It is proposed to take No. 1 only.
Order of Business.
In regard to the suggestion the Leader of the House made yesterday when I raised the possibility of debating Motion No. 31 involving the establishment of a Select Committee to examine the link between the Irish £ and sterling, I should like to raise this matter again today since the Minister for Finance is present. I fully realise the delicacy of the situation. The last thing I wish to do is to prejudice any discussion or any moves which may be necessary in the future, but in conjunction with a number of my colleagues who have signed the motion I would ask that consideration be given to the possibility of debating it in the near future. As I said, I fully realise the delicacy of the situation and I can see, from the Minister's point of view, that there may be situations in which such a debate would not be in the national interest but my feeling is, on balance, that it is, particularly in the present serious situation vis-a-vis sterling. I hope the matter will not be allowed to drag on indefinitely without the Seanad getting an opportunity to discuss this very delicate and important problem.
As one of the two Senators who initiated this motion, I would like to support the Senator's request that we consider it at an early date. My reason for doing so is that the discussion up to this point has taken place in documents which have been circulated, the Central Bank Report. A phrase used in that is that frequent discussions of this matter are conducted in an emotive atmosphere and often without sufficient information. Both Senator Halligan and I knew very well what we were doing when we put down this motion and I join Senator West in our request that it be considered as soon as possible and practicable. It would be discussed in an extremely responsible manner.
Senators may be assured of my readiness to discuss this issue. I have a personal problem on account of the immense weight of legislative proposals in both Houses and I would not like at this stage to make a suggestion of a particularly early date. When we see how the legislative programme is progressing we might— hopefully—be able to set a date aside before the summer recess if that were acceptable.
We are very thankful to the Minister for that assurance. It is very welcome.
I fully understand the Minister's position vis-a-vis his legislative programme and I am very pleased to have an assurance of this kind.
I think I will just adopt the Minister's remarks.