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Seanad Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 27 May 1986

Vol. 113 No. 1

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 1 and 2 and Private Members' Business. I do not know which one it is.

We were given to understand that the Order of Business today was Nos. 1, 2 and 3. I want to get that clarified first before I talk about the Order of Business.

The Leader of the House is probably on his way here. My understanding is that we are taking the Minister's opening speech on No. 1, that the House will go on to consider the Committee Stage of No. 2, the Courts Bill, and then take a Private Members' Motion. It is the Fine Gael turn for a Private Members' Motion.

I understood it was Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in that order.

I was given to understand also that it was Items Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

We can order Nos. 1, 2 and 3 but it is highly unlikely that No. 3 will be reached.

Could the Senator tell us if we are sitting tomorrow.

It is proposed to sit tomorrow.

Could we be informed as to what hours we are sitting tomorrow. Is it until 5 o'clock or until 8 o'clock?

From 10.30 a.m. until 5 p.m. unless the House decides otherwise.

I would like to ask the acting Leader of the House if he could give us a firm date for taking the Clean Air Bill.

I am at a total loss here as to what is happening. We are supposed to be sitting at 2.30 p.m. and we should have a proper Order of Business. We should be told what it is. It is a disgrace and we should not accept it. It is all right to say we will order Nos. 1, 2 and 3 but we are not likely to reach No. 3. We were given the Order of Business as Nos. 1, 2 and 3 and told that No. 3 would be taken. I would like to know from Senator McDonald why we are only taking the Minister's speech on No. 1.

The reason the Minister's speech only is being taken on item No. 1 is that the spokesman on Health for Fianna Fáil, Senator Fallon, is not available. One would expect the Leader of Fianna Fáil in this House to know that. That is the reason, at the Senator's specific request.

We understand that.

The Senator did not even know it.

We did know it.

I am rather confused. I do not know who is leading the Government.


I would like some information from the Leader of the House, whoever that may be for today. Two weeks ago I requested a postponement for one week of item No. 9 on the Order Paper. I was almost told that could not happen. I was rather concerned at the time that maybe, on account of circumstances outside my control, I would not have been able to be present to deal with No. 9. I find that it has slipped from the magnificent importance it had on that day to way down the list. I would like to know from the acting Leader of the House or from the Whip or from somebody when it is proposed to take No. 9. I am amazed now to find that it has slipped away into the oblivion of the Order Paper. It is important that we should know that, so that those of us who are sincerely and deeply interested in this most intricate Bill, would have some idea from the acting Leader of the House as to when it is proposed to take it.

On a point of explanation, it is not quite correct to say, as Senator O'Leary has said, that the reason item No. 1 is being confined to the Minister's speech is that Senator Fallon, the spokesman on Health from this side of the House, is not available. That is not quite right. The real reason is that Senator Fallon had not sufficient notification as to when this item would be taken and therefore he remonstrated with the Leader of the House last week that he had not notice of the Bill being taken and that he would like further time. That is the real reason. It is not because he is not available. He would be available if he had been given sufficient notification.

Senator Fallon is attending a function in Athlone with the Minister for Defence. It is impossible for him to be in two places at the same time. I wish to congratulate Aer Lingus on their 50 years of great contribution to air transport.

The Senator is going very far away from the Order of Business.

On this historic day is it not in order to congratulate Aer Lingus and the late Eamon De Valera and Seán Lemass on their foresight in setting up a national airline? Also this week another historic opening is taking place in the west, spearheaded by another great man, Deputy Charles Haughey.


I ask the Senator to resume his seat.

We know what is agreed with regard to item No. 1 but there is confusion as to the Order of Business for today. Are we taking items Nos. 1, 2 and 3 or Nos. 1, 2 and Private Members' Business. Is Private Members' Business changed from Wednesday to Tuesday?

With regard to item No. 4, the report of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, is it proposed that this should be discussed?

I would like to congratulate the Taoiseach on his sixtieth birthday. A book of essays has been presented to him by the leaders throughout the world.

Mr. Killilea rose.

The Senator cannot ask a question.

Can I not ask a question?

Can I ask a question?

The Senator has already spoken.

On a point of order, I would ask the Leader of the House to tell us what is the position regarding the withdrawal of the facility of telegrams, a matter which should come before the report of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

That is not a point of order. There is machinery here for dealing with that.

Will this matter be brought before the committee this evening? I have this matter down for discussion for many weeks. We are being deprived of a facility we have had here in this House since 1957 by the thought and imagination of a certain section of the Civil Service.

We have machinery for dealing with this. I will talk to the Senator later about it.

What is happening here this afternoon is a disgrace. On previous occasions Ministers refused to come in here. If Senator Dooge is not here he must have good reasons for not being here because he has been most attentive to his duties in this House. We are left in a totally unsatisfactory situation. Senators have prepared for item No. 3 today.

I agree that items Nos. 1, 2 and 3 be taken.

What will be taken tomorrow? Item No. 5 is listed as the next item to be taken. It is a major Bill. If it is to be taken tomorrow we want to know now. There is no point in telling us at 8 p.m. tonight that this Bill will be coming up for Second Stage tomorrow.

I regret that a certain amount of minor ambiguity has arisen. I accept responsibility for not ordering Nos. 1, 2 and 3. As regards item No. 9 I will contact Senator Killilea in the course of the afternoon. The Committee on Procedure and Privileges, have been considering the problem raised by Senator Killilea with whose sentiments I concur, and we hope to have agreement on that. Senator Cassidy raised a point and I hope we will have an opportunity of joining with him, within the rules, to compliment and wish Aer Lingus well in the future.

It is the Whips who have been discussing the point raised by Senator Killilea.

No. I asked in this House that the Committee on Procedure and Privileges deal with that matter. If it is necessary for me to bring it into this House I will prove conclusively that was the formal request which was agreed to by Senator Ferris. He agreed with me and would see to this matter as Deputy Leader of the House at that particular time.

The Whips must have had some discussion.

The whole case has fallen and somebody will have to see to it.

Could we have an answer about tomorrow's business.

My understanding is that we will continue with the Courts Bill.

Did you answer Senator Bulbulia's point?

I can guarantee the Air Pollution Bill will not be taken tomorrow.

My point was about the report which was issued today. Perhaps the acting Leader has not seen it. It is a report from the Committee on Procedure and Privileges referring to the Seanad Chamber. It is listed as item No. 4 on the Order Paper for today. It involves quite a major change for Senators in that after the summer recess in view of the work that needs to be carried out in the Chamber, it is proposed that we will sit in the ante room. The motion is down for the adoption of this report as item No. 4. Perhaps it is something we could consider tomorrow.

I would like to ask Members to have a full discussion on it. That report must be presented by the Leader of the House and we cannot have it unless he is here. It is on the agenda to give every Senator an opportunity of discussing it in full. That is the reason it is there.

Is there a break for tea?

That is a matter for the House.

What hours is the Seanad sitting today?

That is a matter for the House.

The Leader of the House always tells us what hours we are sitting.

I propose that the Seanad conclude at 8 p.m.

And a break from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Is there a break from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.?

I do not know.

On the Order of Business it is usually stated that there will be a break from 5.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Does this stand for today?

There is machinery there. Let Senators work it out.

Order of business agreed to.