Dáil Éireann - Volume 408 - 14 May, 1991

Order of Business.

The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 5 and 12. It is also proposed that No. 5 shall be decided without debate. Private Members' Business shall be No. 23.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The only matter here requiring a decision is in respect of item No. 5.

Mr. J. Bruton: In view of the fact that the Taoiseach has indicated that time will be provided tomorrow for a debate on the allegations in the “World in Action” programme, would the Government not consider the necessity of amending No. 5 so as to to ensure that that does not [900] reduce the time for the debate in question?

The Taoiseach: I suggest that it be discussed by the Whips.

Mr. J. Bruton: I am sorry, the suggestion that this matter be discussed by the Whips does not deal with the issue. The Whips will then be discussing the matter in the context of an order made by this House on the basis of the motion now before it.

The Taoiseach: The order can be varied tomorrow morning.

Mr. J. Bruton: Is the Taoiseach prepared to vary it?

The Taoiseach: We will await the outcome of the discussion between the Whips.

Mr. J. Bruton: I thought the Government were the body responsible for ordering the business of this House.

The Taoiseach: Whatever the Whips decide, we can put it in the order tomorrow morning.

Mr. J. Bruton: By majority vote?

Mr. Spring: There are two matters, Sir. I take it from the Taoiseach's previous statement that there will be a debate tomorrow irrespective of motion No. 5 on the Order Paper.

The Taoiseach: Yes.

Mr. Spring: Second, let me ask you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, if you are satisfied that the motion before us is in compliance with Standing Orders, in particular with standing Order 143.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: As far as the Chair is concerned, the motion before the House is perfectly in order. There is a precedent for such proposals.

Mr. Spring: You are aware, of course, [901] a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that Standing Order 143 does say that you can only suspend the Standing Orders for the day's sitting?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Spring should be mindful that while the Standing Order would seem to so provide, practice has it that on innumerable occasions what is purported to be served here in this proposal has been dealt with in this House.

Mr. Howlin: Can you explain that, please?

Mr. Spring: You are aware, of course, that incorrect practice does not change the Standing Order?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair is not agreeing that it is incorrect practice. The Chair is indicating to the Deputy that there are many precedents to provide for what is purported to be served and which refers here to item No. 5.

Mr. Spring: In relation to what you are saying, Sir, you are making a very poor defence for us contravening Standing Orders as they are before this House and these have legal effects, Sir, and I say to you that we should not be able to do that.

An Leas Cheann Comhairle: I would remind Deputy Spring that on 30 June 1983 in respect of the Local Government (Planning and Development) Bill, 1983, one with which I think he is familiar, which refers inter alia to the new Bord Pleanála——

Mr. Spring: On that occasion the Opposition were asleep and did not point it out. I refer to the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on the environment.


An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: You are the beneficary of the decision. Surely we cannot alter as we go along?

Tomás Mac Giolla: We are opposing [902] the proposal to take No. 5 without debate. We already have an amendment in to No. 5, that is, to delete section 2, and I want to propose that amendment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy appreciates that he is entitled to propose that amendment but he is not entitled to have any discussion on it, and the question will be put.

Tomás Mac Giolla: I merely want to propose the amendment to section 2 of Item No. 5 which states that the proceedings on the Third Stage of the Bill, if not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 15 May. I am opposing that because now we have less time than we had at the time I made this amendment. I am proposing the deletion of the guillotine.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair has indicated to Deputy Mac Giolla that he is perfectly in order in so proposing and the House will be asked to adjudicate on his amendment. The question will be put.

Mr. Howlin: In relation to the guillotine motion before the House now, we have lost another 40 minutes of debating time, and when the Government put down the motion they could not have been aware that there were 298 amendments tabled to the Bill, 163 by the Labour Party alone. In view of the number of amendments that are before us, in view of the lost time and in view of the time that will be taken out of our time tomorrow, I would ask the Government Whip whether he would withdraw the motion and allow it to be discussed again by the Whips? I put it sincerely to the Taoiseach, and the Government Chief Whip, that this Bill will be the better if we have a chance to debate the 300 amendments before the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Howlin, the Chair must take matters as [903] they appear before the Chair. I have indicated to the House what the correct procedure is now in dealing with that matter. The Chair is not responsible for any time that may have been lost in dealing with other matters. I must proceed to discharge the business as is required by Standing Orders.

Mr. J. Mitchell: We will be resisting this motion strongly. We think it is grossly wrong that the Government should seek at such short notice to put through a Bill which provides the Minister for the Environment with so much power and which he, and the Minister for Energy, clearly have misread, so much so that they have to concede some small number of amendments to put right what they said was in the Bill in the first place and which was not. The precedent being followed here is a dangerous one. It is built on the fact that by agreement from time to time Standing Orders are ignored and things are done notwithstanding Standing Orders. Sir, never should you tolerate motions which ignore Standing Orders and which have the support of only one side of the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I do not propose having a debate on this. There is no precedent for having a debate. I am going to proceed now to put the question.

Mr. McCartan: A Leas-Cheann Comhairle——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy McCartan, there is a practice which provides for——

Mr. McCartan: The debate is already in progress in the House——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is no debate and I will prove there is no debate by putting the question. The question is: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand.”

[904] (Interruptions.)

Mr. McCartan: Sir, you are ahead of yourself. If you would take a little time and take some advice from your officials you might find out where you are. I wish to make a brief comment to what I understand has to be yet put to the House, that we take item No. 5 without debate. On that proposition I wish simply to make from The Workers' Party point of view two brief points. First, we are opposed to it being taken without debate on the proposition that we are here without our leader, Proinsias De Rossa, by reason of the vote of this House on Thursday to expel him.


Mr. McCartan: He is in his office and available to be here.


An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: We would all accept that if there is any hope of doing any business no accolade can be given to anybody who succeeds in raising his voice to a higher level than the other. Deputy McCartan, I am asking you now to agree with the Chair while we get on with the business and I put the question, as is required of me, on item No. 5. The question is: “That item No. 5 be taken without debate.”

Mr. McCartan: As you allowed me to start I will make my second point as Whip of The Workers' Party. As long as Deputy De Rossa remains outside this Chamber while there is a vote in this House we do not intend to co-operate with the efforts of the Government to push these matters through.


Question put: “That item No. 5 be taken without debate.”

[905][906] The Dáil divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 66.

Ahern, Bertie.

Ahern, Dermot.

Ahern, Michael.

Andrews, David.

Barrett, Michael.

Brady, Gerard.

Brady, Vincent.

Brennan, Mattie.

Brennan, Séamus.

Briscoe, Ben.

Browne, John (Wexford).

Burke, Raphael P.

Callely, Ivor.

Clohessy, Peadar.

Connolly, Ger.

Coughlan, Mary Theresa.

Cowen, Brian.

Cullimore, Séamus.

Daly, Brendan.

Davern, Noel.

Dennehy, John.

de Valera, Síle.

Ellis, John.

Fahey, Jackie.

Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.

Fitzpatrick, Dermot.

Flood, Chris.

Flynn, Pádraig.

Gallagher, Pat the Cope.

Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.

Harney, Mary.

Haughey, Charles J.

Hillery, Brian.

Hilliard, Colm.

Hyland, Liam.

Jacob, Joe.

Kelly, Laurence.

Kenneally, Brendan.

Kirk, Séamus.

Kitt, Michael P.

Kitt, Tom.

Lawlor, Liam.

Lenihan, Brian.

Leonard, Jimmy.

Lyons, Denis.

Martin, Micheál.

McDaid, Jim.

McEllistrim, Tom.

Molloy, Robert.

Nolan, M.J.

Noonan, Michael J.

(Limerick West).

O'Connell, John.

O'Dea, Willie.

O'Donoghue, John.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

O'Kennedy, Michael.

O'Leary, John.

O'Malley, Desmond J.

O'Toole, Martin Joe.

Power, Seán.

Reynolds, Albert.

Roche, Dick.

Smith, Michael.

Stafford, John.

Treacy, Noel.

Tunney, Jim.

Wallace, Dan.

Wallace, Mary.

Wilson, John P.

Woods, Michael.

Wyse, Pearse.


Ahearn, Therese.

Allen, Bernard.

Barrett, Seán.

Bell, Michael.

Belton, Louis J.

Bradford, Paul.

Bruton, John.

Bruton, Richard.

Byrne, Eric.

Connaughton, Paul.

Connor, John.

Cosgrave, Michael Joe.

Creed, Michael.

Currie, Austin.

D'Arcy, Michael.

Deasy, Austin.

Deenihan, Jimmy.

Doyle, Joe.

Dukes, Alan.

Durkan, Bernard.

Enright, Thomas W.

Farrelly, John V.

[907]Mac Giolla, Tomás.

McGrath, Paul.

Mitchell, Gay.

Mitchell, Jim.

O'Keeffe, Jim.

O'Shea, Brain.

O'Sullivan, Gerry.

O'Sullivan, Toddy.

Owen, Nora.

Pattison, Séamus.

Quinn, Ruairí.

Fennell, Nuala.

Finucane, Michael.

Flaherty, Mary.

Flanagan, Charles.

Foxe, Tom.

Garland, Roger.

Gilmore, Eamon.

Gregory, Tony.

Harte, Paddy.

Higgins, Jim

Higgins, Michael D.

Hogan, Philip.

Howlin, Brendan.

Kavanagh, Liam.

Kemmy, Jim.

Kenny, Enda.

Lee, Pat.

Lowry, Michael.

McCartan, Pat.

McCormack, Pádraic.

McGahon, Brendan.

McGinley, Dinny.

[908]Rabbitte, Pat.

Reynolds, Gerry.

Ryan, Seán.

Shatter, Alan.

Sherlock, Joe.

Spring, Dick.

Stagg, Emmet.

Taylor, Mervyn.

Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.

Timmins, Godfrey.

Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies V. Brady and Clohessy; Níl, Deputies Flanagan and Howlin.

Question declared carried.