Procedure

For the information of members, editing work on the official reports of all previous meetings has been completed and copies should be available by the end of this week or early next week. We will begin today on amendment No. 40 in the name of Deputy Yates.

Before Deputy Yates begins, I should like to ask about the timetable for the day. In view of the weather and driving conditions at the moment, is there any merit in suggesting that we work through lunchtime rather than resume after lunch and finish late. This would help people in their travel arrangements.

The only problem with that suggestion, Chairman, is that I have made arrangements for lunchtime.

May I make another suggestion? If we start sharp at 2.30 p.m. and finish at about 4 o'clock people will be able to get away in daylight.

I think lunch should be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

From 1 p.m. to 2.15 p.m.

As befitting a political meeting, we have a compromise. Is it agreed that we resume at 2.15 p.m.?

Agreed.

On a separate point, I wonder if there would be any interest by the committee in agreeing to some form of time procedure for future meetings so that we can deal with the Bill more expeditiously. Perhaps some thought should be given by the secretariat, in agreement with all parties, on how we might group certain amendments which would have to be taken within a given period; otherwise if we keep going at the rate we are going we will not be finished discussing the Bill until 1992. There is a willingness on our side of the House to do this. Obviously some Parts of the Bill will take longer than others to discuss but perhaps this suggestion could be considered.

I would like to add one other point. May I suggest that we meet on a weekly basis every Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.?

Why from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.?

I know we only had a few meetings during the last session but they were held on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. and perhaps we can continue that practice on a weekly basis.

I would like to have longer meetings because the amount of work we can get through in an hour and a half is very small.

Could we agree to meet next Tuesday by which time I am sure consultations will have taken place between the leaders of the different groups and an agreeable agenda hammered out for the future workings of the committee?

Next Tuesday the Rape Bill will be discussed in the Dáil and this means a few people will be missing from this side.

I had anticipated that and in deference to the members who want to be involved in that debate I do not think we should duplicate the demands on them. I suggest we take a break next Tuesday in order to consider the timescale for the Bill, points which may be raised, how we can expedite the whole discussion on it as quickly as possible and have discussions with leaders of each of the groups. This would enable us to come back in two weeks time with proposals about concluding the Bill and help us to structure ourselves in a better way.

Is that agreed? Agreed.