Business of Dáil

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight; the sitting shall now suspend until 2.30 p.m. and the business to be transacted then shall be the motion of confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government, and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after three hours and the following arrangements shall apply: the speeches of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, or persons nominated in their stead, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case and such Members may share their time, a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes, and the order shall resume with Leaders' Questions; Oral Questions to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht shall be taken following the Order of Business for 75 minutes; Topical Issues shall be taken on the conclusion of Oral Questions; and Private Members' business shall be taken on the conclusion of Topical Issues for 90 minutes.

I propose to-----

Can we have a written copy of that please? It is a different version from what we were given at the door and there is a lot in it.

Could we circulate it? We will circulate it.

We need to circulate it now.

Do not panic. We will wait until the document is circulated to allow-----

Should I read it again? A version has already been circulated via e-mail.

At 12.37 p.m.

At 12.37 p.m.

This was what was at the door for Deputies coming into the Chamber. I assumed this was the Government's programme. It is not what the Chief Whip read out.

Is the Deputy talking about the Order of Business for later or is he talking about the arrangements? This is just the arrangements for-----

I understood the arrangements for the motion of confidence. Then the other business for the day was gone through very quickly and it is important we know what is being proposed.

This is dealing with the arrangements-----

It is in the Deputy's e-mail.

-----for the motion of confidence first, including the time allocated to each group. It then goes on to state that the order shall resume with Leaders' Questions, Oral Questions to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Topical Issues and then Private Members' business shall be taken on the conclusion of Topical Issues.

Correct, and then the-----

It is a mini order of business if one likes.

The Report Stage of the-----

No. That is to be dealt with later on the Order of Business.

It would have been helpful if all that had been in the paper we were given.

A Cheann Comhairle,-----

Would you please go through it again.

Can I be helpful here?

(Interruptions).

Please, be quiet, will you?

The Deputy cannot be wasting our time.

This was circulated at 12.37 p.m. to every Member of the House.

Would you read it out again?

I will read it slowly this time for some people.

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight; the sitting shall now suspend until 2.30 p.m. and the business to be transacted then shall be the motion of confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government, and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after three hours and the following arrangements shall apply: the speeches of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, or persons nominated in their stead, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case and such Members may share their time, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes in each case and such Members may share their time, a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes, and the order shall resume with Leaders' Questions; Oral Questions to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht shall be taken following the Order of Business for 75 minutes; Topical Issues shall be taken on the conclusion of Oral Questions; and Private Members' business shall be taken on the conclusion of Topical Issues for 90 minutes.

Is that clear now? Is everybody happy? Is that agreed?

Deputies

No.

I will allow each leader to speak.

I want to object very strongly. Sinn Féin put forward a motion of no confidence and called on the Taoiseach to resign as part of our Private Members' business. Rather than allowing that to proceed, however, as a competent Government with an unprecedented majority, the Government overturned the entire Dáil schedule for today. That is why we have this sort of ad hocery creeping into how we do our business. There was no consultation, certainly with Sinn Féin, on this issue and I presume therefore with none of the other Opposition parties either. It puts the commitments to political reform into some sharp relief. This is all so that the Government can put a motion of confidence in itself, as opposed to allowing the normal business of an Opposition party putting its motion of choice.

We want to strongly object to the way in which the Government has undermined the right of the Opposition, as well as of those who give us a mandate to come here, and has therefore undermined the Oireachtas.

I oppose this proposal on two grounds. First, the debate should be tomorrow evening after tens of thousands of people have come onto the streets of Dublin to demand the abolition of water charges. They will have voted no confidence in the Government. It should be a real vote as opposed to the charade that will go on here.

My second objection - I have a proposal in this regard - is that we need much more time for this particular debate. In the time allocated, it is impossible to unravel the totality of the posturing, propagandising and sheer mendacity of this Government.

All weekend, for example, on platforms provided by her embedded friends in the media, the Tánaiste was working herself up into quite a state of fury about €280 million that was supposedly to be paid to bondholders. She said: "How dare they, these vulture capitalists?" Joan of Stoneybatter was in full flight in defence of the little people. Then the Taoiseach, Sir Galahad of Castlebar, rode in to support her - "How dare these vulture capitalists expect to get this money?", they said.

What about Don Quixote?

Then we realised that this was the pair who for four years have shovelled billions of euro of little people's money into the maws of vulture capitalists, parasites and hyenas in the financial markets.

The Deputy can have his say later.

That is absolute mendacity.

We are only dealing with arrangements now.

That is only one issue that we need to expose here. The second issue that is of critical current importance is the policy concerning water charges.

No, I am sorry Deputy.

The conservation crusade has disappeared and has turned into a save our political skins crusade.

Hold on a second, Deputy.

We need an explanation as to the Government's change of policy on this. I am not talking about the housing crisis or hospitals.

This is purely a technical arrangement to allow this debate to take place.

Yes. I am drawing my remarks to a conclusion. I am explaining why we need far more time. I propose that the debate be extended to six hours as opposed to the three hours the Government is proposing.

Why not until 12.30 a.m.?

Is the Deputy putting a formal amendment?

Yes. I move amendment No. 1:

That the debate be extended to six hours as opposed to the three hours the Government is proposing.

A Deputy

Joe is washing his car.

When the Opposition tables a motion of no confidence in the Government, there is always a precedent for the Government to respond by way of a motion of affirmation or confidence in itself. However, there is absolutely no need to do what the Chief Whip is doing today concerning the schedule of the Dáil, as well as political reform and Dáil reform. If I understand it correctly, we now have the ludicrous situation whereby the Water Services Bill will be debated tonight from 10.55 p.m. until midnight. This is madness and it is ludicrous. There will be people marching tomorrow, so one might suspect that the Water Services Bill is being deliberately buried at midnight when very little attention will be afforded to it.

What is the Deputy talking about?

It is not buried.

I do not know. I am making the point.

Will Members stay quiet?

We are meant to be experiencing a democratic revolution and this is all meant to be changed. Having Leaders Questions, for example-----

We have changed the sitting hours of the Dáil.

I would trade any time on my record in the Dáil or in committees as a Minister answering questions. I would do that any time.

The Deputy's Government wrote enough reports on the topic.

I never had any difficulty in that regard. We are having Leaders Questions at 5.30 p.m. The Order of Business will be at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. tonight.

Is that too late for the Deputy?

That will be after spending six hours in here.

Is it past the Deputy's bed time?

Does it not strike anybody as being a bit absurd or ludicrous? Business will be ordered after it has already been ordered and having had questions on it.

We do that every day.

Not at 7 p.m. and after a debate.

Where was the Deputy on Friday?

A more sensible approach would have been to have the Order of Business and Leaders Questions now, with the confidence debate afterwards for three or four hours. It brings the Dáil into disrepute to have a very significant issue like the Water Services Bill - let us not pretend it is insignificant - at 11 p.m. until 12 midnight.

Was the Deputy here last Friday?

There were not too many Government Deputies here on Friday. Look up who spoke in the debate.

We know what the backbenchers did the last time there was a late night debate.

Will the Deputies stay quiet? I am trying to get the business agreed.

That would have made more sense. Recent late-night debates have not been very good value for the Dáil in terms of public image, so we need some cop-on and common sense. That is why I object to the manner in which this is going on, although I have no difficulty in debating the motion of confidence, giving it some degree of priority or the Government taking the initiative and putting up a vote of confidence in itself. That is not unusual. The rest of the scheduling of business is absurd and makes no sense.

I will begin by replying to the last speaker's comments. Deputy Martin should roll back his memory to 2010, when there was a motion of confidence in the former Taoiseach, former Deputy Brian Cowen. There were similar arrangements to those before us today on that occasion.

The Government was elected on a mandate of democratic revolution.

Deputy Adams is quite correct in that he put down a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government but we have put forward a motion of confidence. We are giving three hours-----

The Minister of State is telling me what I already know.

-----and that is similar to what the party would have had for Private Members' business.

Note the language. They are "giving" them three hours. That is instructive.

Crumbs from the captain's table.

Deputy Joe Higgins agreed with the business at first but when Deputy Adams disagreed with it, he had to stand up in order to disagree with it. I do not know who is following who on the left. We are sticking with the order.

That was brilliant.

The Government is following Fianna Fáil.

Is the amendment proposed by Deputy Higgins agreed to?

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 44; Níl, 72.

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Colreavy, Michael.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McLellan, Sandra.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.

Níl

  • Bannon, James.
  • Barry, Tom.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Conaghan, Michael.
  • Connaughton, Paul J.
  • Conway, Ciara.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dowds, Robert.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • Harrington, Noel.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Keating, Derek.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lyons, John.
  • McCarthy, Michael.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McFadden, Gabrielle.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Maloney, Eamonn.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, Derek.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Phelan, Ann.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe Higgins and Ruth Coppinger; Níl, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put: "That the proposal re the sittings and business of the Dáil be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 43.

  • Bannon, James.
  • Barry, Tom.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Conaghan, Michael.
  • Connaughton, Paul J.
  • Conway, Ciara.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Dowds, Robert.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frank.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Hannigan, Dominic.
  • Harrington, Noel.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Keating, Derek.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lyons, John.
  • McCarthy, Michael.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McFadden, Gabrielle.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Maloney, Eamonn.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Nolan, Derek.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Phelan, Ann.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Twomey, Liam.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Colreavy, Michael.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McLellan, Sandra.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Emmet Stagg and Paul Kehoe; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Ruth Coppinger.
Question declared carried.