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Business of Dáil (Continued)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

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An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is that clear now? Is everybody happy? Is that agreed?

Deputies: No.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I will allow each leader to speak.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I want to object very strongly. Sinn Féin put forward a motion of no confidence and called on the Taoiseach to resign as part of our Private Members' business. Rather than allowing that to proceed, however, as a competent Government with an unprecedented majority, the Government overturned the entire Dáil schedule for today. That is why we have this sort of ad hocery creeping into how we do our business. There was no consultation, certainly with Sinn Féin, on this issue and I presume therefore with none of the other Opposition parties either. It puts the commitments to political reform into some sharp relief. This is all so that the Government can put a motion of confidence in itself, as opposed to allowing the normal business of an Opposition party putting its motion of choice.

We want to strongly object to the way in which the Government has undermined the right of the Opposition, as well as of those who give us a mandate to come here, and has therefore undermined the Oireachtas.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins I oppose this proposal on two grounds. First, the debate should be tomorrow evening after tens of thousands of people have come onto the streets of Dublin to demand the abolition of water charges. They will have voted no confidence in the Government. It should be a real vote as opposed to the charade that will go on here.

My second objection - I have a proposal in this regard - is that we need much more time for this particular debate. In the time allocated, it is impossible to unravel the totality of the posturing, propagandising and sheer mendacity of this Government.

All weekend, for example, on platforms provided by her embedded friends in the media, the Tánaiste was working herself up into quite a state of fury about €280 million that was supposedly to be paid to bondholders. She said: "How dare they, these vulture capitalists?" Joan of Stoneybatter was in full flight in defence of the little people. Then the Taoiseach, Sir Galahad of Castlebar, rode in to support her - "How dare these vulture capitalists expect to get this money?", they said.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan What about Don Quixote?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins Then we realised that this was the pair who for four years have shovelled billions of euro of little people's money into the maws of vulture capitalists, parasites and hyenas in the financial markets.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Absolute rubbish.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy can have his say later.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins That is absolute mendacity.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We are only dealing with arrangements now.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins That is only one issue that we need to expose here. The second issue that is of critical current importance is the policy concerning water charges.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, I am sorry Deputy.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins The conservation crusade has disappeared and has turned into a save our political skins crusade.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Hold on a second, Deputy.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins We need an explanation as to the Government's change of policy on this. I am not talking about the housing crisis or hospitals.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett This is purely a technical arrangement to allow this debate to take place.

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins Yes. I am drawing my remarks to a conclusion. I am explaining why we need far more time. I propose that the debate be extended to six hours as opposed to the three hours the Government is proposing.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Why not until 12.30 a.m.?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is the Deputy putting a formal amendment?

Deputy Joe Higgins: Information on Joe Higgins Zoom on Joe Higgins Yes, I move amendment No. 1:

A Deputy: Joe is washing his car.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin When the Opposition tables a motion of no confidence in the Government, there is always a precedent for the Government to respond by way of a motion of affirmation or confidence in itself. However, there is absolutely no need to do what the Chief Whip is doing today concerning the schedule of the Dáil, as well as political reform and Dáil reform. If I understand it correctly, we now have the ludicrous situation whereby the Water Services Bill will be debated tonight from 10.55 p.m. until midnight. This is madness and it is ludicrous. There will be people marching tomorrow, so one might suspect that the Water Services Bill is being deliberately buried at midnight when very little attention will be afforded to it.


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