Business of Seanad.

Since the Order of Business was made this morning I understand that a message has been received from the Dáil seeking the concurrence of this House in sending the Building Control Bill, 1984 to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Legislation. It is a matter of extreme regret that if the Dáil wished this Bill to go to that committee over the summer period it did not send a message to this House at an earlier date. Nevertheless, having expressed that degree of displeasure which I am sure is shared by other Senators, we have to face the fact that the message has arrived and we have to decide how to deal with it. I have consulted with the main Opposition group and they very kindly indicated that they have no objection to this motion being taken today. Accordingly I move:

"That the Order of Business be altered by the addition of item 2 (a) which is a message from the Dáil seeking concurrence in relation to the reference of the Building Control Bill to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Legislation and that that item be taken between item Nos. 2 and 3.

It should be made clear that the House, in discussing that resolution, is discussing the principle of the Bill. It is, in effect, a Second Stage discussion and therefore the House is being asked to take Second Stage at very short notice. There is possibly an hour's debate left on this Bill. So there would be several hours then before 6 p.m. and I do not anticipate that the bilateral aid programme being taken at 7 p.m. will go on until 10 p.m. So it should be possible to have several hours of debate on the principle of the Bill if that is required.

It is with great regret that I propose this change to the Order of Business. It is not good procedure and it can only be done because of the understanding of the Opposition. Perhaps in this respect their understanding and sympathy may be greater than mine.

Is it intended to take this motion before or after the Air Pollution Bill?

It is the intention to take it before the Air Pollution Bill, the reason being that if we concur with this message from Dáil Éireann, then Dáil Éireann have to pass a second resolution before they adjourn for the summer recess. We would have to pass a second resolution before we adjourn next week. The Air Pollution Bill will not be completed, indeed Second Stage may not be completed, before we adjourn. The basis for suggesting that this be taken as 2(a), that is between Nos 2 and 3, is that if we fail to pass it then the committee cannot meet during the recess. Further time would be lost in addition to the time already lost.

This is very unsatisfactory. I have a particular interest in this Bill and I should like time to make some kind of preparation. If it would be possible to postpone the Bill until later in the evening, until after the tea break for example, I would be satisfied.

I am the culprit because I did not inform Senator Fitzsimons of what had happened. It happened just before lunch. I was asked if we would agree to take this Bill. It was explained to me by the Department that it was urgent and I was asked if we would facilitate them by taking it. I agreed that we would not oppose that. I was then asked what was the most suitable time. Like Senator Dooge, I looked on the time suggested as being most suitable because we have a lot of business to get through tomorrow. It is not necessary to pass to Air Pollution Bill at present. I understand Senator Fitzsimons's point.

I have a suggestion to make. We have already agreed to take the motion on bilateral aid at 7 p.m. There will be a one or two hour debate on that. If the Minister is available, on conclusion of item No. 2 we could proceed to item No. 7 for a one or two hours debate and then proceed to this item. That would give Senator Fitzsimons some time to prepare. It would be preferable to have a short debate on bilateral aid rather than dealing directly with this Bill.

I would be satisfied with that arrangement.

I cannot understand the urgency about referring a Bill to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Legislation. Its record in dealing with matters up to now has been anything but a model of urgency. The Bankruptcy Bill rested with that committee for a long time. Some other issues they are supposed to be working on have not surfaced for months. I find it difficult to understand how if this is an urgent matter it must go to that committee. The opposite has been my understanding of how the committee operates.

After the Garda Síochána (Complaints) Bill what is the next item to be taken?

We will take item No. 7 and then take No. 2 (a).

Acting Chairman

Is that agreed? Agreed.