It is proposed to take No. a11, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; No. 3, Central Bank Reform Bill 2010 — Second Stage (resumed), to adjourn at 1 p.m. today, if not previously concluded; and No. 1, Energy (Biofuel Obligation and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 [Seanad] — Second Stage. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that No. a11 shall be decided without debate.
Order of Business.
There is one proposal to put the House. Is the proposal to deal with a11, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions without debate agreed to?
It is not agreed. I object to the Order of Business not only because of No. a11 being taken without debate but due to the fact that at long last, there is some semblance of recognition at Government level and within senior financial banking circles of the depth of anger at the culture of this Government supporting a situation where grossly over-the-top bonuses and payments were made to incompetent people.
I oppose this Order of Business because I want the Government to bring forward legislation which will ensure this cannot happen again and which can be applied retrospectively where gross incompetence was rewarded by endorsement by Government of over-the-top bonuses and excessive payments.
On behalf of the Labour Party, I join with Deputy Kenny in opposing this Order of Business. This is a business as usual and a politics as usual Order of Business. We cannot have business as usual and politics as usual while we have a crisis in banking and in our economy.
I welcome yesterday's decision by the chief executive of Bank of Ireland to forego his pension top-up but we have yet to hear what is happening to the €1 million bonus Mr. Fingleton took and which was supposed to be paid back. There is no sign of that and we have not heard anything from Government to date that it will require him to pay it back. Meanwhile, the Government intends to put thousands of millions of taxpayers' money into banks which engaged in bad lending practices that caused the crisis in banking and in the economy and which is resulting in people losing their jobs and their businesses going to the wall.
The Labour Party will not agree to this kind of routine business as usual and the notion that the Easter recess is over so let us get on with some humdrum parliamentary business and forget the crisis people outside this House are experiencing in their daily lives and in their business. As long as Fianna Fáil continues to mismanage this economy, the Labour Party will not agree to business as usual in this House and will oppose the Order of Business.
It is obvious that the Government is not managing the current crisis in the financial sector. What we have here is a whisper in the ear or a word on the side all leading to that type of reactive politics and overall management. The decision of Mr. Boucher of Bank of Ireland to forego the €1.5 million top-up of his pension arrangements is clearly an example of that and shows that the way things have been done in the past is the way things are still being done today. This is further exemplified in the fact that the code of conduct on fitness and probity arising from the Central Bank Reform Bill, which is before the House as of yesterday, has not yet been published. We do not even have a draft of the code, yet it is emphasised in the structure of the Bill as a core requirement. We have not yet had any indication as to what the code will contain and no indication as to whether Opposition voices in the House will be listened to. We have been proven right time after time by the Government being forced, at a later stage, to take decisions it failed to take at the appropriate time. Here we are, once again, going through the motions of dealing with the Central Bank Reform Bill when one of its key and core elements has not yet been published. This is outrageous and demonstrates that the Government has learned nothing.
I remind the Opposition that this Government introduced a cap on the remuneration of the CEO of the bank in question.
The cap was set at €500,000 a year. That is the sacrifice the banks are making.
The Taoiseach did not endorse what was said by the Bank of Ireland and as Deputies know, in his discussions here, he alluded to the situation——
The Government defended Mr. Boucher's payment.
——and asked that the Bank of Ireland chief executive reflect on the public utterances of the Government, public representatives and the general public.
It is business as usual.
It is not business as usual. We have been looking for reform in the Central Bank.
Get the bonus money back.
Deputy Burton should allow the Tánaiste to continue without interruption.
We are now introducing legislation and the Opposition is now deciding it is business as usual and this is not good enough. The Government is introducing regulatory reform and reform of the Central Bank. On that basis, I move the motion.
I will put the question.
- Ahern, Bertie.
- Ahern, Dermot.
- Ahern, Michael.
- Ahern, Noel.
- Andrews, Barry.
- Andrews, Chris.
- Aylward, Bobby.
- Behan, Joe.
- Brady, Áine.
- Brady, Cyprian.
- Brady, Johnny.
- Browne, John.
- Byrne, Thomas.
- Calleary, Dara.
- Carey, Pat.
- Conlon, Margaret.
- Connick, Seán.
- Coughlan, Mary.
- Cregan, John.
- Cuffe, Ciarán.
- Curran, John.
- Dempsey, Noel.
- Devins, Jimmy.
- Dooley, Timmy.
- Fahey, Frank.
- Fitzpatrick, Michael.
- Fleming, Seán.
- Flynn, Beverley.
- Gogarty, Paul.
- Gormley, John.
- Grealish, Noel.
- Hanafin, Mary.
- Haughey, Seán.
- Healy-Rae, Jackie.
- Hoctor, Máire.
- Kelleher, Billy.
- Kelly, Peter.
- Kenneally, Brendan.
- Kennedy, Michael.
- Killeen, Tony.
- Kitt, Michael P.
- Kitt, Tom.
- McEllistrim, Thomas.
- McGrath, Mattie.
- McGrath, Michael.
- Mansergh, Martin.
- Moloney, John.
- Moynihan, Michael.
- Mulcahy, Michael.
- Nolan, M. J.
- Ó Cuív, Éamon.
- Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
- O’Connor, Charlie.
- O’Dea, Willie.
- O’Flynn, Noel.
- O’Hanlon, Rory.
- O’Keeffe, Batt.
- O’Keeffe, Edward.
- O’Rourke, Mary.
- O’Sullivan, Christy.
- Power, Seán.
- Roche, Dick.
- Ryan, Eamon.
- Sargent, Trevor.
- Smith, Brendan.
- Wallace, Mary.
- White, Mary Alexandra.
- Woods, Michael.
- Bannon, James.
- Breen, Pat.
- Bruton, Richard.
- Burke, Ulick.
- Burton, Joan.
- Byrne, Catherine.
- Carey, Joe.
- Connaughton, Paul.
- Coonan, Noel J.
- Coveney, Simon.
- Crawford, Seymour.
- Creed, Michael.
- Creighton, Lucinda.
- Deasy, John.
- Deenihan, Jimmy.
- Doyle, Andrew.
- Durkan, Bernard J.
- English, Damien.
- Enright, Olwyn.
- Feighan, Frank.
- Ferris, Martin.
- Flanagan, Charles.
- Flanagan, Terence.
- Gilmore, Eamon.
- Hayes, Brian.
- Hayes, Tom.
- Higgins, Michael D.
- Hogan, Phil.
- Kehoe, Paul.
- Kenny, Enda.
- Lynch, Ciarán.
- Lynch, Kathleen.
- McGinley, Dinny.
- McHugh, Joe.
- McManus, Liz.
- Naughten, Denis.
- Neville, Dan.
- Noonan, Michael.
- Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
- Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
- O’Donnell, Kieran.
- O’Dowd, Fergus.
- O’Mahony, John.
- O’Shea, Brian.
- O’Sullivan, Jan.
- Penrose, Willie.
- Perry, John.
- Quinn, Ruairí.
- Rabbitte, Pat.
- Ring, Michael.
- Sheahan, Tom.
- Sheehan, P. J.
- Sherlock, Seán.
- Shortall, Róisín.
- Stagg, Emmet.
- Stanton, David.
- Timmins, Billy.
- Tuffy, Joanna.
- Upton, Mary.
- Varadkar, Leo.
- Wall, Jack.
I welcome the fact that the chief executive of the Bank of Ireland has made the decision that he made in respect of his top-up pension. That is no thanks to the Government, which defended the position by stating that it was powerless to intervene until moral, political and public pressure brought about this decision.
I was reminded by Deputy Flanagan that in the Taoiseach's constituency, a majority of Dáil Members are of the view that Anglo Irish Bank should be wound up in an orderly fashion. I must assume that Deputy Fleming was speaking on behalf of the Government when he made his comments yesterday on the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010. Is the Government now of the view that Anglo Irish Bank should be wound up in an orderly fashion?
Following on from Mr. Boucher's decision, Deputy O'Donnell pointed out to me that section 48 of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act states quite clearly that "Where the Minister considers, on the advice of CIROC, that the covered institution has not complied with the requirements of this paragraph, he or she may direct the covered institution to amend the remuneration plan so that compliance is achieved". The remuneration of the former chief executive of Irish Nationwide, Mr. Michael Fingleton, was in excess of the recommendation and the advice of CIROC, or the covered institutions remuneration oversight committee. The Tánaiste is aware of that. The recommendation was to pay him €360,000 per annum. He was paid €221,000 for the four months before he resigned in April 2009, which is an annual equivalent of €663,000. This was grossly in excess of the recommendation given by CIROC. The Taoiseach said yesterday that the Government would pursue this in every respect. Do those words mean that the Government is now calling in the public interest directors and preparing legislation to deal with this?
Does the Tánaiste consider the bonus and pension of the former Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Hurley, and the former Financial Regulator, Mr. Neary, were appropriate in view of the mismanagement of their responsibilities? An Oireachtas committee was told by Mr. Neary that banks in this country were very well capitalised and well able to withstand any pressure. Does the Government intend to introduce legislation to do something about the extent of bonuses and pensions paid to persons who were clearly grossly incompetent in their duties?
Before calling the Tánaiste, I must draw the attention of the House to the fact that we have no provision for Leaders' Questions on a Thursday morning. It is hugely problematical.
I thank you for that, a Cheann Comhairle, but I am asking about legislation and the need for it.
I accept that but I would ask Members to respect the situation. I am prepared to allow some latitude on these matters, particularly if they relate to promised or possible legislation. I need to draw the attention of the Chamber to the fact that we do not have provision for Leaders' Questions on a Thursday morning.
This is not Leaders' Questions, it is a question about legislation. I have asked the Tánaiste two questions about Anglo Irish Bank and bonus payments.
The policy of the Government on Anglo Irish Bank is as enunciated by the Minister for Finance in the House. There has been no change.
So Deputy Fleming is out of order.
On the issue of remuneration and section 48 of the Act, it is important to reiterate that the remuneration of chief executives has changed on the basis of what was introduced by this Government.
Deputy Ned O'Keeffe should come down and give his views.
I am not aware of any further legislation that may be introduced in this regard. I am on the record since last year, as are many of my colleagues, as saying that Mr. Fingleton should return the €1 million. The chief executive of Irish Nationwide has indicated publicly that he has tried to ensure that will happen. I support the Taoiseach's view that everything that can be done will be done to ensure that repayment takes place. It should happen.
How far will the Government go to restore that?
It is not Question Time.
The Minister, Deputy Dempsey, is not the Ceann Comhairle.
The Tánaiste has said that she is not aware, and that is exactly the problem with this Government. It is not aware because it is immune to the reality of what is happening around this country, including the unfairness and inequity that is now evident in so many areas.
This is totally out of order.
I remind the Tánaiste that yesterday the Taoiseach said, in respect of Mr. Fingleton, the former chief executive of the Irish Nationwide Building Society, that this matter would be pursued in every respect. Mr. Fingleton said he would return the €1 million given to him.
He did not really mean it though.
We need to pursue this in a different way. Strictly speaking, the Order of Business concerns questions relating to promised legislation and promised business. This is not promised business.
This is one of the reasons that people are so angry in this country. If the Ceann Comhairle thinks that by talking about some regulation or having business as usual here, we will not raise these matters, then I am sorry. The Tánaiste's point about the committee on remuneration is valid because it made a recommendation in respect of the Irish Nationwide Building Society. It is set out in the report of 27 February 2009.
The Deputy is out of order.
The Minister is not the Ceann Comhairle.
Section 48 of the Act——
The legislation is the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act.
The Minister, Deputy Dempsey, should have stayed on holiday.
This is about the implementation of that.
It has already been passed. We are on the Order of Business.
The Minister is auditioning for a new job.
We cannot have a breakdown of order. Can Deputy Kenny relate this to promised legislation?
The Deputy is out of order.
I am very much in order. I want to remind the Minister for Transport of section 48 of that Act, arising from what the Tánaiste said. There was a remuneration recommendation but section 48 of the Act states that the Minister may direct the covered institution to amend the remuneration plan so that compliance is achieved. I want to know from the Tánaiste if the Government and the Minister for Finance intend to direct the covered institution — that is the Irish Nationwide Building Society — to amend the remuneration plan, which was grossly in excess of what CIROC recommended in the case of Mr. Fingleton.
That is a very good question for the Minister for Finance at Question Time.
If the Minister, Deputy Dempsey, wants to keep interrupting with his remarks, that is typical.
Deputy Kenny without interruption, please.
The Deputy is out of order. If he can be, so can I. We are not going to have any rules.
The Minister is the man who said that €62 million out of €100 million was small change.
We need to relate this to promised legislation, Deputy.
It may be small change to him, but not to the thousands of mortgage payers out there who cannot meet their repayments.
The Deputy is telling lies again.
Please, Minister Dempsey.
I want to come back to something else the Tánaiste said.
That is not a question on legislation.
The Ceann Comhairle will decide that.
Throw him out.
The Tánaiste said the Government has a plan in respect of Anglo Irish Bank. Am I to take it, therefore, that Deputy Fleming, from the Taoiseach's own constituency, is grossly out of order in respect of the legislation planned by the Government? I also asked another question, which the Tánaiste did not answer. In view of the incompetence of Mr. Neary, the former regulator, does she consider that his remuneration, pension and bonus were appropriate? Is it her intention to introduce legislation to do something about that after due process of examination?
Do we have promised business in this area?
There is no promised legislation on this issue.
That is from the deputy head of Government.
Could we have An Tánaiste without interruption, please?
The situation is that there is no legislation promised as per the question put. I am not going to come into this House and say that there may or may not be legislation when, in fact, at this moment in time there are no proposals to introduce legislation.
Okay, that is what we need to know.
The Taoiseach said "in every respect" and I assumed that included legislation.
One cannot make assumptions on anything that is said in this House. We have to deal with issues of fact. The Opposition can deal with nuances and interpretations, but we do not have that privilege. We must deal with the facts and work within the law and the realms of the legislation as set down by this House. As I have reiterated today, it is clearly our view that Mr. Fingleton should return that money. He has indicated publicly that he will. The current chief executive has tried to pursue that matter but that has not manifested itself in the return of that money. The Taoiseach has indicated that this matter will be pursued in every respect.
Why does he not introduce legislation?
The methods by which this will be pursued are a matter for the Government.
When the Taoiseach is in for dinner.
I call Deputy Eamon Gilmore.
May I make a final comment on this?
Deputy Kenny has had a very good innings.
I am glad the Tánaiste said that we cannot assume what the Taoiseach says is the truth.
Deputy Kenny will have to withdraw that remark.
That is a scurrilous remark that I will not accept on this side of the House.
If an allegation is to be levelled against any Member of the House there is a procedure for doing that.
What is the allegation, a Cheann Comhairle?
That one cannot believe what the Taoiseach says.
That is not an allegation, it is a fact.
That is the allegation I heard.
The deputy head of Government said it.
I would ask the Deputy to reconsider the remark, please.
The people of Ireland do not believe him.
If Deputy Kenny wishes to level an allegation against any other Member of the House, there is a process for doing it.
I understand the process, a Cheann Comhairle. I happen to have been here just a few years longer than yourself. However, the Tánaiste said to me that I cannot assume that what the Taoiseach says is going to happen. He said he was going to pursue this matter in every respect. I asked her if that meant legislation. I am now to take from her reply that I cannot assume that legislation will be drafted by the Government.
That is not what he said.
I have known Mayo men for a long time, and I know that one cannot leave a Mayo man to take something by interpretation.
The country is in safe hands.
There are a few of them here, by the way. The Ballindine people will still be there. Let us not twist the words. The Taoiseach has indicated that every effort will be made in every respect. That is not necessarily to say that it will be legislation. It is not necessarily to say that it will be one thing or another. It will be within every respect.
Will she send in the "Viper" to collect it?
An Tánaiste without interruption.
As I indicated when asked in the House about legislation that is being prepared for this session, there are no proposals for legislation in this regard. It is the Government's view, and mine, which I reiterated last year when this matter arose, that Mr. Fingleton should return that money. Every effort should be made to ensure that it happens.
He is shaking in his boots.
How will he get the hint?
Deputy Gilmore, without interruption, please.
He will have to go to Lough Derg.
Could we have some order in the House? I call Deputy Gilmore.
Many business people in the country who are in difficulty with the Revenue Commissioners would love to be sent some nice soothing message from the Government asking them to pay the money and stating it would do everything it can to recover the money. Unfortunately, what happens in these cases is that the Revenue Commissioners go after them like mad and they end up dealing with the sheriff, being taken to court and being put out of business. The same thing happens where someone gets overpaid on social welfare. There is not much mercy around in these cases nor are there many nice, pleasant remarks from the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste suggesting it would be nice if these people voluntarily returned the money. There seems to be an entirely different set of rules for Mr. Fingleton in that the Tánaiste says it would be nice if he returned the money and that she notes he said he would do so voluntarily. What is the Government doing to get the money back? The taxpayer owns this building society now and as Deputy Kenny said, it is clear the amount Mr. Fingleton paid himself in the early part of the year — €55,000 a month — was considerably in excess of what the CIROC committee determined he should be paid and on top of that he received a bonus. Has the Government done anything to require that this money be paid back, rather than issue soothing remarks regarding Mr. Fingleton?
In respect of the Government's overall strategy on the banks, which has been the subject of debate in the House, it is clear the Government no longer appears to have a majority in the House for its bank strategy. We heard what Deputy Fleming said yesterday. Deputy Joan Burton, who sat here throughout the debate on the Central Bank Reform Bill yesterday told me about a number of contributions from individual Deputies on the Government side. She drew my attention to the remarkable consistency in the arguments being made by some of them. All of them were distancing themselves from what the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Finance say is Government policy in respect of the banks.
The debate on the Bill is ongoing and we will resume on it shortly.
They all seem to be in the same place, which is that Anglo Irish Bank should be wound down, and many of them questioned whether it or Irish Nationwide should have been included in the Government guarantee. Therefore, the Government no longer appears to have a majority in the House for its banking strategy. It will be interesting to see what happens when it is put to the test when we eventually get to have a vote on the Central Bank Reform Bill.
I wish to raise two other matters. The issue of special needs assistants which was debated in the House is now part of the Tánaiste's responsibility as Minister. Many parents——
A parliamentary question to the line Minister will elicit this information. The Deputy should formally submit the parliamentary question. We have no provision now for Leaders' Questions.
The Tánaiste is the line Minister and it is a matter that has been debated in the House. What I am following up on is a commitment which was given in that debate that there would be a review of the position on special needs assistants. Many parents are concerned about this, as are many of the special needs assistants who have been put under notice. I want to know when the Tánaiste, in her capacity as Minister for Education and Skills, will make a further statement to the House to clarify the position on special needs assistants.
In mid-February, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government promised he would publish the report on the Dublin Docklands Development Authority within weeks. When will that report be laid before the House?
The vote on NAMA and the recapitalisation of the banks has taken place and the Government was supported on it. That is the situation. The review on special needs assistants is ongoing. In the context of any appeals of those reviews, the resources remain until such time as the reviews have been completed. I have published the interim review and when the final review has been completed, it will be published. Progress is being made with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority report and the Minister is anxious to bring it as quickly as possible to the House.
What line management applies with regard to the publicly accountable oversight directors in Anglo Irish Bank, Messrs Daly and Dukes? Is line management in place to whom they report and from whom they take their steer or do they operate in a vacuum of their own suitability? It is important we have clarity as to any line management that might apply to their particular role——
This is ideal material for a parliamentary question to the Minister for Finance.
It is appropriate, in the context of what has been discussed. My second question relates to the commitment given to me here three weeks ago by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Brian Lenihan, that the conduct of certain audit and accounting firms — specifically Ernst & Young and KPMG with regard to their relationship with Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society — would be included under the terms of investigation. What progress has been made to commence that process? Can the Tánaiste indicate whether the investigation into the role of these audit and accounting firms and their relationship with those particular financial institutions has commenced? Given these firms have a direct role in the business of NAMA, there are serious questions with regard to them.
Is there promised business in this area?
I will have to revert to the Deputy on the basis this concerns an interaction on the floor of the House between the Deputy and the Minister.
I beg the Tánaiste's pardon.
I will have to revert to the Deputy, because this relates to a discussion that took place between him and the Minister for Finance. I am not au fait with all of the details. I will ask him to revert to the Deputy.
What about the line management regarding Mr. Daly and Mr. Dukes?
That is a matter for a parliamentary question.
That is not a matter for legislation.
Surely, the Tánaiste, who is deputising for the Taoiseach——
It is difficult to expect the Tánaiste to come in with detailed information about other Departments.
This matter is not only a matter of concern to me. It is something of which every Deputy and Senator is conscious and anxious to hear a response.
I do not dispute that. However, by submitting a parliamentary question to the line Minister, the Deputy will get the information. It is very unreasonable to expect the information to be available.
Surely the Tánaiste, the deputy Prime Minister, would at least know the situation applying in this case. To whom are these people accountable? Are they accountable to the Cabinet? Is the Tánaiste not a member of the Cabinet.
The Deputy will have to put a parliamentary question or use some other device such as the Adjournment to elicit the information.
My question is on promised legislation relating to FÁS. At the time of the reshuffle, it was announced that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment would cease to have any responsibility for the agency and that the responsibility would be transferred to the Departments with responsibility for social protection and education and skills. Last week I submitted a series of parliamentary questions on this issue and the responses revealed that full responsibility for FÁS remains, for the time being, with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and that it has not yet been transferred to either of the new Departments.
We do not need elaboration, just the inquiry on the legislation.
This is the important point. I have been advised that a ministerial order will be required to do that, but the order is not prepared. Yesterday, I read the Labour Services Act 1987. That Act clearly states that ministerial responsibility for FÁS lies with the Minister with responsibility for labour and that this Minister is the line Minister in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Therefore, it seems primary legislation will be required to make real the changes announced in the reshuffle. The question is simple. Does the Tánaiste know when the order will be prepared and is she sure an order is adequate? Is it not the case that we need primary legislation to amend the Labour Services Act 1987 to bring into effect the announcement made in the reshuffle a month ago?
The Deputy is bringing far too much information into the question.
Legal advice is being taken on this matter. The transfer of functions order will be up next week and all of these matters are being taken into consideration. The Department for Enterprise, Trade and Employment will continue to be the line ministry until then.
On secondary legislation under the Misuse of Drugs Act, earlier this week the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform announced that he asked the Attorney General to examine the regulation of all psychotropic drugs, I presume along the lines of the regulation and legislation introduced a number of years ago on animal medicines and the control of chemicals such as clenbuterol. It is probably the way to deal with the issue of head shops. This morning, the newspapers quote the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Deputy Carey, speaking about the difficulties with the Government's current and continuing approach of banning individual products. Will the Tánaiste find out which approach will the Government take? Will it take the approach of banning individual products or banning the chemicals that have a particular impact on the brain?
In the context of the draft secondary legislation that has now gone to Brussels——
We do not need the elaboration. We will see what is happening on the secondary legislation.
Last week, under secondary legislation the UK Government banned a second series of chemicals being sold in head shops. We are still waiting for the first set of chemicals to be banned. They will not be banned until July. Included in that is methadrone. Already in the UK——
Too much information is being imparted altogether.
——a replacement chemical is being sold on the market called sub coca dragon. These chemicals have not yet been banned in this country and alternatives are already on sale. When will the legislation be signed into law? The British Government can do it overnight and has done so on two separate occasions——
Deputy, please. Some respect for the Chair would be in order.
——and we are still waiting for the EU to give us permission to sign the order. Will the order be signed and ensure the chemicals are banned immediately?
On the same issue——
Will the Government consult with the EU to see whether we can change this sooner than three months? It is being reported in the media today that illegal drug-dealers are buying up these products to sell them when they are banned and that is subverting the course of justice.
It is not necessary to impart all of this information. We will inquire about the secondary legislation.
It is, because it is an argument the Government can take to Europe and ask to be allowed do this sooner than three months because the law is being subverted by illegal drug dealers. It is logical to argue for the introduction of secondary legislation to ban these products now.
The Government will introduce the banning of individual products and chemical derivatives. The British Government, under emergency measures, notified the European Commission of the banning of certain drugs. The only difficulty that has arisen is that one must formally make a notification, which takes three months. The Government has been in touch with the European Commission with regard to the use of the emergency procedures and whether they would stand up. We are doing everything we can to expedite the Commission's sanction so we can proceed with the banning of these drugs. It is also important to state that although we will proceed with these issues as is, there are other issues which must be addressed in the context of other Departments. They are working together to ensure that the final decisions made can deal with the actual needs of our citizens and the concerns expressed by parents.
Have we any indiction when the EU will respond to the Government on the timing?
Not at this stage, but we are using diplomatic opportunities through our ambassador to the EU to ensure it is expedited.
We urge it as soon as possible.
I wish to raise a point of order with regard to parliamentary questions. In his earlier comments, the Minister for Transport, Deputy Dempsey, made much play about tabling parliamentary questions. Parliamentary questions put through the Ceann Comhairle's office have been refused——
——by the Minister who states categorically that he has no responsibility for the motorway service areas in the country. Facts obtained under freedom of information legislation show that the Minister instructed the National Roads Authority not to spend any money on them.
The Minister states he is not responsible for them but he instructs the National Roads Authority not to spend any money on them.
They were not getting any money.
The key point is that he will not debate in the House the very important issues of safety and facilitating travellers, where he should debate it. What will the Minister do about it?
I have already done it.
What will the Minister do about the thousands of consumers who used airlines recently and because of the crisis have been told they will not receive refunds from the air carriers?
A parliamentary question is the way to pursue this.
What will the Minister do about this, and specifically——
The Deputy will have to put down a parliamentary question on the matter.
——will the consumer and competition Bill apply?
Mr. O'Leary has withdrawn his——
I have one more question, which is very important. I have been asked by the family of the late Peter McKenna, who died tragically in Leas Cross——
I hope it is related to promised legislation.
Yes. The Minister for Health and Children instituted a non-statutory inquiry under Conor Dignam into the——
The Deputy will have to pursue this with the line Minister.
I already pursued it with the Minister, who is refusing to answer questions on this issue. She instituted the inquiry into the transfer of the late Peter McKenna to Leas Cross from St. Michael's House and his death.
The Deputy will have to put down a parliamentary question to get that information.
The HSE is putting a block on the family seeing that report unless and until they state they will not release it to anybody else. There are very serious issues at stake here——
The Deputy will have to submit a parliamentary question.
Clearly, the Ministers could not care less about it and nor could the Government.
The Deputy is abusing my latitude on the Order of Business.
Under the health information Bill, will taxpayers' money, which is expended on reports such as that into the tragic death of Peter McKenna, who was a Down's syndrome sufferer and also suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and who was transferred inappropriately from St. Michael's House——
Tánaiste, do we have promised legislation?
Later this year.
Will it be put before the House?
Later this year.
Will the report be put before the House? That is the question.
The Deputy will be able to raise these matters when the legislation is introduced.
I have raised them already. The Minister is ignoring the reality that the report must be laid before the House.
With regard to No. 60, the financial services regulation Bill, is the Tánaiste aware that the Financial Regulator has instructed some credit unions not to lend and has instructed other credit unions not to lend to business?
The Deputy will have to pursue this through a parliamentary question to the Minister for Finance. It is totally——
It is on promised legislation.
Without interruption please, a Cheann Comhairle,
The Deputy is seeking detailed information, which he is entitled to seek but through a parliamentary question to the line Minister, in this case the Minister for Finance.
Under the financial services regulation Bill——
It is totally unrealistic to expect an answer to that on the Order of Business.
The answer I am looking for is on when the Bill will be brought forward. That type of instruction from the regulator is choking business and choking small businesses throughout the country.
Is there promised legislation in this area?
With regard to the financial services regulation Bill, an advisory forum has been established. We do not have a date as yet on when that legislation will be published.
Will the Tánaiste advise me what soothing words could be used——
——to get the Government to pay the REPS 3 payment due to farmers in south Kerry?
A parliamentary question to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
What soothing words can one give to the farmers of south Kerry who cannot get their payments?
The Deputy is abusing the Order of Business. That is a parliamentary question to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
I was only taking from what the Tánaiste said earlier. I would like to know what soothing way she hopes to give the money back——
The Tánaiste cannot be expected to have that information on the Order of Business. It is a parliamentary question.
What soothing measures can I use on the Tánaiste to get the money for the farmers in south Kerry?
I am not the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food any more.
Speaking of soothing, I am a little confused and I am seeking the assistance of the Ceann Comhairle, not for the first time. In the previous session, No. 39 was the electricity (transfer of transmission assets) Bill, which seems to have disappeared and re-emerged in a new life. It is now No. 38 and named the electricity (transmission on assets) Bill. It has different terms of reference. Is it intended to introduce the Bill with its original intentions or has it changed and gone forever and do we have a whole new ball game?
The electricity (transmission on assets) Bill is to allow for the unbundling of the electricity transmission system's assets and to establish EirGrid in primary legislation. That was also the case with the previous legislation. Consultants have been appointed to carry out an independent analysis and are expected to report by the end of the summer with a view to progressing into legislation.
Am I to conclude that it is now a different Bill and that a U-turn has been done somewhere along the line?
No, the Deputy cannot.
I do not want to be disruptive. The purpose of the Bill as originally listed is not in concert with the purpose as now set out. There is a vast difference between the unbundling and the transfer of ownership of the electricity, which is a different story.
The Deputy is going into detail.
No. This is promised legislation.
We need to know when it is coming. It is not possible to have all that detail at this point.
I will finish with this one so. Does it mean what I thought it was or does it mean what the Tánaiste thought it was?
Does the Deputy know what we will do? We will get the Minister to tell the Deputy.
If the Tánaiste can bring him into the House to shed some light on this, it would be very helpful.
I have a long list of Members who wish to raise items on the Order of Business.
I appreciate the Ceann Comhairle's indulgence. I am trying to encourage the Minister into the House to clarify it.
I know. I ask the Deputy to resume his seat for the time being.
I have a final question on promised legislation. Legal costs are likely to become a very serious issue in the very near future with particular reference to tribunals. Is it intended to bring the legal costs Bill before the House at an early date in anticipation of the very heavy legal bill likely to——
It will be next year.
Will it wait until next year? Can we afford to wait?
The way we are going we will get no legislation done today.
On the same issue that Deputy Durkan raised, would the Tánaiste agree that if the general public were informed that the banking inquiry would not report until 2023 there would be outrage? I recently heard a comment that children making their confirmation——
Does the Deputy have an inquiry about promised legislation?
—— were not born when the tribunals were set up.
This is the Order of Business and there is no provision for Leaders' Questions.
In the light of recent reports on the Moriarty and Flood-Mahon tribunals and particularly in view of the comments from the Supreme Court yesterday, where are the two tribunals going?
Could we re-establish some order on the Order of Business?
I have tried to speak on the Order of Business for the past two days and this is the only way I can get to raise the issue. Can the Tánaiste give an indication of where the tribunals are going?
The purpose of the Order of Business is to take questions on promised legislation and business. That is it. Have we promised business in this area?
No. We have already done it.
The banking inquiry would not be complete until 2023 if we are to project forward. Children making their confirmation were not born——
That is why we are not doing it that way.
Is there any indication of what is happening with the two tribunals at the moment? It is turning into a joke. Could the Tánaiste arrange for statements in the House on it?
I ask Deputy Timmins to resume his seat.
My first question is related to the tribunals. Many years ago the then Minister for Finance guaranteed us that the Government would introduce a legal costs Bill to curtail the costs of personnel in tribunals and elsewhere.
When is that promised?
It had been promised for spring of this year. It has now gone back by a year.
We have an indication that it will be next year.
As I have that information, I will not follow it up. However, it has again been put back. Eligibility for health has also been put back for another year. The mental health (amendment) Bill has been put back for a year and the HSE is closing the mental hospital in Monaghan. We will have no chance to discuss it at all.
Last and not least, the jobs of 5,500 people are in jeopardy.
Is this about promised legislation?
Very much so. They can see €22.5 billion being handed over to the non-workable defunct bank.
The Deputy will need to pursue this matter another way and not on the Order of Business.
Can a regulation or amendment be introduced——
This is totally inappropriate.
——to underwrite the insurance situation for a few months until administrators——
I seek the Deputy's co-operation. He should pursue the matter through a parliamentary question, the Adjournment or some other way.
It is vital to the survival of at least 5,500 jobs and deserves some answer.
Is there promised legislation in this area?
Not on that matter. The other legislation is all next year.
The climate change Bill was due to be introduced in 2010. It had been expected to be published by June. That was the commitment in last term's legislative programme. This term's legislative programme states it is not possible to indicate at this stage publication of the Bill at all. Environmental groups are being informed that the heads of the Bill have been drawn up and are due to go to Government. What is the situation? Many people would have voted for the Green Party on the basis that it would tackle climate change. However, the legislative programme no longer even indicates a year for publication. What is going on? Is the information these groups are being given inaccurate or is the information we, in this Parliament, are being given inaccurate? Which is the truth?
Do we have promised legislation?
Yes. We have promised legislation, the climate change Bill. In December the Government approved a framework for that legislation. The heads of the Bill are being worked on at present. We are not in a position to give an exact date, but work on the legislation is ongoing.
I do not want to labour the point, but the Government is not even able to indicate a year. Why is that? When going through the legislative programme it is most unusual to find that kind of long-term arrangement. Before the Copenhagen summit it was quite clear that we were to have legislation this year. What is going on?
They will pay a big price for their one Minister.
As the Ceann Comhairle is probably aware the price of a gallon of petrol was never higher than it is at the pumps this morning. As we speak thousands of bog-cutters are being run off their bogs this very week.
Before the Deputy proceeds much further, I suggest he submits a parliamentary question.
I ask the Government to stop this daft scheme proceeding across the bogs of Ireland as we speak today. The Tánaiste knows all about it — or at least she should.
As a long-time Member of this House, the Deputy knows how to get the information he needs.
There was never a more anti-rural Minister than the Minister, Deputy John Gormley.
This is the Order of Business. The Deputy should submit an item for the Adjournment and we will consider it, or submit a parliamentary question.
What is going on is an absolute disgrace at a time when all those people want to do is to get their own supplies of turf——
The Deputy has made his point.
——from their own bogs in their own way as they have been doing for generations. The Government is ensuring that they are being bulldozed off the bogs this week.
I call Deputy Higgins.
I do not believe you are taking this matter seriously, a Cheann Comhairle.
This is not appropriate for the Order of Business.
Where does the Ceann Comhairle believe it would be appropriate?
The Deputy could submit a parliamentary question. There are many other ways.
I want to put it directly to the Tánaiste. Does she have anything to say about it?
There is no legislation.
It is not appropriate for the Order of Business.
Does the Minister beside her or anybody have anything to say?
The Deputy can seek the information in other ways.
We have been seeking it for years.
The people are being criminalised this week for something they have been doing for generations. It is outrageous.
Of course the Tánaiste has no interest in it either.
I call Deputy Higgins.
She forgot where she came from very quickly.
An féidir liom ceist a chur faoi reachtaíocht atá geallta — Uimh. 43 i Cuid C den chlár reachtaíochta — a bhaineann le feidhmeanna agus cumhachtaí Údarás na Gaeltachta? Bhí an reachtaíocht seo ar an liosta cheana, ach tá sí imithe anois. Níl sé soiléir cathain a bheidh sí os ár gcomhair. Tá práinn ag baint leis an reachtaíocht toisc go bhfuil daoine sa Cheathrú Rua i gContae na Gaillimhe ag déanamh iarracht forbairt agus fostaíocht a chur ar fáil. Níl siad in ann é a dhéanamh os rud é go bhfuil sé ráite nach bhfuil cead ag an údarás, ó thaobh an dlí de, taobhú leis na moltaí atá curtha os comhair an údaráis. Baineann an reachtaíocht seo, atá ar Cuid C den liosta faoi láthair, le soiléiriú agus leathnú feidhmeanna agus cumhachtaí Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tá práinn ag baint leis an reachtaíocht, mar a bhí i gcónaí. Tá sé athruithe sa chlár reachtaíochta don seisiún seo. Cathain a bheidh an reachtaíocht seo againn? Más rud é nach mbeidh sé againn, an mbeidh soiléiriú ar fáil dóibh siúd atá ag iarraidh forbairt agus fostaíocht a chur ar fáil sa Cheathrú Rua?
Tá a fhios ag an Teachta go bhfuil staidéar ar siúl sa Ghaeltacht ag an bhomaite. Bhí deis ag an gComhchoiste um Ghnóthaí Ealaíon, Spóirt, Turasóireachta, Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta an straitéis 20 bliain a phlé le muintir na Gaeltachta. Ag an am céanna, táimid ag smaoineamh ar chumhachtaí Údarás na Gaeltachta a leathnú athrá. Tá an díospóireacht ar rudaí mar sin idir lámha ag an bhomaite — níl sí críochnaithe go fóill. Dá bhrí sin, níl sé socruithe cathain a bheidh an Bille úr os comhair na Dála. Caithfidh an t-Aire nua athbhreathnú a dhéanamh ar an obair atá idir lámha againn. Is é sin an fáth nach bhfuil mé ábalta freagra iomlán a thabhairt. Tá scrúdú á dhéanamh ag an Aire más cheart an straitéis 20 bliain agus an plean nua a bheith mar pháirt den Bhille seo, nó gur cheart dúinn an Bille a athrú. B'fhéidir gur chóir dom labhairt leis an Aire, an Teachta Pat Carey, ag éirí as seo. Nuair atá athbhreathnú déanta ar na moltaí agus ar an straitéis, beimid in ann, an t-am ina mbeidh Bille úr againn a fhógairt.
Is í an phráinn atá ag baint leis an mBille ná go bhfuil tionóntaí agus gnóthaí beaga faighte ag muintir an Cheathrú Rua don suíomh seo. Bhí sé intuigthe go mbeadh an chumhacht acu léasanna a chur ar fáil dóibh siúd ata i gceist. Go tobann, fuaireadar litir ón údarás ag rá go raibh iniúchadh á dhéanamh ó thaobh an dlí de. Ní rabhadar ag súil leis an litir sin. Beidh na comhlachtaí i mbaol agus beidh an fhostaíocht caillte. Ní féidir linn fanacht go dtí go mbeidh an díospóireacht leathan faoin straitéis críochnaithe. D'fhreastal mé ar na cruinnithe sa Ghaeltacht nuair a bhí mé ag cabhrú le gné eile den ábhar seo.
Is rud speisialta é seo i gceantar an Teachta Higgins. Beidh mé ag caint leis an Aire, an Teachta Pat Carey, ag éirí as an díospóireacht seo.
I wish to clarify when the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill will be before the House.
It was published on Tuesday. Second Stage will be a matter for the Whips but we will try to facilitate it this session.
The Adoption Bill 2009 is awaiting the Order for Report Stage. The Minister of State, Deputy Barry Andrews, indicated this Bill would be completely through the House by the end of April, which is next week. What is the hold-up? Is it proposed to finalise it next week? Many children are waiting for this Bill to be completed and there is no reason it should not be.
The foreshore licensing Bill was presented by the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security. While there is no longer a Department which refers to the marine, the Bill was submitted to both the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Does the Government propose to introduce it and put it on the Order Paper?
I will have to revert to the Deputy with regard to the second Bill. The Adoption Bill is awaiting Report Stage. The amendments are being worked on and we hope to have it this session.
In the immediate aftermath of the serious flooding last November and December, the Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, Deputy Mansergh, visited the areas seriously flooded. He also attended——
We are shaping towards being out of order.
The Ceann Comhairle has not got my point. The Minister of State clearly indicated to the meetings and to all of the agencies and partners involved that he would introduce urgent legislation which would give the OPW the lead role with regard to flood relief in the country at large. Despite numerous efforts by the interested parties to date to find out if any effort has been made to progress this legislation——
Could we have an inquiry on promised legislation?
——on the legislative list issued by the Chief Whip only last week, it is not even listed among the heads of Bills yet to be approved by Government. Will the Tánaiste indicate whether it is being taken as a matter of urgency? Insurance companies are refusing——
Deputy, please. There are a number of other Members offering.
——to renew policies with many householders, who are living in fear. I ask the Tánaiste——
I call the Tánaiste on promised legislation.
We will get a copy of the letter from the Minister of State, Deputy Mansergh, for Deputy Burke. Arising from SI No. 122 of 2010, the commissioners of the Office of Public Works are appointed as the competent authority under the EU floods directive and, on that basis, responsibility within the State is a matter for the OPW.
So there will be no legislation as such.
It will not be as necessary given that the statutory instrument has been signed. We will get a copy of the letter for the Deputy.
On a separate issue, at the end of December, the CEO of the country enterprise board in Galway retired. Next week, his assistant, who was carrying on in the meantime, is retiring.
The Deputy will have to submit a parliamentary question to the line Minister on this matter.
When that person leaves, it is effectively closing the door on the county enterprise board in County Galway. Will the Government lift the embargo to make these special appointments given the interests——
The Deputy should submit a parliamentary question.
The Tánaiste, as a former Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, realises the importance of the enterprise boards to providing jobs to many small enterprises.
The Deputy should submit a parliamentary question. I call Deputy Bruton.
In view of the ruling by EUROSTAT today that the provision of €4 billion for Anglo Irish Bank must be treated as part of Government debt and funded from the day-to-day budget, will there now be need for a Supplementary Estimate or a revised budget? This leaves Ireland with the highest borrowing of any State throughout the EU, which is clearly a reversal for Government——
A question to the Minister for Finance would be appropriate.
Perhaps the Tánaiste would know whether a Supplementary Estimate or budget will be presented to the Dáil for debate on foot of this decision.
The Deputy is referring to a technical reclassification. There are no additional borrowing requirements and our fiscal targets for this year have not changed as a consequence of the statistical information that has been made available by EUROSTAT.
I want to establish when the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill 2010 and the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009 will come before the House.
The Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009 is in the Seanad. When it is completed, it will come to this House. The Criminal Justice Public Order Bill 2010 is awaiting Second Stage in the House. It will be for the Whips to arrange the details.