Order of Business

Before we come to the business in hand, all the Leaders in the House join with me in expressing our thanks to you, Sir, for the year we have just had. We wish you a very happy Christmas and send our best wishes to you for 1994. Last night, at the function that you Sir, organised, we had an opportunity to express our good wishes.

And to express our appreciation of your patience.

We wish also to express our thanks to the Leas-Chathaoirleach, your most able assistant, and to all those who serve as Chairpersons for ensuring that the House is run in the way that it should be. I wish all Senators a very peaceful and happy Christmas.

I am sure Members wish me to mention, in particular, the staff of the Seanad, those who keep this House in order. On behalf of all Members, I extend our best wishes to the ushers, the transcribers, the press and the media and wish them a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

It is proposed to take No. 1. I suggest that we allow ten minutes to each spokesperson and five minutes thereafter. A Senator on the Government side will conclude within seven minutes of 12.10. All Stages of No. 2 shall be taken together without debate and shall be decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to recommendations, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance. We will then deal with all Stages of No. 3, with the contributions of spokespersons on Second Stage not to exceed 20 minutes and all Senators thereafter will be allowed 15 minutes.

I understand that all Stages of No. 3 will be taken and I do not have a difficulty with that but am I correct to say that it is not the intention to conclude the debate at any particular time?

I note that the Criminal Procedure Bill is printed in the traditional shade of green but I have noticed in latter times some of the Bills have been published in a lighter shade of green and I wonder if that is a reflection of Government policy at this time?

You can do better than that.

Did the Leader say that item No. 1 will conclude at 12 noon and that everybody will have the opportunity to contribute?

It will conclude at 12.10 p.m.

As No. 1 is a debate on Northern Ireland, perhaps the House might wish to acknowledge and send good wishes to the Fianna Fáil spokesperson, Senator Paddy McGowan, who is in hospital.

We did that yesterday.

When is it anticipated that the Appropriation Bill will be discussed? May I ask the Leader to convey to the Minister for Finance a request from the Seanad that he come into the House on the last sitting day before the recess and furnish details of the amounts of money received under the most recent tax amnesty, giving details of the number of taxpayers and a breakdown of the sums involved showing what is coming from abroad and income tax arrears?

There are other ways of dealing with this matter. The Senator may put down a question to the Leader requesting a debate.

Perhaps the Leader would be in a position to let us know if it is intended to discuss this matter at any stage in the House.

Before seeking agreement on the Order of Business I extend my thanks to the Leader, the Leas-Chathaoirleach, Senators on all sides of the House, to the Clerk and her staff and all who have helped to run this House effectively during the past year for their help and co-operation and I wish everybody a happy and enjoyable Christmas.

A Chathaoirleach, I am delighted to say that we have got through the week without a guillotine. I am surprised that nobody has mentioned it on the far side of the floor.

We are trying to expedite the Order of Business.

With regard to the Appropriation Bill, it will be taken in the New Year. Before the Taoiseach enters, may I say that in a week of good will and reconciliation it is very pleasing that a man of peace is coming into the Seanad today.

Order of Business agreed to.