An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

I call on the Minister of State, Deputy Kyne, to announce the Order of Business.

Is é gnó an lae inniu ná Uimh. 19, tairiscint maidir le róta na hAirí i gcomhair ceisteanna parlaiminte (An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála agus An Roinn Cosanta); Uimh. 20, tairiscint maidir leis an 22ú tuarascáil ón gcoiste roghnóireachta agus maidir le ceapadh Cathaoirleach; Uimh. 21, tairiscint maidir leis an mBreitheamh Seán Ryan a cheapadh mar chomhalta ar an mBinse um Nochtaí Cosanta; Uimh. 37, An Bille um Shainmharcáil (Leasú) 2016 - Ordú don Tuarascáil, An Tuarascáil agus an Chéim Dheireanach; Uimh. 11 - An Bille um Fhorbraíocht na hAfraice (Banc agus Ciste) 2018 - Ordú don Dara Céim agus An Dara Céim; Uimh. 38, An Bille Rialtais Áitiúil 2018 - An Dara Céim (atógáil); agus Uimh. 39 - Tairiscintí Airgeadais ón Aire Airgeadais 2018, tairiscint 4 (atógáil). Is é Gnó Comhaltaí Príobháideacha an lae inniu ná An Bille um Bearta Tithíochta Éigeandála ar Mhaithe le Leas an Phobail 2018 - An Dara Céim.

Is é gnó na Céadaoin ná Uimh. 12, An Bille Leasa Shóisialaigh, Pinsean agus Cláraithe Shibhialta 2018 - Ordú don Dara Céim agus Dara Céim; Uimh. 11 - An Bille um Fhorbraíocht na hAfraice (Banc agus Ciste) 2018 - An Dara Céim (arna hatógáil, mura mbeidh sí críochnaithe roimhe sin); Uimh. 38, An Bille Rialtais Áitiúil 2018 - An Dara Céim (atógáil); agus Uimh. 39 - Tairiscintí Airgeadais ón Aire Airgeadais 2018, tairiscint 4 (atógáil). Is é Gnó Comhaltaí Príobháideacha na Céadaoin ná Uimh. 59, An Bille um Údarás Forbartha Bhaile Átha Cliath (An Lárchathair Thuaidh) 2018.

Is é gnó an Déardaoin ná Uimh. 12, An Bille Leasa Shóisialaigh, Pinsean agus Cláraithe Shibhialta 2018 - An Dara Céim (atógáil); Uimh. 11 - An Bille um Fhorbraíocht na hAfraice (Banc agus Ciste) 2018 - An Dara Céim (arna hatógáil, mura mbeidh sí críochnaithe roimhe sin); agus Uimh. 38, An Bille Rialtais Áitiúil 2018 - An Dara Céim (atógáil). Is é Gnó Comhaltaí Príobháideacha an Déardaoin ná Uimh. 60, An Bille um Chomhroinnt Saoire agus Sochair Máithreachais, 2018.

I refer to the report of the Business Committee dated 8 November 2018 in relation to today's business. It is proposed that the Dail shall sit later than 10 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 11 p.m. Nos. 19 to 21, inclusive, shall be taken without debate and any division demanded shall be taken immediately. No. 58 shall conclude within two hours. If there are no further speakers offering on No. 39 either on Tuesday or Wednesday, the financial motions shall adjourn.

In respect of Wednesday's business, it is proposed that:

(1) the Dáil shall sit later than 10 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 11.15 p.m.;

(2) No. 59 shall conclude within two hours; and

(3) No. 39 shall resume not later than 10.15 p.m. and the order shall not resume thereafter.

In respect of Thursday's business, it is proposed that if the proceedings on No. 12 conclude after the weekly divisions, and any division demanded shall be taken after the Order of Business on Tuesday, 20 November 2018.

Tá trí moltaí os comhair an Tí. An bhfuil an moladh maidir le gnó an lae inniu aontaithe?

Níl. Ba mhaith liom caint faoi sin. We have written to the Business Committee to ask for a slot of Government time, probably on Thursday, to have a full discussion on the Callinan-McCabe scandal because, despite what the Taoiseach says about the review, we are-----

Are you looking for a slot on Thursday?

We are still facing a situation where a senior garda had threatened a Member of-----

We have got the point. The Deputy does not have to elaborate.

-----the Oireachtas and is retiring-----

There is no need to elaborate.

-----on a huge sum of money. That is what people in this country think is disgusting.

There is no need to elaborate. We are all quite intelligent enough to know.

We are looking for a slot on it.

The Deputy is asking a question about a Thursday slot. I call the Chief Whip.

I am happy to discuss that on Thursday morning at 10.30 a.m. If there is a change to the order, that can be made on Thursday.

An bhfuil an moladh maidir le gnó an lae inniu aontaithe? Aontaithe. An bhfuil an moladh maidir le gnó an lae amárach aontaithe? Aontaithe. An bhfuil an moladh maidir le gnó na Déardaoine aontaithe? Aontaithe.

Deputy Cahill contacted me yesterday about a constituent of his who has been diagnosed with grade 3 cancer of the breast and had an appointment in the Mater hospital. I raise this in the context of the programme for Government, the cancer strategy and the timely attention to people in difficult situations. It is a very challenging diagnosis. The woman was given an appointment for 9 November last and was told to arrive fasting on that day at 7 a.m. She had to come up to Dublin the day before. People have to make arrangements when they are travelling from the country to Dublin hospitals. A phone call came to say the operation was cancelled along with 34 others because of some edict from on high. The Minister for Health was mentioned but I presume it was not someone at that level. There was a fear of overcrowding in the accident and emergency department and that there was a need to preserve beds and cancel what were considered to be elective procedures. No guarantees could be given as to when the procedures would take place or that such an event would not happen again.

This is not an uncommon phenomenon but it seems to be happening with greater frequency. It is an extremely worrying development because part of the success of cancer strategies has been the idea that elective treatment and treatment generally would be ring-fenced and that in the centres of excellence there would be timelines for treatment after diagnosis which would not be breached by the pressures that acute services can impose on a hospital. I am aware of other hospitals where there are breaches and the timelines that were originally set down for treatment in the aftermath of diagnosis are not being met because of pressures on the acute tertiary hospitals.

Is the Taoiseach concerned about that? Will he investigate the situation - I can give him the particular details - and the wider issue that arises as a result of such cancellations of urgent intervention which seem to happen more frequently?

I am very sorry to hear that lady's operation was cancelled. It must be particularly distressing if a patient is travelling a long distance or if he or she has been psyched up for a procedure or has to fast for a prolonged period. What the Deputy mentioned does happen. Operations are regularly cancelled, unfortunately, where overcrowding occurs in hospitals. That is done for good reasons. The Deputy mentioned that overcrowding in hospitals can have an impact on mortality and morbidity, and that is why elective operations are cancelled far too frequently.

With regard to the solution, first, bed capacity must be increased. An extra 250 beds were put into the system in the last year alone. We have proposals now to develop elective hospitals that do not have emergency departments so they do not get overwhelmed on a busy day and operations do not get cancelled. We have a bit of that already with Cappagh hospital and some other hospitals-----

We have those but it is the tertiary centres that deal with-----

-----and also moving more procedures to quieter periods, such as weekends, when hospitals are less likely to be overcrowded.

The Finance Bill is currently making its way through the Dáil and is due back in the House next week for Report Stage. In the aftermath of the budget, the leader of Fianna Fáil said he would seek additional tax breaks for landlords in the Bill. We never got to the bottom of what precisely those would be. However, I want to know whether the Taoiseach will provide a tax break for renters.

Yesterday's quarterly rental report from daft.ie shows rent has risen to an all-time high of €1,334 per month. In every single county in the State, the 4% rent pressure zone, RPZ, cap is being breached. In Galway city, a RPZ, average rent is 16% higher than in the same period last year. That is four times the 4% cap. Eighteen counties in addition to Galway show double-digit increases, including 20% increases in Limerick and Waterford cities. It is, therefore, time for the Taoiseach to accept that his approach to tackling spiralling rent increases has categorically failed. What we need if we are to tackle this crisis are an immediate three-year rent freeze and tax relief for tenants. Sinn Féin will reintroduce its amendments to the Finance Bill next week to provide such tax relief. The Government will then have the opportunity to do the right thing to help struggling renters, or it can do the wrong thing again alongside its partner, Fianna Fáil, and persist with introducing tax breaks for landlords instead. When this choice is made, we will then see whether the Taoiseach is on the side of renters or landlords. The choice is, of course, his. I would like to know whether he will support our amendments.

The Finance Bill proposes tax breaks for all workers - 1.5 million of them - as did the previous Finance Bill and the one before it.

For the average household, that has resulted in a reduced universal social charge and reduced income tax of approximately €1,500 per year. That is the equivalent of a monthly rent or mortgage payment for most individuals in our society.

Not if one is on low pay.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald's proposal is to give a tax break only to renters. She proposes to do nothing for people struggling with mortgages or people who are living with their parents and struggling to raise money for a deposit. She proposes nothing for people who perhaps own a home already but who are struggling with other bills, such as bills for childcare. That is the difference. The Deputy wants only to single out individual groups in society and appeal to them.

The difference is that I have asked about renters so it could be useful to respond on renters.

We want to do it for everyone.

In the third interim report of the disclosures tribunal, Mr. Justice Peter Charleton states Sergeant Maurice McCabe was "repulsively denigrated" for being no more than a good citizen and police officer. In those circumstances, the people are rightly angry and frustrated by the idea that the people's money would be used to fund former Commissioner Callinan's legal defence.

When this matter was raised, I asked if the Minister for Justice and Equality would come to the House for a discussion on it because there are legal difficulties involved. It is important that people are indemnified. Otherwise, the victim would get no money. There are many issues on which we need clarification. Will the Minister for Justice and Equality facilitate some type of interaction whereby we can ask questions and have clarity on this? It is a matter of great public concern.

I acknowledge what the Taoiseach and the Chief Whip said earlier in response to questions. I will be happy to engage in any form of debate the Deputies deem appropriate, be it by way of Topical Issue, general statements or time in that regard. I am in the hands of the Business Committee. However, the Government's priority is that the civil actions that have been issued by the former Garda sergeant, Mr. Maurice McCabe, against various interested parties would be settled at the earliest opportunity, having regard to the report of the disclosures tribunal and the comments of Mr. Justice Charleton. I met Mr. McCabe and his wife recently and I apologised again on behalf of the State. I also told him that I fully accept the findings of the tribunal. The next step is to proceed in conjunction with the legal advisers and the Attorney General towards a settlement of the civil actions. I remind Members - if they need reminding - that this is not something that will be discussed on the floor of the House.