Seanad Éireann - Volume 110 - 04 December, 1985

Business of Seanad.

An Cathaoirleach: I have notice from Senator Jimmy Deenihan, on the motion for the Adjournment of the House today, he proposes to raise the following matter:

The immediate need for the Minister for Education to sanction the extension to Listowel Vocational School in view of the poor condition of existing accommodation and facilities which is impeding the educational progress of students in attendance there.

I also received notice from Senators O'Leary and Howard of the following matter:

The position which has arisen in connection with the execution of work on the Seanad ceiling by the Office of Public Works.

I also received notice from Senator Michael D. Higgins of the following matter:

In view of the public disquiet following media reports of the guidelines circulated to members of the Catholic Managers Association, the need for the Minister for Education to confirm that these guidelines which restrict appointments to practising Roman Catholics are not the ones which will [576] prevail in the making of appointments as national teachers and that professional qualifications and competence as a potential teacher will be the criteria that the Department of Education will require.

I also received notice from Senator Patrick Durcan of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Health to ensure that the guidelines issued by his Department for determining eligibility for the general medical card service provide, in the case of farmers who are in receipt of unemployment assistance, that the income determined on factual assessment for that payment, be accepted as the income guideline for eligibility for the general medical card service also.

I also received notice from Senator Michael Smith of the following matter:

The need for the Minister for Labour to give immediate sanction to the request by the Young Nenagh Committee for a further 12 months extension to the Community Training Workshop.

I regard the matters raised by Senators Deenihan, O'Leary, Howard and Michael D. Higgins as suitable for discussion on the Adjournment. I regret that I have to rule that the matters raised by both Senators Durcan and Smith are not suitable for discussion on the Adjournment on the ground of lack of ministerial responsibility. I have selected Senator Deenihan's motion for today's Adjournment and it will be taken at 8 p.m. or earlier if the business ordered is concluded. Senators O'Leary, Howard and Michael D. Higgins may give notice for another day of the matters they wish to raise.

Mr. M. Higgins: I am very grateful that you have decided that this matter——

An Cathaoirleach: Now you are going to get me into trouble because a number of people will be complaining——

[577] Mr. M. Higgins: No, not at all. The only point upon which I would appreciate your guidance is that the purpose of my raising this matter was very much in the context of the discussion of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and my anxiety to allay the public disquiet that the publicity that attached to this sectarian remark had created. I would appreciate it if I could raise it as soon as possible.

An Cathaoirleach: This is out of order. You may give me notice tomorrow but I doubt if it will be possible to take it this week. There is another motion to be taken before the Senator's according to my memory, as it was submitted earlier. It may be this day week before it will be possible to take Senator Higgin's motion. I am not committing myself to that.

Mr. M. Higgins: I appreciate your assistance.

Mr. Durcan: On a point of order, with all due respect and deference to the Chair, I find it difficult to understand how the Chair can decide that the matter I put down for raising on the Adjournment is one for which there is not ministerial responsibility. I put it down on the basis of a document published by the Department of Health, being a summary of health services, 1985, for which the Minister for Health and Minister for Social Welfare has responsibility. I would submit, with all due respect, that there is ministerial responsibility.

An Cathaoirleach: I will discuss that privately with you. It is a matter for the health boards.

Mr. Durcan: But there are guidelines which are laid down by the Department of Health, for which the Minister has responsibility.

An Cathaoirleach: No. The guidelines you refer to are laid down by the health boards.

Mr. Smith: I was extremely anxious to allay the fears of the Young Nenagh [578] Committee, who have been doing fantastic work in relation to the provision of community workshops for young people. I am extremely disappointed at your ruling that this matter does not come within the aegis of the Minister for Labour. My understanding was that on the last occasion when an extension was given to this project, it was the Minister for Labour who intervened in the matter.

An Cathaoirleach: The matter is one entirely for AnCO. The Minister has no say in it.