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 Header Item Ethical Public Investment (Tobacco) Bill 2017: First Stage (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil
 Header Item Standing Orders: Motion
 Header Item Topical Issue Matters
 Header Item Messages from Seanad
 Header Item Ceisteanna - Questions
 Header Item Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 934 No. 1

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Sean Fleming: Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming] I am pleased that, in Christmas week, it divested itself of its shares in three tobacco companies. That is very welcome. It is reviewing its strategy but it could reinvest on a commercial basis if the case arose again so I want to ensure we have legislation on the Statute Book setting out the policy issue for the fund in the future. I have no doubt it will get full agreement in the House and that of the NTMA itself.

The legislation has six short sections including those relating to definitions, the duty of investors to avoid investment in tobacco companies, and direct investment in a tobacco company. Where the ISIF has an investment in a company that subsequently acquires an investment in a tobacco manufacturer, it must get a commitment that the company will cease dealing with tobacco or the Irish State will disinvest itself of its share. The sections also deal with indirect investment in tobacco companies, and allowing the Minister to bring in the commencement date.

I am grateful for the opportunity to propose this legislation and I hope it will work its way properly through the House in the weeks and months ahead.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the Bill being opposed?

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

  Question put and agreed to.

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

Deputy Sean Fleming: Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming I move: "That the Bill be taken in Private Members' time."

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl In accordance with Standing Orders, the debate will be adjourned until the next day on which Private Members' business will be taken.

  Question put and agreed to.

Business of Dáil

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We note, with regret, the passing of T. K. Whitaker last week, a truly outstanding public servant and a man of extraordinary vision and ability who left his mark on Ireland. I thought it might be appropriate to make arrangements for all Members and party leaders to make more appropriate contributions at some later time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is that agreed? Agreed. The Business Committee will make the necessary arrangements.

Standing Orders: Motion

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl We will now move on to a motion regarding Standing Orders 23, 25, 28, 39, 84A, 111F, 140, 146 and 156.

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

That, in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee on Procedure and the sub-Committee on Dáil Reform under Standing Order 107(1)(a), the Standing Orders of Dáil Éireann relative to Public Business be amended as follows:

(a) in Standing Order 23, in paragraph (1), by the deletion of subparagraph (a) and the substitution of the following:
‘(a) every Tuesday at 10 p.m. and every Wednesday at 10.15 p.m., and’;
(b) in Standing Order 25, in paragraph (1), by the deletion of ‘until 4.30 p.m.’ and the substitution of ‘for 40 minutes’;

(c) in Standing Order 28, in paragraph (3), by the deletion of ‘but for a period not exceeding 15 minutes’ and the substitution of ‘but for a period not exceeding 30 minutes on a Wednesday and 15 minutes on a Thursday’;

(d) in Standing Order 39, in paragraph (1), by the deletion of subparagraph (c) and the substitution of the following:
‘(c) The time allowed for Taoiseach’s Questions shall not exceed 45 minutes each day: Provided that the time allowed for each Question or group of Questions shall not exceed 15 minutes, of which—

(i) the time allowed for the initial reply from the Taoiseach shall not exceed three minutes, and

(ii) the time allowed for each supplementary question or the reply thereto shall not exceed one-and-a-half minutes.

Further provided that the Ceann Comhairle may, at the request of the Members present at the time, but at his or her discretion, allow more than 15 minutes (without exceeding the overall allocation of 45 minutes) for a group of Questions where the number of Questions grouped together would prevent all Members in whose names the Questions had been tabled from putting a supplementary question.’;
(e) in Standing Order 84A, in subparagraph (8)(b), by the insertion of the following after ‘may select’:
‘: Provided that the provisions of Standing Order 111F apply where the Select Committee has not considered the Ombudsman report, or a portion or portions thereof, within two months (excluding Christmas, Easter or summer recess periods) of the report being laid before either or both Houses of the Oireachtas’;
(f) by the adoption of the following Standing Order:
‘111F. Where a Select Committee does not under Standing Order 84A(8)(b) consider an Ombudsman report, or a portion or portions thereof, within two months (excluding Christmas, Easter or summer recess periods) of the report being laid before either or both Houses of the Oireachtas, the Committee shall proceed to consider the Ombudsman report, or any portions thereof not considered by the Select Committee.’;
(g) in Standing Order 140, in paragraph (1), by the deletion of subparagraph (b) (down to and including ‘8 p.m.’) and the substitution of the following:
‘(b) on Wednesdays for two hours immediately following the suspension of sitting under Standing Order 25(1): Provided that the Business Committee may, where

divisions on Government business are likely to occur, decide that the Government business will be taken at that time and the Private Members’ business deferred until 8.15 p.m.:’;
(h) by the adoption of the following Standing Order in substitution for Standing Order 146:
‘146. At a sitting of the Dáil following the death of a former Member of the Dáil, a Member of the Dáil, a Head of State, Prime Minister or other person of similar status, expressions of sympathy may be heard in accordance with arrangements agreed by the House further to a recommendation in the report of the Business Committee under Standing Order 27C.’;
and

i) in Standing Order 156, by the deletion of paragraph (3) and the substitution of the following:
‘(3) Members may speak twice on an amendment offered to a Bill on Report. The first contribution shall not exceed seven minutes and the second contribution shall not exceed two minutes: Provided that the member who moved the amendment shall also have a right of reply which shall not exceed two minutes.’.”

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Are these new Standing Orders?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl These are matters regarding Standing Orders and were agreed by the Business Committee and the Dáil reform committee prior to Christmas.

  Question put and agreed to.

Topical Issue Matters

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl I wish to advise the House of the following matters in respect of which notice has been given under Standing Order 29A and the name of the Member in each case: (1) Deputy Louise O'Reilly - GPs in Balbriggan refusing to attend to children under six due to overcapacity; (2) Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice - the delay in processing GLAS payments across the country; (3) Deputy Dessie Ellis - the use of off-road vehicles in public parks and green areas; (4) Deputy Pat Casey - the decision to close Laragh/Glendalough Post Office; (5) Deputy Frank O'Rourke - difficulties with the centralised tender for book supplies to public libraries; (6) Deputy Eugene Murphy - the absence of child psychology service in the Roscommon HSE area; (7) Deputy Tony McLoughlin - plans to deliver a fixed cardio-catheterisation lab to Sligo University Hospital in 2017; (8) Deputies John Curran and Maureen O'Sullivan - the withdrawal of funding by the HSE for Tiglin rehabilitation and addiction centre; (9) Deputy Brian Stanley - the future of the Bord na Móna plants at Kilberry, County Kildare and Cuil na Móna, County Laois; (10) Deputy Kathleen Funchion - the reduction in the number of maternity beds at St. Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny; (11) Deputy Dara Calleary - concern for jobs, employment conditions and services at Bus Éireann; (12) Deputy Seán Haughey - the provision of ambulance services in Dublin given the current threat of strike action; (13) Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin - a future location for an Alzheimer's day care unit in south Kildare; (14) Deputy Jan O'Sullivan - the opening date for the new emergency department at University Hospital Limerick; (15) Deputy Tom Neville - workplace discrimination felt by our more mature workforce; (16) Deputy Aindrias Moynihan - the extension of the deadline for applications for a bursary for certain child care staff; (17) Deputy Brendan Griffin - the touting of event tickets; (18) Deputies Mary Butler and David Cullinane - cardiac services at University Hospital Waterford and throughout the south-east region; (19) Deputy Thomas Pringle - staffing concerns at the Seaview respite home, County Donegal; (20) Deputy Clare Daly - concern with defined benefit pension schemes and particularly the planned closure of the Irish Life scheme; (21) Deputy Anne Rabbitte - conditions in University Hospital Galway emergency department; (22) Deputy Mattie McGrath - the sale of the Ulster Bank loan book to Cerberus Capital Management; (23) Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett - the Oxfam report on global wealth distribution; (24) Deputy Catherine Martin - the application of the unfair terms directive in repossessions of family homes; (25) Deputy Charlie McConalogue - the latest Bord Bia report; (26) Deputy Mick Wallace - the ESRI's report on the Traveller community in Ireland; (27) Deputy Niall Collins - an allegation of sexual assault by members of An Garda Síochána in Limerick; (28) Deputy John Brassil - conditions in emergency departments; and (29) Deputy Billy Kelleher - provision of Freestyle Libre under the long-term illness scheme.

The matters raised by Deputies Fiona O'Loughlin, Kathleen Funchion, Tom Neville and Catherine Martin have been selected for discussion.

Messages from Seanad

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Seanad Éireann has passed the Statute Law Revision Bill 2016, the Road Traffic Bill 2016, the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016 and the Courts Bill 2016, without amendment.

Ceisteanna - Questions

Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

 1. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny if the Dublin-Monaghan bombings were mentioned when he was last speaking with or when he met Prime Minister May. [39810/16]

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I discussed the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and other legacy cases with Prime Minister May when I met her in July and highlighted to her the importance of dealing with legacy issues and hoped there could be progress on the overall arrangements for dealing with the past.

This House unanimously adopted a third all-party motion on the Dublin-Monaghan bombings on 25 May, following the 42nd anniversary on 17 May. In our engagement with the British Government, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and I continue to raise and seek substantive progress on the Dáil motions and urge the British Government to allow access by an independent international judicial figure to all original documents in their possession relating to the these bombings.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, has raised the matter in his meetings with Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, on a number of occasions, outlining the importance of this issue for the Dáil and the Government and the expectation of a response. The Minister will continue to raise the Dublin-Monaghan bombings with the British Government and he has instructed his officials to remain in close contact with their British counterparts on the issue also.

The Government will continue to engage with the British Government on the request in relation to the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and pursue all possible avenues that could achieve progress on this issue, consistent with the request made by the Dáil and in the hope that this could bring some measure of closure to the families.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin As the Taoiseach said, there have been many all-party motions in this House about the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the need for the British Government to be far more forthcoming with the release of vital documentation that could bring clarity to the appalling attack and the loss of life incurred at the time. A total of 34 people, including an unborn child, were murdered as a result of the explosions that tore through the city centre of Dublin and Monaghan. We have had a significant number of inquiries such as the Barron inquiry, the McEntee inquiry and others which reveal very serious concerns and the non-co-operation of the British Government is unacceptable. Its refusal to make progress on the matter in response to a united parliamentary vote in this House is more than regrettable.

The Taoiseach said he raised this with the British Prime Minister in recent conversations and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, has also raised it on a number of occasions with the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire. What response is the Government getting? What is the British Government saying? What has the response been to the Taoiseach's proposition that an international judicial figure have access to the documentation? That would be a reasonable compromise, a reasonable avenue on which to proceed in pursuing this issue. It goes to the heart of the issues of the past and the need to make sure people are accountable. On this side of the Border we opened up our documents for various inquiries, such as those into the murders of RUC constables, and we held a judicial inquiry, the Smithwick inquiry. We fulfilled our side of the agreement but the British Government has not met its responsibilities. This can be said of others as well and I have had a scepticism about other paramilitaries from the time as to whether they are really that anxious to come forward and admit their guilt in various atrocities such as Kingsmill or other activities involving loyalist paramilitaries.

A lot of views have been given and there are genuine reasons to believe loyalist paramilitaries were involved in these atrocities and that British security forces, through inactivity or non-action, could have facilitated the atrocities. There is an urgent need to explore these issues fully and comprehensively and to get access to all the evidence. The British Government has stonewalled in the name of national security and this is damaging. It is injurious to British-Irish relations and the idea that, whatever about non-state actions, the state and governments have certain norms by which they must abide in the conduct of their duties. The potential orchestration of these explosions by elements of the British security forces should be fully examined. These were the worst atrocities of that period, coming as they did against the backdrop of the Sunningdale agreement, and we must spare no effort to get to the truth. I pay tribute to Justice for the Forgotten, which has been campaigning relentlessly over the years for justice and the truth.

The Taoiseach said he wanted to explore every avenue. Can he identify what "every avenue" might mean? What other ideas has the Government come up with to pursue the issue over and above what has been said to the British Government so far? What has the British Government response has been to the recent attempts by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, to raise this issue?


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