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 Header Item Suspension of Member (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 786 No. 2

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  12 o’clock

  Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn withdrew from the Chamber.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. a16, motion re withdrawal of Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2011 [Seanad]; No. 30, statements on pre-European Council meeting of 13 and 14 December 2012; and No. 5, Social Welfare Bill 2012 - Second and Remaining Stages (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 11.15 p.m.; No. a16 shall be decided without debate; No. 30 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 65 minutes and the following arrangements shall apply: the statements shall be made by the Taoiseach and by the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order and who may share their time, shall not exceed 15 minutes in each case and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a statement in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; and the resumed Second Stage of No. 5 shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 9.45 p.m. tonight. Private Members’ business, which shall be No. 94, motion re confidence in the Government (resumed), shall conclude at 9 p.m. tonight, if not previously concluded.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett There are four proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn not later than 11.15 p.m. agreed to?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is not agreed.

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

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I want to oppose the Order of Business because of our overall unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the way the business of the House has been ordered today and, in particular, the guillotining of the debate on the Social Welfare Bill, which is absolutely unacceptable. Yesterday I thought about 13 minutes would be provided for the discussion on each amendment, which is ridiculously low, and that was to be only for the spokespersons. The time has now been reduced to eight minutes per amendment under the revised schedule. We estimate that eight minutes is all the time that will be allowed on Committee Stage to discuss the respite grant cut about which people all over the country have written, complained and spoken to their Deputies.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath It is disgraceful.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin This is supposed to be the golden era of Dáil reform when the guillotining of debates on legislation was supposed to be a thing of the past, if we were to believe the Chief Whip. If the Taoiseach organised to get the Whips together, there is a way to address this. The Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill, which is to be taken in the House next week, could be deferred and in that way more time could be allocated to the Social Welfare Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin We would work with the Taoiseach by agreeing to take out some items on today's agenda with a view to giving more time for the Social Welfare Bill and the property tax Bill on Friday. What is happening this week in the House is an absolute disgrace and flies in the face of any agenda to give the Parliament a greater say on budgetary matters or on legislation. It is absolutely appalling what is going on.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams This Bill is extremely controversial. The Government Deputies must have the opportunity to come in here and argue for it and we certainly want to argue against it. We have tabled a series of amendments to it and the Minister has even tabled amendments to it. I acknowledge some extra time has been allocated but we need days to be allocated for this. We are cutting the jobseeker's benefit, increasing PRSI, cutting the respite grant and rushing it through. Where are all the election promises about a new transparency, reforming the system, a new way of doing things and a government which is accountable? It is a case of just push it through. We will be particularly opposing the fourth proposal, which allows the debate on the Bill to collapse and does not give us an opportunity to speak on some of the amendments to it.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett I also want to add my appeal to the Taoiseach to remove the guillotine on the debate on the Social Welfare Bill. These issues are too important and touch too many lives to truncate the debate on the Bill in the way he intends to. There is a way out of this that is reasonable and fair which is to defer the debate on the property tax Bill until after Christmas. There is no rush with it as it is not to be introduced until July. Why can the Taoiseach not agree to defer the debate on that Bill and allow more time for the debate on the Social Welfare Bill?

A little extra time, which is inadequate, has been granted for the debate on the Bill but the Technical Group will not have any extra time because of the rotation system. We number a third of the Opposition and we will not be given any extra time in the extra that has been given. That is completely unfair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett I appeal to the Taoiseach to lift the guillotine on the debate for those specific reasons but also, more generally, because we need adequate time to debate the Bill and discuss amendments to it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Thank you, Deputy. I call the Taoiseach to reply.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The details of this week's session were set out by the Whip at the Whips' meeting last week. The Social Welfare Bill has to go to the Seanad next week in order for continued payments to be made on 1 January.

  I point out that when people make their case about speaking slots here that there was a good deal of argument about the requirement-----

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams That is misleading the Dáil.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----to speak on the publication of the report of the expert group on the A, B and C v. Ireland case.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Taoiseach has just thrown that into the middle of this discussion.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Last Friday only two Opposition speakers were made available----

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath I was here.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----and Monday's sitting had to be cancelled because of a lack of speakers-----

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin That is not the issue.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny -----so I do not accept this argument.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen There were not too many of the Taoiseach's colleagues here either.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy The Taoiseach should satisfy his backbenchers-----


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