Order of Business

Tuesday's business shall be No. 8, motion re terms of reference of Select Committee on Rural and Community Development, 14th report of the Committee of Selection and appointment of Chairman of Select Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement; No. 9, motion re Financial Resolutions for the Finance Bill 2017; No. 20, Water Services Bill 2017 - Order for Report Stage and Report and Final Stages; and No. 21, Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill 2017 [Seanad] - Order for Report Stage and Report and Final Stages. Private Members' business shall be No. 146, motion re private rental sector standards, selected by Sinn Féin.

Tomorrow's business shall be No. 20, Water Services Bill 2017 - Report Stage (resumed) and Final Stage; No. 21, Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill 2017 [Seanad] - Order for Report Stage and Report and Final Stages; and No. 22, Heritage Bill 2016 [Seanad] - Second Stage (resumed). Private Members' business shall be Second Stage of No. 41, Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017, selected by Fianna Fáil.

Thursday's business shall be No. 20, Water Services Bill 2017 - Report Stage (resumed, if not previously concluded) and Final Stage; No. 21, Civil Liability (Amendment) Bill 2017 [Seanad] - Order for Report Stage and Report and Final Stages; No. 22, Heritage Bill 2016 [Seanad] - Second Stage (resumed); and No. 10, motion re report on scrutiny of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016. Private Members' business shall be Second Stage of No. 42, Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2017.

With regard to the announcement of the proposed arrangements for this week's business, I refer to the report of the Business Committee dated 26 October 2017. With regard to Tuesday's business, it is proposed that:

(1) the motion re terms of reference of the Select Committee on Rural and Community Development, the 14th report of the Committee of Selection and the appointment of the Chairman of the Select Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement shall be taken without debate;

(2) the motions re Financial Resolutions for the Finance Bill 2017 shall be moved together and decided without debate by one question and that any division demanded thereon shall be taken immediately; and

(3) Private Members' business shall take place for two hours not later than 9 p.m., that the Dáil shall sit later than 10 p.m. and shall adjourn at the conclusion of Private Members' business.

With regard to Wednesday's business, it is proposed that:

(1) the Dáil shall sit at 10 a.m.;

(2) the debate on the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 shall be brought to a conclusion after two hours, if not previously concluded; and

(3) the Dáil shall sit later than 10 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 11 p.m.

With regard to Thursday's business, it is proposed that:

(1) the Dáil shall sit at 10 a.m.;

(2) there shall be a suspension of the sitting for 30 minutes at the conclusion of the voting bloc;

(3) the motion re the report on scrutiny of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 will be taken immediately after the sos, that the debate shall conclude within two hours, if not previously concluded, and will be taken in Government time - the breakdown of speaking times shall be as set out in Standing Order 91(4);

(4) oral questions shall be taken at the conclusion of the debate on the motion re the report on scrutiny of the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016; and

(5) the Dáil shall sit later than 7.48 p.m. and shall adjourn at the conclusion of proceedings on the Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2017.

There are three proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Tuesday's business agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business agreed to?

It is not. We have had a break for a week and the issue of the Paradise Papers has arisen. They had already been referred to and might more accurately be called the "Parasite Papers". They reveal a really shocking nexus of bankers, wealthy individuals and corporations dodging taxes. According to some reports-----

To what issue is the Deputy referring?

It would be unconscionable for the House not to debate these shocking revelations this week. I did not raise this issue for discussion today because I knew I would have been doing so at short notice-----

That is a matter for the Business Committee.

Yes, but I am signalling to the Taoiseach that I hope the Government will facilitate a serious discussion on the matter, in respect of which billions of euro in tax revenue are at stake, and the shocking revelations about-----

Deputy Boyd Barrett does not have a minute. It is at my discretion.

-----the collusion of banks, possibly of legislation brought in by this Government, and wealthy individuals in tax evasion.

Deputy Boyd Barrett may be under a misconception that he has a minute. He does not. It is at my discretion. He has made his point.

I have made my point, indeed.

The question is: "That the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business be agreed to."

Question put and declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with Thursday's business agreed to?

What is Deputy Boyd Barrett's point? It should not be a repetition of the previous point.

No, it is on a different point.

Is the Deputy aware of Thursday's business?

I am indeed. Thank you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle. In relation to the speaking arrangements for the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill, it is completely unacceptable that a report on Deputy Gino Kenny's Bill will commence with 15 minutes from the committee Chair, who is recommending that the Bill, which passed Second Stage, goes no further, and then 15 minutes from the Government, which is also recommending that the Bill goes no further, and that there is no allocated, formalised slot for the proposers of the Bill to defend the Bill and explain why they believe it should continue to Committee Stage.

It is proportional representation.

It is not about proportional representation. It is about balance in argument concerning a Bill we put forward-----

Deputy Boyd Barrett has made his point.

-----on a very important issue that affects tens of thousands of people with serious medical conditions.

I am putting the question, "That Thursday's business be agreed to". Is that agreed?

Question put and declared carried.

We move on to questions on promised legislation. I call Deputy Micheál Martin. I have 15 speakers offering in addition to the leaders. I will try to accommodate everyone. I hope for the co-operation of Members.

There has been a very significant increase in the number of homes in rural areas being attacked and burgled. We all listened in horror to the story of the farmer who lived on his own in Offaly being burgled, attacked and consequently hospitalised. The four-man gang made their quick escape in a powerful high-speed car. In the past six weeks there were 35 aggravated burglaries undertaken by gangs in County Cork. The gangs are well known to the Garda. They have become quite sophisticated in how they organise themselves. Apparently they no longer use the motorways but use the older primary routes. Senior security sources are quoted in the media as saying these gangs are winning the war and are taunting An Garda Síochána.

Rural communities do not feel secure. They do not believe enough is being done. CCTV is very limited on motorways. The Garda presence is historically down. Many rural Garda stations are closed. They have not had the same fortune as Stepaside. The programme for Government is very clear that there would be increased support in investment in CCTV at key locations along the national road network and in urban centres to deal specifically with these issues. Will the Taoiseach or the Minister outline how much extra has been invested in CCTV and the Garda fleet to prevent rural crime? Is the Government considering a fresh crackdown to follow on from Operation Thor to address this latest phase of very violent attacks?

I call the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Charles Flanagan.

I assure the Deputy that Operation Thor is continuing unabated. I advise the Deputy that the sum of €3 million is available over a period of three years, €1 million per annum, to increase CCTV presence across the country. Applications are open. I advise communities that they should consider making appropriate applications to my Department. I am anxious to ensure that this money is expended, particularly across rural areas.

I remind the Deputy that the Garda Training College in Templemore has reopened, having been closed for many years under the previous regime. I recently attended an attestation ceremony of 188 new gardaí-----

I advise the Deputy and the Minister that I am trying to accommodate 15 other speakers.

-----all of whom have been allocated to stations around the country.

The next attestation of 200 new gardaí will take place on 8 December. Full and detailed consideration is being given by An Garda Síochána to dealing with the issues, as mentioned by the Deputy.

The programme for Government commits the Government to actively fulfilling its mandate as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. As part of this, the former Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, agreed to hold regular debates in the House on the North. In March the Sub-Committee on Dáil Reform agreed to a proposal from Sinn Féin to introduce regular quarterly statements on the North. Given the failure of the latest phase of efforts to restore the political institutions and the absence of the rights-based foundation that they require, will the Government schedule the debates to take place as soon as possible? Given the Taoiseach's inability to communicate with me in a coherent way and his obvious frustration, perhaps he might limit himself, forget about the shallow silliness and answer the question I am asking him. When will the Government schedule the taking of the quarterly debate on the North, as determined by the Sub-Committee on Dáil Reform?

I understand the Business Committee agreed two weeks ago that we would start to have quarterly statements on Northern Ireland, which I very much welcome. The Deputy should be aware at this stage - it is 18 months since the general election - that the Government does not schedule Dáil business anymore. It is done by the Business Committee; therefore, I cannot answer the question.

Does the Taoiseach wish to answer it?

The Deputy and I had a very good meeting two weeks ago. I thought we communicated quite well and understand we are due to meet again next week.

I certainly did.

I am sorry to hear the Deputy does not believe it was as good a meeting as I thought it was.

We read in the media that it was intended to bring proposals to the Government today in respect of the reconstruction and reorganisation of local authority electoral boundaries. In recent days I read what I regard as the Taoiseach's most ungenerous comments on the last partnership Government. What was decided by the Government? Will there be a restoration of town government? When will a proposal be brought to the House?

It was not discussed by the Cabinet today, but there is a report on a review of local government concerning aspects to do with metropolitan governance, urban governance and electoral areas. As I understand from my officials, the report is due at the end of next week. The item raised by the Deputy is on the Cabinet agenda, but it was not discussed today.

Are there plans to discuss it with the Opposition?

I am open to discussions.

The next speaker is Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett on behalf of his group.

To be helpful, the group is called Solidarity-People Before Profit.

That is what it is called this week.

Sometimes I do not know who to call, but the Deputy is the only one here today.

I am happy to say the words.

My question relates to the so-called Paradise Papers. The Government was supposed to transpose in June this year the EU anti-money-laundering directive which requires that we have information on the ultimate beneficial ownership of companies and corporate entities. This relates very much to the tax dodging of the Irish rich and Irish corporations revealed in the parasite papers. When will the directive be transposed? Infringement proceedings have been taken by the European Commission against Ireland for its failure to transpose it. This is further evidence of the total unwillingness of the Government to tackle corporate tax dodging by the rich and multinationals.

The question is about the transposition of the directive.

I expect the general scheme of the Bill to be published at the end of the year.

In the programme for Government there is a clear commitment to reform and strengthen the legal system in an effort to support the victims of crime. Will the Taoiseach or the Minister for Justice and Equality clarify whether elements of the Criminal Justice Act 2017, formerly the Bail (Amendment) Bill, have not been implemented?

I believe that is the case. I raise this issue in the wake of a horrific crime committed on the border of counties Tipperary and Offaly. The perpetrators of these crimes are operating with impunity. The last people to receive support from this Government are the victims of crime. Why is this language used in the programme for Government and are there many other elements of the Bill that have not been enacted? What is the problem, especially regarding electronic tagging which should be used? Gardaí should know where these roving and marauding gangsters and criminals are.

All Stages of the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill have been completed by the House and we are awaiting the imminent enactment of the legislation. On the matter of a commencement order for a recent Criminal Justice Act, I will communicate with the Deputy on that.

I asked a question about tagging.

I very much welcome the announcement yesterday by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Denis Naughten, that he intends to introduce a levy on the use of plastic coffee cups. This measure would achieve the same objective as one of the elements of the Waste Reduction Bill 2017, Second Stage of which was completed earlier this year. While the Minister's approach differs from the approach we have taken in the Bill, the Green Party will support his measure as a means of achieving the same end.

We have received a copy of a letter from the Ceann Comhairle to the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Hildegarde Naughten, indicating that the Government must state whether it will issue a money message to support the Waste Reduction Bill moving to Committee Stage. I apologise if this issue appears complicated. The Dáil has a significant problem in respect of how it progresses legislation that has completed Second Stage. Will the Taoiseach indicate whether the Government will be willing to introduce such a money message to allow us to use the Waste Reduction Bill to deliver the measure announced by the Minister yesterday and go further by introducing a deposit system for plastic bottles similar to the schemes introduced in a number of other jurisdictions? Will the Government support advancing our Bill to Committee Stage and introduce the money message the Ceann Comhairle has asked it to provide?

The Fianna Fáil Party has the same issue regarding our Prohibition of Micro-Plastics Bill, which incorporates provisions similar to those to which the previous speaker referred but in respect of reducing use of non-recyclable tableware. We are also having a difficulty getting the Bill through the systems of the House. Unfortunately, we have not even had an opportunity to table the legislation. The Government must provide clarity on the concept of new politics and the idea of passing important legislation, rather than simply dealing with statements. I support Deputy Eamon Ryan's efforts in that regard. While the proposed measure on coffee cups is important, it was spun out yesterday to distract from the criticism levelled at the Government by the Citizens' Assembly on Sunday.

I will revert to the Deputies with an answer on the issue they raise. Before I can issue a money message, I need to know how much it would cost the taxpayer. As the budget has been done for next year, we do not have substantial amounts of unallocated money. I cannot issue money messages for money that is not available to spend.

I acknowledge, however, that we have a problem with the amount of Private Members' legislation coming through the House and, quite frankly, the quality of some of this legislation. What is required in that regard is that we embrace new politics. Mr. Aidan Dunning, a former Secretary General and independent person, prepared a report on how we can improve the processes by which the House is supposed to work, make new politics work and ensure Private Members' legislation coming through the House is of quality and can progress and be enacted. Unfortunately, we do not have all-party agreement on implementing Mr. Dunning's report. If we had agreement on it, I believe we could pass some of these Bills.

The programme for Government includes a clear commitment to review the ambulance service and deliver safe pre-hospital care. On 8 July last, a married man in his 40s and the father of two young children suffered a cardiac arrest in Ballybay, County Monaghan. He was forced to wait more than one hour for an ambulance. A doctor on call arrived 90 minutes after the emergency call was made. The Taoiseach will visit County Cavan in the coming days for a Fine Gael Party get-together. Ballybay is approximately 15 minutes from Monaghan General Hospital and, at most, 40 minutes from Cavan General Hospital.

A question, please.

Tragically, the young man in question lost his life before an ambulance arrived.

Will the Taoiseach meet this family and insist on a full investigation as to why it took over an hour for an ambulance to get to this man, who lost his life? This is a matter of life or death.

There is no legislation promised.

The programme for Government states very clearly that a review is to be done on the ambulance service. This man lost his life.

I will ask the Minister for Health to respond directly to the Deputy.

On a related issue, which is relevant to the previous question, there is to be a national review of cardiac services. The Minister for Health has provided Oireachtas Members with a document which sets out the background, the policy context, the terms of reference, the methodology and the structure of the review team which will be on this national review. I have concerns about the terms of reference. The Taoiseach will be aware that this is a big issue for patients in the south east. The document refers to populations being based on the hospital groups and the regions that make up the hospital groups rather than the regions. What scrutiny will there be of these terms of references? Will they be scrutinised by the Joint Committee on Health? Will there be statements in this House? This is a big issue. It is of such importance to the people in the south east and elsewhere that we need to feed into those terms of reference. If the Taoiseach cannot answer now, I ask that he come back to me with a response on when or how Oireachtas Members will have an input into the terms of reference.

I will ask the Minister for Health to respond directly to the Deputy as he is dealing with this matter.

On the Government's programme for Government commitment to reduce the trolley waiting lists, when will the winter waiting list initiative be announced? I specifically point to a request from Letterkenny University Hospital in the summer for an additional €1.8 million which would allow it to open a 20-bed unit and staff it with nurses and supporting staff. It still has not received an answer and the hospital is running with on average 20 patients a day on trolleys. This proposal would address that. The Government has been sitting on it and it is unacceptable. I ask the Taoiseach when that announcement will be made and when Letterkenny will receive its answer to this proposal.

I am not sure whether the Deputy is speaking about trolleys or waiting lists, or both. These are obviously separate issues. The waiting list initiative, in terms of reducing the time people have to wait for hospital appointments for operations and procedures, is very much under way. I am not sure if it was ever formally announced but it is under way. That is why the number of people awaiting operations and procedures in hospitals has fallen for three months in a row and, I expect, within weeks will be at its lowest for a year. I would have to ask the Minister for Health to respond on the specific funding for Letterkenny.

I ask the Taoiseach about promised legislation on revenge porn. I refer to revealing or explicit pictures or videos posted on the Internet without the consent of the subject. This is linked to very serious psychological harm to the persons involved. The aim is to humiliate and degrade the victim. There has been a significant increase in the numbers of victims. I know a young man in my constituency who sadly took his own life as a result of this. Victims are unprotected at present. Obviously, people should be very careful in terms of the type of content-----

A question, not statements.

-----they put up, but when will we have legislation to protect these victims?

There is a Labour Private Members' Bill on the matter.

I will have to check with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Denis Naughten, about that but I certainly agree that we require legislation in this area in order to make it a specific offence.

I call Deputy Danny Healy-Rae on promised legislation - not a statement but a question.

In recent days, there is a lot of talk about the review of the local authority boundaries and, indeed, the gerrymandering that is about to take place. Can the Taoiseach explain how one of his councillors in Kerry is already saying that the boundary review is sorted out in Kerry and that Castleisland is being taken out of the Killarney electoral area? How does he know that?

I thank the Deputy. I will ask the Taoiseach-----

It is gerrymandering, I think.

-----whether he wishes to respond or not.

I can assure the Deputy that there will be no gerrymandering. The boundaries will be drawn by an independent boundary commission, just as they have been for many decades now. The issue that has yet to be decided is the terms of reference of the boundary commission, but certainly no boundaries have been drawn yet and I imagine that the person to whom the Deputy refers is simply engaging in idle speculation.

He is one of Fine Gael's councillors.

The next three contributors are Deputies Carol Nolan, Bernard Durkan and Frank O'Rourke.

The programme for Government, as the Taoiseach is aware, commits on page 98 to ensuring that there is "visible, effective and responsive policing" in all of our communities. We are all very aware of the incident that occurred in Offaly, where a farmer was viciously assaulted following a break-in. Prior to that incident, however, this issue was being raised constantly because rural crime, whether we like it or not, is increasing. The figures might not show that but it is increasing. What actions are being taken? How do rural communities know that they are being taken seriously and are being listened to? I have had it brought to my attention that there are Garda cars parked outside Garda stations in Offaly because there are not enough gardaí to drive those cars and to patrol areas. That is unacceptable.

A question on promised legislation for the Minister for Justice and Equality. I ask the Minister to focus on legislation.

I am not aware of Garda cars being parked in County Offaly-----

-----but I am very much aware of an increase in the Garda fleet not only in County Offaly, but nationally. That will continue, along with an increase in Garda numbers. We are firmly on target to have a Garda service with 21,000 members by 2021. I mentioned earlier that the Garda College in Templemore is open. We expect to have 800 new recruits next year, along with 200 new gardaí before the end of this year, added to the 188 who have recently been attested. This will ensure that the statistics continue to show a decrease in crime. That said, I do not wish in any way to take from the very serious and unacceptable incident that took place in County Offaly last week. There is a determination on the part of local gardaí, with whom I have spoken, to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Central Bank Consolidation Bill is promised legislation. Given the attitude of unregulated third parties now in the market in enforcing debt collection and repossessions, will the aforementioned legislation be brought before the House with some urgency in order to deal with this situation?

Work on drafting the Bill is under way but there is no date for publication yet.

Page 54 of programme for Government contains a commitment to increase the funding for the delivery of home care packages and home care services. There is a major problem with those services being delivered by approved care providers. There is a major disconnect between the HSE, the service provider and the end user which is causing serious problems. I have raised this in the House on numerous occasions and raised it directly with the Minister for Health when I met him in July in his office. We need this issue to be prioritised so that we can help the thousands of people who need these services but who are not getting them at the moment. I ask the Taoiseach to give a commitment that he will have this issue prioritised so that we can improve the services for the most vulnerable people who need them on a daily basis.

Is anything promised in this area?

There was certainly additional funding this year for home care packages and there will be again in 2018.

The next three contributors are Deputies Martin Kenny, Shane Cassells and Michael Healy-Rae but with their co-operation, I might get to a few more.

Page 98 of the programme for Government contains a commitment to building successful rural and community policing. At a recent meeting of the joint policing committee in Leitrim, we discussed the problem of burglaries. An issue came up at that meeting which has also been debated in this House and elsewhere. It was agreed by senior gardaí that there was an issue with cash for gold shops which were being exploited by thieves. Among the main targets of thieves who are breaking into houses are jewellery and gold items. They are not robbing them to wear them but to cash them in. They walk into these cash for gold shops, get cash for the goods and walk out. Simple regulations must be put in place to ensure that this can be stopped. The senior gardaí to whom I referred made three proposals in that regard.

There needs to be photographic evidence of the gold that is brought in and a record to which the police can have access. There also needs to be photographic evidence of the person.

The Deputy is depriving other Members. I call the Minister.

Rather than giving them cash, a cheque should be posted to the person's address to ensure this is open and transparent.

I am not averse to dealing with that matter if the Deputy deems it appropriate and helpful. On the matter of resources, I want to add to what I said earlier in response to Deputy Martin, Deputy Nolan and others that, obviously, the matter of the allocation of resources in each individual Garda division is a matter for An Garda Síochána.

This requires no resources.

I will be meeting the acting Garda Commissioner later this week and I will be happy to convey the concerns of the Deputy with regard to the north west.

On the issue of the local government report and the re-establishment of town councils, which by the way the Labour Party helped to abolish, if Deputy Howlin forgets-----

I do not forget it. It was a mistake. The Deputy is making a childish point.

-----and which the Minister of State, Deputy John Paul Phelan, said was not discussed today at Cabinet-----

These are questions to the Taoiseach.

I know. There was plenty of commentary over the past two days from Independent members of the Government who seem unhappy about the proposal for the redrawing of the areas. On these plans, will the Taoiseach clarify whether he supports the Minister of State, Deputy Phelan, in regard to promising to certain county managers the return of borough councils in what appear to be side deals ahead of the open and transparent publication? Yesterday, on LMFM radio, Deputy Fergus O'Dowd, from the Taoiseach's own party, said not once, but three times, that the Minister of State, Deputy Phelan, had met with the Louth county manager and the mayor of Drogheda and promised them both that Drogheda borough town council would be reinstated.

A question, please.

How can we have a situation where, ahead of the publication of the report, side deals are being done, certain towns are getting preference and this has been openly stated by the Taoiseach's backbenchers, yet towns like Navan, Trim, Killarney and Donegal are not getting the same preferential treatment?

On this issue, I think many people are getting ahead of themselves. I received the draft memo for the first time today and have not even read it yet. We are nowhere near making decisions on these things.

Deputy O'Dowd said on radio yesterday that the Minister of State, Deputy Phelan, had discussions with the Louth county manager.

Order, please. I call Deputy Michael Healy-Rae.

It is okay if the process is followed formally.

On the programme for Government, is the Taoiseach aware of the crisis with regard to the lack of respite facilities? We have situations where people of 70 and 80 years of age are taking care of young adults, whom they are trying to mind at home? They are desperately in need of respite but do not have it available to them. It is an awful situation and it is not just in my constituency, but in everybody's constituency. More resources need to be put into providing respite so that these elderly people can take a bit of a break and a rest from caring for their loved ones.

In future, I will be asking members to refer to the programme for Government or promised legislation. I call the Taoiseach.

I am very aware of this issue. The difficulty in getting respite is a huge issue in my constituency, as I am sure it is in the Deputy's constituency. There is the associated difficulty of people with disabilities who are perhaps in their 40s and 50s living with parents who are now in their 70s or 80s, and the need for them to move into a community home of some sort. It is a real problem and requires additional resources. There will be additional resources for it in the 2018 service plan and while I do not think it will be enough to meet all the needs that exist, there will be enough to make some real progress next year.

I call Deputy Troy on the programme for Government or promised legislation.

To be helpful, in fact, in 2014 the rail workers took a wage cut, which was to last 28 months and has not been fully reversed. The Taoiseach said they did not but they did.

In regard to the rail strike, if the Minister, Deputy Ross, advised the Cabinet of what the current situation is, how is the Taoiseach not aware or able to advise the House today when the stakeholder forum will commence and when the rail review will be published? One would imagine they would be key to the Minister's advice to the Cabinet earlier today. If the Taoiseach is not able to advise me now, can he give an undertaking to revert to me later today or tomorrow with that information?

If I am incorrect on that matter, I stand corrected, although I am informed from the Department that, since 2008, there has been a total increase in the average earnings of full-time workers of 2.2%.

That is due to increments.

Where some people say there has been no pay increase for ten years, and the Deputy is saying there has been a cut and a part-reversal, the information I have from the Department is that there has actually been a 2.2% increase in average earnings of full-time workers. This is exactly why these issues are best examined by the Labour Court, which can listen to both sides, assess the different claims and make a recommendation.

What of the stakeholder forum?

Many Members have waited patiently and there are a few more who wish to speak. With the permission of the House, we will take a few more. Is that agreed? Agreed. I call Deputy Pearse Doherty.

The Taoiseach talked about ending the double Irish. The double Irish still exists and will exist up to 2020 because that is the amendment the Taoiseach supported when he was in Cabinet. He talked about country-by-country reporting. His Government, along with Fianna Fáil, blocked public country-by-country reporting under an EU directive, on which the Government raised the subsidiarity clause.

I make those points because the Government has been dragged kicking and screaming into the issue of tax transparency. It will rely again on that report in which only one country in the world was actually non-compliant.

Let us go down to the details. Four weeks ago I addressed this Chamber when talking about the sweetheart deal the Government did with Apple again. We have the Paradise Papers that confirm my fears that the Government did enter into another sweetheart deal. This deal is at the cost of hundreds of millions of euro of taxpayers' money, which is money we should be investing in housing, health and roads.

If the Taoiseach is so hung up on transparency, will he publish all of the lobbying that took place in 2014 and 2015 for the decision by the Minister to change the intangible assets write-off against profits from 80% to 100%, which is costing this State €750 million per annum?

Thank you, Deputy.

The biggest beneficiaries are the Taoiseach's friends in Apple.

That is a question that is probably best put to the Minister for Finance but there is no such sweetheart deal.

Publish all the papers.

I am sure that if there was such a one, I would have heard of it, and I would be very shocked if I suddenly found out in a few months' time that there was such a deal.

Under promised legislation, I want to ask the Taoiseach about the finalisation of the Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill 2017, which deals with the whole area of physiotherapy and physical therapy registration.

I understand that is going to Report Stage. I spoke to the Minister for Health about this in the past couple of weeks and I think that now, after some time, we have a resolution in regard to the issue relating to physiotherapists and physical therapists. As it is at Report Stage, I hope it will be done by the end of year.

The programme for Government has a commitment to invest further in education. Many schools, especially primary schools, are struggling financially, particularly where boards of management are not allowed overdrafts. Will the Taoiseach or the Minister for Education and Skills give a commitment to issue clear guidelines on minor works grant payment dates and capitation grant payment dates so schools will know exactly when they are going to get the payments?

The position in regard to capitation is that, although there is a commitment in the programme for Government that we would increase capitation over the period of the Government, it has not been possible due to other areas of priority. As the Deputy knows, we have increased the number of teachers by 6,200 to meet particular pressures and we have increased SNAs and other areas of provision. However, capitation is still very much on the agenda, as are minor works grants, as and when we can afford to pay them.

A Programme for a Partnership Government commits the Government to having full regard to any new evidence that is likely to establish definitively the cause of the fire at the Stardust. I understand from media reports that this matter was discussed this morning at Cabinet and that the report of retired judge Pat McCartan was considered. It is also my understanding that the report rejects a commission of investigation. Sinn Féin supports a commission of investigation and I think that is important. Will the Taoiseach confirm that this matter was discussed? Can he update us on the status of those discussions, what the conclusion is and when exactly the families will receive a copy of the report? I note the Minister for Justice and Equality is here. Perhaps he might indicate if he is willing to meet with the families to give this full consideration?

I can confirm that the matter was discussed at Cabinet this morning.

I again acknowledge the Stardust fire on Valentine's Day 1981, which was one of the most difficult and horrific tragedies in the history of the State. I sympathise with all of those involved in the community. A report has been published and I understand the families received an early copy of it. It has been laid before the Houses. If the Deputy has not received a copy, I will arrange for one to be delivered to her straight away.

I am sorry, but I asked a specific question about whether the Minister would meet the families.

No supplementaries.

It is not a supplementary. It was part of my original question.

The Minister can reply, if he so wishes.

I have already met some of the families involved and would be happy to do so again.

I thank the Minister.

Next to speak are Deputies Margaret Murphy O'Mahony and Joan Burton. We will then move on.

My question is about the ratification of the UN convention. The Minister of State with responsibility, someone who is part of the Government, is planning to visit North Korea, but what many people do not know is that that dictatorship is far ahead of Ireland in terms of ratification of the convention. Will the Minister of State be seeking advice from the North Koreans during his visit or will he actually do the job in hand in Ireland and have the convention ratified before the end of the year, as we were guaranteed? The same was guaranteed last year, but it did not happen.

I am not sure whether the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has ratified the convention-----

-----but there are many countries that do not treat people with disabilities very well and in which they have fewer rights and services than here. However, they have ratified the convention. In itself that tells the story - different countries adopt a different approach. Most countries just ratify and then forget about it. We do something very different and something much better, as we actually honour and then ratify it.

We need to have it ratified.

It is absolutely our intention to ratify it as soon as we possibly can.

We are all familiar with the situation of people who are going for jobs who, instead of being given contracts of employment, are forced into bogus self-employment. When I was Minister, I commissioned a report on this problem based on data supplied by a variety of organisations. This problem is resulting in significant losses of employers' contributions to the PRSI system. I cannot understand why the Taoiseach who was the Minister responsible and the current Minister who has stated she wishes to do something about this scandal are refusing to publish the report on bogus self-employment. Why are they refusing to do so? I understand the report has been ready for practically a year, but it has still not been published.

An tAire Gnóthaí Fostaíochta agus Coimirce Sóisialaí.

There is no refusal to publish the report. It will be published once it has been considered within my Department. I have made-----

It has been finished for months.

This is a scandal.

I am sorry; the Minister to reply on the publication of the report. A brief answer, please.

I thank the Lean-Cheann Comhairle. I have been asked a question and the Deputy has to give me an opportunity to answer, if that is okay. There is no refusal to publish the report. It will be published when we have finished considering its contents and deliberated with the Revenue Commissioners on what should be done next. When we are ready, we will publish the report.

The Revenue Commissioners already understand the issues involved, given the loss of revenue.