Dáil Éireann - Volume 415 - 18 February, 1992

Order of Business.

The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Items Nos. 4, 16, 5, 6 and 17.

It is also proposed that Statements on yesterday's High Court ruling on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution shall be made now under Standing Order 41 and that, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the speech of each Member called on shall be confined to ten minutes.

[2197] Private Members' Business shall be Item No. 37, motion No. 46.

An Ceann Comhairle: I must now inquire whether the proposals for dealing with the proposed Statements are agreed?

Mr. J. Bruton: I am not happy with that proposal because it does not allow for a reply by the Government speaker to points made by other Members. May I ask whether the Government would agree, in the exceptional and serious case with which we are now dealing, that provision be made, by agreement in the House now, to allow the Government speaker, at the end of the discussion, to reply to such points warranting reply as may be made by other speakers?

Mrs. Fennell: A Cheann Comhairle——

An Ceann Comhairle: It is unusual for ordinary Deputies to intervene at this stage. I will call Deputy De Rossa.

Mr. J. Bruton: A Cheann Comhairle, this is not on the Order of Business; this is a question of agreeing——

Mr. McCartan: A Cheann Comhairle, you had called Deputy De Rossa.

Mr. J. Bruton: This is simply in regard to the proposed Order of Business. I am asking the Taoiseach whether he would agree to allow a reply by the Government speaker at the end of those Statements. If that is agreed I will have no problem agreeing to this proposal.

Proinsias De Rossa: A Cheann Comhairle, before the Taoiseach replies, I want to indicate that I wish to raise a matter in relation to the same issue. When the initial proposal was made at the Whips' meeting I understood the Taoiseach would take some minutes to reply to the Statements. Subsequently we were told that that would not be the case because it would constitute a breach of precedent. In response to that we said we would [2198] agree to the current proposal if the Taoiseach would agree to have a general debate of a number of hours duration so that Members other than party spokespersons, would be afforded an opportunity to contribute. I imagine virtually every Deputy would have something to say on this issue. We were then informed that that course of action would not be possible either.

Therefore, before agreeing to this proposal, I ask the Taoiseach to allow a general debate some time soon on this issue because ten minute statements on the part of each party in the House is not an adequate way in which to deal with what is a very fundamental constitutional issue.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has made his point adequately.

The Taoiseach: A Cheann Comhairle, I am making——

Mrs. Fennell: A Cheann Comhairle, on a point of order, I accept I am only an ordinary Deputy but I happen to be a woman ordinary Deputy. Therefore, I want to make a protest about the brevity of these proposed Statements which does not allow any woman or indeed fair-minded man in this House who wants to contribute to speak about this issue. I contend we should have a broader debate, not restricted to a mere ten minutes on the part of each Member conributing.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair merely wished to adhere to the normal practice at this time.

Mrs. Barnes: On an issue such as this I should like to join my colleague, Deputy Fennell, in making the point that women should be allowed participate in this debate.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. J. Bruton: I would be more than [2199] happy to allow an unlimited debate. This is not our proposal.

(Interruptions.)

[2200] The Taoiseach: I am allowing these Statements to take place in accordance with long-standing practice and precedents of this House.

Question put: “That the proposals for dealing with Statements are hereby agreed to”.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 74; Níl, 47.

Ahern, Bertie.

Ahern, Dermot.

Ahern, Michael.

Andrews, David.

Aylward, Liam.

Barrett, Michael.

Brady, Gerard.

Brady, Vincent.

Brennan, Mattie.

Brennan, Séamus.

Briscoe, Ben.

Browne, John (Wexford).

Burke, Raphael P.

Calleary, Seán.

Callely, Ivor.

Collins, Gerard.

Connolly, Ger.

Cowen, Brian.

Cullimore, Séamus.

Daly, Brendan.

Davern, Noel.

Dempsey, Noel.

Dennehy, John.

de Valera, Síle.

Ellis, John.

Fahey, Frank.

Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.

Fitzpatrick, Dermot.

Flood, Chris.

Flynn, Pádraig.

Gallagher, Pat the Cope.

Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.

Harney, Mary.

Haughey, Charles J.

Hillery, Brian.

Hyland, Liam.

Kelly, Laurence.

Kenneally, Brendan.

Kirk, Séamus.

Kitt, Michael P.

Kitt, Tom.

Lawlor, Liam.

Lenihan, Brian.

Leonard, Jimmy.

Leyden, Terry.

Lyons, Denis.

Martin, Micheál.

McCreevy, Charlie.

McDaid, Jim.

McEllistrim, Tom.

Morley, P.J.

Nolan, M.J.

Noonan, Michael J.

(Limerick West).

O'Connell, John.

O'Dea, Willie.

O'Donoghue, John.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

O'Malley, Desmond J.

O'Rourke, Mary.

O'Toole, Martin Joe.

Power, Seán.

Quill, Máirín.

Reynolds, Albert.

Roche, Dick.

Smith, Michael.

Stafford, John.

Treacy, Noel.

Tunney, Jim.

Wallace, Dan.

Wallace, Mary.

Walsh, Joe.

Wilson, John P.

Woods, Michael.

Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

Barnes, Monica.

Barrett, Seán.

Belton, Louis J.

Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).

Bruton, John.

Bruton, Richard.

Byrne, Eric.

Carey, Donal.

Connor, John.

Cosgrave, Michael Joe.

Cotter, Bill.

Creed, Michael.

[2201]FitzGerald, Garret.

Flanagan, Charles.

Foxe, Tom.

Gilmore, Eamon.

Gregory, Tony.

Higgins, Jim.

Hogan, Philip.

Lee, Pat.

McCartan, Pat.

Mac Giolla, Tomás.

McGrath, Paul.

Mitchell, Gay.

Currie, Austin.

D'Arcy, Michael.

Deasy, Austin.

Deenihan, Jimmy.

De Rossa, Proinsias.

Doyle, Joe.

Dukes, Alan.

Durkan, Bernard.

Enright, Thomas W.

Farrelly, John V.

Fennell, Nuala.

Finucane, Michael.

[2202]Mitchell, Jim.

Nealon, Ted.

Noonan, Michael.

(Limerick East).

O'Keeffe, Jim.

Owen, Nora.

Rabbitte, Pat.

Shatter, Alan.

Sheehan, Patrick J.

Sherlock, Joe.

Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.

Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Dempsey and Wyse; Níl, Deputies Byrne and McCartan.

Question declared carried.

Proinsias De Rossa: May I ask the Taoiseach if he will allow a general debate in the House on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution?

An Ceann Comhairle: We have had that matter before, Deputy.

Proinsias De Rossa: The Taoiseach denied his willingness to do so. I think this is an issue——

An Ceann Comhairle: That is not the fault of the Chair.

Proinsias De Rossa: ——which requires a thorough debate in this House. I am simply asking the Taoiseach if he will indicate his willingness to have such a debate so that people in this House, other than people spokespersons or Leaders, will have an opportunity to express their views.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy put that question earlier; clearly, we are having repetition.

Mr. McCartan: In regard to the promise contained in the Joint Programme for Government under the heading “Extradition”, may I ask the Taoiseach when the legislation to introduce the interim measure, which has been promised since last October, will be introduced and brought before the House?

The Taoiseach: That matter is under consideration in the relevant Department at present.

Mrs. Fennell: Like Deputy De Rossa, I would like once again to make the point that we should not be restricted to a 20 minute debate in this House on this issue given that it is a topic for discussion in every pub, club and home in the country

An Ceann Comhairle: The House has decided on this matter.

Mrs. Fennell: It is unacceptable that we have just 20 minutes; Members are being silenced

An Ceann Comhairle: The House has decided on the matter. If there is nothing further on the Order of Business, I will call the Taoiseach to make the statement.

The Taoiseach: For the record, the method by which the statements would be dealt with was agreed by the party whips prior to coming into the House.

Mr. J. Bruton: No, we did not. The Labour Party agreed.

Mr. Shatter: We did not agree.

Mr. Noonan (Limerick East): Man or mouse?

Mr. Quinn: You did not agree to the amendment.

Mr. Flanagan: This is a great start to open Government.

[2203] Mrs. Barnes: A higher proportion of your party voted with the Fianna Fáil Party.

(Interruptions.)

The Taoiseach: If the party opposite want to change their minds after reaching agreement that is their business.