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 Header Item European Council Meetings (Continued)
 Header Item Resignation of Member
 Header Item Order of Business

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 835 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] That is why the people of Ukraine aspire to getting out of the position in which they find themselves - so they can have greater prosperity, development of the economy and the right to live and have jobs.

Everybody has a right to be left alone, but that is not what happened in Crimea. I am well aware of the events of the First World War, what happened in Sarajevo and the slaughter of so many mainly young men in the so-called war to end all wars. If Lord Raglan, Lord Lucan and General Nolan had got their directions correct, we might not have lost the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in Crimea, over 130 of whom were Irish horsemen. The Deputy knows those names from history.

I do not accept that this is a case of Europe wanting to barge into Ukraine and argue that the country must join the Union. This was the wish of the people in Ukraine and it was not respected by the then President Yanukovych, so the popular revolution left him to flee to eastern Ukraine, with the government in Kiev focusing on the West. Russia clearly does not like this and it made its move into Crimea. As a response, the European Union and other countries are imposing various types of sanction. These are to counteract illegal action that is to the detriment of freedom of democracy. It is a response to the invasion of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This territory was handed over by Khrushchev in the 1950s and has now been annexed again by Russia. This matter will continue to be a source of much difficulty in the time ahead.

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

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins I have a brief supplementary question.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Adams has 19 questions and I am obliged to allow him in again.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I bring the Taoiseach's attention to Question No. 7, which asks if the Taoiseach discussed with the British Prime Minister legacy matters and how they can be addressed. The talks with Dr. Richard Haass and Professor Meghan O'Sullivan concluded and although I very much welcomed the positive comments by the Tánaiste in January on these proposals, that was months ago, and there has been no progress whatever since. The Taoiseach may have heard at the weekend that the former Church of Ireland Primate, Robin Eames, warned politicians in the North and both governments that unless the issues of the past and the problem of parades and flags are dealt with, they will never be resolved. None of us wants to see that. It is my strong contention that the two governments must take a hands-on role in this matter, with the Irish Government acting as an equal partner with the British, or there will be a real danger that the potential and opportunity created by the Haass and O'Sullivan talks will be lost.

Is the Taoiseach conscious that there has been no progress whatever on these issues and that they need to be dealt with? We cannot wait until after the next local government elections or anything else. The governments must be very focused on the matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I share the Deputy's view. I went to the consular offices in New York to speak with Dr. Haass last week and I had a good conversation with him regarding his reflections on the talks and the efforts made by him and Professor O'Sullivan to make progress. Dr. Haass is coming to Tipperary for the peace prize later.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Yes.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny He intends perhaps to make a comment on his analysis of what has happened. I note former President Clinton's comments in Derry that we should finish the job. He clearly put the point that this is the responsibility of the leaders of the parties in Northern Ireland, of which there are five.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I met Dr. Haass and former President Clinton, but I am asking about the Government's role.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The invitation to Dr. Haass came from the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The Deputy's party endorsed and accepted all the findings of the Haass talks and wants them implemented, but others did not. It is now a case of leadership and focusing on where progress can be made and the differences arising. The Government has indicated it will actively support the parties in Northern Ireland in making progress, and the Tánaiste has been very active in this regard. I and the British Prime Minister at Downing Street have recommitted to this and we intend, in so far as we can, to support the goal visibly. Ultimately, as the Deputy knows, people may want to play some games before elections take place. The issue is far too serious for that. We will support the efforts of parties, including the Deputy's, to make further progress arising out of some of the platforms that the Haass talks brought about. There was some progress and he was reasonably satisfied that new platforms were built for some elements. It is not satisfactory that the process has not yet ended.

The Deputy is acutely aware that young people in Northern Ireland do not want to see a solid lump of older politics stuck in the rut of the past that does not allow people to focus on a new and exciting future. There are some very good things happening in Northern Ireland and, despite their differences, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister have been around the planet seeking investment for jobs and so on in Northern Ireland. There are some very good opportunities arising in that regard, and we support that, along with cross-Border education, health, infrastructure, etc. We will continue to be supportive. The politicians and leaders of the day will say what further progress can be made and whether we want to continue being locked in the prison of the past, which will stunt the opportunities for young people in Northern Ireland to give vent to their flair and imagination. We will work in whatever way we can with all the parties to help them make progress.

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.

Resignation of Member

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Before proceeding I wish to announce for the information of the House that I have received a letter of resignation from Deputy Patrick Nulty as a Member of Dáil Éireann for the constituency of Dublin West and I have laid the letter before the Dáil. In accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 174, the resignation took effect upon my receipt of the letter yesterday.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. 17, Companies Bill 2012 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages. It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that in the event a division is in progress at the time fixed for taking Private Members' business, the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. and Private Members' business shall, if not previously concluded, adjourn after 90 minutes; and that Private Members' business, which shall be No. 47, Restorative Justice (Reparation of Victims) Bill 2013 - Second Stage, shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, 26 March 2014. Tomorrow's business after Oral Questions shall be No. 17, Companies Bill 2012 - Report Stage (resumed).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett There are two proposals to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business today agreed to? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business tomorrow agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin A growing scandal is emerging relating to the administration of justice, and a range of issues are evident regarding the penalty points saga, the undermining of whistleblowers and the Garda Inspectorate report contrasting very starkly with the O'Mahoney report on the penalty points issue. The bugging inquiry was established to consider occurrences at the office of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC. There have been attempts by the Minister for Justice and Equality to undermine GSOC and its chairman. He almost had them under the spotlight because of his general adversarial response to issues of this kind. The Minister has had a fundamental inability to respond properly to the issue of the status of whistleblowers. To top this off, for the first time in three decades we have had the resignation of a Garda Commissioner, following a very serious statement from the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Varadkar.


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