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Seanad Éireann debate -
Friday, 25 Mar 1988

Vol. 119 No. 4

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 1 and 2. There will be a lunch break from 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock.

I would like the House to note the comments made by the Bishop of Ferns last evening on the failure of the State to live up to the promises made during the divorce referendum last year about the provision of back-up family services. I would like the House to note further that most of those promises were made by people who were opposed to the introduction of divorce, many of whom are now in a position to fulfil these promises. I would suggest that His Lordship address his remarks to those who are responsible. I would also suggest to him that he might address his remarks to his brother Bishops——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

That matter hardly arises on the Order of Business.

——many of whom had very little to say this time last year and whose silence since then has been deafening.

As you are in a very beneficial mood and giving a great deal of latitude this morning, a Leas-Chathaoirligh, I thought I might say something on the Order of Business. I would like to ask the Leader of the House a serious question about Item No. 4, the Companies (No. 2) Bill. That Bill was introduced in the Seanad in May or June last year. It has been lingering in this House for about ten months. Whereas we got through Second Stage before the recess last year, for some reason we are now stuck on Committee Stage. We have reached the section on insider dealing and we have had promises from the Minister for Industry and Commerce at various times about his intention to introduce legislation to ban insider dealing but there is no sign of that happening.

Is there a problem in drafting or is there a problem in policy on insider dealing in the Stock Exchange which is preventing this Bill from coming forward? There is undue delay on this matter and I have tried to find out the reason. I have tried to find out the terms of the insider dealing bar by the Government. I have put down an amendment on the matter and still it has not come before the House. I would like to know what is stopping this Bill and the Government amendments from being brought before the House or do the Government not intend to introduce legislation to bar insider dealing on the Stock Exchange?

On Wednesday of last week I asked the Leader of the House to provide time in the new session for a full debate on services relating to the handicapped and the disabled. A paper relating to these services, Towards the Full Life, is available at present. There is much concern in the Labour Party about deterioration in certain services which have long since needed to be upgraded. I ask the Deputy Leader of the House to deal sympathetically with my request.

First, Senator Manning referred to the Bishop of Ferns. I do not agree with what the Bishop said. Senator Ross referred to the Companies (No. 2) Bill. The reason that has been given to me during the past few months for the delay in concluding this Bill is that there has been difficulty in drafting amendments. I gave an assurance this week that the Adoption (No. 2) Bill would be taken on the first day we resume after the recess. I am also prepared to give a guarantee that the Companies (No. 2) Bill will come before the House, maybe not in the first week after the recess but certainly in the second week. As Senators are aware, we have already discussed many of the sections of that Bill on Committee Stage and I hope that the remainder of it will be ready by the second week after the recess.

Concerning what Senator O'Shea said, I certainly will discuss that matter with the Leader of the House when he returns, to see what can be done in that regard.

Does that mean there will be Government amendments to the Companies (No. 2) Bill, including an amendment to bar insider trading? Is that amendment to be put forward? There are stories circulating that the Government are under some sort of pressure not to go ahead with that amendment.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Chair would prefer if the Senator did not raise detailed queries at this stage.

I am trying to clarify what Senator Ryan said because I asked this question earlier and he seems to have missed it.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Leader of the House should not be expected to answer detailed questions on legislation that is not before the House.

I thought I might ask it anyway.

Order of Business agreed to.