Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 20, statements on pre-European Council meeting of 22-23 November; No. 2, Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Second Stage; and No. 21, Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 - Second Stage (resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 20 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 65 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the statements shall be made by the Taoiseach and by the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time and shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, 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. 79, motion re Supreme Court ruling in the "X case" (resumed), to conclude at 9 p.m., if not previously concluded.

There is one proposal to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 20, statements on pre-European Council meeting of 22-23 November agreed to? Agreed.

I call Deputy Martin on the Order of Business.

I want to ask the Taoiseach about a number of legislative commitments for people with disabilities, as contained in the programme for Government. As the Taoiseach knows, thousands of people will be marching today in protest against cuts to disability services. There is a lot of concern about special needs assistants, resources in special schools and the disability allowance. Will the Taoiseach indicate when the review of the domiciliary care allowance will be completed? It was initiated eight or nine months ago, but where is it now? We cannot find it anywhere. I would appreciate it if the Taoiseach could indicate when the Government intends to publish the review. Will the Taoiseach also indicate when the implementation plan for the national disability strategy, which was committed to in the programme for Government, will be published?

Will the Taoiseach indicate a publication date for promised legislation to move a proportion of public spending to a personal budget model so that people with disabilities or their families have the flexibility to make choices that best suit their needs? The programme for Government stated that would ensure greater transparency and efficiency in funding services. In addition, legislation was committed to in the programme for Government to place national standards for residential services for people with disabilities on a statutory footing. Where is that Bill, which would also ensure inspection by the Health Information and Quality Authority? The programme for Government indicated that there would be additional resources for people with disabilities.

We cannot have a debate.

People are marching today because they have witnessed a significant cut in disability services across the board in welfare, health and education.

We are not having a debate now.

There is a mismatch between the legislative commitments in the programme for Government and the reality on the ground in terms of people with disabilities.

The Taoiseach should deal with the legislation promised.

I do not have the answer to hand. The Minister for Social Protection will deal with the question of the domiciliary care allowance review. I must revert to the Deputy in respect of the disability plan and the legislation he mentioned. The sense coming from the programme for Government is the country was in crisis, is still in a fragile state and requires strong and active work by the Government on a range of levels. Some of these matters are for consideration in respect of the budget and clearly the sensitivity of the disability sector will be taken into account by the Ministers in the Cabinet when they make their final decision.

There is a cut of 8% in this regard.

Will the Taoiseach confirm whether there will be a supplementary budget for health this year? He is aware of the cost overruns in health and that the HSE deficit stood at €394 million at the end of September. Moreover, this is despite savage cuts affecting home helps, public nursing home patients and staffing in hospitals, as well as disability and carer's allowances.

I also refer to the failure to make savings in other areas. Can the Taoiseach confirm there will be a supplementary budget for health this year? If so, when will it be brought before the Dáil and can the Taoiseach indicate what size it will be?

We cannot deal with that.

I can confirm for the Deputy that all these matters are relevant to the budgetary discussions that are under way and have been for quite some time. Changes made in the structures to the health system, which the Deputy specifically mentioned, and all of that will be concluded in good time before the budget on 5 December.

Regarding debates promised in the Dáil, I refer to the expert group report to examine the A, B and C v. Ireland judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. The Government amendment to the Sinn Féin Private Members' motion calls for support for the decision by the Minister for Health to bring the report to Government on Tuesday, 27 November and his recommendation that it be then published immediately. Is it the Taoiseach's commitment that it will be published on the afternoon of Tuesday, 27 November and then a debate organised fairly soon thereafter?

The commitment is as is in the amendment to the motion. While I do not wish to and never would prejudice the decision of the Government, the intention is to have this report made available at the earliest opportunity and, as the amendment indicates, to instruct the Whips to make arrangements to start the process of discussing the expert report into the A, B, C case here in the House. That will run for as long as Deputies wish to speak on the matter.

However, the publication will be next Tuesday, 27 November.

The domestic economy remains stagnant and businesses throughout the country face a difficult task in keeping open their doors. In this regard, when will the Valuation (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 be brought before the House to ensure the introduction of a fair and equitable manner to calculate rates? The Government has reneged on its upward-only rent review commitments.

What legislation is being referred to?

The valuation Bill in respect of commercial rates.

It is on Committee Stage in the Seanad.

The Taoiseach promised to open up the budgetary process in order that there would be greater transparency regarding the options open to the Government in respect of balancing the books, as well as to allow for discussion and consideration of the various options available before any decisions were taken. What, if anything, is the Taoiseach doing about delivering on that commitment?

I can tell Deputy Shortall that a number of Oireachtas committees have already discussed the options, ideas and proposals for various Departments and Ministers, as Deputies are entitled to do. This is part of the process of opening up the manner in which budgets are dealt with and delivered here, as the Deputy herself is well aware.

Can the Taoiseach confirm that the McAleese committee report on the Magdalen laundries will be published before the Dáil rises for the Christmas recess?

I am not sure. I understand that Senator McAleese's intention is to publish it early but I cannot confirm this to the Deputy just now. The committee has done a great deal of work in this regard and I will have the Senator communicate with Deputy McDonald. I cannot give a precise date to the Deputy. It is the Senator's intention to deal with it as speedily as possible and I will advise her as to what is the actual position.

Arising out of the success of our athletes and para-Olympians in London in 2012, has the Government plans to carry out a review of the Olympics and Paralympics?

Deputy, please.

Second, is it proposed to have a debate in the House regarding funding and future funding towards the Olympic Games?

The Deputy should have a chat with the Whip. We are straying now. Please Taoiseach, we could set a precedent here, were we to review the Olympics. I call Deputy O'Dea.

However, it is a matter of national importance.

I know it is a matter of national importance but not on the Order of Business.

It is already done.

There is an overwhelming perception, which is probably also the reality, that the criminal justice system is still very much tilted against the victims of crime. With that in mind, can the Taoiseach inform Members when the proposed criminal justice (victims rights) Bill will be published? Second, can the Taoiseach state when the Government hopes to publish this year's social welfare Bill? Will it be published this year or before Christmas?

I commend the Garda on the raids and arrests made yesterday in respect of grow houses for cannabis.

It is the only growth in the country.

I cannot give Deputy O'Dea a publication date for the aforementioned criminal justice Bill but it will be next year.

I also asked about this year's social welfare Bill.

It will be published after the budget.

After the budget. I call Deputy Wallace.

Will that be this side of Christmas?

Yes, it will be directly after the budget.

The programme for Government includes a promise for the establishment of a State-controlled strategic investment bank. It was interesting to note the French introduced such an institution two weeks ago, which will pump €42 billion into small and medium-sized businesses. Is a State-controlled strategic investment bank still on the cards for the Government?

Sorry, is there legislation in respect of this issue?

Work is under way on this matter all the time. While it is a complicated matter, work is proceeding in that regard.

It has been nearly two years.

I call Deputy Mattie McGrath.

It takes a while.

As I am sure the Minister of State, Deputy Kehoe, who is sitting behind the Taoiseach is aware, a value for money review is under way regarding the Reserve Defence Force and the reorganisation of the Defence Forces.

I want value for time here.

I know the Ceann Comhairle does and I will do my best if he leaves me alone. I am inquiring about the defence (amendment) Bill.

Last night, the Minister slipped out a statement that Clonmel will lose its Reserve Defence Force post.

No, the defence (amendment) Bill.

It was at midnight last night.

Will the Deputy put down a question?

I cannot get the answers.

The defence (amendment) Bill.

The Minister of State at the Department of Defence is present.

The defence amendment Bill will be taken next year.

Next year. Thank you very much.

Will there be any more cuts for Clonmel?

The Deputy should put down a question on the content.

Clonmel is being written off the map by this Minister and the Government, as are the volunteers in the Army.

Deputy Tom Hayes sorted out the barracks in Clonmel.

Deputy Tom Hayes sorted out the barracks and the Garda.