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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Brighter Evenings Bill 2012: First Stage
 Header Item Public Procurement Bill 2012: First Stage
 Header Item Environment and Public Health (Wind Turbines) Bill 2012: First Stage
 Header Item Topical Issue Debate
 Header Item Job Creation Issues

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 782 No. 3

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  5 o’clock

(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] The heads of the child and family support agency Bill were cleared by the Government last week. I expect it will be published before Christmas and we will proceed to implementing it as quickly as possible thereafter.

Deputy Robert Troy: Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy Like Deputy Heydon, I welcome the result of the referendum at the weekend. I believed it was envisaged that the agency would be up and running from the beginning of January. Does the relevant legislation, the heads of which will not be published until the period before Christmas, not need to be enacted to have it up and running in January? Will the Government continue to prioritise this?

The heads of the Children First Bill have been published for six or seven months. When will this legislation come before the Oireachtas? Bearing in mind the passage of the referendum, when does the Taoiseach hope to bring legislation on adoption and the best interests and voice of the child before the Oireachtas?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The adoption Bill was published in tandem with the referendum Bill. It is a case of finding time in the calendar year to debate it. The Children First Bill will be taken very early in the new year. The Attorney General and her staff are working exceptionally hard on the child and family support agency Bill and we expect to process it very quickly. Obviously, we have set out a timeline for this and I hope we can adhere to it.

Deputy Simon Harris: Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris I congratulate the Government and our diplomats on the successful election of Ireland to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Children's rights obviously comprise an important part of human rights. In this regard, I congratulate the Minister for Children, Deputy Fitzgerald, and all those involved in the "Yes" campaign, including the NGOs, on the successful passage of the referendum. Another aspect of human rights, however, concerns how our State and legal system interact with vulnerable people; I refer to the mental capacity legislation. I hope that on foot of our successful election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, this will be speeded up. Can the Taoiseach state when he expects the legislation to be published and debated in the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I know Deputy Harris has a particular interest in this matter. I thank him for his support for the referendum. The legislation is complex. It is listed to be published this session but I am not actually sure whether this can be achieved. It has proven to be complex; suffice it to say that there is a great deal of work being done thereon. I cannot give the Deputy absolute confirmation that the legislation will be ready in this session.

Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick: Information on Peter Fitzpatrick Zoom on Peter Fitzpatrick When will the civil partnership Bill be before the House?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is there legislation promised?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny That legislation is already in operation, as the Deputy will be aware.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan With regard to promised legislation, could the Taoiseach indicate the progress to date in bringing before the House the legislation to provide for an all-Ireland gas market, particularly in the context of North-South co-operation? Have the heads of the Bill been discussed by the Cabinet? When is it expected to bring the legislation before the House?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The heads have not come to the Cabinet yet. Clearly, moving towards a European grid is a matter of considerable importance. The Deputy will be aware of the recent opening of the interconnector at Batterstown. This is a matter that the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has very much in hand. It will be next year before the Bill is published.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Some 7,000 commonages will be adversely affected by changes to maximum and minimum stocking rates under the animal health and welfare legislation. This is causing great upset and worry among the farming community. What is proposed will adversely affect the welfare of animals because in some instances farmers are being told to put an unrealistic number of stock up on the hills, while in others the prescribed densities for hills are too low.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett It is in the Dáil.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Bill has been to the Seanad and is awaiting Committee Stage in this House.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae That does not answer my question.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny In fairness, it is well down the conveyor belt.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae It is important.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Will a debate be allowed with the Taoiseach and the Minister for Children on the misleading information that was given out during the referendum campaign? The Supreme Court-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Not on the Order of Business. I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I refer to the Bill. Misleading information was given out by the Government. We have an independent commission and it should be allowed-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Ceann Comhairle did not allow a Topical Issue debate or a private notice question. Therefore, I ask-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy, please, resume his seat?

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath -----whether we are to have a debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Are we going to have a debate?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy, please, resume his seat?

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath I will, but the Ceann Comhairle should note I asked him for a Topical Issue debate.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Ask Noel Davern.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Ceann Comhairle is not being fair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett It is not relevant to the Order of Business.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath Deputy Kehoe should ask Michael Fingleton about his house loan.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Ask Noel Davern.

Brighter Evenings Bill 2012: First Stage

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to require the Minister for Justice and Equality to prepare and publish a report on the costs and benefits of advancing the clocks by one hour to allow for brighter evenings and to bring Ireland into the Central European Time zone; to also allow the Minister for Justice to advance the clocks by one hour for a three year trial period and then permanently if required; and for connected purposes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is the Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Public Procurement Bill 2012: First Stage

Deputy John Lyons: Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to require that social benefits be assessed in the context of public procurement and to provide for related matters.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is the Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy John Lyons: Information on John Lyons Zoom on John Lyons I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Environment and Public Health (Wind Turbines) Bill 2012: First Stage

Deputy Willie Penrose: Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to protect the health of persons who may be affected by noise and shadow flicker from wind turbines; to give further effect to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters done at Aarhus, Denmark on 25 June 1998; and to provide for related matters.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is the Bill opposed?

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe No.

  Question put and agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Since this is a Private Members' Bill, Second Stage must, under Standing Orders, be taken in Private Members' time.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

  Question put and agreed to.

Topical Issue Debate

Job Creation Issues

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley I welcome the opportunity to address this matter with the Minister. I raise it because of the low number of visits to Laois and Offaly by companies invited here by IDA Ireland. The figures are actually unbelievable and astounding. I have raised this locally and regionally with IDA Ireland. I welcome the fact that the Minister, Deputy Richard Bruton, is present. He will recall my raising this in his office last year with representatives of industry and commerce from Laois and Offaly, the county manager and other Deputies. The taxpayers of Laois and Offaly are wondering what is happening in regard to their contribution to the IDA Ireland's budget of €86 million, which I understand is its allocation. Given the number of visits to counties Laois and Offaly last year, one wonders how such a cost arises. If the NRA and Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport stopped funding roads in the area, the people of counties Laois and Offaly would not be expected to pay road tax.

The figures are absolutely astounding. In the past three years there have been but two IDA Ireland-organised visits to County Laois by prospective companies.


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