Dáil Éireann - Volume 282 - 19 June, 1975

Business of Dáil.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Mr. Kelly): May I intervene in regard to the business of the House? I am told that shortly after I announced that there would be no sitting tomorrow, an Opposition Deputy, Deputy Molloy, alleged that the reason for that was that the Government had proposed an unacceptable bargain in regard to tomorrow's sitting. I want to repudiate that suggestion utterly. It is an unworthy suggestion and in justice to the Deputy, I can only assume that he made it in total ignorance of the negotiations which have gone on for a good deal of the [1279] day between the Opposition Whips and myself. One of the Opposition Deputies was present and no doubt will confirm that the absence of business tomorrow is in no sense due to any suggestion of that kind on the Government's part. I undertook that under no conditions would the reasons for the absence of business tomorrow be a point of contention across the floor. It has been made so by Deputy Molloy and Deputy Cunningham and I have refrained from telling the entire story. I expect the support of the responsible members of the Opposition in keeping it like that, rather than making it a point of opprobrium on the Government.

Mr. Browne: So long as the Parliamentary Secretary does not allege that we are responsible for having no business tomorrow, I do not mind. I do not know what Deputy Molloy may have said. He is here and can say what he said or did not say, but as far as tomorrow is concerned, we were anxious to proceed with some of the Bills. The Parliamentary Secretary for various reasons did not find it possible and that is fair enough.

Mr. Kelly: I am sorry to have to fight across the floor of the House with Deputy Browne but what the Deputy has just said, if taken at its face value, will not convey a true picture of the situation which was planned for tomorrow. The situation planned was that I promised the Opposition Whip I would not make it into a topic of debate across the floor of the House because it represents on their part or in my view represented a difficulty on their side which I did not wish to exploit. I still do not wish to do so, and I intend to say no more, but I want to repudiate any suggestion that the departure from the order made last week is in any sense due to an unwillingness on the part of the Government to get on with the business. If the business has been dislocated in any respect it is not the fault of the Government and I will not say any more about it than that. If I am provoked into doing so I may have to.

Mr. Browne: It is certainly not [1280] through any fault of the Opposition. There may be mutual difficulties so far as certain things are concerned but if the Parliamentary Secretary was in a position to order business for tomorrow we would ensure our people would be here. We have already told him that.

Mr. Kelly: The Deputy knows the reason I am in difficulty about ordering business is a consequence of difficulties which have arisen on his side. They would not have arisen but for the willingness on our side to make certain concessions to them. I do not want to make this into a mystery of seven seas or 40 boxes, but it is absolutely disgraceful that Deputies such as Deputy Cunningham and Deputy Molloy, who know nothing about these negotiations, come in here and make allegations which are very near to provoking me into telling the whole story.

Mr. Molloy: The Parliamentary Secretary has made a statement which he attributes to having been made by me——

Mr. Kelly: In total ignorance——

Mr. Molloy: ——when he was not present in the House. He is not aware of the statement I made. The statement he attributes to me was not made by me. The whole affair is a bottle of smoke. In fact, I did not know the House was not sitting tomorrow until I left the Dáil and went to the Whip's office.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): The Official Report will disclose what occurred.

Mr. Kelly: My relations with the Opposition Whips are too valuable to every Member on both sides of the House to be disturbed by going into this matter any further. I wish that Deputies who know nothing about the business of the House would keep their noses out of it.

Mr. Molloy: In all decency the Parliamentary Secretary should withdraw the statement where he attributed another statement to me.

[1281] Mr. White: Let it lie.

Mr. Molloy: I did not bring up the matter.

Mr. Kelly: I was told by a Deputy on my side of the House, whom I have every reason to respect and believe, that shortly after my intervention an hour ago Deputy Molloy said the reason the House was not sitting tomorrow was that the Government had proposed an unacceptable bargain to the Opposition in regard to the conduct of business. If Deputy Molloy did not say that it was said by another Opposition Deputy. If Deputy Molloy did not say it, of course I am sorry to have used his name. I must assume I was wrongly informed. However, it was certainly said by somebody on the Opposition side and it is totally wrong.

Mr. P. Belton: Did Deputy Molloy say it, yes or no?

Mr. Browne: The Deputy should not enter into it. It is bad enough that the Parliamentary Secretary is involved in it.

Mr. P. Belton: Let Deputy Molloy answer. He will not admit what he said.

Mr. Browne: I suggest the Parliamentary Secretary and ourselves have our little battles outside the House——

Mr. Kelly: I completely agree with that. Other people should stay out of it.

Mr. Browne: The Parliamentary Secretary should not worry about what anyone says——

Mr. Kelly: It is what the other fellow says behind one's back that gets the headlines.

Mr. Browne: The Parliamentary Secretary should not worry. There will not be a word about it in 20 years' time.

Mr. Kelly: It is tomorrow morning I am worried about.

[1282] Mr. Browne: The Press would not have worried about it if we had not dragged it up. Now we will get the headlines but I suppose it is no harm to get the headlines once in a while.