Dáil Éireann - Volume 346 - 22 November, 1983

Order of Business.

An Taoiseach: It is proposed to take——

Mr. Tunney: On a genuine point of order——

An Taoiseach: ——Nos. 1, 9 and 10. By agreement, the proceedings will be interrupted at 5 p.m. to take No. 10. Also by agreement, there will be no Private Members' Business this week. The interruption of business provided for on the Standing Order 20 will take place at 7 p.m. today and the Dáil will adjourn until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 24 November 1983.

Mr. Haughey: On the Order of Business, I would like to draw the attention of the Taoiseach to the fact that the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Deputy Jim Mitchell, made a very important statement on a satellite broadcast yesterday outside this House——

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Hear, hear.

Mr. Haughey: ——when we have on our Order of Business today legislation dealing with satellite communication and on Thursday we shall have a motion dealing with Euro-telecommunications. Would he try to ensure that the dignity and status of this House is upheld by Ministers making important statements of this kind in the House rather than outside?

An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Haughey: I suggest that it does.

An Ceann Comhairle: It does not arise on the Order of Business, as operated by this Chair and by my predecessors.

Mr. Haughey: We have on our Order of Business today the legislation which [158] would have provided an excellent vehicle for the Minister to make this statement in the House or, if not today, on Thursday morning next. He chose instead to make it outside.

Mr. Tunney: On a point of order, I was endeavouring before the Order of Business was announced to get the Chair's advice genuinely on a matter. I had hoped to raise on the Adjournment the question of the imprisonment of Cáit, Bean Uí Cadhaighn in Mountjoy. I understand from Standing Orders that there is a limit on the time — an order which covers my advising the Chair of my intention or request to raise such a matter. Could I ask the Chair to indicate now to me whether I am in order in asking to raise on the Adjournment the question of the wrongful and appalling imprisonment of Cáit Bean Uí Cadhaighn?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is certainly in order in raising it and the Chair will communicate with him.

Mr. Tunney: Is the Chair not aware——

An Ceann Comhairle: I did not say that it was in order for the Adjournment. I said that the Deputy is in order in raising it.

Mr. Tunney: The time at which I raise it will not affect my request?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair did not say so. The Chair will take into consideration all relevant matters and will communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: On the Order of Business, may I ask the Taoiseach, with regard to the industrial relations discussion document issued by the Minister for Labour to the Federated Union of Employers and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, for which I presume discussion had been arranged, if it is the Government's intention to arrange to have this document discussed in the House?

[159] The Taoiseach: I have received no request from the Whips to that effect. On the question of when it would be most appropriate for discussion of the subject, that is a matter which will need careful consideration.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: I asked if it was the Government's intention to have this document discussed in the House.

An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: On a point of order, I suggest that it arises on the Order of Business. It indicates a possible option for the introduction of legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has decided that it does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. V. Brady: Due to the widespread concern and confusion regarding the Clondalkin Paper Mills, we request that today's business should include a statement from the Minister clarifying the situation, particularly in relation to the Minister's recent statement——

An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise.

Mr. V. Brady: ——that the State has something like £9 million tied up there. This is very confusing.

An Ceann Comhairle: It may be confusing but it does not arise here.

Mr. V. Brady: As the Minister is absent at the moment, will the Taoiseach permit his Minister to make a statement in the House on this very confusing situation?

Mr. Flynn: On a point of order, I sought today to raise a matter of the plight of——

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: There is no deal. The Government have been bluffing again.

[160] An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Fitzgerald should not interrupt Deputy Flynn.

Mr. Flynn: ——the plight of the 9,000 depositors of the Private Motorists' Provident Society——

An Ceann Comhairle: I am surprised that Deputy Flynn, who is usually so courteous in this House, bringing the subject up in such a disorderly manner.

Mr. Flynn: I would like to raise the matter, if I may.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy may not.

Mr. Flynn: It is extraordinary that the Government will not act responsibly in this important matter. What we were treated to——

An Ceann Comhairle: The Government do not come into this. The Chair rules.

Mr. Flynn: What we were treated to today——

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy must resume his seat. I call on Deputy Haughey.

Mr. Flynn: The Minister sought to deflect the House by making derogatory remarks about the Fíanna Fáil Party which were totally untrue. He should be asked to withdraw them.

Mr. Haughey: In the ordinary course of events, we would be entitled to an hour and half, between 7 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. and we did seek to have this time made available so that the Minister for Industry and Energy could make a statement on the Clondalkin arrangements. I suggest to the Taoiseach that there is a need for a statement on this matter. This House and the people outside it are not clear what is the position. I can understand if the Taoiseach says to us that at this stage negotiations are still under way [161] and he does not wish to say anything that might prejudice them. On the other hand, I suggest that it is a matter of very grave public importance and some sort of statement should be made to the House by the Minister giving us whatever information is safe to give us at this stage.

The Taoiseach: The matter was debated in the House last week and subsequently a public statement was made by the Government. I understand a letter has gone from the Minister for Industry and Energy to the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the matters he has raised.

Mr. Haughey: A letter went to Deputy Albert Reynolds, but it does not satisfy us in any way.

The Taoiseach: I understand that all relevant information has gone to the Deputy.

Mr. Haughey: The letter went to Deputy Albert Reynolds.

Mr. J. Bruton: He is the party spokesman for Fianna Fáil.

Mr. Haughey: There is nothing in that letter.

The Taoiseach: I understand that the letter gave all relevant information and there does not seem to be any purpose in holding a further debate on the subject at this stage.