Order of Business.

First, I must apologise to Members that the Order Paper is not in the exact order in which we will be taking business; there was a slight breakdown in communication yesterday between my office and the Seanad Office. If Senators would take their pens in their hands, I will indicate the Order of Business. It is as follows: Nos. 2,4, Nos. 1 and 3 together, Nos. 5 and 6. I will indicate what this means.

Item No. 2, which it is proposed to take first, is essentially a formal matter. It is the substantive motion in regard to a Joint Committee on Irish in regard to which the expediency motion was debated here recently. No. 4 is the receipt back of a Seanad amendment which was sent to the Dáil and further amended and which therefore we will discuss on Report. Item No. 1 is an order under the Ombudsman Act which we passed recently and the effect of which is to extend the scope of the Ombudsman's activities to local authorities and health boards, but also to An Post agus An Bord Telecom. It is suggested that No. 3 be taken with this because No. 3 is the extension of the remit of the Joint Committee on Commercial State-Sponsored Bodies to cover An Bord Telecom and An Post so that it means the two debates could, I think, be conveniently taken together. No. 5 is a Private Members' Bill in the name of Senator Brendan Ryan and No. 6 is a Private Members' Motion on the Health Services.

Before concluding I might say that the Dáil has this morning passed the Protection of Employees (Employer's Insolvency) Bill, 1984, which guarantees the wages of workers on the occasion of an insolvency in a company. I propose that we should take that Bill tomorrow morning so that its passage will not be delayed.

Perhaps I may raise a matter with the minimum of disturbance. Last week when I left Dublin with Senators Rogers and McGonagle we understood — perhaps not on very good authority — that our motion, No. 19 on the Order Paper, would be debated this week. A lot of preparation had gone into it with a view to being constructive and dealing with the whole difficulty with which the country is faced at the moment. However, on reflection Senator McGonagle and I have come to the conclusion — Senator Rogers has not been here today to confirm this with her — that there is a phrase in the motion which could be divisive. We felt that our motion should come before the Seanad with the hope of bringing the Seanad in behind it when it is debated for the purpose for which we intended and with that in mind I would hope that we would re-draft the wording and have the opportunity to put it before the Seanad. As it is a matter of great importance I would hope that it might be debated next Wednesday. Therefore, I trust that the Leader of the House might consider that very strongly. It is a very important motion in so far as the people whom we live with in Northern Ireland are concerned.

I support entirely what Senator Robb has said about the motion. We intend to get rid of any divisive element in the motion and we want the Seanad to be behind the motion in the names of the three Northern Ireland Senators.

Regarding No. 4 on the list, the Criminal Justice Bill, I wish to move that this item be deleted from the Order of Business. My reason for this is that since this Bill was last discussed in the Seanad the circumstances surrounding it have changed entirely. We have had all the reports from the cases which have arisen, both in Kerry and in Shercock in Cavan, which would certainly make it necessary for Senators to question yet again many of the powers — particularly the powers for detention and questioning — that are being given in the Criminal Justice Bill. Therefore, I feel that the Seanad should first, have an opportunity for a fuller debate on the Bill and, secondly, that we should wait until the outcome of the various inquiries into these cases, whether they are internal Garda inquiries or ministerial or public inquiries, so that we may see what was the truth behind the various rumours that have gone around before we put the final stamp of approval on the Criminal Justice Bill. It would be quite wrong of the Seanad to put a final stamp of approval on this Bill while all these question marks are hanging over the situation. Therefore, I move that this House delete Item No. 4 from today's Order of Business.

In supporting the motion. I take into account, in addition to the points made by Senator McGuinness, the innuendoes and rumours that are rife at this time concerning the vehicles in the Moyna bugging affair, that these now have been traced back to the Garda depot. Perhaps the Minister would make a statement on that matter so as to dispel some of the confusion regarding those items.

That is not a matter for the Order of Business.

I second the proposal. It is very important to consider the circumstances that arose after this measure had been disposed of so far as the Seanad was concerned. Significant changes took place in the public perception of what was in the Bill. Let me make it quite clear that support for the amendment is not in any way a vote against the Bill but a vote in favour of putting a stop to further consideration of this measure pending the clearing up of various allegations that have been made concerning the manner in which members of the Garda carried out their duties.

Senator Killilea has mentioned one case that concerns him. Everybody has his own concern but it would be very foolish of this House if we did not take into consideration additional information which came to our knowledge since the Bill was last discussed in this House. I would like to refer to what has become known as the Kerry babies case, not because of the emotional aspects of the case and not in a condemnatory fashion towards either the members of the Garda Síochána or the other people who were involved in that case. It brought very clearly before the people what happens in people's minds when they are detained either voluntarily or involuntarily in a Garda station. To remind the Members of what happened in that case ——.

I suggest that Senator O'Leary be not allowed to remind the Members. It is out of order.

We are solely on the Order of Business.

I shall indicate briefly why I think it is in order.

On a point of order, I wish to submit to the Chair and I hope that the House will accept, that all that is proposed on the Order of Business in regard to this matter is item No. 4. It is concerned with the treatment of a particular amendment and the only matter relevant on the Order of Business is whether or not that matter be taken today.

Surely it is relevant as to why this should not be taken. We are here and we are masters of our own destiny. We decide what we take on the Order of Business. Surely in considering whether it is appropriate to take the Criminal Justice Bill we are entitled to take account of circumstances which might influence us in that decision and therefore I will ask you to allow me——

The Senator may give his reasons for the motion but they must be brief. I think you will admit that you are not being brief.

I respect your ruling in that regard. I do not know the meaning of the word "brief". It might be five minutes or it might be two hours. I do not know.

I think the Senator knows that I mean.

I shall not go into a blow by blow description but surely it is in order to say that in the Kerry case not one person but a whole family confessed to something which subsequently they said not only did they not do but they had no connection with at all. Surely that is relevant as to whether we are going to take this matter back from the Dáil.

On a point of order, is this case sub judice?

It is not. The charges against the young lady have been withdrawn and no charges have been made against any other person in the case. Therefore it is not sub judice, more is the pity. Surely there could be nothing more relevant to our consideration of this Bill than to look at what has happened in this case, to realise that a whole family confessed to something which subsequently they said they had no part in.

All that is before the House is the amendment and you cannot put your argument any further so I must ask you to resume your seat.

Presumably I may go on and discuss other aspects which are relevant to the amendment.

If you have points I am prepared to listen to them provided they are brief.

I am not going to fight you because I think the vote of this House would be far more eloquent than anything I could say in this regard. I appeal to the Members of this House. This is not a matter of confidence in the Government or anything like that. I appeal to members of all political parties to realise that a change in attitude has taken place and to put this matter right That is all I am asking. I support the amendment.

In rising to support Senator McGuinness's proposal that the Order of Business be amended, I simply wish to say that Senator O'Leary has made perfectly clear that there is widespread in this country a profound disquiet. This House would not be fulfilling its duties if it allowed the final stage of this legislation to go through unchallenged or indeed not to record in the most effective way at our disposal, which is by declining to discuss this issue, the fact that there is a totally different climate of public opinion on this issue now than there was six weeks or two months ago. Therefore, I suggest that in the light of what has happened, of the events that are documented and that are unquestioned, there is more to it now than questions of dubious practice. There is a suggestion at least of very profound public unease. We would not be meeting our duties as legislators if we did not attempt to reflect in the best possible way that profound unease. It appears to me the way to do that is——

All that Senators may speak about is the amendment: should it be taken or not.

I would not dream of being disorderly. Perhaps you would tell me how I explain to the House why I want the Order of Business amended?

The Senator is doing that very successfully.

But to be orderly how do I explain to the House why I want the Order of Business amended?

The Senator must say why the amendment should not be discussed today.

I am endeavouring to the best of my limited ability to explain why to the House. It is not appropriate for this House in the light of the prevailing climate of public opinion to take this item today or, indeed, until the public have been satisfied about two profoundly disturbing cases and their implications for the operations of the Garda Síochána. I therefore support Senator McGuinness's amendment.

In raising the question of what might happen in the event of an inquiry, are we not anticipating or prejudging the outcome? Could we take the other view, that if an investigation went in favour of the Garda we would be bringing in stronger measures? Is it right to be discussing what might happen?

I am not questioning the amendment that comes from the other House. I am just seeking your guidance for the benefit of people who will be deciding whether the matter is to be discussed. If this amendment is taken and presumed passed by this House, will that in any way affect the various inquiries that may follow? That is the issue. It is presumed that by passing the Bill we would be interfering in some way with the carrying out of whatever investigations are necessary.

I have a different concern. This is a very serious amendment. I share the concerns that have been expressed by those who are supporting the amendment but I am not convinced that it is a tactic that the House should consider adopting. As I understand it, the reasons put forward by Senator McGuinness and others for proposing that we do not deal with this item today are in order to delay our consideration of this item and await further information about the Kerry incident and also the Cavan incident. The difficulty I have with that is that we may deprive ourselves of the opportunity in this House to address the amendment that is coming back to us. I am extremely anxious to have an opportunity for full discussion of that amendment in this House. It was arising out of a Labour amendment that the Minister then brought in on Report Stage in the Seanad the amendment that went to the Dáil and that was there when these incidents arose and that enabled the Dáil to discuss these incidents. Now that amendment has come back, amended, to this House. We are in danger, if we accept the tactic proposed by the Senators who wish to adjourn this amendment indefinitely, of depriving ourselves of the opportunity of discussing it, because as I understand the rules it is then open to the Dáil to resolve that the Bill is passed without the Seanad having adopted a position on the amendment because the 90 days for consideration by the Seanad of the Bill have elapsed. I would accept guidance from the Chair on that but it seems to be the position. I am not prepared to accept our depriving ourselves of the opportunity to discuss the amendment.

If there is an opportunity for the movers of this motion to reply I should like them to tell us how open-ended the amendment would be because it is very difficult to know if we did adjourn our consideration of this amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill when the matter could come back before us under the decision taken by the House because it is not at all clear what the outcome would be, for example, if there were to be a publication of the Garda inquiry and if steps were to be taken for a further inquiry. How much wiser might we be at that stage in relation to the amendment in question? If I have correctly assessed that the motivation behind the proposal is to delay for a period the Seanad considering this matter I would be gravely concerned that we might be depriving ourselves of the opportunity to debate this amendment. That would be a great pity because there are Members of this House who have important contributions to make. We should insist that we make them in this House. That should be clarified.

I continue to be surprised by the manner in which Members of the Seanad fail to use the procedures of the Seanad with appropriate effectiveness. Senator Robinson has pointed this out clearly in regard to this matter. Let me remind Senators of what the position is. The Criminal Justice Bill was read in this House a Second Time. The Criminal Justice Bill has been debated in Committee and on Report Stage in this House. The only issue that remains in regard to this Bill is the question of the manner in which a Seanad amendment adopted by this House has been further amended by Dáil Éireann. The question that is put to us today is that we should not consider that amendment today — not the Bill, not the principle of the Bill, but the particular form of that amendment.

It will stop the Bill.

The Leader of the House. Order please, Senator O'Leary.

It would not stop the Bill. It would only make the Seanad look foolish. That is my clear view in regard to this. If any Senators wish to stop the implementation of the Criminal Justice Bill they can put down a motion to that effect. If a majority of Members of this House pass a motion of that type then the view of the Seanad in regard to the implementation of this Bill, whether before or after the receipt of any report, that opinion will then be formally on record.

The appropriate thing for Seanad Éireann to do is to take item No. 4 today and dispose of it. This will finish consideration of the Criminal Justice Bill as brought to this House. That would not necessarily mean, and I do not think anyone would conclude, that that would mean an end to all discussion of this matter either in the country or in the House. There are more appropriate ways for that discussion to be carried out. We are dealing with a very small net point. Accordingly I propose that we adhere to the Order of Business as I have suggested, which includes item No. 4.

In regard to motion No. 19, this is a Private Members' motion and normally would come up in due time in Private Members' time. If I receive an approach from all parties in this House that this motion should be accommodated in Government time I will naturally consider the matter, but I cannot consider that a motion in the names of three individual Members should automatically be considered for being taken in Government time. I will certainly consider the matter most carefully if there is an approach from all groups in the House to make an exception in this regard. This is the only manner in which this can be considered. There is Government business for today and tomorrow. There is Government business, I think, for two days of sitting next week. Nevertheless, if there is universal wish for the matter to be discussed it must be given serious consideration. I propose that we adhere to the Order of Business as originally suggested.

I would wish my amendment to be put.

The Leader of the House has moved that the Order of Business be Nos. 2, 4, 1, 3, 5 and 6. Senator McGuinness has moved that item 4 be deleted. Is the Senator pressing the motion?

Question put: "That the figure proposed to be deleted stand."

I think the motion is carried.



Will those Members seeking a division please rise?

Senators O'Leary, B. Ryan and McGuinness rose.

As fewer than five Members have risen I declare the question to be carried. The names of those dissenting will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the House.

Order of Business agreed to.

Members should leave the House in an orderly fashion.