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Business of Dáil (Continued)

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 907 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett] We must have a debate on the issue the whole country is talking about. In what I understand to be a fairly significant departure from protocol, there are issues now on the Dáil schedule that were never even mentioned at the Whips' meeting. That is not to take away from the importance of some of those issues; they are very important and deserve discussion but if this is the new politics or the politics of Dáil reform and of listening to the Opposition, it is, quite frankly, a joke. It is a bad joke. The leopards have not changed their spots one bit when it comes to respecting this House and those therein who have a democratic mandate. Irrespective of how the debate is to be fitted in, either by extending the Dáil sitting tonight or on Thursday, we have to discuss the issue that is driving the whole country mad and which has featured for weeks, namely, that of water charges and whether and how it should relate to the discussions on Government formation.

Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin We also object to the proposition to close this evening’s discourse at an earlier than usual hour. It is beyond our comprehension why the issues of Irish Water and water charges cannot be substantially addressed on the floor of this Chamber. It is the case that a motion, signed by a significant number of Deputies across parties and including non-party representatives, has been submitted. Those of us who have appended our names to this proposal are equally entitled to have this matter properly addressed in this House. We understand - or, at least, the electorate was given to understand - that a majority of Members elected to this House on 26 February were of the same mind in regard to this issue. However, some significant doubt seems to have arisen over it in the intervening period. I am putting it to the Taoiseach and the Chief Whip that it is imperative that this matter be dealt with urgently. It is the single most important issue in the conversation of ordinary people throughout this country. It is at least at the same level as the long-awaited formation of a Government. It is absolutely a requirement that this matter be brought before this House, and without any further delay. All that is required is that Deputy Kehoe propose the facilitation of the addressing of the issue in the House this evening.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Comments have been made about our Whip, who hails from Kiskeam. Those from that part of the country, and particularly our Whip, do not do choreography very well. He does not do choreography at all.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett He was doing a good job last week.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin In other words, we reject the charge and assertion that has been made by Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett. There is no choreography. In the interregnum between the election and the formation of a Government, there have been calls for various debates on a range of issues. Today we are to debate mental health, and rightly so because universally across the country, there has been an overwhelming call for action in this regard by Oireachtas legislators.

Fianna Fáil, as a political party, has been very committed to assisting and being constructive in the formation of a Government. Other parties have stood back from that process for the past 60 days, and others just did not engage or did not involve themselves in it. The formation of a Government is important in terms of resolving the issues of Irish Water and water charges. Of course, Executive action and legislative action comprise the most effective way to deal with the issues that arise from that, irrespective of one’s views on it.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Then let us debate it.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy The Government has the power to allow a debate.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin My final point is that motions, on their own, do not resolve this issue. We are not opposed on this side of the House to a debate on Irish Water. No charge could stand that we are somehow choreographing or involved in choreography; we are not.


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