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Business of Dáil (Continued)

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 930 No. 2

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  1 o’clock

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh I wish to raise a question concerning the order. I was at the Business Committee, which agreed to allow this matter to be brought before the House. I am not aware that everybody in the House is aware that this motion is to be brought before us. The schedule for the week is set on Tuesday. I do not know whether it was circulated to all Members, so I do not know whether they are aware it is happening. I am aware but it is a query.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I can confirm that a schedule was circulated to everybody this morning in the normal way.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh We were here late last night.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We were.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh When a Deputy raised the question of how to change the order last night so that we could suspend, they were told that we could not do that and that a meeting of the Business Committee was needed. We had a meeting this morning to deal with this issue but no attempt was made to have a meeting of the committee to suspend the business last night so that we could bring it into today. There is a problem there and we need to find some mechanism whereby changes to the order we decide on Tuesday can be made on an ongoing basis rather than having to hold a meeting of the Business Committee.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I thank Deputy Ó Snodaigh for his intervention.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I understand it was circulated at 11.40 a.m. this morning.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Quite possibly.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith That is not good enough because I am a member of the Business Committee and I was unaware that this was coming up, so I could not tell the people in my group or, indeed, Deputies beyond it. This is one of the most fundamental and central issues relating to what has been happening in this Dáil since we got elected. This is really what one would call pulling a fast one and it is not fair. When I stand up here to raise stuff on the Order of Business, as other Deputies do, we are constantly told that it has been agreed and done at the Business Committee, end of. All of a sudden, the Business Committee, or at least the Government Chief Whip, changes the Order of Business we agreed on Tuesday and tells us at 11.40 a.m. this morning when we have been up until 3 a.m. and we are supposed to accept that as fair treatment. It is not. It is grossly unfair. It is pulling a fast one.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I know other Deputies want to come in but to set the record straight, if we were here until 3 a.m., it was because Deputies continued to offer to speak and because the Business Committee decided that there should be no guillotine on the Finance Bill. I recall pointing out to Deputies at 9.50 p.m. that if we continued to deal with the business in the way we were, we had a further seven hours business to do at that stage, so that business was ordered by the Business Committee with Deputy Bríd Smith and Deputy Ó Snodaigh in attendance. I think it was Deputy Ó Snodaigh who raised the question about whether or not there would be guillotines.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh I did not have a problem with it-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy did not have a problem. That is very good. In respect of-----

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Ceann Comhairle is making my case.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The issue that is now before us was brought in an open and transparent manner before the Business Committee this morning. It was discussed. Deputy Bríd Smith was conscious of it because she asked whether we could have a debate about the matter and a decision was arrived at. Deputy Barry is indicating-----

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith The Ceann Comhairle will confirm that I left this room and came back in to ask him. I told him that Martina Fitzgerald from RTE had tweeted that this was coming up-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy certainly did.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith -----and that I was confused. I did not really understand. When Deputy Regina Doherty spoke at the Business Committee this morning and said she was raising this issue, we were in the middle of discussing what is coming up next week. In my naivety and "brand newness", I understood that this was coming up next week. Therefore, I think it is objectionable to pull a fast one by issuing this at 11.40 a.m. when we agreed the Order of Business on Tuesday and it was not raised.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Business Committee transacts its business in a fair, open and very accessible manner. It is not fair to allege that Deputy Bríd Smith's colleagues - all the other members of the Business Committee - were in some way involved in some sort of subterfuge to delude her as to what the business was.

Deputy Bríd Smith: Information on Bríd Smith Zoom on Bríd Smith I did not say that all my colleagues here-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy has made her point.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry I reinforce the point. Let us be quite clear about what is going on here. This is an attempt on the part of the Government with the support of Fianna Fáil to pull a really sly one on the issue of the establishment of the joint committee on the future funding of domestic water services. Let us spell out what is happening here. The motion that is being put states that "the Chairman of the Joint Committee shall be Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh." In other words, the Government over there with the support of Fianna Fáil over here, the Ceann Comhairle should allow me to continue-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl There is no provision for a debate at this time. If Members want to raise a point of order - I take it that it is a point of order - by all means, they should make a point of order. Otherwise-----

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger This is a point of order.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl No, he is going into the detail of the proposal.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger It is an important point.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl There are many important points that may need to be raised. Will Deputy Barry conclude?

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry On a point of order, a committee was established in this House earlier in the lifetime of this Dáil - the Committee on Housing and Homelessness. The chairperson of this committee was not appointed by the Government after a back room conversation with Fianna Fáil. The chairperson of that committee was elected.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There was no-----

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry The Minister should not interrupt me. The chairperson of that committee was elected. What is being proposed here is that the Government will pick the chairperson of the committee.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy has made his point so will he resume his seat?

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry I have not finished my point because there is a context to this.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl He has. Can we have order?

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry I have not completed my point.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I have allowed the Deputy loads of time.

Deputy Ruth Coppinger: Information on Ruth Coppinger Zoom on Ruth Coppinger Deputy Barry is saying that it is a breach with previous committees.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl He has made that point.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry I have further points to make about it.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl No. A point of order is something that is made briefly and succinctly. Deputy Barry has made his point. He wants to get into the committee-----

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry I have not completed my point.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy wants to get into a political debate. A motion will be brought before us which the Deputy can vote for or against, as he chooses, but we are not going any further down that road.

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry The motion should not be put today.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I do not want to be at odds with Deputy Barry. Will he resume his seat?

Deputy Mick Barry: Information on Mick Barry Zoom on Mick Barry I will not resume my seat until such time as-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We cannot have that type of approach to our business. We conduct our business here in a professional and parliamentary fashion. This is not the marketplace. I ask Deputy Barry to resume his seat or I will be forced to suspend the House. I cannot tolerate Members treating their colleagues and the House in such a disrespectful manner.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I am not talking to Deputy Coppinger. I ask Deputy Barry to resume his seat. I suspend the House.

  Sitting suspended at 1.08 p.m. and resumed at 1.20 p.m.


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