Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. a11, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of an EU-Israel aviation agreement; and No. 2, Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m.; and No. a11 shall be decided without debate. Private Members’ business shall be No. 107 – motion re confidence in the Minister for Justice and Equality and Minister for Defence.

There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m. agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. a11, motion re referral to select committee of proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of an EU-Israel aviation agreement, without debate, agreed to?

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. a11 be agreed to", put and declared carried.

The health (amendment) Bill has profound implications for voluntary health providers and, more importantly perhaps, for their customers. The Bill seeks to provide an updated framework for charging all private inpatients in public hospitals to meet current budgetary requirements. Could the Taoiseach tell us whether the heads of the Bill have been to Cabinet and when the Bill might be expected before the House?

In respect of the official languages (amendment) Bill, to allow for the amalgamation of the Office of the Coimisinéir Teanga with the Office of the Ombudsman, which in our view is a pretty serious mistake in itself, is the Government still prepared to press ahead with the legislation and when could we expect to see it before the House?

Given that there continues to be considerable concern about the situation of Nos. 10 to 14 Moore Street, when might we expect to see publication of the monuments Bill which we hope might contribute to the resolution of the issue?

In respect of the last matter raised by Deputy Ó Fearghaíl, the Bill is not expected until the middle of next year but the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will bring a memo to Government in respect of his decision in so far as the national monument on Moore Street is concerned long before the Bill is published.

In so far as the amalgamation of the roles to which Deputy Ó Fearghaíl referred, the official languages (amendment) Bill is expected before the House later this year. The health (amendment) Bill is due this session. The heads of the Bill have not yet been cleared by Government.

I refer to the protected disclosure in the public interest Bill. Given the treatment of the two Garda whistleblowers who drew attention to the cancellation of penalty points and the fact that one of them had to leave the force it is clear that the Bill is urgently needed. It says a lot about the Government that it is rushing through legislation this week to cut the pay of public sector workers, as opposed to protecting those who have the courage to come forward and alert society about scandals or potential scandals. When will the Bill be published and when does the Taoiseach expect the matter to be discussed in the Dáil?

The trades unions will reflect on what is in the Haddington Road agreement and whether it can be accepted across the board, but that is a matter for unions in some cases to consider themselves. The protected disclosure in the public interest Bill to which the Deputy referred will be brought to Cabinet shortly by the Minister and will be published in this session.

Go raibh maith agat. I wish to ask the Taoiseach about the criminal records information system Bill, which is to provide for the exchange of criminal records to EU member states. In view of the letter the Taoiseach read out earlier from the Garda Commissioner about records relating to an incident in Dublin that cannot be found, how will we live up to what is expected of us-----

To what Bill does Deputy McGrath refer?

I am talking about the criminal justice records Bill.

What number is it?

I am sorry, it is the criminal records information system Bill. How is the Garda to comply with such legislation if it cannot find the report? A full report must be filed for every manned checkpoint. If the Garda cannot find such reports-----

The Deputy can refer to the contents when the Bill is being discussed.

-----how are we going to live up to the requirement to provide reports to our European colleagues? How could we have confidence in the situation in the future? If the Garda went to Specsavers and got glasses it might find the report.

We will be able to live up to the requirement later this year when the criminal records information system Bill is published.

I wish to ask the Taoiseach about the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill. Following an examination of the Order Paper for this week we will be lucky if four hours is provided to debate all Stages of the Bill. That is a completely insufficient amount of time.

I am sorry-----

It is my understanding that the Dáil might not sit next week. First, is it correct that the Dáil will not sit?

I am sorry, Deputy.

Second, will the Government not amend the Order Paper so as to provide time for a full debate on the Bill into next week if necessary?

We are discussing promised legislation. Thank you.

It is promised legislation on the agenda for today.

The Bill will be taken today and we will see how we get on.

It is a core principle of democracy that people get to debate Bills. Four hours is insufficient time.

Thank you very much.

Will the Dáil sit next week?

I call Deputy Durkan. The Taoiseach does not need to reply to Deputy Nulty because the question is out of order.

It is not out of order.

It is out of order.

It is a simple question: Is the Dáil going to sit next week?

The Bill is due before the House.

Only four hours are allocated to the Bill.

The purpose of the Order of Business is to allow for questions on promised legislation.

The Dáil is potentially going to rise next week.

Deputy Nulty should speak to the Chief Whip rather than raise the matter on the Order of Business.

Could the Taoiseach enlighten me as to whether the Dáil will sit next week?

Deputy Nulty should resume his seat.

Could I ask the Taoiseach the current proposal on bringing the criminal law (sexual offences) Bill before the House at an early date and whether the heads have been discussed and approved by Cabinet? Similarly, I wish to inquire about the public health (alcohol) Bill. When will the Bill come before the House? Have the heads been discussed or approved by Cabinet and when are both Bills likely to be passed?

The criminal law (sexual offences) Bill is due later this year. I do not have a date for the public health (alcohol) Bill.

On promised legislation and in light of the 56% reduction in the disabled person's grant by the Government, is it time to consider the enormous amount of money, €622 million this year, that leaves this country in foreign aid?

Hold on, where are we going here?

I am coming to it. Surely, charity should begin at home and does the Government have proposals to review or reduce the amount of direct foreign aid leaving the country?

That is a disgraceful. It is a mean-spirited attack on people who are starving.

Deputy, would you please adhere to the Standing Orders? I must pull you up every day of the week.

Will the Ceann Comhairle let me finish?

What are you talking about?

Access to the central treasury funds is what I am speaking about. The Ceann Comhairle should give me a chance to finish.

There is no need for a speech beforehand. Just ask when will the Bill be taken.

I was introducing myself to it.

You do not need to, as you are here every week.

We know the Deputy.

There is no promised legislation in respect of-----

I assure the Deputy we know him by now. There is no promised legislation.

The Deputy should do that in County Kerry.

----- overseas development aid.

I am addressing the Taoiseach, not the Chief Whip.

He should do that on the back of a lorry.

No, the Taoiseach has answered.

Yes, but the Whip is out of order.

Do not mind the Whip for the moment.

The Ceann Comhairle is right. He has spoken the truth and is a good judge of character.

On the back of a lorry.

Do not mind him.

Deputy Healy-Rae should not attribute something to me that I did not mean in that statement.

The Deputy is looking for a headline with gobbledygook.

I call Deputy Neville.

Did the Whip bring that lorry around?

This is rubbish.

Is that lorry one from which the Whip fell?

For many years, there has been concern in respect of suicide hearings in coroners' courts. The Coroners Bill was first published in 2007. When is it likely to re-enter the Chamber for completion?

I understand the Bill is still on Committee Stage. I must revert to Deputy Neville on this. I recognise the Deputy's experience in this matter, which is an issue of continuing concern. I will revert directly to Deputy Neville on when the Bill might get back in.

I wish to raise two items of legislation further to Deputy Durkan's request, that is, the sale of alcohol Bill and the public health (alcohol) Bill. These Bills provide for warnings on cans and bottles similar to the health warnings on cigarette packets and for the prevention of below-cost selling. As they are important legislative items, can the Taoiseach provide an indication of when they might come before the House?

I do not have a date for Deputy O'Mahony but can confirm the Minister of State, Deputy White, is due to bring recommendations with regard to the sale of alcohol before the Cabinet sub-committee in the near future. He has done a lot of work in this regard.

I had wished to raise a similar point on the sale of alcohol Bill, because Ireland has the greatest binge-drinking population in Europe.

Does the Deputy wish to raise the alcohol Bill?

On another item of legislation, when is it proposed to replace the Irish Sports Council and the National Sports Campus Development Authority with the new sport Ireland Bill?

It is due later this year. I will see whether I can get a more accurate read on the extent of work that has been done on it.

On promised legislation, when is it proposed to take the friendly societies and industrial and provident societies (miscellaneous provisions) Bill? I ask because it will have a positive implication for insurance co-operatives, group water schemes and theatre restoration groups. For example, in my constituency, 18,500 people depend on 28 private group water schemes and it is very important for those people that this legislation goes through.

I can confirm to Deputy O'Reilly that this Bill is bubbling along and I hope it will be published in this session.

When are the housing (miscellaneous provisions) (No. 1) Bill and the housing (miscellaneous provisions) (No. 2) Bill expected? The residents of Priory Hall have again asked me to appeal to the Taoiseach as to whether he can bring their agony and anguish to an end. On the last court decision, they are now heading into a third Christmas in which families are out of their homes. It is an intolerable situation and I am sure that even when the Taoiseach was on his recent visit to the Greek Prime Minister, he would not have been able to detail to the Taoiseach a similar situation in Athens.

When can some action be taken in this regard? Moreover, I have just heard that a complex in Balbriggan is being evacuated because it was built so badly during the Celtic tiger era. When can the Taoiseach do something for Priory Hall?

While I cannot speak for the judicial person involved in this regard, a decision is pending. The No. 1 Bill to which Deputy Broughan referred is due this year, while the No. 2 Bill to which he referred is due next year.

On election topics, the Taoiseach spoke about transparency and not hiding any truths from the people, regardless of how difficult were those truths. In that context, when will the Government lay before the Houses the report from Ernst & Young that was commissioned in 2009 into the actions of Irish Nationwide and how that financial institution was being run? Four years have elapsed since that report was prepared and the public is being kept in the dark in respect of the activities of Mr. Fingleton and others. Will the Taoiseach commit to having this report published? Will the report be available to the committee that will investigate the bank guarantee and the issues surrounding it?

The answer to the Deputy's question is I do not know. This goes back to 2009, which is two years before the present Administration took office. I suggest that were the Deputy to table a parliamentary question, the Government would attempt to answer it as accurately as it can.