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 Header Item Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)
 Header Item Business of Dáil

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 942 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice: Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice] The Government will soon be one year in power. Many of these reviews seem to be kicked down the road. On what date will information be available on the Garda stations that will be reopened in rural areas?

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald This is an operational matter for An Garda Síochána. I expect to have a final report in May.

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan The Garda Síochána (compensation for malicious injuries) Bill is promised legislation. When is it likely to be aired in the House?

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald We are still examining legal advice on that Bill. When I have it, I will be in a better position to outline the timeline to the Deputy.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy Rae Zoom on Danny Healy Rae House building and the provision of housing for the homeless are some of the main aims of the Government. Why is the Government, including the Minister, not dealing with the fact that the tenant purchase scheme is not working? Some 80% of applicants do not qualify. Clearly, the scheme is not working. The money that used to be derived from purchases used to go towards repairing the voids and making vacant houses available again, such that they could be turned around for new tenants. The whole scheme is blocked and not working.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl That is not really relevant to the Order of Business. Does the Tánaiste want to make any reference to this matter?

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald As the Deputy knows, a new scheme was announced a number of months ago. I will ask the relevant Minister to communicate with the Deputy on the progress on the scheme at this point. There is a lot of incorrect information going around.

Deputy Pat Buckley: Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley On promised legislation, the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, some Members may not be receiving accurate information when it comes to requesting information through parliamentary questions. This gives rise to extremely important concerns. I draw the Tánaiste's attention to a parliamentary question I submitted in early February regarding the number of ambulance call-outs in east Cork, particularly Midleton and Youghal. I received an answer on 7 March. I requested in tabular form the number of calls for 2015 and 2016 in these towns. To my amazement, the figure I got back indicated 2,647 calls were responded to in Midleton in 2015, yet we did not have an ambulance in Midleton in 2015. How could this be?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Tánaiste cannot answer in respect of parliamentary questions. If the Deputy wants to take that matter up with my office, I will happily pursue it for him.

Deputy Pat Buckley: Information on Pat Buckley Zoom on Pat Buckley Go raibh míle maith agat.

Deputy Brian Stanley: Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley Guidelines on wind farms are long promised. They were first promised four years ago and four Ministers ago. Wind farm proposals are continuing to receive planning permission and are proceeding to construction. The reason for the latest delay is the European Court of Justice's ruling on the Belgian case. It sets a requirement for a strategic environmental assessment. That will take time. The Government is aware of this since October, which is when the European Court of Justice ruled in the case. The Government promised to have guidelines in place within three to six months of coming into office. It is heading towards 12 months in office and the matter is in its programme for Government. We have not seen any effort to move this forward. When will the Government begin the strategic environmental assessment to get this process under way? It will take six to 12 months to carry out the consultation on the strategic environmental assessment and to have the work done. When will it be started? When will we see guidelines in place for wind farms? For our part, we want to see regulations, but we do not even have guidelines. We are operating under guidelines from 2006.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I understand a lot of work has been done by the Ministers involved. The revised draft guidelines will be going out for public consultation in the near future.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl That concludes questions on promised legislation. I apologise to the seven Deputies who have not been reached.

Business of Dáil

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Pursuant to Standing Order 27E(8) and further to the orders of the Dáil on Tuesday, it is proposed that No. b4, motion re amendment of orders of reference of the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services, be taken now without debate, followed by No. c4, motion re proposed approval by Dáil Éireann of the draft Commission of Investigation (Certain matters relative to a disability service in the South East and related matters) Order 2017 (revised). With regard to c4, the following arrangements shall apply. The proceedings, if not previously concluded, will be brought to a conclusion after 40 minutes, and the speeches, which will be confined to a Minister or a Minister of State and the main spokespersons for the parties or group, or a Member nominated in their stead, shall not exceed five minutes each. The motion on the commission of investigation will be followed by the voting bloc, and questions to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine will be taken on the conclusion of the Second Stage proceedings of the Misuse of Drugs (Supervised Injecting Facilities) Bill 2017 or at 4.40 p.m., whichever is the earlier.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the proposal agreed to?

Deputy Eoin Ó Broin: Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin With respect to the proposition on the Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Domestic Water Services, there is simply no reason we should be delaying the work of the committee. We could have and should have finished this week. This is just kicking the can down the road because we cannot get an agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. We are fundamentally opposed to this part of the proposition.

Deputy Paul Murphy: Information on Paul Murphy Zoom on Paul Murphy It is definitely not agreed because we should be having a debate here today if the Government wants to postpone further the deadline for the water committee. Second, we should not be doing it at all. I guess we have had more than 50 hours of discussion in committee. We have had years of discussion in society and the matter was an important issue during the general election campaign. We have enough evidence to decide to get rid of water charges once and for all. It must be asked, and people are asking this, why we need to postpone things again. People are rightly concerned that this is an opportunity to create space for some sort of backroom deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. That is why people will come out onto the streets on Saturday, 8 April. At the very least, we need a debate today on the further postponement.

Deputy John Lahart: Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart In fairness, the water committee has been making substantial progress in a number of areas. There are approximately seven or eight headed areas. We have been making substantial progress with options papers that have been given to us by the Chairman, Senator Ó Céidigh, in regard to public ownership, public engagement and transparency, conservation measures and other issues. The Chairman has sought the advice of the Oireachtas legal counsel in regard to the 2007 Act. As do all my colleagues, I acknowledge the work and hours put into the water committee. I assure the public that we are making significant progress but we are awaiting the advice of the independent legal adviser to the Oireachtas specifically in regard to the 2007 Act.

Deputy Mattie McGrath: Information on Mattie McGrath Zoom on Mattie McGrath The Rural Independent Group, represented by Deputy Noel Grealish, has no issue with the proposal.

1 o'clock

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