Dáil Éireann - Volume 418 - 08 April, 1992

Order of Business.

The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take Nos. 8, 5 and 11, and that No. 12, if not previously taken, shall be taken at 8.30 p.m. It is also proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that (1) business shall be interrupted at 10.30 p.m. and (2) No. 8 and the motion for leave to introduce No. 5 shall be decided without debate. Private Members' Business will be No. 21 and shall be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. tonight.

[1003] An Ceann Comhairle: Is the proposal that business shall be interrupted at 10.30 p.m. tonight agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal that No. 8 and the motion for leave to introduce No. 5——

Mr. J. Bruton: On a point of order——

An Ceann Comhairle: Would the Deputy please allow me to complete my sentence as I am dealing with the Order of Business? Is it agreed that No. 8 and the motion for leave to introduce No. 5 shall be decided without debate?

Mr. J. Bruton: I was hoping that you might put those two questions separately — that was my point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Which questions, Deputy?

Mr. J. Bruton: The questions in regard to No. 8 and No. 5. I should say, Sir, that the Fine Gael Party have no objection to No. 5 being taken without debate. However, we object most strenuously to the proposal that No. 8 be taken without debate. Item No. 8 extends the present sitting times of the Dáil. For the past three years the Government have been promising that the Dáil will be reformed but we have now reached the situation where virtually no significant legislation goes through the House having been [1004] debated properly. Large chunks of major Bills are passed without examination of individual amendments. The House is not performing its constitutional duty in regard to the consideration of Estimates and it is not possible to question individual items in Estimates. Indeed, when the Estimates come before the House most of the money has already been spent. We need to debate the way in which the House is working and if we were to allow a discussion on No. 8 such a debate would take place here in the House. Therefore we object to the proposal that No. 8 be taken without debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: I have given the Deputy some latitude. I take it that the proposal that No. 5 shall be decided without debate is satisfactory——

Mr. Quinn: Agreed.

An Ceann Comhairle: ——and that No. 8 is in question. I shall put the question then on the Order of Business——

Mr. J. Bruton: Would the Taoiseach care to respond? Will he allow a short debate on this item?

The Taoiseach: This is pure nit-picking.

An Ceann Comhairle: The question is: “That No. 8 be taken without debate.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 64; Níl, 44.

Ahern, Bertie.

Ahern, Dermot.

Ahern, Michael.

Andrews, David.

Aylward, Liam.

Barrett, Michael.

Brady, Gerard.

Brennan, Mattie.

Brennan, Séamus.

Briscoe, Ben.

Browne, John (Wexford).

Calleary, Seán.

Callely, Ivor.

Clohessy, Peadar.

Collins, Gerard.

Connolly, Ger.

Cowen, Brian.

[1005]Leonard, Jimmy.

Leyden, Terry.

Lyons, Denis.

Martin, Micheál.

McCreevy, Charlie.

McDaid, Jim.

McEllistrim, Tom.

Molloy, Robert.

Morley, P.J.

Nolan, M.J.

O'Connell, John.

O'Dea, Willie.

O'Donoghue, John.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

O'Keeffe, Ned.

Cullimore, Séamus.

Dempsey, Noel.

Dennehy, John.

de Valera, Síle.

Ellis, John.

Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.

Flood, Chris.

Flynn, Pádraig.

Gallagher, Pat the Cope.

Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.

Harney, Mary.

Hyland, Liam.

Jacob, Joe.

Kenneally, Brendan.

Kirk, Séamus.

Kitt, Michael P.

Lenihan, Brian.

[1006]O'Leary, John.

O'Malley, Desmond J.

O'Rourke, Mary.

Quill, Máirín.

Reynolds, Albert.

Roche, Dick.

Stafford, John.

Treacy, Noel.

Tunney, Jim.

Wallace, Dan.

Wallace, Mary.

Walsh, Joe.

Wilson, John P.

Woods, Michael.

Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

Ahearn, Therese.

Barrett, Seán.

Barry, Peter.

Belton, Louis J.

Bradford, Paul.

Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).

Bruton, John.

Bruton, Richard.

Byrne, Eric.

Connaughton, Paul.

Connor, John.

Cosgrave, Michael Joe.

Cotter, Bill.

Creed, Michael.

Crowley, Frank. Currie, Austin.

D'Arcy, Michael.

Deasy, Austin.

Deenihan, Jimmy.

De Rossa, Proinsias.

Doyle, Joe.

Durkan, Bernard.

Farrelly, John V.

Flaherty, Mary.

Flanagan, Charles.

Gilmore, Eamon.

Harte, Paddy.

Kenny, Enda.

Lee, Pat.

Lowry, Michael.

McCormack, Pádraic.

McGahon, Brendan.

McGinley, Dinny.

Mac Giolla, Tomás.

McGrath, Paul.

Nealon, Ted.

Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).

O'Brien, Fergus.

Rabbitte, Pat.

Reynolds, Gerry.

Shatter, Alan.

Sherlock, Joe.

Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine.

Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Dempsey and Clohessy; Níl, Deputies Flanagan and Creed.

Question declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: The last question on the Order of Business is that No. 21 be brought to a conclusion at 8.30 p.m. Is that agreed? Agreed.

Mr. J. Bruton: How many referenda is it proposed to have and when?

The Taoiseach: I cannot see that this is in order at this stage considering the options as outlined yesterday. The matter should be left there at this stage.

Mr. J. Bruton: Is it the Taoiseach's intention to have a referendum in regard to the travel and information issues before, after or at the same time as the referendum to approve the Maastricht Treaty?

An Ceann Comhairle: These matters were discussed at length here yesterday.

Mr. Shatter: It is promised legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: The House is seeking to have a rehash of yesterday's business. I cannot allow it.

Mr. J. Bruton: This arises from a decision taken last night.

The Taoiseach: Not in here.

Mr. J. Bruton: The Government took a decision last night and this is the first [1007] available opportunity they can be asked a question about it.

Mr. Shatter: The decision should have been announced in here.

Mr. Noonan (Limerick East): Why does the Taoiseach not bring his handlers in here; then he would be able to answer the questions. We do not want them answered tomorrow at a press conference.

An Ceann Comhairle: I ask the Deputy to raise these matters in a more appropriate manner. We had quite a lengthy discussion on these subjects yesterday and, to my knowledge, the legislation to which the Deputy refers was not mentioned in this House.

Mr. J. Bruton: I wish you to understand, Sir, that I have no wish to have a discussion here. I merely wish to ask a simple question: when is the referendum to take place?

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Bruton knows the procedure on the Order of Business better perhaps than any Member.

Mr. J. Bruton: When is the referendum to take place? Will the Taoiseach answer that question? It is a simple one.

Miss Flaherty: It is promised legislation.

Mr. Shatter: The Minister for Justice was on the airwaves this morning. It was promised outside the House, not in the House. That is a very odd way to proceed.

A Deputy: Ask Des Hanafin.

Mr. Spring: Is it the Government's intention to publish the White Paper on the Maastricht Treaty irrespective of the difficulties the Government now have in relation to possible referenda?

[1008] The Taoiseach: The White Paper will be published very shortly. We do not have any other difficulties at the moment.

Mr. Spring: The Taoiseach should look behind him.

Proinsias De Rossa: Does the Taoiseach propose to make a statement to the House along the lines of or expanding on the statement he made last night in relation to a referendum arising from the Supreme Court decision and the failure to get an amendment to the Protocol?

An Ceann Comhairle: Please, Deputy De Rossa——

Proinsias De Rossa: I am simply asking if a statement will be made by the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: It is not in order now. We had this whole matter in some detail yesterday.

Proinsias De Rossa: On a point of order, I wish to make the point that at Question Time yesterday the Taoiseach addressed this issue and pointed out that options were being considered. Last night a statement was made indicating a decision had been made.

An Ceann Comhairle: I must insist Deputies will have to find another way of raising these matters. They are not in order now.

Mr. Farrelly: Are they not urgent enough?

Proinsias De Rossa: On another matter——

An Ceann Comhairle: I trust it is relevant to the Order of Business.

Proinsias De Rossa: The point I wish to raise at this stage is to ask you to have the matter of these offensive, lurid postcards that Deputies are getting in the post raised at the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

[1009] An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will not put on a display of this kind. It is not in order. Did I observe Deputy Quinn offering?

Proinsias De Rossa: The Frankensteins who are producing this rubbish should be told in no uncertain terms by the Deputies of this House to stop circulating this obscenity.

Mr. McCartan: Your office should take steps to see that it stops.

An Ceann Comhairle: There are ways and means of approaching my office. This is not the way.

Mr. Quinn: Is it the Government's intention to make time available this afternoon for the Minister for Labour to report on the outcome of his discussions with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the FIE in view of the ongoing dispute about this matter?

An Ceann Comhairle: I am sure Deputy Quinn will find another way of raising that matter.

Mr. Quinn: Am I not in order, on the Order of Business, in asking if it is the intention of the Government to make time available later?

An Ceann Comhairle: No, I am afraid not.

Mr. Quinn: Why not?

An Ceann Comhairle: There are regulations governing the procedure. Do I have to go through them again?

Mr. Quinn: I do not wish to engage in any dispute, but is it not the case that on occasions the Whips in the course of the day decide to make time available?

An Ceann Comhairle: Yes, inadvertently so.

Mr. Quinn: Am I not in order to inquire on the Order of Business if the [1010] Taoiseach wishes to avail of that well-established precedent in view of the crisis in the banks?

An Ceann Comhairle: We had the bank dispute yesterday also, Deputy.

Mr. Quinn: It is still going on.

Mr. Deasy: In view of developments over the past 24 hours I would like to know if there is any likelihood that this House will be sitting next week. It is important because we would have questions about agriculture next Tuesday and we have only one minute left to submit them. Will the Taoiseach tell us?

Mr. J. Bruton: The question I wish to raise is if the Taoiseach will let us know the Government's arrangements for the Easter recess and if there is a proposal that the House will sit next week?

The Taoiseach: That is being discussed between the Whips, as the Deputy is aware.

Mr. J. Bruton: So there is a possibility that the House will sit next week.

The Taoiseach: I did not say that. It is being discussed.

Mr. Noonan (Limerick East): Send for the puppetmaster. The puppet cannot move without him.