Dáil Éireann - Volume 374 - 28 October, 1987

Order of Business.

The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 7, 8, 17, 12, 18 and 1. Private Members' Business will be No. 27.

Mr. Dukes: Could the Taoiseach tell me if any provision has been made for consultation at European Community level in relation to the consequences of recent events on stock markets and whether any provision has been made at European Community level for an examination of the possible implications of these changes on money markets?

The Taoiseach: No formal meetings have been arranged but there are consultations of an informal nature going on all the time.

Mr. Dukes: Would the Taoiseach not consider that the matter is so serious at this stage as to warrant some formal consultations so that at least financial operators and market operators in the Community can know that the Governments of the Community are taking an interest in the course of events?

The Taoiseach: Yes, I will consider that.

Mr. Spring: Will the Taoiseach say if [1426] the statements emanating from the Government Press Secretary yesterday accurately reflect the views of the Government in relation to the conduct of the British Ambassador in Dublin and, if they do, would the Taoiseach inform the House if official complaints have been made to the British regarding this?

An Ceann Comhairle: This does not arise on the Order of Business. The Deputy may pursue that matter through the normal means.

Mr. Spring: The Government seem to be horrified.

Mr. Barry: Will the Taoiseach say if he finds something offensive in his behaviour? I do not find anything offensive about his behaviour. The British Ambassador asked to see me to find out——

An Ceann Comhairle: This does not arise now. Deputies will have to find another time to discuss this matter.

Mr. Barry: He issued this statement as a diversionary tactic to take away——

An Ceann Comhairle: This is not in order now.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: I cannot allow this abuse of the Order of Business.

Mr. Spring: I would like to raise this matter on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: I will communicate with the Deputy in respect of that matter.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. S. Barrett: Would the Taoiseach arrange with the Minister for Justice to make time available today for a statement on the unfortunate happenings in Midleton on Monday last involving the escape of the kidnappers of John [1427] O'Grady? I say that with all sincerity. I believe there is a need for the House to clarify what exactly went on. I believe a statement from the Minister would be the best way of achieving this.

The Taoiseach: I certainly think it is worth considering. I will consider what way some information can be given to the House on the matter.

Mr. Stagg: Will the Taoiseach now inform the House of the Government's intention in regard to bringing forward to the House for ratification the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons?

An Ceann Comhairle: This does not arise now.

Mr. Stagg: This convention was signed by the Government and is due for ratification by this House so it should arise on the Order of Business. With respect, the Taoiseach is prepared to answer this.

An Ceann Comhairle: If the Taoiseach is prepared to answer it that is all right.

The Taoiseach: The Deputy has already been informed of the position with great courtesy by my office.

Mr. Stagg: I have not been informed.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is continually raising this matter.

Mr. Stagg: Yes, because I consider the House should be informed about it and the Taoiseach's Department were not in a position to answer the question about when it will be brought forward to this House for ratification. That is a matter for the House, not for the Taoiseach's Department and it is a matter for the Taoiseach to answer.

Mr. Barry: Could I clarify if the Taoiseach is going to call in the British Ambassador?

[1428] An Ceann Comhairle: I will not allow this matter to be canvassed in the House just now.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: I will not permit it.

Mr. J. Bruton: Will the Taoiseach say when will the legislation to amalgamate the functions of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards and the National Board of Science and Technology be brought before the House? Would he agree that there is some urgency in the matter in the sense that the staff of both sides are, to some degree at least, operating in limbo at present as the Government's intentions do not correspond with the statute under which they are operating?

The Taoiseach: The legislation will be brought forward as soon as possible. I accept the Deputy's argument that it is a matter of urgency and the legislation will be brought before the House at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. J. Bruton: I do not want to get into an argument with the Taoiseach in parsing the meaning of “as soon as possible” but could the Taoiseach be a little more specific and indicate if the legislation will appear before Christmas and be passed by the House before Christmas?

The Taoiseach: We certainly hope to introduce it in this session.

Mr. Birmingham: Could the Taoiseach say when the Local Radio Bill will be before the House and which member of his Government will have charge of the Bill when it comes before the House because there seems to have been some confusion in this matter over the weekend?

(Interruptions.)

[1429] An Ceann Comhairle: A question has been asked. Let us listen to the reply.

The Taoiseach: This is very necessary legislation which is essential if an unsatisfactory situation which we inherited from our predecessors is to be cleared up and it will be brought before the House at the earliest possible moment by the Minister for Energy and Communications. I find it slightly ironically amusing that Deputy George Birmingham would suggest that there is any doubt about who is responsible for this legislation in view of its chequered history between his party and the Labour Party.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: I am calling Deputy Desmond O'Malley.

Mr. D. O'Malley: May I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his Department issued a statement that came from the Government Press Secretary last night——

An Ceann Comhairle: This is a matter I have ruled out of order.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Lenihan): I do not know what the Deputy is talking about.

Mr. Barry: If the Head of Government finds fault with the representative of another Government in this country, how does this House discuss the matter?

An Ceann Comhairle: There are various ways and means open to the Deputy.

Mr. Barry: You have ruled it out of order to discuss——

An Ceann Comhairle: It is not in order now. I am calling Deputy Martin Cullen.

Mr. Barry: I think the quicker we get this matter cleared up the better.

Mr. Cullen: May I ask the Taoiseach if any formal contact has been made with [1430] either the Russian or American Embassies offering this country as a suitable location for a possible summit meeting between President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy should put down a question on that subject.

Mr. Cullen: In view of the recent statements by the Taoiseach——

An Ceann Comhairle: I am calling Deputy Stagg.

Mr. Stagg: May I seek your guidance as to how I might extract from the Government information about when they intend to bring forward——

An Ceann Comhairle: My office will be as helpful as possible.

Mr. Farrelly: Does the Taoiseach intend to bring in legislation dealing with the merger of AFT and ACOT and, if so, when?

The Taoiseach: That legislation is under active consideration at the moment and will be brought forward.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: Is it still the Government's intention to proceed with legislation in relation to An Bord Glas and, if so, when?

The Taoiseach: It is intended to proceed to establish that board and to give it a statutory basis. As the Deputy is aware, the board have a non-statutory informal basis at present and are doing excellent work and at the earliest possible moment they will be given full statutory authority.

Mr. J. O'Keeffe: When will we get a report on their work?

The Taoiseach: When the legislation is introduced to establish this board statutorily, the Deputy will have a very constructive input into that legislation.

[1431] Mr. J. O'Keeffe: I have no doubt about that.

Miss Flaherty: Would the Minister for Health be willing to make a statement on reports of a massive increase in the incidence of congenital abnormalities in four Dublin maternity hospitals?

An Ceann Comhairle: There are obvious ways and means open to the Deputy to raise that matter rather than on the Order of Business.

Miss Flaherty: May I raise it on the Adjournment?

Mr. Shatter: When is it intended to publish the Children (Care and Protection) Bill which was promised in the last Dáil session after the previous Government's Bill was withdrawn? It was promised that it would be published before the session commenced but it still has not appeared. This is a Bill which has some urgency attached to it.

The Taoiseach: I hope to bring it forward during this session.

Mr. P. O'Malley: May I raise on the Adjournment the payment of fees by the Government to private consultants and the terms under which they are engaged?

An Ceann Comhairle: I will communicate with the Deputy.