Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 14, motion re a tribunal of inquiry into the fatal shootings of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan; No. 15, Revised Estimates for Public Services 2013 - Votes 1 to 10, inclusive, and Votes 20 to 40, inclusive, back from committee; No. 4, Thirty-third Amendment of the Constitution (Court of Appeal) Bill 2013 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage; and No. 19, Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 - Report Stage (resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and adjourn at midnight, there shall be no Topical Issue debate or oral questions, and the sitting shall be suspended at the conclusion of No. 4 until 5 p.m.; No. 14 shall be decided without debate; the proceedings on No. 15 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 65 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: Votes 1 to 10, inclusive, and Votes 20 to 40, inclusive, shall be moved together and decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair and any divisions demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith, the speech of a Minister or a Minister of State and the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group who shall be called upon in that order and who may share time shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case, and a Minister or a Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; No. 4 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after two hours, the opening speeches of a Minister or a Minister of State and the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group who shall be called upon in that order and who may share time shall not exceed 20 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes and such Members may share time, and a Minister or a Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed ten minutes; the resumed Report Stage of No. 19 shall be taken at 5 p.m. and adjourn at midnight, if not previously concluded; and the Dáil shall sit tomorrow at 10.30 a.m. and adjourn not later than 5 p.m., any divisions demanded shall be taken immediately after the Order of Business on Tuesday, 16 July, there shall be no Order of Business within the meaning of Standing Order 26 and, accordingly, the business to be transacted shall be as follows: No. 1, Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 [Seanad] - Second Stage (resumed) which shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 1.30 p.m.; and No. 5, Electoral, Local Government and Planning and Development Bill 2013 - Order for Second Stage and Second Stage, to adjourn at 5 p.m., if not previously concluded.

There are five proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and adjourn at midnight, there will be no Topical Issue debate or oral questions, and the sitting shall be suspended at the conclusion of No. 4 until 5 p.m. agreed to?

Will the Minister indicate whether it is now confirmed that the House will adjourn at midnight? There was an issue yesterday in respect of the staff of the Oireachtas. I do not see any provision for a proper break in the running of business to allow people to have a reasonable rest in the course of their working day. A sos for an hour after the conclusion of No. 4 would accommodate this. The Ceann Comhairle or the Minister might shed some light on the matter.

We have a full day's sitting with no oral questions and no Topical Issue debate. I acknowledge the necessity to deal with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill and respect the need for everybody to have his or her say. However, the way in which that debate has been organised thus far is simply off the wall. I do not share the view of Deputy Micheál Martin who seems to have developed a healthy dose of amnesia in this regard. One might imagine, listening to him, that not one blessed word on this topic had ever been uttered over 21 years or in the past six months as we have debated rigorously and tirelessly every twist and turn of the legislation. As I said, I respect people's right to speak. I hope, however, that we will have some sense of order today, for ourselves, those of us who have children at home and the staff. We should operate in a reasonable way which also respects the rights of the latter.

My main objection concerns No. 4, but I speak now because the first proposal relates to the ordering of that debate. The business to be transacted today has been very poorly organised. I have already commented on the contempt shown by the Government for Parliament. The situation and needs of staff have been given no consideration and certainly were not considered last evening when the House sat right through to 5 a.m. Special efforts should be made to engage with staff representatives to ensure every possible provision can be made to make the day easier for them.

The critical point is that there is no need to take No. 4 today. Again, the obvious conclusion is that there must be a timeline for the referendum in question which the Government has not shared with us. The Taoiseach could not tell me on Tuesday when the referendum on the abolition of the Seanad would be held, and here again we see the path being cleared for another referendum without any consultation with the House. What I propose is that No. 4 not be taken today and that the two hours freed up be allocated for the debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. That would be a sensible approach.

It is a reasonable proposal.

Members might not realise that two schedules were distributed this morning, one indicating that the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill would be brought to a conclusion at midnight by a vote on one question. Fifteen minutes later we received a second schedule showing that the debate would merely be adjourned. Despite all of the Minister's protestations this morning about debate and so on, the reality is that it was the Government's initial intention to ram the legislation through by use of the guillotine. I welcome the change of heart, but there is no need to wait until 5 p.m. to resume that debate. It could be done much earlier if the schedule was reorganised to take out the Thirty-third Amendment of the Constitution (Court of Appeal) Bill, the debate on Second Stage of which is essentially being guillotined. There is no need for its inclusion today unless, one assumes, it is the Government's intention to have the two referendums out of the way before the budget. That seems to be the agenda. Why is there an urgent need to get the Bill through in two hours today? Will the Government not give the two hours allocated for that purpose to the debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill? That would make more sense and it might even mean we would get out before midnight.

I will begin with Deputy Mary Lou McDonald's questions. It is intended that the Dáil shall adjourn at midnight; that is a fixed issue. In terms of a break in business, it is understood there will be a sos of 30 minutes, as there was yesterday, between 4.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. That is implicit in the first proposal on the Order of Business, that we will take a sos at the conclusion of No. 4 until 5 p.m.

What if the debate on that Bill is not concluded by 4.30 p.m.?

The order of the House is for the debate on that Bill to conclude after two hours.

There could be a division.

There will be a division.

I am not sure whether Deputy Micheál Martin is arguing for more time for the debate on the Thirty-third Amendment of the Constitution (Court of Appeal) Bill. We have decided to take that Bill today because it is an important measure which was sought by the Judiciary. I am confident that there is consensus in the House on the need for a new court of appeal and a constitutional amendment to facilitate its establishment. I do not expect it to be a matter of contention. If the Deputy is arguing for more time for the debate, let us hear it. He has not been clear on what he is calling for. The Bill is being taken today because we are coming to the end of the session. If we are going to have two referendums in the autumn, on this proposal and the proposal to abolish the Seanad, we must provide for this now by facilitating the establishment of the referendum commissions and so on. That is why the legislation is being taken today. I am, however, open to proposals that more time be allocated, if that is the Deputy's view.

(Interruptions).

We are not having a debate on the issue now. I must put the question.

We must have a meaningful exchange on the ordering of the schedule. He knows-----

That is a matter for the Whips, not for the Chamber.

We are entitled-----

Deputy Martin should allow me to explain. I am obliged to put what is technically a motion without debate. I have allowed comments from the leaders of the parties and, after that, I am obliged to put the question. If Deputy Micheál Martin has suggestions, I suggest he goes through his Whip. The Whips can come in later and rearrange the business.

Under Standing Orders, am I not entitled-----

We are not having a debate on Standing Orders.

I am not asking for a debate-----

Deputy Martin is talking about time but we are wasting time here.

Under Standing Orders, I am entitled to oppose an order and to explain why.

I gave Deputy Martin the chance to explain.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Howlin, deliberately misrepresented what I said.

That is a matter for another day.

I said No. 4 should not be taken and more time should be given to No. 19-----

I am asking for Deputy Martin's co-operation.

Question, "That the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and shall adjourn at midnight; there shall be no Topical Issue debate or oral questions; and the sitting shall be suspended on the conclusion of No. 4 until 5 p.m. be agreed to", put and declared carried.

We are all talking about time but we are wasting it. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 14, motion re tribunal of inquiry into the fatal shootings of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Robert Buchanan, without debate, agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 15, Revised Estimates for public services 2013, Votes 1 to 10 and Votes 20 to 40 agreed to? Agreed.

Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4, Order for Second Stage and Second Stage for the Thirty-third Amendment of the Constitution (Court of Appeal) Bill 2013 agreed to?

It is not agreed. There is no need to take this today. I have no sense of any urgency about the necessity or imperative of having to take this today. We were up until 5 a.m. this morning dealing with No. 19 and we will now resume at 5 p.m. to deal with No. 19 and go through to midnight. It is no way to organise the House. There has been no meaningful consultation with the Whips, bar a meeting called for at 3.30 a.m. It is an incredible reflection on the Parliament and how the Government is organising the House.

I asked the Taoiseach on Tuesday for the timeline of the referendum and he replied that it was some time in the autumn and that he would tell me again later. That is the level of transparency with which the Government treats the Parliament and the public. If the Minister can tell me the date of the referendum, I might have some understanding as to why he wants to take the Bill today and conclude it after two hours.

People are cynical about the Government's approach-----

I think the Deputy has made his point.

They were cynical about the previous Government.

People believe the reason it is being held today is that the Government wants a referendum before the budget.

People are cynical about antics from the Opposition. One of the problems is that this side of the House genuinely tried to facilitate every Member to participate. If we had simply come in with guillotines and set timelines, we would have another argument. To seek to allow Members latitude of time on No. 19 has caused difficulty because we did not want to shut down debate. We want to allow everyone to participate.

With regard to No. 4, I have already indicated it is a referendum the Government wants to hold in the autumn. We need to have it enacted now in order to make preparations, establish a referendum commission and have the preparatory work in consultation. All of the advice after previous referenda is to allow sufficient time for important matters to be debated. That is why we need to do it now and we cannot postpone it until the autumn. How can we postpone it until the autumn? It is important that we do it.

The Minister only published the Bill on Monday and is rushing it again.

Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 4 be agreed to", put and declared carried.

Is the proposal for the sitting and business of the Dáil tomorrow agreed to? Agreed.

I call Deputy Martin on the Order of Business and I ask for some order.

Given that we are in the last number of weeks of the session, can the Minister indicate to the Dáil when we can expect a raft of legislation in terms of the health information Bill and the universal health insurance legislation for the establishment of a universal health insurance fund as provided for in the programme for Government? Will the Minister indicate whether the Government is of a mind to provide substantial funds to the VHI to ensure it meets its regulatory requirements? Can the Minister indicate when legislation on universal health insurance commitments made in the programme for Government can be expected?

A question about the health information Bill was asked yesterday and the Taoiseach indicated it would be published late this year. The insurance legislation is a very serious matter. A White Paper is awaited and legislation will be published subsequent to the publication of the White Paper. I will ask the Minister for Health to give the best indication on the timeline for the publication of the White Paper and the legislation to the Deputy.

What about the VHI?

That is the same.

I call Deputy Adams or, rather, Deputy McDonald.

I was going to make a reference to a beard but I will not. I want to raise two matters with the Minister, the first of which is the Bethany Home. Many Members are aware of what happened in Bethany Home, Rathgar, the suffering of women and children in the home and the existence of a mass grave in Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold's Cross. The Taoiseach gave a commitment on 25 June that, within two weeks, the Government would make a statement and set out what was to be done to address the needs of the very small number of survivors from the mother and baby home. I have been raising this question consistently, as have others, and I feel I have been sent on a wild goose chase. When will we have a decision?

The second matter is the Construction Contracts Bill. We were due to deal with it today but it has been dropped off the schedule. It is a very long-awaited and important item of legislation. Will it be taken next week? When will it appear before us?

The Bethany Home issue was raised by Deputy Adams yesterday with the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach undertook to talk to the Minister for Justice and Equality and revert to the House. A formal letter of response from the Taoiseach will be issued to Deputy Adams today and I will ensure a copy is sent to Deputy McDonald.

I am anxious that the Construction Contracts Bill is enacted. The Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, has been involved in extensive consultation. It is an initiative of Senator Feargal Quinn, who gets the credit for it. It is expected that we will find time for it next week.

With regard to the companies (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, it has come to the attention of the House that there are many anomalies in the Finance Bill.

We will talk about that another time. Some 48 seconds remain.

Mr. Tony Rochford is on hunger strike and the Taoiseach agreed to meet him a couple of days ago.

Does the Minister know if the meeting took place and, if not, when it will? When is he due to meet him?

When is the Bill? I am not dealing with meetings on the Order of Business.

On the companies (miscellaneous provisions) Bill-----

There is no date for that.

Public expenditure and reform is the Minister's own area. I appeal to him-----

Do not appeal. There are 15 seconds left and four Deputies want to get in.

Where is the reform when we see the shambolic way the House has been treated over the past 24 hours? It is disgraceful.

I do not know what that question is. There can be no reply to it.

I want a reply. It was shambolic.

This is the Order of Business. Please, read Standing Orders.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs published the Children First guidelines to give effect to the heads of a Bill over a year ago. I understand that she has engaged in a consultation process. When is it expected that the Bill will come before us?

When is the legislation on the pyrite levy likely to be published and when will it go through the House? It is critical to commencing the remediation of homes. I understand the assisted decision-making (capacity) Bill was before the Cabinet this week. Will it come before the House and be concluded in the next session?

Deputy Healy-Rae is next. No statements, please.

The Water Services Bill, also known as the water torture Bill-----

Please use the official Title.

----is the subject of Government proposals for amendments to torture people by turning down their water pressure if they are unable to pay.

Sit down, for goodness sake. That is wasting the time of the House.

It is a sensitive issue for people whose water pressure will be turned down.

It has nothing to do with the Order of Business. Do not play act.

It has. It is the Water Services Bill. There is legislation on it.

A commitment was made in the budget to introduce legislation to deal with an anomaly in respect of the Leaders' allowance and its payment to Independent Deputies. When will that legislation be brought before the House?

When will the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill come before the House? It was due yesterday and today. I reiterate what Deputy Mattie McGrath said about a man who has been on hunger strike for 26 days, Mr. Tony Rochford.

Please, do not. Resume you seat.

The Taoiseach said he would meet with him. It is very important. The man is getting very weak. Perhaps we could convey that to the Taoiseach.

When is the President expected to sign into law, assuming it is passed by the Seanad, the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill?

It was hoped to have the Children First Bill during the current session. Extensive work has been undertaken by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and it will probably not be available in the next two weeks. It should be available very soon thereafter. Drafting of a pyrite Bill is concluding and it will be taken next session. The assisted decision-making (capacity) Bill has been approved by Government and will be taken during the next session. The Water Services Bill will be taken later this year. I am dealing with the issue of leaders' allowances myself. The legislation is being drafted and will be taken next session. We will try to find time for the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill next week. I cannot give Deputy Donnelly an actual time when the President will sign the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill but amendments from the Seanad should be taken here next week. The Oireachtas should have concluded it next week. It will then be sent to the President for his consideration.