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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Water Services Bill 2014: Second Stage (Resumed)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

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  8 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin] Comprehensive material going back a number of years is available and the members of the Committee of Public Accounts have not had access to it. All of the material was sent to the Garda fraud squad, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Revenue Commissioners, the Mahon tribunal and the Moriarty tribunal. All of those had extensive powers to investigate the issues raised. Their powers were even far more extensive than those of the authorised officer as section 19 investigations are by definition preliminary. This is a legal matter. It has been laid down in law, and in the courts, that due to the very preliminary nature of a section 19 investigation, the material must be sent on to prosecuting authorities and bodies that can investigate. That has happened, but it seems to me that pending any deliberations by the committee or this House, it was wrong to name the names in that manner. Under Standing Order 59, I ask that either you, a Cheann Comhairle, would make a decision on the matter or that it would be referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, in terms of the decision by Deputy Mary Lou McDonald to put the names on the record of the House, notwithstanding the categoric denials by the people concerned that they never had such accounts or were never involved in any way. They have said that publicly. There is a need for what was said to be withdrawn from the public record.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Hear, hear.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett An official written complaint has been made to me by a former Member, Mary Harney, and the matter has been referred to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges. It is hoped that it and other matters will be dealt with by the committee next week.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I will be brief. Statements on domestic violence were due to take place this week but have been knocked off the schedule by the motion of confidence and the Water Services Bill. Could I get an assurance that the statements will be taken next week if possible? That would be important given the time of year.

I also wish to inquire about the Constitutional Convention. The Taoiseach gave a personal commitment that time would be allocated to discuss some of the issues arising from the convention. Will discussion of the reports be scheduled for next week?

I presume the school admissions Bill will not be published in this session, but could I get a commitment or some indication of when the Bill will be published?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We have given a commitment through the Chief Whip on the discussions on domestic violence and the Constitutional Convention. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien is aware business was disrupted but it might be possible to have the discussion on domestic violence next week. If not, it will get plenty of time after Christmas. The Chief Whip will advise the Deputy in respect of the debate on the Constitutional Convention. It is not a case of not wanting to hold such debates; it is rather that the schedule was disrupted for other reasons.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien What about the school admissions Bill?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Bill should be published before the end of this session.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I wish to ask the Taoiseach about two pieces of legislation, one of which is in view of the fact that EirGrid has now called for a proper public consultation. When will the heads of the EirGrid Bill be introduced in the Dáil?

In view of what I said earlier today about people being hounded by NAMA, when will the Central Bank consolidation Bill be introduced? I spoke about the destruction of a family in Tipperary where the husband, the breadwinner and main businessman, lost his life due to pressure from banks and his widow and family are being terrorised by NAMA, an organ of the State. We must control the action of the banks and ensure some manners and respect from such people.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I do not have a date for the Central Bank consolidation legislation. I expect the EirGrid Bill to be published by early summer 2015.

Deputy James Bannon: Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon Significant progress has been made on the abolition of quangos and the merger of various Government bodies since the Government took office. We have streamlined a lot of services and made Government smaller and cheaper to run. We promised a wholesale reform of the public sector, including accountability, performance and transparency in this area. When can we expect the public sector standards Bill to come before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny For the information of Deputy Bannon, the public sector standards Bill is expected next year.

Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick: Information on Peter Fitzpatrick Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick When can we expect the publication of the retention of certain records Bill, which is to provide for the retention of records of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and also the Residential Institutions Redress Board and the residential institution review committee?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It will be next year. I will revert to Deputy Fitzpatrick with more detailed information.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan There is a Government proposal to underpin national climate policy. The climate action and low carbon development Bill is promised. What is the progress to date in bringing the Bill before the House? What is the extent to which the Bill might be expected to be passed by both Houses in the near future?

I understand a regulator has been appointed as per the terms of the Charities Act 2009. Are all aspects of the legislation likely to become operational in the near future?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Bill has already passed but sections of it require an enactment order. The climate action and low carbon development Bill has been cleared by the Attorney General's office. It is expected to come before Cabinet next week and it should be published before the end of the session.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer There is a proposal from Government to review national aviation policy. In the light of the proposal, is it possible for the Whips to arrange for a debate in the House on aviation policy, with particular emphasis on Cork Airport?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny A Bill is not at issue but the House could have a useful debate on the matter sometime after Christmas.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is a bit late now.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I call Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer That is Deputy Martin's legacy.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin No, it is not. Deputy Buttimer got stitched up by his own side.

Deputy Jerry Buttimer: Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer It is Deputy Martin's fault.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Did Members not hear me; I called Deputy Ó Fearghaíl.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan Do you not realise, a Cheann Comhairle, it is a county council meeting?

Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Could I ask when we can expect the public health (alcohol) Bill to come to the House? Have the heads of the Bill been considered by Government? We were given to understand that substantial work had been done in the area which involved examining minimum pricing, sports sponsorship and labelling of alcoholic products. We believe substantial work was done when Deputy Róisín Shortall was a Minister of State in the Department of Health. She is now long gone. Could the Taoiseach indicate what is happening to the Bill?

No. 101 on the C list is the low wage commission Bill. Much has been made of the low pay commission. Have the heads of the Bill been agreed by Cabinet as of yet and when is the Bill expected to come before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Approval was given to draft the heads of the Bill and money was included in the accounts for next year for that purpose. In respect of the public health (alcohol) Bill, the heads were cleared by Cabinet and a good deal of work is going on in the Department of Health in that regard. I expect it will be early next year before the Bill is published.

Deputy Frank Feighan: Information on Frank Feighan Zoom on Frank Feighan When will the family leave Bill come before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It will be early next year.

Water Services Bill 2014: Second Stage (Resumed)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett A division was challenged last Friday on the question that the Water Services Bill 2014 be read a Second Time. In accordance with an order of the Dáil of 3 December 2014, that division must be taken now.


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