Seanad Éireann - Volume 125 - 30 May, 1990

Order of Business (Resumed).

Mr. Cassidy: As most of the membership here is representative of the votes of county councillors, TDs and Senators, I welcome the opportunity for a debate on local government reform. I welcome Senator kennedy's suggestion on that, but I cannot sit here and agree with him in relation to the Fine Gael point of view——

An Cathaoirleach: I have made a ruling that that matter is not on the Order of Business and cannot be discussed. I have informed Senator Kennedy of that. I am now informing you, Senator. It is not on the Order of Business.

(Interruptions.)

Mr. Manning: On a point of order, this [465] House over the last while has been trying to bring itself back to order. We are trying to bring some discipline into the proceedings. We ask the Government to do likewise and this sort of intervention is simply bringing the House into further disrepute.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, following on Senator Kennedy's remarks——

An Cathaoirleach: I have ruled Senator Kennedy's mention of this matter out of order and the same applies to any other Senator who stands up and discusses the same matter.

Pól Ó Foighil: Ba mhaith liom a iarraidh ar an Aire Cumarsáide a theacht isteach anseo agus a mhíniú dúinn cén fáth gur cuireadh deireadh le Teilifís na Gaeltachta. Tá bás Theilifís na Gaeltachta san Acht nua ata fógraithe aréir. A nail in their coffin — I said it here last week. He has put three nails in it last night agus tá deireadh le Teilifís na Gaeltachta.

An Cathaoirleach: It does not arise.

Mr. McKenna: I join with the other speakers in condemning the dastardly and callous attack carried out by the IRA over the weekend. I do not think any words can show sympathy enough for the people concerned and I do not think any right-thinking person could condone this.

On a different note, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the Minister for Labour on his initiative and skill in bringing together both sides in the Waterford Glass dispute.

An Cathaoirleach: It does not arise on the Order of Business, Senator.

Mr. McGowan: I want to join in condemning the summary execution of two innocent Australians by people who do it in the name of the Irish Republican Army. They have done a lot of damage to this country. These are the same people who call for mercy, recognition [466] and support. The Irish people, North and South, Protestant and Catholic, and of every denomination, will have to do something to rid themselves of the cancer this country can no longer live with.

Mr. Lanigan: Like the other speakers, I think we should never lose an opportunity of condemning the IRA for the callous murders they have continually committed. It does not make any difference whether the people they murder are from the North or from Britain, Australia or, as in the past, from America and Germany. We should use every opportunity to condemn these people. They do not represent us. They are making it very difficult for the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Government to try to deal with the British and the people of Northern Ireland to get a solution to the problems that beset this country. They are doing no good for anybody and we should all join in continual condemnation of what they do.

I am sure the opportunity for a debate on the Middle East is not going to be missed by the House. What is happening there has to be debated. There are a number of topics that need to be addressed, not alone the topic of the intafada but the extension of the protest against the Israeli Government.

Mr. Mooney: Comments have been made on all sides of the House about the execution of the two Australian tourists. As a former emigrant, I am acutely aware of the impact that atrocities of this nature have on the ethnic population, as it is known — our own people — in the UK. It has now spread out of Europe to Australia where many thousands of Irish people live. Anybody who has read the newspapers or listened to the radio and television reports during the past 24 hours could not have been but deeply affected by the reaction of the immediate families. I seek your guidance, a Chathaoirligh, as to whether it is in order for me to request the Leader of the House, on behalf of all sides of this House, to send a resolution to our opposite numbers in the Australian Senate expressing the sorrow of this [467] House and that of the nation to be conveyed to the families. Is it in order for me to do so?

An Cathaoirleach: There is no resolution of that nature, before the House but it is open to the Senator to put down such a resolution, if he so wishes.

Mr. Mooney: May I ask the Leader of the House to discuss the matter with the Whips on the other side and to bring forward such a resolution to this House at the earliest opportunity?

Finally, coming as I do from County Leitrim, let me say decisions have been announced by the ESB during the past few days. I want to express the deep anxiety and concern of the wives and families of 150 workers in the Arigna coalfields about the loss of jobs in an area which has been ravaged economically.

An Cathaoirleach: I appreciate the Senator's sincerity and commitment, but that matter does not arise on the Order of Business.

Mr. Mooney: I ask the Leader of the House and indeed you, a Chathaoirligh, to ask the Government——

An Cathaoirleach: I must ask the Senator to resume his seat.

Mr. Mooney:——to come forward with the recommendations of the task force set up to establish work in that area.

An Cathaoirleach: I must ask the Senator to resume his seat. He has achieved the objective he set out to achieve. I call on Senator Fallon to reply.

Mr. H. Byrne: I wish to join with other speakers in condemning the callous and horrendous murder in Holland recently of two innocent Australians and I also wish to raise the ramming of Irish trawlers, by Spaniards, off the south coast. There have been many such incidents in the recent past.

[468] An Cathaoirleach: Again, I have to remind the Senator that it is not in order to raise that matter on the Order of Business.

Mr. H. Byrne: May I finish? I would like the House to debate this issue before it gets more serious than it is at present. I ask the Leader of the House to consider this request.

Mr. Fallon: Senator Manning rightly expressed his abhorrence at the killing of two Australians in Holland. Certainly, all of us on this side of the House, and indeed the entire House, share that view. He also raised the question of a separate Private Members' time each week, of between two to three hours. I am not sure if this will happen, but certainly we will think about it and come back to him on the matter.

The Senator also made reference to item No. 30 on the Order Paper. I will have that matter checked out as quickly as possible. It is my information that the precise implications of the judgement of the European Court in the Norris case are being considered in the Department of Justice. The Law Reform Commission who are also examining this matter indicated in their recently published consultation paper what legislative changes might be made so as to comply with the ruling of the court. The Commission's final recommendations, which are expected shortly, will be considered by the Government when they come to decide on what proposals should be put before the Oireachtas on this matter.

Senator Manning and other speakers asked for a debate on the Middle East. It was our intention to have a debate on that matter this evening but unfortunately both the Minister, Deputy Collins, and the Minister of State, Deputy Calleary, as well as their officials are not available. However, I give an assurance to the House that we will discuss that matter next week. Whether this takes the form of a debate or statements, is a matter for us to decide. Apart from raising that matter, Senator Ryan also [469] raised the question of amendments to the Turf Development Bill. They will not be taken today but rather some time in the future.

Senator Dardis referred to the tragedy in Holland, as did Senator Upton who, along with Senator Manning and other Senators, raised the question of the position of RTE having regard to the statements made last night. I can tell the House that the legislation on this matter will be published this week and will be debated next week in the other House. I expect this legislation to be debated in this House in two or three weeks time, certainly well before the end of this session.

Senator Kennedy raised the question of local government reform but that is not a matter appropriate to the Order of Business. Senator Norris referred to the killings in Holland, to Private Members' time and the Middle East, which I have referred to, while Senator Eoin Ryan referred to the position of RTE, which I have commented on. Senator Martin Cullen referred to the killings in Holland while Senator Costello made reference to a number of matters. On the question of crime and prisons, I have taken on board the request made by Senator Costello last week, and I am endeavouring to have a debate on it. Indeed, on Monday last in a telephone conversation with Senator Manning I indicated I was anxious to facilitate a debate, if at all possible.

Senators Cassidy, Ó Foighil, McKenna, McGowan, Lanigan and Mooney raised matters not relevant to the Order of Business as did Senator Hugh Byrne who made reference to the IRA killings and the ramming of Irish trawlers, but as the Cathaoirleach has said, that matter is not appropriate to the Order of Business.

Order of Business agreed to.