Business of Dáil: Motion

I call the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Deputy Kehoe.

I move:

That notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Second and Remaining Stages of No. a3 on the Supplementary Order Paper, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013, shall be taken tonight and the following arrangements shall apply: the proceedings on Second Stage shall be brought to a conclusion after 1 hour 55 minutes; the opening speech of the Minister for Finance or a Minister of State and of 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, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; the speech of the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party, the Sinn Féin Party and a representative of the Technical Group or another Member nominated in their stead who may share time shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; the proceedings on the Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 15 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance; and the sitting shall adjourn until 1 p.m. tomorrow whereupon the business shall commence with the Order of Business.

My party's finance spokesman has just arrived into the House just having been-----


I welcome him back.

It is a serious issue.

It was a serious issue in 2008.

There is legislation being put before us. My party's finance spokesman has just been briefed. We on this side of the House have not read the Bill.

A Deputy

Would it make any difference?

I do not think anybody has read this Bill.


-----have not read the Bill.

Please allow Deputy Martin.

I do not have the schedule from the Whip. There is something fundamentally wrong-----

-----with asking us to pass something that we have not even read for even ten minutes. We must oppose the order.

Deputy Martin made a lot of decisions without seeing them.

Steady now, Deputy Rabbitte.

Deputy Martin never read anything.

A Deputy

Deputy Rabbitte was not going to pay the bill anyway.

Can we please have a brief contribution from those objecting to the Order of Business?

I understand the Minister may have understandable reasons for bringing the Bill in and I am not questioning his bona fides in that regard. The Dáil is being asked to consider legislation of grave and profound importance that could and will have profound implications for many people. This Bill will be gone through in considerable detail and perhaps subsequently challenged by people outside of this House who have gone through it with a fine tooth comb. According to the announcement by the Government Chief Whip, it looks like the objective is to ram this through without any consideration at all of the detail of the Bill.

The Taoiseach is trying to help the Deputy.

I would appreciate it if the Government could circulate the arrangements for timing but slots of 15 minutes, ten minutes and a five minute wrap up with no real Committee Stage to allow for any detailed examination of the Bill is unacceptable and I seek an adjournment of the House for us as a party and other parties to consider the legislation.

This is important legislation and the Minister will explain why. To help the Ceann Comhairle, we can adjourn until 11.30 p.m. if Deputy Martin wants to go off and talk to his spokesman on finance.

What about midnight? That is not enough time to read the Bill.

The Deputy read 1,000 pages in ten minutes yesterday.

Is it agreed that we adjourn until 11.30 p.m.? A request has been made for more time to consider the Bill. The Taoiseach has offered a further half an hour until 11.30 p.m. Without any further debate, is that agreed or not? It is not agreed.

There is a more fundamental issue involved here. We were promised a new way of doing business. I would be immensely surprised if Members from the Government parties have read the Bill. We are being asked to parse it and Deputy Pearse Doherty has just arrived from a briefing on it. This is probably one of the most important Bills that will go through this Dáil and we are either going to get a write down, which would be a pleasant surprise given the Government did not ask for one, or we are going to saddle our children and grandchildren with the bill.

Sinn Féin is willing the country to fail.

They are failure addicts.

We deserve the right to parse and study the Bill so the Government does not commit the same sin it accuses the last Government of committing, of rushing things through. The Labour Party was very loud at that time in opposition to what was going on. We need more time on this.

I remember that well.

We were right, as opposed to Sinn Féin being wrong.

This is just not on. This State was bankrupted as a result of decisions made in the early hours of the morning and rammed through in precisely the manner the Government is talking about now.

Not true. That is not true.

We are talking about a Bill that is dealing with assets of over €40 billion from Anglo Irish Bank.

Liabilities, not assets.

The finance spokespeople were briefed 15 or 20 minutes before this session began. We were rushed through this Bill dealing with €40 billion worth of assets in about 15 minutes.

They are liabilities.

If there were assets we would not be here.

If they were assets we would be sorted.

Debit and credit, they are opposite sides.

The Government is seriously suggesting we can make an informed decision-----

Government Members have disgraced themselves again.

It is getting late and people's tempers are getting frayed.

Sorry, a Cheann Comhairle.

I call Deputy Boyd Barrett and ask him to make a short contribution.

Absolutely, if they do not heckle.

We do not want to go through the contents of the Bill.

This is too serious to be rammed through in this manner where we have not had time, certainly on this side of the House. It is debatable whether the Taoiseach has had a chance to read it - I suspect he has, but certainly we on this side of the House have not. It is absolutely unacceptable that we are expected to be bounced into making a decision on moneys to the tune of more than €40 billion which could have enormous ramifications for this State and this economy. It is not on. It is not sufficient to have an extra half an hour to have a quick glance at it.


Hear, hear.

We need an informed discussion on the Bill. We need a proper un-guillotined debate and we need an opportunity just to read the legislation. The Taoiseach should not do what the previous Government did. The idea that this-----

Thank you very much, Deputy.

-----serious legislation could be rammed through in this way is absolutely shameful politics.

Let me repeat that this is a very serious matter. This Bill has been planned for quite some time. The Cabinet met in formal session this evening to approve the memorandum from the Minister for Finance which will have the effect of the protection of between €12 billion and €14 billion worth of assets for this State and its people. Not dealing with this would leave potential liabilities of up to €40 billion as the Deputy mentioned. The Opposition spokespersons have been briefed on what is essentially a technical Bill.

Come on now, Taoiseach.

I have offered to give Deputies until 11.30 p.m. to consider this.

Some 800 workers will lose their jobs tomorrow. Is that technical?

There are implications here-----


-----for the workers, for deposits and so on. This Bill being passed tonight gives legal certainty to the protection of these assets for the State and, therefore, for our people.

What about the jobs?

I suggest again that I will give the Opposition parties until 11.45 p.m. and that is it.

Let us go to midnight.

That is plenty of time to examine it.

We want another 15 minutes, Taoiseach.

Is it agreed that we resume at 11.45 p.m.?


It is not agreed.

Go and read it.

In that case, I must put the question. Are we really serious about this?

Before you put the question, a Cheann Comhairle-----

We will waste time putting the question.

We do not want to do anything just for pig iron. People got very late briefings at 10.15 p.m. We were hanging around all evening and at 10.15 p.m. the finance spokespersons were brought over in order to start the debate on a Bill at 11 p.m.

We have been through all that.

It is now 11.15 p.m. and I respectfully suggest that if the Taoiseach allows us until midnight, I will go along with that.

The Taoiseach has said he is giving until 11.45 p.m.

If Deputies do not agree to that-----

We would lose more time on the vote.

Sorry, please resume your seat. If Deputies do not agree with that, I am obliged in accordance with the order presented by the Government Chief Whip to put the question. We either agree on the floor of the House to 11.45 p.m. or else I put the question.

I will be here all night. Does Deputy McGrath agree to 12 midnight?

Do you agree to 12 midnight, Deputy Adams?

The Taoiseach is like a horse trader.

A Deputy

He is on the fence.

No, we need more time.

12 o'clock.

There is an offer on the table of 12 midnight. Are we agreed to that?

There are seven pages in the Bill.

Why is this being forced into a two hour slot? A Cheann Comhairle, could I honourably suggest that if you want some order from Government Deputies, perhaps you should close the Dáil bar? That might be a useful way to get some order here.

Cop on, will you?

Two hours is too short a time.

In that case I will now put the question that we should proceed now. I am therefore putting the question-----

No, Deputy Adams has not agreed and, therefore, I am obliged to put the question that is before the House.

The Taoiseach offered 12 midnight.

The Taoiseach has agreed to the suspension of the House until midnight.

I cannot change an Order made by the Government.

The Taoiseach proposed an amendment to it.

Deputy Adams is not agreeing to it.

Fianna Fáil will second the Taoiseach's amendment.


Deputies, please allow me-----

On a point of order, the Taoiseach has proposed an amendment to the Order.

Yes. I will put the question.