Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 42, statements in advance of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 December; No. 40, International Protection Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Committee Stage (resumed) and Remaining Stages; and No. 41, Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Committee and Remaining Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Private Members’ business; No. 42 shall be taken immediately following the Order of Business and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 65 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: statements shall be made by the Taoiseach and by the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called on in that order and who may share their time and shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case; a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes, following which the Dáil will suspend for 60 minutes under Standing Order 23(1); the proceedings on the resumed Committee Stage and Remaining Stages of No. 40 shall be taken today and shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 5.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice and Equality; the proceedings on the Committee and Remaining Stages of No. 41 shall be taken today and shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government; and Private Members’ business, which shall be No. 74, the 1916 Quarter Development Bill 2015 - Second Stage (resumed), shall be taken on the conclusion of No. 41 or at 7.30 p.m. whichever is the later, and shall if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes.

Tomorrow’s business after oral questions shall be No. 1 - Electoral (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2015 - Amendments from the Seanad; and No. 1a - Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 - Amendments from the Seanad. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings in relation to No. 1 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 12 noon tomorrow and any amendments from the Seanad not disposed of shall be decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in relation to amendments to the Seanad amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government.

There are six proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with the late sitting agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 42, statements in advance of the European Council meeting of 17 and 18 December agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 40, International Protection Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Committee Stage (resumed) and Remaining Stages agreed to?

It is not agreed to. On this and the next measure, we object to the unacceptable use of the guillotine in principle. It reflects the Government's approach to this Dáil from the outset where it has sought to undermine its efficacy, reduce time for debate and ram through important legislation. The most glaring illustration of that was the legislation setting up Irish Water, which proved to be a debacle. It has been debacle after debacle and there have been many illustrations of it. There has been no indication from Government that it has taken the whole idea of reforming how the Dáil operates seriously or allowing the Dáil to develop its own personality, independent of the Executive.

The Taoiseach has served the Parliament very badly during his term and this is further evidence of it, particularly when we consider that the Dáil only sat for five days in September and ten days in October. Essentially, since May the game plan has changed and the Dáil has been shut down by the Government to reduce accountability. I am not talking about sittings that do not matter and all that kind of thing.

I think the Deputy has made his point.

I am talking about Leaders' Questions and the guillotining of legislation.

We did not see you here on Friday or Monday.

I was here on Monday.

Please speak through the Chair.

It is wrong to guillotine the legislation in this fashion.

We also have the same position. It may well be that the time set aside by the Government for these two very important Bills will suffice. It may be that Deputies will not turn up to make their case for or against and that is how it should be allowed to proceed. The International Protection Bill is a very important Bill. A range of NGOs have expressed their concerns about it and the Government's failure to meet its own targets. Many NGOs have called for the Bill to be withdrawn, which we know will not happen. The notion of applying a guillotine is just bad practice.

I call the Taoiseach.

A Cheann Comhairle, I wish to speak on this.

No, you cannot speak.

This is important legislation that seeks to transpose international law into Irish law.

Switch off the microphone, please.

A Cheann Comhairle, you can switch off the microphone but I can still speak in this Chamber because I was democratically elected to do so.

Sorry, you are totally out of order.

This Government-----

Deputy, would you please resume your seat?

-----promised that it would not guillotine-----

Deputy, will you resume your seat?

-----in particular important-----

Deputy, will you resume your seat?

-----legislation that transposes international law.

Deputy, will you please show some respect to the House?

Deputy, will you please show some respect to the House and resume your seat?

I have every respect for the House.

Well, you are totally out of order.

I have always shown respect for the House but-----

Do not be making a show of yourself and of the Chamber.

-----this Government promised a number of reforms, including-----

Please resume your seat.

-----not using the guillotine.

Deputy, would you please resume-----

Finally, a Cheann Comhairle, if I could add one more point-----

No, Deputy. Leave the Chamber.

If I could add one more point, a Cheann Comhairle-----

Leave the Chamber.

If I could add one more point, a Cheann Comhairle-----

You will leave the Chamber.

Will the next Cheann Comhairle be elected by secret ballot-----

You will leave the Chamber.

-----to remove any perception-----

Leave the Chamber.

-----of impartiality by the Ceann Comhairle?

Leave the Chamber.

No, because there has been very little reform.

Leave the Chamber. I am telling you------

A Cheann Comhairle-----

I am telling you to leave the Chamber. You are totally out of-----

What you are saying is that we will have absolutely no right to discuss-----

Will you leave the Chamber, please?

I will leave the Chamber but first of all-----

Leave it now, please. Out, thank you.

No, a Cheann Comhairle.

Then, I will have to name you and you will be-----

Well then name me, because this reduces-----

Would you please leave the Chamber and stop making a show of yourself-----

I am not making a show of myself.

-----and the rest of us, thank you very much?

This Chamber is, in fact, a show.

Would you get out, please?

This Bill reduces family reunifications and-----

Deputy, would you please behave yourself?

-----emasculates existing provisions in Irish law.

Deputy, there is only one day left. Please do not force me.

Yes, there is one day left and the Government intentionally chose the timing-----

Would you please resume-----

------where there is one day left to ram through this Bill-----

I have asked you to leave the Chamber.

-----without debate, without reform and without even a Committee Stage. It is simply contrary to-----

You are making-----

-----what I, other Labour Party Deputies and Fine Gael Deputies stood for when we ran-----

Would you leave the Chamber?

-----with the aim of reforming how this House does its business.

Leave the Chamber.

He is telling the truth.

Leave the Chamber, please.

A Cheann Comhairle, I am simply saying-----

You have made your point. Leave the Chamber.

-----exactly what I said five years ago before the last general election-----

You have made your point. Please leave the Chamber.

-----in the expectation that reforms would be carried out.

I am on my feet.

If reforms cannot be carried out in this Dáil-----

I am on my feet. Would you please leave the Chamber?

-----clearly they need to be carried out in the next Dáil, including-----

Sorry, Deputy-----

-----a Ceann Comhairle elected by secret ballot.

Deputy, would you please leave the Chamber? Leave the Chamber, please.

Why should I leave the Chamber?

It is because you are totally out of order.

Why can we not have a debate on an important-----

That is why. Out.

-----piece of legislation?

Out, please. Out.

I will not leave the Chamber until I know why we cannot have a debate on an important piece of legislation and take Committee Stage-----

Sorry, Taoiseach, I have to ask you to name the Deputy.

-----as normally happens on every Bill, in particular important Bills that seek to transpose international law and European Union obligations into Irish law.

I name Deputy McNamara.

I think he has lost his voice.

I move: "That Deputy McNamara be suspended from the service of the Dáil." Is that agreed?

Deputies

It is not agreed.

Question put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 43.

  • Barry, Tom.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Conaghan, Michael.
  • Connaughton, Paul J.
  • Conway, Ciara.
  • Coonan, Noel.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dowds, Robert.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • Harrington, Noel.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Keating, Derek.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lawlor, Anthony.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lyons, John.
  • McCarthy, Michael.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McFadden, Gabrielle.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, Derek.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • O'Reilly, Joe.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Walsh, Brian.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, John.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Colreavy, Michael.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fleming, Tom.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Keaveney, Colm.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McLellan, Sandra.
  • Maloney, Eamonn.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Mathews, Peter.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies John Lyons and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Denis Naughten and Thomas P. Broughan.
Question declared carried.
Deputy Michael McNamara withdrew from the Chamber.

Does the Taoiseach wish to respond to the points made by the two Opposition leaders about the proposal for dealing with No. 40, International Protection Bill 2015 - Committee and Remaining Stages?

I do. I note Deputy Micheál Martin's continuous rant about contempt being shown for the Dáil.

It is the new era of transparency.

It was never demonstrated more explicitly than when Deputy Micheál Martin did not even bother to send his people to the House.

There was no member of the Government here either.

The Taoiseach did not send too many people either.

There was no member of the Taoiseach's party here.

We were here. In fairness, Billy was.

The Deputy was not here.

Will Deputies please stay quiet?

These are two important Bills, the Committee Stages of which are being taken on the floor of the House.

Everything is a game.

It is all a game, if it does not suit the Taoiseach.

If Opposition Members want an extra hour, I have no objection. I have already said that if they continue with these games, as they always do at the close of a session-----

It is called democracy.

-----we can stay for as long as they wish and again tomorrow night, Friday, Monday and Tuesday, if they want. They should now stop their games.

A Deputy

And Christmas Day while the Taoiseach is at it.

Stay quiet now.

We will agree to give the Deputies opposite an extra hour on each of the two Bills.

What is the Taoiseach pointing at?

Who is he pointing at? It is like something out of "The Muppet Show".

If Deputies stop shouting, we might hear what the proposals are.

We do not even know what the Taoiseach has offered us. We did not hear what was offered?

(Interruptions).

Would the Deputy please mind his own business for once in his life? Is the proposal agreed to?

Deputies

No.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 40, International Protection Bill 2015 - Committee and Remaining Stages, be agreed to," put and declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 41, Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2015 - Committee and Remaining Stages, agreed to? Agreed.

Go on, a Cheann Comhairle, keep going.

There are a few comedians sitting behind the Deputy. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 1, Electoral Amendment (No. 2) Bill 2015 - amendments from the Seanad, to be taken tomorrow, agreed to? Agreed.

Yesterday the Taoiseach met the leaders of the political parties in the House and promised to produce the heads of a Bill before the resumption of the Dáil in January to deal with the IBRC issue and the investigation by Mr. Justice Cregan into Siteserv and other large transactions involving IBRC. What emerged yesterday was the degree to which the Government had dragged its feet on the issue from the very beginning dating back to parliamentary questions not being replied to properly and responses to freedom of information requests which revealed an awful lot more than had been revealed in replies to parliamentary questions and so forth. The legislation in which we are specifically interested - we offered to facilitate, with the Government, the passage of the legislation prior to the dissolution of the Dáil before the general election - is, first, to amend the Commissions of Investigation Act, in accordance with the request made by Mr. Justice Cregan, particularly to give him additional powers equivalent to those of a High Court judge. Will the Taoiseach indicate when that legislation will be brought before the Dáil?

I also ask about legislation to enable the Minister for Finance to instruct the special liquidator to waive his rights over documentation. That is legislation we would support. Will the Taoiseach indicate if we will see it in January?

I also ask about legislation that was indicated at the meeting last night when the Taoiseach promised we could amend the Companies Act to enable activities at the Irish Stock Exchange to be inquired into without restriction by Mr. Justice Cregan in his inquiry. In essence, other inquiries managed to access bank accounts all over the world. It is not acceptable that we cannot initiate an inquiry within this jurisdiction to get behind activities within a State-owned bank run by the taxpayer on the Irish Stock Exchange and into the activities of the Department of Finance. We need to increase the powers and capacity of the Minister for Finance to instruct the special liquidator to waive any alleged right in regard to documentation pertaining to a State bank to facilitate such an inquiry. Can we see that legislation and will the Taoiseach commit to producing it on the resumption of the Dáil on 13 January?

I confirm I met the leaders of the Opposition parties and groups yesterday. The Government has no difficulty in amending the terms of reference to have a modular system with a more targeted focus or in providing resources or personnel for the Cregan commission. The amount of €300,000 was spent up to the end of November and €3 million will be provided in 2016. I have committed to bringing and circulating the heads of a Bill that we discussed last night to the leaders of Opposition parties and groups early in January, taking into account the issues raised and discussed last night. On amending legislation in regard to the Irish Stock Exchange, it may not be able to deal with the particular issue because it might be nominated accounts held in the names of companies. These are matters that will be reflected in the heads of the Bill which I will circulate early in January.

I welcome the Taoiseach's commitment. He gave it last night, but I want to welcome it in the Chamber that he will bring forward the heads of the Bill. However, as I told him last night, I do not have any confidence that the Government is serious about having a proper commission of investigation into transactions at IBRC. The proof of this is that the Government voted against the amendments we tabled at the time that would have strengthened the terms of reference. It also ignored other propositions that we had put to it. We look forward to the new terms of reference.

I refer to the diplomatic relations and immunities (amendment) Bill which would give effect to the Vienna Convention which specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission and allows diplomats to perform their functions. The reason I raise this issue is the Dáil unanimously passed a motion calling for formal recognition of the Palestinian state and the Government to upgrade the Palestinian mission to that of a full embassy. The Government has not done this and I have raised the issue continuously and consistently. The Government has decided not to do it. It would be a positive contribution, acting on the wishes of the Oireachtas. When will the Government take the steps necessary to award the Palestinian mission full embassy status and to recognise the Palestinian state?

I thank the Deputy for his question. The Bill is due to be published next year.

Earlier the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said the Road Traffic Bill 2015 would not be passed before the dissolution of the Dáil. Could it be put on a priority list for the Government to be dealt with in January?

Many Members did not get an opportunity last Friday week to discuss the property tax Bill. My understanding is Fine Gael intends to increase significantly residential property tax if re-elected-----

That is a separate issue.

-----and perhaps double it in the Dublin area.

The Deputy can rest assured that that scarecrow will not fly. The Minister for Finance, on behalf of the Government, has been clear on the issue.

This is the reality of Fine Gael's taxation proposals.

The Road Traffic Bill has been commented on by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is a priority and will be pursued as such. We will see what the schedule is for 13 January.