It is proposed to take No. 3, National Lottery Bill 2012 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 9.30 a.m. tomorrow and the arrangements for the sitting tomorrow to allow attendance at the funeral of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe shall be as follows: the sitting shall be suspended immediately after the Order of Business and shall resume at 4 p.m.; Oral Questions shall be taken at 4 p.m., followed by Topical Issue Debate; Private Members' business, No. 87, motion re An Garda Síochána, shall be taken at 9.30 p.m. and shall be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes; and the Dáil shall adjourn on the conclusion of Private Members' business.
Order of Business
Are these proposals agreed to? Agreed.
The Garda Síochána (compensation for malicious injuries) Bill has been on the list for some time. Out of respect for the Garda Síochána and in recognition of the sterling service its members provide in protecting our communities, this Bill should be published at the earliest opportunity.
In view of the resurgence of organised crime, the Taoiseach is aware the Criminal Assets Bureau, CAB, has proved to be a powerful weapon in the war against gangland crime. To assist the State in its fight against gangland crime, will the Taoiseach use his influence to ensure the criminal justice (proceeds of crime) Bill is published at the earliest opportunity?
The heads of the Garda Síochána (compensation for malicious injuries) Bill were approved last July. It will be later this year before it is published. Regarding the criminal justice (proceeds of crime) Bill, discussions are still ongoing with CAB and, accordingly, I do not have a date for its publication.
Last week I raised the matter of the interdepartmental report on the Magdalen laundries with the Taoiseach but he did not have any specifics for the date of the receipt of the report or its publication. Will he confirm now that this report will go to Cabinet on 5 February? Will he inform us whether his colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Shatter, has received any part or parts of this report? When does he imagine it will be given to him in full and will it go before the next Cabinet meeting? When will it published? Following on from that, we will need to move speedily on to a full apology for the women affected and the full redress for their real suffering for which the State is culpable.
The report has been completed. I expect it will come to Cabinet next Tuesday and, accordingly, it will be published next week. That is if it comes to the Cabinet on Tuesday.
Is the Taoiseach expecting it to come to the Cabinet on Tuesday?
Yes, I am.
I call Deputy Healy-Rae.
Gabh mo leithscéal. I meant to call Deputy Mattie McGrath for the Technical Group.
He is the leader.
I thought I had been promoted.
When will we fully debate the local government reform Bill? Its proposals will impact on County Tipperary as well as on many town and borough councils across the country.
I also wish to raise the greyhound (amendment) Bill. I invite all Members to come to our annual coursing meeting in Clonmel next Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has given a commitment to come to it. The meet has changed this year to a weekend event with significant efforts put into it to ensure its success. I even invite the anti-coursing people to come-----
This is not relevant to the Order of Business. We will take the first point on local government reform.
----to see the merits of how we run our coursing festival.
Are we all invited?
The local government reform Bill is major legislation and I do not have a date for its publication. The greyhounds are still running and I do not know when that legislation will be published either.
I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle for the promotion earlier.
On Wednesday, 6 February, we will reach a milestone of 1,000 days since the Construction Contracts Bill 2010 was introduced in the Seanad by Senator Feargal Quinn. It has still not been put into law despite having all-party agreement as well as it being tried and tested legislation for many years in other countries.
The Government seems intent on persecuting, petrifying and prosecuting people who are unable to pay some of the myriad new household charges. Revenue will now be brought on board to collect these charges.
Is legislation promised on this issue, Deputy?
Yes, I am coming to it. When will the fines (amendment) Bill be introduced so that the people will know the persecution will continue and get more severe?
I thought the Deputy was on about the Spanish Inquisition when he was talking about persecution. The fines (amendment) Bill will be published in the middle of the year and the heads were approved in October. The Revenue Commissioners are conducting the mechanics of the collection of the property tax. The dates and timelines for that have been set out. Half of the charge level will be payable in 2013 and the full charge in 2014, following the assessment procedure.
The Construction Contracts Bill 2010 has been around for a while and we are waiting to get it on Committee Stage. Several amendments are being considered which will give it greater effect and impact. One issue raised by subcontractors is that when materials are put in the ground - be they blocks or steel - they then cannot be taken away in lieu of payment which is one of the reasons for this legislation in the first place. I hope the discussions around the amendments can be concluded quickly to get it back on Committee Stage.
Deputy Mattie McGrath asked about the greyhound Bill. Is a Bill promised?
I said they were still running and I do not have a message from them yet.
In view of the announced reforms to the American immigration system, which will be welcomed by many Irish citizens there and Deputies here, and more importantly a very strident criticism by the Supreme Court of the Department of Justice and Equality in deciding citizenship cases where Mr. Justice Hardiman referred to the “unembarrassed casuistry” in the decision making process, when will our Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill move to Committee Stage?
There is a body of work being conducted on this legislation in the Attorney General's office. Until that is completed, I cannot give a date on its progress but we will send the Deputy an up-to-date report on it.
The forestry Bill aims to enshrine in law the principles of sustainable forestry management. Yesterday, a report from the economist Peter Bacon found the proposed sale of Coillte's harvesting rights cannot be justified and the Government's rationale for the sale no longer stands up. We have consistently called on the Government not to sell off Coillte's lands. Does the Taoiseach propose to address this issue in the forestry Bill?
The economist the Deputy referred to has produced several reports during the years in which certain proposals were outlined but it was not possible to follow through on them.
I expect this Bill will be produced in a matter of weeks and we will have plenty of opportunity to debate it here.
There has been a good deal of debate and questions in the past year and a half on bankers' remuneration. The Taoiseach is perfectly aware that some bankers are working for banks owned completely by the State and are being paid hundreds of thousands of euro and pensions that are greater again. Will the Taoiseach indicate to the House when the Mercer review, commissioned more than a year ago, will be finalised? Will it be laid before the House and will the Taoiseach allow for a debate on the report?
I do not have a date for that but I will send the Deputy a note on the current position.
The Taoiseach will be aware that Howth is a beautiful village in Dublin Bay north with a great maritime tradition. I call on him under the legislation to raise my concerns about the potential loss of 300 pier jobs in the Howth area due to a proposal to introduce paid parking. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Bruton, was at a meeting on the matter last night, along with me. We gave a commitment that we would raise it in the Dáil and lobby the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney, on the proposal. We are concerned-----
That should be tabled as a Topical Issue.
The legislation is the sea fisheries and maritime jurisdiction (amendment) Bill. Will the Taoiseach ensure that these 300 jobs on the pier in Howth are given priority in the coming weeks?
I am unsure of the details discussed at the meeting last night, but the Deputy has raised the matter with me as he said he would - as has the Minister, Deputy Bruton - and has completed his commitment to the group. Seriously, the Government is concerned about every job and is interested in the opportunity to create as many jobs as possible. The views expressed at the meeting will be taken into account. The Minister, Deputy Coveney, and the Minister of State, Deputy McGinley, are considering the situation.
Currently, there is a Spanish fishing boat tied up in Dingle. It is registered under a British flag. Seven crew members of Indonesian origin are currently being kept in Tralee and have not been paid for over one month.
I believe that is another Topical Issue.
I am coming to the point, if you will allow me. Will the Taoiseach give an assurance that these fishermen will not be deported until such time as their outstanding wages have been paid? Is there any proposal at the talks on the Common Fisheries Policy to introduce legislation to protect the rights of foreign people, including these seven Indonesian fishermen, involved in the fishing industry, who in many cases are being exploited by boats with flags of convenience?
I do not know who owns the boat. This is the first I have heard of it.
It is under a British flag. A British flag is flying.
I do not know the situation that has arisen whereby the men are being kept in Tralee. Clearly, if they are due legitimate wages, they should be paid. I am unsure of the situation with regard to deportation, but I will ensure there is some communication with Deputy Ferris in this regard.
When is the proposed legislation on gambling control, which will update and consolidate the law on betting and gambling, due? I ask this in the light of the documentary last night which highlighted online gambling. It is possible to have a casino sent to one's telephone. It is highly addictive. There is no legislation in this regard, and these websites are open all the time online. It is a serious problem. I am keen for the gambling control Bill to be brought to the House to tackle this problem.
The heads of the Bill were approved in July last year, but it has not come back from Government for approval yet. I assume that work is being undertaken. Clearly there is an issue arising with regard to the type of case that Deputy Butler mentioned.