Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 16a, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; No. 29, Water Services Bill 2013 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 3, Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2013 [Seanad] - Second and Subsequent Stages; and No. 2 - Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Second Stage (Resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. 16a shall be decided without debate; Report and Final Stages of No. 29 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m. by one question that shall be put from the Chair and that shall, in respect of amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government; Second and Subsequent Stages of No. 3 shall be taken today and the following arrangements shall apply: the proceedings on Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.10 p.m., the opening speeches 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 15 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes, and such Members may share their time, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply that shall not exceed five minutes; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.42 p.m. by one question that shall be put from the Chair and that shall, in respect of amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Regarding the Autism Bill 2012, Second Stage of which shall be considered tomorrow, the following arrangements shall apply: the opening speech of Deputy Michael McCarthy and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Technical Group and of a Minister or Minister of State, 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 each other Member called upon shall not exceed 15 minutes and such Members may share their time; a Minister or Minister of State, who may speak twice, shall be called upon not later than 1 p.m. to make a speech that shall not exceed 15 minutes; and Deputy Michael McCarthy shall be called upon to make a speech in reply that shall not exceed 15 minutes.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16a agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 29 agreed to?

No. In recent days, we have raised the issue of the guillotining of Bills before Christmas as well as the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2013 in the past two days. One of the key commitments in the programme for Government was that the Government would remove guillotines from non-emergency legislation. The programme referenced the significant use of the guillotine for non-emergency legislation.

No. 29 is on the establishment of Irish Water and giving it the capacity to install water meters and impose water charges in the next two years. There are various estimates as to when all of that will be done. Some have claimed that it will be post 2014. The Bill establishes an entity that makes water vulnerable to privatisation and other risks. The Tánaiste may claim that this is not the case, but I do not see the emergency dimension to this Bill. The Government must heed its own commitment in the programme for Government, given the farcical situation of the Finance (Local Property Tax) (Amendment) Bill 2013 and, before Christmas, the Social Welfare Bill and the property tax Bill. People were given no time to debate anything. In principle, we are against the Bill. No. 3 is a short Bill with which we have no difficulty.

I urge the Government to take the Dáil and its own commitment on guillotines seriously.

Having rushed the property tax legislation through the Dáil, the Government is now minded to do the same in respect of Irish Water, metering, water charges and the potential privatisation of water.

There is no potential.

Allowing just two hours for the debate is unacceptable. Some 47 amendments have been tabled for discussion. The Government is clearly minded to push the legislation through irrespective of the debate. I do not understand why it believes that there could be a thorough debate in such a limited time. We object strongly to the use of the guillotine, another attempt by the Government to push controversial legislation through the Dáil.

I wish to put on the record the Technical Group's opposition to the use of the guillotine on the Water Services Bill.

Hear, hear. We are all against it.

I wish to make two points. First, the Government is anxious that Deputies would have plenty of opportunity to debate Bills, but we require some co-operation from the Opposition. For example, I offered additional time last week in respect of the property tax issue, but it was turned down. On the issue-----

Stop. The Tánaiste did not.

The Tánaiste did not even show up for a vote.

We wanted more than the measly two hours that the Government was offering.

(Interruptions).

A Deputy

The Tánaiste could tell the truth.

Please, will Deputies allow the Tánaiste to make his reply?

He is talking ráiméis.

They had their time, now let him reply without interruption.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle. We have offered in the course of some debates additional time, which has either been-----

A measly few hours.

The Opposition took two hours just talking about that.

-----turned down or not used.

It was not turned down.

Regarding the timetabling of Bills, my understanding is that the Government Whip has offered the Opposition-----

-----the opportunity to timetable the different Stages of Bills. This is something that has been done in the Dáil previously. Where legislation needs to be worked through, the Minister handling the Bill and Opposition spokespersons agree to a certain amount of time for Second Stage-----

It was not done in this case. Stop misleading the Dáil.

Deputy, please.

You are misleading the Dáil.

Where is the Chief Whip?

Will Deputy Ó Snodaigh please-----

The opportunity was not offered this time. That is misleading the Dáil.

Please, Deputy.

Cá bhfuil an Whip?

The Tánaiste should not mislead the Dáil.

I am not misleading the Dáil.

The Tánaiste is misleading the Dáil. It has not been offered.

If the Opposition is willing in general to timetable the different Stages of Bills, the grouping of amendments and so on, the Government is open to doing so, but we must get through our legislative programme.

Second, this is clearly about politics, given the contributions of Deputies Martin and McDonald.

Both Deputies referred to privatisation. This is a Bill to set up a State-owned company in which to vest the water resources of this country.

The Tánaiste is codding himself.

It will sell them.

Answer the question.

The Bill removes powers from local authorities.

Let us understand this.

We have sold our water with our gas.

(Interruptions).

Deputies, please. I am about to put the question.

Why not allow the local authorities to handle this, as they should?

If the best that the Opposition can do-----

It is a sell out.

-----in criticising this legislation is to stand facts on their heads, then let us understand clearly what the Bill is about.

Where is the audit of the-----

We know what will happen.

The Tánaiste has made a career of standing facts on their head.

It is about establishing a State company-----

-----that will own the water resources of this country, which-----

Commencing water metering.

Cad a dhéanfaidh an-----

-----will be retained in public ownership-----

In the same way we are selling off the forests.

No forest is being sold.

-----under a modern framework of a State-owned company. Nothing displays the bankruptcy of the Opposition more than describing a Bill that is about setting up a State company as some kind of privatisation.

It is a charade.

On a point of order-----

(Interruptions).

I am putting the question.

A point of order has been called.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 29 agreed to?

The Tánaiste has misled the House. The Chief Whip has not, in any shape or form, raised those issues with the Opposition.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 29 be agreed to"
The Dáil divided: Tá, 77; Níl, 47.

  • Bannon, James.
  • Barry, Tom.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Collins, Áine.
  • Conlan, Seán.
  • Connaughton, Paul J.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dowds, Robert.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • Harrington, Noel.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Keating, Derek.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lyons, John.
  • McCarthy, Michael.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Maloney, Eamonn.
  • Mathews, Peter.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, Derek.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • O'Reilly, Joe.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Phelan, Ann.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Walsh, Brian.
  • White, Alex.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Browne, John.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Colreavy, Michael.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Flanagan, Luke 'Ming'.
  • Fleming, Tom.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McLellan, Sandra.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Joe Carey; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Seán Ó Fearghaíl.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 3, Child Care (Amendment) Bill 2013 - Second and Subsequent Stages, agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with the Autism Bill 2012 - Second Stage, tomorrow agreed to? Agreed. I am afraid we have run out of time on the Order of Business.

(Interruptions).

There is no point in shooting the messenger. I only apply the rules, without fear or favour.