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Howlin, Brendan

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Leaders' Questions

Deputy Cowen to the rescue.More Button

Hear, hear.More Button

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

Does the Deputy have a question?More Button

No question.More Button

How about a question?More Button

This is a Second Stage speech.More Button

A Leas-Cheann Comhairle-----More Button

Deputy Martin was not very good at giving instructions either.More Button

The Deputy is shouting people down.More Button

Is this a question or a party political speech?More Button

Order of Business

The saying is "You can run but you cannot hide".More Button

They are listed on the Order Paper.More Button

This is a procedural matter.More Button

Hear, hear.More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

Two hours have been provided for today's debate.More Button

That is not true.More Button

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

That has nothing to do with it.More Button

Please, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.More Button

No shouting down, remember.More Button

They are grandstanding.More Button

Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

We were concluding these two amendments. I wanted to give assurances to the Deputy and to the House that the import of what he wanted is fully captured, and I have rechecked that with the Parliame...More Button

Houses of the Oireachtas (Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures) Bill 2013: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage (Continued)

There is no proposed composition in the Bill.More Button

The Deputy was on the wrong side of the debate.More Button

I have listened for 20 minutes.More Button

It is very hard to listen in silence to some contributions.More Button

I will do my very best. We have been working on this Bill for a considerable length of time - since the rejection by the people of the referendum in 2011 - to structure a framework for the holding...More Button

I want to deal with the specific amendments which we debated previously and which have been slightly amended since Committee Stage.More Button

In essence, the argument is that 40% of any inquiry group within the House should be drawn from the Opposition and by law the chair shall be a member of the Opposition. We imbalance the proportion...More Button

The Oireachtas can be assertive in these matters and determine the terms of reference, the membership and the chair. There should be some debate about that. There will have to be proportionality ...More Button

In respect of the two-year period, since a committee can only have a horizon of the duration of this Parliament, that would be the horizon. I hope any committee established to look at the bankin...More Button

In respect of extending the scope of it to the current situation, I am sure another article will come out about that. That can be done at any time by the current Oireachtas Committee on Finance,...More Button

A former DPP.More Button

Any inquiry.More Button

The Taoiseach did not make any criminal charges against anyone that I heard. He made a political charge on the Order of Business. As I instanced, it is a normal expectation that such cut and thru...More Button

With regard to Deputy Kelleher's analysis of the referendum, after the referendum 58% of those who voted "No" wanted the power to inquire vested in the Oireachtas, which is interesting.More Button

We asked Behaviour & Attitudes for a complete analysis and presented the findings to a public expenditure and reform committee which had a very robust debate. It was important to look behind why p...More Button

Deputy Ross spoke about the heart of our democracy. Not only was our economy broken in 2008 but our polity was also broken. People's confidence in these places to do their business must be rest...More Button

With regard to the comments of the former DPP, I do not accept we cannot have inquiries. In the interview he instanced the risk that people would use it to grandstand. We must have the discipli...More Button

Article 15.11.More Button

That is not always true.More Button

It was deeply political.More Button

Why?More Button

Why was Deputy Donnelly there?More Button

That was outrageous.More Button

Deputy Donnelly stayed in Turkey.More Button

In amendment No. 5, Deputy Donnelly is proposing that one quarter of the members of a committee should constitute a sufficient number to deem a proposal by a committee to have been passed and to ca...More Button

It is an extraordinary proposition, if one thinks about it. A quarter of the members of a committee could overrule three quarters and have a motion tabled in the House.More Button

I have a number of reservations about this proposal. These inquiries will not be routine matters. They will demand resources and deal with matters of significant substance. Most of us believe ...More Button

I have a degree of experience in the Houses on a number of issues. For example, and as Deputy Pringle would know, I campaigned for a long time for an inquiry into policing in Donegal. Subsequen...More Button

In any issue where there is sufficient public demand, the House must yield to it. It will not be a matter of a Government denying the clamour of the people. It would be an extraordinary situati...More Button

I am not familiar with the Bundestag. I do not know how it works. However, this is an extraordinary proposition. Whatever about majoritarianism, a dictatorship of the minority would be an intere...More Button

In amendments Nos. 6 and 7, Deputy Donnelly is proposing that a vote of one quarter of the Members of the House would be sufficient to pass a resolution in respect of an inquiry. As he rightly s...More Button

-----but the House's rules cannot overturn the Constitution itself] shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting other than the Chairman or presiding member." T...More Button

In amendment No. 8, Deputy Pringle proposes that a vote in favour of conducting an inquiry shall pass if no less than two thirds of the designated Opposition vote in favour. This is unconstituti...More Button

In terms of what is right, we must respect the vote of the people and their democratic decisions.More Button

Deputy Donnelly gave a dissertation on the role of the Whips. He is a new Independent. I entered politics because I was interested in a political party. Originally, I did not expect to be an e...More Button

This is how it works. Parliament needs it. Consider what this Parliament has needed to do in recent years. The notion that every difficult budgetary decision could be a free vote, the pressure o...More Button

May I speak as freely as I allowed the Deputy to speak?More Button

I thank the Deputy.More Button

I do not think I interrupted the Deputy, but maybe I did. If so, I apologise. The Deputy did not say that there should be a Whip on everything.More Button

A Whip on conscience? I have to determine if child benefit is a conscience issue or only a sectionally related issue of conscience. We are in a very difficult area if we are going to say to peopl...More Button

Deputy Donnelly talked about the Executive's control over the Oireachtas. The most vigorous debate happens within parliamentary parties and that determines what happens here. The rows, clamour ...More Button

I find the notion that they are Independents in a group to be perverse. I do not expect a Technical Group to have a consensus because they are all, by definition, independent.More Button

Independent of each other, I think, which is fine.More Button

We need to ensure that we have effectiveness in parliamentary decision-making. By definition, politics is the art of compromise and we compromise on many matters. More Button

I do not accept Deputy Pringle's commentary about show trials. If we look at every issue that has been inquired into in this House - in so far as we could do so before the Abbeylara judgment - i...More Button

No conclusions were reached.More Button

Absolutely, but this legislation has flowed from events since then, when we had an instruction to shape what should happen.

  There is a slightly precious view that somehow the O...More Button

We will have this debate again. Grandstanding happens. We had a debate which took up time this morning on guillotining this Bill, although we had open-ended discussion on Second and Committee Sta...More Button

No new issues that we have not already skirted around. That is part of the political process and I perfectly understand that. In essence, Deputy Donnelly is saying that if there is no public clam...More Button

-----determine that this is important. They think they have the right to play a golden card that overturns the majority in Parliament. I do not accept that, however.More Button

No IndicatorVoted No More Button

Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Bill 2013: Report and Final Stages (Continued)

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2012: Report and Final Stages

It is a treaty obligation.More Button

Deputy Fleming is right. We had a comprehensive debate on these matters on Committee Stage. I do not disagree with the argument that we should always be pushing out the boundaries of scrutiny to ...More Button

As I previously stated, non-voted expenditure represents expenditure which the Oireachtas has declared by law to be paid from the Central Fund without annual reference to the Dáil. These are ite...More Button

The Central Fund activity is regularly reported. It is in the public domain through the monthly Exchequer statements that the Department of Finance and my Department publish. In addition, the D...More Button

Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill 2012: Report and Final Stages (Continued)

They must be laid before the Dáil not later than 30 September each year. As discussed on Committee Stage, debt servicing requirements are encompassed in the budgetary arithmetic and are shown in...More Button

Even in terms of the Estimates process, we can do much better. The Deputy is right in this regard and I hope we can do this proactively. We will have an opportunity this year as the budget will...More Button

Correct.More Button

A future promise.More Button

As I informed the Deputy on Committee Stage, the Government is defined in the Constitution, which sets out the role and principles under which the Government operates. A decision of Government rep...More Button

I do not think I will breach Cabinet confidentiality if I state every decision on a budget, including the two most recent budgets in which we have been involved, was individually and then collectiv...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

The policy issues raised in the amendments, as I said on Committee Stage, are different from the subject matter of the Bill. We had a disagreement on the matter. This Bill is ultimately concerned...More Button

However, considerations of equality, and a range of other issues, form an important component of all budgetary discussions by Cabinet. Cabinet procedures require that proposals put to Government...More Button

This is a technical debate about what is practical in the circumstances. I argued on Committee Stage and I still argue that the form of words, "as soon as may be" is more appropriate as there migh...More Button

As soon as may be.More Button

I hope it will survive ten years.More Button

We have discussed this matter. A subset of issues are involved. As the House is aware, from this year on, the budget announcement on the expenditure and the taxation sides will take place on 15 O...More Button

-----in the final determination and so on.More Button

It would be odd to set a ceiling by statutory instrument and then alter it a month later. All the budgetary arithmetic happens on the night of the budget. We lay out the fiscal parameters and bot...More Button

Yes. PRSI was part of the net figures.More Button

It is part of the budgetary documentation which is given on the day of the budget, as is normal.More Button

Yes.More Button

It is given to every Deputy as the budgetary process is unfolding, so they can have a comprehensive view of it.More Button

It was new.More Button

We discussed this matter on Committee Stage. The Bill is ultimately concerned with the technical rules for setting multi-annual limits on expenditure. It is a short and discrete Bill in that rega...More Button

The €150 million I announced was an allocation of €50 million to three different Government Departments. Obviously, that has to be accounted for and voted upon in the normal way. Assuming that ...More Button

I am not quite sure whether the Deputy is serious about this or is making a point. However, I do not think it is appropriate to the technical Bill before us.More Button

I do not have with me the public financial procedures booklet which all good civil servants carry around with them so they can check the rules therein. The Deputy is correct to the extent that the...More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

  Amendment No. 25 not moved.More Button

I sought clarification on the matter.More Button

I am almost afraid to read out the legal response I was given in relation to this issue. Apparently, one cannot in law ask people to not do something. The word "endorse" encompasses both. It wil...More Button

It is the response to my further inquiries of the advisory counsel from the Office of the Attorney General.More Button

On the amendment, the Deputy's suggestion relates to the possibility that the fiscal council could endorse a set of forecasts in advance of a budget and that last minute budgetary measures, involvi...More Button

Member states are already obliged under regulation 473 on budgetary plans to state the underlying assumptions, the methodology and economic models which drive the forecast underlying the budget. ...More Button

An annex containing the methodology, the economic models and assumptions and other relevant parameters underpinning the budgetary forecasts and the estimated impact of aggregated budgetary measur...More Button

Yes.More Button

Once the budgetary documentation has been presented on budget day the reconciliation must be done.More Button

It will be done on budget day.More Button

Yes.More Button

  Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

  Bill received for final consideration.More Button

  Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."More Button

Taxi Regulation Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Second Stage (Resumed)

Although this is discrete, short legislation covering the area of multi-annual budgeting, it is important to put it to bed before we embark on the early budget. For this reason, it must be enacted...More Button

  Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."More Button

No IndicatorVoted No More Button

Public Procurement Regulations

Was asked: when he expects a banking enquiry to be started in order that all the information from the decision to guarantee the banks will be publicly known; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, I strongly support the objective of undertaking an effective and legally robust parliamentary banking inquiry. I wish to advise the Deputy that the Houses of the Oireac...More Button

The Bill envisages a central role for the Oireachtas in both initiating and conducting a parliamentary inquiry. Under the Bill, responsibility is assigned exclusively to the Houses of the Oireach...More Button

Was asked: if officials who were employed in banks that received bailout and contingency funding from the Central Bank and other State institutions, were bound by the code of the Civil Service that relates to...More Button

The provisions of the Code of Standards and Behaviour for Civil Servants apply to all established and unestablished civil servants. As the officials referred to in the Deputy's question were not a...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the current state of national monuments DG025-029001, DG025-029003, DG025-029006, DG025-029004, DG025-029005,  DG025-029002, and their grounds and access roads at...More Button

Was asked: if there is a requirement in the tendering process documentation for the National Lottery Licence for the successful applicant to be a registered company here; if companies whose registered offices...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, section 29(1) of the National Lottery Act 2013 provides as follows: the licence holder shall (a) be formed as a company, or (b) if the holder is (at the time of the applicat...More Button

There is no question of excluding parties who may be interested in applying for the next licence from the process on the basis that they have not formed a company in this jurisdiction. However, ...More Button

Was asked: his views on public bodies granting contracts for works to be carried out here where the companies registered office are in the British Virgin Islands or in other jurisdictions thousands of miles a...More Button

Public procurement is the acquisition, whether under formal contract or not, of works, supplies and services by public bodies. National rules governing public procurement must comply with the rele...More Button

Public procurement procedures require applicants to meet certain standards when applying for public contracts. In this regard applicants are required to make declarations in relation to their fi...More Button

Prior to the award of the works contract, the successful applicant is also required to produce a current Tax Clearance Certificate from the Revenue Commissioners. Under our national rules, any non...More Button

The management of the tendering process for a public contract is a matter for each contracting authority. It is the responsibility of each contracting authority to ensure that tenderers comply w...More Button