NAMA Seanad debate to be only three days

I refer to next week’s business dealing with the NAMA legislation. The Government has already made it clear publicly that it intends to curtail debate in this House. It announced the legislation would return to the Dáil on Thursday week, 12 November. It has already made it very clear that the debate will finish here on Wednesday night. That will amount to the guts of three days’ debate in the House. We know that decision has already been made. It is intended to finish the debate on Wednesday night or Thursday morning next week.

It is odd to read in the newspapers today that the Minister for Finance intends to introduce further amendments, amendments that are so complex – I understand this is the way in which it has been reported in the newspapers today – that he is not in a position to introduce them this week. He requires more time and will not be able to introduce them until next week and he will do so in the Seanad. If he must take a further week to devise and deal with the amendments, how are we expected to deal with such complex matters in a period of one day or one day and a half? We will do our best to do so but it is extraordinary, since there have been months of preparations for this legislation.

However, the Government seems to take the view that when legislation goes to the Dáil and to Seanad in particular, this constitutes the end rather than the beginning of the debate, and that the real work is done by the Executive, not by the Parliament. The Government has taken this position and if I am wrong in this regard, I ask the Leader of the Seanad to disprove my point. The Deputy Leader also might agree to my proposal, which is to publish the amendments at the end of this week. The Leader should not wait until Tuesday morning to publish them but should enable Members to see them. This at least would give Members a couple of days to consider these complex amendments and an opportunity to deal with them when they come before this House. The Government should consider this not unreasonable request.