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Order of Business (Continued)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 879 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny] Let me confirm for the Deputy again, in case he cannot hear me, that the Government is not reneging on the commitment to introduce universal health insurance. It will be the universal health insurance system that will apply in this country, not as applied in the Netherlands.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin What are the costings?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny We have the Minister working on that issue.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin That is the lie, though.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I call Deputy Gerry Adams.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is not like the system in the Netherlands. That is the lie.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, Deputy. I have called Deputy Gerry Adams.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams The Taoiseach has said the marriage Bill will be ready or enacted before the summer recess, which means that it will be taken before the end of July. That is a very tight timescale. We all celebrate very much the compassionate decision taken in the referendum in favour of equality and inclusivity, but will the Taoiseach give a complete assurance that the Bill will be published before the recess? Also, we cannot have an à la carte attitude to equality. All Government economic decisions need to be equality-proofed. In particular, funding should be restored to NGOs and agencies charged with tackling inequality.

  In the programme for Government and the statement of Government priorities last year the Government affirmed its support for the full implementation of all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements. As the Taoiseach is aware, there are significant elements of the various agreements which have not been implemented, including the introduction of a Bill of Rights, Acht na Gaeilge and so on. The British Government has also threatened to scrap the Human Rights Act which is an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement. We know that the Assembly in Stormont is today debating the so-called welfare reform Bill.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am sorry, but we are on the Order of Business.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams What I am putting to the Taoiseach is that there are major pressures on the institutions in the North. This is not solely about the threatened cuts to welfare payments but also about the Tory Government's planned cuts to budgets. The Taoiseach is equal co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement. Has the Government raised these issues or concerns with the British Government? Will the Taoiseach-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am afraid he cannot do so on the Order of Business.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews At Stormont.

Deputy Gerry Adams: Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams Will the Taoiseach engage directly with the British Prime Minister and remind him that the Good Friday Agreement is a binding international treaty and that the commitments entered into in it must be implemented?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett We will have to discuss that matter.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I expect the marriage equality Bill to be enacted in the House by 16 July. I think that is the date which is perhaps the week before the House is due to rise.

I am going to meet the British Prime Minister before the next European Council meeting. I mentioned this issue to him when I rang him to congratulate him on being re-elected as Prime Minister. This country and the Government are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, as Deputy Gerry Adams is well aware. The human rights issue is dealt with in an international treaty. That is an issue I will raise with the British Prime Minister.

The Deputy mentioned a point about Acht na Gaeilge, a Bill of Rights and so on. Obviously, the focus of the Government in Great Britain was on the election. Now that the Prime Minister leads a single party Government with a majority, I will be happy to take up these matters with him again, including the fact that the Agreement should be implemented in full.

I hope discussions will take place today on the welfare issue which is of great importance. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, has been in constant contact with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State and the Deputy First Minister at Stormont. I wish the First Minister well in his recovery. I understand he was brought to hospital with a condition which I hope will be treated. I hope he will make a full recovery.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae The Taoiseach is in a unique position in that he is the only party leader who has refused to go on Radio Kerry to debate current issues.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Hold on one second.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae This comes under the Government's policy in the programme for Government on the open-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I can tell the Deputy that it is not an issue for the Order of Business.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae No, it concerns the Government's policy on openness and transparency. I have a question for the Taoiseach. Jerry O'Sullivan has been looking for him to go on Radio Kerry for a long time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy can table a question or go and talk to him, but he may not raise the issue on the Order of Business.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae The Taoiseach is refusing to-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett No, I am sorry, the Deputy is totally out of order.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I am sorry, but I am not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy is totally out of order.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I am not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy, please, resume his seat?

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae This relates to Government policy on openness and transparency.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett will the Deputy, please, resume his seat?

(Interruptions).

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I am asking the Taoiseach to go on Radio Kerry-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I do not care what Government policy states; I am dealing with the Order of Business.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae ----to talk about current issues, in the way the other party leaders have done.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I would be delighted to do so.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I thank the Taoiseach.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Please, do not respond.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I thank the Taoiseach.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Four years later.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will Deputy Michael Healy-Rae, please, resume his seat? He is making a joke out of this.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae Thank you very much.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I want to tell the Deputy something. I will not call him in future because every time I call him, I get into a dispute with him.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Either he adheres to the rules like everyone else or he does not.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I will.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy has not done so thus far.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae You know I will.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Do not plamás me.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I will adhere to the rules.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am around here long enough to recognise when someone is trying to plamás me.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae The Taoiseach answered my question, for which I thank him.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy knows exactly what goes and if he does not, will he, please, come to my office and I will tell him what he may raise on the Order of Business?

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy On behalf of Sinn Féin, I join in the good wishes to the First Minister, Mr. Peter Robinson, following his illness. I hope he will make a full recovery.

In April 2014 we brought forward the Wind Turbine Regulation Bill 2014 which was accepted on Second Stage. When will it be taken on Committee Stage? Why was there not a moratorium placed on planning applications for industrial scale wind turbine developments pending the enactment of the Bill-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett That is a separate issue.

Deputy Michael Colreavy: Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy -----or publication of new planning regulations for wind turbine developments being prepared by the Minister or the Department?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It was a Private Members' Bill. Clearly, the Minister is considering some changes to the regulations governing wind turbines. We have a duty as a country to meet climate change targets. They involve the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, as well as other Departments. I cannot speak about the planning process because, as the Deputy is aware, one does not want to interfere in any way with it. The Bill was passed on Second Stage. My understanding is the Minister will make his views known on the regulations governing wind turbines in the not too distant future. As the Deputy is aware, there are issues that cover a number of Departments.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy There is a motion on the Order Paper, No. 197, to which there are 45 signatories. Unusually, it has been signed by almost the entire Opposition. I am calling on the Taoiseach to consider allocating time for a debate on it. It concerns the review by KPMG of Siteserv and other issues. It was pointed out when we were debating the matter that there were conflicts or, at least, perceived conflicts with the individual who was to carry out the review.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am sorry, but we cannot deal with that issue on the Order of Business.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy There has been further damaged by virtue of the fact-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Is time being allocated to debate the motion?

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy -----that IBRC joined the process last week.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I am sorry, but the Deputy cannot raise this issue on the Order of Business. Will she, please, resume her seat?

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy It joined the court case last week. Essentially, a court case was taken by Mr. Denis O'Brien-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy Martin Heydon is next. I am sorry, but Deputy Catherine Murphy is out of order.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy The conflicts of interest are now greater than they were.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy is out of order. Will she, please, resume her seat? She cannot raise this matter on the Order of Business.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy If there is to be a review and we are to spend public money on it and there is someone who is-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy has a Whip. She can ask them to go to the Whips' meeting and arrange a debate.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy It seems that time should be provided-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy, please, resume her seat?

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy That there are 45 signatories on the Opposition side is no small matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett The Deputy can ask her Whip to deal with the matter at the Whips' meeting.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy I am asking the Taoiseach to consider allocating time to debate the motion.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will the Deputy, please, resume her seat?

Deputy Martin Heydon: Information on Martin Heydon Zoom on Martin Heydon I wish to ask the Taoiseach about promised legislation following last Friday's historic vote. It represented another move by the Government to improve equality in society, as well as fixing the economy. I wish to ask the Taoiseach about another issue on which the Government has made progress.


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