Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 9a, motion re membership of committees; No. 9b, motion re sittings and business of the Dáil; No. 17, statements on the Second Report of the Constitutional Convention; and No. 2, Forestry Bill 2013 - Second Stage (resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: Nos. 9a and 9b shall be decided without debate; the proceedings on No. 17 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after two hours and the following arrangements shall apply: the opening statement 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, shall not exceed ten minutes in each case and such Members may share their time; the statement 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 statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; in relation to the Child Sex Offenders (Information and Monitoring) Bill 2012, the Second Stage of which shall be considered tomorrow, the following arrangements shall apply: the opening speech of Deputy Denis Naughten, 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 which shall not exceed 15 minutes, and Deputy Denis Naughten shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes; and in relation to the sitting of the Dáil on Tuesday, 15 October 2013, the following arrangements shall apply: the Dáil shall sit at 2.30 p.m., shall sit later than 9 p.m. and the motion for the General Financial Resolution shall be moved not later than 12 midnight, whereupon the Dáil shall adjourn forthwith; the Budget Statements and the Financial Motions by the Minister for Finance [2013] shall be taken at 2.30 p.m., and the following arrangements shall apply: the opening statements of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform shall not exceed 45 minutes in each case; the statements of the main spokespersons for finance and public expenditure and reform for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed an aggregate of 60 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time, and following the statements, the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes.

There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 9a and 9b agreed to?

I call Deputy Kelleher.

We have raised this particular issue on a number of occasions. We talk about democratic revolutions and making the committees and Parliament more important in the context of our democratic revolution.

The Deputy's party was in power long enough and it did not do anything about it then.

Let us be very clear-----

It was there for 60 years.

-----what is being proposed is the removal of a Member because he fell out with the Labour Party leadership. It has nothing to do with the make-up of the committee membership. It is because a certain Deputy, Deputy Colm Keaveney, had a strong belief in his own views, in his own political ideology and in the view that the Labour Party had broken commitments made to the people.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Kelleher's concern for the Labour Party is very touching.

That is the reason we are having this debate.

(Interruptions).

It has nothing to do with the membership of the committee. It has to do with the fact that Deputy Colm Keaveney fell out with the Labour Party leadership. Let us be quite clear about that.

(Interruptions).

If that is the case, what we are being asked to do is to bring internal Labour Party politics into a committee without any debate in the context of why a Member who was appointed by the Houses-----

There is a lot of talk taking place.

There is a fight among Labour Party members. The Chair will have to deal with that.

Were you a member of group B?

The person in possession, Deputy Kelleher, has the floor.

You were a member of group B. Deputy Eric Byrne was then the Workers' Party, not the Labour Party.

I have very good time for Deputy Willie Penrose and I definitely believe he would make a very good member of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, but this motion is being taken without debate. I would like to know why Deputy Colm Keaveney is not considered to be a member of good standing and why he cannot remain on the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

He is holding a Labour Party position and he is not entitled to it.

You are going to silence him, are you?

I would like to know that.

He is not even a member of the party.

Does Deputy Kelleher want to give him a Fianna Fáil position on the committee?

If we are to make committees more meaningful-----

We have a new leader of the Labour Party.

Deputy Kelleher to conclude, please.

We do not want to send him off to the Gulag somewhere.

He does not bother attending anything.

We want to know why Deputy Colm Keaveney is not fit to serve on the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

He does not bother attending.

What is happening here is that we are asking Parliament to rubber-stamp a Labour Party dispute. The Dáil should be allowed to discuss this issue. Deputy Colm Keaveney was appointed by the Dáil to the committee and we are being asked, at the request of the Labour Party and without debate, to remove him from the committee. It is quite shameful. At least let us have a debate on this issue in order that we can be told why we should vote to remove Deputy Colm Keaveney from the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, because I think he is a fine Deputy.

Send him a membership form for Fianna Fáil.

Deputy Kelleher's concern is touching.

I call Deputy Ó Snodaigh.

(Interruptions).

Order, please. I am taking brief statements from the two main parties under Standing Orders.

On No. 9b, the motion re Standing Orders being suspended to change the normal running order next Tuesday, the business will commence with the Budget Statements only. There will be no Leaders' Questions, no Order of Business, no questions to a Minister and no Taoiseach's questions, which comprise normal business on a Tuesday. We understand it is an exceptional day but it is uncommon that there is no other business other than the budget next Tuesday. I suggest that the Dáil should sit earlier to accommodate some of those changes. It had been suggested prior to the Whips' meeting last night that this would be done, but then it suddenly disappeared from the schedule. I ask that we meet at 1 o'clock next Tuesday and that we have an Order of Business and Leaders' Questions.

We are taking these two items together. I call the Tánaiste.

The first motion is the replacement of two Deputies on two different committees, namely, the replacement of Deputy Michael McCarthy by Deputy Willie Penrose on the Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions and the replacement of Deputy Colm Keaveney by Deputy Willie Penrose on the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine. As Deputy Kelleher well knows, members of the committees are nominated by their political parties. We do that regularly here. When Fianna Fáil wants to change members of a committee, a motion is put before the House on which there is no debate. The Government and I have no objection if Deputy Kelleher wants to offer Deputy Keaveney or any member of the Opposition groups membership of that committee or of any other committee. That is a matter for the Opposition side of the House, but we reserve the right to make our nominations, as does every political party, and that is all we are seeking to do here.

The Tánaiste has not given an explanation.

I have given the Deputy the explanation.

The Tánaiste did not.

He is no longer a member of the party. It is as simple as that.

The Tánaiste told us the mechanics of it but he has not given us the explanation for it.

It is very simple. Stop the claptrap. Members of committees are nominated to those committees by political groupings. Each political party and grouping in this House reserves the right to make its own nominations and to replace nominations as and when each party sees fit. That is what we are doing here. It has always been done by the introduction of a motion and always taken without debate. If Deputy Kelleher's party or any of the other Opposition groupings want to nominate Deputy Keaveney to the Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Government will not oppose it.

In respect of the arrangements for Tuesday next-----

(Interruptions).

I thank the Tánaiste very much.

Parties should not control the Dáil. Stalinism, it is called. Is that not right, Deputy Stagg?

-----the budget is usually introduced on a Wednesday. When previous budgets were introduced, there would be a normal morning's business, including Leaders' Questions, Question Time, etc. The budget for 2014 is being introduced on Tuesday next. It is proposed that Tuesday's business will commence at 2.30 p.m. with the statements of the Ministers for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform. These will be followed by the responses of the spokespersons from the Opposition parties. We will then move to dealing with the financial resolutions. Additional time is being provided for the debate on the budget. It is also proposed that there will be a full day's debate on the budget measures on Wednesday next. The fact that the budget is being introduced in October rather than December means that there will be a longer period available for all Members to contribute to the debate on it. One of the major complaints I heard voiced in previous years was to the effect that because the budget was introduced in early December, we tended to run out of road in respect of it as Christmas approached. As already stated, there will be an extended period available this year in which the budget measures can be debated. I would have thought Members would welcome this development.

Question put: "That the proposals for dealing with Nos. 9a and 9b be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 38.

  • Bannon, James.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Collins, Áine.
  • Conlan, Seán.
  • Connaughton, Paul J.
  • Conway, Ciara.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • Harrington, Noel.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Keating, Derek.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Maloney, Eamonn.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Nolan, Derek.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Phelan, Ann.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Spring, Arthur.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Colreavy, Michael.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fleming, Tom.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Keaveney, Colm.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McLellan, Sandra.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Mathews, Peter.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Joe Carey; Níl, Deputies Róisín Shortall and Seán Ó Fearghaíl.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 2 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 3 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4 agreed to?

No. No. 4 proposes that the Dáil sit at 2.30 p.m. next Tuesday. There is nothing to prevent us from sitting earlier on Tuesday to give effect to what I asked for earlier. It is very strange that in the week the Government is to propose new Standing Orders to sit earlier on a Tuesday and on an additional Friday, it would not accede to our request that the Order of Business, Leaders' Questions and questions to a Minister be taken earlier on Tuesday to give full effect to a Dáil sitting. I welcome the fact there will be additional time for the budget this year. This is not to curtail that in any way but to extend the sitting to allow for other business to be taken on Tuesday.

I explained that in previous years, the budget was on a Wednesday and that allowed for the normal Wednesday morning business and for the budget to be taken after Question Time at 3.45 p.m. The budget will be earlier this year. The sitting will commence at 2.30 p.m. and will start with the statements from the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform followed by statements from the Opposition spokespersons on finance and public expenditure and reform. The period of time for the debate on Tuesday will be longer than has been the case in previous years. We are also providing for a full day's debate on the budget on Wednesday. Given that the budget will be in mid-October this year, there will be a much longer period of time for consideration of budget issues in its aftermath. By any standards, the amount of time being provided-----

(Interruptions).

It will give Deputy Ó Snodaigh time to roll out the ink cartridges.

The issue which will occupy the minds of people on Tuesday is the content of the budget. We will have that at 2.30 p.m. It will not matter a whit what will be in the budget because Deputy Ó Snodaigh will oppose it anyway.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 4 be agreed to", put and declared carried.

On a point of order, I signalled earlier that I wanted to speak on the Order of Business. What is the exact Standing Order that governs the Order of Business on a Thursday? It is unacceptable that a Deputy who is seeking to raise an issue can sit here for an hour without being given floor time.

Twenty minutes are made available for the Order of Business on Thursdays. A vote is obviously taken out of the 20 minutes. As this morning's time was taken up by the vote and other business, there was no time for questions on the Order of Business.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle might give me some advice. I have listened to representatives of the Government talking about the Dáil holding the Executive to account. Is there any way the Government might dedicate a tree out in the back lawn to which we might talk if we have an issue? How can someone raise an issue in this House?

This problem has been raised on a number of occasions. It has been suggested that the Whips might meet to discuss it. If the Deputy is asking for it to be considered, I can certainly make that request known to the Ceann Comhairle.

I am not blaming you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle. It shows how dysfunctional this House has become. We had a referendum last week. We have not even been given five minutes on the Order Paper to discuss the rejection by the people of this country of a proposition that was put to them by the Government. It is outrageous that ordinary Members have not even been five seconds to discuss the issue.

I thank the Deputy.