Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 15 May 2014

Vol. 841 No. 3

Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. a20, statements on the Guerin report; and No. 4, Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014 - Second Stage (resumed).

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the proceedings in respect of No. a20 shall, if not previously concluded, adjourn after the opening speeches and the following arrangements shall apply: the opening speech of the Minister for Justice and Equality 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 30 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time, and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed 15 minutes; and the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 27 May 2014.

There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with a20 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 27 May 2014 agreed to?

Is the purpose of this adjournment to allow for the Tánaiste and the Government to canvass the people or is it for the purpose of enabling the Tánaiste to canvass his backbenchers? What is the actual purpose of the adjournment?

We do not debate the issue but the Deputy can vote against it if he so wishes.

Were the Tánaiste to clarify what exactly it is for, Fianna Fáil might be able to assist it.

I cannot allow debate on the issue. It is a straightforward question.

The Deputy was right the first time.

Is its purpose to allow the Tánaiste to canvass the backbenchers?

The Deputy may vote against it. I will call a vote, if necessary.

A Deputy

Deputy Kelleher had better wake up.

Today, there will be statements in respect of the Guerin report. This is a welcome but limited opportunity and in recent weeks, Members have spoken-----

Sorry, we are dealing with the adjournment.

-----about how there is a crisis in respect of public confidence in the administration of justice and in An Garda Síochána. Consequently, it is not acceptable that the House would not sit next week. Members have important and urgent matters to which they must attend. While there are elections, for instance, as the Tánaiste has been so fond of harking up the road in recent times, in the North-----

The Deputy always uses that.

-----the Assembly will sit next week, although elections also are being held in the North. Consequently, Sinn Féin objects to this proposal.

First, it has been the normal practice that in the week of an election or a referendum, the Dáil does not sit. This is to enable all Members of the House to participate in the election. As Members are aware, after Easter the Dáil returned one week earlier than was originally scheduled. The number of days on which the Dáil sits has increased. The Dáil is scheduled to sit up to the middle of July and I think 16 July is the date that was pencilled in on the document that was circulated. However, if Members find there is unfinished business at that stage, consideration can be given to perhaps extending the sitting of the Dáil up to the end of July or indeed into August, if necessary.

Question, "That the proposal that the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 27 May 2014, be agreed to", put and declared carried.

The programme for Government contains a commitment to invest in the supply of more and better care for older people in the community and states that residential settings would be a priority for the Government. There also is a commitment that additional funding would be provided each year for the care of older people, as well as for more home care packages or home helps. In addition, a review of the fair deal scheme is under way at present. Consequently, on Members' return, would it be possible to have a full debate on the issue of care, home care packages, care for the elderly, home help hours and all that flows therefrom with regard to funding for older people to live independently at home? I also seek such a debate in the context of the fair deal scheme review.

The Whips can consider the proposal and decide if that is possible.

I thank the Tánaiste.

On the Tánaiste's response earlier in respect of medical cards, he was as robotic, unconvincing and detached as was the Minister for Health last night.

Sorry, that is not on the Order of Business.

The Government should restore medical cards-----

Deputy, would you please adhere to the rules?

-----to sick children with disabilities, for instance, and there should be no quibble on that issue.

I wish to ask the Tánaiste a question regarding the Cooke report. I raised this issue with his colleague, Deputy Quinn, last week, who informed me that delivery of this report was, to use his word, "imminent". I subsequently asked the Taoiseach, whose diary the Tánaiste does not follow and with whom the Tánaiste's communication seems to be sketchy at best, and he could not confirm one way or the other when this report might be delivered. He certainly did not give the impression it was imminent. Perhaps, on this third attempt, the Tánaiste might be able to provide some information in this regard. When does the Tánaiste expect it to be delivered to the Government? Does the Tánaiste have any idea or does he care?

I expect the report to be delivered shortly.

Shortly or imminent.

On the children (amendment) Bill, earlier in the week Deputies Seán Kenny, Ellis and I raised the imminent possible closure of the Jigsaw child care centre in Darndale, the biggest crèche in the country, which provides-----

Sorry, not on the-----

-----a massive bulwark to the encouragement of children from the north Coolock area to stay in school, get through second level and so on.

Sorry Deputy, I allowed a Topical Issue debate on this.

I simply wish to ask-----

Please. It is not within the rules.

This morning, parents remain concerned. They have not yet-----

There was a Topical Issue debate on this.

-----heard from the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Charles Flanagan, who was forthright in his response.

They have not heard from him yet and they are very anxious that another few weeks will pass and the centre is €200,000 in debt-----

The Deputy cannot deal with that on the Order of Business. He will have to find some other way of raising the matter. I ask the Deputy to please co-operate with the Chair. I allowed a Topical Issue debate on it and it is out of order on the Order of Business. Please do not challenge me on this issue. I have to be fair to everybody and if I allowed this for the Deputy, I would have to allow it for everybody else

We are here to discuss the nation's business and this is an important territory of Dublin Bay North-----

No, we are not here to discuss issues. I am sorry, Deputy, but I ask you to resume your seat because the Tánaiste will not be allowed to answer it as I will not allow it.

I asked the Tánaiste to ask the new Minister. I asked about the children (amendment) Bill.

That is in order.

I ask the Tánaiste to take on board my comments

I remind the Tánaiste that a Topical Issue was taken this week on that issue.

We have not heard from the new Minister, Deputy Charlie Flanagan.

The children (amendment) Bill is due this session.

When is publication expected of the international recovery of child support (Hague Convention) Bill, to implement the Hague Convention on international recovery for child and other forms of family maintenance? When is publication expected of the trust Bill, to reform and consolidate the law relating to trustees, to deal better with and protect trust assets?

I do not have a publication date for the international children Bill nor a publication date for the trust Bill.

What are the intentions for the national paediatric hospital development board (amendment) Bill? To what extent has it been discussed or progressed in recent times and when might it be expected that it will be brought before the House?

There is as yet no date for the publication of that Bill but work is proceeding on the plans for the building of the national children's hospital.

I wish to ask about the need for investment in electricity and energy supplies and to deal with breakdown in supplies of electricity. A geothermal Bill is promised. There is concern that direct debits are required for payment of electricity bills.

That is a separate issue.

It would be preferable if people could revert to paying through the credit union or the post office.

That can be arranged by way of a parliamentary question.

The geothermal energy development Bill has 151 heads. It is expected early next year.