Seanad Éireann - Volume 131 - 13 February, 1992

Order of Business.

Mr. Wright: First, may I offer the condolences of the House to our colleague, Senator McKenna on the death of his brother, Michael.

On the Order of Business, I would like to order Items Nos. 1 and 2 until 4 p.m. and a sos between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Mr. Manning: On the Order of Business, on behalf of my own group I would like to join in the expression of sympathy to Senator McKenna.

Dr. Upton: I, too, would like to be associated with the message of sympathy to Senator McKenna.

On the Order of Business, may I ask the Acting Leader what is the present position in relation to the frequent requests for a debate on the banking system? May I further ask him if the banks have lifted their ban on this debate, or if they propose to do so. Thirdly, may I ask the Acting Leader if we continue to request a debate on banking, will the banking PR develop some very glossy [531] brochures into the ultimate development, which I view as a video for every Senator?

Mr. Norris: There is an item on the Supplementary Order Paper dealing directly with this — I do not have the number — but it is the question of the foreign affairs committee. I wonder if the Acting Leader will bring it to the attention of the new Minister for Foreign Affairs the strong desire on all sides of this House that a foreign affairs committee should be quickly established with representation from this House. I think we all feel it would be appropriate and would be a context in which one could legitimately raise matters such as the refusal of the Minister for Justice to permit an Iraqi to have access to this country. I will not go any further, because I do not suppose it would be proper. I think it is a pity that there is no forum in which serious matters such as this can be raised.

Finally, may I ask — and there is an item on the Supplementary Order Paper dealing with this — if we can have some time in the very near future to have a brief discussion, or at least statements, on Nicky Kelly so that this House could urge a Presidential pardon and an inquiry?

Mr. Costello: I would like to be associated with the condolences to Senator McKenna.

I propose that we take motion 25 on the Supplementary Order Paper. This is the motion dealing with the request that the Government advise the President to exercise the Presidential right of pardon pursuant to the Constitution. As you probably know, a Chathaoirligh, there is at this moment in the House of Commons a campaign being launched by all parties of the British Parliament requesting that a Presidential pardon be granted to Nicky Kelly and calling on the Irish Government to ask the President to give a Presidential Pardon. It is ironic that a campaign is being led now by the British MPs when our own Government were so [532] persistent in literally demanding that the British Government would allow the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four to go free. I think that this would be the appropriate time for the new Government, the new Taoiseach, the new Minister for Justice and the new Cabinet to take the initiative and to recommend to the President that she should exercise her Presidential power.

An Cathaoirleach: Speeches are not in order on the Order of Business.

Mr. E. Ryan: I agree with Senator Norris and also ask if the new Minister would consider a foreign affairs committee in view of the points that have been raised on many occasions in this House and in other places. I believe it is something that would be welcomed and is badly needed.

Yesterday Senator Hederman asked the Acting Leader whether the new Minister for the Environment would consider increasing the fine for people who pull down a building without permission — the example was Drogheda Grammar School. I would also like to agree with her and to find out if the new Minister would consider increasing that fine considerably so that people would refrain from pulling down important buildings around the country.

Mr. J. Ryan: I would like to be associated with the words of sympathy to my colleague in North Tipperary County Council, Senator Tony McKenna, on the death of his brother.

In view of the fact that the new Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications is from the western seaboard and in view of her visit to Shannon over the weekend, I hope, since it is being called a country and western Government, that she would consider reiterating the commitment of the Government to the international status of Shannon Airport. I look forward to hearing from her on that matter next Monday.

I would also like to formally second Senator Costello's amendment to the Order of Business.

[533] Mr. B. Ryan: May I again — perhaps as a dissenting voice — ask for a debate, not on industrial policy, not on economic development, but on unemployment. The Taoiseach at his first press conference pointed out that the problem this country had was that economic growth had not produced a change. I am simply explaining why I want a debate on unemployment rather than a debate on industrial policy, because we should address the problem of why the things we have done do not work. The issue is not industrial policy; the issue is unemployment and the appalling plight of 300,000 people in this country whom nobody, least of all, may I say, the media, care about.

Pól Ó Foighil: Chuir mé ceist shimplí anseo inné ar an gCeannaire, an raibh sé i gceist gach rud a fhoilsítear sa Seanad a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla. D'fhiafraigh mé de freisin an dtabharfaí cead díospóireacht faoi stádas Aerfort na Sionna a chur ar bun sa Teach seo. Nuair a bhí sé ag freagairt níor thug sé aon fhreagra ar mo cheist. Anois, tá mé ag fiafraigh de arís inniu, go neamhbhalbh, an bhfuil sé i gceist ag an Teach seo doiciméid a chur ar fáil i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla faoi mar atá sé de dhualgas orthu a dhéanamh de réir an Bhunreachta, nó an mbeidh orm dul taobh amuigh le cás cúirte a tharraingt in aghaidh an tSeanaid nuair nach féidir liom mo chearta bhunúsacha a fháil de réir an Bhunreachta.

Mr. Wright: May I just run through a few items? One is the banking debate. Yes, I see no reason why we should not have such a debate and I hope we will discuss that among the Whips and also the question of a debate on employment. There are ways and means for the Seanad to discuss Items Nos. 5 and 25 also. Environmental changes have been mentioned. Again, in my view there are plenty of ways and means of putting down motions to deal with that.

There are two matters I want to mention. One is a foreign affairs committee. I will make a note of what the House is saying and ask the Taoiseach [534] and the new Minister for Foreign Affairs for their views on it. Perhaps next week, when the Taoiseach is here with us, he may well make comment on that.

The issue of Shannon was mentioned last night. I am sure Members will find a way of bringing that issue to the floor of the House. The matter outlined by Senator Ó Foighil may be brought to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. I will come back to him on that.

An Cathaoirleach: Senator Costello has moved an amendment to the Order of Business, “That Item No. 25 be taken today” and that amendment was seconded by Senator John Ryan. Is the amendment being pressed?

Mr. Costello: Yes.

Question: “That the amendment be made” put and declared lost.

Mr. Costello: Vótáil.

An Cathaoirleach: The question is: “That the amendment be made.” Will the Senators claiming a division please rise in their places.

Senators Upton, Costello and J. Ryan rose.

An Chathaoirleach: As fewer than five Senators rose in their places, I declare the amendment lost. The names of the Senators who stood will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Seanad.

Amendment declared lost.

Order of Business agreed to.