Gnó na Dála - Business of Dáil

That concludes this session. Deputy Burke wishes to make an announcement regarding the Order of Business.

It is proposed, notwithstanding the order of the Dáil of this day, that the proceedings on Second Stage of the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Bill 2020 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after six hours and any division demanded on the conclusion of Second Stage shall be taken immediately. Speeches on Second Stage shall be in the following order and shall not exceed the following times: Taoiseach and leaders - ten minutes each; Minister for Finance - five minutes followed by five minutes each for each party or group; Minister for Health - five minutes followed by five minutes each for each party or group; Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection - five minutes followed by five minutes each for each party or group; Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government - five minutes followed by five minutes each for each party or group; Minister of State at the Department of Defence - five minutes followed by five minutes each for each party or group and a ten minute response by a Minister or Minister of State. The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, will take health.

On a point of order, there was a lengthy discussion in the Business Committee this morning about the order for today. Why have we had no notice about this new change? It is very unsatisfactory. I appreciate that people are under pressure, but umpteen changes are now proposed by the Government. That has upset the rhythm of the day and Members' preparedness for the debate.

I am informed that the changes relate to providing a slot for the social welfare brief, so Members will be able to ask questions. That is my information at this point. Perhaps, subject to clarification, we can return to that point. Deputy Flanagan, you are here to take health.

I can let matters stand for the moment if Members have other contributions to make.

I am just clarifying matters. We have finished with regard to finance and we are moving on as agreed. I thought the next section is on housing but it is health.

That is what was agreed, but the new order has been introduced by the Deputy. It is very hard to understand the reason for that. Will it be statements?

For the information of Members, I have an opening statement on a series of amendments with particular reference to health and social care professionals.

I am sorry, we are at cross purposes. We expected health to be the second slot. A new section is being proposed now. I do not know why that was not brought to us at the Business Committee this morning or why we were not consulted about it. It had not been the plan to take social protection. Where has that come from? Why was the Business Committee not involved in that decision?

You are correct, Deputy Shortall, that it was not mentioned this morning. I understand that the Minister for Finance was to deal with finance and social protection and that did not happen, so an extra slot is being included for social protection. It is extra time. Is that agreed? Agreed.

We are in agreement on that, which is fine, but can we also secure an agreement that there will not be any further changes without a meeting of the Business Committee, if that is in order?

I think that is in order. There was a meeting of the Business Committee earlier. I call Deputy Nash to make a point of order.

Are we dealing with just the Department of Health, or with that Department and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection?

We are dealing with the Department of Health.

The Acting Chair might advise the House on the timeline of the revised order.

I have advised the House that there will be an additional session. I understand from Deputy Paul Murphy that the only change that has been made is for an additional session to debate the social welfare measures, and while the proposal was not brought before the Business Committee, it has been agreed to. That is my understanding of the matter.

Más féidir leis na Comhaltaí éisteacht liom, is féidir liom soiléiriú a thabhairt. We have dealt with the Department of Finance and we will now move on to the Department of Health. Thereafter, with the agreement of the House, we will move on to the Departments of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Housing, Planning and Local Government, and Defence. After each set of contributions, there will be a ten-minute response by a Minister or Minister of State. The opening statement will be made by the Minister or Minister of State with responsibility for each area, and when that is complete, a Minister or Minister of State will have a general closing slot. The only question, which has been rightly raised, relates to the Order of Business but we have agreed that additional time will be given.

With the agreement of Deputies, we will move to the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, who will contribute on behalf of the Minister for Health.