It is proposed to take business in the following order: Nos. 8, 9 and 10; Private Members' Business shall be No. 75. By agreement, the proceedings on item No. 75 shall be brought to a conclusion not later than 8.30 p.m. today. Are the proposals for disposing of item No. 75 agreed?
Order of Business.
On the Order of Business, may I ask the Taoiseach when it is proposed to bring before the Dáil the Bill dealing with independent local radio?
It will be introduced during the session.
Will the Taoiseach inform the House if the heads of the Bill have been agreed by the Cabinet——
That does not arise on the Order of Business.
The answer is yes.
Will the Taoiseach state if legislation will be enacted before the summer recess?
I want to be clear about this. Will the actual legislation be enacted before the summer recess?
Will the Taoiseach do it on his own?
Will the Taoiseach say when he will bring before the Dáil the promised legislation to transfer power from elected county councillors to county managers in dealing with the provision of facilities for the travelling community?
I do not think legislation has been promised.
It has been promised by the Government on a number of occasions. The most recent occasion was by the Minister of State, Deputy Nealon, in Sligo two weeks ago.
If it was promised it is in order to raise the matter but if the legislation was not promised it is not in order to raise the matter.
I am not quite clear about this. Is the Deputy referring to the Bill dealing with housing for the homeless?
I am referring to the commitment made by the Government on a number of occasions to take power from elected county councillors and to transfer it to non-elected county managers. The power I am referring to is in regard to the provision of facilities for the travelling community.
I think not. Certainly the possibility of doing that has been raised if county councillors did not do their duties. There is not promised legislation on the matter.
I cannot allow a discussion on this matter.
Is the Taoiseach aware of the numerous occasions on which this statement was made? Further, is he aware of the most recent occasion when the statement was made by the Minister of State, Deputy Nealon?
I cannot allow the matter to be raised in this way.
It is extraordinary.
In any event, this would not require legislation. I do not know what the Deputy is talking about.
The Deputy is talking about——
The Chair will not allow a discussion on the matter from either side.
What I am talking about is the stated intention of this Government to take powers from the elected county councillors——
That does not arise on the Order of Business. I am positively ruling that out of order.
With the permission of the Chair, I wish to raise on the Adjournment the matter of the incursion of the British Army at Courtbane last Friday, where the British Army polluted the water supply——
The Chair will communicate with the Deputy.
Will the Taoiseach tell the House when the Tánaiste intends to make the statement promised on the nationalisation of Cork gas? Will the statement be made in the House?
That does not arise on the Order of Business.
It has been promised by the Tánaiste. When a statement is made by a person who is second in charge of the Government, surely I am entitled to ask a question?
No. Perhaps the Deputy will cast his memory back to shortly after the first assembly of this Dáil. At that time the Chair made clear what was in order on the Order of Business and what was not in order. If the Deputy has forgotten that, I would refer him to the Official Report at that time.
Surely the matter I am speaking about requires legislation? If the Tánaiste speaks to the Press and makes a commitment about issuing a statement today or this week, surely I am entitled to ask a question?
The Chair rules you are not.
I am sorry, Sir. In my opinion that is an improper decision.
In the interests of good order, will the Taoiseach indicate to the House a full, complete and properly costed list of Government and/or Fine Gael or Labour Party commitments in regard to the local elections, whether it is a tunnel in Cork, gas in Limerick or jobs elsewhere. This House and the public are entitled to have a comprehensive statement.
That does not arise on the Order of Business. I am ruling the Deputy out of order.
The House is entitled to know the facts.
I have told the Deputy it does not arise on the Order of Business.
The Irish taxpayer is at least entitled to that, a comprehensive, properly costed list of commitments from a Government that purports to be responsible and is entirely irresponsible.
I am ruling the Deputy out of order. I am asking Deputy Lenihan to resume his seat. Deputy Lenihan must resume his seat. I am calling item No. 8.
In reply to the Deputy, the Government's policy on local government was published last week and is available to all Members of the House.
Is it in order for the Taoiseach to make a statement?
I want to make it perfectly clear that the Chair is not getting the co-operation from the House that he should get. When Deputy Lenihan gets up and raises a matter which I have told him on several occasions is not in order — a matter of a highly controversial nature — and shouts his way through the Chair it is difficult to stop somebody else from getting up to deny that. Of course. Deputy Haughey then is asking me to enforce unfair play——
Of course he is.
——and that is not reasonable. I am asking Deputy Haughey to take a different view on it. When the Chair rules something out of order the Chair should be obeyed. It is manifestly unjust if I am to allow somebody to make a fairly long controversial case and then not allow that to be answered. On the other hand, if I do allow an answer I am inviting chaos.
A Cheann Comhairle, on a point of order——
I am calling Deputy Haughey on a point of order.
A Cheann Comhairle, you have brought me into this matter, if I may say, in a very partial way——
You came into it.
——and I want to reject most of what you said. I want also to point out to you that for many a day, as Taoiseach, I sat over there where Deputy FitzGerald is sitting——
And will sit there again.
——and I must point out to you that I consistently obeyed order and did not answer or intervene on questions and matters raised on the Order of Business which you had ruled out of order. That has been a well established precedent by previous Taoisigh and Ministers in this House and I suggest to you, Sir, that it should be continued.
The only change is that Deputy Haughey invited me, the Chair, to put an end to wrangling with the Chair. I am doing my best to put an end to wrangling with the Chair and I am not getting the co-operation that I should be getting.
I am calling item No. 8. I would prefer that this ended at this stage.
A Cheann Comhairle, I will talk to you privately.
No secret deals.
The Chair can only rule with the co-operation of the House. The Chair must listen for some time until he knows what is being raised. But when Deputy Lenihan got up I tried my best to get him to sit down but he decided he would not sit down——
On a point of order, a Cheann Comhairle, I submit that it is necessary to reconsider this matter. If the Chair is unable, despite all his efforts, to prevent a Deputy continuing to make allegations that are irrelevant and that are ruled out of order then some consideration has to be given to giving a right of reply. I have submitted this before. I would like you to give further consideration to that. Alternatively, if any Deputy continues to speak after the Chair has asked him to cease he would have to leave the House automatically, one or the other.
A Cheann Comhairle——
Order, we are now having an impromptu discussion on how business should be conducted. That in itself is disorderly.
Look who is saying "hear, hear".
I could be putting people out of this House every morning in the week.
Deputy FitzGerald, as Taoiseach, is trying to change the ground rules which were adhered to, mind you very often under severe provocation, by every previous Taoiseach in this House; not alone myself, but other Taoiseach for a long period of time obeyed the order as you laid it down——
A Cheann Comhairle, you and the present Taoiseach, as Opposition, have availed of the Order of Business on many occasions, and previous Taoisigh and members of Government had to abide by and put up with that situation, and the rules cannot be changed now——
No, but you are the very man who, in the most eloquent language, invited me to put an end to all that, and I am doing my best to put an end to it.
I am sticking to it.
I am calling Deputy Molloy.
Might I ask the Taoiseach when the legislation which is at present being prepared for the abolition of Údarás na Gaeltachta will be brought before the House?
There is no legislation in preparation on that matter.
Is the Taoiseach then denying the reports in today's Irish Times?
You have got an answer, Deputy.
The Deputy should ask The Irish Times.
Ask the handlers.
I am calling item No. 8.
With the permission of the Chair I should like to raise on the Adjournment the question of President Reagan's interference in the democratically elected Government of Nicaragua.
I will communicate with the Deputy.
May I ask the Taoiseach when it is intended to introduce legislation in this House to accommodate the nationalisation proposals in respect of Cork Gas Company?
That is not in order.
It has to be.
I am ruling that it is not in order.
Can you describe to me, Sir, the difference between a commitment to nationalise something that automatically means legislation, and why I cannot raise this in the House——
No legislation has been promised. I am calling item No. 8.