An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

Craoladh i dtaobh Ghnó na Seachtaine: is mar a leagtar amach é sa Tríú Tuarascáil Athbhreithnithe ón gCoiste Gnó dar dáta an 25 Márta 2019 a bheidh gnó na seachtaine seo.

Craoladh i dtaobh Socruithe Beartaithe i gcomhair ghnó na seachtaine seo: I ndáil leis an ngnó Dé Céadaoin, beartaítear: (1) Go dtógfar Mír a11, Tairiscint chun Treoir a thabhairt don Choiste ar an mBille um Chlárú Sibhialta, 2019, gan díospóireacht agus go dtógfar láithreach aon vótáil a éileofar ar an gcéanna; agus (2) Go gcuirfear tús le Mír 29, Ráitis tar éis an chruinnithe den Chomhairle Eorpach an 21-22 Márta, de bhun Bhuan-Ordú 111 díreach tar éis Ceisteanna chun an Taoisigh agus cuirfear an suí ar fionraí ina dhiaidh sin faoi Bhuan-Ordú 25(1) ar feadh aon uair an chloig. Tabharfar na Ráitis chun críche tar éis 1 uair an chloig agus 45 nóiméad, mura mbeidh siad críochnaithe roimhe sin, le Ráitis ó Aire nó Aire Stáit agus ó phríomhurlabhraithe na bpáirtithe agus na ngrúpaí, nó ó chomhalta a bheidh ainmnithe ina n-ionad, nach rachaidh thar deich nóiméad i ngach cás. Tógfaidh Aire nó Aire Stáit ceisteanna ar feadh tréimhse nach faide ná 20 nóiméad, agus tabharfaidh Aire nó Aire Stáit freagra cúig nóiméad, agus féadfaidh gach comhalta am a roinnt.

I ndáil leis an ngnó Déardaoin, beartaítear: 1. Go suífidh an Dáil níos déanaí ná 8.03 p.m. agus go mbeidh Saincheisteanna Tráthúla ar siúl ar Gach Céim de Mhír a1, An Bille Iascaigh Mhara (Leasú), 2017 [Seanad], a thabhairt chun críche nó ar 5.25 p.m., cibé acu is déanaí; 2. Go dtógfar Mír 11 gan díospóireacht; agus 3. Go ndéanfar na himeachtaí ar an Dara Céim de Mhír a1 a thabhairt chun críche tar éis dhá uair an chloig, mura mbeidh siad críochnaithe roimhe sin, agus go dtógfar láithreach aon vótáil a éileofar ar an Dara Céim a chríochnú. Ní rachaidh Ráitis ó Aire nó Aire Stáit agus ó phríomhurlabhraithe na bpáirtithe nó na ngrúpaí, nó ó chomhalta a bheidh ainmnithe ina n-ionad, thar deich nóiméad i ngach cás, le deich nóiméad do gach comhalta eile agus tabharfaidh Aire nó Aire Stáit freagra cui nóiméad, agus féadfaidh gach comhalta am a roinnt. Tabharfar na himeachtaí ar Chéim an Choiste agus ar na Céimeanna Eile chun críche le haon cheist amháin tar éis aon uair an chloig, mura mbeidh siad críochnaithe roimhe sin, agus ní bheidh iontu, i ndáil le leasuithe, ach na cinn sin a bheidh arna gcur síos nó arna nglacadh ag an Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara.

Go raibh maith agat. In light of that report, there are two proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Wednesday's business agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Thursday's business agreed to?

I have a difficulty with the proposal for Thursday's business, which the Labour Party representative on the Business Committee, Deputy Brendan Ryan, raised at the most recent meeting. It is proposed to take all Stages of the Sea-Fisheries (Amendment) Bill 2017 in three hours on Thursday. This Bill was introduced two years ago and was put on hold at that stage. The Bill is currently still before the Seanad and I understand that clarification is to be provided by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in that House tonight. Letters are to be read into the record and so forth. In that context, it is entirely unacceptable that we would schedule legislation before it has concluded in the Upper House, particularly when that legislation is contentious. This Bill was withdrawn two years ago and for the benefit of those who do not understand, it aims to put a legal form of voisinage in place, that is, a neighbourhood agreement between Northern Ireland and the Republic in terms of sea fisheries. The idea of fast-tracking it was to have it completed in advance of the exit of Britain from the EU, which was expected this Friday but that is not going to happen now. We have some time to deal with this legislation and my party is seeking clarification on a number of points. I ask the Taoiseach to allow some reflection on all of this. It is something about which we can build consensus in this House because a neighbourhood agreement is important. The Taoiseach already stated earlier that the Government is preparing to compensate fishermen in this State in the event that they are excluded from UK waters. I ask that we would not schedule all Stages of this Bill this week. Perhaps we could deal with Second Stage on Thursday, but we should not conclude the Bill-----

Let us ask the Chief Whip if-----

It is a matter for the Business Committee rather than the Government, of course.

It is Government Business.

This is, of course, a matter for the Business Committee but I would like to comment, if I may. This is about restoring the status quo ante. It is about restoring an arrangement that existed-----

That was knocked down by the courts-----

I know. We want to restore the status quo ante to what existed from the 1960s until 2016, which was reciprocal rights. At the moment, vessels from the Republic of Ireland can travel north, into Northern Irish waters and fish within the six-mile limit but vessels from Northern Ireland cannot do the reverse.

That might not be true after Brexit.

That is not right. We should not have a hard border on the land or in the sea. In terms of basic fairness, we should have reciprocal rights.

Has the Taoiseach read the High Court judgment delivered last Friday?

The judgment said that considerable damage was done-----

The original court judgment-----

We need debating time.

The original judgment recommended putting legislation in place and that is what we are doing.

Allow the Chief Whip, please.

This matter was raised by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Creed, prior to the recent break. It was sent out and scheduled by the Business Committee over the break as well. The Taoiseach has outlined the reasons behind it. On departure from the EU, access to fisheries in UK waters, as a third country, will be a matter for the EU to negotiate on Ireland's behalf. If the voisinage arrangements are operational at the time of departure, which would require successful enactment of this Bill, it is likely that the EU will recognise the arrangements as pre-existing and bilateral. This is a Brexit imperative and that is why the Business Committee agreed that it would be fast-tracked. I accept that it is only being dealt with in the Seanad today.

My point is that it will not happen by this Friday.

The intention was to ensure that it would be passed by 29 March, which was the original Brexit date.

It is no longer the date of Brexit. I ask again that we take Second Stage this Thursday and take Committee Stage and Report Stage next week when we have had time to reflect further on it.

Is the Government conceding on this? It is business in Government time.

The Business Committee has decided on it.

They do not know what they are doing.

Yes, the Business Committee has decided on it.

The Rural Independent Group did not agree with the decision. We support Deputy Howlin in his bid.

We will do a ring around of the Business Committee this afternoon to clarify what is the position.

Was there not a decision taken by the Business Committee?

It was, but a lot of decisions have been taken by the Business Committee.

I know, but there should be a proposition put to the House that should be taken.

Has any Member a proposition to put to the House?

The Business Committee has.

I have made a proposition to the House: that we take Second Stage this Thursday and allow the follow through next week. There is no imperative because Brexit will not happen on Friday, which is why the Friday date was originally put in.

There is no rush about this.

There is as much clarity-----

The ring around was made and it was agreed by the majority of the Business Committee to schedule as is.

Can another ring around be done?

Okay. It was agreed to schedule as is. I put it to Deputy Howlin that the position is that he can vote against the proposal. Is the proposal for taking Thursday's business-----

It is all well and good for the Minister of State, Deputy Kyne, to be so flippant with the livelihood of fishermen-----

There are a lot of people involved in this and a lot of fishermen. It is not just-----

Please Deputies.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with Thursday's business be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 87; Níl, 28; Staon, 0.

  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • English, Damien.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Michael Collins and Brendan Ryan.
Question declared carried.

There are 21 minutes remaining and 21 Deputies offering. I ask Members who are not participating to vacate the House quietly, please.

In the programme for Government there is a commitment as follows: "We will consider directly elected mayors in cities". From next Friday it is eight weeks to the plebiscites on having a directly elected mayor in the cities of Cork, Limerick and Waterford. It was only last week when a memorandum outlining the potential powers of a directly elected mayor was revealed, to some extent. There are indications that some Ministers, including the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, and the Attorney General have difficulties and reservations about the proposals. I put it to the Taoiseach that there has been the absence of preparations or planning for the plebiscites and that as such there is a very low level of awareness about them among the public. It is not evident in any of the cities that there will be a plebiscite in eight weeks' time on a measure that will fundamentally change local government. I support the concept of directly elected mayors. Given the level of incompetence displayed by the Government in preparing for the plebiscites, a serious question mark must hang over whether they should proceed. I see no proposals before the public and no information before it such that on polling day people will be asking the question, "What is this all about?"

I accept that we need to make sure there will be adequate information available before people go to the polls. We have eight weeks in which to do so. The policy paper was approved by the Cabinet last week and there will be a public information campaign to explain what is being proposed. Needless to say, even though it is not a referendum in the constitutional sense, we will be applying the McCrystal rules. Therefore, we will not be able to use any public money to advocate, but there will be a public information campaign to explain to people how the offices will work.

The children's rights referendum.

Point taken. We need to make sure people will understand what they are being asked. Eight weeks is enough time, but we will get on with that work quite soon.

Sinn Féin has consistently advocated the view that there is a need for sentencing guidelines to address sentencing that is inconsistent, inappropriate and, in some circumstances, wholly inadequate.

This can happen in sentencing for a wide range of offences, but there have been several cases of sexual offences where the sentence has been difficult to comprehend. We have prioritised the issue and negotiated with the Government for sentencing guidelines to be provided for in the Judicial Council Bill 2017. I understand that amendments prepared on foot of our proposals are ready for publication. Will the Taoiseach give a date for the publication of the amendments and a date for the taking of Committee Stage of the Bill?

I accept that there is an element of public concern about the matter, along the lines of what has been suggested by Deputy McDonald, and that there is a need for greater consistency. I am at an advanced stage of settling a series of amendments, which I expect to have finalised and published within the next week.

For a number of years, my Labour Party colleagues and I have raised the issue of bogus self-employment, where workers are being persuaded to register themselves as self-employed when they evidently are not. Millions of euro which could be collected as PRSI are being lost to the State, while many thousands of workers are disadvantaged. As the Taoiseach will know, my colleague, Senator Nash, has brought legislation to deal with the issue to the other House. I understand that the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection has brought a memo to the Government on the issue. What concrete measures are proposed by the Government, and when will we see legislation to outlaw this unacceptable practice?

The Deputy is correct that the matter was discussed at the Cabinet meeting today, and it was also discussed last week at the Labour Employer Economic Forum with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Irish Business and Employers Confederation. We acknowledge that there is an issue with bogus self-employment in some sectors but it is worth pointing out that the most recent labour force survey shows that the number of people who are self-employed is going down. The idea, therefore, that there is a massive drift from regular employment to self-employment is not supported by the facts. Among the measures that were approved today is an amendment to the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 to strengthen the powers of the Department's deciding officers to determine whether someone is self-employed, protections against victimisation by people who say they are bogusly self-employed, as well as the establishment of a dedicated unit within the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to carry out greater inspections. Unfortunately, however, we cannot support the Deputy's Bill as proposed because the Attorney General has advised us that it would give quasi-judicial powers to the Workplace Relations Commission, which would not be constitutional.

My question relates to the implementation of the so-called Tyrrelstown amendment, which is aimed at preventing mass evictions of tenants by landlords seeking to sell with vacant possession. There is a terrible situation in Tallaght, which may be one of the first tests of the legislation. In Exchange Hall, more than ten families have received eviction notices. They are mostly people who work in Tallaght Hospital next door, they rely on a network for support of one another, and if they are evicted, they will find it very difficult to find other affordable accommodation. It is clear that the landlord's motive is greed and that it is seeking to maximise profit and selling price by selling with vacant possession, given that the properties are being advertised as such. The tenants are correctly organising and refusing to be evicted, and they will make a complaint to the Residential Tenancies Board, RTB. Does the Taoiseach agree that the eviction notices should be withdrawn, and does he consider it appropriate that the tenants should be forced to approach the RTB to prevent the landlord from breaking the law?

The RTB exists to adjudicate on tenants' rights and landlords' rights when there is a dispute. There was recently an adjudication on the Tyrrelstown amendment, in which its interpretation and intention were shown to be robust and the amendment was deemed to work. Of the two thresholds that needed to be met, one passed because it was found that it would result in a significant decrease in the value of the property if it was unable to be sold, but in the case of the other threshold it was found that it did not necessitate undue hardship on the person selling the property. While the amendment is relatively new, in the first test it has undergone it has been shown to be successful. Nevertheless, we must keep it under review to ensure that it continues to work in the different cases that arise in the future.

I raise the decision to remove the post office in Liberty Square in Thurles town. An Post will not listen to anybody but the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, is present and I hope that he will listen to the people. A large protest march will take place in the town next Friday morning. The people of Thurles town, especially the business people, do not want the post office to be moved out to the shopping centre. It is a case of big business once again swallowing up ordinary people's-----

The Deputy could be speaking about any post office in the county.

The post office in question is a major one. We have closed enough of them without closing one in the town that is viable and beneficial in the square. It cannot be moved from Liberty Square and it must be left there. The Minister cannot wash his hands of the matter like Pontius Pilate. The Government is responsible and it will know about it come election time.

I call Deputies Cahill and Lowry on the same matter.

The national planning framework for 2040 is an initiative of the Government to support town centres but a semi-State body is flying directly in the face of that. A business man is prepared to buy from An Post the post office building in Thurles, which is a listed building, refurbish it to the highest possible standard and lease it back to An Post. The Minister must direct An Post to allow this to happen because if the closure is allowed to proceed, it will decimate Liberty Square in Thurles.

Will the Minister facilitate a meeting between the Oireachtas representatives for County Tipperary and the chairman and chief executive of An Post to explain the logic, rationale or basis on which An Post is making the decision? It has caused much consternation, particularly among the business community and older people who use the existing post office.

An Post is a commercial State company. It is responsible for its day-to-day decisions and is undertaking a major reorganisation of its services. In that context, it wants to improve the services it provides in Thurles and intends to expand those services in a new premises. I do not have a role in that decision. If Deputies are anxious to call the chairman or chief executive before an Oireachtas committee, that is their right. The company is seeking to deliver a better service for the people of Thurles, which is its motivation, and it is answerable for its decision to its board.

Bhí sé i gceist agam ceist a chur chuig an Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara, ach níl sé anseo. Mar sin, cuirfidh mé an cheist chuig an Taoiseach. Will the Taoiseach provide an update on the application for the shellfish licence in Kinsale, and will he guarantee that the concerns of the local people, residents and clubs will be taken into consideration when the decision is being made?

Tá brón orm, ach níl aon eolas agam faoin ábhar sin. I will ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Creed, to provide a more detailed reply for the Deputy.

The Garda Síochána (compensation) Bill has been promised for some time. I understand that the heads of the Bill were approved in 2017. When is it likely to come before the House?

The Bill is unlikely to appear during this term. I will communicate directly with the Deputy with more precise information but it certainly will not appear in the next couple of months.

In 1996, the family of Joyce Quinn were devastated when their loving and beloved wife and mother was brutally raped and murdered. The communities of Milltown, Kildare town, the wider County Kildare and the country were appalled when everything about the horrific murder emerged. The family, who have had to live with their loss ever since, now have to deal with the possibility of the murderer being released on parole. Milltown and Kildare town are small communities and it would be devastating for the family members to have to deal with facing Joyce's murderer. Three years ago, my colleague, Deputy O'Callaghan, introduced the Parole Bill 2016, which would, among other measures, provide for restrictions to be imposed on released prisoners, such as restricting them from certain areas or from being near certain people. Unfortunately, however, the Bill remains sitting on Committee Stage. When will it proceed through Fourth and Fifth Stages and be enacted? It is important in order that families such as the Quinns and others in such devastating circumstances will not have to be faced with such a scenario.

While it would be inappropriate of me to comment on an individual case, which I am sure the Deputy will accept, the Parole Bill 2016 is a priority in my Department.

There are ongoing discussions with the promoter of the Bill, Deputy O'Callaghan, who has been kept fully informed and is assisting with the drafting of some amendments which are necessary to facilitate further passage of the legislation. I accept what the Deputy has said and am keen to progress matters over the next few months.

This is a question to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. It relates to the lack of progress on the publication by the Government and the Minister of a redress scheme to support homeowners who are affected by defective mica-affected blocks in County Donegal. Almost 5,000 were identified in an expert panel report. It is unacceptable that we see the Government continuing to drag its heels and kick the can down the road with regard to this. Every time I have asked the Minister or Taoiseach about this, they indicate that it will happen in a couple of weeks. I have had homeowners ring me to ask when this will come out, saying that their walls will fall down if they do not move soon. It needs to happen now. I ask the Minister for a definitive commitment here today as to when the schemes will be published. I ask that it be done immediately so that homeowners get the support that they need.

We are not dragging our heels. A lot of intensive work is happening in the background between my officials and the Minister for Finance's officials. We have discussed it at length on a number of occasions. I was recently in Mayo and met people who are affected by this. I thank everyone in Mayo and Donegal for their patience. We announced in the budget last year that there would be a scheme this year, and that it would be open this year with money available. That remains the case. The Ministers, Deputies Ring and McHugh, spoke to the Minister for Finance about the issue this week. We have almost agreed what the scheme will be. We need to make sure that it is right and that we are able to include the people who need to be included so that they can apply to that scheme, draw down the funding and fix their homes. I cannot be definitive about whether it will be later this week or next week. I said to people in Mayo when I met them that a final memorandum would have to go to Cabinet. There is a process involved in doing that that might take one or two more weeks once the final decision is made, but we are nearly there. I thank people, including the Deputy, for their patience.

In the programme for Government, the Government promises to improve services and increase supports for people with disabilities. Sadly, the reality in west Cork and the greater Bandon area is that while young people under the age of 18 with intellectual disabilities have transport to training centres in Cork city, when they reach the age of 18, the transport is discontinued and they receive a travel pass instead. This travel pass is of no use to most of them as many of them do not have the capacity to use it. Instead, their parents have to drive them to the city each morning and collect them each evening, in a two-hour round trip twice daily. I raised this with the former Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, and with the Minister of State with responsibility for disability to ensure that transport is made available for these young people with intellectual disabilities. The Minister of State told me that a transport service was available for young people with intellectual disabilities from their homes in Dublin. Why do the people from the three peninsulas in west Cork and from Bantry, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Bandon and Kinsale have no transport service? These people deserve better. Will the Taoiseach do what his predecessor failed to do and provide a transport service for over-18s with intellectual disabilities in west Cork?

I am afraid I do not have any information on that matter before me. I will undertake to ask the Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath, to furnish Deputy Collins with a more detailed reply.

Safety on our roads is paramount. In Kerry, people are facing turmoil and tears with deer on the roads. The deer are entering towns and villages, and estates around Killarney, and they have taken the place over. Cars are having accidents and people have died. People's cars have been broken and young fellows are crying after paying dearly for insurance and getting their driver's licence. If someone shoots a deer, the national parks, the rangers and the guards all come down on top of them. Yet when the deer damage a car and people are injured or die as a result of these accidents, which has happened, no one does anything about it.

The Deputy's time is up.

Will the Taoiseach call out the Army? Will he do something to make our roads safe around Kerry? The deer are taking over.

Hold on, Deputy. Will the Minister respond?

Anybody can apply to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for a licence. There is also a deer management programme in place for Killarney National Park. I believe a cull is under way there at present. If the Deputy has any specific instances which he would like to bring to our attention, I ask him to do so, please.

It is only tokenism. It is not working.

The programme for Government contains a commitment to building the capacity for our emergency and acute services, but we have a significant issue in Cavan and Monaghan relating to the staffing of our ambulance service. I have raised the issue with the Taoiseach in the Chamber on a number of occasions because lives in the constituency are at risk. Many months ago, there was an announcement that six new staff were coming to the ambulance service, especially for Monaghan and Castleblayney. New rosters were drawn up and the current staff are now operating with the new rosters but without the six new staff. They are under extreme pressure and at times there is one member of staff who is operating the service and expected to respond to an emergency call. These staff will be protesting outside Leinster House tomorrow to make their views known. I encourage the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health to be there to listen to them. The six staff that were promised have never materialised. Will the Taoiseach ensure that they do and that these staff are not still under the pressure that they are currently?

As the Deputy knows, it is an objective of the Government to improve ambulance response times throughout the country. To achieve that, we have increased the budget of the National Ambulance Service every year for four or five years. That has allowed for the purchase of new ambulances, improvements to ambulance bases and technology, pay restoration for staff, and new posts. I understand that there can be difficulties with recruitment, as is the case across the economy. With regard to industrial relations issues in any specific part of the public service, neither I nor any Minister can get directly involved but I will certainly make the Minister for Health aware that Deputy Smyth raised it here.

In the past, thankfully, large cruise ships have landed in Dublin, Cobh and, after much campaigning, we have been successful in securing boats like these to land and let their passengers off in Valentia in the deep water that we have in south Kerry. Unfortunately, an issue that has arisen because of Brexit is that land required for facilitating these landings here in Dublin will be taken away in 2020, which will mean that the number of landings of these ships will be drastically reduced, which will have a significant knock-on effect for our economy. When one of these ships lands, the number of people who come on shore and spend a lot of money, refurbishing the boat and supplying food and drink, provide a significant boost to our economy. What can be done in Dublin to ensure that some alternative to the land that will be taken away can be put in place to allow the number of landings that we have now to continue post Brexit? It is an important issue with a lot of jobs and a lot of money for the economy.

The Deputy raises an important issue. Cruise tourism is growing all the time and can be very valuable to the local economy, whether in Dublin or in Kerry. I know that cruise ships even go into Foynes and from there to Kerry. We want to support it but since it is a commercial enterprise, we cannot subsidise it or provide grant aid. Any proposition has to be commercial. With regard to Dublin, the restrictions will mean that for a number of years, only 80 cruise ships will be able to dock at Dublin Port, so they will have to go elsewhere. I know that other options are under consideration. An obvious one is Dún Laoghaire, which is not that far away.

Seven Deputies remain. In light of the length of time for which they have waited, I commit to taking those seven Deputies first tomorrow.