Order of Business

Today’s business shall be No. 8, motion re Standing Orders 39 and 95; No. 13, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 (Seanad), Second Stage, resumed; No. 3, Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016, Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and No. 14, statements on Calais. Tomorrow's Government business shall be No. 13, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 (Seanad), Second Stage, resumed; No. 15, Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2016, Second Stage, resumed; and No. 3, Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016, Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. No. 22, Public Holidays (Lá na Poblachta) Bill 2016, Second Stage, will be taken in the evening slot.

I refer Members to the report of the Business Committee dated 27 October 2016. In regard to today’s business, there are four proposals. It is proposed that No. 8, motion re Standing Orders 39 and 95, shall be taken without debate; there will be no Taoiseach's parliamentary questions and ordinary oral questions shall take place on the conclusion of the Order of Business; there shall be no suspension of sitting under Standing Order 25; and the Dáil shall adjourn on the conclusion of No. 14, statements on Calais, which shall take place at 8 p.m. and which shall be brought to a conclusion after two hours and five minutes. In regard to the statements on Calais, a Minister or Minister or State and the main spokespersons for parties and groups, or a member nominated in their stead, may speak for 15 minutes each, and there shall be a five minute wrap-up by a Minister or Minister of State. All Members may share time and there shall be no Private Members’ business.

In regard to divisions this week, it is proposed that any division demanded which would normally take place in the weekly division time tomorrow, Thursday, 3 November, shall be deferred to the weekly division time on Thursday, 10 November.

There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business agreed to?

It is not agreed. Since the business was agreed, there was a development over the weekend as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA, was more or less signed off. This is something that should be debated in the House today. The debate on legislation regarding sex workers could be put off until tomorrow. CETA is a very important issue and it concerns many people in Ireland.

We are not having a debate on CETA, although perhaps we might be. Is the Deputy opposing the Order of Business?

May we leave it at that, please?

May we have the debate on CETA today?

I have a proposal to put to the House.

I indicated on Question Time last week that it would be necessary to have a debate in the Dáil and approval from it in respect of the elements of CETA that are appropriate to our national responsibility. That will happen as part of the normal business of the Dáil.

Since the Taoiseach addressed the issue last week, the agreement was signed over the weekend, with Belgian opposition stepping aside, leading to the agreement. It is now a matter of paramount importance that we discuss it here.

To clarify, that is a provisional agreement. The terms of the agreement will not come into force until the relevant approval is given by the Dáil. We intend to have that debate.

Next week we are dealing with the social welfare Bill.

On foot of a freedom of information request by Sinn Féin, we found that waiting times for applicants, for example, for carer's allowance has jumped from 19 weeks in June to 40 weeks.

That is not relevant to the Order of Business.

It is a serious issue.

It might be serious but it is not relevant to the Order of Business and the Deputy will have to find another way to raise this.

It is relevant. We will deal with the social welfare Bill next week. There is an onus on the Taoiseach to address the issue of someone waiting 40 weeks for carer's allowance.

The Deputy's party representative can take it up with the Business Committee. Is the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business agreed to?

Question put: "That the proposals for dealing with Wednesday's sitting be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 78; Staon, 0; Níl, 20.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Curran, John.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Brady, John.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Clare Daly and Mick Wallace.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with the divisions agreed to? Agreed.

Ciúnas le bhur dtoil. We have approximately eight minutes remaining and I wish to allow as many Members as possible to have a chance to speak.

I think the Taoiseach was making an early run for the border.

Yes, what border? That is correct.

Break for the Border.

I wish to raise an important issue. When the Government and our party entered into the confidence and supply agreement, the Government was adamant that the Lansdowne Road agreement had to be a centrepiece and key part of it, yet yesterday the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, clearly signalled a change in direction and of approach to the agreement, in so far as he has indicated that, first, the discussions on a successor agreement to replace the Lansdowne Road agreement will be brought forward earlier than originally envisaged. That carries its own implications in terms of bringing forward the pay element earlier than would have been anticipated. The Lansdowne Road agreement is due to run until September 2018. This is the first year of the agreement and already it is beginning to unravel, without any consultation with or pressure from anybody in the House. A unilateral approach is being taken on the Lansdowne Road agreement. It is important that I put down such a marker, because people have made assertions about other agreements, to the effect that they will pull this and that down.

The key point I put to the Taoiseach is that all the media were well briefed on the matter yesterday, and that is the implication that is coming from the briefing. First, there was a statement that the talks would be brought forward earlier and the obvious follow-on from that is that the pay element would also be brought forward earlier. Is it not important that the Government would produce a paper on the matter, outlining the full implications of what is involved in terms of the budget, public pay policy and availability of resources for services in health, education and elsewhere? Such a paper should be produced outlining the implications in deference to everybody in the House, and beyond.

The Taoiseach has one minute and one minute only.

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I will give the minute to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, because he can deal with the detail of the question.

I appreciate the opportunity to bring full clarity to this matter. The comments I made yesterday are exactly in line with the statement on budget day. The Government is absolutely committed to the tenure and the role of the Lansdowne Road agreement. As Deputy Martin has correctly said, the agreement will continue up to the final payment date in September 2018. I gave an indication yesterday regarding the schedule for discussions on a replacement to that agreement. There is no change at all in the Government's commitment to the schedule of payments, the tenure or the role of the Lansdowne Road agreement.

Ba mhaith liom ceist a chur mar gheall ar phíosa reachtaíochta a thagann faoi chúram an Taoisigh ina ról mar Aire Cosanta. I want to ask the Taoiseach, in his role as Minister for Defence, to state when the defence (amendment) Bill is likely to come before the Houses of the Oireachtas. According to the Government's legislative programme, the Bill relates to "the deployment of military personnel overseas", which is laudable, but will it deal with medical issues such as the dispensing of the anti-malaria drug Lariam and other issues that often arise when Irish soldiers and Naval Service personnel are deployed overseas? The legislative programme does not explain what types of matters will be covered in the Bill, when the heads of the Bill will be agreed or whether the Bill will come before a committee for pre-legislative scrutiny. Perhaps it will come straight to the House for Second Stage debate.

The heads of the defence (amendment) Bill are under preparation. Quite a deal of work has been completed on them. I will give the Deputy an update on where exactly they stand. The Minister of State, who has devolved responsibility in this area, is looking seriously at the question of Lariam and the medical prescriptions for members of the Defence Forces who are sent overseas, particularly to countries where malaria might be prevalent. I will advise Deputy Ó Snodaigh in that regard also.

There were two very important documentaries on RTE television last night.

I cannot comment on them.

I want to refer to the more important one. I refer to Louise O'Neill's exploration of the issues of consent and rape culture in Ireland. It was extremely harrowing viewing. One of the statistics mentioned was that 80% of rape victims know their attackers. I ask the Taoiseach, in the context of the publication of the Women's Aid 2015 report, to provide an update on when the criminal justice (victims of crime) Bill will reach the floor of the House. I understand the heads of the Bill were agreed well over a year ago.

The Deputy has referred to an important report. The preparation of the victims of crime Bill is very well advanced. It should be possible to have it published before the end of this session.

I am grateful to get this opportunity to ask the Minister for Health about Lantern Lodge in Killarney. Twenty-seven long-enduring patients with mental health disabilities are being asked to move to a new facility at Leawood House on Countess Road in Killarney.

Does this relate to promised legislation?

Yes, it does. The programme for Government contains a commitment to assist people with mental health disabilities. I will put the scenario to the Taoiseach because the Minister has gone. People with long-enduring disabilities were getting a meal at the Lantern Lodge facility. They are being moved across town now. They have been told they will not get a meal and they will not have showering facilities at the new facility.

The matter being raised by the Deputy would be more appropriate to Topical Issues.

Why is the Government allowing this to happen to the most vulnerable section of our community? On top of the recent proposal to close the St. Mary of the Angels facility in the town of Killarney, it is proposed to hurt 27 more people. Why is this being allowed?

This has nothing to do with legislation. When the Deputy's brother raised another case last week, I pointed out to him that the central point in all of this should be the quality of life of the patients. That means there should be full and proper consultation with patients and their families and next of kin. The Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath, is very interested in seeing that this happens in as comprehensive and understanding a way as can be. It may well be that all the patients in these settings around the country do not have to be moved. Some of them would be much better off, in terms of quality of life, within their communities where a proper home care package is put around them. I will have the Minister of State acquainted with the Deputy's point about Countess Road. I find it difficult to believe it is possible that neither meals not showers will be made available, but I will have that checked out for the Deputy.

It is the truth.

As time is almost up - I cannot control it - Deputy Scanlon is the final speaker for today. The two Deputies I could not accommodate will be at the top of the list on another day.

I would have imagined that Red C, which was charged with the responsibility of appointing people to the Citizens' Assembly, would have selected at least two people from each county, with the rest being weighted in favour of the urban centres, but that has not happened. This is of particular concern in my constituency of Sligo-Leitrim because there is no representation on the Citizens' Assembly from Sligo, Leitrim or Cavan.

Or County Tipperary.

I ask the Taoiseach to address this situation. These people are entitled to a voice in the same way as people from Cork, Galway or wherever else.

I ask the Taoiseach to address this anomaly so that people from these areas have a voice at the Citizens' Assembly.

I take the point raised by Deputy Scanlon. Ninety-nine citizens were selected by a polling company on the basis of region, gender and age as part of a tendered competition. The way it turned out is unfortunate for countries Sligo, Cavan and Leitrim.

And six other counties.

We need to hear the voices not just of counties Leitrim, Cavan and Sligo, but of a representative group of 99 citizens from all over the country.

There are nine counties missing.

While I take Deputy Scanlon's point, I assure him that the competition used to select those involved was completely independent and objective.

I cannot agree with that.