Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 19 May 1987

Vol. 372 No. 10

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 3, 5, 7 and 8. It is also proposed that Nos. 3 and 5 be taken without debate. Private Members' Business shall be No. 30.

Is it agreed that Nos. 3 and 5 be taken without debate? Agreed.

May I ask the Taoiseach if he is prepared to give Government time this session to discuss the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the stage the Anglo-Irish Agreement has reached, and what the Government's intentions are to bring it to fruition?

I will consider that. I am not too sure that, in the present circumstances, such a debate would be helpful, but I would not rule it out.

Is it the Government's intention to reintroduce the Courts Bill, 1986, which was intended to abolish juries in the assessment of damages in civil cases, which passed the Second Stage during the last Dáil last year but which had not reached the Committee Stage before the Dáil was dissolved?

It is our intention to do so.

Will it be done soon?

Yes. As the Deputy knows, the Fianna Fáil Party is a very democratic organisation——

I know it well.

Touché. Everything we do is done by majority vote. We hope to bring it before the parliamentary party for discussion at a very early date and then introduce it in the House.

Does the Taoiseach perceive a danger that his proposal that this Bill be restored to the Order Paper might be defeated at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party?

That is always possible.

May I assure the Taoiseach that the Fine Gael Party will be only too delighted to support the reintroduction of this Bill as quickly as possible?

I could not see myself inviting the Deputy to come to a Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting to express that view.

Perhaps I could assist the Taoiseach by lobbying some of his backbenchers to support the reintroduction of this Bill.

While I respect the Chair's right to disallow a Private Notice Question, I would have thought there was considerable urgency about the future of the B & I Shipping Company. I cannot understand why you did not allow the question to be raised.

I have had a number of questions on that subject and they were not deemed to be sufficiently urgent. The matter can be adequately dealt with by an ordinary question.

Can you not understand the anxiety that thousands of employees feel——

I am sorry, Deputy, but there is no purpose in arguing with the Chair.

There are thousands of cancellations and there is considerable public disquiet. I would ask you to reconsider your decision.

There are other ways of raising the matter.

If I cannot raise it that way, I should like to raise it on the Adjournment.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

I should like to raise on the Adjournment or ask for a Government statement on the provisions which are likely to be made in the event of a strike by community welfare officers next week. I do not want this issue to be confused with the general debate on health cuts but, if this strike takes place—the officers have given notice of intent—it could create a very serious dilemma for poor people depending on supplementary welfare from the health boards in the Dublin and eastern region.

The business of this week, in the main, is devoted to matters appertaining to health.

I am not raising the specific question of cuts. I want to know what contingency plans the Government have to meet the desperate needs of poor people in the city if the strike takes place.

We would require notice of this matter.

I note that there is no comment from the other side of the House.

We have given a full day on Thursday for a discussion on the health services where any matter of that kind can be raised.

This is a different point. Many thousands of people depend on supplementary welfare and they could be deprived of it next week. I am asking the Taoiseach if contingency plans have been made for the payment of supplementary welfare to desperately needy people.

The answer appears to be no.

I have answered the question.

I should like to raise on the Adjournment the proposed abandonment order by CIE on the north Kerry railway line from Ballingrane junction, County Limerick to Rock Street, Tralee.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

I should like to raise on the Adjournment the question of the financial allocation of minus 22.7 per cent to the Cottage Hospital, Drogheda.

I will communicate with the Deputy.

When is it proposed to introduce the Intoxicating Liquor Bill? I am sure the Minister is aware of the serious problem in relation to under-age drinking. The Coalition Bill proposed to deal with that problem.

The matter is under consideration.

Could I have some indication as to when the Bill will be introduced?

The Deputy will be informed in due course.

Will the Minister confirm that he has been reminded that there is a Bill in existence contrary to the statement issued by his Department ten days ago which denied the existence of such a Bill?

The Government do not accept the legislation in this matter proposed by the previous administration. In due course, we will bring forward our own proposals.