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Order of Business

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 787 No. 5

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Order of Business

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore It is proposed to take No. 13, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No. 573/2007/EC, Decision No. 575/2007/EC and Council Decision 2007/435/EC, back from committee; No. 14, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income and Capital Gains) (Arab Republic of Egypt) Order 2012, back from committee; No. 15, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income and Capital Gains) (State of Qatar) Order 2012, back from committee; No. 16, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income and on Property) (Republic of Uzbekistan) Order 2012, back from committee; No. 17, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income and on Capital) (Swiss Confederation) Order 2012, back from committee; No. 18, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Exchange of Information Relating to Taxes (San Marino) Order 2012, back from committee; No. 19, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters Order 2012, back from committee; No. 20, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000 (Suspension of Exchequer Contributions) Order 2012, back from committee; No. 21, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the report by the Minister for Defence regarding service by the Defence Forces with the United Nations in 2011, back from committee; No. 28, Transport (Córas Iompair Éireann and Subsidiary Companies Borrowings) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 3, Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Second and Subsequent Stages; No. 29, Civil Defence Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; and No. 4, Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2012 [Seanad] - Second and Subsequent Stages.

  It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that: the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of oral questions; the sitting shall be suspended for 30 minutes at 12.45 p.m., or in the event a division is in progress at that time, immediately on the conclusion of that division; Nos. 13, 14 to 19, inclusive, 20 and 21 shall be decided without debate, and in the case of Nos. 14 to 19, inclusive, shall be moved together and decided by one question which shall be put from the Chair; the Report and Final Stages of No. 28 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 12.45 p.m. today by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport; the Second and Subsequent Stages of No. 3 shall be taken today and the following arrangements shall apply: the proceedings on Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 3.45 p.m. today and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 4.15 p.m. today by one question which shall be put from the Chair, and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform; the Report and Final Stages of No. 29 shall be taken today and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 60 minutes today by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Justice and Equality; the Second and Subsequent Stages of No. 4 shall be taken today and the following arrangements shall apply: the proceedings on the Second Stage shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 7 p.m., the opening speeches of a Minister or Minister of State and of 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 20 minutes in each case, the speech of each other Member called upon shall not exceed ten minutes and such Members may share their time and a Minister or Minister of State shall be called upon to make a speech in reply which shall not exceed five minutes; and the proceedings on Committee and Remaining Stages shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 8 p.m. by one question which shall be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation to amendments, include only those set down or accepted by the Minister for Social Protection, and the order shall resume thereafter with Topical Issues and Oral Questions; and the Dáil on its rising today shall adjourn until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 16 January 2013.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett There are seven proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal that the Dáil shall sit later than 5.45 p.m. and shall adjourn on the conclusion of oral questions agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 13 to 21, inclusive, agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 28 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 3 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 29 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 4 agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal that the Dáil, on its rising today, shall adjourn until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I seek clarification from the Tánaiste. Under section 221 of the National Asset Management Agency, NAMA, Act it is an offence to attempt to lobby NAMA. The penalty on conviction of that offence is a fine of €1,000 or six months in prison. I am not suggesting there was any interference with or lobbying of NAMA but the issue raised today, following a freedom of information request about a particular meeting between the Minister for Health and NAMA and the information we received from the Department of Health-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett A question on the Order of Business, Deputy.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin -----which related to how the primary care centres were selected hours before the Cabinet meeting-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett What is your question on the Order of Business?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin -----reveal the unsatisfactory fact that the Opposition has had to use the Freedom of Information Acts for months to piece together the jigsaw of the decision to select these primary care centres. It is most unsatisfactory. The Government made a commitment to introduce new freedom of information legislation. It has taken us months to get much of the detail, some of which is redacted. The dripping of information relating to the selection of primary care centres is entirely unsatisfactory.

Will the Tánaiste commit the Government to undertaking a sharp inquiry into the primary care centre debacle, with a view to using all the documentation that is now available under freedom of information and questioning the key people involved, so we can get a comprehensive account of how those primary care centres were selected? I ask the Tánaiste to give a commitment to hold such an inquiry. This issue is a distraction for the Dáil. It has been arising since last June and new pieces of information are emerging all the time. Behind the scenes, the Tánaiste must be unhappy with what is happening in this case. A number of his party's Ministers have expressed their disquiet. It is equally unsatisfactory that we must use the freedom of information procedure all the time. The Tánaiste gave me a commitment some months ago that he would publish all the documentation about this, but he did not. I had to wait for months to get it under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore First, there is no issue with any matter in connection with any Minister being debated either in the House or at the appropriate committee. One of the reasons we have committees is so they can address issues and question Ministers, probably in far greater detail than is normally permitted in the Chamber during Question Time. There is no difficulty with any issue being questioned by the Members of the Opposition.

With regard to freedom of information, the Deputy will recall that his Government filleted the Freedom of Information Act, so amending legislation will be brought before the House in the new year to restore many of the powers of that Act.

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

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The Tánaiste could do much more now. Will there be an inquiry?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I have called Deputy McDonald.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I, too, believe that the handling of the primary care centres is something to which we will have to return in the new year.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett It can be dealt with by way of a motion.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald I am sure it will be, but I feel incredible frustration with the Tánaiste. When questions of fundamental importance are put to him relating to the integrity of the decision making processes, he resorts to hyperbole rather than dealing with the issue at hand. This is a serious issue and it will not go away.

I wish to raise two other matters. The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill is being dealt with today, the last sitting day. I submitted amendments but all of them were ruled out of order. It is most unsatisfactory that this Bill is before the House on the last sitting day and that issues of public concern regarding the allowances and payments that Members of this House enjoy appear not to be amenable to amendment or change, regardless of what the Opposition does. Will the Tánaiste comment on that?

There is a commitment in the programme for Government to end long-term homelessness and sleeping rough, which I wholeheartedly support. However, many of the Government's actions have aggravated the problem of homelessness rather than address it, particularly the cuts to rent supplement. What concrete actions does the Government propose to take to honour the commitment to end long-term homelessness and sleeping rough?


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