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Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

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Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald On the same issue, everybody in the House is not ad idem on the issue of accountability because the Government, on the one hand, refuses to hold the Commissioner to account in the way it should and, equally, the Tánaiste is not being held to account in this House. That is an intolerable situation. The Taoiseach mentioned that the Tánaiste is to take a Topical Issue matter but that is an inadequate response. The Tánaiste must present herself, make a statement to the Dáil and allow for questions. That is the least we should expect from her. Questions have been put to the Taoiseach on these matters and in response he has been spoofing, but his spoofing is overshadowed by the evasion of the Tánaiste, his Cabinet Minister for Justice and Equality. As has been said, it is outrageous that in light of this series of scandals, we are not to have the opportunity to establish the facts, the Tánaiste's state of knowledge and her proposed course of action.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin The Taoiseach informed the House earlier that the Tánaiste gave a detailed briefing - his words - to the Cabinet on these matters but the Tánaiste is constitutionally responsible to this House on these matters. It underscores the complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of this matter for the Taoiseach to think that a Topical Issue debate, where people raise local matters, is the way to deal with this issue.

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Yes.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin It is not the way to deal with it. I ask that the seriousness of this matter would be recognised with a proper set of statements, and allowing for questions and answers. I ask the Taoiseach to reflect upon that.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry The Taoiseach is treating the House in a similar fashion to the way he would have done in the previous Dáil when his Government had a thumping majority in the House. He is not treating the House the way it should be treated, given that his Government is in a minority position and the fact that to satisfy even the basic norms of accountability the Tánaiste should, at the very least, come before the House, give an account of the current situation that pertains in the Garda, and answer questions from Members on that. If Members want to find space today as to when that could be done, I suggest there is an issue on the Order Paper that perhaps could wait for a week, namely, the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (Hague Convention) Bill 2016. I suggest that is not as pressing an issue as the scandal that has taken place in the ranks of the Garda and the silence we have from the Tánaiste. She should be here today with a statement to answer questions.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I point out to Members, solely for their information, that all Deputies who submitted this issue for discussion in the Topical Issue debate have been selected and that-----

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien They are getting two minutes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl For clarity, 24 minutes will be available for that. A request for a special notice question was submitted and I regret to say that that request does not comply with the terms of the Standing Order so therefore it was not possible to accede to that.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien You can change the schedule.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Does the Taoiseach wish to respond?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny A Cheann Comhairle, we changed the rules in this House so that business could be conducted in a more open way. The Ceann Comhairle has made a decision here that the Minister should answer two Topical Issue matters today with questions.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin That is not fair to the Ceann Comhairle.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That is a decision of the Ceann Comhairle, and the Minister is quite willing to attend.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien You are the Government. You can change the schedule.

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty We cannot.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Can we have order to allow the Taoiseach respond?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Gabh mo leithscéal, I understand there was an attempt to submit a special notice question by the Fianna Fáil Party spokesperson. The Ceann Comhairle made a ruling, and his decision was that the Minister for Justice and Equality should attend in the House, which she will, to answer Topical Issue matters from two Deputies, with questions from each Deputy.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger That is an absolute joke.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry Statements were requested last Saturday.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny At the invitation of Deputy Ó Caoláin, the justice committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning with the Garda Commissioner to answer a range of questions.

Deputy Robert Troy: Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy Obviously, she did not have the answers today.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We have the Garda Commissioner meeting with the Policing Authority. I have said the Government made a decision to have an independent analysis of all these figures and to examine a broader issue about the structure and the future of the Garda Síochána. We all need to get more information, and in some cases that information is not available to the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin She gave a full briefing to the Cabinet.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I say to Deputy Howlin that she will be very happy to give the same briefing to the House that she gave to the Cabinet this morning.

Deputy Brendan Howlin: Information on Brendan Howlin Zoom on Brendan Howlin When?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny This afternoon in the Topical Issue debate.


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