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Meanwhile…back in 1962 March 1, 2013

Posted by doctorfive in Irish History, Meanwhile.
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Making a small of habit of on this day type posts but they tend to find me rather then any pre-emptive calendar watching. I suppose their value is in reminding us that history is never far away however it may seem. During questions with Michael Noonan yesterday I had that all too regular feeling about the role of TDs as the Finance Minister and his opposites recounted recent tales of constituents and their dealings with the bank manager.

Without dwelling on the question of this mediation being the job of legislators it was enough to see our eternal middlemen  caught either end of borrower and lender depending on which side of the chamber you find yourself.

The past never far away but usually just enough in politics.

Today, 1962

Horsemeat

Mr. RooneyInformation on Eamonn RooneyZoom on Eamonn Rooneyasked the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that farmers are receiving approximately £25 per head less for horses being killed for the export of Irish horse meat compared with the price available before an order prohibiting the export of horses aged six years and under was made; and if he will now consider revoking the order to ensure that horse owners will be paid the shipment value of these animals.

Dr. RyanInformation on James RyanZoom on James RyanMy information is that prices for horses under seven years old have increased. I do not propose to revoke the Order.

and no shortage of bull..

Mr. ClintonInformation on Mark A. ClintonZoom on Mark A. Clintonasked the Minister for Agriculture if he is satisfied with [933] the present position in regard to the progeny testing of A.1. bulls.

Dr. Ryan (for the Minister for Agriculture)Information on James RyanZoom on James RyanI consider that the A.I. stations are making reasonable progress in the progeny testing of their dairy bulls. They are of course receiving a subvention from my Department towards the cost of progeny recorders, 28 of whom are at present employed by the nine stations.

Mr. ClintonInformation on Mark A. ClintonZoom on Mark A. ClintonIs the Minister aware that, even though the service has been in existence since 1948, there is not even one bull fully progeny tested in the Dublin area?

Dr. RyanInformation on James RyanZoom on James RyanAs the Deputy knows, progeny testing takes some time.

Mr. ClintonInformation on Mark A. ClintonZoom on Mark A. ClintonIt does not take anything like that time.

Mr. DoneganInformation on Patrick S. DoneganZoom on Patrick S. DoneganIt does not take 14 years.

Dr. RyanInformation on James RyanZoom on James RyanIt might, you know.

Mr. DoneganInformation on Patrick S. DoneganZoom on Patrick S. DoneganIt would not.

Mr. DillonInformation on James Matthew DillonZoom on James Matthew DillonHe would be a very elderly bull, if you were progeny testing him for 14 years.

Dr. RyanInformation on James RyanZoom on James RyanThe whole idea is to look after his progeny, not the bull himself.

Mr. DillonInformation on James Matthew DillonZoom on James Matthew DillonDiscovering the value of his progeny, after you have buried the bull, is not a very useful exercise.

Dr. RyanInformation on James RyanZoom on James RyanOf course, it is not.

Mr. ClintonInformation on Mark A. ClintonZoom on Mark A. ClintonDoes the Minister consider that four recorders are sufficient to do the recording in an area stretching from Wexford to Dublin?

Dr. RyanInformation on James RyanZoom on James RyanI could not answer that question.

Cost of Domestic Workers’ Employment Stamps.

Mr. DoneganInformation on Patrick S. DoneganZoom on Patrick S. Doneganasked the Minister for Social Welfare whether in view of the fact that the increase of the cost of employment stamps for domestic workers is inordinate and disproportionate in relation to other classes he proposes to have the cost of these stamps reduced.

Mr. BolandInformation on Kevin BolandZoom on Kevin BolandThe rates of insurance contributions were increased to their present level by the social Welfare (Amendment) Act, 1960 under which a new benefit, old age (contributory) pension, was introduced and existing benefits improved. When that measure was under consideration in the Dáil [962] it was pointed out that the general principle followed in deciding on the increases in rates of contribution was that each rate should bear its due share of the cost of the new benefit and of the improvements in existing benefits to which it gave title. Following that principle the ordinary rate of employment contribution for a man or woman was increased by 3/6d. a week. This increase in the contribution applied to a male domestic, who is insured for all benefits, while the increase for a female domestic, who is insured for all benefits other than unemployment benefit, was 3/3d. a week.

It will be seen that the increase in contribution in the case of a male domestic worker was the same as in the case of the ordinary employed contributor and that the increase in the case of a female domestic worker was smaller because allowance was made for the fact that the contribution in this instance does not give title to unemployment benefit.

In these circumstances, I do not propose to change the rates of contribution for domestic workers.

Mr. CorishInformation on Brendan CorishZoom on Brendan CorishWould the Minister not consider introducing some system to ensure that domestic workers will be eligible ? The Minister must be aware —I am in any case—that many domestics who become unemployed leave this country because there is no allowance available for them on which to exist.

Mr. DillonInformation on James Matthew DillonZoom on James Matthew DillonIs there such a thing as an unemployed female domestic person in this country ?

Mr. CorishInformation on Brendan CorishZoom on Brendan CorishYes. They refuse to be employed because the wages offered by certain people are insufficient.

Mr. BolandInformation on Kevin BolandZoom on Kevin BolandSo far as I know, that is the reason why they have not so far been insured for unemployment benefit. It was considered that was a risk which did not exist in regard to that particular class of work.

Mr. CorishInformation on Brendan CorishZoom on Brendan CorishThe Minister ought to concern himself about the type of employment. It is not very highly paid employment. There are many girls in [963] this country who will go into domestic service, although it is the lowest paid employment in the land. The Minister should concern himself with the fact that many of them, when they become unemployed for a period, go to Great Britain because they cannot get unemployment benefit.

An Leas-Cheann ComhairleInformation on Cormac BreslinZoom on Cormac BreslinThis question relates to the cost of employment stamps and not to any person.

Forestry Workers wage Tribunal

Mr. TullyInformation on James TullyZoom on James Tullyasked the Minister for Lands if the tribunal to fix wages for forestry workers has yet been set up; and, if not, why.

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranI am not yet in a position to add anything to my reply to a similar inquiry by the Deputy of 7th December last.

Mr. TullyInformation on James TullyZoom on James TullyIs the Minister not aware that an assurance was given by his officials when the bonus scheme for forestry workers was introduced that as soon as every forest was operating the bonus scheme, this tribunal would be set up, and in view of the fact that it is now over 12 months since the last of the forests started working the bonus scheme, will he tell the House why no move has been made to set up the tribunal?

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranThe simple answer is that, in practice, it turned out there was no great demand for it from the unions concerned. The matter is being considered but the need for it did not appear to be badly felt by the negotiating bodies.

Mr. TullyInformation on James TullyZoom on James TullyIs the Minister not aware that the trade unions have been dunning his Department with requests to have this tribunal set up as promised, and further, would he say where he got the information that there was no demand for it?

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranI am well aware of the unions’ requests and the Deputy’s representations but very few of them were directed towards this end.

An Leas-Cheann ComhairleInformation on Cormac BreslinZoom on Cormac BreslinQuestion No. 67.

Mr. TullyInformation on James TullyZoom on James TullyDoes the Minister now say that requests have not been made by the trade unions to his Department to have this tribunal set up?

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranI did not want to convey that to the Deputy. What I wished to convey to the Deputy was that while this was mentioned, it was not, shall I say, pursued vigorously at any stage.

Mr. MullenInformation on Michael MullenZoom on Michael MullenWhen does the Minister take the trade unions seriously?

Mr. Ryan: He wants a strike.

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranThe business of the trade unions should be left to the trade unions.

Mr. TullyInformation on James TullyZoom on James TullyIn view of the fact that the officers of the Department cannot give an answer to this or have not been prepared to give an answer to it, will the Minister say in what other way can we raise it except in the House?

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranAs I say, it is under consideration.

Pardon of Driving Licence disqualification – does the Minister retain this power? Would be an interesting list to see.

Mr. Ryanasked the Minister for Justice if he will state in respect of the disqualification for holding a driving licence remitted by him on 12th February, 1962 why the disqualification was imposed.

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey A disqualification for six months for holding a driving licence was imposed on 26th October, 1961 in respect of offences committed under Sections 51 and 173 of the Road Traffic Act, 1933.

Mr. RyanHaving regard to the fact that this Dáil solemnly spent several months last year removing from the [1011] Minister the power to remit disqualification from holding a driving licence, does the Minister not think he is now acting contrary to the intention of this House in so frequently removing disqualifications imposed by the courts?

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey First of all, I do not frequently remove disqualifications imposed by the courts. Secondly, the power to remove disqualifications in certain road traffic offences has not been taken away from the Minister for Justice. Thirdly, I am quite certain that in every case in which I have remitted disqualification, there is not a single member of this House who would not have remitted the disqualification in the circumstances.

Europe & Welfare

Mr. CorishInformation on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether his attention has been drawn to reports of a statement made on 21st February by Mr. R.A. Butler, the British Home Secretary, that the European Economic [961] Community intended to approach the harmonisation of social services in terms of a levelling-up of standards and not a levelling-down; and whether in view of Ireland’s application for membership of the EEC his Department have undertaken any study of the social welfare position in the present member-countries of the EEC with a view to ascertaining in what directions Ireland’s social welfare services may be modified if Ireland becomes a member of the EEC; and, if so, what are the findings of any such study.

Mr. BolandInformation on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland I have seen newspaper reports of the statement referred to in the Question. All information available to me on this subject is being studied, but at this stage I cannot add to what was said in reply to a Parliamentary Question on Thursday last.

which was

Dr. BrowneInformation on John McQuillanZoom on John McQuillanand Mr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Social Welfare if in view of the provisions of the Rome Treaty which entail the establishment of parity in social services he will state the percentage and monetary increases in (a) old age pension, (b) unemployment benefit, (c) widows pension and (d) blind pension needed in payments in this country to bring about parity with rates at present paid in Western Germany.

Mr. BolandInformation on Kevin BolandZoom on Kevin BolandIt would be quite impossible to furnish an answer to the Deputies’ Question as framed, because of the wide diversities between the social security schemes in the two countries. I should, perhaps, mention that there are also wide diversities between the social security schemes of the countries now forming the European Economic Community, and the Regulations on social security which have been adopted by the Council of the Community recognise these differences.

It is not correct to say that the Treaty [668] of Rome entails the establishment of parity in social services. The provisions of the Treaty on social policy are contained in articles 117 to 128, and are dealt with in paragraphs 73 to 75 of the White Paper on the European Economic Community which was laid before the Dáil on the 30th June, 1961.

Sir Anthony EsmondeInformation on Anthony Charles EsmondeZoom on Anthony Charles EsmondeIs it not the intention of the Community ultimately to reach parity, by 1970?

Mr. BolandInformation on Kevin BolandZoom on Kevin BolandNo.

The TaoiseachInformation on Seán F. LemassZoom on Seán F. LemassThere is no such provision at the moment. The Deputy should read the Treaty again and read the White Paper which we have already circulated to him.

Sir Anthony EsmondeInformation on Anthony Charles EsmondeZoom on Anthony Charles EsmondeThe Minister should read it again, too.

Neutrality Policy: Minister’s Statement.

Dr. BrowneInformation on John McQuillanZoom on John McQuillanand Mr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Lands whether he is correctly reported as saying on 6th February 1962 that neutrality is not a policy to which we would even wish to appear committed.

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranWhat I said on the occasion mentioned in this question was—“It has been made quite clear by the Taoiseach on different occasions that a policy of neutrality here in the present world division between Communism and freedom was never laid down by us or indeed ever envisaged by our people. Neutrality in this context is not a policy to which we would even wish to appear committed.”

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneIs it not a fact that between 1939 and 1945, our political Leaders remained neutral during the Anglo-American and Russian war against the Nazis ? Could we know what development has taken place in the world which makes it necessary for us to abandon that neutralist situation ?

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranI have quoted what I stated on the occasion. I do not propose to add to or subtract from that statement for the edification of the Deputy.

Mr. CorishInformation on Brendan CorishZoom on Brendan CorishWould the Minister say what he means by neutrality, bearing in mind that the Minister for External Affairs pursues a policy in the United Nations which he calls a neutral policy ?

An Leas-Cheann ComhairleInformation on Cormac BreslinZoom on Cormac BreslinThat is a separate question.

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranIt is a separate question. My reference to neutrality was in the sense I quoted in this statement, of the world position as between Communism and the Free World.

Mr. MullenInformation on Michael MullenZoom on Michael MullenWas Hitler not anti-God ?

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneIf there has been this very significant and important departure in regard to our foreign policy, surely the Minister owes it to the public to explain to them in simple terms what are the reasons for that departure, or is it suggested by the Government that, in their belief, Hitlerism, Nazism and Fascism are lesser evils than anything in the world today?

An Leas-Cheann ComhairleInformation on Cormac BreslinZoom on Cormac BreslinThat is a separate question.

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranThere has been no change in Government policy. I had made that quite clear. If the Deputy for his own ends——

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneDo not smear; keep away from this childish tale.

An Leas-Cheann ComhairleInformation on Cormac BreslinZoom on Cormac BreslinOrder!

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael Moran——wants to misinterpret what I am saying, he is entitled to do so.

Mr. CorishInformation on Brendan CorishZoom on Brendan CorishThat is a scandalous act, a low act. Read what the Minister for External Affairs said on 17th May.

Mr. MoranInformation on Michael MoranZoom on Michael MoranI know——

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneIs the Minister aware that between 1939 and 1945 we were very careful not only to be neutral but in every possible way to appear to be neutral?

An Leas-Cheann ComhairleInformation on Cormac BreslinZoom on Cormac BreslinQuestion No. 55.

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneOn what grounds do we take our present stand ? We are getting our spiritual values on the cheap.

Beginnings of IFA militancy at home

Mr. TierneyInformation on Patrick Tierney Zoom on Patrick Tierney asked the Minister for Justice whether his attention had been drawn to reports appearing in the press that members of the Garda Síochána were investigating the organisation of the National Farmers’ Association, and taking the names of officers and members of that organisation; whether such activity on the part of the Garda Síochána is in fact taking place; and, if so, what are the reasons for such a procedure.

114.

Dr. BrowneInformation on John McQuillan Zoom on John McQuillan and Mr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Justice whether, as reported, police have raided the homes of members of the N.F.A. to find out the names of the officers and members of the Association.

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions 113 and 114 together.

I have seen no press report suggesting that there has been anything that could be described as a “raid” on the homes of members of the National [1006] Farmers’ Association and nothing of that kind has taken place.

I understand that, in one area, officers of the Association were asked by the Garda Síochána about the local membership and that that information was unhesitatingly given. Apart from that, members of the Gardaí have been present at meetings recently held under the auspices of the Association, but that is a normal and indeed routine duty of the Garda Síochána wherever a public meeting of any kind is being held.

As members of the House are aware, a number of meetings have been held under NFA auspices in various parts of the country in recent weeks. As I need hardly say, the Association is perfectly entitled to hold these meetings and their right to hold them, without interference by the Garda Síochána, has not been and will not be questioned, subject to the usual requirements about the maintenance of law and order.

Unfortunately, however, some members of the Association have, in connection with these meetings permitted themselves to make threats that resort would be had to illegal actions, including violence if necessary, if the objectives of the Association are not secured. According to press reports these threats were made on more than one occasion and by more than one person, and, moreover, by persons holding office in the Association. I must mention, in particular, a reported threat against members of the County Council—the elected representatives of the people—if they did not act as the Association wished.

Against this background, there should be no surprise if the Garda Síochána displayed an interest in what was said at some subsequent meetings of this kind. Threats of violence or any incitement to violence could not possibly be tolerated as a means of securing the objectives of any organisation. That would be the road to anarchy and a Government that would permit it would be failing in their first duty to the community.

I am glad to say, however, that since these threats were made, the [1007] leaders of the Association have left no room for doubt that the Association emphatically repudiates all such threats by their members. I accept without hesitation that this repudiation is genuine and reflects the Association’s considered policy. This being so, there should be no further difficulties and the excellent relations which have in the past obtained at all levels between the NFA and the Garda Síochána can continue unimpaired. For my part, I am glad to have had this opportunity of explaining that any special inquiries made by the Gardaí were made in the particular circumstances that I have outlined and that there has been no intention or wish to interfere with the lawful activities of the Association or any of its branches.

Mr. BlowickInformation on Joseph Blowick Zoom on Joseph Blowick Can the Minister say if there was any need for the Garda to go openly, in uniform, through the members at a protest meeting recently, creating a certain amount of intimidation?

Mr. CorishInformation on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish The Deputy should see the way they patrol up and down if there is a legitimate strike on. So long as they are not called “pinks”, they should be satisfied.

Mr. BlowickInformation on Joseph Blowick Zoom on Joseph Blowick I am speaking of a protest meeting carried out in an orderly manner. The Garda went through it openly, taking the names of certain members and seeking information about other members in broad daylight. That created an impression of intimidation. Does the Minister stand behind that?

Donnchadh Ó BriainInformation on Donnchadh Ó Briain Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Briain Speech!

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey On any occasion on which people gather in large numbers in public, it is the duty, and the long-standing practice of the Garda Síochána to be present, first of all, to ensure that parking regulations are not broken——

Mr. BlowickInformation on Joseph Blowick Zoom on Joseph Blowick I am not talking about their being present, but about taking names openly.

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey ——and secondly, to be on the alert for any possibility of a disturbance or a breach of the peace. We all know that at political meetings the Garda are present. Anywhere there are large crowds and, indeed, as Deputy Corish pointed out, at pickets, it is the duty of the Garda to be present and alert for any possible breach of the peace.

Mr. BlowickInformation on Joseph Blowick Zoom on Joseph Blowick Not to intimidate people.

Mr. McQuillanInformation on John McQuillan Zoom on John McQuillan They do not take names at political meetings.

Mr. TreacyInformation on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy Would the Minister say what branches or branch of the NFA were involved in these special inquiries.

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey So far as I know, on one occasion only were the names of the members of the association asked for.

Mr. TreacyInformation on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy Where?

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey On one occasion only.

Mr. TreacyInformation on Seán Treacy Zoom on Seán Treacy Where?

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey In County Mayo.

Mr. BlowickInformation on Joseph Blowick Zoom on Joseph Blowick If the Minister thinks he is going to get away with blackguardism of that kind against a perfectly peaceful and responsible organisation, he has another guess coming to him.

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I want to make it perfectly clear that members of this organisation, possibly irresponsible members, admittedly, did make wild and irresponsible statements——

Mr. BlowickInformation on Joseph Blowick Zoom on Joseph Blowick They did no such thing.

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey ——and did threaten public servants in the execution of their public duty. No member of this House, I am quite certain, will stand for that.

Mr. O.J. FlanaganInformation on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan Might I ask the Minister if he can quote some of the alleged threats? Has the Minister on record any of the alleged threats he says were made by the N.F.A.?

Mr. HaugheyInformation on Charles J. Haughey Zoom on Charles J. Haughey I have full reports.

Mr. O.J. FlanaganInformation on Oliver J. Flanagan Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan Can the Minister give them to the House?

Mr. BlowickInformation on Joseph Blowick Zoom on Joseph Blowick I wonder were the Garda so busy when there was an alleged threat to wade through Irish blood to freedom?

And appearances of Politicians on Telefís Éireann.

Dr. BrowneInformation on John McQuillanZoom on John McQuillanand Mr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether politicians other than those who belong to the three major Parties are excluded from the use of Telefís Éireann.

Mr. HilliardInformation on Michael HilliardZoom on Michael HilliardI have no function in the matter of the appearance of members [989] of the Oireachtas on Telefís Éireann. I understand from the Authority, however, that the answer is no.

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneWhat about what the Minister said last week?

Mr. HilliardInformation on Michael HilliardZoom on Michael HilliardI said last week that consulation was going on between the Broadcasting Authority and the three main Parties.

Dr. Browne: Information on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneSurely that means it is intended to restrict the use of Telefís Éireann to the three main Parties?

Mr. HilliardInformation on Michael HilliardZoom on Michael HilliardI have said in the reply I have just read out that the answer is “no”, that it is not the intention to exclude any Deputy from appearing.

Mr. MullenInformation on Michael MullenZoom on Michael MullenThere was a Teachta Dála on Telefís Éireann last week.

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneTwo different issues are involved. Can the Minister say why it is restricted to the three major Parties?

Mr. HilliardInformation on Michael HilliardZoom on Michael HilliardI am not able to answer that; it is a matter for the Authority. The Authority will make its own arrangement in relation to appearances by anybody on Telefís Éireann.

Dr. BrowneInformation on Noel C. BrowneZoom on Noel C. BrowneThen the Minister is accepting that the use of Telefís Éireann is restricted to the three major Parties?

Mr. HilliardInformation on Michael HilliardZoom on Michael HilliardNo, I am not accepting that.

Mr. SherwinInformation on Frank SherwinZoom on Frank SherwinOnly on municipal matters.

Mr. CarrollInformation on James CarrollZoom on James CarrollWill the Minister say it is up to the three major Parties to make their own representations to Telefís Éireann?

Mr. HilliardInformation on Michael HilliardZoom on Michael HilliardThey can do that, if they wish.

Mr. McQuillanInformation on John McQuillanZoom on John McQuillanIs it not a fact that on the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, and on other Committees that concern all members of the House, representation is given in proportion to [990] the size of the various Parties in the House, even to the smallest group in it? Surely, in view of that situation in this House, it would be no harm to suggest to Telefís Éireann that they could learn from it?

Mr. HilliardInformation on Michael HilliardZoom on Michael HilliardThat is one way of arriving at an arrangement. There are other ways.

How far we’ve come December 13, 2012

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Dog eats Dail homework July 4, 2012

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Just a quick note from the Leinster House yesterday, overlooked by the papers today.

Taking questions on his department’s spend on consultancy an Taoiseach told the Dáil QTS were engaged to carry out a risk assessment and update the Department’s 2011 health and safety statement at a cost of €1,271 while Towers Watson facilitated a series of workshops in responses to the Civil Service organisational review programme coming to €12,100.

He concluded the total spend by his Department to date in 2012 on consultancy is €21,074.

After some toing and froing regarding the shortfall we were told.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldThe Taoiseach has only itemised spending on two contracts, which comes to approximately €13,000. Clearly, there is something missing.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyThe EU communications contract was given to a media and public affairs consultancy firm for 60 days to deal with the EU affairs and co-ordination division of the Department of the Taoiseach. It was to assist in the development of a media and communications strategy in respect of Ireland’s role in the European Union and to identify and advise on the media and communications challenges relating to the Union in a complex environment with increasing demands for public information. The work also involved identifying concrete actions to deliver on priorities and develop an initial communications plan, including logistics, for Ireland’s Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers. Following a competitive tendering process, a person was appointed on 28 March to provide EU communications advice. She commenced work on that for 60 days. The person concerned, Ms Erskine, has completed her work and finalised her duties.

 

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldDoes that account for the difference in the figures?

 

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyI assume it does, but I do not have the figure before me. As far as I know, there was no other consultancy contract.

 

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldI thank the Taoiseach for clarifying the matter. In the case of QTS and the EU media consultancy contract, competitive tendering procedures were applied. Is that equally true of Towers Watson and the work on the departmental action plan? I am calling on the Taoiseach to confirm that all consultancy work is subject to the standard and required procurement procedure. The media consultancy contract to assist the Department in communications on our position in the European Union and so on was for 60 days. Did it coincide with the referendum period? Will the Taoiseach clarify the matter?

 

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyIt was about the key message to be communicated during Ireland’s Presidency of the European Council and associated preparations. I confirm that the logistics and the preparations for Ministers for the Presidency are intense and will become even more so in the run-in from September. It had nothing to do with the referendum issue but with preparing for the EU Presidency which we will assume on 1 January next year.

 

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldI am sorry for getting up and down, but I was keen to clarify those matters. The Taoiseach was asked about the in-house expertise available and, no doubt, it is considerable within the Department. I understand there are matters which of necessity require consultancy support and for which the Department must buy in skills. It strikes me as rather odd, however, that the Taoiseach would need a media consultant to work with him on his political messages, to use his phrase, for the Presidency of the European Council. As the Head of Government, he and his departmental staff should be more than well equipped to crunch down on these issues and decide on the messages they reckon it will be appropriate to communicate in that time. Will he clarify the matter? He has stated this work started on 28 March and that it was a 60 day contract. I presume the work was finished in or around 28 May. There was a referendum held on 31 May. Will the Taoiseach be clear on the nature of that consultancy work? I find it odd that he required it to be done, but nonetheless he has suggested it referred solely and exclusively to the upcoming European Council Presidency and that it had no bearing on the treaty referendum. Will he tell the House off the top of his head, if possible, how much the Department spends per annum in dealing with European communications issues? Is it common practice for the Department to bring in media advisers for his public enunciation of the European message.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyThe Department of the Taoiseach only brought in personnel in the European section when the Government was formed last year. There was a unit dealing with questions on the European Union but to streamlinee matters and to be more effective personnel dealing with European issues in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade came to the Department of the Taoiseach. There was a more hands-on approach as a result, with a specific Minister of State with responsibility for European affairs reporting both to the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I cannot indicate what was spent in the past in dealing with European affairs isues by the Department of the Taoiseach, although I am sure that figure is available for the Deputy. We try to keep costs to a minimum in the best way possible.

 

The Deputy referred to the date of the referendum and the period for completion of the work by the advisory service. I am sure that since the dates overlapped to an extent, there would have been some advisory work done in respect of the Government preparing for the referendum and the EU Presidency. Things will overlap, although the remit was specifically the EU Presidency and what it meant for us. It is fair to say the range of questions and requests for information to the Department is rather extensive. The Deputy would be surprised by the range of questions and what people ask about the European Union and how the Government intends to deal with issues as we prepare for this, our seventh Presidency which we want to be as effective as possible. Several matters may fall to be dealt with during the Irish EU Presidency. I am glad the Danes concluded on the patent agreement, the work on which lasted for 30 years. The multi-annual financial framework, which is the budget for the European Union from 2014 to 2020, may fall to be decided during the Irish Presidency. One cannot reform the CAP without having in place a multi-annual financial framework. That is of such importance to the Union, 80% of whose budget is related to the CAP, but also to this country in respect of the single farm payment and what it means for the agriculture sector and exports. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Richard Bruton, was in France with 35 companies during the week. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Simon Coveney, was in the United States following through on clear opportunities.

 

There is a need to update, in a complete fashion, the website on the Irish Presidency with a view to outlining what it means for Ireland and our relationship with our colleague countries in Europe. That was also part of the work. It is a matter of taking into account the fact that the Presidency offers an opportunity to send out a positive message about Ireland and how we are moving towards economic recovery, and about decisions that are being taken that affect our society and the Government’s political vision on Ireland’s place in the eurozone and European Union. It is also a question of determining where the European Union should position itself globally.

 

Continues..

 

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinPerhaps the Taoiseach could explain why he did not give a full answer at the outset. He did not mention the media and public affairs consultancy in his initial reply to my question and that of Deputy Adams.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyI gave the full amount.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldThe figures were wrong.

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál Martin The Taoiseach did not mention that a media and public affairs consultancy was used. He mentioned QTS, the ORP and Towers Watson, but he did not mention the other company. Is it in the official reply? Will the Taoiseach undertake to forward to us the exact details of the consultancy contract given that they may not appear in the formal reply prepared for the question I tabled? I do not know whether there was an attempt to hide the information. In response to a supplementary question, the Taoiseach articulated the information to the House. There may have been a genuine misunderstanding. It is incumbent on the Taoiseach, given the questions asked, to give the full answer. For some reason, we—–

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyI hope the Deputy is not suggesting I was hiding something.

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinCan the Taoiseach explain why he did not give the information?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettThese are oral questions and the Minister or Taoiseach replies orally. It is not a question of a written statement.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda Kenny I gave the official answer and I gave Deputy McDonald further information, which is in the official brief.

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinI asked the Taoiseach “if his Department has recruited any consultancy service in the past year; if so, in what area; and if he will make a statement on the matter”. In his answer, the Taoiseach, for some reason, excluded any mention of the EU media messaging consultancy.

The Taoiseach: Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda Kenny I said “only engaged when necessary, with all guidelines in relation to engagement with consultants”—–

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinI am saying the Taoiseach excluded that information in the beginning. There was an attempt not to mention it, although I do not know why. The Taoiseach just did not mention it; it is not included in the answer. We are, at least, entitled to receive answers to the questions we ask. I hope there was not an attempt to bury the information because of the sensitivities associated with European issues and the referendum.

An Ceann Comhairle:Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettThis is Question Time.

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinExactly. I want an answer to the question I tabled but I did not get one.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyMay I offer an apology to Deputies Adams, McDonald and Martin? I forgot to read page 3 of the three-page response.

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinI accept that.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyQuestions Nos. 1 to 5 deal with the ORP report. Questions Nos. 6 to 17 deal with the media and public affairs consultant and Question No. 18 deals with the health and safety statement. When I finished at the end of page 2, I stated total expenditure by my Department to date in 2012 on consultancy is €21,074.

Let me read the next three paragraphs, which state:

This includes a payment of €19,803 to Ms Caroline Erskine, media and public affairs consultant who was engaged to provide an EU communications advisory service to my Department following a competitive tendering process. This is a particularly intense period of EU-related activity for Ireland. Preparation for Ireland’s Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers has intensified since the start of the year. A major Government information campaign was also launched to inform the public ahead of the referendum on the stability treaty, which had not been foreseen at the start of the year.

The Government is committed to building public understanding and knowledge about Ireland’s EU membership.

A payment of €1,271 was made to QTS who carried out a risk assessment and updated the Department’s 2012 health and safety statement.

I apologise again to the Members. Page 3 got stuck to page 2 and, inadvertently, I did not read it out.

 

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál Martin I accept the Taoiseach’s apology. I will now ask the supplementary question I was to ask before the misunderstanding. With regard to my question on the utilisation of consultancies to avoid paying tax, which avoidance is illegal in this country, I suggest that the matter be a broad Government policy issue. The bottom line is that it appears that in the Ministry for Health and Department of Health, consultancies are now being used as a basis for hiring senior advisers to the Department, with companies located in the United Kingdom avoiding the payment of any income tax. That is unacceptable. Does the Taoiseach agree it is unacceptable? Will he, as Taoiseach, take up this issue with his Ministers?

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyI will take it up with the members of the Government. I do not believe it is acceptable to have consultants involved in work if it has the effect described. Obviously, in the financial world, people often prepare reports on how to lessen the impact of tax payment. When the Deputy talks about tax evasion or avoidance, he should note these are other matters. I will certainly raise the issue with the Minister for Finance. There may be technical reasons requiring a response and I will revert to the Deputy.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldA Cheann Comhairle—–

An Ceann Comhairle:Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettThere are only 20 minutes left. We have spent 40 minutes on the first few questions. The next grouping contains questions Nos. 6 to 66, inclusive.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldIt relates to the matter at hand.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettI ask the Deputy to table a further question. I have spent enough time on this and must move on, in fairness to other Deputies.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldThe Taoiseach made a statement to the Dáil that requires a response. Whatever about one page being stuck to another, his figures still do not add up.

An Ceann Comhairle:Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettIn that case, the Deputy should table a written question, in which case she will receive a full answer.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldThe question is tabled and it should be answered accurately and fully. While I realise there are bigger issues further down the agenda—–

An Ceann Comhairle:Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettIt is not that; it is that I am trying to be fair to everybody.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldWe have a legitimate expectation to receive a full answer.

An Ceann Comhairle:Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettI am just trying to be fair to everybody.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldThe Taoiseach stated that EU consultancy work did pertain to preparation and advice in respect of the referendum. He did not say that at the outset. I am working on the broad supposition, probably incorrectly, that the use of public moneys for that was fully in accordance with the letter and spirit of the McKenna judgment. The Taoiseach did not give a full answer although I acknowledge his pages stuck together. His figures still do not add up, however, because his revised figures give him a total of more than €32,000, rather than €21,074, as first articulated. I am more concerned about the fact that it is only in response to further questioning that the Taoiseach clarified the EU consultancy work was not simply about the Presidency, as he indicated at first, but also related to the referendum campaign. The work was concluded on 28 May and the people went to the polls on 31 May. The Taoiseach needs to clarify for the Dáil that the use of public moneys was in accordance with the McKenna judgment.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyIf one adds up €1,271 and €19,803, one gets the princely sum of €21,074.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldWhat about Towers Watson?

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyI said that, at the end of the page that got stuck, it is stated the total expenditure by my Department to date in 2012 on consultancy is €21,074. The next sentence stated this includes a payment of €19,803 to the media and public affairs consultant.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinCould we bring in someone from sixth class maths?

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyThe consultancy payment of €21,074 includes the payment of €19,803 to the media and public affairs consultant. That, together with the payment of €1,271 to QTS, gives one €21,074.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldWhere is Towers Watson in the departmental action plan mentioned a few minutes ago?

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyWhat did I say Towers Watson got?

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldHe said €12,100.

Deputy Micheál Martin:Information on Micheál MartinZoom on Micheál MartinThat makes €32,000.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldI think it is a sign.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyThe total cost of the consultants was €12,100.

An Ceann Comhairle:Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettTwo questions were tabled. The first, from Deputy Martin, asked the total cost in the past year and the second asked the total cost of consultants hired by the Department in 2012.

The Taoiseach:Information on Enda KennyZoom on Enda KennyI think that clarifies it.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald:Information on Mary Lou McDonaldZoom on Mary Lou McDonaldI do not think it does.

An Ceann Comhairle:Information on Seán BarrettZoom on Seán BarrettAt the moment we can only separate the questions.

 

Indeed.

 

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