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Kenny, Enda

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Leaders' Questions (Continued)

The Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, has dealt with this on a number of occasions. I have just returned from briefing the European Parliament in Strasbourg in respect of the conclusion of Irel...More Button

The CSO figures mentioned by the Deputy are not consistent with the tax figures which will be produced later this afternoon. They will clearly show that the profile is on target - the budget hav...More Button

The indigenous economy is being stabilised. As I have often said before, in Ireland we lost 7,000 jobs a month for three years. That has been halted, however, and 2,000 jobs a month are now bei...More Button

In respect of mortgages, the Deputy's own admission yesterday about his Government's failure to regulate banks was a central feature and contributory cause to the situation in which so many thous...More Button

All of the tools are in place to accelerate the work-out of the mortgage crisis. My understanding is that 25,000 offers have been made by banks to people who are in mortgage distress. Banks and...More Button

In the first quarter of this year, 24,706 new restructural arrangements were agreed. Of those, 33% were interest only, 21% were reduced payment, 17% were term extension, 15% were arrears capital...More Button

These targets have been set as a consequence of the Government requiring the regulator to do this. The targets will accelerate the mortgage crisis work-out. Nobody wants to see this happening b...More Button

I said it was disappointing that the CSO figures did not correlate with the tax returns and receipt figures which will be out later this afternoon.More Button

Those figures will show that the profile is on target in the context of how the budget was set out.

  The domestic taxes to which Deputy Martin referred do not impact upon export...More Button

Let me repeat for the Deputy that in regard to mortgage accounts, some 79,689 were categorised as restructured at the end of March 2013. Of those, 53% were not in arrears at the end of quarter one...More Button

New data collected for this quarter indicate that 76% of restructured PDH accounts were deemed to be meeting the terms of their arrangement. Deputy Martin himself admitted the other day that the...More Button

The Government has been working assiduously for quite some time to put through the legislation and put in place the mechanism and tools both for borrowers and lenders in order to deal with this.More Button

The Deputy will be aware of the changes that have been brought about in regard to the rights of the consumer as distinct from the rights of the lender, the periods of time that must elapse-----More Button

-----and the process that must be gone through by the banks in regard to persons who have borrowed money from them and are the subject of mortgage distress.More Button

This has been, and is, a very difficult time for many people. As I said, we are now moving in the right direction, with significant numbers of people being offered restructured and, one hopes, sus...More Button

The answer to the Deputy's questions is yes, there are tapes available in the other banks. The Minister for Finance will be writing to those banks tomorrow requesting that the tapes be preserved i...More Button

The tapes referred to in respect of the former Anglo Irish Bank only came to notice following their confiscation under warrant by the Garda Síochána. The tapes were then forwarded to the Directo...More Button

There is information available in the Department of Finance, copies of some of which have been taken by the Garda Síochána. However, there is not a series of tape decks in the Department of Fina...More Button

I remind Deputy Adams that the Government has set in place an entirely new system of regulation and monitoring in terms of the manner in which banks in this country operate. The Deputy will be awa...More Button

The Deputy is wrong that the Government is only acting now in respect of the tapes that exist in other banks.More Button

There is a legal requirement on the banks to retain those tapes for a set period. The Minister's letter is merely a reminder to the banks to live up to their responsibilities in terms of preservat...More Button

This is a serious matter which needs to be cleared up and the facts determined. I referred to the issue this morning in the European Parliament because of the decision taken at the G8 summit in Co...More Button

I confirm that the gentleman to whom Deputy Daly referred, Mr. Snowden, has written to the Irish embassy in Moscow requesting that he be granted asylum in Ireland. It is clear from the content o...More Button

Mr. Snowden has written to the Irish embassy in Moscow and I have outlined the conditions that apply in this regard. The process of dealing with the matter, in the event that a valid application...More Button

As I have not met Tony Cascarino's grandmother, I do not know if she was fictitious.More Button

According to Wikileaks this morning, Mr. Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries. I confirm he has written to the Irish embassy in Moscow. As I stated, the way this country operates is t...More Button

Seanad Referendum

Was asked: if he will outline the time-frame for a referendum on the abolition of Seanad ÉireannMore Button

Was asked: if a date has been decided for the referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the timescale for the referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide an update on the planned referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a date has been agreed for the holding of a referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann.More Button

Was asked: his plans for the holding of a referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann.More Button

Was asked: the consultation process he intends to hold in relation to his plans to hold a referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann.More Button

Was asked: if his Department has a special unit in place to prepare for the referendum to abolish Seanad Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if he will circulate his Departments memos and minutes of meetings held regarding the forthcoming Seanad referendum; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if his Department officials have given him any assessment they have made on the proposal to abolish Seanad Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the timeframe for the referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann. More Button

Was asked: his plans to hold a referendum to abolish Seanad Éireann.More Button

Was asked: the progress made to date on introducing a unicameral style of parliament; and if he will provide an update on the referendum on the abolition of Seanad Éireann.More Button

Was asked: the progress being made towards a referendum to have a single chamber Parliament. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 14, inclusive, together.More Button

The Thirty-second Amendment of the Constitution (Abolition of Seanad Éireann) Bill 2013 was published on 6 June last. As Deputies will be aware, the Bill completed all Stages in the Dáil on 25 J...More Button

The programme for Government contains a clear commitment to ask the people in a referendum whether they wish to abolish the Seanad. Accordingly, my Department's assessment of the proposal and th...More Button

My Department has set up a small unit to deal with the matter. Its focus at the moment is to support the Government in the passage of the Bill through the Houses. The unit has one member of sta...More Button

With regard to consultation, the Bill and explanatory memorandum were published on 6 June, well in advance of the proposed referendum date. The proposals in the Bill are being and will be debate...More Button

While the Government does not propose to conduct a public information campaign, such a campaign will be conducted by the Referendum Commission. The early publication of the Bill, some months in ...More Button

Seanad Referendum (Continued)

The Government will not run an information campaign. Clearly, we need to abide by the Supreme Court rulings in respect of a previous referendum and the Government will comply with that fully and c...More Button

The question of Dáil reform is a matter for Government and for the Oireachtas. I have been doing some work on a number of issues in regard to Dáil reform and I would like to talk to the party le...More Button

As Deputy Broughan knows, having been a Deputy for a long time, we have had many proposals over the past two and a half decades, some of which worked well for a short while and some of which did ...More Button

In respect of the information available in the Department, what we are talking about here is a clear commitment of both parties, Fine Gael and the Labour Party, to put a referendum to the people to...More Button

However, it is an entity that makes recommendations to Government for consideration by Government either to be accepted or rejected. In this case the parties making up the Government, that is, my ...More Button

The position was that the assessment carried out by the Department and by the officials was on the basis of what needed to be done in order to put a question to the people to abolish the Seanad. I...More Button

Yes. There is nothing secretive about that. I can give Deputy Martin that information. It is the assessment of the articles in the Constitution that need to be dealt with, removed, amended or al...More Button

I hear the former Deputy and Minister, Mary O'Rourke, talking these days. She came up with proposals for Seanad reform in 2003.More Button

I am talking about her.More Button

When Deputy Martin says-----More Button

He never listens.More Button

One of the hallmarks of those in an arrogant Government is that they never listen.More Button

The position in so far as the Dáil being accountable is one that we are obviously interested in. Deputy Martin has done a good deal of shouting. The former Deputy, Mary O'Rourke, brought in her p...More Button

Deputy Martin referred to €20 million. The total running costs of the Seanad have been estimated by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission to be in the region of €20 million per annum. This is b...More Button

The Government has not decided on the date of the referendum but it is expected to be in October. The Government will make its decision on that in due course. Did Deputy Martin raise anything e...More Button

As I said, this was a clear commitment of both parties, and, therefore, the Government, to hold a referendum with regard to abolishing the Seanad. From that point of view there were no meetings ab...More Button

I am sorry to hear that.More Button

The Deputy did not actually state whether he supports the abolition of the Seanad.More Button

Okay, that is clear, and so do I. I accept the Government must engage with the public in a public discourse in this regard. That is the reason there will be a campaign by the parties in governmen...More Button

We have already announced some of these proposals, such as use of the d'Hondt system for the dispensation of the new system of committee chairs to provide greater cross-sectional involvement in s...More Button

An important element of what is happening is that in the process of legislation going through this House, there will be a pre-enactment Stage before legislation is signed off on fully. The heads...More Button

My genuine belief is the committee system, having the ability to draw in experts or anyone who has a view on a subject, will get a far deeper and more comprehensive cross-section of analysis early ...More Button

I envisage the committee system being enhanced, being resourced and being given those powers here in a more streamlined legislative process. In my view, this will give a far deeper and more comp...More Button

People in this country in general have always involved themselves extensively in the national politics of the day.More Button

That has always been reflected in the high percentages of turnout in national elections because people in this country are always interested in politics and the issues that affect us on a global, E...More Button

The Deputy also mentioned local government reform. Clearly, that is of interest to everybody, particularly to those who might have come up through the ranks of service in local authorities. Tha...More Button

I agree with Deputy Adams. The meitheal concept was never stronger than it is now. It is part of the personality of our people that in times of challenge they come to assist each other. That c...More Button

From that point of view the points made are valid. There is no perfect system of parliamentary democracy. If one goes to-----More Button

-----Capitol Building, the Senate or the Congress one will see it is much like this, except on a bigger scale. I have been there on a number of occasions when only one person was speaking to the t...More Button

The main complaints regarding referendum commissions was that they were not set up for long enough and did not have enough time, according to the chairpersons appointed to do the job as effectively...More Button

Some consideration could be given to the setting up of a commission on a permanent basis but if we do that there might be an interim period of a number of years in which no referendum is held. W...More Button

Regarding the way referendums should be run, once the referendum commission is set up it is completely independent. Clearly, we are now obliged and will follow the decision of the Supreme Court ...More Button

In respect of the Presidency, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of countries recently. The Nordic countries such as Denmark, Norway and Finland have effective systems of doing their b...More Button

The Seanad has never really been a second House, rather it is a break on the proceedings of the Dáil. On one hand, this matter relates to legislation, the preparation, assessment, effectiveness an...More Button

When the Deputy commenced his contribution, I thought the Members from Cork were going to stick together at all costs. I thank him for his comments. There are two aspects to the work of the commi...More Button

When the heads of a Bill are prepared, the Minister involved will bring them before Government for its approval. Those heads, which are general in nature, will then be sent to the relevant commi...More Button

There is a requirement to structure business in a better way. The main forum of the Dáil is used for the taking of Leaders' Questions, Topical Issues, etc., and we need to focus on achieving the...More Button

I thank the Deputy for her questions. We have already introduced a change whereby if, for example, the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Quinn, brings the heads of a Bill to Government and...More Button

The committee systems which obtain in other countries cannot be directly translated to the Irish Parliament.More Button

Many of the ways they do business are well worth seeing in the interests of that openness, transparency and accountability about which they talk.More Button

They are all good Deputies.More Button

##A citizens' assembly is what one calls the local elections. While the town councils are being abolished-----More Button

-----current members can stand for the municipal areas or the county councils. The Government has already published the independent report in respect of the boundaries for those local elections an...More Button

They are in the vast majority of areas. That was an independent operation. I will give Deputy Martin whatever material I have in regard to the assessment of what needs to be done to draw up the B...More Button

The Government made a very clear decision to ask the people whether to abolish the Seanad. I agree with Deputy Martin that some very fine speeches have been made in the Seanad over the years. Why...More Button

Some have made outstanding contributions but these contributions will also be available to the committee system, which can call in both external experts and people of that nature who have respect a...More Button

The question raised by Deputy Adams necessitates a "Yes" or "No" answer. The Government has decided it wants a unicameral system, with the changes seeking to run this place more effectively, and...More Button

With respect to Deputy Boyd Barrett's final question, the d'Hondt system will on a proportionate and equitable basis distribute the chairs of committees. After all, people in the Dáil are direct...More Button

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

Business of Dáil

Expressions of sympathy on the death of former Deputy Pádraig Faulkner shall be taken now and the Order of Business proposals shall be taken on the completion of the expressions of sympathy.More Button

Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Ba mhaith liom ar dtús mo chomhbhrón a chur in iúl leis an Teachta Ó Máirtín agus le páirtí Fhianna Fáil as ucht bás Pádraig Faulkner, a cailleadh beagnach bliain ó shin. Go speisialta, ba mhaith ...More Button

Pádraig Faulkner was a politician who was bound by honour, duty and respect. It is a good thing for us to occasionally remind ourselves in this House of the intrinsic value of such qualities in ...More Button

During turbulent times for this State, Pádraig Faulkner served the people of Louth and his country with his characteristic courage and grace. He was always loyal to his people, party and collea...More Button

As Deputy Martin pointed out, Pádraig Faulkner entered the Dáil just as the War of Independence and Civil War generation of Deputies, who had dominated this House since the 1920s, was moving on. ...More Button

Given the fact that his career generated many accolades, and rightly so, I suspect that his time as Minister for Education was the one that was most fulfilling for him. He took over from the lat...More Button

I graduated as a primary school teacher from St. Patrick's Training College when one of the most far-reaching education initiatives of any era came into being. This was the introduction of the c...More Button

This was the future of education as Pádraig Faulkner saw it. I have read his autobiography, As I Saw It, and it should be required reading for political students, would-be politicians and p...More Button

Order of Business

It is proposed to take No. 10, motion re ministerial rota for parliamentary questions; No. 16, statements on the European Council in Brussels, pursuant to Standing Order 102A(2)(b); and No. 17, Hou...More Button

It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. and shall adjourn not later than 10 p.m. or on the adjournment of Private Members' business,...More Button

Private Members' business shall be No. 42, Equal Status (Amendment) Bill 2013 - Second Stage, to be taken on the conclusion of the Topical Issue debate or at 7.30 p.m., whichever is the later, an...More Button

In respect of the hospital insurance fund, that is a matter that is under discussion at the moment, both internally and with the European Commission. I do not have a date for the Deputy in respect...More Button

Yes. In respect of health insurance, that legislation is moving through. The Minister is involved with the hospital consultative group and the insurance companies. No decision has been taken by ...More Button

I expect the child and family agency Bill to be published inside two weeks. Hopefully, we can have Second Stage in the House before it rises.More Button

In respect of the audit that Deputy Adams referred to, this was contingent upon a very serious case in Roscommon some time ago. It was felt that there should be an audit of the general situation...More Button

It goes through the heart of the Deputy's constituency. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has already pointed out the priority that this road has. No legislation is required. Discus...More Button

-----the ongoing stimulus plans that the Minister has been referring to.More Button

Order of Business (Continued)

No, I cannot give the Deputy an accurate date on it. I hope that was not a criticism in the sense that we have quite a legislative squeeze here to get things through. It is expected later but I c...More Button

The midlands were very alert and energetic last Sunday week under the tutorship of Deputy Bannon down in Ballinalee. This Bill is not due until next year but, as the Deputy is aware, the Minister ...More Button

I can confirm for Deputy Durkan that the heads of the children (amendment) Bill were approved in April. It is scheduled for publication later this year. The heads of the bail Bill have not yet co...More Button

Maybe the news did not get as far as Tipperary yet, but the education and training boards were established yesterday.More Button

The local government Bill is a substantial measure and we expect to have it published and dealt with before the end of the year.More Button

We have had intensive discussions about that. Report Stage of the Construction Contracts Bill is to be taken in the House next week.

  In response to Deputy Healy-Rae, some 60,0...More Button

If the Deputy has a number of constituents who are affected, he should see to it that the outstanding details are submitted and the grants will be paid. As I said, fewer than 100 out of 60,000 hav...More Button

They need the details, Deputy.More Button

It would not be needed today anyway, but it will be taken later this year.More Button

European Council in Brussels: Statements

I am pleased to brief the House on the outcome of last month's meeting of the European Council which took place in Brussels on Thursday and Friday of last week, 27 and 28 June, the final two workin...More Button

European Council in Brussels: Statements (Continued)

We found a compromise that we were happy to recommend to our respective institutions. The European Council on Thursday night confirmed the political agreement of the member states and the Parliame...More Button

These were long and hard negotiations. I acknowledge the great work done by the Tánaiste and the Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs over many months. This is a real achi...More Button

As the meeting effectively marked the end of the Irish Presidency, it may be worthwhile for me to recall for the House some of the landmark achievements during our Presidency. We set out to make...More Button

From the beginning of January right up to last Friday, the Government worked flat out to secure our objectives. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, in intensive negotiations last week deliv...More Button

Across the Council formations they chaired, Irish Ministers worked to manage the EU's heavy agenda and to deliver results. I pay tribute to the commitment, energy and skill demonstrated by my co...More Button

We achieved agreement on Horizon 2020, the €70 billion programme for research and innovation, paving the way for the jobs of the future. We hosted last month's Digital Agenda Assembly in Dublin,...More Button

Of course, the search for growth and jobs does not stop at Europe's borders - nobody knows this better than people in a small open economy like Ireland. A lasting achievement of our Presidency w...More Button

In other areas Ireland sought and secured agreement on proposals that will underpin jobs and growth in the EU for investment across the portfolio of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Na...More Button

When the Government came into office, we promised to restore Ireland's standing as a respected and influential member of the European Union. The successful conduct of Ireland's seventh Presidenc...More Button

Of course, Ireland's engagement with Europe does not end with the Presidency. I am determined that now we should build on the goodwill we have earned, maintaining and developing the contacts we ...More Button

Our experience over the past six months shows the determining role now played by the European Parliament since the endorsement of the Lisbon treaty. The Oireachtas also had a busy Presidency age...More Button

This Presidency was our first in a trio that includes Lithuania and Greece. Lithuania has taken up the baton with enthusiasm and determination and I wish both our partners every success in imple...More Button

The outcome of last month's European Council was welcome, as it focused us on the two pressing issues of youth employment and access to finance. These are not abstract concepts. They are real a...More Button

The meeting has placed us on the right track in areas such as the European semester, the compact for growth and jobs or our clear focus on concluding banking union. I was delighted to have had t...More Button

Who wrote that?More Button

Is Deputy Martin going to tell us?More Button

He has no control over that.More Button

There are no papers.More Button

There will be no secret inquiries.More Button

The Government has made significant progress but the Deputy will not admit it.More Button

The only truth the Deputy has spoken today is he failed to admit it-----More Button

What about reform of the Common Fisheries Policy or CAP reform or Erasmus programme reform or the Europe 2020 targets?More Button

Fire that scriptwriter.More Button

The Minister had an historical achievement.More Button

Go raibh maith agat.More Button

Departmental Staff Numbers

Was asked: the number of staff in his Department who availed of term time in 2012; the average duration of such in 2012; the number that will do so in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of staff in organisations or agencies under the aegis of his Department who availed of term time in 2012; the average duration of such in 2012; the number that will do so in 2013; and if...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 and 141 together.

  Three staff availed of the Shorter Working Year (formerly known as term time) in my Department in 2012 and the average du...More Button

Was asked: the number of senior staff in his Department that were in the Department at the time of the banking guarantee in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of senior staff in his Department, who were there at the time of the banking guarantee that are in the same positions they held at the time.More Button

Was asked: in view of his statements regarding the banking guarantee, in which he stated that there were no files of any import held in his Department regarding events at that time, if he has asked officials ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 150 to 152, inclusive, together.

  There were 28 senior members of staff in my Department at the time in question. This includes civil servants ...More Button

Departmental Staff Training

Was asked: the number of staff in his Department who availed of study or training leave in 2012; the average duration of such leave; if all staff availing of this leave received full pay and benefits during t...More Button

Was asked: the number of staff in organisations or agencies under the aegis of his Department who availed of study or training leave in 2012; the average duration of such leave; if all staff availing of this ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.

  Some 11 staff from my Department availed of study leave in 2012. The average duration of leave taken was 4.05 days. To ...More Button

Economic Competitiveness

Was asked: if he will outline gross value added for the most recent five years for which data is available; and the way gross value added compares with Northern Ireland and Britain over this time period.More Button

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Was asked: the number of temporary clerical officers that have been employed by his Department over each of the past three years; the number of those who have been retired public-civil servants; his views on ...More Button

Five Temporary Clerical Officers were employed by my Department over the last 3 years, none of whom were retired public/civil servants.More Button

Recruitment to the Civil Service is governed by the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act, 2004 and by the Civil Service Regulation Acts, 1956-2005. The 2004 Act establish...More Button

The CPSA has developed Codes of Practice to apply to open recruitment and internal promotion competitions. The Codes cover the areas of probity, selection on the basis of merit, equity and fairn...More Button

Official Engagements

Was asked: if he will report on his visit to Boston; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I visited Boston from 18 to 20 May following an invitation from Fr. William Leahy, President of Boston College to receive an honorary degree in Law and to deliver the Commencement Address at the Bo...More Button

Cabinet Committee Meetings

Was asked: the number of times the various Cabinet sub-committees have met since the last recess. More Button

Since the Easter recess: the Cabinet Committee on Mortgage Arrears and Credit Availability has met twice, the Cabinet Committee on Public Service Reform has met once, the Cabinet Committee on Healt...More Button

European Council Meetings

Was asked: if he will report on his meetings with other Heads of State during the last EU Council. More Button

I attended the European Council in Brussels on 27-28 June. While I had no formal bilaterals with other Heads of State or Government, I did of course see them all at the meeting.

 &nb...More Button

International Summits

Was asked: if he will report on the cost to his Department of the G8 Summit in County Fermanagh.More Button

The G8 Summit in County Fermanagh on 18/19 June was hosted and paid for by the British Government.

  There may be some minor travel costs accruing to my Department, in respect o...More Button