Dáil Éireann - Volume 416 - 28 February, 1992

Order of Business.

The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 8 and 9.

Mr. J. Mitchell: I welcome the Taoiseach back to the Irish mainland. He is very welcome. I hope his discussions in London went better than his interview on Sky Television. May I ask the Taoiseach in relation to the Supreme Court ruling if it is his intention, before a debate takes place in the Dáil on that ruling when it is available, to have further discussions with party Leaders?

An Ceann Comhairle: Strictly speaking that is not in order now. Let us abide by the rules governing the Order of Business.

Mr. J. Mitchell: I accept that, strictly speaking, you are quite right, but you will appreciate that this is a discussion without precedent. The scope you permitted the House to have on this issue helped unravel it and to lead to the happier conclusion that was arrived at last week. It would be in the interests of everybody if, before there is a debate in the House, there would be further discussion between party Leaders. Will the Taoiseach agree to such a discussion?

[978] Proinsias De Rossa: In relation to what Deputy Mitchell said, it would be useful to have a meeting with party Leaders——

An Ceann Comhairle: I have ruled on that matter, Deputy.

Proinsias De Rossa: I am simply making the point, a Cheann Comhairle, that it would be useful. Can the Taoiseach indicate the day next week when he intends to make a statement to the House arising from his meeting with Mr. Major?

An Ceann Comhairle: In respect of that matter, Deputy, I understand there are questions tabled to the Taoiseach on the Order Paper for next week.

Proinsias De Rossa: I appreciate that, but I understood from the Taoiseach——

An Ceann Comhairle: We ought not to anticipate these questions now.

Proinsias De Rossa: I understood from the Taoiseach earlier this week that he intended to make a statement to the House. I want to know on what day of the week that will be made.

An Ceann Comhairle: What day?

The Taoiseach: I did not say I would be making a statement to the House. I said that following meetings such as this it is normal that I would take questions. As the Chair said, there are a number of questions down to me next week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Yes, we ought not to anticipate those.

Mr. Shatter: It is more appropriate that the Taoiseach make statements to the House rather than on British television. This House should be treated with the courtesy of such a statement.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy seems to be reflecting upon the Chair. The Chair merely carries out the orders. [979] rules and precedents of this House in respect of these matters.

Mr. Shatter: I said nothing about the Chair. You are paranoid every time I stand up that I am about to say something about the Chair. Perhaps you are anticipating my next remark. I welcome the fact that my good friend and my occasional protagonist, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, was allowed last night to raise a very important matter on the Adjournment. I welcome the indication by the Minister for Justice that the Criminal Evidence Bill will resolve the problem that arose from a recent incest case. Could I ask you, Sir the reason I and my colleague, Deputy Deasy, were refused permission to raise that matter either by way of a Private Notice Question or by way of an Adjournment debate on two consecutive days this week?

An Ceann Comhairle: Yes, my office will be very pleased to explain that matter to you. It may not be discussed here now.

Mr. Shatter: It was explained on the basis that it was a matter for the responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecutions. It seems you changed your ruling yesterday.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is using the occasion once again to attack the Chair.

Mr. Shatter: I am not trying to attack the Chair. It is important that each Member of this House is treated equally. I welcome the fact that this matter was dealt with yesterday. I just fail to understand why I and my colleague. Deputy Deasy, were refused permission to raise it on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Shatter may not show such disdain for the Chair. Even when I am standing ruling he persists in challenging the Chair.

Mr. Shatter: I am merely seeking an explanation.

[980] An Ceann Comhairle: I have told the Deputy that my office will be glad to explain the matter to him. It may not be raised here now. The Chair may not be challenged in such a way.

Mr. Shatter: I hope I get a satisfactory explanation.

An Ceann Comhairle: There are good and cogent reasons, Deputy.