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 Header Item Order of Business (Continued)
 Header Item Equality in Education Bill 2015: First Stage

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 899 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams] I have huge concerns that what we have just heard from the Taoiseach is him kicking for touch on this issue. I raised the matter of emergency legislation last week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We cannot have a debate on this now.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams It is 12 minutes into this and I have only spoken two sentences.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I know, but there are other Deputies waiting to get in.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams I am a Deputy as well, so let me say my piece.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I give the Deputy a fair crack of the whip. Is it about promised legislation?

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Yes.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Then do not debate.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Taoiseach has written to me and others. I have read his letter. He says that he put forward legislation the previous time based upon what the parties here said. He rejected every amendment we tabled. We voted against the legislation for exactly the reasons that have been vindicated because we are now in the mess the Taoiseach has created for us. He says he cannot publish the Attorney General's advice. That means he has decided not to. He could publish the advice if he wished. Of course, I would be pleased to meet the Taoiseach and other Opposition leaders, but I have no confidence he is going to deal with this issue.

On the criminal justice (Stormont House Agreement) (implementation) Bill, the key issue relates to dealing with the past. I met last week with the family of Seamus Ludlow who was shot dead by a Unionist paramilitary gang. His case was recommended by the Barron report and the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights in its final report of March 2006 recommended that there be two commissions of investigation. The Government has not moved on that. Will the Government act on the recommendations? Will it agree to implement the joint committee's recommendation to establish the two commissions of investigation?

On the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, I have asked the Taoiseach for as long as three weeks to set time aside for a debate on the outcome of the Paris climate change conference. We saw with Storm Desmond the impact of climate change on communities, families and small businesses.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Thank you.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Paris conference concludes on Friday. The Taoiseach's position on matters of climate justice is contradictory. Will he allow a debate in the House as soon after Friday as possible?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I do not agree with the Deputy. I merely set out the situation in so far as we as a country are part of the European Union and have signed on for serious reductions in targets. I merely point out that in the technical discussions that will take place, we have a different profile. We will meet our target between 2020 and 2030 but no targets have been set for our country yet. The climate Bill has gone to the President for signature. I will ask the Whip to consider the time allocations to see whether it might be possible to have a debate or some comments in respect of the Paris COP21 discussions.

I look forward to meeting Deputy Adams, Deputy Martin and others to discuss the IBRC. On the criminal justice (Stormont House Agreement) (implementation) Bill, Seamus Ludlow, God rest him, is not the only one who has been involved here. Let us see how the North-South ministerial meeting on Friday progresses. It is First Minister Robinson's last one. I hope Stormont can stand up to the test. I will consider the implications of what Deputy Adams has said in regard to the late Seamus Ludlow.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams My question was on a recommendation of a committee in this State that there be two commissions of investigation into the killing of Seamus Ludlow.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We must consider the implications of these given where we are at the moment.

Deputy Jim Daly: Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly The Taoiseach is well aware at this stage of my concerns about the lack of any grievance procedure for parents of school-going children. It is an ongoing issue and an ongoing failure on the part of the State to address this issue adequately. Among a number of key indications we want to see brought forward is the school admissions Bill. When will it be brought in? It would enable us to progress this issue and ultimately to move to the establishment of an ombdudsman for education. It is important to bring the legislation before the House as speedily as possible.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Bill is awaiting Second Stage. I cannot see it being taken before Christmas but it will be taken early in the new year.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten It is 22 months since the motorised transport grant and mobility allowance scheme left people with a disability marooned in their homes awaiting the establishment of an alternative scheme in the health (transport support) Bill which was to be published in September 2014. What is the delay in the publication of the Bill and when will we see it?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny The Deputy will see it in the new year, as he is well aware. There have been quite a number of complications about that.

Deputy Ray Butler: Information on Ray Butler Zoom on Ray Butler When is publication of the building control Bill expected to place construction industry registry Ireland on a statutory footing thereby providing in law for the registration of builders, contractors and specialist subcontractors?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I do not have a date for Deputy Butler on that. It will be in the new year.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I remind the Taoiseach that there are five working days left to get the one-year bankruptcy Bill enacted and operational. There should be no more than two years' income attachment as one of the provisions.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We are not discussing the matter now.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I am just reminding the Taoiseach. It is helpful to be reminded. The second issue is that the life of a constituent, Ibrahim Halawa, may be under threat. A phone call before the 15th------

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett That is not on the Order of Business. It was discussed during Taoiseach's questions, if the Deputy was here.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews Sorry, I missed that. Lastly-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett On promised legislation, now.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews This is legislation. It is the game-changing promise in June 2012. We have €25 billion of promissory bonds long-dated to 40 years outstanding at the moment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please do not start off again, Deputy.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I am not starting again. Please bear with me, a Cheann Comhairle.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am not bearing with you. This is about promised legislation and it happens every time I call the Deputy. I was not going to call him and in future I will not if he keeps going on like this.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews The Taoiseach understands we need legislation.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Everybody else has to adhere to the rules of the House bar you in your mind.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews The National Pensions Reserve Fund was raided, Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Taoiseach is not going to answer your question. We are moving on to the Equality in Education Bill 2015. I call Deputy Jonathan O'Brien.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews The National Pensions Reserve Fund was depleted by €17 billion in 2012. We have a crisis in housing, a hospitals crisis and a homelessness crisis.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please resume your seat. You will be taking a walk once again if you are not careful.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews We have €25 billion of bonds that should be torn up.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please resume your seat. The Deputy's microphone is to be turned off.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews This is becoming a nonsense.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Resume your seat or I will have to name you, which means you will be out for three days.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews Would that not be awful? There are five working days left.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Take the choice. Resume your seat.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews Why not ask the Taoiseach if he would like to answer the question?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett You are out of order. Resume your seat, please.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Deputy Mathews could be going for an early shower.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews I will resume my seat in 30 seconds.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett You will not take 30 seconds.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews The €25 billion in bonds should be torn up.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Resume your seat. I am on my feet and, in accordance with Standing Orders, the Deputy must resume his seat while I am on my feet.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews We are all on the same side. We want to serve the people.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe You are not on our team, Peter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Leave the House.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews The Order of Business is what we arrange. This is really upsetting.

Equality in Education Bill 2015: First Stage

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I move:

That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to repeal without exception provisions of law allowing for discrimination on religious grounds against children in admissions to school; to mandate the Minister for Education and Skills to modernise the curriculum and to provide for related matters.

The Bill we introduce today seeks to repeal the provisions which allow an educational establishment to discriminate against children on religious grounds, specifically the indefensible discrimination against children contained in section 7(3)(c) of the Equal Status Act.


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