Seanad Éireann - Volume 115 - 18 December, 1986

Order of Business.

Professor Dooge: It is proposed to order for today Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in that order. No. 1 is the continuation of the Committee Stage of the National Monuments (Amendment) Bill. No. 2 is the Report Stage of the Air Pollution Bill. No. 3 is a Private Members' Motion of a special type, which we do discuss from time to time in the House. It concerns the question of the convictions in England in a number of cases in which serious doubts have arisen in regard to the judicial process and it is proposed to follow our normal practice in such a case that there should be a spokesman from each group. The proposal is that each spokesman should be allowed 15 minutes, and no other speakers would be allowed. Following that, we have the Limerick Gas Order, which is No. 4. Copies of this Gas Order are available in the Seanad Office for those who are interested. No. 5 is the Extradition Bill which has passed in the Dáil. There has been an unavoidable delay in the circulation of the text of the Bill to Members. It is not in their boxes this morning, but I can assure them that a text will be in their boxes before that item is reached. If time is available, which is unlikely, we will take the Worker Participation (State Enterprises) Bill.

[1364] I see no reason for us to sit beyond our normal finishing time of 8 p.m. tonight. In view of the pressure of work, partly on Senators especially Senators who have been active in discussion, but also on the staff of the Houses of the Oireachtas I think we should take a break from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening.

Mr. B. Ryan: I refer to item No. 24, the Social Welfare (Appeals Tribunals) Bill, 1986. I wonder has the Leader of the House found any reason why, on this most important matter, recognised by all parties in the House as being extremely important, the Minister for Social Welfare did not contribute. Was it an error or a mistake? Secondly, both the Leader and the Deputy Leader expressed cautious goodwill about making some further time available to facilitate the Minister in delivering what I am sure is quite a substantial script. Obviously we cannot do it this side of Christmas. Acting on the perhaps optimistic assumption that we are going to reassemble in January, could you give me some indication of whether that cautious undertaking could be implemented in January? I still find it a matter of considerable regret that the Minister for Social Welfare was not sufficiently interested in social welfare recipients to speak on a matter like this.

Mr. M. Higgins: I am interested to know what the present position is in relation to the Status of Children Bill and the Adoption Bill, in other words, the social legislation on which we are working in this House, and the likelihood of their being completed in terms of this House's consideration before Christmas?

Mr. Lanigan: I would like to ask the Leader of the House what is the situation regarding the Appropriation Bill? We have a sitting day tomorrow. I am wondering will we have time to have at least some contributions on the Appropriation Bill.

Professor Dooge: In regard to the question of the Private Members' Bill on [1365] social welfare, Senator Brendan Ryan has asked me in the event of this House resuming after Christmas would time be found to discuss it. I can assure the Senator that it is my firm intention that this House should resume after Christmas and anything that happens in another place will not interfere with that. I have a draft programme for January and I will take a look at the draft programme which contains a good deal of very important Government business. For example, it is my wish — and I am sure it is the wish of the House — that the very important Status of Children Bill in which the Minister has gone a long way to meeting views expressed in this House to the extent that the number of amendments intended to be brought in is now approaching 90 — should be discussed. This Bill will be transformed. It is my intention that that legislation should go through in January.

I understand that there have been discussions in regard to the discharge from the Dáil of the Adoption Bill and its introduction into the Seanad. I had hoped a few weeks ago that that might be done. There was not complete agreement among the parties in Dáil Éireann, but I understand that another attempt is now being made. I will discuss with the Minister for Social Welfare the question of making time available, even though strictly speaking on 14 January and 21 January Private Members' Time belongs to Fianna Fáil. I will try to make a special arrangement in regard to that.

In regard to the question of business tomorrow, the Dáil will pass three Bills today, all of which must be law before the end of the year. One of these is an Exchange Control Bill. If it is not passed before the end of the year it would mean that there would be no exchange control from 1 January onwards. There are those who think that might not make much difference to what occurs, but it will be necessary for this House to pass the Exchange Control Bill tommorrow. A Bill is also being introduced and will be passed with dispatch in the Dáil today— which is the Courts Bill — in order to [1366] remedy the defects in regard to the issuing of summonses. The Dáil will — at my repeated urging — pass the Appropriation Bill today, rather than tomorrow. We will receive the Appropriation Bill today.

I will have to propose to the House at the beginning of business tomorrow that there are three Bills which must pass all Stages tommorrow. It is a matter for the House to decide how much time it wants to take with them and how it wants to allocate the time between those three Bills, all of which must be passed.

Order of Business agreed to.