Business of Dáil

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders or in the order of the Dáil of 22 March 2017 that: (1) the Topical Issue debate shall not be taken today; (2) the divisions postponed from last Thursday, which were scheduled to be taken today, will now be taken on Thursday, 30 March; and (3) business today shall be interrupted at 6 p.m. to take statements re An Garda Síochána, which shall not exceed two hours in total and in respect of which the following arrangements shall apply: the speech of a Minister or Minister of State shall not exceed 15 minutes and the speeches of the main spokespersons for the parties or groups shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; all Members may share time; and the speeches shall be followed by a questions and answers session, which shall not exceed 35 minutes.

I take it that the proposals for today's business are agreed to? Agreed. Is the business proposed for Wednesday agreed to?

May I raise a point on that?

Yes, of course.

I know the Business Committee discussed this but I wanted to put on the record of the House that there is a major national strike taking place in Bus Éireann. The Government may try to pretend it does not have any role in that, but as a major shareholder, it does. The matter has not been discussed in the Dáil and is not on the agenda. To me, the obvious time for discussion would be in the morning, prior to affected workers coming to the gates of the Dáil tomorrow, potentially supported by other workers, such as staff from Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann, etc. When will we discuss this dispute in this House? Is there any plan to do that? The Ceann Comhairle may advise me to submit a Topical Issue matter but this is a major issue for the workers. There are 2,500 workers affected. That is quite a big workforce.

It was discussed at the meeting of the Business Committee we just had. Members felt very strongly that it would be inappropriate to take out tomorrow's debate on Northern Ireland, which had been agreed in principle. We have a protocol, which we adopted at the last meeting, in regard to discussions in the House on industrial disputes. We will examine the request for a debate against the protocol we have adopted on Thursday.

Fianna Fáil had a Private Members' debate some weeks back but we would be open to another.

Is the business for Wednesday agreed? Agreed. Is the business agreed for Thursday? Agreed.

I thank Deputy Ruth Coppinger for pointing out to me an inaccuracy.

It is not the first inaccuracy I have pointed out. It probably will not be the last.

I understand that. I am glad to have people who-----

Deputy Coppinger is probably not too accurate herself.