It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 12 (resumed), 13 (resumed) and 4. Private Members' Business, to be taken from 7 p.m. to 8.30 p.m., will be item No. 32 (resumed).
Order of Business.
In view of the unprecedented and serious implications of the lobbying campaign by nearly all the employees of RTE regarding their fears for the future of the national broadcasting service station's future, will the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs indicate if and when he proposes to take action, legislative or otherwise, on the collection of the licence fee which has an outstanding deficit of £8 million, and on control of the air waves?
That is not relevant to the Order of Business.
I am asking about proposed legislation.
You may ask only about promised legislation.
It is a very serious matter when all the employees of the national broadcasting service feel obliged to lobby TDs——
It does not arise on the Order of Business.
When does the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs propose to introduce legislation promised by him six weeks ago to a deputation in relation to the alleged re-broadcasting of BBC, ITV, and pirate radio stations? I have heard nothing about this matter since, and I would like to know when he proposes to introduce legislation along these lines.
I have no notice of this matter and I will ask the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to communicate with the Deputy.
I raised this matter because it was promised by the Minister and I assume the Taoiseach would be aware of a promise made by a member of his Cabinet. I am surprised to learn that the Taoiseach is not aware of this.
I did not say I was not aware of it; I said I had no notice of this matter. The Deputy did not do me the courtesy of telling me he was going to raise it this morning. Had he done so, I would have ensured that the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was here to deal with the query. As it is, I will ask the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, as a matter of courtesy, to communicate with the Deputy.
The Taoiseach is suggesting I am unreasonable. I am asking about promised legislation and I do not think it is unreasonable to do this.
I do not recall offhand suggesting that he was discourteous when I was Taoiseach when the then Deputy Haughey raised matters with me.
I hope I will not draw the same rebuke from the Taoiseach, but may I ask if it is intended to proceed with and enact item No.2 on the Order Paper, the Local Authorities (Officers and Employees) Bill which was circulated this morning before the recess?
As the Deputy knows yesterday the House made an order settling what business will be dealt with between now and the recess.
I am aware of that, but the Taoiseach will recall that during the term of office of the second last Coalition Government, Departments were prone to come galloping in here at the end of session with legislation they had not foreseen, although they had been given every opportunity to do so. What is the reason for circulating this Bill which in practice will not be taken before October or November?
I am greatly surprised that the Deputy is complaining that we publish Bills at the earliest possible moment so that the Opposition may have the greatest possible length of time to consider them. This seems to be a new form of carping criticism.
I am not criticising but I wanted to know——
Thank you very much.
This Bill will be a collector's item——
With your permission, Sir, I would like to raise on the Adjournment this evening the refusal of the associated banks and related lending institutions to provide bridging finance for applicants who obtained approval for Housing Finance Agency loans.
When does the Taoiseach intend appointing the other Ministers of State? He promised some time ago that he would do that shortly. Does he now believe that some of those already appointed are superfluous and supernumerary?
I am calling Deputy N. Andrews.
May I raise on the Adjournment the question of the lack of telephone and telex services in the Sandyford industrial estate in South County Dublin? I want to know what action the Minister intends to take to improve the situation.
I will communicate with the Deputy.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the question of the delay in medical attention arriving at the scene of an accident in Cappoquin, County Waterford, on Sunday week last, and to ask the Minister to carry out an inquiry into that accident which could have serious repercussions in the event of another accident occurring.
I wish to raise on the Adjournment the question of the non-collection of refuse in the north Cork area.
I will communicate with the Deputy.
When does the Minister for Social Welfare intend to circulate the Social Welfare (Amendment) Bill which it was agreed yesterday would be taken next Thursday? Is there any significance in the fact that this item has disappeared from the Order Paper?
The Bill will be circulated before the weekend. There is no significance in the fact that it is not on the Order Paper. We have agreed a motion which covers the work to be debated before the House goes into recess.
Can I take it that Deputy Flaherty has not changed her name?
Yes, I have not.
(Dún Laoghaire): The Taoiseach told us he was circulating a Bill early so that it could be discussed, but the Bill which we are expected to take next week has not been circulated.
These are carping criticisms. Could I have precisely the nature of the query from the Opposition Chief Whip?
(Dún Laoghaire): A few moments ago the Taoiseach explained that Bills were being circulated early so that we would have plenty of time to examine them, but we have not yet got a Bill which will be taken next week.
I have dealt with the Bill that Deputy Kelly is interested in and I have explained that as soon as we can get Bills drafted we are having them drafted and published for the benefit of the general public and members of the Opposition. In regard to the point now raised by the Opposition Chief Whip, I will ask our Chief Whip to deal with that.
I should like an assurance from the Minister for Social Welfare that the Bill will be circulated. In view of the fact that we are being co-operative in allowing a relatively short debate on this matter, we should at least be able to consider the matter in some greater detail. I should like an assurance from the Minister that he is not trying to slip anything through on the quick or on the quiet.
The Deputy can be assured we are not trying to slip anything through on the quiet. There is one very simple amendment which I do not think will take the Deputy long to read. It will be circulated by the weekend and the Deputy will have from then until late in the next week to consider it.
Without disclosing the contents of the Bill, will the Minister state if it will meet the exigencies of the situation in Clover Meats and in Kilkenny?
It is designed to meet them.
Will it actually meet them, as distinct from being designed to meet them?
The Deputy will have an opportunity to comment on that when he sees the Bill.
In view of the controversy surrounding this legislation, will the Minister state if it is designed to meet this problem or is it an effort to go some distance towards meeting it?
Wait and see.
It is designed to meet the problems which have arisen. The Deputy will have every opportunity to express his views when the Bill is circulated.
(Cavan-Monaghan): On the Order of Business, I think both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Social Welfare are being quite unreasonable. They seem to think they have some complaint because this side of the House has asked for the circulation of a Bill——
(Cavan-Monaghan):—— which we have facilitated the Government by taking at short notice and in a short debate. I want to go on record as saying that the least the Taoiseach and the Minister might do is to circulate the Bill in normal time.
On the contrary, we are not complaining. Deputy Mary Flaherty, or Deputy Mrs. Alexis FitzGerald, whichever she prefers, quite validly raised the point about when the Bill would be circulated. The Minister for Social Welfare, with what I thought was reasonable calm and politeness, explained to the House——
(Cavan-Monaghan): There was not one word of regret.
—— that the Bill will be circulated before this weekend. It is a very simple Bill and the Deputy will have a reasonable opportunity to study it before it is taken before the House. If there is any other assistance we can give to Deputy Flaherty we will be delighted to afford her that assistance.
With the permission of the Chair, I should like to raise on the Adjournment tonight the matter of the continuing pollution of Coumeenole strand by the tanker The Ranga.
With the permission of the Chair, I should like to join the queue to raise on the Adjournment tonight the subject matter of which I gave notice on Friday but which could not be allowed, because of the Rules of the House, to be taken that afternoon. I am referring to the reply of the Minister for Justice and the admission that he paid £56,000 to have letters delivered by a private firm. This has caused tremendous unrest in the postal service.
(Dún Laoghaire): In view of the escalating crime rate in the Dublin area in the past week or so, I should like to have an opportunity to have a debate on this matter on the Adjournment.