It is proposed to take No. 11, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Ombudsman Act 1980 (Section 4 (10)) Order 2013; No. 3, Freedom of Information Bill 2013 - Second Stage (resumed); and No. 2, Road Traffic (No. 2) Bill 2013 - Second Stage (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings in regard to No. 11 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 20 minutes, with the 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, not exceeding five minutes in each case, and Members having the option to share time.
Order of Business
There is one proposal to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 11, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Ombudsman Act 1980 (Section 4 (10)) Order 2013, agreed to? Agreed.
In view of the recent publicity surrounding certain corporation tax matters relating to multinationals operating in this country, the international tax agreements Bill is particularly important in order to strengthen further the provisions on co-operation between Ireland and other countries on taxation matters. Will the Tánaiste confirm when that legislation will be brought forward?
The Central Bank (consolidation) Bill is another important legislative proposal designed to consolidate the full suite of legislation governing the functions of the Central Bank. What is the status of that Bill?
Many people are awaiting the introduction of the proposed new tenant purchase scheme to be provided under the housing (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. Will the Tánaiste indicate when that legislation is to be brought forward?
In regard to the international tax agreements Bill, which was originally to be called the mutual administrative assistance in tax matters (joint Council of Europe-OECD convention) Bill, a cross-departmental group has been established to resolve outstanding issues. It is expected to be published next year. As the Deputy knows, there have been several Bills relating to the functions of the Central Bank. Work is proceeding on the preparation of the Central Bank (consolidation) Bill and it will be published next year. Likewise, the housing (miscellaneous provisions) Bill is expected to be published in 2014.
It is almost eight months since the Taoiseach's apology to the survivors of the Magdalen laundries and several months since the establishment of a very limited form of redress for the women concerned. To date, however, not a single cent has been paid out. I have raised this issue with the Minister for Justice and Equality with a view to establishing not just when the moneys will be paid but also when the very basic services these women require will be delivered. He refuses to give an answer. I am, therefore, affording the Tánaiste the opportunity to tell us and, more importantly, the women in question, when those commitments will be fulfilled.
That is not a matter for the Order of Business.
There is no legislative proposal on this matter. We could debate whether there should have been such a proposal, but I am raising the issue now because I am not getting answers anywhere else.
The Tánaiste might give a short response to the Deputy's query.
If I had received notice of the question, I would have prepared an answer for the Deputy after speaking to the relevant Departments.
The issue might be more appropriate to Leaders' Questions.
As the Deputy knows, the range of supports we have committed to provide, including health supports, housing and so on, involve several Departments. I will ask for a reply to be sent to the Deputy.
Just before the summer recess the Government announced that the heads of a Bill to amend the Child Care Act 1991, to underpin regulations and inform provisions for preschool services, had been published. When will that legislation be brought before the House?
I am informed by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs that the provisions in question are due to be dealt with on Committee Stage of the Child and Family Agency Bill 2013.
My question relates to the criminal justice (victims rights) Bill. The Fr. Niall Molloy case and the situation of the Omagh bomb victims are two issues on which the Taoiseach had some engagement with the families involved before coming into office.
We cannot debate the details of legislation.
This is very important because we are talking about people who suffered terrible wrongs.
The Deputy will have an opportunity to debate the issues when the Bill comes before the House.
The Taoiseach promised these people everything. Now, however, just as he refuses to debate his proposal to abolish the Seanad, he also refuses to meet these people. Will the Tánaiste give a commitment to meet them?
The Deputy should raise the issue by way of a parliamentary question.
It is a very serious issue.
The criminal justice (victims rights) Bill will serve to strengthen the rights of victims of crime and their families and give effect to a proposed EU directive. Preliminary work on the Bill is under way, but it is not possible to indicate a publication date at this stage.
This time last year we had the launch of the document, Putting People First, on local government reform. When will the heads of the local government Bill come before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht for discussion, as requested by the Chairman and members?
Will it devolve powers from fortress Custom House to local councils and from unelected county managers to councillors?
We will not debate the Bill.
I am just asking the question.
The local government Bill is due to come before the Government shortly. I expect it will be published shortly thereafter. The intention is that it will go to the committee. However, we are anxious to have the legislation enacted and in place in advance of the local elections next year so that the measures proposed will take effect when new councils are elected in 2014. The Bill is at an advanced stage of preparation and I expect it will be dealt with by the Government in the near future.
The many problems associated with alcohol are well reported in the media, such as the clogging up of accident and emergency units in our hospitals, suicide, physical harm, murder and self-harm that people impose upon themselves.
Maybe we can cut out the preliminary part and ask about legislation.
When will the public health (alcohol) Bill be brought before the House? It is important that this be speeded up.
The Minister of State, Deputy Alex White, has been working on the issue for some time. It was considered by a meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee during the week and I expect his proposals will come before Government shortly.
On promised legislation, having regard to the concerns in respect of increases in private health insurance, when will it be possible to bring the health insurance (amendment) Bill, dealing with risk equalisation, before the House? Have the heads of the Bill been discussed in Cabinet and what is the degree of importance the Government attributes to it?
With regard to the companies (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, which deals with the need for authentic and reliable internationally recognised audits, is it intended to bring it before the House ahead of schedule? To what extent have the heads been discussed by Cabinet?
The heads of the health insurance (amendment) Bill, to provide for revised risk equalisation credits for 2014 and some technical amendment to the health insurance Act, were approved by the Government recently. It is scheduled to be published next year. The Minister for Health is aware of the necessity to make progress.
Work is proceeding on the preparation of the companies (miscellaneous provisions) Bill. The larger Companies Bill is before the House on Committee Stage. We are anxious to see progress because it includes a number of important provisions. I ask for co-operation. It is a large Bill and this is an opportunity for the House and the parties in the House to co-operate to see a major item of legislation passed. There would be many complaints if there was an attempt to guillotine debate on the Bill. I appeal for co-operation on the Bill's progression.
We have all experienced noisy neighbours and the feeling of powerlessness in dealing with them. The hands of the Garda Síochána are tied. The noise nuisance Bill has powers to impose on the spot fines as well as mediation. When will the Bill be brought before the House? It is a major issue when neighbours have parties.
I do not have a date for the Bill. It is a Bill to extend and improve the powers available to the enforcement authorities to prevent, reduce or abate noise nuisances by allowing for on the spot fines and to provide for mediation between neighbours.
There are proposals for a new schedule of flights by Ryanair from Stansted Airport to Kerry Airport. With regard to the disruption to people travelling to work-----
Hang on, we are talking about promised legislation. Please Deputy, do not abuse the Order of Business or I will not call you in future. What Bill is the Deputy talking about?
The Irish Aviation Authority (amendment) Bill. I ask the Tánaiste to use his good offices, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, to intervene in this situation-----
I ask the Deputy to resume his seat. We cannot have a debate on all of these things.
The Irish Aviation Authority (amendment) Bill consultation is under way with the two agencies concerned. A number of policy issues must be addressed before work on the heads of the Bill can commence. The Bill is expected next year.
The Constitutional Convention has made a number of pivotal decisions. In this context, and regarding the referendum on marriage equality, has the Cabinet considered the report of the Constitutional Convention, will it report to the House and will we see a referendum date set sometime this term?
The Government has agreed a formula for dealing with the reports from the Constitutional Convention, that we will consider each report as it comes before us and have given an undertaking to make a decision on our response to the report within four months. We have complied with that timetable to date and we intend to comply with it on each of the succeeding reports. The Constitutional Convention has made a recommendation on marriage equality. The report has not yet been presented but when it is the Cabinet will address it within the timetable.
In the context of the landlords and tenants Bill, there is a major issue in certain parts of Galway city. We all know the film "Into The West", where Tito used to keep the horse in the back garden. Unfortunately, that is a big problem in certain estates in Galway. Can the issue of animals being kept in the back gardens of houses be covered in the Bill?
Is it The Rubberbandits?
In my experience, it depends on the size of the garden. I would not chance putting a horse in the gardens of some of the more recently constructed dwellings, where the gardens are a bit on the small side. The landlord and tenant Bill will be taken late next year.
With regard to the consumer and competition Bill in section A of the Government legislation programme, I hope every Deputy is concerned about the concentration of media ownership in the country. The legislation programme says that the legislation will give effect to the recommendations of the advisory group on media mergers. I hope it will also look at the issues raised by the Competition Authority consultation-----
We cannot have a debate on it.
It is very relevant and material and the legislation is imminent. I hope that it will also deal with the recommendations in the 2006 report from the Competition Authority.
The consumer and competition Bill will give effect to the recommendations of the advisory group on media merchants mergers. Heads of the Bill have been approved and we expect to publish it this session.
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill has been dragging on for quite some time. I read some text from the Courts Service and saw the word "lunatics" is still in legal parlance in 2013. When will the Bill go ahead? The whole disability community is waiting on it.
The Bill, officially known as the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013, has been published and it is expected to proceed in the next couple of weeks.