It is proposed to take No. 10, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; No. 11, motion re referral to joint committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of Council decision relating to readmission agreements; and No. 11a, motion re promissory note arrangement (on Supplementary Order Paper). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn on the adjournment of Private Members’ business, which shall be No. 93, motion re Magdalen laundries, and shall be taken on the conclusion of the opening speeches of No. 11a or at 7.30 p.m., whichever is the later, and adjourn after 90 minutes; Nos. 10 and 11 shall be decided without debate; and the following arrangements shall apply in regard to No. 11a: the opening speech of a Minister or 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 20 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes.
Order of Business
There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 10 and 11 without debate agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 11a agreed to? Agreed.
I call Deputy Ó Cuív on the Order of Business.
An amendment was promised in regard to the abolition of Seanad Éireann. When is it expected to publish the Bill to do that? A Bill was promised in the programme for Government that is not on the A or B list, namely, the regulation of lobbying Bill. When will it be published? The third Bill I want to raise with the Taoiseach is the human tissue Bill, which has been promised for a long time and was one of the key recommendations of the Madden report. The idea is to protect by requiring permission to be sought for the consent given prior to any post mortem. It is not a complicated Bill and it was already debated in the Seanad, so what is the delay?
The Deputy has three questions. With regard to the Seanad, the Bill will be published in the next session. Work on the heads of the regulation of lobbying Bill is well advanced and that will come to Government in due course, although I cannot give the Deputy a date for it. I do not have a date for the human tissue Bill but I will update Deputy Ó Cuív as to the position of the preparatory work on the heads of that Bill.
In 2010 the EU promised a strategy to tackle violence against women but there is still no sign of it. Is the Government using the EU Presidency to push for this? When can we expect legislation?
On promised legislation, I want to ask the Taoiseach about the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2012. As he knows, this Bill may lead to the long-awaited parliamentary inquiry into the banking crisis. He might have seen the RTE programme last night on Irish Nationwide, a building society which went completely out of control and left a debt of €5.4 billion for the taxpayers to pick up, and which the Government ensured last week we will have to pay for the next 40 years. Citizens expect to be told about the deal Fianna Fáil made with Michael Fingleton on his €1 million pay-off and they are also entitled to know about the accountancy and auditing firms. When will this legislation come forward?
Is Deputy Adams talking about domestic violence or violence against women?
Violence against women in general.
I do not have a date for it. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will report on his preparations for the banking inquiry and I will update Deputy Adams in respect of that.
Collective bargaining is a right enjoyed by workers in many countries. In the programme for Government, the Government committed to introducing new legislation on collective bargaining. I have been made aware recently of incidents in my constituency of Meath East where those rights are needed sooner rather than later. Could the Taoiseach tell the House when he expects to see legislation introduced?
Is there promised legislation?
Last year, the Minister wrote to all the relevant parties initiating a review inviting submissions on how the Industrial Relations Acts 2001 and 2004 have functioned to date in respect of the programme commitment and the relevant findings of the International Labour Organization. Such submissions have been requested by the end of February. The Minister hopes to be in a position to come forward with proposals to reform the law if this is appropriate during 2013. He is on record as saying that he is certain that satisfactory arrangements can be put in place that will reconcile Ireland's constitutional, social and economic traditions and international obligations. We will wait and see what comes in before the end of February.
It seems from the Taoiseach's earlier comments that the Government is moving towards a proposed resolution to the Magdalen laundries issue. Will the Government address the plight of the far smaller number of women who had symphysiotomies carried out on them, without their knowledge in some instances and certainly without their permission, and the far smaller number of people who suffered major injustice at the hands of the State, namely, thalidomide survivors, who number only 32?
I met some thalidomide survivors when I was in opposition. The Minister has invited them to talk to him with a view to seeing what else can be done for them. The Deputy is aware that a payment is made to thalidomide survivors without accepting legal liability. I am also aware of recent decisions in Germany in this regard. There seems to be a division of opinion among the groups but the Minister has a standing invitation for them to come and talk to him. I mentioned earlier that a report on symphysiotomy was produced a number of years ago by the Human Rights Commission. That is a report I would like to read. It is not included as part of the Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill but it will be referred to there.
Last week in the early hours of the morning, the Taoiseach nailed the citizens of this country legally to the cross of Anglo Irish Bank's debts for decades to come, ramming the Bill through in the dead of night.
What legislation does this come under?
It has been suggested that there will be a guillotine on the motion on this matter this week despite the fact that the Taoiseach promised last week that there would be no guillotine and that anybody who wished to speak on it would be allowed to do so. I ask the Taoiseach to remove any plans to impose a guillotine on that motion.
We do not deal with rumours on the Order of Business.
It is dead of night legislation.
Is it on the Order of Business that it will be guillotined?
It is not in today's or tomorrow's Order of Business. If more time is required, we will be happy to have it.
Then let us not deal with speculation.
Most people I met seem very relieved that this burden has been taken off the Irish taxpayers' shoulders for a very long time.
What is the status of the criminal procedure Bill, which is to provide for the reform of the pre-trial process? In respect of the local government reform Bill, I again ask the Taoiseach not to attack local democracy by removing the local development companies who administer LEADER funding and put them under the umbrella of the local authorities and not to break up the local town councils which have served this country very well over the years.
That relates to the content of the Bill. Deputy Healy-Rae can speak on the Bill when it is published.
I do not have a date for the criminal procedure Bill. The local government reform Bill is a major piece of legislation that must be enacted this year because of the local elections next year and the transfer of responsibility to local authorities. Deputy Healy-Rae should not be concerned about local issues because they will be well looked after and there will be a clear line of responsibility allocated so that all those schemes that are well run now will be run even more effectively in the future.
I am concerned about them.
The criminal justice (victims' rights) Bill strengthens the rights of victims of crime and their families. Will the Taoiseach join with me in deploring the attack on a Traveller house in Donegal yesterday? It is a disgraceful situation where a family was allocated this house which was burned down.
What legislation are we talking about?
Will the Taoiseach join with me in deploring that and calling on all public representatives to show leadership, particularly when it comes to housing a family?
We note the Deputy's concern. I call on Deputy Stanley.
What about the criminal justice (victims' rights) Bill?
There is no date for that Bill yet.
So the Taoiseach will not join with me?
I want to ask the Taoiseach about climate change. We are producing one of the highest rates of carbon dioxide per capita in the world. We had the promise of legislation last year. The Minister for the Environment and Local Government told us we would have it in the spring but spring and summer came and we were told in the autumn that we would have it before Christmas. The Minister published a roadmap saying that the heads of the Bill would be published before Christmas and he told us last Friday that we would have it today. Where are the heads of the Bill? We cannot have an environmental or carbon bailout. This is a serious matter that has been put back. I am seriously concerned about it.
It is a serious matter. We have gone way beyond the heads of the Bill. The Bill is agreed and will be published in conjunction with the NESC report in two weeks time.
We were told last Friday that we would see it today.
The Government has announced that it will be merging the Commission for Communications Regulation and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. When can we expect to see legislation on that? The Government has also announced that it is proceeding with the merger of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland. When will we see legislation on that matter?
The Deputy is talking about the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency.
I am talking about the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said during Question Time that this merger was proceeding.
Is legislation promised here?
I am asking whether legislation is promised and what the position is.
We are only dealing with promised legislation.
The Minister said-----
I do not have a date for that but I thought the Deputy was asking about the merger of the Competition Authority and the National Consumer Agency, which will be published this session. I will come back to the Deputy in respect of the issue he raised.
When are the greyhound industry (amendment) Bill and the horse racing Ireland (amendment) Bill expected? Members said last week that if we tax online betting, it should not be given to the industry. That is like asking a manufacturer to manufacture something and not pay him.
The greyhounds have gone around this track a number of times over the past number of years. They are out of sight at the moment and I must come back to Deputy Butler when I hear their bark in the distance.
They are still running.
In respect of legislation to provide for the investment arm of the NTMA and amend the National Treasury Management Agency Act 1990, have the heads of the Bill been discussed yet and when will it come before the House given the importance of that piece of legislation in the context of the discussion last week? Another equally important piece of legislation is the openended investment company (SICAV) Bill, which is in accordance with the requirements set out in the IFSC strategy. Have the heads of that Bill been discussed and when will the Bill come before the House?
There are a couple of Departments involved in the investment company (SICAV) Bill. The heads are being prepared and it will come before the House later this year, as will the NTMA legislation. The heads of the latter Bill have not come to Government.
Deputy Bernard Durkan is in power so he should get on with it.
Deputy Cowen, please.
Deputy Durkan won the election. He should get on with it.
Me and Bertie.
I apologise for interrupting other speakers.
The Water Services Bill is passing through the House this week. Is the Taoiseach happy that Irish Water has shown little appreciation for the passage of that Bill by virtue of the input of Members who may amend that Bill before its conclusion?
That is not for the Order of Business, Deputy.
The Taoiseach, his Department, his Government and Irish Water have published 2 million documents, many of which have been made public, outlining the setting up of Irish Water-----
I am sorry, Deputy, it is not on the Order of Business.
-----the implementation of water charges-----
We are only dealing with promised legislation.
-----without having due regard for the process which is that it be debated in this House. What is the Taoiseach's response?
He does not respond to it because it is out of order. We are talking about promised legislation here.
Exactly. It is promised legislation yet it has been decided-----
We have nothing to do with pieces of paper. I am dealing with promised legislation.
It was a Government information leaflet. The Bill is on Second Stage in the Dáil.
So there will be no amendments.
I wish to inform Deputy Butler before I start-----
Please do not bother, Deputy.
-----that we had an excellent coursing meeting in Clonmel last week with numbers up by 20%. It was great. Deputy Tom Hayes's dog only came in third. Nevertheless it was a good try; he is a good runner. The hares were treated perfectly. I ask about the local government reform Bill which is something similar to the Water Services Bill. The Minister whom I affectionately refer to as Big Phil, is pushing this through and there are a lot of aspects and angles to this Bill. One very serious aspect is the taking away of the powers from the local Leader development companies-----
We can deal with the content when we get to the Bill.
We had one in south Tipperary which was incorporated into the county council. It is a very bad idea.
We note the Deputy's comments but he must ask about the legislation.
Ceann eile, más é do thoil é. The road transport Bill is to replace the existing Road Transport Acts with modern updated legislation. We are worried about the impact on agricultural vehicles which use the road but which are not road vehicles as such.
We will try to get a response for the Deputy as quickly as possible.
I am only worried about the aspects of the Bill such as the impact on agriculture and Harvest 2020. We cannot go back to using the horse and cart.
It cannot be discussed until it is introduced. I am trying to find out when it will be before the House.
The road transport Bill will be later this year. Deputy Healy Rae was out of the traps a lot faster today than Deputy Mattie McGrath. He asked a question about the local government Bill when the Deputy was outside and he got his answer. It will be enacted, hopefully, before the end of this year. It is a big Bill.
I was here. I do not mind being second to Deputy Healy Rae.
When will the Legal Services Bill be before the House? Many people are waiting for the establishment of an ombudsman for professional services.
That Bill is on Committee Stage. A number of amendments are being drafted by the Attorney General's office and these are awaited.
When does the Taoiseach expect publication of the Shannon aviation services centre Bill?
Take-off time for that Bill is later this year.