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 Header Item Community Sector High Level Forum (Continued)
 Header Item Estimates for Public Services 2019: Message from Select Committee
 Header Item Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019: Committee Stage

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 980 No. 4

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Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Information on Paschal Donohoe Zoom on Paschal Donohoe We do know the size of it. I have shared with the House on a number of occasions the different figures that are involved in this. The key point I would make to Deputy Curran in response to the points he made is that the Government is not the employer. These were companies and organisations that were formed to provide services to which the State made a contribution. I know that Deputy Curran, as Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection, will appreciate the challenges involved here. As the Deputy knows, we are about to embark on a process in which we will be asking people, through the pensions master scheme and automatic enrolment, to forgo earnings to build up a pension in the future. However, we would face a great challenge were we to say that for another group of employees, we are going to do that retrospectively. How do we handle that issue for the citizens in our State? That is what is at the heart of this issue.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I thank the Minister. The issue may require more time but that is the best I can do.

  Written Answers are published on the Oireachtas website.

Estimates for Public Services 2019: Message from Select Committee

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence has completed its consideration of the revised Estimate for Votes 35 and 36 for the year ending 31 December 2019.

Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019: Committee Stage

SECTION 1
  Question proposed: "That section 1 stand part of the Bill."

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney May I speak to Part 1?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Yes. Section 1 is in Part 1.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney To be helpful, I wish to explain to Members the position with regard to Part 1. It is a well-worn phrase but there is no getting away from the fact that Brexit will bring real changes for all of us. This legislation is about how we respond to that in a worst-case scenario. I will briefly outline the purpose of Part 1. Section 1 of Part 1 is standard and provides for the Short Title and collective citation and construction of the Bill. Section 2 of Part 1 provides for responsible Ministers to commence the relevant Parts of the Bill at the appropriate date and time. It ensures that, even when enacted, the legislation will not come into effect unless needed in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Obviously, we continue to hope that this will not be needed. As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade I have responsibility for commencing Parts 1 and 15. Part 15 is different in that it relates to an agreed Brexit. If the withdrawal agreement is ratified, then Part 15 will be commenced to deal with a specific issue arising during the transition period. Part 1 simply deals with the Short Title and commencement arrangements that are necessary for individual Ministers.

Why is the Leas-Cheann Comhairle throwing his hands in the air?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I just thought that we were going to move quickly.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney We will do so but I just wanted to give an explanation of what Part 1 achieves.

  Question put agreed to.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Amendments Nos 1 to 3, inclusive, have been ruled out of order.

Amendments Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, not moved.

  Section 2 agreed to.

  Section 3 agreed to.

SECTION 4

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Amendment No. 4 has been ruled out of order. Amendments Nos. 5, 8, 9, 20 and 21 are related and may be discussed together. Amendment No. 8 is a logical alternative to amendment No. 5, while amendment No. 20 is consequential on amendment No. 9.

Amendment No. 4 not moved.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I move amendment No. 5:

In page 9, lines 34 and 35, to delete line 34 down to and including “Reform,” in line 35 and substitute the following:
“75A. (1) (a) The Minister may”.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am sorry to interrupt but the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, is on his way to deal with the amendments related to health which are in Part 2. Obviously the Deputy can speak to his amendment but I just want to make sure that the House gets the respect of individual Ministers dealing with sections relevant to their Departments.

Deputy Lisa Chambers: Information on Lisa Chambers Zoom on Lisa Chambers The Minister should be here on time.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney To be fair, we have moved pretty quickly thus far. I am impressed with the speed of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly I am happy to wait for the Minister.

Deputy David Cullinane: Information on David Cullinane Zoom on David Cullinane Just to clarify, are we taking amendments Nos. 5, 8, 9, 20 and 21 together?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Yes. We are on amendment No. 5 now.

Deputy Stephen Donnelly: Information on Stephen Donnelly Zoom on Stephen Donnelly Deputy Lisa Chambers and I have tabled amendments Nos. 5, 9 and 20 in this grouping. They refer specifically to the need for the Minister for Health to seek the consent of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, should he or she wish to make any order or regulation. Section 75A relates to the sitting Minister for Health being able to make arrangements. It reads:

The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, make such order or orders as he or she considers necessary to continue in being or carry out any reciprocal or other arrangements in relation to health services which were in operation between the State and the United Kingdom immediately before the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from membership of the European Union.

Section 75B essentially says the same thing with regard to regulations.

  Obviously there is a relatively complex and important set of relationships between Ireland and the United Kingdom in the realm of health care, whether that be using Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Derry or ambulance services moving north and south of the Border. In fact, the vast majority of cross-Border ambulance traffic comprises ambulances from Northern Ireland responding to emergency calls in the South and bringing citizens of the Republic to hospital. We also have the cross-border directive and the treatment abroad scheme. The relationship is very complex and the issues involved are very important. There are many people throughout this country who are waiting to have surgery carried out in one of the larger UK hospitals or waiting for UK doctors to come here to provide, for example, some very specialised paediatric services. Highly specialised surgeons and their teams regularly come from UK hospitals and spend a day or more in Irish hospitals, operating on patients.

  My concern is that the sitting Minister for Health may need to be able to make quick decisions. Let us say a surgeon and his or her team are coming over to Crumlin hospital for two days of operations but something pops up. We will be living in a world of unintended consequences and complexities, not all of which we are able to foresee.


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