputy to bring it before the committee.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

It is a big joke is that people will be cold.

On promised legislation——

Deputy Buttimer has plenty of oil in his tank.

Now Deputy Durkan knows what it is like to be interrupted.

When the current Opposition was in government, on numerous occasions I raised the question of the intentions with respect to the national vetting bureau Bill. In view of its urgency and in order to keep the matter alive, will the Taoiseach give some indication on the progress on the heads of the Bill and when it is anticipated that the Bill will be before the House? It has been recognised as an urgently required item of legislation, even as far back as five or seven years ago by the previous Administration.

The national vetting bureau Bill has been passed to the committee for its response to the heads of the Bill. It might be published in this session but it will probably be published in the next session.

Over the course of the weekend, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport indicated he was about to review the State Airports Act. He talked about the privatisation or the potential lease of airports at Shannon and Cork. The notion of privatisation of those airports or the lease arrangement of those airports is not contained in the State Airports Act. Is it proposed to introduce legislation to update or amend that Act to provide for the privatisation or the leasing of those facilities?

I have not spoken to the Minister about that but I understand he received a proposition from the board about privatisation of the airport for ten to 15 years. The Minister made a statement about reviewing the situation concerning the three airports, while clearly of the view that the original concept of the former Minister, the late Seamus Brennan, could not be fulfilled because of the debt levels involved. I assume the Minister will update the House when he has reviewed the position.