Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 6, Finance Bill 2013 - Second Stage (resumed); and No. 7, Motor Vehicle (Duties and Licences) Bill 2013 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, to adjourn at 7 p.m. tonight, if not previously concluded.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Oral Questions, and the sitting shall be suspended on the conclusion of No. 6 for 30 minutes; the resumed Second Stage of No. 6 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 2.30 p.m.; and Topical Issues will be taken on the conclusion of No. 7, or at 7 p.m. whichever is the earlier, and the order shall resume thereafter with Oral Questions.

There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. tonight and the suspension of sitting agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 6, Second Stage (resumed) of the Finance Bill 2013, agreed to?

It is a continual trend of this Government to impose the guillotine, and I have said this on numerous occasions on other pieces of legislation. There has been debate - this will be the third day of debate on the Finance Bill - but this Finance Bill contains serious measures that will impact on citizens the length and breadth of this State, and imposes additional hardship on many of them who are struggling under a weight of debt. There is no need for this guillotine. This debate could conclude without a guillotine being imposed but Members on both sides of this Chamber should be afforded the opportunity to have their say on the Finance Bill. My party opposes the guillotine of this Bill.

By the time we reach 2.30 p.m. today, there will already have been 12 hours of debate on the Finance Bill.

Some of it in the middle of the night.

It is a Bill which is giving effect to the measures in the budget on which there was previously a debate in the House. We feel that the time provided is adequate and as the House will be aware, there is a requirement that the Finance Bill is passed within a certain period of time after the budget.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 6, Second Stage (resumed) of the Finance Bill 2013, be agreed to", put and declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with Topical Issues agreed to? Agreed. On the Order of Business, I call Deputy O'Dea.

In asking about promised legislation, I take the opportunity to congratulate the Garda in Limerick for the tenacity with which they are still pursuing the murder case of the late Mr. Roy Collins. I will start in a minute.

If Members would not mind, allow Deputy O'Dea. I will take Deputies after I have taken the representatives.

A Deputy

Give me a turn.

Put down your hands for the moment and we will deal with the main spokespersons first.

In asking a question on promised legislation I take the opportunity to congratulate the Garda in Limerick on the tenacity with which it is still pursuing the murder of Roy Collins, who was murdered in a particularly callous and brutal manner four years ago. In that regard, when will the criminal justice (proceeds of crime) Bill be published? Does the Government intend to use the occasion of that legislation to strengthen existing anti-gangland provisions? The Garda has advised that a number of weaknesses have emerged in that legislation and a number of loopholes need to be closed off.

I join the Deputy in congratulating the Garda in Limerick on the success of its work. The criminal justice (proceeds of crime) Bill will strengthen the powers of the Criminal Assets Bureau regarding forfeiting the proceeds of crime. Consultations are taking place with the Criminal Assets Bureau on that legislation. It is not possible to give a precise date for its publication because the consultations with the CAB are continuing. The intention is to proceed with the legislation once those consultations are completed.

The Finance (Local Property Tax)(Amendment) Bill will be rushed through the Dáil again. The original Bill was rushed through and during the Committee Stage of that Bill we only reached one item on which we could vote and all others fell. The proposal is that we deal with Second Stage next Friday with a guillotine imposed and then all remaining Stages on the following Tuesday. From the note provided to the Whips it is clear that this is to facilitate a bulk mailshot on 9 March by the Revenue Commissioners advising people how much they have to pay in this new tax. This is completely unacceptable. This is the Chamber that decides how we order business and not the Revenue Commissioners. We do not dance to anybody else's tune. We should have appropriate time to consider the implications of this amendment Bill. We should have time to discuss all the amendments that will be tabled by our party and other Members. I ask the Tánaiste to reconsider the scheduling to allow appropriate time.

Yesterday in Brussels, agreement was reached on the two-pack which allows for greater surveillance by European institutions of budgets in Ireland and other member states. Will this agreement mean that Ireland will continue to be under the scrutiny of the ECB and European Commission even after we leave the bailout mechanism? Will the budget now be moved to the middle of October as a result of the agreement? Will legislation be required to implement the agreement reached in Brussels?

The Finance (Local Property Tax)(Amendment) Bill is to provide for a number of improvements to the existing legislation. I would have thought that the Deputy would be in favour of many of those improvements, including, for example, the exemption for homes affected by pyrite and the arrangements proposed for social housing whether it is local authority housing or the voluntary housing associations. I am surprised that the Deputy wants to block those improvements in the-----

We want more time. The Tánaiste should not be disingenuous.

We have asked for more time.

If the Government had given the original Bill more time, it might not have needed to rush through an amendment to it a couple of months later.

This is a Government that wants to improve the legislation we have.

Bringing the Revenue Commissioners into people's homes.

It is scheduled to be debated in the House on Friday, 1 March and that is a reasonable arrangement.

The agreement reached yesterday will now need to be considered by member states. The Government will consider that agreement. No decision has been reached on the date for the budget.

More than two and a half years ago the Construction Contracts Bill was introduced into the Oireachtas. We have been waiting for nine months for the legislation to reach Committee State. It is very important legislation and most parties in the House support its main thrusts. The Cabinet seems to be the logjam with regard to new amendments. When will the legislation get through Cabinet and make it to Committee Stage?

The local enterprise organisations are planned to replace the county enterprise boards this year. When will that legislation be introduced? It means the destruction of the county enterprise boards in their present form which is contrary to the wishes of the enterprise stakeholders, including the SFA and ISME.

The Construction Contracts Bill is due to be in Committee early in March. The Bill on the local development boards is due this session.

The landlord and tenant Bill is planned for 2014. In view of the changing situation on tenancies and housing accommodation generally, would it be possible to publish the Bill earlier? Similarly, have the heads of the children (amendment) Bill been prepared and agreed?

The children (amendment) Bill will be this year. The landlord and tenant Bill is intended for early next year.

The Children First Bill is on the A list. In responding to a Topical Issue last week on inter-country adoption, the Minister of State, Deputy Costello, said: "The prospective adoptive parents should, to the extent possible, pay for all expenses involved in the adoption, through the accredited body".

We are talking about promised legislation.

Will this promised legislation, the Children First Bill, address the issue of inter-country adoption and the costs involved? What the Minister of State, Deputy Costello, said seems to suggest-----

That is not the issue on the Order of Business.

-----that inter-country adoptions will only be possible-----

I suggest the Deputy table a parliamentary question.

-----for people who are very well-off and can afford the entirety of the costs involved.

Is the Bill to be introduced?

On the Children First Bill, there is ongoing consideration of the views of the Oireachtas committee, including significant policy, operational and legal issues. It is intended to be published this session.

In August 2012 the Hussein v. the Labour Court judgment highlighted serious loopholes in the Employment Permits Act and the need for a workplace relations Bill. Is legislation in the area proposed shortly?

Yes. There are proposals in respect of both of those. Both of them are expected in this session.

Deputy Tóibín already asked about the county enterprise boards. Legislation is to be introduced to take Leader development companies under the control of local authorities, which is a retrograde step. When will the legislation be introduced?

While I know the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government is not present, the Water Services Bill is in a pure shambles. The EPA and the local authorities have no capacity-----

We can discuss when the Bill is before the House.

It is becoming a bigger mess every day because the EPA is now trying to source places for people to dispose of sludge - the local authorities cannot take it.

I ask the Tánaiste to respond on the Water Services Bill.

I understand that Committee Stage will be taken next week.

What was the other Bill about which the Deputy asked?

It relates to the environment.

As I understand there is no legislation on the Leader companies.

Yesterday there was a very informative session on climate change. What are the Government's proposals on the climate change Bill and when will it come before the House?

The climate change Bill is before Government and it is expected to be approved and published shortly.

In the interests of transparency, can the Tánaiste say when the registration of lobbyists Bill, which is in keeping with political reform, will be published? Everybody will be aware that one of the finest sports centres in Ireland opened in the midlands last weekend. When will the legislation on the amalgamation and regulation of sports facilities be introduced and can the Tánaiste give an assurance that it will improve sporting facilities throughout the country?

Work has commenced on drafting the heads of the registration of lobbyists Bill. It is expected to be published this year. The sports Bill is also expected to be published this year.

There are three Bills to come before the House this session in relation to children and youth affairs, namely, the child and family support agency Bill, the child care (amendment) Bill and children first Bill. It is obvious the Mangan report will have no bearing on any of these Bills. That being the case, surely by inference that report will be shelved.

The child and family support agency Bill is expected to be published this session. As already stated, the children first Bill will also be published this session. What is the third Bill about which the Deputy inquired?

The child care (amendment) Bill and its relationship with the Mangan report.

That Bill is also expected to be published this session. I am sure the committee discussions on the Mangan report will inform the manner in which the House addresses those Bills.

It was announced in the budget that responsibility for the digital hub in Dublin is to be transferred to Dublin City Council. There is no indication in the legislative programme of how and when this will happen. Perhaps the Tánaiste will say what legislation will apply or if separate legislation will be forthcoming to deal with this highly successful area of development in the city.

When will the protected disclosures in the public interest Bill, which will provide for protection against reprisal, victimisation and redress of workers who disclose information regarding serious wrongdoing in the workplace, be introduced?

The heads of the protected disclosures in the public interest Bill have been approved by Government. The Bill is expected to be published this session. On the arrangements for the digital hub, I understand that the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, has replied to Deputy Ó Snodaigh on that matter. As the reply given is quite detailed I do not propose to read it out.

Has legislation been promised?

No. Deputy Ó Snodaigh raised a similar question with the Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, on a previous occasion and the Minister has responded directly to the Deputy on the matter.

There is no legislation promised.

When will the criminal justice (legal aid) Bill come before the House and will it focus on reducing the costs associated with legal aid and on preventing abuse of the system?

The criminal justice (legal aid) Bill is expected to be published later this year.

When does the Tánaiste anticipate the Legal Services Regulation Bill will again come before this House? When will the mental capacity Bill be advanced and when will Committee Stage of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill be taken?

The Legal Services Regulation Bill is currently in committee. The mental capacity Bill is expected to be published this session and the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill is awaiting Second Stage debate.

When will the minerals development Bill, to modernise and consolidate all mineral development legislation, be published? Given what is going on in respect of Tara Mines, there is a need for robust legislation in relation to the issuing of licences to companies.

The minerals development Bill is expected this session.