Private Members' Business. - Censure of Deputy: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by Deputy Stagg on Tuesday, 27 November 2001:
That Dáil Éireann:
–in view of the outrageous unfounded allegations made by Deputy Thomas Gildea in the course of a Private Members' debate of Wednesday, 21 November 2001,
censures Deputy Thomas Gildea, noting that his behaviour was totally unbecoming for a Member of this House.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann" and substitute the following:
–noting that Deputy Thomas Gildea has withdrawn allegations made in Private Members' time on Wednesday, 21st November 2001, as formally requested to do so by the Ceann Comhairle;
–noting that Deputy Thomas Gildea has apologised to the House, to Deputy Nora Owen, to her family and her Party, in Dáil Éireann on Thursday, 22 November;
–noting that the present practices and procedures of the House have been complied with in this regard,
accepts Deputy Gildea's withdrawal and apology as is the custom and precedent by Members of Dáil Éireann.
–(Minister of State at the Department of
the Taoiseach, Deputy S. Brennan).

I wish to share my time with Deputy Tom Hayes.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

It gives pleasure to no Member on this side of the House to have to speak on a motion to defend the good name of a colleague. I am delighted Deputy Gildea is in the House this evening and I hope he will take this opportunity to make a full statement on the reason he made such scurrilous allegations last week. Last Wednesday he said that when Deputy Owen was Minister for Justice, ". . . a force of up to 100 gardaí was amassed for use against the local law abiding rural population of Ardara – Glenties area. . . . The Garda Síochána in County Donegal was subjected to unacceptable pressure by her." He requested that Deputy Owen be fully investigated because "as the enthusiastic and willing handmaiden of Cable Management Ireland, she received financial remuneration."

That statement crossed the Rubicon of what Dáil privilege is about. I cannot understand how a Deputy could make such allegations without a scintilla of evidence or truth. The statement was scurrilous and defamed the good name of my colleague, Deputy Owen. I hope Deputy Gildea will take the opportunity this evening to clarify the reasons for his outrageous comments. To use the privilege of the House in such a fashion is an abuse of the privilege which Members of the Oireachtas enjoy. It is a privilege we should protect and respect.

A Rubicon was crossed last week when Deputy Gildea made his accusations. What is to stop me making an allegation of bribery against any member of the Government without any evidence to support it? The Taoiseach has failed to consider the enormity of what took place in the Dáil last week. When serious charges of misconduct were made against the Taoiseach by an individual, who claimed to have given the Taoiseach money in a car park, the Taoiseach had the opportunity to clear his name through the judicial system. Unfortunately, no such avenue is available to Deputy Owen.

I cannot help thinking that Deputy Gildea's speech was a diversionary tactic used by the Government to deflect attention from the debate taking place on the McBrearty affair. Many serious issues were raised in the House last week but the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform failed to answer them. When he spoke in the House last night, he again failed to respond to the Opposition's questions.

I wish to repeat the questions I put to the Minister last week even though I do not know when he will take the opportunity to answer them. Can the Minister tell the House why an exhumation order for Richard Barron's body was sought from his office by the Donegal coroner, following an application from the garda on 10 October 1997? Why did the garda on 16 October 1997 request the exhumation order to be put on hold? What senior member of An Garda Síochána requested the exhumation order to be put on hold and what were the reasons for that request? Did the Minister not find this request unusual? Why did it take him over four and a half years to investigate it? Why did he sit on his hands and not investigate it in the meantime?

Can the Minister also confirm that a number of gardaí, who were suspects for wrongdoing in the initial investigation of Richard Barron's death in 1996, were reactivated into the Carty team to participate in his investigation process in 1999? Why was this allowed to happen? When serious allegations of misconduct are made against members of An Garda Síochána it is vital that such allegations are fully and properly investigated within a reasonable period of time.

The Minister's unwillingness to answer any of these questions gives credence to the view that he is presiding over a cover up within An Garda Síochána. If he has any respect for the office he holds or seeks to have the reputation of An Garda Síochána restored to its rightful place of respect and esteem in our society, he should immediately agree to the establishment of a public inquiry to investigate the McBrearty affair.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in this serious debate. I am very much aware of the happenings prior to tonight's debate. I know both people well. Deputy Owen is a member of my party and has given sterling service to that party. She is someone I have come to admire. I got to know Deputy Gildea when I was elected to the Seanad in 1997. I knew him as a man who went about his business in a shy, calm way. He was elected because people in his constituency felt strongly about a particular issue.

The person I heard last Wednesday night was not the Thomas Gildea I knew, the man I saw working hard for his constituents and who went calmly about his business each week in Leinster House. The outburst was totally out of character with that Thomas Gildea. However, as Deputy Blaney pointed out last night, Deputy Gildea acted out of frustration. That says it all, that a Deputy has to resort to making such statements to have notice taken of what he is saying.

Who prompted the Deputy to make that statement? What prompted him to cause so much pain and hardship to a Member of this House, to a person who has given her life to politics and who has given sterling service as Minister for Justice? Somebody must be behind that outburst. Members of the public do not elect Deputies to Dáil Éireann to slag other Members and they are getting increasingly frustrated with politics and how politicians behave.

Politicians have a duty to represent their constituents in a responsible way. Since becoming a Member of this House, I have become extremely familiar with the spin doctoring that takes place. People are not allowed to be themselves. Week after week Ministers come to the House to say that everything is well and that people are perfectly happy with what they are doing. That is not the reality. As politicians we have a responsibility to act in a more honest and decent way.

I would like to support the motion and share my time with the Minister for Defence, Deputy Michael Smith and Deputies Ardagh and Fox.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

On a point of order, Sir, would the Minister like to share time with Deputy Gildea—

That is not a point of order.

—who is now in the House for the first time since last week?

The Deputy should resume his seat. He is taking Government time. The Minister may continue.

He might have something to say.

Deputy Shatter, you know that is not a point of order. I ask you to resume your seat.

It might not be a point of order but it is relevant.

There is no doubt Deputy Gildea made a grave error in his contribution last week. He made very wrong and hurtful remarks about Deputy Owen who is a highly respected Member of this House. It behoves us all to ensure we act with responsibility when using the privilege of the House. However, he has withdrawn those allegations. He has apologised to the House and I do not think there is much more he can do to undo the damage that undoubtedly he has caused. I am happy to support this motion because I believe that in putting down the motion the Fine Gael Party is simply trying to play politics with what is a very serious—

That is outrageous, it has undone all the Minister has said.

Please allow the Minister to speak without interruption.

—situation over which none of us can stand. If I could make any excuse for Deputy Gildea it is that he is a new Deputy in the House—

He is here four and a half years.

He is not in infants' class.

I ask Members on the Opposition side to extend the same courtesy to the Government side that they were afforded when they were making their contributions.

An irresistible impulse.

Deputy Gildea clearly made a mistake. I suppose when one considers some of the accusations that have been made in this House under privilege over those four and a half years, not being perhaps as used to the Chamber and to debate as is Deputy Shatter, it can be acknowledged why this mistake was made. I have difficulty in accepting the insinuation by Fine Gael that he was prompted by somebody. The Leader of the Opposition made the allegation that Fianna Fáil was responsible for the comments he made. That is an equally outrageous accusation. I must take Deputy Hayes to task for his remarks. Why is it necessary to raise the question that somebody must have been behind this outburst? Has the man not enough intelligence to write his own speeches and to make his own comments?

Obviously not.

He certainly has.

(Interruptions.)

The Deputies should not try to raise a conspiracy theory—

We would be only learning from the fellows on the other side.

—where no such conspiracy theory exists. In the tough business of debate in Dáil Éireann, people do go over the top at times. There is no question but that Deputy Gildea did go over the top.

It was pre-written and the Minister knows that.

He apologised. There are normal procedures in this House for mistakes of that nature to be corrected. I am satisfied—

He is the parliamentary equivalent of the charge of the Light Brigade.

Deputy Shatter, please allow the Minister to continue.

It is clear with the continued interruptions that members of Fine Gael are deeply unhappy about the way they have tried to make a political football out of this issue. Everybody felt sorry for Deputy Owen in the manner in which she was treated. To try and make it into a political football is not in the best interests of parliamentary debate in this House. I fully support the motion.

We all know politics is a fairly rough game and at times we all have to suffer the slings and arrows. None of us can afford to be too sensitive. God knows there have been times when all of us here may have gone a little too far and we do nothing to enhance the profession of politics when we do that. There are rules and there are limits and Deputy Gildea transgressed these limits and that is not in dispute. However, he has withdrawn the remarks and he has apologised. This motion ignores this simple and central point. We are really now debating not the question of the withdrawal of the remarks or the apology but the grammar that was used. The debate is about an unwarranted allegation made against Deputy Owen. It was wrong and this is admitted. I have the greatest respect for Deputy Owen and I am certain she has a level of integrity that matches anyone on any side of this House. To withdraw from the House and have the national Parliament without an effective Opposition was an intemperate and disproportionate response—

We have been here for the past few days.

It was a tactic of a frustrated, tired and panic-stricken Opposition. It was childish in the extreme—

(Interruptions.)

I would like to be given the same courtesy as I gave to the Deputy when he was speaking. It was childish in the extreme and it was looked on by the general public as being so. What did it achieve? As a parliamentary tactic it has proved to be an elaborate waste of time. If school teachers, gardaí, other public servants walked away from their responsibilities and disregarded what they were supposed to be doing, what would we say? It is important to remind ourselves that we are paid to be legislators, we are paid to be public representatives, we are paid to be on the job, not away from it.

There has been a regrettable tendency in Irish politics in the past few years which is a pretence, is fraudulent and is dishonest. That is that a number of individuals in different parties are trying to suggest to the public that they are more honest and that they have a greater level of integrity than the rest. This House would be better off to leave these kind of issues alone. I am here a long time and I am satisfied about one thing: I have met no saints and I am no saint myself.

There comes a time for closure and to put an incident behind us. We could just flog this issue to death. I have been in this House on occasions when the most grudging apologies were accepted by the Chair. I have been here on occasions when innuendo after innuendo was levelled across the floor by all parties.

There is no need to blacken us all.

I said I wanted the same courtesy I gave to Deputies opposite.

Nobody is accusing the Minister of bribery.

To tell the honest truth, I would rather that some of the things that are said in the quiet and hidden away were said in the open. We have learned some lessons from all of this and I am sure Deputy Gildea regrets as much as we do on this side of the House that these unwarranted remarks were made. This House, including Deputy Owen, is entitled to a fulsome apology for what took place.

Last Wednesday night, Deputy Gildea made unfounded and baseless allegations against Deputy Owen. The comments made were disgraceful and I sympathise with Deputy Owen for the hurt and humiliation she has suffered as a result. I know Deputy Owen since 1985 when we were both elected to Dublin County Council and in those 16 years I have known Deputy Owen as a friend and as a dedicated public representative. I felt for Deputy Owen on Wednesday night last and during the week that has just gone by. I would not wish what happened to Deputy Owen on my worst enemy. I am sure Deputy Gildea has also gone through a traumatic week. I would like to hear Deputy Gildea make a fulsome apology to Deputy Owen. I believe such an apology would lift a great burden from both Deputy Owen and Deputy Gildea. The rough party political debate of last night, which continues tonight is not conducive to an immediate resolution of this situation, where the personal sensibilities of two of our colleagues, and Deputy Owen in particular, have been so affected. From time to time in the House things are said that can cause insult and grief to individuals and embarrassment to all the Members, and this was such an occasion.

Of course it demands immediate retraction and apology. This particular attack was exacerbated by the fact that Deputy Owen was not in the Chamber when the offence was caused and could not immediately refute the unfounded allegations made against her. Everybody, both inside and outside the House, realises that these allegations are totally unfounded.

For a long time Deputy Owen has been a respected Member of this House, as a Minister in Government and a Member of the Opposition. While I accept and deeply regret that she has suffered personally in a serious way, I do not believe that Deputy Owen's solid reputation can be damaged by the spurious allegations that were made on Wednesday night last.

It has been a tradition in this House that when allegations such as these are made against another Member, a withdrawal and apology are deemed sufficient to clear the matter. The notice of censure of Deputy Gildea is only giving further media attention to what is already a ridiculous allegation. I believe the moving of this motion of censure is worsening the situation for Deputy Owen, by giving legs to the false allegations that were made. This motion is allowing the pain and soreness that Deputy Owen in particular is experiencing to fester. The matter is also continuing to reflect badly on all of the Members of this House. The sooner this matter is dealt with the better, for Deputy Owen, Deputy Gildea and for all Deputies.

Experience is a great teacher in life and I am sure Deputy Owen has been through a number of comparable experiences – though not quite so personal – during her political career. On the other hand, Deputy Gildea's experience in the House is not as complete as that of many other Members. I do not wish in any way to trivialise such a serious matter but in sporting terms this outburst could be considered a rush of blood to the head.

Very often the perpetrator of such outbursts suffers nearly as much as the offended party. Deputy Gildea has apologised to Deputy Owen in the House and he has withdrawn all allegations. Just as giving is more fulfilling than receiving, the quality of forgiveness is a great Christian quality and one we would always expect in a person of such experience and graciousness as Deputy Nora Owen. To err is human, to forgive divine. I ask her to adopt the divine mode and forgive what was an unacceptable, emotional and completely inappropriate outburst.

She has always had godlike qualities anyway.

She will ascend into heaven.

My apologies Deputy Shatter. I totally reject the allegations as made by Deputy Gildea and I urge Deputy Owen and the proposers of the censure motion to show their qualities of forgiveness and accept the amendment as tabled. It would benefit all Members to put this very regrettable incident behind us.

In the course of my four and a half years in Dáil Éireann, I have been struck by the readiness of some Members to accuse and indict their colleague Members for minor indiscretions. In the history of complaints to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and the Public Offices Commission it is apparent that the underlying reason is to embarrass the political party to which the person who is complained about belongs or to which they are affiliated. This party embarrassment seems to take precedence over the substance matter of an accusation. The person who is accused and their feelings and good name seem to come very far down the order of importance.

Where is the collegiality? Where is the loyalty to colleagues? Is party political expediency so supreme that we do not care who we damage or how much we damage our own colleagues? I am not saying we should turn a blind eye on activities that are contrary to law or the accepted rules and procedures of the House, but I am saying that before we condemn our colleagues we should consider in our own hearts if we are going over the top in the sanctions demanded for the magnitude of the alleged wrong that was committed.

Deputy Ardagh is creating a crisis of conscience for Deputy O'Dea.

Deputy Rabbitte is quite uneasy himself.

As colleagues we should consider the effect that such accusations would have on the person before and as we take into account the political advantage we expect to gain from our actions. If we continue the way we are going, the type of over the top actions which are taken against individuals will leave very few of us with our reputations intact and will undermine the confidence people have in us as their public representatives and in politics itself.

With the permission of the House I would like to share time with Deputy Healy-Rae.

There are 14 minutes remaining in the slot.

I do not condone the content or the manner in which the statements were made here by my colleague, Deputy Gildea, last Wednesday evening. I believe Deputy Owen to be a hard working politician and a decent person. I know Deputy Gildea for the past three years and he is also a hard working politician and a decent person.

Aside from the serious nature of the comments which were made in this particular case, it is never pleasant for a person to hear negative and personal comments made about themselves from the floor of this House, no matter how trivial they may seem to others or to those who make the comments. It is unacceptable that comments of a personal nature should be made from the floor of this House about any Member. Not alone is it unfair to the Member involved, but it lowers the standards of the House.

As one of the four Independent TDs who support the current Government, I have taken my fair share of negative comments from the floor of the House. I admit that some of it is fair criticism while more of it is probably a play to the gallery to get the Independents to vote a particular way on a particular issue. On a number of occasions, however, I feel that comments have gone above and beyond that. It has been stated by Members of the Opposition that Independent Deputies have been bought. It seems to have conveniently slipped the mind of the Opposition that the rainbow coalition tried to negotiate a deal with the Independents four and a half years ago. It now constantly criticises us for doing with others what it wanted us to do with it – to support a stable Government.

The Opposition elevates the Independents to kingmakers one week and then relegates them to the status of simpletons the following week, of being incapable of grasping a particular amendment or having the import of a particular argument lost on us. These constant references to Independents are not serious enough to warrant a response but just because they go unchallenged on a weekly basis does not mean they go unnoticed.

With regard to the motion of censure of Deputy Gildea I am going to do what only a small number of speakers have done so far in this debate, that is to speak about the motion itself. Last night I listened to the debate with interest and pondered whether this motion was to censure Deputy Gildea, whether it was a re-run of last week's Private Members' Business or a motion to censure the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy O'Donoghue.

Last Thursday morning on the Order of Business, Deputy Noonan made a strong case that the time to deal with the comments made by Deputy Gildea was that very day. He had a point when he said that it would not be possible to repair the damage if false allegations were allowed to be made over the following five or six days without rebuttal. He said he wanted Deputy Owen's name vindicated in the House that day. He also said he wanted a platform to allow Deputy Gildea to come back in to this House and do more than the technical withdrawal indulged in the previous night. He said it was an extremely serious issue and went on to say that it was extremely damaging to Deputy Owen and that it was insufficient to say it would be rectified in due course and must be done that day.

Deputy Gildea acceded to this request. He rose to his feet and clarified that he had withdrawn the remark the previous evening and went on to apologise for the hurt caused to Deputy Owen and to her party. This apology was carried on RTE news bulletins throughout the day.

I believe this apology was genuine and, while it does not turn back the clock on what has been said, it was an attempt to repair the damage caused. Why do we have this motion tonight which, if successful, could change how these matters are dealt with in the House. There is a long standing precedent in the House on how to deal with serious allegations such as those made by Deputy Gildea. The Ceann Comhairle asks the speaker to withdraw the offending remark and if the speaker does not do so the matter can then be referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. It should not be up to us to change the rules as we go along. If we are not not happy with the system, perhaps it should be changed, but it should be changed only following calm consideration and not as a knee-jerk reaction to a comment. Deputy Gildea withdrew his allegations and did not partly withdraw or half withdraw them. These allegations undoubtedly attracted unwarranted media attention to Deputies Owen and Gildea. However, the Opposition has succeeded in exposing and prolonging this issue for longer than is necessary.

So we are to blame.

Other issues were indirectly dragged into the controversy, such as the Residential Institutions Redress Bill, 2001, when the Opposition boycotted the Dáil. This motion was never going to achieve anything other than a withdrawal, an apology and a reprimand.

Did Deputy Fox contribute to them?

Please allow Deputy Fox to continue without interruption.

A censure motion is appropriate only if a Deputy does not withdraw his or her alle gations. That is clearly not the case in this instance. To change the rules of the House and set a new precedent on the basis of one isolated incident, however serious, is wrong. If this is to be avoided in the future it must be examined in its entirety rather than in anad hoc manner.

People are entitled to an explanation when allegations of bribery are made against them and that has not happened.

I ask Deputy Reynolds to allow Deputy Fox to conclude.

The Minister of State, Deputy Seamus Brennan, caught sight of that script.

I do not condone the comments made about Deputy Owen. I am sorry that she and her family have been hurt by this affair but this motion of censure is inappropriate to deal with this matter. The amendment which has been tabled by the Government Chief Whip is in keeping with the current practices of the House and that is why I support it.

I certainly do not condone the remarks made by Deputy Gildea. He made an unfortunate statement. Deputy Owen has been a very dedicated and hard working Member over the years and it is clear to everybody that she was very hurt and extremely upset over this statement. However, after everything that was said, Deputy Gildea withdrew the remarks and he immediately apologised to Deputy Owen. I appeal to Deputy Owen and the Fine Gael Party to accept Deputy Gildea's apology. He made it in good faith and as it is close to Christmas and given the time of the year, let us all put this behind us.

Deputy Healy-Rae will try anything.

Deputy Healy-Rae, without interruption.

Let him tell us why Deputy Gildea made the remarks in the first place. We are entitled to know.

If Deputy Shatter does not obey the Chair, I will have no option but to ask him to leave.

We four Independents have also taken our fair share of criticism over the past four years.

And rightly so.

The Deputy is entitled to his opinion but I am also entitled to mine.

Does the Deputy have the turkeys plucked?

People said at the outset we would last about nine months supporting the Government. However, we played our part in sticking to our work and making sure the four wheels stayed under the motor car.

The Deputy has a fine car.

It is badly punctured now.

The car has run out of petrol.

It is running on three wheels now.

Please allow Deputy Healy-Rae to proceed without interruption. He has only a few minutes remaining.

This famous car is still rolling with very slight damage to one wheel.

How will the Deputy get to south Kerry?

I ask Deputy Hayes to extend the courtesy he received to Deputy Healy-Rae.

The car is on bridge blocks.

I am proud and pleased to be one of the four Independents who has kept this Government motoring over the past four and a half years and we are rolling on towards five years.

Did the Deputy pass the MOT test?

I am not sure what kind of a tester Deputy Shatter would make or what his knowledge of motor cars might be.

The exhaust has never fallen off mine.

Drive on.

I again want to point out to Deputy Owen that there is no way I condone the remarks made by Deputy Gildea and I sincerely accept that the Deputy, given her record over the years, has been very upset, annoyed and hurt by them. I ask Deputy Owen and Fine Gael to be stout-hearted and big enough to accept Deputy Gildea's apology and his retraction of what he said. He clearly stood up and made no bones about it. He said he was sorry and withdrew the remarks. I appeal to Deputy Owen to take no further exception to them and to accept Deputy Gildea's apology.

And a Happy Christmas to the Deputy too.

I wish to share time with Deputies Kenny, McCormack, Neville, Enright, Ring and John Bruton.

Follow that contribution.

I wish to set out for Deputy Gildea the sequence of events as they unfolded over the past few days. First, all the Fianna Fáil Members came forward and apologised as best they could. They went over the same ground repeatedly and attempted to apologise on behalf of a colleague who had supported them from the Independent benches in the past four years. They extolled his virtues and appealed for a full and abject apology. That appeal was made again and again last night without success. I have not been in the House as long as some Members but I have learned a golden rule. If one attacks the character of another Member under privilege one must substantiate the allegation or make a total and abject apology. If Deputy Gildea does not have the guts to make such an apology a new standard will be set for the House.

Hear, hear.

One may intend to live by the sword but, unfortunately, history has taught all of us that the sword is double edged and can return quickly to the area from where it came. I appeal to Deputy Gildea. I always thought he was a decent man. All those who represented his constituency during my tenure in the House were decent, courageous people who were fearless in their representations on behalf of their constituents but they never had to do what Deputy Gildea did last Wednesday night.

Questions have been raised by various people regarding who helped the Deputy. Was it his own unaided effort or was he given help? If it was his own unaided effort, shame on him. If helpers concocted and cynically and sneeringly planned this statement, shame on them. It is easy in the aftermath to say an apology was made. I recall a time in the House when if a Member attempted to qualify an apology he or she was immediately ejected. That was the golden rule when I entered the House but that has changed over the years. However, that has been a dangerous change and it will come back to haunt the House.

I listened to the contributions of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy O'Donoghue, and the Government Chief Whip, Deputy Seamus Brennan, both of whom attempted to encourage Deputy Gildea to withdraw his statement fully and unconditionally. They were unsuccessful and Deputy Gildea is now the villain of the piece. The good Members of the main Government party have come out without exception, apologised on his behalf and appealed to him. Let us hope the Deputy has the courage of his convictions to make that apology. If he does not do so, there will be a time in the future when he will reflect on this occasion.

For example, if a Member made a criminal allegation against Deputy Gildea, let it sit for 24 or 48 hours, then apologised for the hurt he caused him and withdrew the allegation would that be enough for him? Is something more not needed since the nature and seriousness of the allegations is such that the character of the person has been taken to the extent that an ordinary simple apology does not work? It is as if a man walked into a pub, hit another man and then said, "Sorry about that." I wonder how that would go down? It just does not work that way. Unfortunately, the Deputy is a relatively new Member of this House and I ask him to stand up and make the unconditional apology which has been the tradition in this House over the years.

I have known Deputy Owen since 1981 when she was elected to Dáil Éireann. I have always found her to be a person of absolute integrity, commitment, dedication and with an interest in her job. She rose to the rank of Cabinet Minister in the last Government where she held the sensitive portfolio of Minister for Justice, a ministry which involved her in confidences of the State and the very essence of our democratic system and in matters of continuous and serious import to the lives of our citizens. Her integrity and good name have been bandied about for the last week. I have no doubt the people of Dublin North will make their judgment on her integrity in a resounding fashion next year.

I have known Deputy Gildea since he came to this House. The public perception of the Deputy is of a quiet man, inoffensive, to whom this kind of character assassination remark appears to be grossly unnatural. I listened to his remarks on Radio na Gaeltachta and it is patently obvious he will not go beyond what he did, that is, he withdrew the section of the statement the Ceann Comhairle deemed to be offensive and he apologised.

The right of privilege in this House under Article 15 of the Constitution is absolute. The chief executive officer of the company mentioned by Deputy Gildea now stands with his name indicted also. He has no mechanical way, legal or otherwise, of having his good name addressed in a court of law for himself, his family, his friends and his future. Therefore, it is not just about an apology being withdrawn and an apology being given to Members of the House, it is far more serious.

Deputy Durkan's last comment is relevant here. If an allegation of a serious sexual nature, criminal nature or a vicious allegation against any Member of this House is made by another, or against a person outside, not only will that be publicised and bandied about throughout the country, but that person must live with the consequences of a statement made in this House for the rest of his or her days. That is why this issue must be put to a Vote this evening, so that the censure and right of privilege which is granted to Members elected by the people to this House is seen and understood to be a privilege and is used accordingly.

The sad thing about this saga is that Deputy Owen became the cog in the wheel over the last week-end, diverting attention from the real issue being discussed here, that of a public inquiry into serious allegations in relation to the McBrearty affair in County Donegal. The person I blame for all of it is the person who sat opposite and accepted the same seal of office presented to Deputy Owen when she was appointed Minister for Justice. It may well be that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law reform in his smugness felt the remark attributed to Deputy Owen previously on another serious issue, that is, the Cahirciveen connection, was to his benefit by getting one back on Deputy Owen.

It is a sad day in many ways for the kind of business that has been conducted here over the years. For over a quarter of a century, I have witnessed some of the most sensitive and personal allegations made in this House being withdrawn fully and completely and with no hard feelings afterwards. With every respect to Deputy Gildea, this appears to be a forced apology and one which is not real and wholesome. In the context of a forthcoming general election at the end of April next year, there may be other Deputies who might see an unnatural opportunity or advantage in this by making similarly wild statements about others. One could have an ever-increasing spiral of wild allegations and false statements to the detriment of the good name of democratic politics and those elected on trust to this House.

I ask Deputy Gildea to go further than his remarks on Raidió na Gaeltachta and in this House and to take the opportunity afforded to him by every Member of this House, except Deputy Blaney who supported him, by standing up and addressing his remarks to Deputy Owen, and through her to the rest of the country. It is necessary for him to do so for the sake of his family and his supporters in Donegal who sent him here in the first instance to treat this House and the mechanics of national politics with respect and honour. He will go back to Donegal a better man for doing so.

I am sorry, too, that this debate has been necessary. I am sorry Deputy Gildea did not take the opportunity of fully withdrawing the very serious and damaging allegations made against the former Minister for Justice, Deputy Owen. I know the Deputy very well because both of us serve on the Committee of Public Accounts and we are involved in other activities around the House. I was astonished at the remarks because I consider them completely out of character for Deputy Gildea although I am not attributing them to his pen or anyone else's pen. Nonetheless, his remarks were very damag ing. More importantly, as Deputy Kenny said, it diverted the debate and publicity from the subject of the motion last week on the inquiry into Garda activity in the McBrearty case in Donegal.

This debate is not or should not be a "bash Deputy Gildea" debate. It is about the principle of parliamentary privilege and that privilege being upheld. This debate could also be about the conduct of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform who sat idly by when the remarks were made. Perhaps he knew what he was doing. I am not saying it was part of an overall plan, but perhaps he sensed it would divert attention from the important debate which was taking place at the time. It is inexcusable for the Minister to have sat idly by without coming immediately to the defence of the previous holder of the office he now holds. If he intervened last week, perhaps we would not be having this debate because Deputy Gildea might have responded more positively to the Minister.

Deputy Gildea did not attempt to withdraw his remarks. Everyone is saying he withdrew his remarks immediately. The Dáil was adjourned on two occasions before he came in here and, at the insistence of the Government Chief Whip who was getting a bit panicky at that stage, the Deputy made a sort of withdrawal of his remarks. Some might say the Opposition is making big play of something which is not very important. I listened to the rambling contributions of the Minister, Deputies Fahey and Smith who said this was a matter of minor importance. It is not a matter of minor importance, it is a matter of serious concern. I or any other Deputy could get up here and accuse Minister X or Minister Y of behaving in a manner entirely unbecoming to their status as a person or Minister. I could come in here after the Dáil was adjourned twice and withdraw the remarks, but those remarks would be on the radio, television and newspapers the next day and a certain number of people would believe the outrageous remarks I had made. When one includes remarks on the record of the House, they remain on the record forever, therefore, it was a very serious matter. Deputy Gildea still has that opportunity. The Independent Deputies, in a show of loyalty to Deputy Gildea, said that he withdrew his remarks. The Fine Gael Party and the entire Opposition, with the exception of one, took this matter so seriously they stayed out of the Dáil. The Minister for Defence made light of that but that is how seriously the matter was taken. It is serious for continued goodwill in the Dáil.

Let us withdraw parliamentary privilege altogether. If it did not exist then Deputy Gildea, I and other Deputies would be a lot more careful about what we say in here because we would have to stand over it outside the House.

I too support the motion. I am impressed by the number of people who have spoken here, and in private, about the esteem in which Deputy Owen is held by all sides of the House. I have been impressed by many of the statements from the Government benches and their views on the damage done to Deputy Owen.

It is a privilege to be in this Parliament. For centuries we fought to have a parliament and it is a privilege that this generation can represent the people in an independent Irish Parliament. Privilege is at the heart of our democracy. That we have the freedom to raise issues without threat of any kind is important and central to our democratic system. That privilege brings with it responsibility and we have obligations because of it. We have obligations to ourselves, our parties and the Parliament and we must be as accurate and honest as possible in the statements we make. Deputy Gildea's statement was calculated. Many other statements referred to were made off the cuff and in the course of political debate – and were totally out of order because of that. A calculated, clear, detailed and unambiguous retraction should be made.

I know Deputy Gildea quite well and have great respect for him. What hit us hardest at first was that what he said was so out of character. I do not understand why this happened. Maybe Deputy Gildea, a very decent Member of this House, will explain to us why this took place. Deputy Owen should not have been put in a position where her integrity was questioned or where the media reported what happened. It is rightly the duty of the media to do that. Her integrity should not be questioned in that way because, as everybody agrees, her integrity is without question. She should not be forced to defend her good name in public and in private or have to explain the position she finds herself in. Neither should her family have been put in such a position. I had a discussion earlier today with a member of the Government who had experience of their family being put in such a position.

I recognise the contribution that Deputy Owen's family have made and the special position it enjoys in this party. Like every other party, there are families in a special position. Her grand-uncle was one of the founding fathers and maybe the hurt runs a bit deeper because of that.

The debate here last week sought an inquiry into the conduct of a number of gardaí in Donegal. A cloud has been hanging over the Garda Síochána in Donegal for the past four years, a family felt they had been seriously wronged. A public inquiry was sought to investigate the matter. Last night the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform spoke about having an inquiry. One of his points was that it would not have been possible to have such a debate as there could be civil, legal or criminal proceedings taking place. In that event, and if that is the reason he is giving for refusing such a debate, there would be no one at Dublin Castle for the Flood Tribunal and no tribunal of inquiry into the infection of persons with haemophilia. Pro ceedings were issued before that; the Minister can check that out.

That is quite right.

Last night the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, spoke about the Director of Public Prosecutions and his function on whether to charge people. The people involved are still members of An Garda Síochána and a cloud still hangs over them. Many of those gardaí will be preparing files and sending them to the DPP for his adjudication. The object of the debate last week was to try to clear things up in Donegal and it was disappointing that the two Donegal Deputies did not support the motion. Not alone did they let down the people of Donegal and the country as a whole, they let down the Garda. A number of gardaí I meet are anxious to have such an inquiry.

We all come into this world in the same way. We come in with a good name and while we are in this world it is up to us to either improve or damage that name. The Minister admitted to Deputy Owen's honesty last night, although he had failed to protect her when she was attacked. In 40 years time, a grandchild of Deputy Owen may research the family and find these charges in the pages of theIrish Independent, The Irish Times and the record of the House. While Deputy Gildea has withdrawn his comments and apologised for the hurt to Deputy Owen and Fine Gael, he did not say that what he said was untrue. He did not say there was no substance to what he said nor did he say he was wrong. Why did he make those statements? I worry about why he made those statements. He should give an explanation why he made them.

It gives me no pleasure to speak on this motion. I do not like to see any Member under attack. I have known Deputy Gildea since I came into politics and I like him as a person. The attack he made on my colleague, Deputy Owen, last week was probably the most outrageous attack anybody has made on an individual since I came into this House. I ask Deputy Gildea to withdraw the remark immediately and to say there was no substance to what he said. I sat beside Deputy Owen last week and she was devastated by his remarks. She was devastated outside the House and in the Members' Bar. I do not know who asked Deputy Gildea to make those remarks. He should do the honourable thing tonight and tell the Irish people who put him up to it. If he said it himself he should apologise. He should be big enough to say: "I'm sorry. I did something that was wrong and I want to say to Deputy Owen, her friends and family that I made a very serious mistake." He should withdraw all the remarks.

As someone said, when one comes into this world as a baby, one has nothing but one's good name. One brings that through life and tries to pass it on to one's children. One tries to protect one's family, which is difficult enough to do in politics. It is hard to keep one's family out of public life.

I listened to Deputy Gildea's remarks and I watched the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, and Deputy Gildea went down in my estimation. As Minister, with 75 spin doctors and £130 million spent on consultants, he went through every file in his Department for the last four and a half years and he knows, as all the Government knows, that if any wrong had been done it would not be Deputy Gildea spreading muck. It would have been done by Fianna Fáil because they are past masters at it.

I ask that these remarks be withdrawn because what happened last week was that Deputy Gildea was embarrassed. There were constituents of his present whom he had promised to support if a motion came to the Dáil proposing a public inquiry. He was embarrassed and he looked for a way out. He and Deputy Blaney told people in Donegal: "When we go to Dáil Éireann as your representatives we will back you." They got the opportunity last week to do so and the best Deputy Gildea could do was to destroy the name of Deputy Owen. Her grand-uncle was the great Michael Collins and we saw in the past how people tried to destroy his good name, though he helped to set up the State.

I was elected to the Dáil in June 1994 and it is the greatest honour that can be bestowed on anyone. There are 166 people elected to receive that great honour. The privilege of the Dáil should not be abused by anybody, Independents, Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, and nobody's good name should be taken away. I listened to the Independents tonight and I nearly took out my handkerchief and cried for them. These are the same Independents who are telling the nation they are the ones propping up the Government but they do not like criticism.

Deputy Gildea is a man I always respected. If he does not withdraw these remarks tonight he is doing himself, his family, his constituency and the Dáil a dishonour. Withdraw the remarks.

It was my privilege to propose Deputy Owen to the House for appointment as Minister for Justice and to introduce her to the President to receive her seal of office. Deputy Owen's term of office will be recalled as one where she showed tremendous courage and integrity under extreme pressure. She was an efficient Minister for Justice who acted speedily when issues needed to be dealt with but above all else she was and is a compassionate human being. No other member of the Government or my party, when I was privileged to lead it, came more frequently to tell me of a colleague who might be in difficulty or pain of some kind. She would urge me to do whatever I could to offer them consolation or encouragement in their difficulty. Deputy Owen is someone who feels for other people and who understands the hurt that others feel. Because she is that type of person she is therefore much more hurt than most others would be by the sort of comment made by Deputy Gildea.

Deputy Gildea is not a fool. He has been here for the last four and a half years and he has observed public life in Ireland for a long time. He knew exactly how hurtful his remarks would be to Deputy Owen. Those remarks were prepared. His was not an off the cuff remark made in the course of a heated debate. He came in with his remarks written out, deliberately prepared and ready to be delivered. Deputy Gildea knew well that if he said those things outside the House he would be sued. Deputy Fox has referred to the fact that I met Deputy Gildea after the last election, as I met her and Deputy Healy-Rae. Deputy Gildea made no suggestions to me about the integrity of Deputy Owen when he met me privately. He did not do so because there is no foundation to such remarks and if he had, even in the privacy of our discussions, it would have been slander and he would have been liable to be sued. No, Deputy Gildea waited and waited until, on an entirely extraneous debate that had nothing to do with his remarks, he could say those false things knowing he could not be sued and that he personally could not suffer.

I am sure Deputy Gildea has studied history. He will know there are Deputies who have made such slanderous remarks under privilege against other Members without suffering politically, even though they deserved to. Unfortunately the Irish people are not as discerning as they ought to be and they do not recognise the deep cowardice involved in making the sort of statement Deputy Gildea made under privilege. People will just think: "isn't he a great man, he could speak up. He could say what people were thinking but were afraid to say," even though that was completely untrue. They will admire him for it. He only needs a quota, not 100% of the vote. In a cool, calculating way, Deputy Gildea has worked out that some people at least in Donegal will think that way and say: "Good man, Tom." I say: "Bad man, Tom." Deputy Gildea is a disgrace to this House and his unwillingness to show any real feeling or to speak from his heart in his apology does him no credit.

The aspect of political life which causes me the most distress is the ability of politicians from all sides to engage in personal vilification. We have had plenty of examples of it in the House since I became a Member and many of us have suffered from it. The kind of personal vilification that passes for political debate at times in the House is worse than being mugged in the street by a stranger because it is like being assaulted by a neighbour or a colleague. It is all the more distasteful if an attack is made within Leinster House on a Mem ber. All of us believe in our profession and this House is the centrepiece of our democracy and we all have a duty to act in a responsible manner at all times, not just when it suits us. We should be responsible towards each other and those outside the House. If we are not we devalue our role as representatives and leaders of our people.

I put my sympathy, if that is the correct word, with Deputy Owen on the record. I do not believe anybody in this House should endure the experience she suffered. There is no place in decent politics for unsubstantiated allegations against Members, whatever their political hue.

This matter transcends party politics. It cuts to the root of the malaise of cynicism from which the Irish political process currently suffers and I do not make excuses for the fact that Deputies often contribute to the cynicism. All Members have heard those outside the House saying politicians are only in it for themselves, for what they can get out of it. The motives of good men and women have often been questioned. We know that the vast majority of politicians do their best to act honourably and honestly, even if they do not get everything right. When an incident such as the one under discussion happens, it makes it difficult for voters to respect those involved in political life. How can people be expected to vote in elections if they do not respect politicians? Who will go forward as a candidate in an election in the belief that they are liable to suffer a character assassination?

I have to say that episodes such as that which occurred on 21 November serve to undermine the flagging confidence in the body politic. There can be no excuse for Deputy Gildea's behaviour and his actions were not supported by those on the Government benches. Those who engage in similar behaviour in the future will similarly find no succour on this side of the House. Having said that, Deputy Gildea withdrew the allegations he made during Private Members' time last week, albeit only having been formally requested by the Ceann Comhairle to do so. He apologised on 22 November to the House, to Deputy Owen, her family and her party and thereby complied with the practices and procedures of the House, which is why I support the Government amendment asking the Dáil to accept Deputy Gildea's withdrawal and apology and to accept the custom and practice of this House.

Some misdirected criticism was levelled at my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, who was in the House at the time. I found myself in a similar situation some years back when the then Taoiseach, Deputy Albert Reynolds, was the victim of a savage and personal attack from Opposition Members, although I have to say they were not Members of the Fine Gael Party. I had to sit on my hands as I expected the Chair to defend the integrity of Members. This sorry episode has tarnished the reputation of the House, just as it tarnished Deputy Owen's good character and reputation. I hope a lesson can be learned from the week gone by, that this House should have the highest possible standards. It is a lesson we should not have to learn. If we do not show respect to one another, we cannot expect those outside the House to respect us.

I wish to share time with Deputy Quinn.

I find it extraordinary that the Government has tabled an amendment to this motion. What has it to do with the Government? Why did the Minister of State, Deputy Séamus Brennan, feel it necessary to put down an amendment given that the motion of censure is against an Independent Member?

That is a good question.

The Government has come to the House to defend Deputy Gildea against this simple motion of censure. I have listened to the comments of the Minister, Deputy Dempsey. There should be a free vote on this matter as it is for each Member to decide whether he or she is prepared to tolerate Deputy Gildea's disgraceful and shameful behaviour. He deliberately lied about a parliamentary colleague.

I would prefer if the Deputy would not use the word "lied".

I am telling the truth.

It constitutes unparliamentary language, about which there is a long standing precedent.

He made—

I ask the Deputy to withdraw the word "lied".

I do not know what else to call it.

We do not want another motion.

I suppose I will be thrown out for saying he told lies, but he did tell lies.

What else can I call his comments?

On a point of order, in the context of the debate it cannot remotely be said that Deputy Gildea was telling the truth.

That is not a point of order.

The word "lie" is not parliamentary language.

He was telling an untruth.

There is a long standing precedent.

I withdraw the word "lied". Deputy Gildea told an untruth.

Go raibh maith agat.

Deputy Gildea's behaviour was the worst form of cowardice I have ever witnessed. I have had the pleasure of being both Government or Opposition Whip on four occasions. I have never encountered any Member, from any side of the House, acting in such a cowardly and disgraceful manner as I witnessed last Wednesday. I was shocked to read the rubbish spoken by Deputy Gildea, who accused a colleague of receiving bribes, and indeed accused another person of offering bribes.

What has Deputy Gildea been doing for the last four and a half years? He is a public representative and a legislator. If he had information suggesting that a Member of this House received bribes or if he was aware that somebody was bribing a Deputy, why did he not contact the Garda Síochána to have the matter investigated? He did not report the matter to the Garda as he knew it was completely and utterly untrue. If he knew the Garda in County Donegal had acted in an improper fashion, he should have reported it to the Garda Commissioner. He did not do so because he knew it was not the case.

This is not a matter for division along Government and Opposition lines. I say to Members on all sides of the House that it is time we stood up for ourselves. It is time we declared that certain things are acceptable and certain things are unacceptable. Whips should not be imposed in this instance as it is a simple motion which one either supports or does not. For the Government to put down an amendment to a simple motion of censure is nothing short of ridiculous. Deputy Gildea's comments were not a slip of the tongue. His script was written by somebody. I admire Deputy Rabbitte for challenging Deputy Gildea and for defending the good name of Deputy Owen, but Deputy Gildea continued to speak until the bitter end. He made certain that he delivered all his rubbish so that it went on the record of the House. He did not stop.

He was a man on a mission.

When he had said his piece, he was forced by the Ceann Comhairle to apologise. Why did the Government Chief Whip find it necessary to call Deputy Gildea into his office to get him to apologise? He was forced to come in here the following day to withdraw the remarks; he did not do so voluntarily. Does it sound as if Deputy Gildea was genuinely sorry? Having had to go to court to clear his good name and to receive damages, the Taoiseach, of all people, should not allow an amendment to a censure motion.

Exactly.

I remember that a Fianna Fáil Opposition Deputy in the 1970s was forced to resign from the front bench because of a statement he made about another Member. The Government is effectively saying that any Member can come into the House, say what he or she chooses about another Member, perhaps that he or she is on the take, then stand up the following day and apologise and we are all supposed to forget it ever happened. This is a bad example to set for prospective Members. The new recruits who come into the House following the next election will realise that all they need to do to get publicity is make a wild statement about somebody which will receive banner headlines and withdraw it the following day because there are no sanctions. I urge the Government to allow a free vote on this motion because there are Members on the Government side who want to support this motion but are not being allowed do so.

I wish to share time with Deputy Gildea. He may not have had a opportunity to speak previously but I am offering him a chance now. Does Deputy Gildea wish to speak?

It is a matter for individual Deputies to decide whether they wish to contribute to a debate.

Let the record show that time was offered. There are a number of questions everyone wishes to put to Deputy Gildea. Why did he say what he said? Why did he write down what he said in advance? Why did he not completely withdraw the statement when he was finally forced to withdraw it? Why will he not now state that there was no substance to the allegations? Let us be very clear about Deputy Gildea's charge against Deputy Owen although its restatement may be hurtful. A former Government Member was charged with illegally directing approximately 100 members of the Garda Síochána to undertake a course of action on behalf of a commercial company in which she had a beneficial financial interest. That is a devastating charge. Yet Deputy Gildea sits silently behind me although he still has an opportunity to explain his reasons for making such an allegation or to state it is completely without substance. Deputy Gildea's apology, no matter how sincere, will not make amends.

Deputy Gildea's first comment when the Ceann Comhairle finally came into the House last week was "can I continue with my speech?". Deputy Shatter will confirm this. This, following objections from Deputy Rabbitte and others through which Deputy Gildea ploughed on. I was so shocked that I did not have a chance to rise in defence of my former Cabinet colleague. What ever happens, Deputy Gildea's comments will remain on the record. He has not substantively withdrawn his statement, nor has he stated that the charge was completely without substance. No motive or explanation was outlined as to why Deputy Gildea made this premeditated statement.

Was this some kind of attempt on Deputy Gildea's part to detract attention from the Visitors Gallery in which people who had worked for him in his constituency prior to the previous election sat? Deputy Gildea embarked on a suicide mission to detract attention from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform who refused to provide for a public sworn inquiry into the outrageous abuses allegedly undertaken by gardaí in Donegal which have been the subject of civil legal proceedings. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is the short-term winner of Deputy Gildea's self-destructive action and people just outside this Chamber are hovering like vultures to take the Deputy's seat at the next election.

The Minister, an experienced politician, must stand partly indicted for what happened in this House last week. The longest serving Minister for Justice in modern times sat in the front bench knowing that the first part of Deputy Gildea's allegations in regard to the Garda Commissioner would have been impossible to achieve. The Minister sat there and failed to defend two things—

What about the Labour Party Deputy who was in the Chair at the time? The Chair is supposed to protect Members, not the sitting Minister.

Deputy Quinn to continue, without interruption.

I will turn to the righteous morality of the Minister for the Environment and Local Government in a few moments. The person who has the honour of being part of the Cabinet and who is endorsed by this House could at least have indicated that this part of Deputy Gildea's charge was untrue. Unfortunately, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform chose to say nothing. His reaction yesterday in this Chamber and his repeated assertion of lies – his words, not mine, which were still are on the blacks this morning – is an indication of how he felt.

I want to turn to the defence of the Fianna Fáil Party, articulated with heartfelt feeling earlier this evening by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government. There is a certain degree of hypocrisy in the action taken by the Fianna Fáil Party and the Progressive Democrats. We understood that the Government Chief Whip, whose skill with the Independents is beyond doubt, worked over the weekend to encourage Deputy Gildea to come into the House and make a statement although his efforts clearly failed. The Fianna Fáil Party did not have to table an amendment to this motion; it did not have to do anything. However, Fianna Fáil is so dependent on Deputy Gildea's vote until it takes him out at the next general election that it is not even prepared to allow the House to censure him for something in which it had no part. If the Government could not bring itself to go all the way and censure Deputy Gildea for his obvious abuse of privilege, it did not have to do anything. Yet, it is so dependent on Deputy Gildea's vote, until next May or June at the outset, that it could not run the risk of him failing to vote with it on the next critical vote. Deputy Power, clearly against his better judgment, will come into the House to vote for something in which he does not believe, as will other Government Deputies who have both privately and publicly intimated their abhorrence – a word used by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government in his contribution – in this matter. The Government is refusing to censure a Deputy for a gross abuse of parliamentary privilege.

Fianna Fáil's pre-election campaign slogan was "people before politics". If ever we needed a succinct exposition or demonstration of the degree to which politics is put before any aspect of people's lives, we can see it in the Government's dependency on the vote of someone who has clearly abused the privileges of this House and cast a slur on the character of another Member. In the next couple of minutes the actions of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats will prove that politics comes before people.

I ask the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, the senior Government Minister in the House, to consider not pressing the amendment even at this late stage. The Fianna Fáil Party does not have to vote at all. It can simply abstain and allow the record to demonstrate that a sufficient number of Deputies voted in favour of a motion of censure on a Deputy who has refused to speak and explain why he made premeditated allegations in this House which are without substance and the content of which is completely libellous. Deputy Gildea has refused to avail of the time offered to him to fully withdraw those allegations. If, as expected, the expedient of politics over people carries the day, the position of every Deputy in this House, irrespective of his or her political allegiance, will be damaged in a manner which will be very difficult to repair in the future.

Amendment put.

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Michael.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, David.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Harry.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Matt.Brennan, Séamus.Briscoe, Ben.Browne, John (Wexford).Byrne, Hugh.Callely, Ivor.Carey, Pat.Collins, Michael.Coughlan, Mary.Cullen, Martin.Daly, Brendan.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Noel.Dennehy, John.Doherty, Seán.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Fleming, Seán.Flood, Chris.Foley, Denis.Fox, Mildred.Gildea, Thomas.Hanafin, Mary.Harney, 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.McGennis, Marian.McGuinness, John J.Martin, Micheál.Moffatt, Thomas.Molloy, Robert.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donoghue, John.O'Flynn, Noel.O'Hanlon, Rory.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Kennedy, Michael.O'Malley, Desmond.O'Rourke, Mary.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Wade, Eddie.Wallace, Dan.Wallace, Mary.Walsh, Joe.Wright, G. V.

Níl

Allen, Bernard.Barnes, Monica.Barrett, Seán.Bell, Michael.Belton, Louis J.Boylan, Andrew.Bradford, Paul.Broughan, Thomas P.Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).Bruton, John.Bruton, Richard.Burke, Liam.Carey, Donal.Clune, Deirdre.Connaughton, Paul.Cosgrave, Michael.Coveney, Simon.Crawford, Seymour.Creed, Michael.Currie, Austin.D'Arcy, Michael.De Rossa, Proinsias.Deasy, Austin.Dukes, Alan.Durkan, Bernard.

Enright, Thomas.Farrelly, John.Finucane, Michael.Fitzgerald, Frances.Flanagan, Charles.Gilmore, Éamon.Gormley, John.Hayes, Brian.Hayes, Tom.Higgins, Jim.Higgins, Michael.Hogan, Philip.Howlin, Brendan.Kenny, Enda.Lowry, Michael.McCormack, Pádraic.McDowell, Derek.McGahon, Brendan.McGinley, Dinny.McGrath, Paul.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Jim.Mitchell, Olivia. Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.

Níl–continued

Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Jan.Owen, Nora.Penrose, William.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Reynolds, Gerard.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Seán.

Sargent, Trevor.Shatter, Alan.Sheehan, Patrick.Shortall, Róisín.Spring, Dick.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.Wall, Jack.Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies S. Brennan and Power; Níl, Deputies Bradford and Stagg.
Question declared carried.
Question put: "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to."

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Michael.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, David.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Harry.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Matt.Brennan, Séamus.Briscoe, Ben.Browne, John (Wexford).Byrne, Hugh.Callely, Ivor.Carey, Pat.Collins, Michael.Coughlan, Mary.Cullen, Martin.Daly, Brendan.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Noel.Dennehy, John.Doherty, Seán.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Fleming, Seán.Flood, Chris.Foley, Denis.Fox, Mildred.Gildea, Thomas.Hanafin, Mary.Harney, 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.McGennis, Marian.McGuinness, John J.Martin, Micheál.Moffatt, Thomas.Molloy, Robert.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donnell, Liz.O'Donoghue, John.O'Flynn, Noel.O'Hanlon, Rory.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Kennedy, Michael.O'Malley, Desmond.O'Rourke, Mary.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Wade, Eddie.Wallace, Dan.Wallace, Mary.Walsh, Joe.Wright, G. V.

Níl

Allen, Bernard.Barnes, Monica.Barrett, Seán.Bell, Michael.Belton, Louis J.

Boylan, Andrew.Bradford, Paul.Broughan, Thomas P.Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny). Bruton, John.

Níl–continued

Bruton, Richard.Burke, Liam.Burke, Ulick.Carey, Donal.Clune, Deirdre.Connaughton, Paul.Cosgrave, Michael.Coveney, Simon.Crawford, Seymour.Creed, Michael.Currie, Austin.D'Arcy, Michael.De Rossa, Proinsias.Deasy, Austin.Dukes, Alan.Durkan, Bernard.Enright, Thomas.Farrelly, John.Finucane, Michael.Fitzgerald, Frances.Flanagan, Charles.Gilmore, Éamon.Gormley, John.Hayes, Brian.Hayes, Tom.Higgins, Jim.Higgins, Michael.Hogan, Philip.Howlin, Brendan.Kenny, Enda.

McCormack, Pádraic.McDowell, Derek.McGahon, Brendan.McGinley, Dinny.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Jim.Mitchell, Olivia.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Jan.Owen, Nora.Penrose, William.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Reynolds, Gerard.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shatter, Alan.Sheehan, Patrick.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Upton, Mary.Yates, Ivan.

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