Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Thursday, 21 May 1998

Vol. 1 No. 3

Business of Select Committee.

That concludes our meeting. We have a problem with accommodation for taking Bills. There is only one room and it is free all day Friday. Would it be possible to arrange a meeting for then? Otherwise our next meeting will not be until the afternoon of Tuesday, 16 June.

Chairman, you are not asking the people who will be discommoded. We are not the four people who will be worried by that suggestion. You are asking rural Deputies who are not here to attend on Friday.

Deputy O'Shea, the Minister and myself are rural Deputies.

Fridays are not convenient. Like other rural Deputies, I use Fridays for clinics because I am in Dublin on other days.

Monday is the only other day that the room is free. Is Monday worse than Friday?

There is a serious issue in relation to committees. It is making the processing of legislation almost impossible. This Bill was published well before Christmas. We have only had two sessions and we now have to wait until 16 June. I accept that it is a matter for the committee but it is an unsatisfactory situation in terms of processing legislation. This is the only Bill before this committee. General disquiet has been expressed in the House on this issue by all sides. The danger is that it will call into question the efficacy of legislative committees if we do not do something quickly. I would appeal for other alternatives to facilitate a meeting before 16 June if possible. This is bearing in mind the concerns about Fridays.

I have no problem with Fridays in principle.

I accept that.

It will be the bulk of the committee who will make that decision.

It seems that there is only one day in the week on which we can meet in committee. Other committees may also be meeting. This does not seem logical.

At the pace we have been going, yesterday and today when we discussed 65 amendments we could be talking about another three days, certainly two.

Where legislation is before a committee does that committee get priority in terms of accommodation?

Clerk to the Committee

Room G5 is used for Estimates and Bills. Strictly speaking the joint committees can be thrown out. We have arranged for people to come in next Tuesday and we would not be too happy if some legislative committee came along and threw that out. The only problem with June is that the Estimates must be done. Every committee has to complete its Estimates and G5 is the only room available. Thursday mornings are unsuitable because the Public Accounts Committee sits.

The Education Estimates are on 9 June.

Can the Estimates not be put back? Is that the difficulty?

Clerk to the Committee

The Estimates have to be concluded by 23 June as they have to be reported to the Dáil by that date. We can swap dates if the committee wishes.

Then we will take the Education Bill on 9 June and the Estimates on 16 June. Is that agreed?

We may need another day as well.

We will see how we get on 9 June.

There is no perfect day. It is important to get this Bill out of the way. I have clinics on both Mondays and Fridays but I would seek to get this wrapped up as quickly as possible.

Clinics are not the only issue. Rural Deputies are in Dublin from Monday night and do not get home until Thursday night. What would constitute coming in for a normal working day for a Dublin Deputy means two journeys for rural Deputies. That is a decided disadvantage. In terms of facilitating legislation I do not have a problem with Monday or Friday. As convenor I have not had a chance to confer with others.

I would only be free until 7.30 p.m. on 9 June.

If the Minister and members are available we could start at 3 p.m.

We could start at 2 p.m.

We will start at 2 p.m. on 9 June.

The Select Committee adjourned at 4.40 p.m.