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Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí (Atógáil) - Leaders' Questions (Resumed) (Continued)

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 985 No. 2

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Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Today is a great day for the fossil fuel industry in this country. In particular, it is a great day for Providence Resources which has just had transferred into its bank account $10 million from APEC Energy Enterprise Limited, its Chinese backer. So much for fuel security as this country is doing deals with the Chinese. We always have a problem with Putin and the Arabs but we never mention the Chinese. Now $10 million, with another $10 million to come, has gone into the bank account of Providence Resources to allow it to do research on the Barryroe prospect off the Cork coast. Today is not a good day for climate, biodiversity, the melting ice caps or, according to Nature magazine, the future of this planet. Not only do we have to leave 80% of known fossil fuels in the ground, but Nature tells us we will now have to decommission much of the existing infrastructure for the oil and gas industry to save the planet and life on it.

  We have also found out that the Taoiseach's office was lobbied by the industry. It was heavily lobbied by them last year - lobbying increased seven times - and it was lobbied by the industry this year, but the Taoiseach's office kept no record of that. The lobbyists thought it was lobbying but the Taoiseach did not think that it was sufficient to be described as lobbying. I have a serious question. When did the meeting between Mr. Feargal Purcell and Mr. John Carroll of the Taoiseach's office take place and what was discussed? The timing of that meeting is important to me, the people of Ireland, and the 15,000 students to whom he has lied. I am accusing the Taoiseach of lying and will repeatedly say so because the letter-----

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Deputy Smith.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I am going to prove it. I would not say so if I could not.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I am on my feet. Deputy Smith knows full well that there are enough accusations around this House. I have heard this one. I ask the Deputy to withdraw her statement that the Taoiseach lied, otherwise the House will not continue its business.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Okay, I will withdraw it and say that the Taoiseach told untruths in writing.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Deputy must withdraw it deliberately. She has to withdraw it, otherwise we cannot continue. I will not preside over this House if accusations are made. We will deal other ones------

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I wish to finish my point. Will the Leas-Cheann Comhairle allow me to finish my point?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I am asking the Deputy to withdraw deliberate lies.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Taoiseach told deliberate mistruths to the Ceann Comhairle.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Not untruths. The Deputy can say anything but not "deliberate". I ask her to please withdraw. She is holding up the House.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Taoiseach told untruths. We are getting into semantics now. The truth is, however-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher No, has the Deputy withdrawn "deliberate"? She has withdrawn "deliberate".

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith -----that the Taoiseach's Department told the Ceann Comhairle that a money message was necessary for this Bill because this country would lose economic benefits. Let us look at what was reported in last weekend's newspapers. In the lifetime of the Corrib pipeline, from 1992 until it dies in 2030, the State will not receive a penny in tax or royalties. The Taoiseach spoke of the need to pay back the application fees to companies if my Bill was passed. On the same day I received the reasoned response from the Taoiseach's Department I also received a reply to a parliamentary question, which stated it is the Government's policy never to repay licence fees or applications. That is two lies at least.

(Interruptions).

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Deputy Smith.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith Those were two mistruths. The third was that the Government was threatened with legal action, which is why I repeat my question. It is important that the people know when that lobbying took place. Did it take place after this House, for the second time, in a democratic fashion by an overwhelming majority, acknowledged that the Bill should proceed to Third Stage? That was the second time we did so-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Time is up.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith -----but we find once again that the Bill has been blocked by the Government. When did that lobbying take place? It is a very straight question.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Before the Taoiseach comes in, I wish to make it clear that if one makes accusations about deliberate lies, withdraws that and then compounds it, it is even worse.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Hear, hear.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I will not accept that. I think I speak for the vast majority of Members that it is not acceptable terminology in the House. Some of us are here a long, long time. I take it for the record that Deputy Smith has withdrawn it.

  The Taoiseach has three minutes.


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