Questions on Promised Legislation (Continued)

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 923 No. 3
Unrevised

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy John Brassil: Information on John Brassil Zoom on John Brassil] The project was refused by Kerry County Council and recommended for refusal by the inspector of An Bord Pleanála but the board of An Bord Pleanála subsequently granted the development. The community is left with no other option but a judicial review which will cost in the region of €25,000 to €50,000. They are coming up with that and pursuing it because they believe their rights are being infringed greatly. I support them in that.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Under the new procedures I will ask the appropriate Minister, Deputy Naughten, to respond to the questions.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten When I was on the Deputy's side of the House, I raised this question as well. I am as anxious as anybody else to have these new guidelines put in place as the current guidelines are not fit for purpose. Along with the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Deputy Coveney, my officials and I are actively engaged with this at the moment. There is a commitment in the programme for Government to present the new guidelines to the Government within six months, and we intend to do that. I hope we will have those finalised by next month.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny On page 100 of the programme for Government, there is a commitment to extending Garda oversight and accountability. The task of sorting out the problems in the Garda will require much more than the Government's stated intention of supporting the independent Policing Authority and enhancing the role of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC. It is clear to me and many who have had dealings with the so-called cover-up squads in the Garda will know that only root and branch reform will suffice, including standing down the top brass and having a focused programme of changing the culture of bullying, malpractice and protectionism that is destroying everything.

Earlier this year, I raised issues in this House about Garda malpractice in Leitrim, and within a few weeks, I was visited by two senior gardaí - one an assistant commissioner - who told me they were determined to investigate everything fully.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Deputy should speak to promised legislation.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny It is on promised legislation.

Deputy Regina Doherty: Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty It is not.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny I said at the beginning it relates to promised legislation.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher Which legislation?

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny It is the Government's commitment on page 100 of the programme for Government to extend Garda oversight and accountability.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald That is not promised legislation.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny The programme for Government is what the Government promises to do.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher I call the Tánaiste.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny The issue I raise is very simple. I was promised that the Garda Commissioner would fully investigate these allegations but nothing has happened. There has been no investigation or contact with the people who raised these issues.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Deputy should respect that others would like an opportunity to ask questions.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny With respect to the House, I just want a moment to finish this.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher You have posed your question.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny The issues I have raised have been discredited and ridiculed by some gardaí and other people in the community.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher The Deputy should speak to promised legislation. He should resume his seat.

Deputy Martin Kenny: Information on Martin Kenny Zoom on Martin Kenny The people who brought up these issues have been-----

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher You must have respect for other Members. I want to give everybody an opportunity. Resume your seat.

The Tánaiste: Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald Page 100 of the programme for Government does not mention legislation but it refers to various other mechanisms that must be introduced. In terms of change, civilianisation and rostering, all of that is happening currently and there will be more, budget permitting, next year. With regard to legislation and accountability, I said I will consider the comments of Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring on the strengthening of powers of GSOC and I will meet her shortly.

Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy Rae Zoom on Danny Healy Rae With regard to the elements of the programme for Government dealing with the trolley crisis, why is the Government not providing funding for extra staff for the escalation ward in Tralee general hospital, or what is now known as University Hospital Kerry? The wards are there but we need staff to man them. The funding is not there. Why is the Minister not providing it?

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris Although it is not promised legislation, I will look into the specific issue raised by the Deputy. We have already seen an increase this year in staffing numbers in our health services in terms of both nursing and medical staff when compared with last year. We have also provided €40 million to deal with what the Deputy describes as the trolley crisis. Numbers on trolleys are still high but they are down approximately 5% on last year. Some of that €40 million in funding for the winter initiative will deal with the fact that we still have too many people on beds who need to be at home instead. That is why we are providing more home help as well.

Deputy Thomas Pringle: Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle As the Tánaiste is probably aware, the Seanad voted yesterday on a motion to reject the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, CETA. The agreement is due for provisional ratification at the European Council meeting of 19 October. Will the Government provide for a debate in the Dáil in advance of that in order that we can advise the Government on its views on the provisional application proposal?


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