It is proposed to take No. 14, statements on the Final Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the following arrangements shall apply in relation to No. 14: the statements of the Tánaiste and of the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case, the statements of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case, the statement of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 10 minutes, Members may share time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes. Private Members' business shall be No. 27, Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (Amendment) Bill 2011 – Second Stage, and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 March 2012.
Order of Business
There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 14, statements on the Final Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments, agreed to?
Agreed, but would it be possible to allow an additional five minutes to leaders?
I have no objection to that.
Is that agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members business agreed to? Agreed.
With regard to the announcement of the date of the referendum on the fiscal treaty, will the Tánaiste outline to the House the legislative timetable for the referendum? I ask the Tánaiste to also outline the timetable for related Bills such as the amendments to the treaty on the functioning of the European Union which is important for the facilitation of the establishment of the ESM, the European stability mechanism, and the sequence of the related legislation. Is it the Government's intention to deal with these matters before the referendum is held? I ask the Tánaiste to say whether he intends to publish a White Paper on the treaty and the referendum proposal.
I will describe the legislative intentions. The referendum Bill is being finalised and I expect this to be published before the end of this week. It is then intended that the sub-committee of the Joint Committee on European Affairs will deal with issues relating to the treaty over a two week period or thereabouts. When the Dáil resumes it is intended to bring the referendum Bill into the House to be debated and then it will move to the Seanad. The process should be completed by the end of April which will then allow sufficient time for the referendum to be held.
With regard to the general European treaty amendments, the ESM, and the fiscal responsibility Bill, it is intended that those pieces of legislation will be published prior to the referendum being held but it is not envisaged that they would be enacted prior to the referendum being held.
On the question of a White Paper, the Government did not consider that a White Paper was necessary on this occasion because the treaty is relatively short. The Government intends to arrange for information to be provided to households to ensure an understanding of the treaty. Deputy Martin made the point that this information should be in simple language.
I ask for time to be set aside on Thursday for a debate on the promissory note payment which is due on 31 March. I ask because of the serious concerns about whether the Minister for Finance has the authority to pay or to commit to pay €3.1 billion. The Dáil was never consulted on this matter nor were the people. The Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 provides the Minister with power that lasts up to 2016 only and he proposes to extend this power to 2025. I ask for time on Thursday, before 31 March, for a debate.
I remind the Deputy that this is a matter for the Whips to decide and to work out between themselves. It is not promised legislation.
The business scheduled for this week is a debate on each day, including Thursday, on the report of the Mahon tribunal. As Deputy Adams will recall, there was general agreement in the House last week that we should devote this week to the Mahon tribunal findings. The Minister for Finance has already come into the House to update the House on developments with regard to the promissory note. He is willing to do so again when he is in a position to provide a further update to the House. I am also aware of a court action relating to some of the aspects of the question which Deputy Adams has raised and obviously I do not wish to comment on those aspects.
In light of the findings and the recommendations of the Mahon tribunal, does the Tánaiste intend to bring any proposals before the House to re-establish the reviews of five local authorities-----
Sorry, Deputy, that question is out of order.
-----which were shut down by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, obviously with the full knowledge of the Tánaiste and other members of the Cabinet?
That is not in order. It is a question to ask through his Whip. The Deputy cannot ask for time on the Order of Business unless we already have a commitment for it.
I am asking if legislation is promised or if the Tánaiste intends to bring forward-----
The question can only be on promised legislation when on the Order of Business.
Unless I can request whether it is promised or not-----
The Deputy has been circulated with a full schedule of the promised legislation to date. That is the legislation about which the Deputy can ask questions.
Surely when an exceptional measure such as this arises, I might afford the Tánaiste an opportunity to clarify the situation.
Sorry, it is out of order.
Ask Vincent Browne.
When is Deputy Kehoe going on "Tonight with Vincent Browne"? He is dodging the bullet as well. Send Deputy Joe Carey.
I wish to ask about recruitment legislation and Government contracts.
What does the Deputy mean?
I refer to the contracts Bill which is coming before the House. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan's Department, has made a botch of the leaflet drop for the household charge and it has now awarded a contract to DC Kavanagh Limited, a company in receivership-----
That matter cannot be raised on the Order of Business.
It is an important printing contract. It is a matter for the Order of Business.
No, Deputy, it is not a matter for the Order of Business.
It is a contract-----
It is not on the Order of Business; it is nothing to do with the Order of Business.
-----given to a company in receivership.
When is the contracts Bill due?
The Construction Contracts Bill is on Second Stage and it is listed for this week if the debate on the Mahon tribunal concludes.
I know that.
Well rescued, Tánaiste.
Does the Tánaiste intend bringing forward legislation to amend section 836 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997-----
The Deputy may ask a question on promised legislation only.
This is promised legislation.
Sorry, Deputy, has this legislation been promised?
That is the reason for my question.
Has it been promised?
I am asking that question.
It is up to the Deputy to tell me.
I want to read a question. Does the Tánaiste intend to bring forward legislation to amend section 836 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997-----
Get off the stage.
-----which provides for a tax deduction under section 114 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997-----
I call Deputy Ó Cuív.
-----in respect of the cost to Ministers of maintaining a second residence?
The Deputy should resume his seat. Did Deputy Healy-Rae hear me?
This section provides for what is commonly known as the dual abode allowance for Ministers. The section as it currently stands appears to allow Ministers to claim a deduction for the household charge for tax purposes as being expenses incurred in maintaining a second residence.
Resume your seat, Deputy Healy-Rae. Do you want to go outside the Chamber?
I am perfectly entitled to ask this question.
You are not perfectly entitled. Please resume your seat.
Why is that so?
Resume your seat.
I am just asking if there was promised legislation.
You are not permitted to ask if there was promised legislation; you know there is no such thing as promised legislation. Do not try to make a fool out of the whole system. I call Deputy Ó Cuív.
I asked a perfectly legitimate question.
It is not on the Order of Business. The Deputy is doing this every day.
Mar a bhí mé ag fiafraí an tseachtain seo chaite, cé mhéad des na Billí a bhí luaite ar liosta A a bhéas foilsithe i rith an tseisiúin seo agus cé mhéad atá foilsithe go dáta? An bhfuil Billí nach raibh ar liosta A ach a bhéas foilsithe roimh dheireadh an tseisiúin seo? Mar is eol don Tánaiste, is beag Bille atá foilsithe go dáta.
An dara cheist, cén uair atá i gceist go bhfoilseofar na rialacháin faoin Acht um Sheirbhísí Uisce (Leasú) 2012? Ní hé seo an chéad uair a chuir mé an cheist seo ach b'fhéidir an t-am seo go bhfaighidh mé freagra díreach ar an gceist, cén uair a fhoilseofar na rialacháin sin faoi Alt 70L den Acht.
Tá sé geallta.
Tá trí chinn des na Billí atá geallta sa chlár Rialtais foilsithe cheana féin. Tá dhá Bhille aontaithe ag an Rialtas agus tá siad ag feitheamh le go bhfoilseofar iad. Tá Bille eile nach raibh ar liosta A ach atá foilsithe. Tá roinnt Billí eile atá ar liosta A nach bhfuil foilsithe go fóill.
Maidir leis na rialacha faoin Acht rialtais áitiúil, ba cheart don Teachta ceist dhíreach a chur síos don Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil ar an ábhar sin.
I gcead don Tánaiste, an é a dúirt sé go raibh an tríú chuid des na Billí atá ar liosta A foilsithe?
Tá trí Bhille foilsithe.
Trí Bhille, as 26.
Níl an séasúr thart fós.
Tá mé ag iarraidh an fhírinne a fháil.
I ask the Deputies to resume their seats.
Níl an seisiún thart fós.
Tuigim é sin.
Tá trí Bhille foilsithe, dhá Bhille atá aontaithe ag an Rialtas agus Bille amháin eile nach raibh ar an liosta cheana féin. Chomh maith le sin tá an Bille i dtaobh an reifreann a luaigh mé cheana. Muna bhfaigheann an Teachta freagra ón Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil mar a dúirt an Príomh Aoire roimhe seo, is féidir leis an Teachta dul chuig an Ceann Comhairle agus an t-ábhar a ardú leis.
Maidir leis an gceist ar an Aire, chuir mé an cheist cheana ach ní bhfuair mé freagra. Má chuirim an cheist arís i bhfoirm ceist Dála agus muna bhfaigheann mé freagra, an gheobhaidh an Tánaiste freagra dom?
Tá deis ag an Teachta-----
I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.
Muna bhfaigheann an Teachta freagra ón Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil, mar a dúirt an Príomh Aoire roimhe seo, is feidir leis an Teachta dul chuig an Ceann Comhairle agus an t-ábhar a ardú leis.
That completes the Order of Business.
An fhadhb atá ann ná nuair a chuirtear an cheist, tugtar an freagra go -----
We are not having a discussion on this.
Tabharfaidh sé freagra, b'fhéidir amach anseo, uair éigin.
I call Deputy Brendan Smith and ask Deputy Ó Cuív to resume his seat.
When is it expected that the residential institutions statutory fund Bill will be published? Will the Tánaiste give the House an assurance that the concerns of many of the representative groups of victims will be given further consideration before the legislation is finalised? These concerns relate to the range of services to be provided and to the exclusion of persons who have not availed of assistance from the redress board. The Tánaiste will know this is an urgent matter.
That Bill is being worked on at present. The heads were approved by Government and it is expected to be published during this session.