It is proposed to take Items Nos. 1 and 2. I was not here yesterday evening when we moved from Item No. 2, so I do not know how we stand on it but I think we should agree to conclude not later than 4.30 p.m.
Order of Business.
I agree with our taking Items Nos. 1 and 2 but we are discussing the Appropriation Act. The only reason the House, according to precedent, has ever allowed the Appropriation Act to be discussed into the following year was that sufficient time was not available before the Christmas recess to discuss it. I do not think there should be any curtailment if people are offering to continue to discuss the Appropriation Act and I ask the Leader not to move that part of the Order of Business which proposes to curtail discussion of the Appropriation Act as this is one of the few opportunities the Members of this House will have to discuss the economy. This is of particular importance as we are so close to budget day.
To clarify the position, I did not propose that the debate be curtailed. I suggested that maybe we could get agreement to that effect. For the last five or six years there have been two days' discussion on the Appropriation Act. I want no hassle about it. If people want to go on until 10 o'clock tonight that is all right with me.
It was when my party were in Government that this facility to discuss the Appropriation Act after the conclusion of the passage of the Bill was initiated. I am anxious that we proceed on the basis that the Whips would confer and if it appeared that there was a number of speakers from different groupings offering to contribute we might consider having it again next week or the week after and not concluding it today. Perhaps we would take that line of approach.
On the matter of the Appropriation Act, my view is that the matter will conclude today of its own volition without any intervention from the House. I think that is the way we should leave it. The Whips should be in contact through the day, but I agree with the Senators here that we should not stop the debate today because it is a sort of cúntas blíantúil where we assess what has happened during the year. The idea of deferring it was that Senators would have the opportunity to speak on it, but it seems to me that most of the speakers who have indicated have contributed at this point and I think it will conclude by 4.30 p.m. today. If by any chance it does not we should take it for some period again.
It is the position that my request under standing Order 29 will be ruled on now?
It will be ruled on at 11 o'clock.
I am seeking to have Ireland offer refugee status to the Sri Lankan who is being threatened with deportation from the UK at the moment.