It is proposed to take No. 5, Competition (Amendment) Bill 2011 — Second Stage (resumed), and No. 11, Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011 — Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' business shall be No. 30, motion re promissory notes (resumed), to conclude at 9 p.m. if not previously concluded.
Order of Business
There are no proposals to put to the House.
With regard to the Debt Settlement and Mortgage Resolution Office Bill, we know the seriousness and profundity of mortgage arrears. The Taoiseach stated he would welcome proposals from this side of the House. Deputy Michael McGrath's Bill is now with the Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. Does the Government intend to support the progression of that Bill rapidly through the Oireachtas and support its provisions in a genuine spirit of bipartisanship in regard to the very serious issue facing many mortgage holders across the country?
Some of the issues raised in Deputy McGrath's Bill are valid. What I want to do is have as comprehensive a response as possible to what is a very uncertain and pressurised time for those caught in the trap referred to. As I stated yesterday, I must consider the personal insolvency Bill and whether mortgages should be encompassed thereby, the conclusion or decisions to be made arising from the Keane report, and the proposals that have been taken into account by the personnel appointed by the Minister for Finance. While Deputy Michael McGrath made a genuine effort and some of his proposals are worthy, I need as comprehensive a response as possible from the Government.
Will there be a legislative response, in addition to a political one, to the Priory Hall scandal? Will legislation be brought forward by the Government to provide for real building control, proper monitoring and inspection? I noted that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government indicated a robust system of controls exists——
Is this on promised legislation?
——but that is clearly not the case. What we need is a robust system of controls with inspection and monitoring.
My last point——
We are talking about promised legislation.
I hope it is about promised legislation because this area is quite clearly crying out for it. What we are looking at is virtual self-regulation. The Priory Hall case is probably but one example of a problem that needs——
The Deputy should table a parliamentary question on this.
——to be addressed. Will the Taoiseach respond? Will he indicate that the Government intends to do so? What is happening currently is not enough.
Last, will the Taoiseach please ask the Minister——
This is not an extension of Leaders' Questions; it is the Order of Business.
I accept that.
I must, therefore, pull the Deputy up. I want to know whether there is promised legislation in this area.
Will the Taoiseach ask the Minister to intervene where Dublin City Council is likely to appeal the decision of the High Court in respect of the latter's decision to instruct the council——
I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.
——to provide accommodation to all the evacuees, without exception?
I would appreciate the Deputy's co-operation and I ask him to resume his seat. Is there promised legislation in this area?
Bearing in mind the existing legislation, the building control legislation, what is needed here is an analysis of the quality of the standards and regulation that apply. Light regulation has not worked.
I understand NAMA has made a provision for some temporary accommodation for those families who have been displaced because of the complete shambles the builder in question put in place. The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government is concerned about this and is available to talk to Dublin City Council if it so wishes. What is needed here is an analysis of the quality, standards and regulations already contained the building control legislation to deal with cases like this.
Will the Taoiseach vary the business of the House this morning to allow a motion to be put before the Dáil calling on the Israeli authorities to immediately release 14 of our citizens——
That is not a matter on the Order of Business.
——who were kidnapped by the Israelis in international waters bringing aid to the imprisoned people of Gaza?
That is not a matter on the Order of Business.
The embassy staff are doing their best but where is the political outrage from the Irish Government——
The Deputy is out of order. This is not on the Order of Business.
——about this highly illegal act of kidnapping citizens while embarked on a peaceful mission?
They are coming home today.
Will the Taoiseach vary the business of the House now?
This is not a matter for the Order of Business. The business for today has been agreed. This is not in order. I call Deputy Michael McGrath.
A Cheann Comhairle——
A Cheann Comhairle, I had my hand up.
No. Settle down.
Can we have a simple statement in reply?
A Cheann Comhairle——
Will the Deputy resume his seat? I have ruled on the matter. It is not in order on the Order of Business. If the Deputy wants to put a request in another way, we will consider it.
He should submit a matter for the Topical Issue Debate.
I call Deputy McGrath.
It is in the hands of the Taoiseach to vary the business of the House, as the Ceann Comhairle well knows. Where is the Labour Party——
They are coming home today.
Are they coming home today? Does the Deputy know that?
They are. You have nothing to complain about. Maybe they will stay at home for a short while.
Deputy Boyd Barrett, there are 166 Deputies and you are one of them. Resume your seat.
I cannot be heard. There is no point in my speaking as I will not be heard.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn, you will be taking a walk if you do not obey the orders of the House.
A Cheann Comhairle, on a point of order——
There is no point of order. I call Deputy McGrath.
The Whip of the Labour Party has made a statement——
Excuse me, Deputy, you should address the Chair in a proper fashion. You should not shout and roar when another Deputy has been called. Please stay quiet. Deputy McGrath to proceed.
I will quote Deputy Stagg on that statement.
When this House debated the Keane report some weeks ago, we were informed at the end of that debate that the Government's implementation plan for measures following on from that report and other decisions would be announced and set out for the Dáil, but that has not happened yet. Has the Government made any decision on the recommendations of the Keane report and when will we see legislation on this? The Taoiseach's comments yesterday and today imply he will await the personal insolvency Bill from the Government. There are more immediate actions that can be taken. Have any decisions been taken and, if so, when will they be made available to the House?
I am acutely aware of the difficulty that this causes. The Government appointed a group to take other proposals in respect of mortgages and the distress this is causing for people. Those hearings have been taking place.
What group is this?
We have to make a decision in respect of the personal insolvency Bill which is quite a complex one and that is a fundamental part of the entire mortgage issue.
Is this another group that is separate from the Keane group?
The heads of that Bill will be decided upon as quickly as we can do so. From the evidence available, there are 50,000 or 60,000 cases in difficulty with mortgages. We cannot overturn the situation just like that. It takes some time to get it right. The Government is correct in its view that what we should do is to take all the evidence we can into consideration and then make a comprehensive set of decisions, and fundamental to that will be the legislation. We will keep the Deputy informed on it.
That is not due to be published until next year.
I am acutely conscious of the difficulty this is causing for people. We also had interest rate reductions in recent days as well. It is the case that it will be brought back to the House but the Government has to make a decision on a range of issues and we would like to have those before us before we do that.
So there is another round of consultations.
I call Deputy Boyd Barrett on a matter under promised legislation.
The Taoiseach has the right to vary the Order of Business in the Dáil. I appeal to him to re-order today's business——
The Deputy is out of order. Has he a matter to raise under promised legislation? We have dealt with that issue and I have told the Deputy the position.
——to allow for a debate about 14 Irish citizens——
Deputy, will you please resume your seat?
——who have been illegally kidnapped, shackled and denied their legal rights——
Deputy, will you resume your seat?
——while trying to bring aid to the people of Gaza. The Irish Government, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in particular, have said nothing about our citizens being humiliated and abused.
Deputy, resume your seat or else you will leave the House. I call Deputy Nulty.
I appeal to the Taoiseach to allow a discussion on this issue.
Has the Taoiseach nothing to say on this issue?
Why is the Taoiseach not——
Will the Deputies please show respect?
Deputy Emmet Stagg, the Whip of the Labour Party, is speaking for the Taoiseach. He reckons they are being released today. Will the Taoiseach confirm that?
Deputy Mac Lochlainn, will you please show respect for a new Deputy?
Deputy Stagg is representing the Taoiseach.
I have called Deputy Nulty.
Deputy Emmet Stagg said that they are being released today. Will the Taoiseach confirm that?
Deputy Mac Lochlainn will take a walk if he is not careful. Deputy Nulty to proceed without interruption.
Will the Deputy please show respect to a new Deputy? Deputy Nulty is very welcome.
I thank the Ceann Comhairle. Under promised legislation, will the Taoiseach indicate when we can expect to see the industrial relations (amendment) Bill before the House? This is vital legislation to give protection to workers on low pay and which must contain assurances that their pay will be secured, which is key to economic growth. Also, when can we expect to see the landlord and tenant (business leases review) Bill to address the issue of upward-only rent reviews, which is also crucial to keeping business afloat and our workers in employment?
I welcome Deputy Nulty. I can confirm that a great deal of work has been done on the industrial relations (amendment) Bill and the landlords and tenants (business leases review) Bill and they are both expected to be published in this session.
That completes the Order of Business for today.
A Cheann Comhairle, may I raise a point of order?
The Order of Business is complete. We will now move on to the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2011.
On a point of order, a Cheann Comhairle——
What is your point of order?
With respect, the Taoiseach is in charge of the business of the Dáil and he can vary that business to take a motion——
He has made his decision.
The Ceann Comhairle did not even ask him to respond to our requests.
There was no motion to put to the House. The Taoiseach ordered legislation that has already been discussed and therefore there is no motion to put to the House. The Deputy is out of order and I ask him to resume his seat.
Yes, but we asked him to vary the business to allow a motion proposing the release of 14 of our citizens to be entertained immediately here. The Ceann Comhairle did not ask him to respond to that.
Will the Deputy please resume his seat? There are other ways of raising these issues——
Would the Taoiseach like to reply?
——including parliamentary questions and so on. There are many ways the Deputy can be in order.
We have been humiliated by the troika and now humiliated by Israel. It is a disgrace, Taoiseach.