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 Header Item Bord na Móna (Continued)
 Header Item Firearms and Offensive Weapons (Amendment) Bill 2019: Second Stage [Private Members]

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 987 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton] The decision An Bord Pleanála has made has been made in respect of west Offaly. The application from Lough Rea is with Longford County Council. Edenderry has permission for co-firing up to 2023. That was not clear from the contributions.

I am very much aware that this is a serious threat and that we have to take it seriously. We must seek the best outcome for the workers. I have met them and am very much aware of their concerns and expectations of work based on the co-firing approach. If that approach cannot be adopted, we need to consider the contingencies associated with replacing it for the workers involved. We are examining all the options to ensure we will be in a position to make decisions in the interest of the workers and the region and in the context of the climate action plan on which we are working. I assure the Deputies that this is a top priority in my Department and that it is receiving the attention it deserves.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy The next issue is in the name of Deputy Kelly, who wishes to discuss the decision to move the new Tipperary-Clare regional Garda headquarters to Ennis. Will the Minister of State, Deputy Canney, be taking it?

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Seán Canney): Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney If Deputy Kelly wants to wait for the Minister, that is fine with me.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The practice in this House is that a relevant Minister answers the questions. I mean no disrespect to the Minister of State, Deputy Canney, but he is not a Minister in the Department of Justice and Equality. If he were a Minister of State in that Department, it would be fine. As a former Minister, I know that all Ministers' first duty is to this House. I believe there are four Ministers in the Department of Justice and Equality. There are certainly three. Where are they?

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I am deputising as Chair and I have no responsibility for the Minister or Ministers of State.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I am not saying that.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I advise the Deputy to take it up with the Ceann Comhairle. This has arisen before. All I can do is advise-----

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I mean no disrespect to the Minister of State, Deputy Canney, who is a fine Minister of State in his own area, but to be fair he will only be reading a script. This is about a very serious issue, namely, the loss of the regional headquarters of An Garda Síochána in Tipperary. They are being moved to Ennis. To be fair to the Minister of State, although he knows my county well, he would not have knowledge about this topic. I have many serious questions. I find it extraordinary that the Department of Justice and Equality cannot honour this House by having a Minister available to deal with such a serious issue.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I understand the Deputy's frustration. It is not the first time this has happened. All I can say is that I will talk to the Ceann Comhairle. I now ask the Deputy to proceed.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly No. I will not be proceeding. This is disrespectful to the House.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I am here chairing. If the Deputy does not wish to raise his matter, I will suspend the House for the next few minutes.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly That is fine. I am entitled to make my point. I mean no disrespect-----

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I allowed the Deputy to make his point.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I mean no disrespect to the Acting Chairman. There is no point in my coming in here to raise a topical issue if there are Ministers available and if not one has the courtesy to answer a serious question pertaining to his or her Department. It is just not acceptable. The custom and practice here is that if a Minister from the Department is not available, the Department contacts the person asking the question, in this case me, to seek agreement on another arrangement. That never happened. This is insulting to this House and to me as the questioner.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I do not dispute the case the Deputy is making and I understand his frustration but if he wishes to withdraw his issue, he may do so now.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly What is the point in asking my question? I mean no disrespect to the Minister of State who is present, Deputy Canney. What is the point?

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy I presume that if the relevant Minister is not available, a Minister of State takes the question. We do not like it but that is the procedure.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly The procedure is to make a Minister of State from the relevant Department available. In this scenario, none of the three Ministers of State seems to be available. In this case, the procedure is that the questioner should be asked whether it is acceptable for another Minister or Minister of State to take the question. I was not asked. I expected to have a Minister from the Department of Justice and Equality here today. It is the norm.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy The Deputy has made his point. If he wishes, he can defer the matter. I cannot do anything else for him.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I understand that. I have no issue with the Acting Chairman. What I am saying is accurate. This is insulting and wrong. That the Department of Justice and Equality could not bother its backside to make one Minister or Minister of State available, or extend to me the courtesy of telling me they were not available, reflects on how seriously it takes the issue of policing in County Tipperary. I would like to know where the Ministers' diaries are. I would like to know where they all were today. They had not the courtesy to come into this House and talk to the people of County Tipperary, through their public representative, about why these policing changes are being made in the county. I will not be proceeding with my topical issue. I mean no disrespect to the Minister of State who is present. It has nothing to do with him at all, to be fair to him. Through the Office of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, who has just entered the Chamber, I wish to find out why a Minister or Minister of State was not made available or why his or her absence was not communicated to me beforehand.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy As I said, I totally understand the Deputy's frustration and can see the point he is making. I will talk to the Ceann Comhairle.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly It is more than a point. It is the custom and practice.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy We are not going to start arguing over words. All I can say to the Deputy is that if he wishes to defer his matter, he should do so and take the matter up with the Ceann Comhairle. I will also speak to the Ceann Comhairle about it.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I thank the Acting Chairman.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher To clarify what was said by the Acting Chairman, Deputy Eugene Murphy, if a Minister or Minister of State from the relevant Department is not available or will not be available, it is normal to tell the Office of the Ceann Comhairle.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly Did it happen in this instance?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I cannot say categorically but I doubt if we were told. If we had been, the officials would have dealt with it. It is the Deputy's right to request a deferral. I will ask the Ceann Comhairle to consider the matter for tomorrow or the next day the Deputy is available.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Firearms and Offensive Weapons (Amendment) Bill 2019: Second Stage [Private Members]

Deputy Jim O'Callaghan: Information on Jim O'Callaghan Zoom on Jim O'Callaghan I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

  I welcome the opportunity to open the Second Stage debate on the Firearms and Offensive Weapons (Amendment) Bill 2019. The purpose of this legislation is to amend the legislation of 1990, the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990 and, in particular, to amend section 9 of that Act, which deals with the carrying of knives.


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