Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017: Report Stage (Resumed)

Before we resume Report Stage I must inform Members that the Deputies who questioned whether amendment No. 10 in the name of the Minister should have been moved yesterday, following the defeat of amendment No. 8 were correct. Amendments Nos. 8, 10 and 14 form a composite proposal. As the division on amendment No. 8 was lost, technically amendment No. 10 should not have been moved. However, it was moved and was agreed on a division and, in accordance with established precedent, that decision cannot be revisited here. Any anomaly arising in the text of the Bill can be addressed, and will need to be addressed in the Seanad.

Amendment No. 14, also in the name of the Minister, has not been moved and cannot now be moved.

Furthermore, amendments Nos. 17 to 19, inclusive, 27, 54 to 57, inclusive-----

Could the Ceann Comhairle read them again?

Are we getting a list?

We will circulate a list. I will go back on that again. Amendments Nos. 17 to 19, inclusive, 27, 54 to 57, inclusive, 60, 62, 64, 93 and 95 are also consequential on amendment No. 8 and must fall with it. The same principle applies to amendments in the names of Opposition Deputies. Amendments Nos. 24, 43 and 63 are consequential on amendment No. 6 which was negatived and therefore they cannot be moved. These amendments are in the name of Deputy Jim O’Callaghan. Similarly, amendments Nos. 16, 28, 44, 59 and 86 are consequential on amendment No. 13, which was negatived, and therefore they cannot be moved. These amendments are in the name of Deputy Clare Daly. I am sure that is all very clear.

It is clear as mud.

We now have a problem here. How will the Seanad possibly interpret what the House was doing in the way it voted on amendments Nos. 8 and 10? I presume the Ceann Comhairle is suggesting that the Seanad will have to make some sort of decision in regard to those two amendments. It will then have to come back to the Dáil. Given the list of amendments which the Ceann Comhairle said have been ruled out of order, one would presume that the Bill will have to return to the Dáil after it has gone through the Seanad. I am perplexed as to how that could possibly work because the Bill will then undoubtedly have been amended by the Seanad. We would almost be going back to an entirely new Report Stage but with a different Bill from what we have here. It seems to me that there is a fundamental flaw in the Bill and rather than trying to squeeze it through the process, we should look to start the process again and do it properly. I presume the Seanad cannot consider the amendments which have been ruled out of order as they were not tabled by Members of the Seanad, so how will they be considered?

They can be reintroduced as amendments in the Seanad. In this situation it is obviously over to the Minister to consider how he is going to approach matters as the Bill goes to the Seanad. The amendments we are talking about here can be reintroduced. We cannot predetermine how the Seanad will address those amendments. Obviously the Senators will be briefed on what has transpired here. We have embarked on a process and, with the best will in the world, I do not think we can abandon it at this stage. We have to see it through to its conclusion. The Bill will inevitably present challenges both to the Minister and to the Seanad in terms of its arrival there. The Deputy is right. If the Bill is further amended in the Seanad, it will have to return to us. An extraordinary set of circumstances obtains here but we have to work our way through it. Perhaps the Minister will give us some advice on the matter.

It seems to me that the Ceann Comhairle has charted a course himself in his opening comments. Following the voting on a number of tabled amendments last night, it would appear that they raise a discrepancy. Having regard to that discrepancy and arising out of what has been agreed here openly, I feel that the only manner in which these issues can now be addressed successfully is in the Seanad - by successfully, I mean in a way that ensures we have legislation which does not have the inconsistency or discrepancy which it has now.

I do not hold with Deputy Ryan's views. We will proceed to Second Stage in the Seanad. It will be open to Senators, at their discretion and in their wisdom, to table amendments in accordance with the established practice and procedures of the Seanad. It is reasonable to say that there will be amendments which may attempt to address the inconsistency. Any amendments agreed will be the subject matter of a report from the Seanad to the House at a later stage. I am inclined to agree with the Ceann Comhairle's comments.

The Ceann Comhairle has certainly been vindicated in respect of his wisdom and his timely adjourning of the House last night. Time was needed to reflect on what had happened here yesterday evening and last night with the votes and the subsequent votes after decisions were made. These decisions are now very questionable. We are in what I would consider uncharted waters. Having received advice on this subject today, if the Bill leaves this House and goes to the Seanad and the Seanad is let do what it likes with it, the Bill will still have to come back here to us again. This is completely unprecedented. To say that it is an unmitigated mess would not be an exaggeration.

I do not think something like this has ever happened before in this way. That is why it is so important. One would have to question what we are doing with this Bill at all. What are we trying to achieve with it? What are we questioning? Why are we doing what we are doing? If any outside person who was knowledgeable of the legal process and the systems, checks and balances that are in place was to stand outside the Chamber, that person would now ask what these politicians are actually trying to achieve because what we have done so far is to make an absolute mess of it. The one person who has been highly vindicated is the person who christened this Bill a dog's dinner. It was probably the most apt description of a Bill that ever came before this House. Nobody can question his judgment, because his judgment and verdict on this Bill was 100% bang on and he has been proven right.

On the last point, the Attorney General called the Bill a dog's dinner but I do not think he even read the contents of the debate in the Select Committee on Justice and Equality. We would argue that we got a dog's dinner, that we tried to fix it and that it was not easy.

They tried to eat it and could not.

I do not totally understand the powers of the Seanad but am I right in thinking that, right now, there cannot be more than 13 members on this commission because of how we voted last night? Can that be overturned? That is my first question. If the Minister was honest about it he would have to admit that we are now dealing with poor legislation in an incredibly important area. Does he not think that we should go back to the drawing board, start again and do it right? Ploughing on with poor legislation is a poor form of government. It is not good and will not reflect well on us. Perhaps the Ceann Comhairle can answer my question. Will the commission now be confined to 13 members or can that be overturned despite the House voting for it last night?

Based on the vote here, the commission is fixed at 13 members. The Bill will go the Seanad where an amendment to increase the membership to 17 again can be considered. If that happens, the Bill will return to us here where we will have to make the final decision.

There is a general consensus that we are in a very unsatisfactory position. It is worth pointing out that it was the two amendments tabled by the Government, amendments Nos. 8 and 10, that gave rise to this difficulty. I do not see any way out of this other than the line being suggested by the Ceann Comhairle and which the Minister has advanced. We need to recognise that we need to take the element of trying to work to the Minister, Deputy Ross's timeline out of this. We know that the Minister is blocking the appointment of judges at present and that this Bill has to be passed in order for him to take away the prohibition on new judges being appointed. The Minister, Deputy Flanagan, and the Government need to wake up to the fact that the justice system in this country cannot be controlled and run by one Cabinet Minister, who is not even the Minister for Justice and Equality.

We need to recognise that this is a very complex area in which we are trying to set in place a new commission to advise the Government on the appointment of judges. Much more consideration needs to be given to it. What we cannot do is rush this into the Seanad, get a quick fix there, bring it back here and try to proceed as fast as we can in order to please one member of the Government.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, needs to assert his responsibility in respect of this area. He needs to identify a path for the Government and Oireachtas showing how we will reach a satisfactory resolution in respect of this matter. We need the Government to act with collective responsibility, as opposed to individual responsibility.

I am as confused as the rest of the Members. The optics of what has happened are certainly not good. Many amendments have been ruled out. I appreciate the Ceann Comhairle's position. We adjourned last night in disarray and he had to try to sort this out. I am not questioning his decision at all. He has informed us that several amendments, or up to 30, as far as I could make out, may not be moved. Certainly, the number is in the high 20s. The Ceann Comhairle mentioned that the matter might be dealt with in the Seanad, after which the Bill will return here. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, cut his teeth in the Seanad. I wonder where he is. He is not here tonight again. We all know this is his Bill and that the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, is shepherding it through like a substitute driver. When the tachograph period runs out, one has to get a different driver to drive the vehicle. One cannot stay driving after a certain number of hours. I do not believe there any laws in this regard when speaking in here. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport could well be here to let us know why he got us into this sorry mess.

Deputy O'Callaghan and others referred to the dog's dinner. I do not believe any dog would even eat the dinner as it now has such a vile taste. While the Minister might have had good motives when he started out, the Bill has just gone all over the place. It is off the tracks and is totally unwieldy. I mean no disrespect to my learned colleague, Deputy O'Callaghan, in saying the Minister's ambition might have been to rein in the King's Inns. That was probably his initial attack but, like a blunderbuss, he has widened it to many areas.

We all know the Minister has been and is holding up the appointment of judges. That was quite public. A number of judges have been appointed in spite of the Minister. To think that he might be holding up appointments considering the backlog of cases in our courts at all levels, from the High Court to the new Court of Appeal, is of concern. Cases are being fast-tracked in many cases, which is very strange. I am not a lawyer or legal expert but I know that while justice delayed is justice denied, justice rushed could also be justice denied. Hundreds of cases were held in a couple of weeks. This could be justice denied. I am quite alarmed. As I stated, we are in uncharted waters or unfamiliar territory. Should the Cabinet not withdraw this Bill and reintroduce it in a proper, structured manner that we would know about?

On the holding up of the appointment of judges, the Minister, Deputy Ross, is the same Minister who accused us of delaying the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill when we were representing our constituents. We were saying it was a mess of a Bill and not fit for purpose. That is all we were doing. We were trying to represent our constituents and point out obvious flaws in the Bill. It may be dealt with here tonight if the Bill under consideration is finished. These are two Bills that the Minister, because of his ego, is desperate to pass in the Houses in some form before he leaves office. This will be his monument. It is some monument and some legacy to leave this kind of mess.

So many amendments have been ruled out by the Ceann Comhairle because of what happened last night with amendments Nos. 6 and 10. While I had a number of points to add on this, I am just so all over the place now that I do not know whether we are coming or going. As I said, one Cabinet Minister should not be allowed to cause this kind of trauma and stress here. Deals were done with various parties to get this Bill over the line any which way, as the former Ceann Comhairle said last night. It is a desperate attempt to keep it alive, get it over the line, and get it into law and out to Áras an Uachtaráin.

I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy but a number of other speakers want to contribute. I do not want us to rehearse the whole thing. We are trying to get our heads around-----

-----how we can move forward from here. In fairness to the Minister, Deputy Ross, I should say, given that I am in the Chair, that he was criticised the last day for being here and he is now being criticised for not being here. I need to record that fact.

With all respect to the Ceann Comhairle, I was not here the last day so I did not know whether the Minister was here or not. I was told. Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi go raibh fear i dTiobraid Árann a bhfuil póca ina léine aige. He should be here. I would not criticise him for being here because it is his duty. He created this dog's dinner and he should be here to try to tame the dog and get him back into the kennel. We try to pass the legislation or deal with the amendments. I am not trying to hold up other speakers but am saying the Minister should be here. I did not criticise him for not being here. He was criticised for not being here but he should be big enough after what happened last night to be here and debate the Bill. He generated the Bill. I am sure most of the Government amendments have been submitted by him and his officials. I know there have been some fiery exchanges in the Cabinet over this, and I know there have been some with the staff of the Whip's office to try to get this in here at all costs. There were some fiery exchanges with myself. I had never spoken on this until last week when I was called-----

The Deputy is having a fair old say now.

I am and I am looking forward to much more of a say, but I wish the Minister were here to address some of the comments made last night and especially so I can seek an apology for what he said to me in front of my young daughter.

That was not in here, though.

It was not in here; I know that. It was in the building. I am just making the point that the Minister seems to have lost the run of himself completely and is still losing the run of himself. He is in hiding now. He fleetingly came in for votes last night and fled again like a scalded cat the minute the doors were opened. He could not be restrained for a minute in here.

The Deputy is straying into an area where he is out of order.

I did not believe I was. I am sorry if I am.

With regard to the two legal institutions, King's Inns and the Law Society in Blackhall Place, the solicitors' area, we need significant reform. Certainly, this Bill is not reforming either of them in a meaningful way. It is a mixum-gatherum now, or, as I said last night, a liquorice allsorts, and we have no sorts at the end of it.

I was here last night for the debate. I do not want to go through all the detail of it but I have to say it was utter confusion. Arising from that confusion, I will not say there is no clarity but that there is no great clarity on the process from here on. Looking at the very serious content and intent of this Bill, I believe it would be worthwhile giving consideration to withdrawing it and reintroducing it when fully thought out and when it deals with the issues that have arisen in the context of the debate on it up to now.

Part of the purpose of the Bill is to reform the way judges are appointed but there is no other offer of reform in the Bill. Legislation is more often questioned and challenged outside this House now and in that challenge, commentators reflect on the course of the debate in the House. This is a Bill that should not have any question mark over its passage. There should be no question mark whatsoever allowing legal eagles outside the House to pick holes in the Bill's content and in how it was dealt with and passed in here. It would serve us far better as legislators to concentrate on the complete withdrawal of this Bill and its reintroduction to the House when it is appropriately dealt with.

It reminds me of the case I mentioned last night and the outfall of it in terms of the imprisonment of a woman, Yvonne Walsh, in Mountjoy Prison. She cannot purge her contempt of court because she is not the person to do it. Grant Thornton continues to pursue her. She is 21 days in jail. Her two 15 year old children are doing the junior certificate. She is a lady who wants to comply with the courts. What has been set out for judges, and what has been set out in that case, is an example of very poor administration of justice. I was with her for an hour and a half, and I have to say this debate now is similar to the one she is encountering. The onus is on us to get it right. I appeal to the Minister to have some sense in regard to this, disregard the agenda of the Minister, Deputy Ross, focus on the intent of the Bill, be far more reforming in terms of its content and come back into the House and allow us have a proper debate on it. We should reach that decision quickly rather than go around in circles on it.

I have six other Deputies indicating. I think it is reasonable to put up two minutes each on the clock but it is not reasonable to go on about this all night.

Will the Minister respond?

Excuse me. He will in a minute.

He said he would not. Will the Minister respond?

Please, Deputy. In terms of the point the Deputy made about the referral of the legislation to the Seanad, it is a perfectly legitimate, normal process for legislation that has gone through this House to be referred to the Seanad for further amendment.

On a point of order-----

On a point of order, please-----

What is the point of order?

If the Ceann Comhairle will allow me make it, the point of order is that it is a perfectly legitimate process for the Bill to go into the Seanad but not a Bill on an issue like this that we cannot handle. It is like a hot teapot which we have to drop. We are sending the Bill to the Seanad-----

That is not a point of order.

-----but that is abdicating our responsibilities here to the Seanad and letting the Minister hide under the cosh. With no disrespect to the Ceann Comhairle, that is ridiculous. We are trying to get rid of the Bill as best we can, emaciate it by removing the amendments that are illegal, send the whole lot off to the Seanad for it to deal with and bring it back some other day for another debate.

The Deputy has made his point of order. I will hear the other Deputies who are offering and we will then go to the Minister for a response.

It is a fact that this Bill and the other Bill the Minister, Deputy Ross, has insisted on as his price for supporting the Government have held up the business of the country for the past number of months and are continuing to do so. There will be no account of the Minister, Deputy Ross, when this Bill is found to be wrong in the fullness of time but the Minister, Deputy Flanagan, is bringing the Bill forward. There is a money aspect to the Bill as well, which will cost the taxpayers more money to fund this change and set up a commission that will advise the Government as to who should be appointed to whatever judicial position is vacant and the Government may or may not go with that. In spite of its recommendations, which may cost €1 million a year, we could find that the elected Minister or the Government of the day will not go with whoever the commission advises should be put on the Bench. I could think of other things the money would be better spent on such as the people who must travel to Belfast on a weekly basis to get their eyesight back.

The Deputy's two minutes are up.

It could be used to improve Tralee courthouse, which the Minister visited last week, by doing the necessary work we have been waiting on for so many years.

Deputy, we could all recite a litany of things we would love money to be spent on but, in fairness, we cannot go into that now. The Deputy's two minutes are up.

I appeal to the Minister to drop this Bill because the blame will be laid at his foot and does he know who could be writing about it in a few years time? It will be the Minister, Deputy Ross, because that is what he has been doing for the past number of years and it would not surprise me if that is what he will be at in a very short time again.

On a point of order, I respect the Ceann Comhairle but under what Standing Order is he invoking the two minute rule?

If the Deputy wants me to invoke Standing Orders-----

No, no. I am just asking for clarification.

I took the personal discretion to allow contributions to be made. If I was to follow Standing Orders, there would be no contributions at all.

We are very grateful.

The Deputy should be very clear about that. If the Deputy wants me to follow Standing Orders-----

No. You are grand.

You are doing very well, a Cheann Comhairle.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for the clarification. That is all I wanted.

Good. I call Deputy Michael Collins.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle. I am delighted to get the opportunity to contribute for two minutes.

This is a holy mess and, to be honest, everyone in the country knows it is a holy mess. They were all talking about it last night. It is not of the Minister's making but, sadly, the finger will be pointed at him and as Deputy Danny Healy-Rae said, he can be damn sure the Minister, Deputy Ross, will be writing about him in a very short period of time. This mess is in the hands of the Minister, Deputy Ross, and he is not here to explain himself. He is hiding. This is an astonishing situation. To be honest, it is embarrassing and confusing in light of the fact that the Bill now has to go back to the Seanad. When we first debated this Bill a number of months ago, a vote was called. It was a Thursday. I remember that I voted a certain way and rushed back to a committee I am involved in, the Schull show committee. I got a text from the Minister, Deputy Ross, that night. I have no problem getting a text from the Minister. I am delighted to get a text from a Minister and I am easily able to text back. He was surprised at me that I voted in a certain direction and I told him that the Bill was confusing. I told him at that time that it was going in a direction that does not make any sense. I am only a young garsún inside here in the Dáil, and most people might say with very little understanding, but I knew at that time we were going in a certain direction that did not make any sense to me, as naive as I thought I was. However, it turns out that I was 100% correct in my assertion at the time.

I plead with the Minister to withdraw the Bill and throw it in the bin. The Minister, Deputy Ross, is the cause of what is nothing short of filibustering. He is using delaying tactics that are costing the State money and costing public representatives their time and energy in this House. He should come in here, explain his carry-on and the errors he has committed regarding this Bill. I ask the Minister please to give serious consideration to binning the Bill and let us get back to putting it right. He should talk to the Minister, Deputy Ross, and get him to bin other Bills also that are the cause of hardship and misery in this country.

There is obviously a degree of urgency to enact legislation around the area of judicial appointments. I understand there are a number of appointments that have not been made to the Court of Appeal and that dates for cases in the Court of Appeal are now being set in 2020. The first question I ask the Minister is whether judicial appointments now are effectively frozen because that is a political issue the Government has allowed happen on the one hand while, at the same time, we have to address this legislation.

The Ceann Comhairle's note indicated that if we were doing things again we would probably do them slightly differently and that after the Government's proposal to increase the commission membership from 13 to 17 was rejected, the subsequent amendments would not have been taken. As it transpired they were taken, and therein lies the confusion. While the Ceann Comhairle has said, and the Minister has agreed, that we can refer the Bill to the Seanad, amend it and revert to this House, the real concern is that if the Bill is subsequently challenged and the debate is referred to in terms of the intent of the Dáil, it then becomes very unclear because on the one hand we voted that there would be 13 members on the commission but on the other hand we added three additional members, being the Presidents of the Circuit Court and the District Court and the Attorney General. When that debate arises, the question will be whether it is 13 members and who the three additional people are replacing.

It has added serious confusion. The Minister knows as well as I that when a Bill is challenged in this way, it is frequently the case that the transcripts of the debate in the Dáil are needed in order to understand what Members were trying to deal with. I agree with Deputy McGuinness that the correct procedure would be to withdraw the Bill and start again properly. It would add the level of clarity that is required.

I asked the Minister about what will be the annual running cost of the commission, particularly when he said it was a 17-member commission. I alluded to a figure of €1 million and the Minister told me subsequently it was €500,000. I want to put on the record that this figure of €1 million comes from the explanatory memorandum. I do not want the Minister to think we are exaggerating the figure. They are the figures the Minister presented to the House.

I notice the Minister's body language, never mind that of the Ceann Comhairle, which is quite bemused at the events that are taking place. The Minister's body language has varied from a look of disquiet and being discommoded to a look of resignation to a look of being lost, exasperated, exhausted, anguished actually once or twice-----

The Minister is getting a free consultation.

Members of the public looking in will be very dissatisfied with this. I agree with what my colleagues said. There is an awful lot of confusion, particularly with regard to ministerial responsibilities. I raised that issue last night. I agree that the Minister should consider withdrawing the Bill and starting again. The latest proposal that arose in the past few days involves using the opportunity of the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill to bring in some changes relating to sentencing guidelines. While I welcome the sentencing guidelines, just blending them with this Bill seems inappropriate. People also took the opportunity during the debate to question the decisions of judges of particular courts without offering any particular evidence during that debate. That is quite scandalous. I was thinking about some of the statements that were made last night. We may come back to that again.

One issue I raised last night concerned the example of family courts, which are in camera. I have received suggestions from constituents that some of the decisions and behaviours of judges raised the need for supervision of judges. That is the kind of thing that could be included in the Bill. What the public will be most lost about is the fact that even after we go through all of this process, the Government may discount all the suggestions and recommendations made by this new proposed quango and actually make its own decisions relating to the appointment of judges.

All of us would agree with what my colleagues have said. This includes most of the parties in Opposition with the exception of Sinn Féin. I think this is an aspect of this as well. The Minister seems to be content with allowing a below-standard piece of legislation to be passed in a ham-fisted and amateurish way. It damages the Department and the Minister. The Minister is allowing the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport - by means of the comments he made over the past number of months - to damage our Judiciary. Can someone tell me which judges have been appointed incorrectly to courts in our country since Independence? The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has raised questions about appointments by saying that they were due to cronyism and political deals. Which judges does he think should not be serving right now? Which judges do Deputy Ó Laoghaire and Sinn Féin think should not be serving right now? That is the issue that is fundamental to what they want to do here in appointing a commission with a majority of lay people - of people who may very well have an axe to grind with certain members of the Judiciary. I put it to them that probably many members of Sinn Féin may have an axe to grind with certain members of the Judiciary as well.

What we are trying to do here is very serious. For the first time since 1995, the Government is changing how judges are appointed. I do not believe the system was broken and I do not think the Minister believes that either. At the whim of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and in order to keep the Government going with the support of Sinn Féin, which did not actually recognise many of the courts 40 years ago let alone the Judiciary itself, the Minister is willing to take a hammer and change how appointments are made. I really believe that the manner in which this debate has unfolded and also that in which these amendments have been dealt with mean that as part of a duty of care to ensure that legislation is robust, the Minister must withdraw the Bill and start again. When the public looks in from the outside at how this has been dealt with by the Department, it raises further questions about the latter and about the operation of the Cabinet and how it is proceeding, with the support of Sinn Féin, to fundamentally change how judges are appointed. What is being done is absolutely wrong. The Minister should withdraw this legislation now.

I want to try to be helpful if I can. I do not want to deal with the substance of the Bill. Rather, I wish to focus on the technical difficulties with which we are faced. It would be ludicrous to proceed on the basis that we accept that what we have done is flawed but we will continue with the process and expect the Seanad to clear up the mess in some kind of ham-fisted way. This is really an appalling vista, if that is not too strong a phrase. I have some sympathy for the Minister because I know the difficulties he has at Cabinet level and I know the issues he has with one member in particular and his band of merry warriors. I served with him in the Seanad and I know his form.

The thing that catches me out a bit is how this creates a problem for Sinn Féin because I am at a loss to understand how it is beholden to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. It entered into an agreement with the Minister for Justice and Equality in good faith and I understand that. I might not agree with it but I understand it. However, when an event happens, as happened last night, surely Sinn Féin will not continue with this charade of allowing the Seanad to clear up the mess created by this House. Surely Sinn Féin has more respect for its role as a key Opposition party and will not allow the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to engage in bullying because he is a member of the Cabinet. Surely Sinn Féin will call him out on that and support the House in seeking the withdrawal of the Bill.

Sinn Féin can support the contents and provisions of the Bill with which it has sought to agree. Whatever grubby deal it has done in some other way, it will get all of that in due course. It should, however, show some respect for the House for God's sake. We spoke for a long time about ensuring that those of us outside of Government would have some level of input into the workings of this House. The first opportunity Sinn Féin got, however, it has chosen to work hand in glove with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and bully the Minister opposite in order to drive ahead regardless of the mistakes that have been made. It can still get its way but it should show respect for the House, its procedures and the way in which legislation is or should be properly formulated. We should do the best we can do with it in this House. Fair enough, if something arises at a later stage, all the other checks and balances that exist can be applied. However, let us not let a Bill go out from here and say "Sure we know we made a mess of it and we'll let some other organ of Government or of the procedure and process tidy it up." I recognise that some of Sinn Féin's members are relatively new to the democratic process here but in respect of their understanding of it, I appeal to them to come on board in respect of this matter.

Unlike the recent Fianna Fáil speakers, I agree with Deputy O'Callaghan that the only sensible way forward procedurally is to proceed as the Ceann Comhairle has outlined. The Deputy's colleagues may not agree with him but I think that is the sensible approach. What happened last night was unfortunate. It was a combination of the sequencing of the amendments and then an amendment being tabled when perhaps it should not have been. Frankly, what has happened is not that unusual, albeit it is happening in the context of a more high-profile Bill that has been the source of particular discussion.

It frequently happens and any Deputy-----

It is important.

Yes, it is important.

It is not normal run-of-the-mill legislation.

If any Deputy thinks about it seriously, it is quite frequent for Ministers to pass through three Dáil Stages and indicate on Report Stage that they will introduce substantial amendments in the Seanad to deal with substantial policy issues. That is not unusual. It is not even remotely unusual.

He should not have to correct-----

It is not even the issue.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire without interruption.

The Seanad is being asked to resolve a complication between two amendments that is essentially mathematical. I know many Deputies do not have much respect for the Seanad, but-----

The Deputy's party campaigned to abolish it. What is he talking about?

-----I am sure it is well within the gift of the Seanad-----

-----to resolve this issue.

The Deputy is digging a hole.

It is well within the gift of the Seanad to resolve what is essentially a mathematical issue. During the course of these subsequent amendments, we will tidy up anomalies that currently exist and have nothing to do with last night's amendments, but to do with votes won by Deputies Clare Daly, Wallace and O'Callaghan on Committee Stage. They will rectify the inconsistencies that were created on that Stage. Those amendments will be discussed subsequently and will be resolved. After these amendments, the Bill will be in a better shape. Those Deputies who have been engaging with us on an ongoing basis will be aware of that. I believe the Ceann Comhairle is right that there is no other sensible way to approach this but to proceed carefully, judiciously and to pass the necessary amendments.

I know the Deputies are having a lot of craic, but hand in glove-----

It is not actually funny.

Deputy Darragh O'Brien is the one who is keeping them in there.

No inviting interruptions.

This is serious stuff.

The Ceann Comhairle said there is nothing unusual about passing legislation on to the Seanad where it can be amended, which is very true. However, we are in a completely unprecedented situation here where we are about to debate the remaining amendments which have not been ruled out of order without knowing the cornerstone substance of the Bill we are debating. We do not know if it will be a commission of 17, 13 or 16. We do not know if it will include the Attorney General, which is a not insignificant, substantive issue in the nature of the commission.

The Minister might outline how he intends to resolve the issue. Does he intend to introduce in the Seanad an amendment to remove the intention of having the Attorney General, the President of the District Court and the President of the Circuit Court or does he intend reintroducing an amendment to provide for 17 members or 16 members in a commission? If that is the case, we are putting the Seanad in a very difficult situation because it will be debating, for example, that amendment to have a larger number of members without knowing when it is returned back to this House whether the Members here would stick to the votes we made last night. For example, would Sinn Féin change its position as it voted last night against having 17 members? We are legislating here in the blind and we are asking the Seanad to legislate in the blind before it comes back here again.

The blind leading the blind.

That is not a proper legislative process. As Deputy Darragh O'Brien has said, it is a not insignificant constitutional responsibility. We have to get the appointment of the Judiciary right. This is not insignificant legislation. For it to be done in this unprecedented manner of uncertainty as to what we are doing, as to what the Seanad will do and as to what we will then do in reply is just nonsense. It must stop.

Members will recall last night that we were debating a large group of amendments, many of which were optional, many of which were alternatives, some of which were contradictory and some of which were consequential. A large number of amendments sought to change the composition of the commission to increase the membership of the commission, while at the same time maintaining a lay majority.

It is worth reminding Members as to what took place because there seems to be a difference of views here. I sought, by way of Government amendment, to have the two lower court presidents, the President of the District Court and the President of the Circuit Court, as full members of the commission and to reinstate the Attorney General for the reasons I outlined, not only on this Stage, but also in some detail on Committee Stage. My amendment No. 10 achieved that. I sought to replace the chief commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission with a nominee of that body who would be a layperson and my amendment No. 12 achieved that.

I also sought to increase the number of laypersons by one from six to seven. This was in the context of our debate where everyone was in agreement that we should have a broadly based commission. However, my amendment No. 14 would have achieved that if passed. I acknowledge now what the Ceann Comhairle has said. I fully accept his ruling that the discrepancy or contradiction - it is no more than that - which arises from the defeat of my amendment No. 8 would have changed section 10 to provide for a commission of 17 in place of a commission of 13 and the subsequent passing of amendment No. 10 relating to the addition of three members. Therefore, the effect of the defeat of amendment No. 8 and the passing of amendment No. 10 is what was agreed to in the House. It is inconsistent, but it was voted upon. I do not intend to withdraw the Bill because I believe we have a pathway forward, as outlined by the Ceann Comhairle at the commencement of this evening's debate.

I accept that it is not ideal, but I acknowledge the will and wishes of Members of this House as manifest in the vote. I listened with great detail to everyone's contributions and I now believe that the object of our exercise must be to move forward now with a view to addressing the inconsistency, and I believe we can do it. I welcome the positive disposition of Members who agreed that should be our priority. However, other Members have different views.

I wish to respond to a number of serious questions raised here. I welcome the contribution of Deputy Curran, a former Government Whip with some experience of the practice and procedure of the House. He made a point about the operational and set-up costs. He rightly referred to the explanatory memorandum to the Bill. However, he omitted to say that on Committee Stage we changed the architecture from how it appeared when the Bill was originally submitted. At the behest of the committee - again by way of lawful democratic vote - we removed much of the architecture that was going to consume some of the projected cost. The Department of Justice and Equality estimate it to be a little more than half of the amount to which Deputy Curran adverted. It will be in the region of €500,000 to €600,000. It is obviously very difficult to put an exact figure on it, but it is important for us to be familiar with the parameters.

There is no veto on the appointment of judges, nor should there be, nor can there be as far as Government is concerned with particular reference to the constitutional role and function of Government in this regard.

I might add, for the information of Members, that there is no change to the constitutional position on the appointment of judges. This advisory commission will recommend a number of names to Government but the constitutional and legal position will not change in regard to the obligation, power and authority on the part of Government to nominate, for appointment by the President, members of the Judiciary. There is no veto and there is no freezing, which is evidenced by a number of recent appointments that were well received in this House. I acknowledge the positive contribution of Members in that regard.

I agree with much of what Deputy Darragh O'Brien said. I do not agree with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in many of the comments he has made. I put that on the record last week when he was sitting beside me, lest there be any misunderstanding or misinterpretation of my comments. We agree to differ. We are members of different parties. We are together in a partnership arrangement and we have agreed a programme for Government. While I very much respect the entitlement of the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to hold an opinion, I do not agree with that opinion and I do not share his view. I acknowledge, of course, that this reforming legislation is in the programme for Government and, of course, the priority of any Government is to proceed with the implementation of its programme.

This is a Bill produced by the Department of Justice and Equality in accordance with the commitment given in the programme for Government. While I am pleased that we have made some progress, I am disappointed that we have not made the type of progress I and many other Members would have wished. However, I do not see the need for any rush. In fact, anyone who read the Committee Stage proceedings would be of the view that there are not too many items of legislation enacted here in the past couple of years that have been given such detailed consideration. That is testament to the authority of the justice committee, which I welcome. I am a democrat. I also welcome the fact we are operating in a minority Government situation.

This is important, reforming legislation. I urge Members to continue to work on it with a view towards improving it. Of course, I acknowledge that there is now an inconsistency but that inconsistency was a result of a democratic vote in the House last night. I voted in a particular way but a majority of Members in the House did not agree with that and, of course, I accept that. I agree with the Ceann Comhairle when he says there are now a considerable number of amendments that he feels should not, in the circumstances, be put. I believe that to be the correct course of action because the amendments that will not be put are the amendments deemed out of order. All of that is as a direct consequence of the actions we took last night.

In the normal course of events, that would occur in any event. However, the difficulty arises due to the fact we are left with an inconsistency. I believe there is a way in which that can be dealt with. I acknowledge what has been said in that regard by Deputies O'Callaghan and Ó Laoghaire, both of whom have been involved in the detail of this legislation since its publication. I am of the view that we can move forward on the matter of these amendments. Of course, I will accept the democratic wishes of the House as far as the endorsement, or otherwise, of these amendments is concerned, and we will then proceed to the Seanad. However, this will not be done in any rush or with any undue haste, but only having given the matter careful and due consideration. That is my obligation. As Minister for Justice and Equality, I have an obligation to ensure there is a duty of care, to quote Deputy Darragh O'Brien, and I take that role and function seriously. My duty of care is to enact a piece of legislation that is legally sound, constitutionally robust and workable, and I think we can do that.

I welcome the comments from the colleagues behind me and from Deputy Eamon Ryan in respect of the issues they raised. It is fair to say there is a certain amount of artificiality about what we are now proceeding to do. We are going to deal with amendments in respect of an item of legislation when we do not really know what the core commission will be constituted of. We are heading down a dangerous path.

There appear to be three options. There is the option put forward by Deputy McGuinness that the Bill be withdrawn. I understand the Minister has rejected that but perhaps he should reconsider it. The second option is that we go down the route outlined at the outset by the Ceann Comhairle. The third option is one we have not yet considered. It was the case that, yesterday, one of the amendments put forward by Deputy Wallace, amendment No. 7a, was tabled as a late amendment. Is it not possible that we could rise now and come back at a later time, when the Minister could bring froward further amendments which we would consider at that later stage? I ask the Minister to consider this.

I want to acknowledge the point the Minister made when he indicated the cost of the commission will not be €1 million, as identified in the explanatory memorandum, but will be reduced to €500,000 per annum. I want to commend the justice committee because, as a result of its work, according to the Minister, it has managed to reduce the running costs of this quango by 50% through its amendments. That needs to be recognised.

I, too, have listened to the Minister for Justice and Equality. I understand the predicament he is in and I thank him for his clarifications, especially those on why the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport cannot be here and on how he disagrees with his colleague. That is healthy in any democracy. Nonetheless, I am still very concerned. We are in uncharted waters and there are too many anomalies. While I do not want to disrespect the Ceann Comhairle in any way in regard to what he suggested, I believe the most honourable and respectful course of action for the Minister and the Government would be to withdraw the Bill at this time. As Deputy O'Callaghan said, there are three options. The second is to do as the Ceann Comhairle said and the third is to do what we did with Deputy Mick Wallace's amendment No. 7a last night. It is very strange territory, particularly given the genesis of the Bill. I also acknowledge the work done by the justice committee in regard to amendments. The spectacle here last night was totally unsavoury and while I am not blaming anyone for that, there was utter confusion. Although the Minister for Justice and Equality is responsible for marching the Bill through the Houses, the Minister who designed it, and who has got his paw marks and fingerprints all over it, is as láthair - absent. I am sure he is up in his office watching this in order to know what we are saying about it, but he is now like an absentee landlord from the hills of Killiney. He is out there like the lord of the manor.

Deputy Mattie McGrath used to be such a good friend of his.

The Deputy used to spend a lot of nights out there.

I was. I never denied that - never deny the bridges you go over, and praise the bridges you go over. That is what he is like now. He is like the man up on the hill of Howth, looking down on the peasants. We are here discussing his mess, and a damn fine mess he has created. It should be withdrawn. I appeal to the Minister to withdraw the Bill and give it back to the drafters and the Department to try to amend it. If we give it to the Seanad and it sends it back to us, not knowing what we are going to do, the whole thing is ridiculous.

We, as much as our colleagues on the justice committee, have given this massive, careful and due consideration and I agree with the points made by Deputy Wallace that it has to be withdrawn. What was put out there, with absolute fanfare, as the supposedly greatest radical reform in appointments to the Judiciary in the history of the State has turned out to be an absolute and utter debacle in terms of what went on here last night. It actually copper-fastens political influence in the process and makes for more political interference than existed previously. While the Minister said that what we are doing here is legally sound and workable, I do not think he can say that because we are buying a pig in a poke.

In fact, such was the mess last night, we do not know what we are buying here. We know that side deals are being done and people are being brought on side with various commitments but that makes a nonsense of what is one of our most important areas of work, because the role of the Judiciary is absolutely critical.

While I do not think the amendments were perfect, nor do I think they were dreadful but the scenario we have got ourselves into is worse now. It would be best all round to withdraw the Bill because people have been contradicting themselves. Last night, Fianna Fáil, the Green Party and the Labour Party voted to reduce the numbers and then voted to put three extra people on. It is absolute lunacy. Sinn Féin Members were doing side deals. They said on the record that they would vote for the position outlined in Deputy Wallace's amendment, in which the presidents of the District and Circuit Courts would be put back in, but that they did not want the Attorney General in and wanted a lay majority. Although this was provided for in Deputy Wallace's amendment, they did not support it because they had done a deal with the Government, presumably on sentencing, which will not be really enforceable anyway.

The Minister says this was not rushed and that we are not being hasty with amendments being brought back here. This time last year, the Minister's predecessor sat down with the heads of the Department of Justice and Equality and committed that the number one item of priority legislation was on mandatory inquests in respect of maternal deaths, in the form of the proposed coroners (amendment) Bill. We discussed the timescale and the possibilities for its enactment by last summer, not this summer. I raised it with the Minister and raised it with the Taoiseach in February, who told me it would be published that month. The Minister told me in March it would be published later that month but there has been nothing. Where is the rush there? This is a nonsense, particularly when one sees the Judicial Council Bill 2017 languishing in the Seanad. That is an opportunity for real reform but we get this nonsense. It is a disgrace.

I am very disappointed that the Minister is not minded to withdraw this Bill. The Judicial Appointments Commission Bill 2017 is now discredited. I have my political manners and I place great significance on the fact that Fianna Fáil is not happy with this. Fianna Fáil Members are the people helping to keep the Minister in his position in Cabinet and the Government in place and if they are not happy with this Bill, it is in serious trouble. It is not just Fianna Fáil looking for it to be withdrawn. There are people on the Independent benches who have worked diligently in their roles and many have concerns over this farce, and not just because of the confusion and disarray of yesterday evening and today.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle has a lot of experience and he knows that there is a bad smell of trouble in this Bill. Sometimes, when a thing looks bad and smells bad, it is bad. I strongly advise the Minister to go back to Cabinet and ask what the Government is doing. He is on a folly and sometimes, when a person is in a hole the correct thing to do is stop digging. After hearing the Minister speak tonight, I have the feeling he is in a position of trying to defend this but does not want to be in that position. He knows he is trying to defend the indefensible.

It is wrong and it is unfair that the person who is proposing this, who has masterminded it and who wants it to go through, is not here. He should be here and should not be leaving the Minister to hang out to dry and to face questions from all of us.

I remind Deputy Danny Healy-Rae that he has already spoken.

I watched the debate last night on the monitor in the office and I have been down here for the best part of 45 minutes. It appears we are trying to unscramble eggs but are not making too good a job of it. We are going around in circles time and time again and, as a number of Deputies have said, we find ourselves in a place we do not want to be.

This matter is extremely important, in that it deals with judicial appointments in the future. The manner in which this debate has evolved over the past number of months will have been alarming to people looking in from outside. The Attorney General, who was advising the Government on legislation, described the Bill as a dog's dinner and that was borne out yesterday evening. The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross, had to have crisis talks on this legislation but it is an awful pity he does not have crisis talks on critical legislation that is needed within his own Department. A second runway at Dublin Airport is under construction but we do not know whether it can be in operation when construction is finished because, for 18 months, the Minister has dithered over who the competent authority was going to be. In the past three months, he called in party representatives over a new competent authority and we are still awaiting legislation on that.

That is another matter.

We still await legislation on the varying of the speed limits on the M50, something which Transport Infrastructure Ireland, TII, has said will help with traffic congestion in our capital city. It would be far better if the Minister for Justice and Equality took full responsibility for this legislation, told the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to butt out and to do the job which he was given the seal of office to do, withdrew this Bill and did it properly in order that we could have robust legislation. Let the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport come into this House and deal with a Bill he has been trying to bring through the House for the best part of 18 months but has been unable to, namely, the drink-driving legislation he initiated in February last year. If he cannot bring his own legislation through the Dáil, the Minister for Justice and Equality should not let that Minister bring him down in respect of his own legislation.

Members who were present will recall that the Ceann Comhairle made a statement to the effect that the anomalies cannot be dealt with here but will have to go to the Seanad and come back here. There were suggestions in respect of amendment No. 7a but Members know they cannot address amendments to an earlier part of the Bill that we have passed. The Ceann Comhairle has allowed a debate on this but there is no motion.

On a point of order, at what Stage does it come back to the Dáil? Does it come back on Report Stage when it resumes or is it on Committee Stage?

It comes back on Committee Stage.

In that case, we will be able to do Committee Stage, Report Stage and Final Stage on those amendments again.

I thank the Deputy for his question, which has helped to clarify the point.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle said specifically that amendment No. 7a, in the name of Deputy Wallace, could not be addressed, that the Ceann Comhairle had made a ruling and we are where we are. The confusion still exists, however. We are still discussing a Bill and amendments without knowing whether there are to be 13 or 17 members of the commission. We do not know if the Attorney General is to be a member of the commission but the Minister realistically and honestly expects us to conclude the Bill. There is another option and it is still available, even if amendment No. 7a is not.

The option is still there for the Minister to withdraw the Bill. It could then be reintroduced. That would be the cleanest, most honest and most direct thing to do rather than discussing a Bill where the central part - the establishment of the commission - is so confused. The attempt to conclude the remainder of it is a mistake. The Minister, Deputy Flanagan, still has the option to withdraw this Bill.

Let us decide now.

Put it to a vote.

Can I come in on a point of order?

The Deputy cannot.

On a point of clarification.

No, nor a point of clarification.

How are we going to clarify it?

I will clarify. The Bill will come back to a Committee Stage debate in plenary-----

In plenary, here in the House. There is no point in us procrastinating any further. It is very clear what is happening. The only person who can withdraw the Bill is the Minister. There is no-----

We are asking for that.

That is what we are asking for.

There is no motion before the House in respect of that. The Minister is the only one who can do that and I understand that he is not going to do that.

He will not bring down the Government. He does not want to go to the electorate.

Amendments Nos. 14 and 15 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 16, 17, 18, and 19, inclusive, cannot be moved as they have already been discussed.

Amendments Nos. 16 to 19, inclusive, not moved.

Amendment No. 20 in the name of Deputy Wallace has already been discussed with amendment No. 6. Where stands amendment No. 20?

Am I allowed to speak on it again?

No, it has already been discussed.

I move amendment No. 20:

In page 11, to delete lines 23 to 29.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 47; Níl, 56; Staon, 1.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Curran, John.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Lahart, John.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Níl

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brady, John.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Staon

  • Ryan, Eamon.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Clare Daly and Mick Wallace; Níl, Deputies Joe McHugh and Tony McLoughlin.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 21:

In page 11, line 27, to delete “or”.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 94; Níl, 4; Staon, 1.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Níl

  • Collins, Michael.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • McGrath, Mattie.

Staon

  • Ryan, Eamon.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe McHugh and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Mattie McGrath and Danny Healy-Rae.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 22:

In page 11, line 29, to delete “section or.” and substitute “section 13(1) or (2), or”.

Amendment put.

Will the Deputies claiming a division please rise?

Deputies Michael Collins, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae and Mattie McGrath rose.

As fewer than ten Members have risen, I declare the question carried. In accordance with Standing Order 72, the names of the Deputies dissenting will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil.

Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 23:

In page 11, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:

“(c) in the case of a member referred to in section 10(1)(g), without the need for a new nomination by the nominator referred to in section 12(8).”.

Amendment put.

Will the Deputies dissenting who are claiming a division please rise in their places?

Deputies Mattie McGrath, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae and Michael Collins rose.

As fewer than ten Members have risen in their places, I declare the question carried. In accordance with Standing Order 72 the names of the Deputies who have claimed the division will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil.

Amendment declared carried.

I now want to give an opportunity to Minister of State, Deputy McHugh.