Seanad Éireann - Volume 107 - 20 February, 1985

Order of Business.

Professor Dooge: It is proposed to take Item Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, to break from 5.30 to 6.30 and to take Item No. 6 from 6.30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Nos. 1 and 2 are orders made under the amendment to the Ombudsman Act passed recently by the House and are relatively minor. It is not anticipated that we will proceed beyond the Committee Stage of the Canals Bill today. With regard to Item No. 4, this was laid before the Seanad on 12 December with a request for an early debate and [366] it is hoped to make further progress with it today.

Mr. Fitzsimons: Will the time be extended if other Members are offering beyond the one hour and 35 minutes remaining?

Mr. Ross: I wonder if there is any point in having an Order Paper at all in this House. I do not understand what happened last week when a supplementary motion was introduced in this House at 8 p.m. of which the Independent Members had no notice whatsoever. I do not know who else got notice but I think they got notice 20 minutes beforehand. This is typical of the political parties in an effort to avoid the subject of divorce.

An Cathaoirleach: That is not a matter for the Order of Business.

Mr. Ross: It is, because I want to know, if there are subjects like divorce or sensitive subjects, are we going to have a supplementary Order Paper sprung on us at any time, when the Government and the Opposition find there is a subject which they do not want to bring up and do not want to give notice of so that the Independents do not know? We were not informed last week.

An Cathaoirleach: I will have to ask the Senator to resume his seat. It is not a matter for the Order of Business today. I will discuss the matter privately with the Senator if he wishes.

Mr. Ross: Perhaps the Leader of the House could clarify whether the Order of Business is relevant or whether it is not.

An Cathaoirleach: It is not a matter for the Order of Business.

Professor Dooge: In regard to Item No 4 the position is that an undertaking has already been given and will be adhered to, that there will be no limitation of this debate. The House is in the situation that the committee made a specific request for [367] an early debate and caused to come into operation a particular procedure which we had adopted earlier. The position, as far as I am concerned, is that I would, if necessary, seeking the assent of the House, continue to order this matter as long as speakers are offering on it and not curtail it.

With regard to the rather tempestuous outburst of Senator Ross, I can assure him that the business proposed for today is what is considered as the business most appropriate to be taken today. From time to time there will be occasions on which it is necessary to introduce a supplementary Order Paper. This is only done when it is absolutely necessary. If we had followed the general canon of behaviour which Senator Ross is advocating, this Seanad would not have been summoned by telegram to meet yesterday. We would have insisted on the full three days notice and an important public service could not have been done.

Order of Business agreed to.