Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Local Government Bill 2013: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 821 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 78 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy David Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton] There has been a mayor in Youghal since 1209 and this rich tradition is invaluable. The history of Youghal is mind blowing. Walter Raleigh lived in Myrtle Grove, Youghal, and he brought tobacco and potatoes to Ireland. The Clock Gate was built in 1777 and it was used to hang people. There is a great deal going on in the town. I am sad that this history and tradition will come to an end. I ask Members to consider what we mean by leadership in a locality. Often in towns and cities in the US and Europe, the mayor is the leader and focal point. He or she has a responsibility and authority to make things happen and to lead the people. Last year the mayor of Cobh visited New York and attended a number of functions and because he was wearing the chain, he represented the people of the town. I am sad that this might be lost. Perhaps there are ways and means to prevent this tradition being lost completely. Will the Minister and officials examine whether there is a way to preserve this tradition, which has been unbroken in Youghal since 1209? Youghal had its charter before Dublin, which received its charter in 1229, and Belfast which received its charter in 1613. We must move carefully to see what we can do.

County Cork is large and it has eight municipal districts, although they do not have any authority. A number of these districts have more people living in them than some of our smaller counties. For instance, Fermoy district has more people than County Leitrim. The west Cork district has eight seats and it is extraordinarily long. It extends from the peninsulas almost as far as Kinsale. Where will the centre of leadership be in this districts? What powers will the new committees have? Will there be a mayor in each district? Where will the staff be located? It must be borne in mind that they have local knowledge, which they have built up over many years. It must be clarified how they will be organised given their concern about their future. They know the people, houses, streets, roads and so forth in their areas and they work well within them.

Deputy Conway pointed out community councils will be established. Carrigaline, Glanmire and Ballincollig are large towns that do not have local councils but they are working well. I acknowledge what the Minister is trying to do by establishing districts with a critical mass of people. There are rural areas in the hinterland of towns which are represented currently by county councillors rather than town councillors. I would like the smaller districts to be cohesive, thereby making leadership clearer.

Where will the responsibility for budgets lie? The members can have a discussion with the new chief executive officer but they will not have control of their own budgets or the ability to raise money locally. The property tax is linked to this. It is important that there should be clarity. If somebody pays the local property tax, he or he should know what he or she is getting in return. This legislation presents an opportunity for major reform of the local authority system and to inform people how the property tax is being collected and how it is being spent.

Debate adjourned.

Business of Dáil

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Paul Kehoe): Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe I move:

  That, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, the proceedings on No. 21 shall be interrupted at 11.30 a.m. to allow statements from the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and statements in reply from the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order but who shall not exceed five minutes in each case and the Order shall resume at 12.15 p.m. with Leaders' Questions and the Order of Business.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I oppose the motion in terms of the timing involved. It is a very shambolic way of treating Parliament regarding this important issue. We have no objection to facilitating a statement from the Government on the issue at hand, although we have been seeking over the past number of weeks a fuller debate on the issues relating to the exit strategy from the troika programme. To come in at 11.15 a.m. and propose a change to the order to provide for a debate in 15 minutes of a half hour duration with five minutes each without any time for consideration of the issues and without any knowledge of what the Government statement will contain is not acceptable in the context of the Government's relationship with the Dáil. It is typical and follows a pattern regarding how the Government treats the Dáil. There cannot be a more fundamental or important issue than this but the Opposition has not been apprised or consulted, good, bad or indifferent. The Government has summoned the Dáil to tell Members it will amend the schedule in 15 minutes and give a number of them five minutes each with nobody else getting an opportunity to speak on this. It is disgraceful and wrong.

We had a great deal of debate over the past month or six weeks in the context of the referendum on Dáil reform. I attended a Constitutional Convention meeting last night to observe what was going on. There were many interested citizens discussing the role of Government and Parliament and so on. I ask the Chief Whip to bear my comments in mind and to change the order.

Deputy Paudie Coffey: Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey There was no consultation when the troika came in. The Deputy denied they were coming.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Please allow the Deputy to conclude.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin There was wider debate on the issues.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan There was in the media.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Sorry, I am entitled to speak without interruption. The Deputies opposite want to suppress speech. That is their attitude.

Deputy Paudie Coffey: Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey Fianna Fáil was in denial.

Deputy Patrick O'Donovan: Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan What about Fianna Fáil Ministers outside Dublin Castle?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Deputy O'Donovan does not run the Dáil.

Will the Chief Whip agree to resume proceedings at 12 noon to give Members reasonable time to prepare for the debate in an informed manner? It is almost 11.20 a.m. and he has proposed that we return to the House in ten minutes to debate something about which we have not been apprised. The Cabinet has met and, therefore, the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste clearly have an idea. Otherwise, this is just a PR stunt from the Government. That is fair enough if that is what it wants to do. However, we want to be constructive. Why not amend the proposal to suspend the House now until 12 noon when the Taoiseach can come to the House and we will follow the same sequence the Chief Whip outlined with a commitment to a full debate subsequently at an agreed time?

Deputy Martin Ferris: Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris This is a terrible way to do business. In ten minutes, an announcement will be made with five minutes allocated to Opposition parties to respond without even knowing what is the announcement. It is disgraceful and the Government is treating the House with contempt given it can come in here and do this without accountability. It is a bad way to do business and it sets a bad example. This undermines the credibility of the House.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen Other Members wish to make a point of order.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley On a point of order-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I call the Minister of State. Only party leaders can contribute.


Last Updated: 08/05/2020 17:50:07 First Page Previous Page Page of 78 Next Page Last Page