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Order of Business (Continued)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] That referred to and dealt with puppy farms and the microchipping of pups and dogs. I did not see the programme last night, but I will ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine or the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to advise the Deputy.

Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick: Information on Peter Fitzpatrick Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick When can we expect the publication of the adoption (tracing and information) Bill which is to provide for an information and tracing service to applicants seeking information about adoption?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The heads of the Bill have not yet been cleared but the Bill is due to be published this year.

Deputy Michael P. Kitt: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I have a similar question to that of Deputy Healy-Rae, but it relates to the tenant purchase scheme. People are in a dilemma. The current scheme is due to conclude at the end of June. People are under the impression that a better scheme is due to be introduced and they do not know whether to opt for the present scheme or the new scheme. It is urgent that a new scheme is put in place and that the terms are outlined.

On a second issue, the motorised transport scheme and mobility allowance, when will legislation on that scheme be brought to the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny With regard to the current scheme, people would have to have applied for it by now for it to take effect by the end of June. In the next general housing Bill the Minister of State, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, hopes to include a new tenant purchase scheme. The current scheme concludes at the end of June so people will have to have applied by now to avail of it.

The Government decided yesterday on the mobility allowance question. The moneys are in place but the scheme was deemed to be illegal. The Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch, is moving on this. What is required is a framework to allow payments to continue to recipients and also to define a new structure for a new scheme which will have to take account of where responsibility actually lies for this. That work is being undertaken now by the Minister of State, Deputy Kathleen Lynch.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy The programme for Government commits to enhancing the democratic process by involving public representatives at an earlier stage in the legislative process. It also refers to the over-use of the guillotine with regard to legislation. Under the last Government, 74% of all the legislation was scheduled for the guillotine. Last night there was a guillotine and we did not get to discuss all of the Bill. I am sure the Taoiseach is aware of that and is not comfortable with it. This issue was raised yesterday but I did not hear any commitment to the programme for Government's intent to deal with the heavy over-use of the guillotine or that there will be a more normal approach to dealing with business. Is that commitment still in place? What measures will be put in place to deal with the over-use of the guillotine?

The second item I wish to raise relates to a motion I tabled. I do not wish to have a situation where I and other Members must try to raise things on the Order of Business and I am sure that is not the Taoiseach's intention. Could a change be made to Standing Orders to permit one Member of the Technical Group to speak at the time business is ordered?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett That is not a matter for the Order of Business.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy Can time be provided? The Whips have said they will not permit that change. We are a third of the Opposition and this is not right. If we are to do our jobs, please permit us to have time to deal with that.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett That is a matter for the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy I am sure it is a glitch, but it must be changed.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The commitment in respect of the guillotine stands. As I said yesterday, on a significant number of occasions there were no speakers where debates on Bills were listed to be shortened. I would be most willing to have a structure in the House whereby there would be breaks between Second, Committee and Report Stages and, if the people decide to abolish the Seanad later this year, there would also be a pre-enactment stage and a break between Report Stage and that stage. Other parliaments publish a full list of legislation for the year, but that would create many difficulties here because of the way things actually happen.

However, the Chief Whip will shortly bring forward a number of recommendations which will hopefully improve how the Dáil does its work. The Ceann Comhairle has many years of experience here and he had a number of very practical suggestions about this also. Many things have been tried over the years. Some have been good for a while but have then changed and not been as effective as people would have thought. The commitment in respect of having a more effective structure for dealing with legislation stands. The Chief Whip will bring forward a proposal on that in the not too distant future.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis We have all received complaints regarding unruly and noisy residents and the lack of power the Garda and other enforcement agencies have to tackle this. The noise nuisance Bill that is due to be published should allow for fines and mediation between neighbours. It is embarrassing that the gardaí are obliged to call to these houses and use peer pressure to get people to turn down the noise. When will this Bill be brought forward? It is extremely important.

Also, will the Taxi Regulation Bill be back before the House before the summer recess?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny No, it is not listed for before the recess. Some work has been done on it but I cannot give the Deputy an accurate outline on it now. The Deputy has raised it on a number of occasions and I will ask the Minister to respond to him with a timeline.

Deputy Dessie Ellis: Information on Dessie Ellis Zoom on Dessie Ellis What about the noise nuisance Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I am talking about that Bill.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin The Dáil recently unanimously facilitated the passage through Second Stage of the Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Bill 2013. It is designed to facilitate access to the courts for all victims of symphysiotomy, a significant number of whom are currently unable to progress their cases because of the Statute of Limitations. This is a cohort of very elderly women. When will Committee Stage be facilitated in the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality? It was signalled for two weeks ago but it was deferred because it was indicated that the Minister would be out of the country. As it happened, he was not. As the mover of the legislation I have received no clear indication of how quickly it will be facilitated, although I am advised that the committee is anxious to accommodate Committee Stage. Mindful that the clock is ticking for so many of these unfortunate women, will the Taoiseach help to ensure the earliest facilitation of Committee Stage, with the hope of concluding the Bill's passage through the Houses before the summer recess?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is a Private Members' Bill. I cannot answer the Deputy's question now, but I will advise him later.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan There is promised legislation on valuations for businesses in the commercial sector. This has been an ongoing issue for a number of years, including under the previous Administration. At what stage is the legislation and when can we expect the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to bring forward a new valuation Bill? As the Taoiseach knows, businesses throughout the country regularly ask us when the legislation will be before the House.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That Bill is currently before the Seanad. I cannot say when it will deal with the Bill but the Bill will come to this House as part of the normal progress of legislation. I will ask the Minister to respond to the Deputy as to when it is expected to come from the Seanad to the Dáil.

Deputy Joe O'Reilly: Information on Joe O'Reilly Zoom on Joe O'Reilly I have questions about legislation in two areas. First, in the justice area, there is the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and the legislation to amend and strengthen the Criminal Assets Bureau in respect of tackling the proceeds of crime. These two measures are urgently required, given that communities continue to be threatened by criminal gangs. The gangs come into the communities, particularly those in isolated areas, and carry out a sequence of robberies in a single night. It is urgent to bring forward both legislative measures in this context.

On a different area, many of our subcontractors have had a very bad experience in the aftermath of the Celtic tiger economy and have been the victims of larger contractors. In that context, when will the Construction Contracts Bill be coming before the House to be passed and enacted?

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