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 Header Item Leaders' Questions (Continued)
 Header Item Order of Business

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 900 No. 1

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The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny I know that the community and voluntary services that deal with people with dementia around the country do a wonderful job and provide great comfort and consolation to families afflicted by dementia. The law states that when the HSE submits its report to the Minister, the Minister has 21 days to return it to the HSE. An increase of €880 million has been allocated to the Department of Health Vote and I confirm that one of the areas in which we expect a modest improvement in the level of services is mental health. The Minister will examine the HSE proposals, make his recommendations and return them to the HSE for implementation. I hope the modest improvement to which I referred will have an impact in the homes of Donegal and every other location where it is required around the country.

Order of Business

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny It is proposed to take No. 14, motion re Supplementary Estimates for public services, Votes 6, 7, 12, 17, 20, 21, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 37, 38 and 40, back from committee; and No. 2, Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 - amendments from the Seanad (resumed). It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in Standing Orders, that the Dáil shall sit later than 9 p.m. tonight and shall adjourn on the conclusion of Private Members’ business; No. 14, Votes 6, 7, 12, 17, 20, 21, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 37, 38 and 40, shall be moved together immediately after the Order of Business and the proceedings thereon shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 20 minutes by one question, and the following arrangements shall apply: the speech of a Minister or Minister of State and of the main spokespersons for Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the Technical Group, who shall be called upon in that order, shall not exceed five minutes in each case, and such Members may share their time, and any division demanded thereon shall be taken forthwith, followed by a suspension of the sitting under Standing Order 23(1); Private Members' business, which shall be No. 205, motion re the establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency (resumed), shall be taken no later than 8.30 p.m. and shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion after 90 minutes.

  Tomorrow's business after Oral Questions shall be No. 2, Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 - amendments from the Seanad (resumed); No. 36, Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Bill 2015 - Order for Report, Report and Final Stages; No. 2a, International Protection Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second Stage; and No. 2b, Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2015 [Seanad] - Second Stage.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl There are three proposals to put to the House. Is the proposal for dealing with the late sitting agreed? Agreed. Is the proposal for dealing with No. 14, motion re Supplementary Estimates for public services, agreed to?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is not agreed to. It seems extraordinary that we are dealing with Supplementary Estimates involving hundreds of millions, if not billions, of euro while the plenary session of the Dáil is not in a position to have any serious debate about them. One Supplementary Estimate alone involves €665 million for the health service, which was disgracefully treated in the past, but a total of only 20 minutes will be allocated to all of them. By any yardstick, that represents a dramatic lack of accountability on the part of individual Departments to the full assembly of the Dáil. Large amounts of taxpayers' money are being spent without any real debate or discussion on them. They have been discussed in various committees but there is a plenary session here, too, and people who are not members of individual committees-----

Deputy Arthur Spring: Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring They can attend.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin They may not have the opportunity.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy is entitled to a short contribution. I think he has made his point.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin We are talking about €1.6 billion of taxpayers' money being rushed through in 20 minutes. It is a disgrace. This is some democratic revolution. There will be five minutes for each spokesperson.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl The Deputy has made his point. This is the Order of Business.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Parliament is being consistently undermined by Government.

Deputy Peter Mathews: Information on Peter Mathews Zoom on Peter Mathews It is the law of large numbers.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny This is the return of the Estimates to the plenary session of the House. They were all discussed individually in committee, and party spokespersons and anybody else who wished had full entitlement to go to those discussions and ask any questions they wanted for as long as they wished. We are not going to have the same thing in here. They were discussed individually and in detail. I am not sure whether Deputy Martin's spokespersons turned up, but they had the opportunity to debate them at any length they wished in the place they should be debated in detail, namely, in committee.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin That is not the point. I would like to discuss them. Are we to abolish the plenary session of the Dáil?

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda Kenny Zoom on Enda Kenny Did Deputy Martin check whether his spokespersons turned up? What questions did they ask? Did they make a contribution?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin It is about every Member of the House having the opportunity. Does the Taoiseach understand Parliament?

Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Does Deputy Martin understand Parliament?

  Question, "That the proposal for dealing with No. 14 be agreed to", put and declared carried.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Is the proposal for dealing with Private Members' business agreed to? Agreed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I know that the Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, laid out the red carpet for Donald Trump recently in County Clare, but I take it the Government will not lay out the red carpet for the disgraceful and inflammatory remarks Mr. Trump made in the course of the American presidential election about banning Muslims from coming into the United States.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl On proposed legislation, Deputy.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I am coming to that. That is incitement to hatred and it is important that the Government formally makes it clear to the Republican Party in the United States that such remarks are viewed with abhorrence in Ireland and are something we would not tolerate in our democracy. In that context, when does the Taoiseach believe the criminal justice Bill will be brought forward? The remarks warrant a Government response to Mr. Trump and to the Republican Party in America, because it is a new low in terms of normal democracy.

Can the Taoiseach indicate when the Red Cross (amendment) Bill is to be published, given the role the Red Cross will be given in assisting with the horrendous flooding across the country? Can he indicate when we can expect the consumer rights Bill? It is stated in the programme for Government that this will deal with the fact that consumers are being ripped off across the board in many areas. Can the Taoiseach tell us when the public health (retail licensing of tobacco products) Bill will come forward? Although e-cigarettes are being sold in most shopping centres and main streets across the country, there is no licensing system. The legislation has been promised, but when will it be published?

On page 3 of the programme for Government there is a very clear commitment that it will give schools, hospitals and other public service bodies new freedoms, within strict budgets and new accountability systems, to set their own staffing needs, automate routine processes and adapt work practices to local staff and customer needs. That is just one commitment in the programme for Government that reflects what a great book of fiction it was when it was published back in 2011.

(Interruptions).

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Sorry, Deputy, this is about promised legislation. You are eight minutes in.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I have gone through the chapter on commitments in respect of health but, although year after year and month after month the Taoiseach assured me they would all be implemented, the Minister for Health, Deputy Varadkar, came along and said we were not implementing universal health insurance at all and, what is more, it will never happen.

Deputy Robert Dowds: Information on Robert Dowds Zoom on Robert Dowds What about all the reports that Deputy Martin commissioned?

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Teachers in schools hate the Croke Park hours. They call it detention for teachers, as they have to stay in school for an extra couple of hours.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Please, Deputy. This is about promised legislation.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin I do not think they realise there is a paragraph in the programme for Government that states that teachers do not have to do this at all. Instead, the Government will allow schools to set their own staffing needs, automate routine processes and adapt work practices to local staff and customer needs. When is that going to be implemented?


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