Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 7 Dec 2010

Vol. 724 No. 1

Order of Business (Resumed)

I understand there is a special finance Bill to be brought in on Friday. What are the issues that are to be presented in that special finance Bill and is it proposed to dispose of that Bill on Friday?

Second, when is it proposed to publish the report on gaming and lottery. I thought I heard the jingle of——

——casinos in the distance and I understand that central to that aspiration is that the gaming and lottery report would be published. When is that expected?

On any Bill that will come forward from the Minister for Finance in addition to what is already announced, that will be taken on the following week. It would not be taken this week. The proposals for this week have been outlined already in a previous discussion.

Deputy Kenny is referring to a review of gaming legislation since the 1956 Act. There is a report, which has been prepared in the Department of Justice and Law Reform over the past two years, which is being circulated and will be considered by Government in the near future. The report will be published.

That is what the Taoiseach stated 12 months ago. Roulette Government.

In respect of the Taoiseach's last comment, when does the Government expect to consider that report and sign off on it? Are we likely to see that report published before the end of the year or will it be sometime in the new year?

On Thursday last, I asked the Tánaiste a number of questions here but she was unable to give a complete answer, maybe because the Government has not decided. I ask the Taoiseach when it is expected the Dáil will resume after Christmas. Will it be 11 or 12 January? Is the Finance Bill and its implications the only matter the Government wishes to deal with on its return? I ask this for obvious reasons.

For reasons that escape me.

As the Taoiseach tries to elude the electorate.

On the first matter, it would be in the public interest that all reports, once approved and passed by the Government, are published. That would be important in terms of the issues or concern that can ensue in the public debate.

On the question on the return of the Dáil, that is a matter that is to be decided by Government and will be taken next week. I would be in a position to be able to indicate that we can come back a week sooner than expected, but I would also emphasise there is much legislation that we can and should do in the context of preparation, publication and consideration of the finance Bill which will be done in the normal course.

I thank the Taoiseach for this clarification. I welcome the fact that the Dáil will return at an earlier date than originally envisaged. I was looking at the Gormley missile which was circulated in his constituency——

Is it on promised business?

It states to his constituents that there were three issues he wished to have dealt with. The first was a credible four year plan, the second was the budget for 2011 and the third was securing funding support from the IMF, the ECB and the EU.

Well done, John.

Constituency newsletters are not a matter for the Order of Business.

What about the incinerator? The Minister forgot that.

He might not pull out of Government now.

The Minister has almost succeeded in his three ambitions, but they were all predicated on his announcement to his constituents that we have reached a point where the people need political certainty to take them beyond the coming two months.

Constituency newsletters are not appropriate on the Order of Business.

He told them he believed it was time to fix a date for a general election in the second half of January 2011. I hear reports coming through the ether about climate change Bills, mayoralty Bills and corporate donation Bills——

——and that they are all to be dealt with in the blended — that is the new word — amalgamation of the finance Bill and the Dáil returning one week earlier.

This is appropriate to the Order of Business.

Is it intended to take legislation other than the finance Bill? Will we be sticking by this Gormley edict of going to the hustings at the end of January or by mid-February?

Does the Taoiseach think the Green Party will come back?

I call Deputy Gilmore.

There is no reply. Green promises are being ignored.

Deputy Gilmore has the floor. Before he speaks, I suggest that with the co-operation of Members we could have a short sos before the Budget Statement. Time is moving on and we need co-operation.

We want answers. Will we have green shoots or just green shootings?

In his reply to Deputy Kenny, the Taoiseach stated it is intended that the House will resume after Christmas a week earlier than expected. My recollection is that the date pencilled in for the resumption of the Dáil is 19 January. Will the Taoiseach confirm that the intended date for resumption of the Dáil is 12 January?

Last week, I asked the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste about the Government's intention with regards to the legislation required if the Government intends to go ahead with cutting the national minimum wage by €1 an hour, or €2,000 a year, for people on the lowest level of pay in the country. When is this to be introduced? Replying to Deputy Shortall last week, the Minister for Social Protection seemed to indicate that it was the Government's intention to sneak in this piece of legislation by way of a Report Stage amendment to the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill which is before the Dáil. What is the Government's intention with regard to the legislation? If the Government intends to go ahead with cutting the minimum wage, which I sincerely hope it does not, when and by what means will the legislation be introduced?

I indicated to Deputy Kenny that the Government has no problem considering returning a week previous to the appointed date for return on a day of that week yet to be decided. We can decide on this. The second matter is a subject of the budget announcement today and it has already been indicated in the programme that there will be a reduction in the minimum wage of €1 in an effort to improve employment prospects for people. It is important that this would be given a statutory basis as quickly as possible so it could well be dealt with this week also.

Now that it is signalled to take the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill on Thursday evening, according to the schedule distributed, will the Taoiseach indicate the range of measures the Bill will address? It is a multiple. Will the Taoiseach give us the details of the full intent of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill? No doubt it is a misnomer from the start.

The detail of any legislation is inappropriate to the Order of Business.

I am entitled to this information. Will the Taoiseach indicate exactly when he expects the finance Bill to be published and how much time the Government intends providing for a full debate on the measures contained therein?

As I indicated to the Deputy previously, I cannot discuss issues that will come up in the budget announcement which will require legislative approval, part of which will be the Bill to which the Deputy referred. It will be published after the announcements are made so I cannot divulge it prior to the Minister announcing it in the House. With regard to the question on bank restructuring, it is an issue that will be approved by the Government later this week, it will be published and it will be arranged for it to be taken next week.

A number of Deputies are offering but with their co-operation we will note their names and call them on the next available opportunity and have a short sos between now and 3.45 p.m.

Sitting suspended at 3.40 p.m. and resumed at 3.45 p.m.