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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 5 Jul 2001

Vol. 540 No. 3

Order of Business.

The Order of Business today shall be as follows: No. 28, motion re Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1983 (Increase in Number of Ordinary Members of An Bord Pleanála) Order, 2001 – returned from committee; No.29, motion re: Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996 (Bar Apprentices) Regulations, 2001 – returned from committee; No. 30, motion re: Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996 (Employment in Licensed Premises) Regulations, 2001 – returned from committee; No. 27a, motion re electronic voting – proposal of Dáil reform committee; No. b1, Standards in Public Office Bill, 2000 – Amendment from the Seanad; No. 26, motion re terms of reference for the Flood tribunal; No. 9, Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2001 – Order for Second Stage and Second and Remaining Stages; No. 56, Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2000 [Seanad] – Order for Report and Report and Final Stages.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) the Dáil shall sit later than 4.45 p.m. today and business shall be interrupted not later than 6 p.m.; (2) Nos. 28, 29, 30 and 27a shall be decided without debate; (3) the proceedings on No. b1 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments to the Seanad amendment, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance; (4) the proceedings on No. 26 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 30 minutes and speeches shall be confined to a Minister or Minister of State and the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party and shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; (5) Second and Remaining Stages of No. 9 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 2.30 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments to the Bill, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform; (6) Report and Final Stages of No. 56 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 6 p.m. 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 the Environment and Local Government; (7) the Dáil shall sit tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and shall adjourn not later than 2 p.m., there shall be no Order of Business, that is, within the meaning of Standing Order 26(2) and (3), and, accordingly, the following business shall be transacted in the following order: No. c1, Dormant Accounts Bill, 2001 – Amendment from the Seanad; No. 56a, Waste Management (Amendment) (No 2) Bill, 2001 [Seanad] – Order for Report and Report and Final Stages; No. 56b, statements regarding inquiry into the Arms Trial; (8) No. c1 shall be taken tomorrow and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 11 a.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments to the Seanad amendment, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Finance; (9) Report and Final Stages of No. 56a shall be taken tomorrow and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 12.45 p.m. 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 the Environment and Local Government; (10) No. 56b shall be taken tomorrow and the proceedings thereon, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 2 p.m., and the following arrangements shall apply: (i) the opening statements of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party shall not exceed ten minutes in each case; (ii) the statement of each other member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes; and (iii) Members may share time; and (11) the Dáil on its rising tomorrow shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 3 October 2001.

There are 11 proposals to be put to the House.

Before we decide on the proposals, I respectfully suggest an amendment to Standing Orders. The Dáil, on rising tomorrow, will not adjourn until Wednesday, 3 October 2001, the plenary session of the House will adjourn tomorrow. There are committees scheduled for next week and the following week, and there will be committee sessions of the Dáil through September.

A Deputy

Hear, hear.

It is incorrect and damaging to give the impression that we are leaving this place until 3 October. Will the Government amend the order, as I cannot do so, to suggest that the plenary session of the Dáil shall adjourn tomorrow until 2.30 p.m. on 3 October?

The proposal refers to the sitting of the Dáil.

In principle, I agree with Deputy Quinn. I am happy that he raised the point because it tends to be neglected. There is much business to be done in July—

September

—and September. The amendment is a technical one for the main Chamber.

Is the late sitting agreed to?

If the word "plenary" were include, that might resolve the issue.

That is what I am asking for. We are the masters of our procedures in this House and we are talking about a plenary session. The joint and select committees of the Houses will sit through July and September.

I understand it is not necessary to—

It is necessary for us, a Cheann Comhairle. It may not be necessary for the officials of the House, but it is necessary for the citizens of the State.

Is the late sitting agreed to?

We are accepting the amendment that has been put forward to the effect that the Dáil in plenary session, on its rising tomorrow, shall adjourn until 2.30 p.m. on 3 October.

I am opposed to the late sitting because of the gross mismanagement of the floor time of the House in the past three weeks.

I thought Deputy Quinn was being nice a minute ago.

I have only started. I am just correcting Deputy Woods. There are 11 proposals on the Order of Business today, 11 requests to depart from the norm. We were asked over the past few weeks to ram through legislation in a most unprecedented and anti-democratic manner. We oppose the proposed late sitting until 6 p.m., which is not late enough in some respects, because of the way in which business is being proposed and the failure of the Government to consult properly with the Opposition.

I am surprised the proposal is for a late sitting because the schedule for the week states that 7 p.m. is the time the Dáil is to conclude today. We are now being asked to agree to 6 p.m. I wonder if we can honour the time that has been established. I object to sitting until 6 p.m. because very important legislation, the Sustainable Energy Bill, could be dealt with over the summer if it got through the plenary session – this was mentioned at a committee. However, the Bill is not going through because we are told there is not time. There is time. Can we have a genuine late sitting to allow Second Stage of that Bill to be taken rather than have an early adjournment today, because the weekly schedule states 7 p.m., not 6 p.m.

As there will be no Order of Business tomorrow, I take the opportunity to wish the Government well in its negotiations. I hope the Good Friday Agreement will be implemented in full over the next six weeks. I wish the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs well, and all the officials who are participating in the talks.

Question put: "That the late sitting be agreed to."

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Michael.Ahern, Noel.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Harry.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Matt.Brennan, Séamus.Byrne, Hugh.Callely, Ivor.Carey, Pat.Collins, Michael.Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.Coughlan, Mary.Cullen, Martin.Daly, Brendan.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Doherty, Seán.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Fleming, Seán.Flood, Chris.Gildea, Thomas.Hanafin, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kenneally, Brendan.Killeen, Tony.

Kirk, Séamus.Kitt, Michael P.Kitt, Tom.Lawlor, Liam.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, James.Moffatt, Thomas.Molloy, Robert.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donoghue, John.O'Hanlon, Rory.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Malley, Desmond.O'Rourke, Mary.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Treacy, Noel.Wade, Eddie.Wallace, Dan.Walsh, Joe.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.

Níl

Allen, Bernard.Barnes, Monica.Bell, Michael.Belton, Louis J.Boylan, Andrew.Bradford, Paul.Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard.Burke, Liam.Burke, Ulick.Carey, Donal.Clune, Deirdre.Cosgrave, Michael.Crawford, Seymour.Creed, Michael.Currie, Austin.D'Arcy, Michael.Deasy, Austin.Dukes, Alan.Durkan, Bernard.Fitzgerald, Frances.Gilmore, Éamon.Gormley, John.Hayes, Brian.Hayes, Tom.Higgins, Jim.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael.

Hogan, Philip.Howlin, Brendan.McCormack, Pádraic.McDowell, Derek.McGahon, Brendan.McGinley, Dinny.McGrath, Paul.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Jim.Mitchell, Olivia.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.Noonan, Michael.Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.O'Shea, Brian.Owen, Nora.Penrose, William.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Reynolds, Gerard.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies S. Brennan and M. Ahern; Níl, Deputies Bradford and Stagg.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 28, 29, 30 and 27a without debate agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. b1 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 26 agreed?

(Dublin West): It is wrong—

It is agreed. The Deputy must resume his seat.

(Dublin West): There is enough muzzling going on.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 9 agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 56 agreed?

No. There is a raft of new proposals in a Bill which will be guillotined today, including – Fianna Fáil backbenchers may not be aware of this – a summary fine of up to £100,000 on conviction of someone who conducts an opinion poll. Is this a free Republic? This is nonsense.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 56 be agreed to."

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Michael.Ahern, Noel.Aylward, Liam.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Matt.Brennan, Séamus.Byrne, Hugh.Callely, Ivor.Carey, Pat.Collins, Michael.Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.Coughlan, Mary.Cullen, Martin.Daly, Brendan.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Dennehy, John.Doherty, Seán.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Fleming, Seán.Flood, Chris.Fox, Mildred.Gildea, Thomas.Hanafin, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Healy-Rae, Jackie.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kenneally, Brendan.Killeen, Tony.

Kirk, Séamus.Kitt, Michael P.Kitt, Tom.Lawlor, Liam.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, James.Moffatt, Thomas.Molloy, Robert.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donoghue, John.O'Hanlon, Rory.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Kennedy, Michael.O'Malley, Desmond.O'Rourke, Mary.Reynolds, Albert.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Treacy, Noel.Wade, Eddie.Wallace, Dan.Walsh, Joe.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.

Níl

Allen, Bernard.Barnes, Monica.Bell, Michael.Belton, Louis J.Boylan, Andrew.Bradford, Paul.Broughan, Thomas P.Bruton, Richard.Burke, Liam.Burke, Ulick.Carey, Donal.Clune, Deirdre.Cosgrave, Michael.Crawford, Seymour.Creed, Michael.Currie, Austin.D'Arcy, Michael.Deasy, Austin.Dukes, Alan.Durkan, Bernard.

Fitzgerald, Frances.Gilmore, Éamon.Hayes, Brian.Higgins, Jim.Higgins, Joe.Higgins, Michael.Hogan, Philip.Howlin, Brendan.McCormack, Pádraic.McDowell, Derek.McGahon, Brendan.McGinley, Dinny.McGrath, Paul.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Jim.Mitchell, Olivia.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan. Noonan, Michael.

Níl–continued

Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.O'Shea, Brian.Owen, Nora.Penrose, William.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Reynolds, Gerard.

Ring, Michael.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies S. Brennan and M. Ahern; Níl, Deputies Bradford and Stagg.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for the sitting and business of the Dáil tomorrow agreed to?

Given that this is the last Order of Business before the summer recess and the school year will have started in September before the House resumes, may I ask the Minister for Education and Science—

That is not in order.

The Deputy is out of order.

There is no Order of Business tomorrow.

The Deputy can only speak if he is opposing the proposal.

I am opposing the proposal. Does the Minister for Education and Science have plans to take an initiative in the ASTI dispute?

We cannot take questions now.

Question, "That the proposal for the sitting and business of the Dáil tomorrow be agreed to," put and declared carried.

The eighth proposal is the proposal for dealing tomorrow with amendments from the Seanad in relation to the Dormant Accounts Bill, 2001. Is that proposal agreed? Agreed.

Does that apply to Independent Deputies?

Only those who are dormant.

Is the ninth proposal, for dealing tomorrow with the Waste Management (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2001 agreed? Agreed.

Is the tenth proposal, for taking Statements tomorrow regarding the Inquiry into the Arms Trial agreed?

I oppose this proposal. While I support the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform's proposal to take Statements on this matter, the Minister for Health and Children gave a commitment to the House to give a statement this week, updating the House on the investigation into the administering of animal vaccine to children in the early 1970s. This item does not appear on the Order Paper for today or tomorrow. Will the Minister for Education and Science clarify this matter? Will time be made available for statements on this matter?

We are dealing with the proposal to take Statements regarding the Inquiry into the Arms Trial. Is the proposal agreed?

The Joint Committee on Health and Children may discuss the matter raised by Deputy Naughten.

The Minister for Health and Children promised to update the House. This matter should not be buried during the summer recess.

Is the proposal agreed? Agreed.

Is the eleventh proposal, for dealing with the adjournment of the Dáil tomorrow agreed?

It is agreed, as amended.

It is agreed as amended.

The House is aware that the Government has refused to grant an adequate fee increase to RTE and has caused consternation among staff in RTE where 700 staff met yesterday. The Government claims the decision is based on a consultants' report which was commissioned by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. Can the Minister confirm my understanding that none of the managers in the key output areas of news and current affairs in television or radio was consulted by the consultants and that the consultancy was simply based on financial information submitted? While the accountancy and financial side were consulted, none of the programme makers was. Does the Minister intend to press ahead with this proposal which is so damaging to the interest of public sector broadcasting?

Was this matter ratified by the Cabinet? In the course of the analysis undertaken by the Government, was the Government aware that there are 100,000 subscribers to Sky Digital TV and that the intention of the Minister with responsibility for broadcasting is not to return to the issue of digitalisation until 2003, by which time Rupert Murdoch will own the Irish skies and the control of much of the media coming through our screens will be determined by editors outside the jurisdiction with no cultural linkage to what is going on here? Is the Government committed to publishing the PricewaterhouseCoopers consultancy report, which second guessed the management and the authority – an authority appointed by Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats and which meets tomorrow – as to what is in the best interests of the national broadcasting agency?

Can we conclude from the slapping down of the ESB earlier this week and the under-pricing and devaluing of the effectiveness of RTE to do its job, that we are now looking at the takeover by the mad mullahs of the right in Fianna Fáil who are determined to stamp out State enterprise?

The Government has approved the Minister's proposal of an increase of £14.50, slightly over 20%. This will bring the colour television licence to £84.50.

We know all that.

Who has black and white?

The Minister has gone into this issue in great detail and has the report.

A Deputy

She sat on it long enough.

Indolent is an adjective which has been used about her.

The question of digital television is one in which the Government has an interest from an educationl point of view. The Minister has been in continual discussions on this issue and intends to continue with those discussions.

There will be nothing left when she reaches a conclusion.

She is dancing at the terrestrial crossroads.

The Government agreement was to consider a further increase with effect from 18 months hence but that is not to say Deputy Quinn is correct when he suggests there will be no return to the issue before 2003.

That is what she says.

That is not the situation.

The Minister has made no provision for the transition to digital TV.

The decision is that the further increase can be considered from that date. When Deputies see the report they will have a better insight into these matters.

It was to have been published this week.

The Minister intends to lay the PricewaterhouseCoopers report before the Oireachtas as soon as quantities are available. It will be laid before the House shortly.

Is this the same Minister who said our culture was being overrun by Europe?

(Interruptions.)

If the Deputies opposite feel, from their great store of knowledge of this area, that a higher increase is appropriate they might say what that amount should be.

The Deputies should put up or shut up. They should tell the people how much they would charge.

It would be preferable to work on the basis of a proper and thorough examination. People in RTE can be assured they will have the support of the Government in any developments, once the details can be fully considered.

Does the Minister for Education and Science agree that public service broadcasting is fundamental in any democracy? The actions of the Government are undermining RTE and handing the airwaves over to the Murdochs of this world. Is it indolence, incompetence of vindictiveness which is motivating the Government to undermine RTE in this fashion?

How much does Deputy Noonan want to charge?

Deputies on this side of the House are asking the Opposition what sort of money they would charge. In 1996 the then Government gave an increase of £8 and said that was the end of the matter.

We did not.

(Interruptions.)

(Mayo): May I make a point of order? The Minister is making a statement that is untrue.

That is not a point of order. We are dealing with Leaders' questions.

The Minister is not telling the truth.

That is not a point of order. The Deputy is not his party's Leader and he is not entitled to speak. The Deputy should resume his seat.

(Mayo): I ask the Minister to withdraw his statement.

I am calling for order.

(Interruptions.)

The Minister is making a statement that is untrue.

The Deputy is out of order. These are Leaders' Questions. The Deputy will have to speak on another occasion but this is Leaders' Questions at the moment.

The licence fee was introduced and it was index-linked. Let the Minister tell the truth.

(Interruptions.)

I ask the Deputy to resume his seat and let the Minister continue his statement.

You defended the decision in your cowardly way. You were afraid to rescind the decision taken by Cabinet. You just refused to implement it. The Minister will correct himself. Let the Minister state that the licence fee was increased and index-linked and let him give the House the reasons the Government refused to implement a Cabinet decision.

This is total disorder. It is the Leaders' Questions. The Minister to speak without interruption.

What I said was the factual position.

No. It was not a factual position.

The Minister is telling lies.

(Interruptions.)

The Minister is aware of the Government's decision. That decision was to increase the licence and index-link it. That is the decision.

(Interruptions.)

The Deputy will resume his seat. Deputies will resume their seats. I suspend the sitting of this House for ten minutes until order is restored.

Sitting suspended at 11.31 a.m. and resumed at 11.41 a.m.

We resume on leader's questions. I call Deputy Quinn.

My leader's question was not completed.

I have called Deputy Quinn.

The Minister did not reply to my supplementary question and since then events have moved on. A serious slur has been cast over the reputation of a distinguished former Minister and the Minister for Education and Science must withdraw the slur on Deputy Michael Higgins this morning. In effect, he has misled the House about the decision.

I was stopped while I was speaking.

Will the Minister reply to my supplementary question and in that context will he exonerate former Minister, Deputy Higgins, of the charge he laid against him?

I mentioned the increase of £8 which the Government introduced in 1996. I accept the Government decided in Cabinet that it would be index-linked. It was not ever implemented because under the legislation one has to seek approval from the Department of Finance. Do not ask me why it was not implemented. I cast no aspersion on the Deputy—

The Government did not implement it.

(Interruptions.)

This is leaders' questions—

Is there any chance that the Minister will circulate his interview on "Morning Ireland"?

—and no other Member is entitled to contribute, not even to raise a point of order.

Not at all, Ceann Comhairle.

Deputy Rabbitte is out of order. Will Deputy Rabbitte and the Minister resume their seats? I again emphasise these are leaders' questions and no other Deputy can contribute, not even on a point of order. If this disorder continues—

(Interruptions.)

Under leaders' questions the only Members entitled to rise are the leaders. That is my ruling and it is the final ruling and Deputies will have to accept it.

I acknowledge the work which Deputy Michael D. Higgins did in that Department. I fully appreciate it and believe it is widely recognised and acknowledged. It does not take from the fact that if it was index-linked one would be talking about small indices.

The Minister's colleague said the Government did not agree with it.

I have said what is happening. There is a transformation programme which was designed to make savings. The Government, in discussion in RTE, said it would like to see that agreed programme implemented and would be anxious to get on with the further development of RTE. I understand, having checked during the break, that the report will be available later today. It will be laid on the table of the House.

After the House rises.

I congratulate the Minister for Education and Science for thoroughly confusing the nation this morning. The parents of all the school children will be delighted to learn there is a person with responsibility for Education and Science who can give such a clear answer to such—

These are leaders' questions not messages of congratulations.

The Tánaiste is perhaps wisely and safely in Switzerland and is unable to take the Order of Business.

No extradition.

I was hoping to have asked her but I now have to ask the Minister for Education and Science if he can indicate whether there is still in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment the early warning unit to deal with threatened redundancies and jobs at risk, in light of the fact that since January 2001 there have been 21,000 redundancies. For example 400 jobs have been lost at ISPAT, Cobh, County Cork; 130 at Wexford Weavers; 150 at Wexal, Enniscorthy, County Wexford; 104 at GlaxoSmithKline, Dungarvan; 400 at Zerox, Dundalk; 60 at Peerless Rugs, Athy; 200 at Henniges, Ballina; 150 at Guinness, Dunalk; 200 at Low Alpine, Tullamore; 260 at Thermo King; 85 at Studio Eye Wear, Ennis. There were job losses also at Dawn Dairies and at Intel there is the possibility of that flagship company being shut down for a number of months. As we speak, up to 4,300 jobs have gone in Intel, including the loss of 1,500 construction jobs and others which did not come on stream.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment's estimate is for 15,000 redundancies this year. If the present trend continues that figure is likely to be in excess of 40,000. International quarterly statistics from various econom ies, including the US, which would have a key impact on the performance of the Irish economy in terms of employment would not augur well for employment. In many cases the jobs being lost are of a scale and skill level which will make it virtually impossible for those unfortunate workers to find alternative employment. Because of the incompetence of this Government and particularly the Minister for Public Enterprise, the lack of infrastructure, broad-band technology, high quality levels of energy, including electricity, or access to a proper infrastructure and transport system mean replacement industries will not come to the locations where the jobs in question have been lost. Against that very dismal background which I take no pleasure in describing, will the Minister for Education and Science state what the Government is going to do in general and, specifically, can he confirm that the early warning unit is in operation and that it is currently looking at other jobs which are at risk around the country?

Does the Minister agree the Government's inflationary policies have undermined and are undermining much of our indigenous industry and leading to the shameful list of redundancies read out by Deputy Quinn? Does he also agree the Government's decision to abolish the employers' PRSI ceiling has led to further redundancies in American based industry located here?

I thank Deputy Quinn for his congratulations in relation to the £46 million which is transferring to my Department from—

The Minister should not start that again.

(Interruptions.)

I appreciate that it is slightly confusing because the figure would now be down to somewhere between £32 million and £36 million in this year's Estimates but my esteemed colleagues—

(Interruptions.)

Order, please.

My esteemed colleagues will appreciate that the Government agreed to raise that figure to £46 million, which was the figure in 1999.

A few caretakers were made permanent and this is presented as the biggest change in the history of Irish education.

(Interruptions.)

Order, please Deputies. I ask the Minister to address the question.

A dramatic improvement will be seen, and it will be very noticeable. In relation to employment and unemployment, we must be prepared to deal with the highly competitive situation in which we are now working. In the past four years, there has been an increase of about 310,000 in the number of people at work. Even in the past 12 months, there has been a net increase of 70,000 jobs.

No, there has not.

Did the Minister invent those figures?

We have had a very successful period. When the leader of the Labour Party was in Government with his colleagues across the way, unemployment ran at 11% and it is now down to 3%. Notwithstanding all of that development, I accept the points made and I understand the unit is still there. Obviously, it did not need to be called into action much over the recent period but I presume it can be back into action fairly quickly.

With regard to the future, Deputy Noonan referred to indigenous growth and development and our performance generally. CSO figures have shown that our performance has been outstanding, with a 10.4% growth rate. If we want to keep that going, we have to maintain the indigenous industry. In that context, our research based industry here at home is critical. The Government's allocation of very substantial funds in that direction, in consultation with the social partners, will help to assure our future. There will be changes. A proportion of the more repetitive jobs may go to other countries. For instance, in the case of Apple in Cork, some of the manufacturing has gone to other countries such as Taiwan and the Czech Republic, yet the sector has maintained substantial figures by basing in Ireland its European finance and sales operations. Intel's research base is being developed and the company is looking for people with those skills. I accept the Deputy's point that we have to be vigilant and must work hard to stay in a competitive position.

Deputy Quinn, a supplementary.

In your absence, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, the Minister gave a scintillating performance, answering all kinds of questions which had not been asked. May I finally ask him if the Government recognises that there are two economies operating in tandem in the Irish economy at present? The high-tech, predominantly foreign multinational investment driven, and financial services are steaming ahead, but in many provincial towns, some of them in South Tipperary, industries are contracting and jobs are at risk due to a variety of factors which make those companies uncompetitive. Some of those factors are domestically controlled by the policies of this Govern ment. Will the Minister begin to recognise that, within the broad figures of economic performance which he has cited and which are to be welcomed in some respects, there are many individual tragic stories of companies going to the wall? Workers with, perhaps, less than a leaving certificate education but 20 years of industrial experience will not, given the present employment situation, get another job in their home town. I have read the list. If Fianna Fáil has learned anything from the by-election in South Tipperary, surely it must realise that these Irish workers in indigenous companies, with skill levels which will not find redeployment in the financial services sector at the Custom House Docks, have to be contacted, analysed, helped and assisted to move up the skills chain. What, if anything, is this Government doing other than blathering on about record economic performance when the reality on the ground is that jobs are being lost?

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is keenly aware of those realities. If she were here, I believe she would assure Deputy Quinn that every possible effort is being made to deal with that. What the Deputy has said is true. The difficulty which he has identified requires a great deal of concentration. From the perspective of my Department, it is a major challenge to the Department of Education and Science. Deputies may be aware that I have just got approval to—

I sense an announcement coming on.

It has already been announced last night. I have got approval to start a reach-out centre in Wexford, as requested by Deputy Howlin and by the Minister of State, Deputy Hugh Byrne, and Deputy John Browne from this side of the House. Such facilities are vital. The number of people dropping out before leaving certificate is a real problem. In some areas, including Wexford and Kilkenny, there is a high level of drop-out, especially in rural areas.

It is about time the Government discovered that.

I am pleased to have got the go-ahead on this matter. It is different. It is not an outreach from universities but involves building something indigenous. It is a very important step and will provide a valuable facility.

That concludes Leaders' questions. We now move to other questions on the Order of Business.

Because we will not have an Order of Business tomorrow, Friday, and because we are going into adjournment, I wish to revisit the issue of secretaries and caretakers. I defy the Minister to tell the House how any school can fill both of those positions for £10,000 a year.

That is not an appropriate matter on the Order of Business.

I wish to return to the issue I raised on the last two mornings on the Order of Business. Given that the House will not sit next week, and that many hundreds of businesses and 9,000 motorcyclists will not be covered by insurance, will the Minister ask the Government to consider using the £10 million remaining in the compensation fund for the protection of insurance policy holders—

That does not arise on the Order of Business.

I also want to ask about legislation on the Greater Dublin—

I call Deputy Rabbitte.

I said I wanted to raise two issues. The second is the Greater Dublin Area Land Use and Transport Authority Bill.

I will call Deputy Owen again. I have called Deputy Rabbitte.

Can I get an answer on the insurance fund?

I will call the Deputy again if she has an appropriate matter.

Is the Government examining the issue?

I will move on to the next business if Second Stage speeches are made and if we do not stay within Standing Orders. It is unfair to Members who want to contribute to other debates this afternoon.

My question is on promised legislation, and to be brief I will not read out the quotes from the Taoiseach. In the latter half of 1997 and in the first half of 1998, the Taoiseach promised in the House on a number of occasions that the Bill to administer FEOGA funding, which would take it from the remit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, was ready for publication and that the heads of the Bill were being distributed to Cabinet. Will the Bill be published before the summer recess, or even in the next term?

This is the crooked grants Bill.

Is the Deputy referring to the Agricultural Appeals Bill?

Does the Minister remember Larry Goodman?

This Bill arose from the beef tribunal and was aimed at taking the administration of European FEOGA funding from the remit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and giving it to a stand alone agency.

There is no Bill listed, but the matter is still being discussed.

I call Deputy Crawford.

I was perfectly in order. My question was about promised legislation, and somebody on the Government side must have some vague idea about what I am referring to.

Highly unlikely.

I call Deputy Crawford.

The Minister has no answers.

Is it still being discussed?

The Dublin Area Land Use and Transport Authority Bill is due in early 2002.

The Minister was not allowed answer that question as it was not allowed when I asked it.

Where is the Bill to administer FEOGA funding in the fashion I have described?

I cannot see a specific Bill. Does the Deputy have the name of the Bill?

There is a Bill. Does the Minister want me to read the quotes from the Taoiseach?

One cannot back a horse unless one knows its name.

What is the name of the Bill?

It is the FEOGA Funding Bill. Where is it?

Does the Minister want to ask the audience?

I propose the Minister asks Larry – he is standing by his telephone.

I call Deputy Crawford.

Would the Minister like to phone a friend?

Allow Deputy Crawford make his contribution without interruption.

The Minister should make sure the friend knows more than him.

Has any legislation been brought before the House, or how will the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development introduce a tagging scheme for pigs? How much more red tape will there be?

That is an unfortunate comment.

Is legislation necessary?

That comes under existing legislation.

The Minister for Public Enterprise indicated she wished to bring eight Bills before the House. Only one on the published list came before the House in the last session. Given my constituency colleague's new move to the Department of Public Enterprise, and his control there, is there any change in relation to the following Bills or when we can expect to see them: the Air Navigation (Euro Control) Bill, the Bord Gáis Éireann Bill, which is meant to privatise Bord Gáis, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Bill, which is ten years late, the Gas Regulation Bill, which is intended to privatise Bord Gáis, the Geological Survey of Ireland Bill, and the Railway Safety Bill, which we were promised most often and which is most urgent. Has the Minister for Public Enterprise any longer a say in this matter?

I am disappointed that the Deputy did not say all this earlier when he was complaining about the volume of work being done by the House.

We were complaining about the methodology.

The Deputy will find it is unprecedented—

We were complaining about the undemocratic methodology. There has been more legislation in the past fortnight than over the previous four years.

The heads of the Air Navigation (Euro Control) Bill are expected later this year. The heads of the Bord Gáis Éireann Bill are expected later this year.

It has moved up the line a bit.

The heads of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Bill are expected later this year. Therefore there will be movement on all the Bills this year.

It is getting like "The Late Late Show".

The Minister for Finance, Mr. McCreevy, must have had some positive affect as they have progressed since I last asked about them.

The Minister without interruption.

The text of the Gas (Interim Regulation) Bill was approved by the Government on 12 June and that will come in the next session. Work on the draft heads of the Gas Regulation Bill commenced in the Department and the heads are expected in early 2002. The heads of the Railway Safety Bill were approved at a Government meeting on 26 June and it will be available later this year.

Will the Government reconsider introducing an amendment to the Waste Management (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill in light of the new information—

That does not arise on the Order of Business.

—that has arisen from a BBC programme screened last night about the dangers of incineration?

The Deputy is being disorderly. That Bill will be before the House tomorrow.

The Fine Gael amendment should be accepted.

(Mayo): I wish to follow up on the point made by Deputy Stagg in relation to the legislative record of the Minister for Public Enterprise.

I hope it is appropriate to the Order of Business.

(Mayo): It is appropriate. We will have to send out a search party as the Minister has not turned up on the Order of Business for a while.

She is gone underground, like Luas.

She is gone to Poland.

(Mayo): She is out on the highways and by-ways.

That does not arise at this stage.

(Mayo): As has been said, she is a bit like a Molly Malone of the midlands. She has flogged Eircom and is carrying out a car boot sale of Aer Lingus.

I will move on to the next business if the Deputy does not ask a question appropriate to the Order of Business.

(Mayo): I wish to ask about four Bills. Will the Aer Lingus Bill, which has passed through the Seanad, go ahead? Will there be a car boot sale of Aer Lingus? Two weeks ago the Minister also flogged the INPC, and I wonder if the order has been made in relation to it. The question on the electricity Bill was not answered in the context of the list given by Deputy Stagg, and I would like to know its current status. Will the ESB be further humiliated as it was this week? I also wish to ask about the Communications Regulation Bill. This area is crying out for further regulation and further guidance. The ODTR does not know where it is going.

The Minister has brought a number of Bills through the House and in that respect has been busy. The Aer Lingus Bill was published on 14 June and is awaiting Second Stage in the Dáil.

It will be waiting a good while longer.

If the Deputies know that then why are they asking about it? Order for Second Stage of the INPC Bill has been scheduled and it has been passed—

We passed that Bill.

Does the Minister not remember that we sold it to the Americans? Somebody should put him out of his misery.

The Minister without interruption.

The heads of the Communications Regulation Bill have been approved by the Government and the text of the Bill is expected in September.

Someone should put the Minister out of his misery.

Ask him about peat moss.

My question relates to legislation—

Speak slowly.

—about which the Minister will have no need to consult his notes, namely, the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rent Abolition) Bill, 2000, which used to be in the Minister's name, but is now in my name and has passed Second Stage. When will the Government agree to refer it to committee?

The Minister can do it now.

The Taoiseach answered that question yesterday. The Attorney General and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform are discussing this Bill and—

(Interruptions.)

What is the Minister's answer?

If there are amendments to other Bills going through the Seanad today, will the Order of Business allow Bills other than the Dormant Accounts Bill, 2001, be returned to the House tomorrow?

The Order of Business for today and tomorrow has been dealt with.

I am asking a question on the only Order of Business. Does the Order of Business tomorrow allow amendments, which have gone through this House and are passed by the Seanad today, come back to this House tomorrow if they are not on the Order of Business.

That is not covered in the Order of Business agreed to and about which the Deputy is obviously aware.

(Dublin West): I have the Standing Order here and assure the Leas-Cheann Comhairle that my two questions are in order. I ask the Minister presiding for the Government if, instead of proceeding so quickly today with the far-reaching and drastic legislation banning opinion polls, the Government would instead refer that proposal to a committee of the Dáil to discuss over the summer—

That does not arise at this stage. The Deputy may raise it later in the morning.

(Dublin West): I thought it would arise on the Order of Business in the House.

The Order of Business has already been agreed to. I will allow the Deputy to raise that point when we reach it on the agenda.

(Dublin West): The matter should be discussed publicly. The issue of unscrupulous gangers bringing in construction workers to work for second rate pay and conditions was raised at the ICTU congress yesterday.

This does not arise on the Order of Business.

(Dublin West): A Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I am asking a question on the Order of Business.

The problem is that a question on legislation can get lost in a Second Stage speech. The Deputy must ask his question about legislation.

(Dublin West): I was merely putting the matter in context so that this Minister, in particular, would understand what I was saying, because he has had extreme difficulty understanding other Deputies. Will the Government bring forward, as a matter of urgency, the work permits Bill to cover these circumstances? It would be intolerable if a new class of coolie labour was to develop on our construction sites.

The work permits Bill will be introduced later this year.

I will keep this question simple. The ombudsman for children Bill initiated in the Department of Health and Children in 1996 was promised by the Government for this session which ends tomorrow. Will the Bill be published today or tomorrow or will this be another broken Government promise?

The heads of the Bill were approved and I understand it will be published shortly.

Will it be published during this session?

The heads have been approved. It was promised for this session, but I understand it will be published shortly.

Today or tomorrow?

When can we expect publication of the public service broker Bill? On the issue of the growing wave of vandalism, crime and harassment on the north side of Dublin, which the Minister's colleague is failing to stem, when can we expect a new command structure for the Garda Síochána?

The Government authorised the drafting of the heads of the public service broker Bill on 19 June. It will be introduced later this year.

Barr