Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. a7, Motion re sittings and business of the Dáil, No. b7, motion re technical amendments to Standing Orders; No. 7, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the draft Commission of Investigation (Banking Sector) (Amendment) Order 2010; No. 13, Supplementary Estimates for public services — Votes 19, 20, 22, 26, 27, 28, 32, 34, 37, 38 and 40 — back from committee; No. 16, Local Government (Mayor and Regional Authority of Dublin) Bill 2010 Second Stage, resumed; No. 15a, statements on the severe weather conditions; and No. 19, Education (Amendment) Bill 2010, Second Stage resumed. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. a7, b7, 7 and 13 shall be decided without debate, and in the case of No. 13, shall be moved together and decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith; the resumed Second Stage of No. 16 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 12.15 p.m. today; and the proceedings on No. 15a shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 40 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply — the statements shall be confined to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Defence, who shall be called upon in that order, and which shall not exceed ten minutes, five minutes and five minutes respectively, and a Minister or Minister of State shall take questions for a period not exceeding 20 minutes.

There are three proposals to be put to the House today. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. a7, b7, 7 and 13 agreed to without debate?

This is a technical amendment that was raised by Deputy Kieran O'Donnell on 8 July regarding the relevant dates for the banking inquiry. While it is a technical amendment giving effect to that date which could not be done procedurally at the time, a raft of revelations have emerged from the banking catastrophe in the meantime that would need to be debated and investigated by this commission. It is imperative that we have a statement from the Minister for Finance and the Taoiseach to the effect that they will give their evidence in public to this inquiry, regardless of whether they are in or out of office when it starts its business.

These are two fundamentally important issues. The carry-on of some of the banks in the last couple of months has been scandalous. The entitlements of the law in this country have not been brought to bear on whether some people should end up in prison or otherwise. The carry-on of some of the activities of the banks has clearly been scandalous and are partly the reason we are being economically constricted by the IMF.

I wish to oppose No.1 because it contains some extraordinary arrangements for next week's business. The Government is proposing that there be no questions next week, no Leaders' Questions except on Tuesday, and no Order of Business on Wednesday. This is being done to clear the decks for the budget. I understand that it is also the Government's intention to bring in a social welfare Bill next week.

Under normal circumstances, that would be a remarkable way to do the budget but it is particularly so this year in light of the document that was presented here yesterday evening at the end of the EU-IMF agreement. I described that agreement as a sell-out at the weekend but it was not until yesterday evening that we got the document containing the full details of the sell-out. I had been looking for the various documents relating to the deal and we did not see them until yesterday evening. It is an extraordinary document.

The Government is effectively proposing to agree the budgets for the next three years with the EU and with the IMF. It is down to a level of detail that we have never seen before, and includes amounts of expenditure and amounts of tax, specific timetabled commitments in respect of property taxes, water charges and pensions, none of which has been legislated for by the House. It amounts to a surrender of the country's economic freedom. That is what is contained in this document.

The Labour Party cannot be bound by what is contained in the document, not only for democratic reasons, but also because it will not work.

There will be other opportunities to make these points.

No there will not.

I have allowed you some latitude, Deputy, but you will have to avail of another opportunity or another time to make these points.

What other opportunity?

There will be other times to make these points. It is the Order of Business. I cannot allow the promotion of debate to such an extent. Free statements are fine, but that is far too extensive.

A Cheann Chomhairle, you have kindly suggested that there will be another opportunity for me to raise this. The reason I am objecting to the Order of Business is precisely because there will not be another opportunity to raise this important matter.

This is a document of economic surrender by the Government and there is no other opportunity to raise that fact. The arrangements being proposed by the Government for next week do not allow any opportunity to raise it. The Government is submitting a document and letters that are craven to the IMF and to the EU and which will not work.

We will have a budget debate next week.

There is a list of prominent economists who have written about this over the last 24 hours. Willem Buiter, the chief economist of Citigroup, stated that "accessing external sources of funds will not mark the end of Ireland's troubles". Professor Eichengreen of Berkeley stated that the "Irish rescue package finalised over the weekend is a disaster". Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate in economics, stated that this deal amounts to "reparations imposed on an innocent public". That is what this is. We are being given no opportunity to debate it.

The budget will take place next week and that is the ideal opportunity——

That is the whole point. This has never——

We are on the Order of Business and I cannot allow this to continue.

You may not want to allow us discuss this, but we will not allow this to happen. This is a sell-out of our country. It is a surrender by the Government of this country's sovereignty, of its right to make its own decisions, determine its own budgets and the Labour Party,——

Order will break down in the House if we persist with this. I will have no alternative but to suspend the House.

——whoever else will want to be bound by this, will not be bound by this document.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

We might as well close down this place altogether.

I welcome what Deputy Gilmore has just stated here. No party should feel bound by any deal struck by this Government, which has no mandate or political authority. In its dying days, it is seeking to strap the people of this State——

It is fine to make a brief statement on an Order of Business proposal——

——not only into a cruel budget but also into a sell-out deal with the IMF——

——but not a Second Stage speech.

——and a four year plan to dictate the shape of the fiscal affairs of the State over the years to come. Yesterday, the Whip circulated a schedule for the coming week, clearly outlining the Government's intention to force through a budget involving €6 billion of cuts. Such cruel blows will place further burdens on those least able to sustain them.

The Deputy will have plenty of opportunities to make all of these points next week.

I am making my point now.

I will not accept this Order of Business.

We do not have provision to debate it on the Order of Business.

Each day this week, we have been presented with an Order of Business without being given a chance to debate the IMF sell-out or vote on its detail, as presented by the Minister for Finance yesterday evening. This matter is being discussed across the State. All we have had are statements. We are a laughing stock at home and internationally. That the Government is foisting these measures upon us——

I ask the Deputy to co-operate.

No. I will tell you this, a Cheann Comhairle, the Sinn Féin Deputies will not stand for this. We will not support the Order of Business that has been presented today because it does not allow the democratically elected representatives of the people to pass judgment on the sell-out with the IMF, the ECB and the EU. We will not support the Order of Business on each of the sitting days in the coming week, or until this Government leaves office and gives the people an opportunity to pass judgment on these matters in a general election.

I cannot allow a Second Stage contribution on the Order of Business.

That is what is needed now.

The Deputy should resume his seat.

I am resuming my seat because I have finished.

The reason we are proposing a change to the Order of Business is to allow for the very important discussions that will be made next week.

It is all over. The decisions have been made.

On that basis, it was decided to provide ample opportunity for everyone to discuss the budgetary matters that will be brought forward.

It will be the most restricted debate in the history of this House.

There will be no debate.

It was decided to remove some of the other normal aspects of business. I reiterate that Leaders' Questions will be taken on Tuesday at 2.30 p.m.

They will be taken on one day only.

The Order of Business will be taken on the conclusion of Leaders' Questions that day. There will be no Order of Business on Wednesday to allow for a full discussion.

For the lads to go home.

Time will be given to the Members of this House.

To rush the measures through.

No. b7 is being introduced on the basis of an agreement made with Deputy O’Donnell on the floor of this House. It is a technical amendment to allow those changes to take place, based on a Dáil debate on 8 July last.

That is not the issue.

It is true, actually.

I said it is not the issue.

I will conclude by saying——

Will there be statements on the weather?

We need to clear the footpaths.

I appreciate very much the comments that have been made by the leader of the Labour Party.

The Government will be gone before the snow.

The truth is that we must have access to funds in order to fund this State.

You have bankrupted us.

We cannot access those funds on the market.

Whose fault is that?

If the Labour Party does not agree to the measures being taken by the Government——

We have no choice.

——in order to allow us to access the funds needed to fund our key public services, our social welfare system and our health system——

This is unbelievable.

I ask the leader of the Labour Party how, on that basis, he would justifiably obtain access——

If you get out of Government, you will be told.

——to the €400 million per week that we need to borrow to keep this country going.

We would do better than you.

Is he saying to the people of Ireland that after July 2011, we will not be in a position to fund this country? If so, not only will he have to deal with the fiscal measures we need to introduce in the context of the budget and the four year plan, but he will also need to find a further €19 billion of savings.

He will find himself in a position where the services provided by the State will have to be cut by a further two thirds.

Get out of the way and let the people see the alternative.

I would like to respond to the Tánaiste's question.

The Deputy has been in once.

I want to answer the question.

Deputy Gilmore, please.

The Tánaiste asked a question.

I have allowed extensive contributions to be made.

The Tánaiste is entitled to get a reply.

I am putting the question.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with Nos. a7, b7, 7 and 13 be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 66.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Behan, Joe.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • 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.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Michael.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Flynn, Beverley.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Hanlon, Rory.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Bannon, James.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coonan, Noel J.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McEntee, Shane.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Donnell, Kieran.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Mahony, John.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • O’Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies John Cregan and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 16, Local Government (Mayor and Regional Authority of Dublin) Bill 2010, agreed to?

In the midst of the most serious economic difficulty that has faced the State, described in the letter which the Minister for Finance proposes to send to the European institutions and to the IMF, as, "an economic crisis without parallel in [Ireland's] recent history", we are now being presented with a proposal that will occupy valuable Dáil time when we should be debating the economic crisis. There is a proposal to occupy Dáil time with the latest consolation prize that the Green Party wants to take with it out of Government, the proposal to have a new office of a mayor of Dublin. It is adding a degree of absurdity to the proceedings.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Is the Deputy afraid to make the savings that will result?

Deputies

Farce.

(Interruptions).

If I were the Deputy I would keep my head down.

The Minister has set up three new review bodies to consider the recommendations.

Tiocfaidh bhur lá.

They have turned politics into a farce.

With regard to the Tánaiste's challenge to me at an earlier stage in the proceedings, I have a question for her. Who wrote these letters to the IMF, the EU and the ECB? They read like letters that were written and then presented to the Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank to be signed at the "X".

Deputy Gilmore, please.

I will read out one of the paragraphs of this letter. "At the root of the problem is a domestic banking system which, at its peak, was five times the size of the economy". Five times the size of the economy?

I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

The Government told us on the night of the bank guarantee that it was €440 billion.

Deputies

Shame.

That was some guarantee. This is an admission that the Government got it wrong from the beginning.

Are we discussing No. 16?

Yes, the Local Government (Dublin Mayor and Regional Authority) Bill 2010.

We will oppose this. According to some people, we are living in an asylum here——

The lunatics are running the asylum.

——and if it gets too hot, some people should leave the kitchen. I have already made the point that we are opposed to the Bill and to the guillotine, and I object to it again.

One thing was in evidence yesterday with the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill; it is in evidence again today with this Bill, and it will certainly be in evidence over the next week and the week following. I refer to the Government's guillotine approach in the last couple of weeks leading into the Christmas recess. The Local Government (Dublin Mayor and Regional Authority) Bill is one we do not support. We do not believe it should be provided for in this way and we will be voting against it as we are opposing it now in the Order Paper.

I am now putting the question.

Question put: "That the proposal for dealing with No. 16 be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 72; Níl, 62.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Behan, Joe.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • 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.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Michael.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Flynn, Beverley.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Hanlon, Rory.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • O’Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Bannon, James.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Coonan, Noel J.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • D’Arcy, Michael.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McEntee, Shane.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Donnell, Kieran.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Mahony, John.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies John Cregan and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe.
Question declared carried.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15a, statements on the severe weather conditions, agreed to? Agreed.

I note from the draft schedule for next week that it is intended to introduce the social welfare Bill at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday and to have it concluded on Thursday. Will the Tánaiste indicate at what stage of preparation is the finance Bill at the moment? Will the Tánaiste indicate to the House what date in January the Dáil will resume, at which stage the finance Bill will be taken? On the original calendar of events the Dáil was not due to return until mid to late January. The commitments given by the Taoiseach for a general election, presumably in February, would warrant the Dáil being recalled at an earlier date to deal properly with the finance Bill. My view was that we could have dealt with it in a slimmed down version but the Government does not accept that. Will the Tánaiste indicate if the Government has decided on what date in January the Dáil will be recalled? At what stage is the preparation of the finance Bill at the moment?

The Government has signalled the social welfare Bill for the coming week. Clearly, it will be guillotined and rushed through. Will the finance Bill be published next week or the following week? Has the Government made a decision yet with regard to any extended sittings of the Dáil during the remaining two weeks of the signalled session? Will the Government heed the appeals of Opposition voices not to fast-track either the social welfare or the finance Bills and to allow for adequate time and full participation, which is required? In this context, would it not be wiser to signal now that the Government intends to come back after the Christmas recess and that these matters will be addressed properly and over the required time for full participation?

The social welfare Bill is planned for Wednesday at 6.30 p.m. and to go through on Thursday. This is the reason we are providing for special opportunities to take time to go through the legislation. In normal circumstances, the finance Bill comes in at the end of January. The Department of Finance is working on the Bill at present. It is more than likely that it will be some weeks earlier but the date has not been decided as of yet.

Surely, the Government is aware, following instructions from the Taoiseach, of what date in January the Dáil will come back. We have firm indications of the Taoiseach's intention to call an election and to hold it in the month of February. The Green Party wants it at the end of January. I would prefer if it were now. However, the Government should be aware by now what date the Dáil is being recalled in January. The original calendar was for 18 January. In view of the unprecedented and harsh economic circumstances that our people face, surely it should be in order to sit longer before Christmas and to come back earlier. The people want their say and there is no point in the Government Members prolonging the agony for themselves. The Government could have all of this done before Christmas if it so wished. If the Tánaiste maintains the Government cannot do it, what is the earliest date in January that the Dáil will be recalled? Will it be 6 January, 7 January or when?

We have been putting up with vague answers from the Government for a long time. One asks a question about when the Dáil will be reconvened and receives an answer to the effect that the Government has not yet decided. One asks when the finance Bill will be introduced and is informed the Government has not yet decided and of what was done last year. That day is over and I will explain why. In the document the Government sent to the IMF and the EU, it has committed itself to precise dates for doing everything. For example, every Friday the Government must give a report to the IMF and EU institutions on information on the main Government spending and receipt items.

We have been over this ground before and I have no doubt we will be back to it.

This must be submitted every Friday to the IMF and the EU and report on everything that has been done up to the previous Thursday. The document will contain detail about when legislation is to be presented and so on. In this context we are entitled to hear something other than the traditional vague answers we have received from the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste on these matters. On what date will the Dáil reconvene after Christmas and on what date will the finance Bill be introduced? We are aware the social welfare Bill will be introduced and enacted next week, on budget week, which was never done before. It will be brought in on Wednesday.

It was always done before Christmas.

It was not always done before Christmas.

Let us not get bogged down in exchanges. Please, could we keep moving?

It was done last year before Christmas so that Deputy Noel Ahern and his colleagues could go out with their leaflets after Christmas and pretend it was a done deal. That is why it was done.

Please, Deputy Gilmore. We are wasting time on the Order of Business.

It is being done before Christmas this year because it has been agreed with the EU and the IMF that it should be done before Christmas. Presumably, the date on which the finance Bill will be introduced has already been communicated to the EU and the IMF. They know when the finance Bill will be introduced. We are entitled to know when the finance Bill will be introduced and on what date the Dáil is to be reconvened. Let us have less of the vagueness from the Tánaiste and more straightness with the Dáil.

In her response to the earlier questions the Tánaiste indicated the finance Bill would be brought forward by "some weeks". How does the Tánaiste translate "some weeks"? How many weeks is that? Is there a possibility that the finance Bill may present before Christmas? Is the Dáil to sit for an extended time in the coming week and the week following before the signalled recess at Christmas? Has that matter been determined by the Government? In real rather than vague terms, when does the Tánaiste expect the finance Bill to present?

For the benefit of all Members, there has always been a social welfare Bill prior to Christmas to give legislative effect to budgetary decisions.

Last year was the first time.

The Deputy is incorrect. I introduced such Bills as Minister for Social and Family Affairs in 2002 and 2003.

That was to give double payments at Christmas time.

One always introduces the social welfare Bill to give legislative effect to the budgetary provisions such that people can be paid on the first day of January and then there is a second Bill in March. These are the facts of the situation. The Deputy should stop making inaccuracies in the House. The finance Bill will be prepared. It must be prepared. No decision has been made on when the House will resume after Christmas; all I can say is that it will resume after Christmas.

Thank God for that.

I wish to ask the Tánaiste about two things which arise in the document. There are references in the document to receipts upon the sale of State assets.

Deputy, please. The Order of Business does not contemplate a question and answer session and I cannot accommodate it.

Allow me to ask a question. Previously, the Taoiseach informed the House that Colm McCarthy was heading a group to examine the sale of State assets. Will the Tánaiste indicate when the report, whether a work in progress or a final version, of the group will be made available to the House? Will it be made available this weekend before the budget? In the document signed off by the Minister for Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank, there is a reference to the introduction of a fiscal responsibility law which "will introduce a medium-term expenditure framework with binding multi-annual ceilings on expenditure in each area" by the end of July 2011 and to be passed into law by September 2011. There is considerable legal opinion that suggests such a fiscal responsibility law in this country under our Constitution——

The Deputy could simply ask when can we expect the Bill to be published.

Our Constitution is not simply the statutes of the IMF. Bunreacht na hÉireann is for ourselves as well.

The Labour Party has taken advice on this matter. It was discussed extensively at the finance committee that such a fiscal responsibility law would require a constitutional amendment.

The Deputy cannot pursue this matter on the Order of Business.

When will there be a referendum on a constitutional amendment to provide for this law?

We have no provision to do it this way.

Sorry, a Cheann Comhairle, it is promised legislation.

We cannot have a debate on it on the Order of Business. A simple inquiry about promised legislation is fine on the Order of Business but not a debate on the matter.

How can promised legislation be brought forward if it is constitutionally impossible? It is a reasonable question for a Member of the Opposition to ask.

Will the Deputy inquire about the legislation?

It is a reasonable question to ask under Standing Orders. Is the Tánaiste capable of answering the question?

There is work in progress on the McCarthy report and I do not have an exact date as to when that matter will be brought to the Government.

The proposed legislative matters in the EU-IMF programme will be taken according to the dates set down and the Government will take its legal advice from the Attorney General.

On the McCarthy report——

Deputy Burton cannot pursue the matter in this manner.

——can we have a progress report?

We cannot have a question-and-answer session on the Order of Business. I have allowed the Deputy considerable latitude so far.

You are taking longer to shout at me then I am for these questions.

I am not. I am endeavouring to implement the Standing Orders. I have a duty and an obligation to do so.

You are taking longer to shout at me. You are not speaking to me. You are shouting at me.

I am not shouting at you. I am telling the Deputy the position on this and I ask her to co-operate with the Chair.

You are shouting at me.

I am not shouting at you.

Can you stop shouting at me?

You are shouting at Deputy Burton.

I am telling you to resume your seat if you are not going to respect Standing Orders. I have allowed you considerable latitude so far.

Will you lower your voice, please?

Will Deputy Burton show some respect to the Chair?

Listen to the man in the green jersey.

Deputy Burton will resume her seat. I call on Deputy McManus.

On a point of order——

Deputy Burton.

——will the Tánaiste explain what the reference is to €700 million of receipts in the Government's four year plan?

That is not a point of order.

That is not a point of order. Resume your seat. You are abusing the Order of Business.

We are entitled to know the breakdown of €700 million of receipts in the four year plan from capital savings.

The Deputy is abusing the Order of Business. I call on Deputy McManus.

Apparently, the Government had hours and hours to work on it.

Deputy Burton, please.

When the Greens went into Government, they said the reason they were doing so was to tackle climate change. A climate change Bill was promised. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gormley, tweeted the heads of the Bill would be published in November.

It seems, however, the Greens have abandoned the whole issue of tackling climate change and it is no longer one of their core values. The countries of the world are meeting in Cancun to try and tackle climate change this month, yet the Government has no legislation in this regard. This disturbs people greatly who have a concern about this issue which is becoming more acute. Will Fianna Fáil take on the task of publishing the climate change Bill since the Greens are no longer taking responsibility?

Deputy McManus is embellishing the question.

The programme for Government included a commitment to publish climate change legislation. Will the Tánaiste take on the responsibility to ensure the Government lives up to its commitment?

The heads of the Bill were passed by the Government on 15 November. I will get a direct update for the Deputy.

I really appreciate that because that is the first concrete information I got on this legislation.

The Deputy has received her reply.

I am grateful to the Tánaiste for this new information. Why have the heads not been published?

We cannot have a question-and-answer session on the Order of Business. It is as simple as that. I call on Deputy Coonan.

A Cheann Comhairle,——

I did not call you, Deputy Burton.

——page eight of the EU-IMF programme——

I have not called you. I called Deputy Coonan.

As the Tánaiste and the Minister for Transport are in the Chamber, will they use their good offices to avail of a generous offer by the IFA and local contractors to spread salt and grit in rural areas?

Point well made.

That is no problem.

Maybe people in Dublin will give a hand to put salt on streets. If we all worked together, it would be much easier to handle this crisis.

The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is on Second Stage. Will it be completed before the end of session? If not, will Fine Gael's similar Private Members' legislation, the Civil Liability Bill, which has passed Second Stage, be taken in lieu of the former?

I will take on board the Deputy's comments in the context of the preparation of the legislation for the end of the year.

Ós rud é go bhfuil an dhréacht-straitéis 20 bliain don Ghaeilge aontaithe anois ag an Rialtas, mar atá le cloisteáil ar TG4, an bhfuil sé ar intinn ag an Rialtas an reachtaíocht a thabhairt isteach sa Teach seo sula scoirfear leis an Dáil i dtús na bliana seo chugainn le leasú a dhéanamh ar struchtúr Údarás na Gaeltachta agus struchtúr úr, údarás na Gaeilge, a bhunú sa dóigh is gur féidir lán-toghchán don bhord úr sin a bheith ann ag an am céanna is a bheidh toghchán don Dáil? An bhfuil sé ar intinn ag an Rialtas an straitéis 20 bliain a chur os comhair na Dála agus, má tá sin ar intinn, cén uair? An mbeidh vóta ar an straitéis sa Teach seo ós rud é go bhfuil sé iontach tábhachtach go dtabharfaidh gach páirtí, ní hamháin an Rialtas, tacaíocht do straitéis a leanfaidh ar feadh 20 bliana?

Tá an straitéis á foilsiú agus má tá an t-am ann seans go mbeidh na hAoirí in ann deis a thabhairt do Theachtaí an straitéis a phlé. Níl an Bille úr d'Údarás na Gaeltachta socraithe go fóill ach beidh sé os comhair an Tí go luath.

I welcome the Minister's reply to the point raised by Deputy Coonan. The Government has asked people to use public transport during the current weather conditions. There were several rows on Luas carriages yesterday evening due to overcrowding resulting in several drivers having to stop their trains. Will the Minister use his office to contact the Rail Procurement Agency to ensure some security measures are put in place to prevent trams getting too packed?

The Deputy has made her point.

The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill addresses a whole series of different areas of law that need to be reformed. I assume there is no reality in that Bill being enacted before the general election.

When it was before the House, I invited the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to remove the section that deals with the enforcement of maintenance support orders and to introduce emergency legislation to deal specifically with this issue. I also told him Fine Gael would support it and it could be nodded through the House in 20 minutes. There are wives and mothers across the country who are the beneficiaries of maintenance support orders made in the District Court for either their child or child support or both. They find their orders are unenforceable and the courts have no method of ensuring they receive payment.

The Deputy has made his point.

This has been the position for 18 months. Will the Tánaiste ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to find half an hour next week to introduce such emergency legislation? There is no controversy between us about it; it is an urgent measure, which is badly needed. Wives and mothers are very badly affected in the current situation.

The Chief Whip has said he will discuss the matter with all the Whips to see if we can get that matter resolved and, if there are no disputes, get it through the House.

I wish to ask the Tánaiste about two matters — first, the female genital mutilation Bill that I raised last week in the House; and, second, the noise nuisance Bill.

They are both listed for this session.

Could I have any further information? Will they come before the House this session?

I will try to find out, but they will be published this session.