Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Order of Business (Continued)

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 891 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 73 Next Page Last Page

(Speaker Continuing)

[The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald]  It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that Nos. 14 to 20, inclusive, shall be decided without debate, and shall be moved together and decided by one Question which shall be put from the Chair.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt There is one proposal to be put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with Nos. 14 to 20, inclusive, proposed approval of the exchange of information relating to tax matters for Argentine Republic, Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Saint Christopher (Saint Kitts) and Nevis, double taxation relief re taxes on income for Ethiopia and Pakistan, double taxation relief re taxes on income and capital gains for Zambia and Germany, without debate agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher We had quite a comical scene in recent days with Government Deputies from the two political parties fighting over microphones in radio studios throughout the country trying to take credit for the capital investment programme that was announced. It would be important to have a debate on that capital investment programme in the House. In that context we should have enough time to talk about the real issue that is at the heart of Irish society at present, which is homelessness and the housing crisis in general. It is always politicised as was seen this morning with more one-upmanship on dealing with an issue that is now at crisis point.

Let us be under no illusions; it is a legacy on the Government parties' behalf. They came into government claiming that there were too many houses in the country and they are leaving government with a shortage of houses. We are now putting people into emergency portakabins. By any stretch of the imagination the homelessness issue has been an unmitigated failure on the Government's behalf to address what was always going to be an issue. People do not stop growing up, having children, growing older or forming different house formations. All of that was politely ignored by the Government for the past four and a half years. We now find that we are running around trying to find emergency accommodation in portakabins for families.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Is the Deputy calling for a debate?

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher At the start of the Government's term, it claimed it would knock 10,000 or 11,000 houses because there were too many in the country. So it is a fair legacy to have after four and a half years. Could we have a debate on the capital investment programme to allow all parties to discuss the ambition or lack of it in that and the inherent difficulty in terms of homelessness and the need to deal with this particular crisis and maybe even in a non-partisan way at this stage? We do not have a functioning banking system that is lending properly to people who seek mortgages. We have problems with regulations and with planning.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt The Deputy is going into detail now. I want to call the Tánaiste to reply.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher I ask for us to have that debate as urgently as possible.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton There will be a dedicated debate on the capital programme, which will put a significant amount of public investment into the capital programme over the next five years. In fact it will provide employment, particularly in the building trade for tens of thousands of people-----

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher The Tánaiste is late on that one. People are sleeping on the streets and families are sleeping in cars.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----working in that industry.

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher The Government sat on its hands and did nothing for four and a half years.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton We inherited from Fianna Fáil-----

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher They claimed we already had too many houses in the country.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Please, Deputy-----

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton ----- a country where unfortunately because of its misguided-----

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen The Government decided to use that and do nothing.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----and failed actions on the building industry-----

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen It made a conscious decision.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----we ended up with the receivers coming into Ireland from the IMF-----

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen Does the Tánaiste think that will wash with the public?

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton -----and the other institutions.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary The Government parties were elected the last time on that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton We took on the rescue and we are now at a position-----

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher The Tánaiste is between a one-trick pony and-----

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton We are now at a position where there has been an enormous improvement in the number of houses now being built. My constituency is a hive of development activity because it is on the outskirts of Dublin. I have not seen such levels of building activity. I know most of the people who are here would not be familiar with Blanchardstown and areas like that.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary We are more familiar than the Tánaiste is.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen We know there are plenty of empty houses there.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Across the constituency we now have a very significant recommencement of building homes for families which is welcome. That is happening particularly right across Dublin but it is also happening in all the other regions.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen It is on the Tánaiste's own back door.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton We are also developing a very ambitious social housing programme.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary What about the rent cap?

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton We will be very happy and there will be a debate next week on the capital programme. That will certainly happen next week.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I call Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen No debate on housing.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh I have a number of issues.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen There will be no debate on housing.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh I have asked at Whips' meetings in particular given the crisis-----

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen After another five years and the Government might have staved off another crisis.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Please, Deputy Ó Snodaigh has the floor.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Given the international crisis with refugees coming from the war-torn areas of Syria in particular and also from Kurdistan and places like that, can we have a debate quite quickly given the pronouncements made before the Dáil resumed to ensure that all the parties can lend support for Ireland to play its full part?

In her response to my question on Leaders' Questions, the Tánaiste mentioned the Dublin Docklands in particular. However, the legislation is stuck on Second Stage. If she believes that is the mechanism by which the Government will address the needs of those who are in Longboat Quay, will the Government accelerate that so that Dublin City Council, with hopefully the support of Government and legislation, can take charge and do what the Tánaiste is suggesting? It is not the full answer.

I ask about the Convention on the Constitution. On a number of occasions I have asked for debates on the outstanding reports from the convention which I have repeatedly praised as a having been a good experiment in participatory democracy. However, by the Oireachtas failing to have debates within the time it had set out, we are insulting the chair and those who took part. There was a commitment that those reports - there are three if not four left to be discussed - would be debated in the Chamber within three months of publication. At this stage it is almost two years since publication of some of those reports.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton On the important issue of debating all the reports from the Convention on the Constitution, I would be happy to suggest to the Whips, including Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh, that they might provide for more Friday and Monday sittings so that if we have a backlog we can utilise the time to allow the Members to come in here and debate-----

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh The problem is that Departments are delaying it.

The Tánaiste: Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am just trying to be helpful to the House. We have no difficulty in putting on additional time and particularly utilising Fridays and Mondays to address any of the outstanding recommendations that the Deputy feels would benefit from more detailed discussion and debate in here. We can provide a lot of time for that and I am sure many Deputies would be anxious to avail of the time to debate that in detail in here.

I understand the Dublin Docklands legislation will be in next week.

If, as a Whip, the Deputy discusses having a debate on refugees with his fellow Whips, the Government would certainly be happy to facilitate that. We have agreed in discussions with the European Union to accept a number of refugees under the European programme particularly from war-torn countries such as Syria. If there is agreement among the Whips on that issue, we would be happy to do it. As the Deputy knows, a number of people are already coming in and there is considerable co-ordination between the different agencies, including the Red Cross, which will provide services. The last time we had a significant number of programme refugees coming in, it was as a result of the conflict in Bosnia. So we have considerable experience collectively as a society of addressing these very important and significant humanitarian issues of rescuing people from what has been happening in the dreadful conflict in Syria.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt As seven Members wish to make a contribution, I ask for brevity.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary Earlier, in one of her soliloquies that passes for a reply, the Tánaiste raised the emergency services, in particular the Dublin Fire Brigade.


Last Updated: 12/10/2016 09:11:32 First Page Previous Page Page of 73 Next Page Last Page