Order of Business

I call the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Deputy Joe McHugh, to announce the Order of Business.

Shíl mé go raibh an Teachta Richard Boyd Barrett chun an tOrd Gnó a fhógairt inniu ach, é sin ráite, tá mé sásta é a dhéanamh.

Today's business shall be No. 14, motion re Supplementary Estimates, leave to introduce; No. 15, motion re Supplementary Estimates, referral to select committee; No. 16, motion re parliamentary questions rota changes between the Department of Defence and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and between the Department of Finance and the Department of Justice and Equality; No. 17, motion re European Defence Agency, referral to select committee; No. 18, motion re change to Standing Order 71(5); No. 1, Legal Metrology (Measuring Instruments) Bill 2017, amendment from the Seanad; and No. 33, Finance Bill 2017 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages. Private Members' business shall be No. 157, motion re rural crime, selected by Fianna Fáil.

Tomorrow’s business shall be No. 33, Finance Bill 2017 - Report and Final Stages (resumed, if not previously concluded); and No. 5, Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. Private Members' business shall be Second Stage of No. 50, Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2017, selected by Solidarity-People Before Profit.

Thursday’s business shall be No. 5, Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017 - Second Stage (resumed) and No. 6, Social Welfare Bill 2017 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage. Second Stage of No. 51, University College Galway (Amendment) Bill 2017, will be debated in the evening slot.

I refer to the second revised report of the Business Committee dated 21 November 2017. In relation to today’s business, it is proposed that:

(1) The Dáil shall sit later than 10 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Private Members’ business;

(2) The motions re Supplementary Estimates, leave to introduce and referral to committee, parliamentary questions rota changes, the European Defence Agency, referral to select committee, and the change to Standing Order 71(5) shall be taken without debate and any division demanded thereon shall be taken immediately;

(3) Private Members' business shall take place not later than 9 p.m. for two hours.

In relation to tomorrow’s business, it is proposed that:

(1) The Dáil shall sit later than 10.15 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 11 p.m. unless the Report and Final Stages of the Finance Bill 2017 are not concluded at 11 p.m. in which case the Dáil shall adjourn at 12 midnight or on the conclusion of the Finance Bill 2017, whichever is the earlier;

(2) Second Stage of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2017 shall conclude within two hours.

In relation to Thursday’s business, it is proposed:

(1) The Dáil shall sit later than 7.48 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of proceedings on Second Stage of University College Galway (Amendment) Bill 2017;

(2) Any division demanded on the conclusion of proceedings on Second Stage on the Public Service Pay and Pensions Bill 2017 and-or the Social Welfare Bill 2017 shall be taken immediately;

(3) Topical Issue matters shall be taken not later than 8.10 p.m.

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

I call Deputy Micheál Martin. This is to be only a brief intervention.

It will be a very brief intervention. Given the lack of transparency and the fact that we have not really got answers to questions that we asked during Leaders' Questions both last week and this week on the adversarial approach during the O'Higgins commission of investigation and when the Tánaiste and the Department of Justice and Equality became aware of it, a number of us asked that the Tánaiste would come to the House to give a comprehensive clarification to the House and take questions. Given that this has been live up to our coming in here at 2 p.m. and the Tánaiste spoke on the issue on "News At One" just before we came in, prior to agreeing the Order of Business, it is imperative that we get a commitment from Government that we would adjust the terms of reference to facilitate the Tánaiste coming to the House to make a statement and to take questions. We are not agreeing the Order of Business as a result.

On the same issue, as I pointed out in questions to the Taoiseach, this is a matter that the Government cannot sweep under the carpet or try to downplay as if it were an issue of non-significance. It is a very serious issue. It goes to the heart of the accountability of this House. It is our job to hold Ministers to account. It is also the job of the media. The Taoiseach has made himself available to the media, which I welcome, but he has to make himself available to this House. Sinn Féin will not be supporting the Order of Business in this House unless the former Minister for Justice and Equality agrees to come before it today to make a statement outlining her exact position and allow Members to question her on that position so we can have clarity regarding the burning issues that exist. I refer not only to views held by Members of this House but also to members of the public.

On this same issue, I support the call by colleagues. It would be extraordinary and undermine the public perception of democracy in this House if the Tánaiste made herself amenable to going on national programmes to be interviewed and answer questions posed by a journalist and refused to answer questions in the House. I am sure the Tánaiste will be more than willing to do so. I ask that time be made available today, by agreement.

On the same issue, as a member of the Business Committee, I noted that when I and others agreed the Order of Business last week, we were not to know the Taoiseach would be forced to admit he had misled this House or given false information to it on what the Tánaiste knew and when she knew it regarding what was, let us remember, an absolutely scurrilous campaign to try to destroy Mr. Maurice McCabe, a brave man who was trying to blow the whistle on wrongdoing in the Garda. We have not got a clear commitment on whether the Tánaiste will answer questions on these most serious matters. We have to have that commitment. We cannot proceed with the Order of Business, as it stands, unless we get a commitment that the Tánaiste will answer those most serious questions.

The Taoiseach and the Chief Whip may respond.

I will speak first and then the Chief Whip.

I dispute the allegation that I somehow misled the House. As stated at the outset, to mislead is a deliberate act. I gave the House the information I had at the time, and I have since clarified the information. Misleading the House is a deliberate attempt to misinform the House. I reject the allegation and I hope people will at least accept-----

One can mislead inadvertently.

We will deal with the four questions.

The Taoiseach told a porky by mistake.

I want to say very clearly that I have nothing at all to hide on this matter, nor does the Government have anything to hide. As I stated today and nine or ten days ago, neither the Department of Justice and Equality nor its former Minister, the Tánaiste, had any hand, act or part in this legal strategy. They did not know about it beforehand and found out only after the fact. Therefore, they had no way of influencing it. That fundamental fact needs to be recognised.

I am still not clear exactly what allegation is being made against the Tánaiste by Members of this House. If we are going to have a statement on this, followed by questions, it is important to do as I propose. I do not wish to tell the Leas-Cheann Comhairle how to do his job here - he should not take me up in that way - but I believe it is important that he, his office or somebody get some legal advice. The tribunal has been established by this House to look into these matters.

Hold on. I do not need legal advice on a simple question. Deputies are requesting that an opportunity be given to make statements. It is a matter for the House, not a matter of legal advice for me.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

I might not be a lawyer but I have common sense. I have been here for 36 or 37 years and I will not be dictated to by anybody in this House, not even the Taoiseach.

I think-----

Hold on. The Taoiseach is not in the Chair. I put it to the Taoiseach that four Members of this House have posed a question. They are not agreeing to the Order of Business. It is a matter for the Taoiseach to decide whether he is agreeing to that. I will immediately put the question on the Order of Business.

May I make a remark before the Leas-Cheann Comhairle puts the question?

I am happy to be part of a Business Committee which meets to consider these matters. It is the Business Committee that decides the order of the House. That is a mechanism we have all agreed to.

I would be happy to facilitate what is being requested, if that is possible and if a meeting is convened to consider it. I am concerned that we might ignore the policy that is the Business Committee that decides what goes on the agenda. I am also aware, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that we have a very tight schedule this week between the FEMPI Bill, the Finance Bill, and trying to commence the Social Welfare Bill. We did have an agreement but I am happy if there is to be a meeting of the Business Committee on this issue.

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Deputy Martin should hold on for one moment. The Business Committee does not decide the business of the House. The Business Committee makes recommendations to this House.

Recommendations on behalf of the committee to the House.

There is a big difference. It is the House that decides. I will call the Taoiseach momentarily. I ask the House to decide. It is a matter for Members. I am only the facilitator and I must ensure we stay within Standing Orders. I remind Members that it is the House that decides and the Business Committee recommends.

I respectfully suggest that the right way forward now might be for the Business Committee to meet and discuss this matter and make a recommendation to the House on what we should do next. A tribunal has been established by this House to look into these matters and to investigate them. There is precedent in this regard and I would not like us as a House to make a decision in the heat of the moment that would jeopardise or scupper the tribunal. We need to assure ourselves that we would not end up doing that.

I need to respond. First, on the idea of referring to the Business Committee, there is no commitment from the Government side that it has any inclination or wish to engage in any Dáil debate on the issue or for the Tánaiste to speak in any capacity. It is very clear from the replies that people want to invoke the tribunal to avoid any discussion in the House or any questions. I would point out that parliamentary questions have already been tabled on the matter by Deputy Alan Kelly and there have been replies, but not ones that answer the questions he asked. The Ceann Comhairle is following up on the quality of those replies. Even in the House reference has been made to an email. Reference has been made publicly by the Tánaiste on the national airwaves about the content of that email. In other words, part of the email is public knowledge at this stage, without the entirety of the email being published. That is not fair procedure or fair practice.

I stand to be corrected but I believe there have been other precedents whereby in the midst of tribunals there have been plenty of Dáil debates relating to subject matters that were covered by various tribunals. What I want from the Taoiseach is not for the issue to be referenced back to the Business Committee to be buried in red tape and all sorts of invocations as to why we cannot do it. This is the Parliament of the nation. This is the plenary session of Dáil Éireann. We can decide to have a proper debate where the Tánaiste comes in and gives what she knows, a comprehensive presentation to the House, and for her to take questions on it rather than the drip, drip revelations we are getting day by day.

Deputy Pearse Doherty can make a very short contribution.

I will be as short as Deputy Martin on this. Deputy Martin is correct in that there is no commitment from the Government in regard to holding this debate and having questions and answers and statements. Neither the Taoiseach nor the Chief Whip gave that commitment. What I am asking the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is that given the seriousness of the issue, the majority, it seems, in this House - based on the four contributions of the Members who spoke on behalf of their groups and parties - is of the view that the Order of Business should not proceed. The suggestion is that we adjourn for 30 minutes, that the Business Committee will meet and we will come back with a new Order of Business that will include statements from the former Minister for Justice and Equality and an opportunity for Members of this House to question the Minister on those statements.

Okay. That is the proposal. I call Deputy Boyd Barrett and then Deputy Howlin.

There is absolutely no point in accepting a proposal for the Business Committee to meet again unless we get a commitment from the Government here and now that at the meeting it will facilitate a debate, statements and responses from the Tánaiste on the matters surrounding this issue. As to the legal impediments, I am sure that if we agree this week - it has to be this week, ideally today or tomorrow - that such statements are made and that questions and answers will be had, I am sure it is within the ken of the Government and the Opposition to know what they can and cannot say that might infringe on the legal issues being dealt with at the tribunal.

Of course it makes sense for the Business Committee to organise the logistics of doing what the majority of the House wants, that is, a set of statements and then a series of questions. I imagine the statements will be short and that the Tánaiste will have as long as she needs to make her presentation.

We all know the demarcation lines between the work of a tribunal of inquiry that we have established and the accountability of Ministers to the House. For too long and on other occasions in the past, tribunals went on for a decade and were used as a shield from providing full truth. I call for immediate agreement to such a debate, including questions and answers. If possible, it should be done today and, if not, then no later than tomorrow. The details can be determined by the Business Committee - I do not believe we need to adjourn to do that. If there is agreement, the Business Committee can meet and we can continue our business in the Chamber without eating into the Chief Whip's timetable.

Having discussed the matter with the Tánaiste, I can say that the Tánaiste is willing to make a statement later this evening followed by questions. The detail and parameters will be worked out and agreed by the Business Committee.

Have they just discussed that now?

Is that acceptable? Subject to the Taoiseach's offer, is the proposal for dealing with Tuesday's business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Thursday's business agreed to? Agreed.

I have quite a list before me and I am going to read it out lest I leave someone out. We have only 13 minutes. Due to the fact that there will be statements later, I am going to cut off after 13 minutes. The names I have of those who have indicated include Deputies MacSharry, Butler, O'Brien, Durkan, Michael Healy-Rae, Scanlon, Fitzpatrick, Breathnach, Ryan, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael McGrath, Sherlock, McConalogue, McLoughlin, Harty, Ó Cuív, Munster and Heydon. First up is Deputy Micheál Martin.

The programme for Government promises to provide the modern technology and resources necessary to detect and investigate crimes and to provide an effective rural policing plan that enhances visibility.

For the past two years, Deputy Marc MacSharry has been raising consistently the appalling sub-standard nature of Sligo Garda station, which is the regional headquarters for the Border counties. The extraordinary level of deprivation in the station is difficult to comprehend. Numerous issues relating to health and safety have arisen. It has not been fit for purpose for many years. It was condemned by the regional safety advisor of An Garda Síochána in October 2015. Conditions are so dire that drinking water is not even available in the station because of potential contamination from rats and other rodents. The cells cannot be used. When people are arrested, they have to be driven 15 miles away to Ballymote. The building is not fit for purpose.

A new building was sanctioned in 2015 to great fanfare. Two years later, no progress has been made. It is beyond being a disgrace that hard-working gardaí are being forced to take the kind of action they have had to take. Essentially, they walked out of the station yesterday. They will not be going back into that station, and I cannot blame them for that.

Given the specific commitment in the programme for Government to enhance resources and facilities for An Garda Síochána, how can the Taoiseach explain the failure to implement the programme for Government commitment in the context of Sligo Garda Station? When will the matter be addressed?

I am familiar with the situation at Sligo Garda Station. I agree that the station is unfit for purpose. As Minister, I am keen to advance and develop a new Garda station in Sligo. I put it to the Deputy who asked the question, however, that we need an appropriate site on which to build the Garda station. I regard it as a matter of some regret that there has been no agreement on the location of an appropriate site upon which to build it.

I acknowledge the interest Deputies MacSharry and McLoughlin and others have taken in this issue, which has been the subject matter of a number of Topical Issue debates. The Government remains committed to providing the appropriate level of resources to construct a new Garda station in Sligo that will meet the increasing demands of policing in the north west. I encourage local stakeholders, in particular, the local authority and any interested party who may wish to assist in procuring an appropriate site locally, to get together on the issue. Following agreement, we will proceed with the building of the Garda station at the earliest opportunity.

The programme for Government commits to complete the repair of the banking system and ensure the banks support the wider public interest. We are far from achieving this objective. The Taoiseach may have noticed that the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA, in Britain is considering further action against Royal Bank of Scotland, RBS, because of the actions of its global restructuring group, GRG. The Taoiseach should remember those three initials - GRG - because they will play a big part in this Parliament in the coming period. The FCA, in a recent report, found instances of inappropriate treatment of 92% of viable businesses that were part of its review. In this State, the GRG operated as part of Ulster Bank and all the evidence points to similar treatment. A total of 2,141 businesses of Ulster Bank were placed in the GRG where they believed they would be restructured and saved but were instead placed on death row. Information provided indicates that as few as six of these businesses emerged from the GRG alive. These companies were asset stripped by a subsidiary of Ulster Bank.

Senior bankers in Ulster Bank told barefaced lies to the Joint Committee on Finance and Public Expenditure, and Taoiseach on this issue. The Central Bank is dealing with the matter and is in discussions with Ulster Bank. Political pressure needs to be brought to bear, as was the case with the tracker mortgage scandal. Will the Taoiseach or the Minister for Finance do anything to raise these issues with Ulster Bank given that it put 2,141 Irish companies on death row because it was more profitable to do so?

As there is no programme for Government commitment on this specific issue, I will ask the Minister for Finance to reply to the Deputy.

I ask the Taoiseach about the most recent Health Information and Quality Authority, HIQA, report on foster care services in Ireland, which was published today. The report found a serious lack of compliance in foster care services in Cork. A report issued in February and a subsequent report issued today found a glaring lack of compliance with safety requirements and a lack of social workers. HIQA has produced 16 reports to date on foster care services in all the regions. The Department responsible for these services has received a headline budget allocation of €750 million. Will time be provided for a proper debate or statements on child care services, particularly in respect of fostering and the lack of resources, specifically for social workers, as well as the glaring lack of compliance with HIQA requirements?

The Oireachtas joint committee published a report on this matter a few weeks ago. I am sure a debate on the matters the Deputy raises would be timely but it would be a matter for the Business Committee to agree the time available.

Some Members feel I am not calling Deputies in order. I am calling either the party leaders or their representatives.

The House has spent many hours debating the ongoing housing crisis. There is, however, another national crisis, namely, in the assessment of needs for children. The Government is continually in breach of the Disability Act 2005. Not only is the system broken but many families are broken because they have not had access to simple assessments of need. A number of cases taken against the Government are before the High Court. The Taoiseach can expect a tsunami of further cases against the Government for breaking the law. I have a simple question. What will the Taoiseach do about this?

I thank the Deputy for his brevity.

I cannot comment on court actions under way. Perhaps this matter would be best dealt with as a question to the Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for disability.

Deputy Michael Collins is representing the Rural Independent Group.

I refer to the programme for Government at page 85 on care for elderly. In Leaders' Questions three weeks ago, I asked the Taoiseach about Bandon Community Hospital, a question he referred back to the Minister for Health, from whom I got no answer. Major works were completed in Bandon Community Hospital last August. Although December is approaching, the HSE has not adequately staffed the hospital, thereby leaving the elderly without respite care in the Bandon area. The Friends of Bandon Community Hospital have collected tens of thousands of euro from the public. It is a major disappointment to all to see this state-of-the-art facility left idle. Can the Taoiseach personally intervene in this crisis and get the new facility open to the public?

It is more suited to either a Topical Issue debate or a parliamentary question.

A Topical Issue, I think, but perhaps the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, may reply.

It is not in order but-----

That is an issue before the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC. There is a disagreement between unions and management in respect of staffing ratios.

That is all the leaders or potential-----

It is not at the HSE.

We are waiting for it.

Sorry, I call Deputy Eamon Ryan.

Under the Supreme Court ruling, we are due to introduce mechanisms to allow refugees the right to work before the end of this month. Did the Government approve of that today or has it put the matter back until next week's meeting? Will it need legislation or will it need this House to sign off on details and can the Taoiseach give an indication as to whether the Government is thinking of introducing restrictions, in terms of areas or timelines in which people might work, on foot of the Supreme Court decision?

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, the Deputy is correct in so far as this was the subject matter of discussion at Government this morning. I would be happy to furnish the Deputy with a copy of the Government's decision. I also would be pleased to have this matter debated in the House at the earliest opportunity. Matters are complete and the Government has formed a view which I will communicate to all Deputies at the earliest opportunity, perhaps before 5 p.m.

On a point of order-----

There are no points of order.

The programme for Government, at pages 96 and 97, talks of the refurbishment and provision of new stations which are "critical to delivering effective policing". I could not agree more. As Deputy Micheál Martin stated earlier, there is a serious issue in the regional Garda station in Sligo where an assistant commissioner sits.

We dealt with that.

We have had a debate here previously about the provision of a site for a new Garda station. Before one gets a new Garda station, what is the Government doing about the existing one? A commitment was given in October 2016, when it was condemned by the Garda's own health and safety adviser, to take remedial action. That has not happened. Yesterday, 101 gardaí walked out. They will not be going back. I am reliably informed the AGSI members are likely to do the same. Is Deputy Flanagan really a Minister in government telling me we are having problems selecting a site? I made an offer to the Minister here previously. If the Minister wants someone to get him a site, if he is not capable of doing it, I will get it for him but we must have a functional Garda station in Sligo that we do not have at present.

It has already been debated. It is a matter for a Topical Issue debate or a parliamentary question, unless the Minister wants to respond briefly.

It is down for Topical Issues.

I welcome Deputy MacSharry's interest in the matter and I would be happy to engage with him bilaterally.

Deputy McLoughlin on the same issue. Ministers may then offer it.

The sooner the better. The Minister had the offer two weeks ago in here.

On the issue highlighted by Deputy MacSharry, I have tabled two Topical Issues matters here, one taken by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, and one by the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, as well as five parliamentary questions. The Office of Public Works is near completion of its work in relation to a site. This is the route that we have got to take to ensure that we get this site announced as quickly as possible.

But Deputy McLoughlin announced a new Garda station in 2015.

Deputy MacSharry-----

That is three years ago.

Would Deputy MacSharry hold on for a minute now? There is somebody else here who has more information than Deputy MacSharry will ever have in that regard.

I hope the people in Sligo are listening.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, in 2015-----

They are anxious to get all the information Deputy McLoughlin has.

A public private partnership plan for 2017 to 2021 is the plan on which we are working, whereby we will have the site for the new Garda regional headquarters in Sligo.

In 2021; a new announcement.

The Minister, Deputy Flanagan, indicated that he will engage.

Once again, for the third time in the past half hour, I am most reluctant now to enter into the crossfire between two local Deputies on this issue but I would be happy to meet them.

I must inform the House that I will be cutting this short in about two minutes. The next on my list is Deputy Mary Butler.

In June of this year I was informed by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Paschal Donohoe, that a review was under way in his Department, as per the recommendations of the report of the interdepartmental group on fuller working lives. The review was to examine the statutory and operational considerations giving rise to barriers to extending participation in the public service workforce up to and including the current and planned age of entitlement to the State pension. The Minister promised the review at the end of the second quarter but we are now almost at the end of the fourth quarter. When can we expect this review to be published?

The work on that is almost complete. It has been complicated by the fact that public servants hired at different times have different contracts. Generally speaking, people hired before 2004 must retire at 65, those hired between 2004 and 2012 have no retirement age and those hired after 2012 have a retirement age of 70. The fact that there are three different contract groups has complicated the matter somewhat. I met the Minister for Finance yesterday and this was one of the matters we discussed. He intends to bring a memo or proposal to Government within two weeks.

If I were to continue as per my list, I would need another 30 minutes. The last two for today are Deputies Darragh O'Brien and Durkan. I will give all of the other Deputies on my list priority tomorrow because I expect to be in the Chair again then.

On page 64 of the programme for Government is a statement that the Government will drive down the costs of providing new treatments and drugs. I ask the Taoiseach to account for his Government's abject failure to introduce a coherent, effective and efficient way of introducing life saving orphan drugs such as Respreeza to Alpha-1 patients. Is the Taoiseach aware that one of the 21 patients who was on the Respreeza clinical trial died at the weekend and that some of the other 20 patients on the trial have been without this life saving drug for up to five weeks? A meeting was held by the HSE last Thursday. I ask the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health to intervene urgently to ensure that an arrangement is put in place so that this drug can be administered to these patients. This truly is a life and death situation. I spoke to two patients yesterday who are in fear of losing their lives because the drugs are being kept in a warehouse and are not being administered to those who need them. I respectfully ask the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health to intervene as a matter of extreme urgency.

I had intended to raise the same issue. That was my issue too, on behalf of the people -----

I know it is not parliamentary language, but the Deputy is a cute Kerryman.

It is an absolute scandal that the drugs are in a warehouse. We are not asking the Taoiseach but are begging him to talk to the HSE and to ask it to administer the drugs. On our knees, we beg him on behalf of these people. They are at home and they need this drug. They are like a stone in the water now. Their health is going down day by day. I know some of them personally. They are getting weaker and sicker. There is nothing worse than having a drug and then having it taken away. As a doctor and a former Minister for Health, the Taoiseach knows that what I am telling him is the truth.

I appreciate that this is a very sensitive issue for the people affected and for their families. I am very sorry to hear about a person having passed away with this illness. As a doctor and a former Minister for Health, I know why it is important that politicians do not decide which drugs are licensed or reimbursed or how much is paid for them. That is best decided using clinical evidence and the best advice from the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, NCPE, and the HSE. It is a matter that is decided on clinical and economic facts, based on the effectiveness of a medicine and how much is a reasonable cost for reimbursement. I will certainly ask the Minister for Health to provide the Deputies with further information.

The Central Bank (consolidation) Bill is promised legislation and should be brought before the House as a matter of urgency with a view to introducing a code of conduct along the lines of that described by Deputy Pearse Doherty a few minutes ago in order to control the activities of primary and secondary lenders who are now using the situation of increased equity to repossess properties and dispossess people who have been making mortgage payments, within their reach, over the past five or six years. Such people are now being treated badly by the lending institutions. Can the aforementioned Bill be brought before the House as a matter of urgency, in order to combat this activity?

We do not yet have a date for the publication of the Central Bank (consolidation) Bill but it is being worked on currently by the Department of Finance.