Dáil Éireann - Volume 401 - 29 August, 1990

Request to move Adjournment of Dáil under Standing Order 30.

An Ceann Comhairle: I have received notice from Deputy Alan Dukes of his intention to request leave to move the Adjournment of the Dáil under Standing Order 30. Deputy Dukes will now please state the matter.

Mr. Dukes: The matter in question is to propose that we adjourn the Dáil to debate a motion on the situation in the Middle East, a motion, Sir, which sets out a series of things which I believe — and which I think the House will agree this Government and this House should do — so that we can have a clear statement from this House as to where we stand and what the requirements of the present situation are. The motion is as follows:

That Dáil Éireann

— condemns the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait;

—condemns the Iraqi Government's refusal, against all principles of international law and practice, to allow all Irish citizens and other non-nationals to leave Iraq and Kuwait;

— affirms its full support for the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664 and 665, and for the common EC position;

[2294] —calls on the Government, as a first step, to summon the Iraqi Ambassador to inform him of the Irish people's abhorrence of the Iraqi Government's illegal action and to demand its immediate reversal;

—calls on the Government to provide a communications centre with freephone facilities for Irish families with relatives in Iraq and Kuwait;

—fully supports the intention of the UN Secretary-General, in his forthcoming meeting with the Iraqi Foreign Minister to stress the United Nations demand that all Irish citizens and other non-nationals in Iraq and Kuwait be restored to full freedom and calls on all UN Member States to support his initiative for regional peace;

—calls on the Government to initiate the necessary domestic contingency plans in relation to oil reserves and energy use priorities to prepare for the possibility of hostilities in the gulf, and

— calls on the Government immediately to set up an Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee, to provide a permanents forum for the monitoring of this and other foreign policy issues.

It may be, Sir, that you intend to tell me that you do not want to allow that motion on the grounds that it anticipates a debate which we will have in this House. The reason I have made that proposal is that I do not believe it is the proper procedure of this House to go on today by means only of statements. I endeavoured last evening to get agreement on a motion largely along those lines which would focus our debate and which would say clearly to people here and elsewhere what we want to do in this situation.

An Cheann Comhairle: I have given latitude but the Deputy is embarking on a long speech.

Mr. Dukes: I very much regret the fact that the Government saw fit to try to foist [2295] upon us a bland anodyne motion which says nothing about our feelings or about what we intend to do. My feelings are that a motion of this kind would be far more suited to the needs of our own situation, our own citizens and the international situation that faces us.

The Taoiseach: It may be relevant to the decision which you are about to take, a Cheann Comhairle, for me to say that I am deeply disappointed at this proposal by Deputy Dukes, because of the seriousness of the situation, the situation in which a number of our citizens find themselves in the Middle East and because of the anxiety of a very large number of their relatives here in Ireland.

I was anxious that today's proceedings should be as calm, as constructive, as responsible as possible and that to the greatest possible extent we could have agreement on our approach to this very important national issue. For that purpose I asked the leaders of the parties to meet me last Monday. At that meeting we came to an agreement as to the form our proceedings here today should take, particularly that there should be no vote and that we should all endeavour to be as helpful and constructive as we could. On the suggestion of Deputy De Rossa in particular, it was considered that we might try to agree a resolution which we could all adopt unanimously and without a vote. I have to suggest — and I regret having to do so — that this proposal now by Deputy Dukes is in breach of the agreement reached by the party leaders.

Mr. Dukes: A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Dukes made a long statement——

Mr. Dukes: If the result of agreement means sweeping every issue under the carpet I will not have it because it is not worth a damn.

An Ceann Comhairle: I have considered Deputy Dukes's request carefully and do not consider that the matter is [2296] one contemplated by the Standing Order. Business with a special sitting of this kind is confined to the matter set out in the summons which issues to Members on foot of and in accordance with the Taoiseach's request.

Mr. Dukes: This business is perfectly in keeping with that.

An Ceann Comhairle: It is a matter for the Government to decide the most appropriate way in which to consider the business before us today and the matters referred to by Deputy Dukes can, of course, be raised in the course of the statements under Standing Order 41 which is about to commence shortly. I will now ask the Taoiseach to announce the Order of Business.