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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 28 Oct 1992

Vol. 134 No. 6

Order of Business.

Today's Order of Business will be Items Nos. 1, 2 and 3, Second Stage, taken together for the purpose of debate. The intention is that the House will sit until 8 p.m. with a sos from 6 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

I would like to inform Members — and I thank the Leader and Whips of the parties for this — that, by agreement, we will sit tomorrow from 10.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. with the Minister concluding Second Stage not later than 6.15 p.m. and a fixed time vote at 6.30 p.m. On Friday from 10.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. we will take Committee Stage of the Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bills. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., we will take all Stages of the Referendum (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill. We will have a sos from 1 p.m. to 1.30 p.m. on both days.

In relation to an issue raised last week, which is of great concern to the House and to me, that of Aer Lingus, I will have news of the agreement of the Minister to come to the House over the next three days. We will make time available. As the House will note, there is no Private Member's time and it is my intention that we will devise a way to ensure that the House has an opportunity to discuss the situation in regard to Aer Lingus.

I thank the Leader of the House for having made clear his intention to have a debate on Aer Lingus, because the situation is changing from day to day. There is a genuine concern on all sides of the House for the future of the company and it would be useful if we could have that debate.

Secondly, I have no difficulty with the arrangements for the handling of business for the next three days. I think the procedures are working where there is proper consultation.

I do not want to anticipate anything else on the Order of Business today, but may I say to the Leader very sincerly that I hope he will face up to the commitment given by him and his group earlier this year regarding the judgment of the European Court on homosexuality. My feeling is that the Government are not playing it straight with regard to the commitment they gave on this matter and this feeling is shared by many others in this House. We will support any changes in the Order of Business that are proposed until this matter is resolved.

May I ask the Leader of the House if he has any news about the timetable for the general election, which I presume is inevitable now that the Taoiseach has described this senior Cabinet Minister as dishonest?

It is not relevant to the Order of Business, as you know.

It is relevant to the political and moral welfare of the state, a Chathaoirligh.

I have ruled that it is not relevant to the Order of Business and it is not a function of this House. Senator Norris without interruption and please address proper queries to the Leader.

I consider that a very important query. I will leave it at that. I only partially welcome the Leader's statement that there will be a debate or statements, on Aer Lingus because the matter has now clearly been decided and it places clearly in context the irrelevance of the Seanad. We should have had this long before the horse had bolted or the airplane left the hangar.

Finally, I move formally an amendment to the Order of Business: "That Item No. 20, Motion 35, be inserted before Item No. 1." May I point out that a significant number of Irish gay citizens stood at the front gate with some parliamentarians today in acknowledgement of the Government's dereliction in this matter.

I support the call from Senator Norris and Senator Manning that the Government honour their commitment in relation to the judgment of the European Court. Unfortunately, I was not able to meet the people outside the House this morning but I would have liked to have been there. I also ask the Leader if he can give us some indication of the likely position next week in relation to the Milk (Regulation and Supply) Bill being taken. There is considerable anxiety among the farming community that this matter should be cleared up before the impending election.

In relation to the Aer Lingus debate, it is appropriate that we should compliment the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications and the Government on the decision to retain the status of Shannon.


It may be rubbish in your eyes, Senator, but it is an extremely important point. It lays this matter to rest once and for all. In relation to the jobs that will be retained in Shannon, in industry and in the whole tourism area, it is an absolutely welcome decision. As one who has urged over a period of time that this stop over be retained, I welcome that decision. It is a marvellous result for the west of Ireland and the mid-west in general.

The Leader has indicated that there will be a statement on this matter.

I would like to support the call from Senator Norris to have some indication by the Government of their intent in relation to the European Court decision concerning homosexuality, particularly since it is the fourth anniversary today of that decision.

Secondly, may I say it really is a little irrelevant having the debate on Aer Lingus some time next week when we had the opportunity to have the debate last week, because it was on the Order of Business and we could have dealt with it. That was before the Minister made an announcement, before she had met the Aer Lingus board and before the Government had made a decision. I must say, a Chathaoirligh, that it confirms my opinion that we are now sinking once again into the position of the Seanad playing second fiddle to the other House on all occasions. Because the item was on the Order Paper we had an opportunity of having a full discussion here on Aer Lingus prior to any decision being made, prior to any meeting with the management of Aer Lingus and prior to the Government making an announcement.

Senator Costello, before I call Senator Murphy, you indicated you supported the view of Senator Norris. Are you seconding his amendment to the Order of Business?

I second the amendment, and second it enthusiastically.

At the outset of this session, a Chathaoirligh, you circulated a list of rules to us for observing decorum in the House. In that connection may I make a plea here, which I also made last year? In doing so I may say that I, and indeed some of my colleagues, are as much at fault as anybody else; but it is very difficult to concentrate on making a contribution in the House when there are frequently so many conversations going on. The least any Senator can expect is to have the undivided attention of the Chair and of the Minister in attendance at any given time.

In regard to Motion 35, which was raised by Senators Manning, Norris, Murphy, Upton and Costello, with the legislative programme we have I cannot see that being dealt with between now and Christmas. With regard to the Milk (Regulation of Supply) Bill, I made another call this morning to the Minister's secretary and was again told that the technical difficulties have not been resolved. I have asked him to keep me informed.

With regard to Senator Costello's comment that a debate in this House this week on Aer Lingus is irrelevant, I regard that as absolute rubbish. The debate is only starting on the issue and I look forward to a debate in this House.

Question put: "That item No. 20, Motion 35, be inserted before item No. 1."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 20; Níl, 32.

  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Joé.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Harte, John.
  • Hederman, Carmencita.
  • Hourigan, Richard V.
  • Jackman, Mary.
  • Kennedy, Patrick.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Murphy, John A.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Neville, Daniel.
  • Norris, David.
  • ÓFoighil, PÓl.
  • O'Reilly, Joe.
  • Raftery, Tom.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Staunton, Myles.
  • Upton, Pat.


  • Bennett, Olga.
  • Bohan, Eddie.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Sean.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Haughey, Seán F.
  • Honan, Tras.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Kiely, Dan.
  • Kiely, Rory.
  • Lanigan, Michael.
  • Lydon, Don.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McGowan, Paddy.
  • Dardis, John.
  • Doherty, Sean.
  • Farrell, Willie.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Tom.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • McKenna, Tony.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullooly, Brian.
  • O'Brien, Francis.
  • Ó Cuív, Eamon.
  • O'Donovan, Denis A.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • Ryan, Eoin David.
  • Wright, G.V.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Norris and Murphy; Níl, Senators E. Ryan and Fitzgerald.
Question declared lost.
Order of Business agreed to.