It is proposed to take No. 15 — Financial Resolution re. Finance Bill, 1996; No. 7 — Motion re. Leave to Introduce Supplementary Estimate [Vote 31] and, subject to the agreement of No. 7, Supplementary Estimates [Vote 31]; and No. 17 — Finance Bill, 1996, Report and Final Stages. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: (1) No. 15 shall be decided without debate; (2) No. 7 and Supplementary Estimate [Vote 31] shall be decided without debate and any divisions demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; (3) the proceedings on the Report and Final Stages of No. 17, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 6.45 p.m. tonight by one Question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance; (4) Private Members' Business shall be No. 28 — Motion re. taxation system and the proceedings thereon shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. tonight; and (5) the Dáil, on its rising on Thursday, 2 May 1996, shall adjourn until 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 8 May 1996 and the sitting shall not be suspended from 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. on that day.
Order of Business.
There are a number of matters to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15 satisfactory and agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 7, Supplementary Estimate, Vote 31, satisfactory and agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 17, the Finance Bill, agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' Business this evening satisfactory and agreed? Agreed. Are the proposals for the adjournment of the House tomorrow and the arrangements for next week's sitting satisfactory and agreed? Agreed.
I ask the Taoiseach to forward to the Fianna Fáil Party the composition and the terms of reference of the action group to deal with the jobs crisis in Tallaght arising from the proposed closure of Packard. I assume it is available as there will be as a meeting of the action group later today. May I ask the Taoiseach also if an interdepartmental group, which was part of an early warning system for industries facing difficulties, is still in existence and if it still meets monthly as it did for several years?
Packard was yesterday's affair.
Not for the workers.
I appreciate that and I have facilitated the House in respect of the matter. It can be raised again but not at this time.
We will be happy to furnish the information about the composition of the task force to both Opposition parties. So far as the other matter is concerned, there is an ongoing mechanism for monitoring the difficulties of firms. The problem in this case did not relate to advance warning, it is related to other problems inherent in the marketplace. It is important that we should be realistic about what actually happened.
Lest I be misunderstood, I said I did not believe it was relevant to Tallaght but the early warning system has worked well for industries. It was set up ten years ago or more. Companies should remember to report to that group. In this instance, if the management had done what was expected of it by the political system, then it would have been a relevant committee. I am saying this in the context of industries generally.
It cannot be debated now.
Industries should be aware of and should use that interdepartmental group.
As the Taoiseach is aware I have been supportive of the efforts of the Minister and the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Employment, Deputies Richard Bruton and Rabbitte, in relation to Packard Electric. I appeal to the Minister for Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Taylor, not to falsely raise the hopes of the Packard workers that the plant can be saved. While I welcome the task force, it is not sufficient. I would like to see a greater input from the private sector into the membership of that task force. I call on the Taoiseach to re-examine the membership of the task force with a view to extending it. I have some suggestions if the Ministers wish to talk to me about it.
I cannot condone discussion on a matter which was the subject of quite some debate yesterday.
There are other difficulties in the constituency in relation to jobs at Airmotive, Baldonnel. Given that this constituency has two seats at the Cabinet table we need a more thorough response from the Government than merely a task force. In particular, we need to know what the Government intends to do to change our anti-work tax system which is contributing to many of the problems in industry.
If the Deputy wishes to elaborate on this matter, she should find an appropriate time to do so. She may not do so now.
Half of the members of the task force, including the chair, are from the private sector. Obviously, any response to Tallaght's problems, which are substantial at this stage, must involve a constructive combination of the work of the private and public sectors.
In the context of the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, will the Taoiseach ensure that funding is allocated urgently to the Southern Health Board to facilitate applicants from the Cork-Kerry region who from today will not receive subvention due to a lack of funding from the Department of Health? It is a sad reflection on our society that the elderly in my area are placed in this position.
The Minister for Health has been aware since January of the imminent crisis in the Southern Health Board and, while we welcome the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, future applications for subvention for nursing home care in the Southern Health Board area will not be successful.
That does not arise now, Deputy.
Does the Minister plan to provide immediate financial assistance?
I am calling Deputy Batt O'Keeffe.
It is reported in this morning's paper that the Department will contact the Southern Health Board. Will the Minister indicate his immediate plans in this regard?
The Deputy knows there are procedures for dealing with such matters.
In the context of the Health (Nursing Homes) Act——
All the Deputies opposite must have readThe Examiner this morning.
They should manage their money more prudently down there.
Does Deputy O'Keeffe wish to raise a matter that is relevant to the Order of Business.?
In the context of the Health (Nursing Homes) Act, will the Taoiseach ask the Minister for Health to restore the £1.5 million cutback——
I am sorry Deputy, it would be more appropriate to raise that by way of question.
——to the Southern Health Board so that the elderly in that health board region are not sacrified? The Minister has been aware of the position since January last, but did nothing about it. He is sacrificing the elderly in that area.
When will the Turf Development Bill come before the House? Does the Government plan to make a statement today on the recent disclosures in Bord na Móna? Will the Taoiseach seek a statement on the matter from the board's former chairman?
I am sorry, Deputy, that matter should be raised at a more appropriate time.
It is promised legislation.
Early next year.
Will that be when the Taoiseach gets a statement from the former chairman?
The Turf Development Bill will be presented to the House early next year. That answers the only part of the Deputy's question which is in order on the Order of Business, and the Deputy is well aware of that.
If the Taoiseach is not turfed out before then.
Will the Minister for Finance make a statement on the Government's U-turn on the Civil Service jobs embargo? Will he outline the scheme or system——
Let us have some regard for what is in order at this time.
Yesterday we were told in DL speak of the inevitability of the civilianisation of Baldonnel. When are we likely to see this legislation which, in layman's language, will mean privatisation? Will the Taoiseach clarify at an early stage the effect this will have on Dublin Airport and its employees?
Has legislation been promised in this area?
The Deputy should ask Deputy McCreevy to tell him what he said last night.
It is promised legislation.
Legislation on the inevitability of the civilisation of Baldonnel was promised in DL language in the House yesterday.
I call Deputy Tom Kitt.
Excuse me, Sir, but this legislation was promised in the House yesterday.
The Deputy should resume his seat.
It was promised yesterday.
We will clarify the matter, but not now.
We are concerned about the future of the airport. There are 10,000 people in my constituency concerned about the future of the airport.
Deputy Burke has made his point. He should resume his seat.
I will, but I am asking about promised legislation.
Please resume your seat forthwith.
The Deputy should listen to air traffic control.
I hope Deputy Kitt has something relevant to raise.
The Tánaiste will make another speech from the ramp about the future of the airport, the same as he did prior to the last election.
I call Deputy Kitt who is ignoring the Chair.
The Deputy should not start his campaign too early.
I addressed Deputy Kitt on a number of occasions, but he ignored me.
My question is straightforward.
Deputy Kitt, I have no resumed my seat yet.
When will the Garda Síochána Bill, 1996 come before the House?
The Bill was published yesterday and will come before the House shortly.
In regard to a promise made on a number of occasions, will the Taoiseach say when the charter for victims of crime will be published? The Minister for Justice told us 15 months ago it was imminent.
Legislation is not required for that.
It is in the programme for Government.
It does not require legislation.
When will it come before the House?
A special task force on Aer Lingus was established during the Aer Lingus crisis to determine employment opportunities in the North Dublin region. The report proposes several Bills including legislation on LUAS which is due to come before the House shortly. Although the report was finalised a year ago, it has not yet been published. Is this the precedent that will be followed in respect of future task forces? What will happen to the report of Tallaght task force given that the task force set up during the Aer Lingus crisis has not yet been published.
The Deputy has made quite a statement. To what legislation is he referring?
I will communicate with the Deputy. I am sure he is aware that the publication of non-statutory documents is not a matter for the Order of Business. However, in view of the Deputy's interest in the matter I will make inquiries and communicate with them.
I hope the report will be published.
In early February the Government voted down an adoption Bill which would have permitted the adoption of Chinese babies. There was a great urgency about the matter at that time and the Government promised to introduce its own Bill. I am being asked by parents——
The Deputy should avoid making speeches at this time.
——when the Government will introduce legislation on this matter. Perhaps the Taoiseach will say when it is proposed to introduce the legislation.
As the Deputy knows, this matter is before the Supreme Court and it would be extremely incautious of the Government to introduce legislation before the highest court in the land has pronounced on the constitutional requirements in this area of law.
Who appealed it?
The Government was correct to defer publication of legislation on this matter until the Supreme Court pronounces its interpretation of the constitutional provisions in this area. Otherwise, we could waste valuable legislative time. I am surprised at Deputy Woods raising this matter because, as an experienced Deputy, I am sure he understands what is involved in this matter.
As a result of that experience I know that it is a relatively simple matter——
We cannot debate the matter now, Deputy Woods. This is the Order of Business. I am calling Deputy O'Rourke.
The Taoiseach repeatedly tries to confuse the issue and put off the day when these babies are allowed into the country.
Deputy Woods, please do not obstruct the Chair any further.
If the Taoiseach requires advice, I will be available in my office.
When will the consumer credit legislation be implemented? In asking that, let me welcome Deputy Richard Bruton's timely return on Labour Day.
The consumer credit legislation will be available shortly.
On what date will it be implemented?
The consumer credit Bill, which will consolidate and update legislation on the operation and supervision of credit unions, will be published next month. As to the implementing orders referred to by the Deputy, I understand they are to come into effect shortly.
In view of the difficulties caused recently in Connemara by lack of openness, transparency and accountability in aquaculture licensing, when is it proposed to introduce the Fisheres (Amendment) Bill; and is it considered a Government priority in view of serious concern among the community about such licensing?
This legislation is a priority and will be introduced in the second half of this year.
Will the Minister intervene where the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry has failed miserably in relation to the beef crisis which has been going on since Christmas and getting worse by the day? Will the Taoiseach seek EU compensation for farmers, many of whom will be out of business very shortly?
What is the position with regard to the Land Registry legislation? Will the Taoiseach also indicate the position regarding decentralisation of the Land Registry offices?
That is a separate matter. What is the position regarding the legislation?
The Land Registry legislation will be available early next year.
Does the Taoiseach agree with the statement of Minister Rabbitte regarding the inevitable civilianisation of Baldonnel and the effect that would have on the Air Corps?
The Deputy may raise that some other time.