It is proposed to take Nos. 7, 3, 1 and 6. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) No. 7 shall be taken without debate; (2) the proceedings on No. 3 shall be brought to a conclusion within 90 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply in relation to the debate: (i) the speech of each Member called upon shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case and (ii) a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon not less than ten minutes before the debate is due to conclude to make a speech in reply and (iii) the Dáil on its rising tonight shall adjourn until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 11 May 1994. Private Members' Business shall be No. 16 — motion No. 14.
Order of Business.
Is the proposal that No. 7 be taken without debate satisfactory?
I compliment the members of the Select Committee on Finance and General Affairs which dealt with the Finance Bill for their hard work. There is a feeling that this is not reflected in any of the coverage of their important deliberations and that the Committee Stage of Bills once again should be taken in the Chamber.
I take it that the proposal is agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for dealing with No. 3 satisfactory and agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that the Dáil on its rising tonight shall adjourn until 1 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 11 May 1994, satisfactory? Agreed.
I wish to raise a relevant matter. In the Taoiseach's predecessor's programme agreed with the Progressive Democrats in 1989 the Government promised to introduce legislation to clarify the law on criminal insanity and fitness to plead. This was also promised by the previous Minister for Justice on 7 May 1992 and 14 October 1992 and by the present Minister for Justice on 11 March 1993 and 8 February 1994. The Government has been criticised by judges of the Supreme Court for its failure to produce this legislation to modernise and clarify the law in this important area. Bearing in mind that it is now five years since it was first promised how high a priority is being given to this law at present?
The draft heads are being considered by the DPP at present.
Is this legislation being given any higher priority now than in the past?
It is but we have to proceed with much legislation at the same time. It is receiving as much attention as we can give it at this stage.
Is the Taoiseach sure?
That is my information.
Given that the writs for the by-elections on 9 June have to be moved at least 21 days before polling day when does the Government intend to move them?
The rabbit has come out of the burrow at last.
Will the Taoiseach clarify what precisely the Government is doing with regard to Telecom, whether a memorandum of agreement has been signed, as reported——
That matter is not relevant to the Order of Business.
——between the company and Cable and Wireless and if this is based in any way on the outcome of the meeting the Taoiseach had with an executive of that company?
I am sure the Deputy can deal with that matter in the appropriate way.
Lord Young says he knows all about it. Perhaps the House should know about it.
Deputy McManus is offering.
This is a serious question. We should know what is happing to Telecom Éireann.
It is not in order now.
In view of the urgency of combating domestic violence and the attention this subject has been given following the commencement of the current Roddy Doyle television series, when will the Taoiseach introduce the promised legislation to deal effectively with such violence?
It is being prepared.
As the legislation has been promised for some time, will the Taoiseach indicate if it will be published in this session or when may we expect to see it? Many women are waiting for the answer.
The legislation is at an advanced stage of preparation. I cannot give a categoric date for its introduction. Constitutional issues are beieng considered in relation to parts of it and when they are resolved we will conclude its drafting.
All promised legislation seems to be at an advanced stage.
Having regard to the contact I made with your office, Sir, and the refusal of relevant witnesses to appear before the Committee of Public Accounts today, can the matter of the fees the Taoiseach incurred in hiring private sector consultants be put to him here?
I would have to consider that in detail. It is not appropriate to raise the matter with the Chair in this instance.
The Committee of Public Accounts cannot get to the bottom of the matter and the Taoiseach pleads the existence of that committee as the reason for not allowing questions on the floor of the House.
The Taoiseach answers every question put to him.