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DAIL EIREANN Parliamentary Debates

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DAIL EIREANN Parliamentary Debates Powered By Docstoc
					Vol. 605                                                                    Tuesday,
No. 3                                                                     28 June 2005




              ´    ´       ´
             DIOSPOIREACHTAI PARLAIMINTE
                PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES


                        ´   ´
                       DAIL EIREANN

                         ´
          TUAIRISC OIFIGIUIL—Neamhcheartaithe

                  (OFFICIAL REPORT—Unrevised)




                                         Tuesday, 28 June 2005.

Ceisteanna—Questions
    Taoiseach …         …      …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      385
    Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
          Priority Questions …        …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      399
          Other Questions      …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      414
Adjournment Debate Matters …          …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      420
Leaders’ Questions      …      …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      421
                                      ´
Requests to move Adjournment of Dail under Standing Order 31 …    …   …   …   …   …      436
Order of Business       …      …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      438
Social Welfare (Consolidation) Bill 2005: First Stage   …     …   …   …   …   …   …      451
Defence (Amendment) Act 1993: Motion         …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      451
Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005: Report Stage (resumed) …     …   …   …   …   …   …      451
Private Members’ Business
    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid: Motion …          …   …   …   …   …   …      471
Message from Seanad …          …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      500
Disability Bill 2004: From the Seanad…       …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      500
Veterinary Practice Bill 2004 [Seanad]:
    Order for Report Stage …          …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      509
    Report Stage        …      …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      509
Adjournment Debate
    Port Development…          …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      522
    National Aquatic Centre …         …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      526
    Schools Building Projects …       …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      531
    School Staffing     …      …      …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      533
Questions: Written Answers …          …      …       …  …     …   …   …   …   …   …      537
385                                                                                                      386


             ´   ´
            DAIL EIREANN                                  An Ceann Comhairle: It is definitely outside
                                                        the scope and if the Deputy wants information in
                     ————                               this regard he should submit a question to the
                                                        appropriate line Minister. It is not appropriate to
          ´ ´
         De Mairt, 28 Meitheamh 2005.                   have a debate on what was discussed or on any
            Tuesday, 28 June 2005.                      particular issue which is the not the responsibility
                                                        of the Department of the Taoiseach.
                     ————
                                                                     ´ ´
                                                          Caoimhghın O Caolain: Is the Taoiseach in a
                                                                               ´
   Chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar             position to outline whether the committee has or
2.30 p.m.                                               will address the report? I will leave it at that
                                                        because I have no intention to retrace this line of
                     ————                               argument. Unfortunately, there is no end to it.

                      Paidir.                             The Taoiseach: The answer to the question is
                      Prayer.                           yes, the committee is addressing that issue.
                     ————                                  Mr. Rabbitte: Questions like these about
                                                        Cabinet sub-committee meetings have been the
            Ceisteanna — Questions.                     traditional method used to permit the head of
                                                        Government to answer broad questions such as
                                                                                    ´     ´
                                                        those posed by Deputy O Caolain. The Ceann
                     ————
                                                        Comhairle has constantly, persistently and con-
              Cabinet Committees.                       sistently narrowed the scope of questions that this
                                                        House might legitimately put to the Taoiseach to
               ´ ´
  1. Caoimhghın O Caolain asked the Taoiseach
                        ´                               such a point that it is not worth our while stand-
when the Cabinet committee on social inclusion          ing up to ask a question anymore. Therefore, I do
and drugs last met. [19095/05]                          not propose to ask a question.
   2. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Taoiseach when the
Cabinet committee on social inclusion and drugs           An Ceann Comhairle: I agree with the Deputy.
last met; and when the next meeting is due to be        I believe that these questions, which are statisti-
held;. [20741/05]                                       cal, should not be posed for oral answer.
   3. Mr. Sargent asked the Taoiseach when the            Mr. Rabbitte: They are not statistical questions.
last meeting of the Cabinet committee on social                     ´
                                                        That cliche has come into parliamentary
inclusion and drugs took place. [22337/05]              exchanges because of questions habitually posed
  The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions            under the rubric of the Central Statistics Office
Nos. 1, 2 and 3 together.                               and other statistical matters. A question about
  The Cabinet committee on social inclusion last        drug abuse and a Cabinet meeting is not statisti-
met on 27 April 2005. The next meeting of the           cal in nature.
committee is scheduled for tomorrow, 29 June.
                                                           An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Rabbitte’s ques-
            ´ ´
  Caoimhghın O Caolain: Has the Cabinet com-
                        ´                               tion is as follows: “To ask the Taoiseach when the
mittee on social inclusion and drugs reviewed the       Cabinet committee on social inclusion and drugs
report of the national drugs strategy mid-term          last met; and when the next meeting will be held”.
review?
                                                           Mr. Rabbitte: That question is in line with
   An Ceann Comhairle: That issue does not arise        parliamentary convention and aims to ascertain
out of this very specific statistical question. There   if, arising from the meeting, any decisions were
is no space for supplementary questions.                reached or general policy announcements are to
                                                        be made by the Taoiseach. He is the head of the
             ´ ´
   Caoimhghın O Caolain: Is the Ceann Comh-
                         ´                              Government.
airle going to close us down completely?
                                                           An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is aware
  An Ceann Comhairle: There are questions on            that policy questions should be addressed to the
Northern Ireland, so the Deputy should not take         line Minister. The Chair does not want to be
up time on irrelevant questions                         involved in this type of discussion every day that
                                                        questions such as these are posed.
                  ´
   Caoimhghın O Caolain: I appreciate the
              ´            ´
importance of that. Nevertheless I am trying to           Mr. Rabbitte: If we accept that the position is
establish whether the Cabinet committee on              so, what is the point in posing a question to the
social inclusion and drugs has addressed the            Taoiseach?
report of the national drugs strategy mid-term
review. It is a very straightforward question and         An Ceann Comhairle: I agree with the Deputy
I thought it would have been accommodated. It           about putting down a question of this nature for
is not outside the scope of the question.               oral answer——
387                Ceisteanna —                28 June 2005.                  Questions                  388


  Mr. Rabbitte: Could the Ceann Comhairle sug-          want answers, they should revert to the old
gest, on the matter of drugs policy that effects so     system, which worked very well.
many people in our communities, how we might
draft an appropriate question?                            Mr. Kenny: It worked well because Deputy
                                                        Rabbitte always gave full information in response
  An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy, you are missing           to questions.
the point.
                                                           The Taoiseach: I could do so too because I
  Mr. Rabbitte: I am not missing the point. You         attend the committee meetings, but that is not the
do not want the Taoiseach to answer——                   point. Procedurally that is how it should be
                                                        operated.
  An Ceann Comhairle: The question should be
drafted for the line Minister——                           Mr. Rabbitte: The Taoiseach’s Government
                                                        changed that procedure.
  Mr. Rabbitte: You want to narrow the scope of
the questions that we can put to the Taoiseach.           The Taoiseach: There has been no change. It
                                                        can still be done and there is no problem in
   An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has ruled on           doing so.
the matter in accordance with precedent. Ques-
tions on policy are addressed to the line Minister.        Mr. Costello: In view of today’s report on the
                                                        national survey of drug-related suicides and the
   Mr. Sargent: I hope the Ceann Comhairle will         significant increase which has taken place in
consider that my question is in order. To take 45       recent years, and given that serious drug abuse is
minutes to ask the Taoiseach when the committee         a feature of national life rather than of urban
last met is not a good use of parliamentary time.       life——
The limitations on party leaders or anyone else
asking the Taoiseach a question are so strict that        An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy is straying
we are forced to ask questions about when the           into policy which is a matter for the line Minister.
committee last met. I ask the Ceann Comhairle
to bear in mind that we are attempting to address         Mr. Costello: ——will the Taoiseach consider
important issues here, not simply fill a calendar       making the Minister of State with responsibility
or inquire about diary entries. Will the Chair          for drugs strategy and housing solely responsible
countenance the question that I propose to ask,         for drugs strategy because of the extent of the
namely, whether the Taoiseach accepts that the          problem?
Cabinet committee on social inclusion and drugs
should meet more frequently, given that there is           The Taoiseach: The Minister of State is respon-
growing inequality in the pathways to social            sible for all actions in the drugs area. He is also
inclusion? CORI published a report last month           responsible for housing because in many of these
which clearly indicates that one quarter of Irish       areas there is a cross-link between the difficulties
children and over one fifth of Irish people are at      and problems. Research shows that these
risk of poverty.                                        areas——

  An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has made                  Mr. Costello: It is in health and so on.
his point.
                                                          The Taoiseach: The health aspect is different,
                                                        being concerned with treatment centres. I do not
   Mr. Sargent: I also ask about equality as it
                                                        think it would be a good idea for the Minister of
relates to people with disabilities because 16% of
                                                        State to take on the additional responsibility of
the complaints made to the Equality Authority
                                                        the health aspect.
were from people with disability. Such facts indi-
cate that the Cabinet committee on social
inclusion and drugs needs to meet more regularly                     Northern Ireland Issues.
and needs to be more public and more effective            4. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Taoiseach if he will
in responding to these growing problems.                make a statement on the outcome of his meeting
                                                        on 15 June 2005 with the British Prime Minister,
   The Taoiseach: The committee meets on a              Mr. Tony Blair. [20735/05]
monthly basis. I do not know if this is helpful to
                                                           5. Mr. Rabbitte asked the Taoiseach if he will
Deputies, but if direct questions are posed about
                                                        report on the outcome of his talks with the DUP
any of these issues, the Ministers who report to
                                                        in London on 15 June 2005; his assessment of the
the committee would be only too glad to answer
                                                        prospects for political progress in Northern
them. When I was on the other side of the House
                                                        Ireland in view of these talks; and if he will make
and Deputy Rabbitte was on this side, he used
                                                        a statement on the matter. [20736/05]
to take part of the time allocated to Taoiseach’s
questions to answer these types of questions and          6. Mr. Kenny asked the Taoiseach if he will
I posed questions directly to him. Unfortunately,       report on his discussions in London on 15 June
that does not happen now and if Deputies really         2005 with the leadership of the Democratic
389                Ceisteanna —               28 June 2005.                  Questions                   390


Unionist Party; and if he will make a statement           Dr. Paisley made it clear that he is only
on the matter. [20751/05]                              interested in actions, not just words, and the Irish
                                                       Government shares that view. I assured Dr. Pais-
  7. Mr. Kenny asked the Taoiseach if he will
                                                       ley and his colleagues that we also want the IRA
report on his meeting with the British Prime
                                                       response to be conclusive and decisive. We also
Minister in London on 15 June 2005; and if he
                                                       said to the DUP that if we see the actions that
will make a statement on the matter. [20752/05]
                                                       are required, both Governments will expect
   8. Mr. Sargent asked the Taoiseach if he will       Unionists to participate in fully inclusive partner-
report on his meeting in London with the DUP           ship politics in Northern Ireland, recognising that
leader, the Rev. Ian Paisley on 15 June 2005; and      regaining confidence and trust will inevitably take
if he will make a statement on the matter.             some time. We also talked about the importance
[21057/05]                                             of everybody in the community working together
                                                       to ensure we have a peaceful summer.
   9. Mr. Sargent asked the Taoiseach if he will
                                                          I had a separate meeting with Prime Minister
report on his meeting in London with the British
                                                       Blair on the same day. This was our first oppor-
Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair, on 15 June 2005;
                                                       tunity to meet in person since the British general
and if he will make a statement on the matter.
                                                       election. We reviewed our respective contacts
[21058/05]
                                                       with the political parties, including my meeting
                 ´ ´
   10. Caoimhghın O Caolain asked the Taoiseach
                           ´                           earlier in the day with the DUP. We reaffirmed
if he will report on his meeting with the DUP on       our shared position that full implementation of
15 June 2005; and if he will make a statement on       the Agreement is the way forward and that to get
the matter. [21256/05]                                 to that point, we need to see a complete end to
                                                       paramilitary and criminal activity and the com-
  11. Mr. Sargent asked the Taoiseach if he has        pletion of decommissioning.
had any recent discussion with the Alliance Party;        I met the Prime Minister again yesterday when
when he next intends to have contacts with the         we jointly chaired the British-Irish Intergovern-
Alliance Party; and if he will make a statement        mental Conference, BIIGC. This was the first
on the matter. [22340/05]                              meeting of the conference at summit level since
   12. Mr. Sargent asked the Taoiseach if he will      1999. The meeting was the first comprehensive
report on the Government’s benchmarks on               engagement between the two Governments on
assessing any future IRA or loyalist paramilitary      Northern Ireland since the British general elec-
commitments or actions in terms of genuine pro-        tion in May. I was accompanied by the Minister
gress in the peace process; and if he will make a      for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Justice,
statement on the matter. [22341/05]                    Equality and Law Reform. The Secretary of State
                                                       for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, together with
   13. Mr. Kenny asked the Taoiseach if he will        other Ministers for Northern Ireland participated
report on his recent contacts with the political       on the British side.
parties in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a        We discussed a range of issues, including politi-
statement on the matter. [22459/05]                    cal developments, security and criminal justice,
  14. Mr. Kenny asked the Taoiseach when he            policing, the marching season, human rights and
next expects to meet the British Prime Minister;       North-South co-operation. I also raised the
and if he will make a statement on the matter.         Dublin-Monaghan bombings with the Prime
[22460/05]                                             Minister.
                                                                                 ´
                                                          The joint communique which was issued after
  15. Mr. Kenny asked the Taoiseach when he            the conference outlines in greater detail the issues
next intends to visit Northern Ireland; and if he      we discussed. A copy of this communique has     ´
will make a statement on the matter. [22461/05]        been placed in the Oireachtas Library. The two
   The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions          Governments will continue to remain in close
Nos. 4 to 15, inclusive, together.                     contact over the coming period. The Government
   I met Dr. Paisley and senior representatives of     also remains in contact with the other parties in
the DUP on 15 June in the Irish Embassy in             Northern Ireland. I met the Alliance Party in
London. The meeting was the first chance to            January and I am happy to have meetings with
meet the DUP since its success in the UK elec-         parties as the need arises. In this context, I reiter-
tions. We had a good, comprehensive discussion         ate my congratulations to Sir Reg Empey as the
about the current political situation. The DUP         new leader of the Ulster Unionist Party. I hope
knows that the Good Friday Agreement is the            that we will have the opportunity to meet shortly.
centrepiece of the Irish Government’s policy. We          As Deputies may know, I was in Belfast last
reiterated our view that the only way forward is       week at the ICTU conference. I do not have defi-
for people to share power on the basis of equality     nite plans to visit Northern Ireland again in the
and a commitment to exclusively peaceful and           near future.
democratic methods. That is also the view of the
British Government. To move forward, we need              Mr. Rabbitte: Given that it is now three months
a clear, unambiguous end to all paramilitary and       since Mr. Gerry Adams made his statement to the
criminal activity and the completion of decom-         IRA, has the Government any factual infor-
missioning.                                            mation on when a definitive response from the
391                 Ceisteanna —                 28 June 2005.                 Questions                   392

   [Mr. Rabbitte.]                                        activity. The Deputy knows the reason we
IRA can be expected? Given that the impact is             inserted that term. The end of criminal acitvity
that everything else is on hold awaiting the IRA’s        means the end of all such acitivty. I do not believe
response, does the Taoiseach acknowledge how              there can be big and small criminal activities.
frustrating this is for the democratic parties which         With regard to the completion of decom-
cannot proceed with normal business until we              missioning, it seems to the two Governments that
have the IRA statement? Will he outline the               continuing with incremental decommissioning
minimum requirement of the two Governments                will not resolve the problems. It was useful at the
in terms of what they are demanding from the              start as a confidence-building measure but that
IRA and what is their bottom line in respect of           did not last too long. General John de Chastelain
any statement considered to be imminent? Does             must be totally and absolutely happy in this
he understand the extent to which many members            regard. He is accepted on all sides — we had this
of the public are repelled by statements, most lat-       discussion recently — as being in a position to
terly attributed to himself, that the IRA should          make an authoritive declaration on the matter.
become some kind of commemorative organis-                Neither Prime Minister Blair nor I want to get
ation and the implications of such a statement in         into discussion with him on it, one way or
terms of the 1,700 odd murdered by the IRA?               another. It is a matter for him to be satisfied and
What would be the reaction of the Nationalist             to make his assessment based on the logistical
people if we had similar statements about loyalist        information that we know is in his possession.
paramilitary organisations reconstituting them-           Anything other than that, as the Deputy correctly
selves as some kind of commemorative organis-             said, will not allow us to move on and deal with
ations? Does the Taoiseach agree the demoractic           the political agenda. That agenda will have its
parties and the two Governments ought not be a            own difficulties and problems. We cannot get on
party to the rewriting of history that seeks to           with that, however, until we get these answers.
paint either the loyalists gangs or the IRA as hav-          If this does not happen, as I have said to other
ing been involved in anything but a vicious sec-          parties in recent months, there is not much point
tarian conflict and that any attempt to rewrite this      in asking further because we know what the
is repulsive to the average citizen?                      answers will be. In the event, the stalemate will
                                                          continue into the dim and distant future. I have
   The Taoiseach: On the Deputy’s first question          been very clear on that in all meetings with the
on the date we expect to hear a response, frankly,        various parties since last September.
I do not know the answer. The two Governments                On the Deputy’s third question, nobody has
expect to hear a response over the summer. We             suggested to me what the IRA as a group will do,
expect to hear one in the weeks immediately               if we can move it to a peaceful mode in which
ahead prior to the holiday break in August. That          paramilitary activity, violence and criminal
is what we believe, although we do not have any           related activities are over. I have talked about
definite information. As I said previously, if that       this to many people in Northern Ireland, includ-
is not adhered to, I will regret that fact but it is      ing the Unionist political parties. It was Mr.
not the biggest issue; the biggest issue is that          David Trimble as leader of the Ulster Unionist
when we receive a response, we get the right one.         Party who said that a commemorative organis-
That is still my position. It would help everybody        ation was something that would be acceptable to
if we could remove the uncertainty. I welcome             him.
the fact that all over the island of Ireland there           If they believe that they should commemorate
has been a meeting of people — we know this               those who have died, who have been colleagues
from security intelligence sources and otherwise          over the years, whatever their activities, I am cer-
— who have been involved in Provisional IRA               tainly not going to condemn that. Neither do I
activities during the years. That they are debating       condemn the fact that the Red Hand Com-
this issue is good and I hope we will get the right       mandos, the UVF, the UDA and other para-
answer from them.                                         military organisations engage in such activities.
   On the Deputy’s second question of what is our         To say they will all go away and never be
minimum and maximum position, there is no dif-            involved in such activities any more is just not
ference in this regard. We have made it clear             dealing with the real world, because they will. To
since last autumn and long before — since                 try to say they should not commemorate some-
October 2001, the first time we spelled it out in a       body who has been killed or was a colleague is
document, and the position has not changed                not to live in the real world. Our line is that as
much — that we want an unambiguous end to all             long as we are finished with arms, criminality,
paramilitary and criminal activity. This means a          paramilitary trappings and all those matters, we
full end to paramilitary activity with clear instruc-     will have brought an end to that which we have
tions that those involved in these activities cease.      sought to end.
That was set out very well in paragaph 13 of the
document issued a few years ago which defines                Mr. Rabbitte: I am sure the Taoiseach under-
what it means and all the categories covered. I           stands the difference between retired para-
would not add to or substract from the list. The          militaries choosing to commemorate whomsoever
only change over the period was that in addition          they want is quite distinct from democratically
to paramiliity activity we included criminal              elected Governments conferring approval on a
393                 Ceisteanna —                 28 June 2005.                  Questions                   394


particular version of history. In the sectarian           had broken his licence. We cannot make a
slaughter that we have witnessed over the last 30         judgment on that and the case will go to the
years, more people were killed by the IRA than            appeals commission. All we said was that if this
by the Black and Tans. It is a matter of concern          is the process, we accept it — there have been
to a great many citizens that we should seek to           very few such cases — and the quicker it is dealt
confer some type of approval or be complicit in           with, the better. Last year, Mr. Kelly was defin-
the re-writing of history.                                itely involved in playing a constructive role in
   Has the Taoiseach had any response to his rep-         very difficult situations about which we were well
resentations on behalf of the Shankill bomber,            aware. As to what he was doing during the winter
Sean Kelly? Will he explain to the House why he           season, I am not in a position to make a
decided to take up the cudgels in respect of that         judgment.
case? To my knowledge, he has not made rep-                  As Deputy Rabbitte will appreciate, marches
resentations in respect of any person returned to         have taken place practically every day for the past
prison, so why has he done it in that case?               few weeks. It is a difficult issue and we are trying
   Is the Taoiseach aware of the comments by the          to be as constructive and helpful as possible in
                     ´
SDLP MLA, Dr. Sean Farren, about events at the            trying to deal with difficult situations, whether the
Orange parade in Ballymena last night and the             tour of the north march ten days ago, the
policing of same by the PSNI? Has he or does              Whiterock parade, which was on Saturday, the
he intend to make representations to the British          mini-12th celebration, which will take place in
Government or to the Secretary of State for               east Belfast this Friday night, Portadown, the
Northern Ireland in respect of the incidents that         Drumcree parade, which is coming up on 10 July,
occurred at Ballymena?                                    tensions around the neighbouring town of Lurgan
                                                          or concern about parades through Nationalist
   The Taoiseach: I agree with Deputy Rabbitte            areas of Ballymena, such as the Orange march
on the first point. Nobody is suggesting that any-        on 27 June mentioned by Deputy Rabbitte, about
body is giving recognition. However, the reality                     ´
                                                          which Sean Farren said the police had been
must be acknowledged, as well. We are trying to           heavy-handed in dealing with Nationalist pro-
end paramilitary activity and criminality and             testors. I want to be very even-handed about this
complete decommissioning. We do not want to               issue. There are all kinds of tensions and diffi-
embark on the next round of trying to end some-           culties around many of the parades this year, for
thing that is clearly impossible to finish. This does     all the obvious reasons, including the Derry par-
not mean, however, that these organisations have          ade which I mentioned recently. We are trying to
any type of official support. The reality is that         help all sides.
one cannot go through Northern Ireland without               Yesterday, apart from the formal meeting, we
passing places where the UVF and others were in           had meetings with British officials. We are doing
1912 or were trained in 1916. Neither the Deputy          our best to try to reduce tensions around parades.
nor I has respect for any of these activities or all      Every word uttered in the House during these
the atrocities over the years. To ask me not alone        debates is read by all sides. We are trying to be
to try to end paramilitary and criminal activity          even-handed with regard to all the marches,
and bring decommissioning to a conclusion but to          including those I did not mention, whether by the
disband organisations so that their members will          Orange Order, provisional republicans or any of
never meet again is to seek the impossible and I          the loyalist groups. What we, in the House, are
have made that clear to groups. I do not see the          trying to do is help to get through a difficult
day when we will all be there commemorating               marching season.
anything that anyone did. That will not happen at
any time in the next century, not to mind in the             Mr. Kenny: Was the Taoiseach surprised at the
short term.                                                                                     ´    ´
                                                          security briefings from the Garda Sıochana and
   On the Kelly case, this was only the second            the Army as to the estimated strength of IRA
case of a licence being suspended. Whenever                             personnel at the moment? News-
these cases come up on either side we always ask          3 o’clock     paper reports indicate a strength of
questions and play an even-handed role. I have                          1,500, around 20% of regular Army
raised the cases of loyalist prisoners and fought         numbers here. Does the Taoiseach have evidence
on behalf of the father of the loyalist leader killed     about how many are in the Republic compared
in prison whose name escapes me.                          to Northern Ireland? Was he surprised at the
                                                          statement by the Minister for Justice, Equality
          ´ ´
  Caoimhghın O Caolain: Billy Wright.
                   ´                                      and Law Reform or the numbers estimated to be
                                                          active personnel in the IRA? Does the Taoiseach
  The Taoiseach: I raised that case time and              believe the evidence from the International
again. I met Billy Wright’s father and I always           Monitoring Commission that the IRA is regroup-
played my part in the case.                               ing, actively purchasing arms and training person-
  With regard to the case of Mr. Kelly, we knew,          nel in military style operations?
from our people, that he was involved in the                 After the breakdown in talks, the McCartney
marching season last year when he was quite               murder and the Northern Bank raid, the
helpful in de-escalating trouble on the streets.          Taoiseach had an acrimonious meeting with the
The British side says it has information that he                                ´
                                                          president of Sinn Fein in Dublin. He sent away
395                 Ceisteanna —                 28 June 2005.                 Questions                   396

   [Mr. Kenny.]                                           the wider peace process, we did not stop
        ´
Sinn Fein with a flea in its ear to talk to the IRA       engagement.
and to come back to the Irish Government with                 From 8 December until the St. Patrick’s Day
a clear statement of the IRA’s intentions. The            period, other than the meeting that happened
Taoiseach is entitled to keep dialogue between            after 8 December and the meeting to which the
parties open but there are newspaper reports that         Deputy referred, we did not have another meet-
the Taoiseach has had meetings with the pres-             ing or engagement — hardly even a telephone
                ´
ident of Sinn Fein on his own, in secret, and that        call. It was then that I spoke to the leader of Sinn
no one knows what was discussed at these meet-              ´
                                                          Fein and then met him in Washington. This was
ings. Can the Taoiseach confirm there were no             a short meeting between myself, the Minister for
side deals made about on-the-run prisoners or             Foreign Affairs, Deputy Dermot Ahern, and Mr.
people in Colombia? What where these meetings             Adams and Rita O’Hare. We reiterated our posi-
about? Why were they necessary in the first place         tion from two months previously. Mr. Adams, as
if the Taoiseach had made clear his position and                               ´
                                                          president of Sinn Fein, then issued his statement.
that of the Government that the onus and                      On three subsequent occasions, before, during
responsibility rests clearly with the IRA to make         and after the UK general election, I had three
up its mind about what it wants to do? In future,                                                ´
                                                          further short meetings with Sinn Fein. None of
as Mitchell Reiss said to me in Washington, there         these was secret. I said publicly that I met the
will be no more constructive ambiguity and words          party. These meetings were mainly around two
will mean what they are supposed to mean and              issues. One was the issue of us being clear about
everyone will know what is intended. Everyone             what we expected so that we could move forward.
here wants an end to paramilitary and criminal            The other concerned the ongoing issue of the
activity once and for all. Can the Taoiseach              marching season and how we would work
explain what went on at these meetings and why            through it.
were they necessary?                                          Many of the contacts we have had over the
   Does the Taoiseach believe this situation will         years on these issues are important and ensure
continue to drag until assembly elections take            we get through issues and events. It is not always
place again for the political reasons of various          understood the amount of contact that goes on
groups? Will the assembly be up and running               during the marching season in attempts to get
before elections are again called?                        people on all sides to communicate. Otherwise
                                                          events can easily get out control. Not only in this
   Has the Taoiseach had any security briefings
                                                          Government but with previous Governments,
on the disappeared and where their remains
                                                          people, including myself, have gone to the trouble
might be located, still a source of great sensitivity
                                                          of meeting loyalists and others, sometimes pri-
to those involved?
                                                          vately. However, none of these meetings was in
                                                          any way secret. There was no question of us talk-
   The Taoiseach: There is no new information on          ing about side negotiations or deals in written or
the disappeared but we continue to engage with            other form. Such a request was never made to
any information there is. Sites that have not been        me. I was not asked in any of these meetings to
checked previously are always kept under review.          make any such issue. These meetings simply con-
If the information is sufficiently detailed and           cerned our ongoing business.
specific enough to do something, it is checked.               While I stated we would not engage with Sinn
   On the number of volunteers, I do not have               ´
                                                          Fein, not to do so at all would be dangerous. It
any real oversight of this. The Minister for              does not make any sense, particularly when the
Justice, Equality and Law Reform receives secur-          UK Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, has met Sinn Fein. ´
ity reports and he bases his information on intelli-      The US envoy has met the president and other
gence mainly from the Garda but also from the                                   ´
                                                          members of Sinn Fein. For the Government not
Army. There are meetings a few times a year with          to do so would be irresponsible. We must keep
the Garda when there are security issues such as          up the ongoing contact and dialogue. I hope that
the Northern Bank raid but normally I do not              position is absolutely clear. I will answer Deputy
make a point of it. Anything the Minister would           Kenny’s letter.
say would be based on that information and that               Regarding the assembly elections, I honestly
is the position given by the Garda. Regarding the         hope that over the summer we will get a satisfac-
meetings, I accept what Deputy Kenny has said             tory conclusion of the issues to which I referred.
and that he is under some pressure because                In the months — not weeks — ahead, although I
people have raised the issue with him. I appreci-         hope it is not too long a period, we can begin the
ate the bipartisan approach to these matters and          process of engaging to build the confidence of the
Deputy Kenny’s recent letter on the issue. I have         Democratic Unionist Party and Unionism gener-
no argument with the Deputy.                              ally to return to the position we were in some
   I will reiterate what I stated recently. Following     years ago. This will not be easy and will not hap-
the public meeting the Government had with                pen overnight or in a few months. However, we
        ´
Sinn Fein after January, I made it clear there was        must try to do so. The question has arisen as to
no issue about us seeking to engage with the              whether one can get to that position with the
                           ´
party. We asked Sinn Fein to go away and let us           assembly of November 2003, or if it will require
know what was happening. However, because of              fresh elections. From a purely technical or legal
397                Ceisteanna —                28 June 2005.                  Questions                   398


perspective, I do not see why one must change           sion in interface locations, particularly in the city
that position. Perhaps it will become clear to          of Belfast.
people, who will state that elections are needed.
At present however, that is not an issue. It is           An Ceann Comhairle: I ask the Deputy to give
another question as to whether it becomes an            way to the Taoiseach as we are coming to the end
issue at some point in the next year. I do not see      of Question Time. Deputy Sargent has already
why it should, but no doubt others will state that      asked three questions.
it definitely will do so. It remains to be seen.
However, before we reach that point, two major             Mr. J. Higgins: May I ask a question?
steps must take place or no further steps will take
place. These issues must be answered in the short         An Ceann Comhairle: A number of Deputies
term — I have not put a date on it but they must        are offering to contribute and unfortunately we
be dealt with — and then we will move to the            must give the Taoiseach time to answer.
next phase, which will be to try to build trust and
confidence and to return to establishing the              Mr. J. Higgins: The House began its pro-
executive. Hopefully, this can be done in the           ceedings a few minutes late and I hope some lati-
                                                        tude will be shown. Has the Taoiseach had an
months ahead.
                                                        opportunity to raise the case of Tipperary man,
                                                        Christy McGrath with Prime Minister Blair? It is
                                       ´
   Mr. Sargent: The joint communique contains a
                                                        a miscarriage of justice.
number of items, but the one with which I am
concerned states the Irish Government raised its          An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has made
concerns regarding the Dublin-Monaghan bom-             his point. Deputy Costello also has a question.
bings. Has the Taoiseach proceeded to discuss the
possibility of a court case in the European Court         Mr. J. Higgins: Is the Taoiseach aware of this
of Human Rights with the Attorney General and           case? Has he raised or will he raise this case in
what progress has been made in that regard?             the near future?
Does the Taoiseach have any indication as to
when he expects a statement from the IRA? Can             Mr. Costello: I reiterate the point regarding the
he inform Members what benchmarks the                   case of Christy McGrath.
Government might have considered as to how the
IRA’s intent is to be analysed? I do not have time        An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy should ask
to go into them, but apart from declaring an end        a brief question.
to paramilitary and criminal activity, will the
Taoiseach seek a cessation of recruitment for              Mr. Costello: Was the response from the Brit-
example? He might indicate whether benchmarks           ish Prime Minister positive? The letter mentioned
have been considered. Finally, over the summer,         last week is the letter which came to the Joint
will any thought be given to reappraising the           Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and
approach of the Government? As far as I can tell,       Women’s Rights but that is merely a six month’s
it has not changed since the time when unionism         late reply to a letter sent by the Joint Committee
was predominantly pro-Agreement. Now that               on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s
unionism is mainly anti-Agreement, does the             Rights. Is the Taoiseach prepared to go down the
situation not require a re-evaluation of the            road which he suggested last week, regarding the
approach to the implementation of the Agree-            European Court of Human Rights action?
ment and will the Taoiseach involve the Oppo-
sition parties in re-appraising that approach, so         Mr. J. Higgins: It is good to see the Taoiseach
we can have a more rounded approach, rather                       ´
                                                        and the Tanaiste sitting together. The Irish Times
than a unilateral one from the Government?              had them disappearing down a crack in the
                                                        aquatic centre.
              ´ ´
   Caoimhghın O Caolain: Regarding the Dublin-
                        ´                                 An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Higgins should
Monaghan bombings there was an indication, as           be aware that we are at the end of Taoiseach’s
I understand it, on the part of the British Prime       Question Time and the Taoiseach should have
Minister in the course of that meeting that the         time to reply.
British were willing to look at the issue again but
had no evidence of collusion as things stand. This        The Taoiseach: Deputy Sargent again asked me
so-called re-examination is without any time            about the date. As I said, I do not have a date nor
restriction. Should we not move ahead with the          am I as concerned about one as making sufficient
European Court of Human Rights case option              progress on the issues which are important.
without further delay? Regarding the arrest of          Obviously, I hope it will not be a long period. I
Sean Kelly, does the Taoiseach share my concern         have already acknowledged the role of Sean
at the reaction of many ex-Republican prisoners?        Kelly, of which we are aware. I hope the case will
The reaction to his re-arrest and re-incarceration      pass through the appeals commission very quickly
was one of alarm, particularly as they have played      and that the issue will be dealt with there. I will
such an important role in ensuring the diffusion        check the position of Christy McGrath. The issue
of what can only be described as increased ten-         has been pursued by the secretariat.
399                   Priority                  28 June 2005.                  Questions                   400

   [The Taoiseach.]                                      starts when new house starts under the regener-
   All the Deputies asked about the Dublin and           ation programmes, principally in Ballymun, are
Monaghan bombings. Yesterday I outlined the              taken into consideration. In addition, the main
position as we all see it simply and succinctly. I       local authority construction programme will
stated that we felt we had not got information           deliver the completion of 5,500 units this year.
we had specifically sought and that there was an         Output by the voluntary and co-operative sector
overwhelming view that there had been collusion          is expected to add a further 1,800 house com-
at some levels, of which we can never be certain         pletions to supplement the main local authority
because of the time span. It is, however, the belief     housing construction programme.
that that is the case.                                      At the request of my Department, new multi-
   In particular, I have raised the issue of what we     annual action plans have been prepared by local
understood to be a commitment given at Weston            authorities for the provision of social and afford-
Park a number of years ago for a Cory-like               able housing for the period 2004 to 2008. These
inquiry. I reiterated that the Oireachtas commit-        have been approved by my Department and are
tee had unanimously called for such an inquiry. I
                                                         designed to assist local authorities in identifying
indicated that in the absence of progress, we
                                                         priority needs in the next few years and providing
would have to examine the possibility of pursing
the case before the European Court of Human              a coherent, co-ordinated response across all hous-
Rights, as recommended by the Oireachtas com-            ing services, including delivery of housing by the
mittee. I stated that I had persistently made this       voluntary and co-operative sector. Financial
point to the Oireachtas committee and it was not         envelopes have been secured for the next five
something on which I would go back.                      years to underpin the multi-annual approach in
   The Prime Minister asked me some questions            the action plans.
on the history which I answered very clearly. The           It is anticipated this year that total social hous-
British contend that they can find no evidence of        ing provision, including new local authority hous-
collusion in the bombings but have said they feel        ing, vacancies that arise in existing houses and
some of the questions asked by the Oireachtas            output under the various measures, should meet
committee and the Government have not been               the needs of about 13,000 households. This com-
precise in respect of particular periods and that        pares with 8,500 households in 1998. In addition,
we should raise this with them. I have no problem        it is anticipated that the number of households in
doing so but I am not prepared to stop on that           private accommodation will transfer to the new
basis because I agree with Deputy Costello in that       rental accommodation scheme. The Govern-
I saw the reply to the Oireachtas committee and          ment’s commitment to making housing more
one would be no wiser after reading it than              affordable is reflected in last week’s announce-
before. As I indicated previously, I intend, on a        ment of the new affordable homes partnership.
preliminary basis, to raise the issue of looking at      The partnership will drive and co-ordinate the
the European option with the Attorney General.           delivery of affordable housing in the greater
                                                         Dublin area.
               Priority Questions.                          It is also intended that the partnership will take
                                                         responsibility, as far as practicable, for the afford-
   An Ceann Comhairle: Priority Questions Nos.           able housing initiative projects on State lands in
24 and 26 are in the names of Deputies O’Dowd            the greater Dublin area. This will include the use
and Cuffe. As neither Deputy is present, we will         of the land swap option, similar to that piloted on
proceed to Priority Question No. 25 in the name          the Harcourt Terrace Lane site. The partnership
of Deputy Gilmore. As Deputy Gilmore is not
                                                         will work initially via the existing planning
present either, we will proceed to Priority Ques-
                                                         development framework, but additional legislat-
tion No. 27.
                                                         ive powers will be available should they prove
                                                         necessary.
            Local Authority Housing.
                                                            As part of the broader delivery of housing
  27. Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for the           nationally, all local authorities will review their
Environment, Heritage and Local Government               land management strategies to maximise the
his views on whether the recent announcement             availability of land for their housing programmes
on social housing will eliminate local authority         and voluntary and co-operative housing partner-
housing waiting lists; the date by which he expects      ships with the private sector, and to secure more
the elimination to have taken place; and if he will      active use of brownfield land and derelict sites. I
make a statement on the matter. [22751/05]               believe that the development of the action plans
  Minister of State at the Department of the             and the increased capital investment this year in
Environment, Heritage and Local Government               housing, along with the establishment of the new
(Mr. N. Ahern): The Government’s commitment              affordable homes partnership, reflects the
to improving social and affordable housing is            Government’s targeted response to social and
reflected in a number of recent announcements.           affordable housing need.
In May I announced this year’s allocations for the
commencement of 5,500 new housing starts by                Mr. McCormack: Will we be able to use the
local authorities to be further boosted to 6,000         time saved on other questions for this question?
401                   Priority                  28 June 2005.                 Questions                  402


  An Ceann Comhairle: No. As this is the last              Mr. McCormack: What happened to the 10,000
week before the recess, the Chair will allow those       houses that the Minister of State promised but
questions. However, I do not want it to be taken         never delivered?
as a precedent for the future.
                                                            Mr. N. Ahern: We are working on them.
   Mr. McCormack: I will therefore only use the
time available to me. How many individuals and             An Ceann Comhairle: I call on the Minister to
families are on local authority housing waiting          answer Question No. 24.
lists? Does the Minister of State concede that the
deficit of data in this area is very strange? Is it        Mr. McCormack: What was the value of the
not true that the housing needs assessment is pub-       houses he gave away last week?
lished once every three years? How can the Mini-
ster of State make policy in this area in these cir-       Mr. Roche: The Deputy has lost the argument
cumstances?                                              so he should sit down.
   How can the Minister of State justify his
announcement last week on affordable housing                           Register of Electors.
when there is a lack of housing driving up local
authority waiting lists every year? The Minister           24. Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for the
of State made a statement last week which                Environment, Heritage and Local Government
sounded like it would solve all problems. Would          the steps he intends to take to ensure that the
it not be more desirable if the Minister of State        electoral register properly reflects the electorate
sold land on the open market rather than give it         in time for the next general election, given the
away to builders and built houses in suitable areas      reported inaccuracies in same; and if he will make
rather than in the outskirts of cities?                  a statement on the matter. [22752/05]

  Mr. N. Ahern: The Deputy is correct. There is             26. Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for the Envir-
a major examination of housing lists every three         onment, Heritage and Local Government if in
years. The last compilation in 2002 showed that          light of recent research that shows that there were
48,000 families were on the lists. Families can be       between 660,000 and 800,000 surplus polling
represented by just one person; 30% of the list          cards issued for the general election in 2002 and
consisted of single people and 32% consisted of          that the electorate is much larger than the adult
one adult and one child. The 48,000 families on          population, he plans to devote the necessary
the list represented 109,000 people. People can          resources and develop adequate systems in order
calculate the figures on an ongoing basis but the        that a centrally co-ordinated, computerised and
major needs assessment is done every three years.        widely accessible electoral register can be estab-
The figures this year will be out in the autumn.         lished, in order that an independent body is
One does not need monthly figures to set long-           established to oversee this development and the
term plans. The three-year system represents a           maintenance of the system, in order that the
detailed needs assessment.                               register can be thoroughly checked on a house-
  Last week’s announcement was a considerable            to-house basis in advance of the next poll and to
response by the Government. It was a fabulous            allow for names on the electoral register to be
arrangement——                                            cross-checked with a database such as the data-
                                                         base of PPS numbers; and if he will make a state-
  Mr. O’Dowd: It was fabulous for the builders.          ment on the matter. [22757/05]
                                                            Minister for the Environment, Heritage and
 Mr. McCormack: It was the third fall back
                                                         Local Government (Mr. Roche): I propose to
made by the Government.
                                                         take Questions Nos. 24 and 26 together.
  Mr. O’Dowd: There are 193 houses on four                  There is a problem in this area and not enough
tenths of an acre.                                       attention has been paid to the issue of the voting
                                                         register. We have had a number of priorities in
  Mr. N. Ahern: We could have gone ahead and             recent years. Throughout the 1990s, we had the
built around 30 apartments on the Harcourt Ter-          issue of the electoral code. The expenditure and
race site. Instead of that we are getting 193 units.     donation regime was discussed and then we dis-
                                                         cussed the voting system. There has never really
  Mr. Cuffe: When are we getting them?                   been a major debate on the voting register.
                                                            The compilation and publication of the register
  Mr. N. Ahern: Up to 140 of them will be built          of electors is a matter for the appropriate local
this year and the remainder will be built early          authority in accordance with electoral law and
next year. That is the real beauty of it. We are         includes the carrying out of house-to-house
not just providing more units, we are also provid-       inquiries, delivery of registration forms and run-
ing them very quickly. We might have had to wait         ning local awareness campaigns. It is the duty of
three or four years for the 30 apartments, but now       local authorities to ensure the accuracy of the
we are getting 140 units this year and the remain-       register. In carrying out this work, local auth-
der next year. That was a very innovative project        orities depend to a significant degree on the co-
and I was very pleased with the announcement.            operation and engagement of the public.
403                    Priority                  28 June 2005.                  Questions                   404

   [Mr. Roche.]                                           confidence. The Government would have been
   There have been a number of reasons put for-           far better off if it had decided to spend a much
ward for the state of register. Rapid population          smaller sum of \3 million or \4 million per annum
growth and development, increased personal                on a proper electoral register.
mobility and other changes in modern society                 I welcome the highlighting by The Sunday
present difficulties for the preparation of the elec-     Tribune of the appalling disgrace that over
toral register. I do not accept that these reasons        300,000 people are on the register who do not
explain fully the condition of the register. In over-     have the right to vote. It is not good enough that
all terms, the number of people on the register in        people have been multiply registered. While we
                                   ´
2002 were eligible to vote at Dail elections was          can talk forever in committees, cannot the Mini-
3.002 million. However, census data for 2002 indi-        ster talk to county managers and the Revenue
cate that there were 2.71 million voters over the         collectors who often do the work in question in
age of 18 who were eligible to vote at these elec-        local authorities and ask them why the register is
tions, representing a difference of 300,000. The          a mess, what resources have been invested and
main reasons for excess registration seem to              what action is required? It is an action the Mini-
include slowness to remove deceased persons               ster could take quickly.
from the register, changes of address without                Dedicated staff are required to visit voters. As
advising the local authority, as well as second           the Minister rightly says, commuters are a signifi-
houses.                                                   cant problem as they leave home at 7 a.m. and
   I share the concerns that have been expressed          do not return until 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. It is almost
on the quality of the register and have already           impossible to meet a commuter at his or her
mandated my Department to examine any                     home, especially if he or she works in Dublin, as
improvements that can and should be made.                 he or she is always travelling and is not home on
There will be a national awareness campaign later         weekends. Will the Minister engage proactively
this year associated with preparation of the next         with county managers and those they have
register of electors by local authorities. We are         charged with the duty to compile the register to
monitoring developments in Northern Ireland               push the agenda forward? We will have them
and elsewhere regarding best practice on elec-            before the committee in the autumn. We would
toral registration. In terms of the voting process,       be better off to invest a great deal more money
we have introduced important new controls in              in a proper electoral register and encourage a
recent times. The Electoral (Amendment) Act               great deal more people to vote. It does not matter
2002 contains more stringent requirements for             if it takes two or three days to count their votes
entry to the supplement to the register. In the           after an election. Let us encourage and enfran-
2002 general election, polling staff were advised         chise our citizens and ensure we get them out to
by the Department to require at least 25% of vot-         vote.
ers to produce an identity document. The Elec-
toral (Amendment) Act 2004 made unlawful pos-                Mr. Roche: I do not disagree with the Deputy
session or use of someone else’s polling card a           on any point other than his attempt to introduce
specific offence. Strong legislation must be mir-         a different issue in his introductory remarks. The
rored locally by vigilance on the part of polling         Deputy is correct to say local authorities have dif-
staff.                                                    fering records. In some areas, there is good prac-
   There is a problem in this area which, as I have       tice while in others it is very clear the practice is
already mentioned to a number of Members, will            not good enough. I will engage with local auth-
require a cross-party approach to solve. All              orities as soon as the guidelines have been
Members have practical experience which could             produced.
be used to good effect. It would be very useful to           I have already indicated in my earlier response
hold full discussions on the matter at the Joint          that I am very anxious to engage all sides in the
Committee on the Environment, Heritage and                House not only on the preparation of the register
Local Government. If it is agreeable, I am willing        but also on voting and verification procedures.
to bring to the committee in the autumn the               They are issues about which we are all concerned.
guidelines I have mentioned and to establish with         There is a great deal of experience within the pol-
representatives of parties on all sides of the            itical system which can be used to assess how the
House what is best practice elsewhere. We can             system is failing——
consider suggestions such as the one Deputy
Cuffe outlined in his question. The register                 Mr. McCormack: How it is abused even.
requires an appropriate level of attention which
it has failed to receive in the past. I want to see          Mr. Roche: ——and inform its improvement. I
the matter resolved in the very near future.              am willing to engage in the most open way pos-
                                                          sible with Members on the matter.
  Mr. O’Dowd: I thank the Minister for his reply.
While I note with approval his reference to a                Mr. Cuffe: Does the Minister agree there is a
cross-party approach to the matter, the fact is the       glaring anomaly in the current system of compi-
Minister represents a Government which has                lation of electoral rolls which delegates the func-
wasted \50 million on electronic voting machines          tion to local authorities without providing for the
which do not work or in which we do not have              centralised cross-checking of the individuals
405                   Priority                  28 June 2005.                  Questions                   406


registered? Does the Minister accept his Depart-         in the electoral register. I will impress on local
ment has overall responsibility for registration         authorities the need to carry out the job more
and in delegating responsibility to local auth-          effectively as the process of compiling the elec-
orities needs to keep a check on the figures? The        toral register for next year continues.
Minister will be aware that the electoral office in         We are producing guidelines which I will make
Northern Ireland calls to each household twice a         available in draft form to the joint committee this
year at a cost of £6 million. Surely, the system         autumn. As we all share the same concern, I am
could be replicated in the Republic for approxi-         prepared to sit down with any Member to discuss
mately \15 million, a mere fraction of the cost of       how to improve matters.
electronic voting.
  I am sure the Minister is aware of the massive            Mr. O’Dowd: The issue of people living in flats
population movements of the last decade and that         and apartments is one which particularly needs to
people tend to move more quickly than they did           be addressed. There is generally no difficulty with
before. Does the Minister accept the current             the older estates on which people have tradition-
system is based largely on trust and that while          ally lived. Problems arise in areas in which people
the Government has expended tens of millions of          move about very quickly and it is to these the
euro on an electronic voting system to make very         Minister should direct the attention of local auth-
careful cross checks, it has failed to ensure voter      orities. Recently, I came across an apartment
registration is cross-checked at county level?           complex from which no one voted at the last elec-
Does he accept that a simple system of checks            tion as people had moved on and the local regis-
at a national level using personal public service        ter was out of date.
numbers and a central office would make a great             I also ask the Minister to direct the attention
deal of sense? This would provide a more secure          of local authorities to the issue of the registration
system which more accurately reflected those             of people in rural areas alphabetically rather than
who have a right to be registered. It would also         by address. One does not know who is where. It
ensure that those who are deceased are no                is a matter which must be addressed for those of
longer registered.                                       us who want to canvass every house by name but
                                                         do not know everyone in a rural area.
  Mr. Roche: I agree with Deputy Cuffe on many
of his points, including his reference to the accu-         Mr. Roche: I take Deputy O’Dowd’s point. He
racy of electronic voting. We will leave that for        is an excellent public representative but does not
another day, however.                                    know absolutely everybody living on the high-
                                                         ways and byways of Louth. If we had a postal
  Mr. McCormack: We will leave it for years.             code system, it would improve matters. It is also
                                                         the case that local authorities are, to put it at its
  Mr. Cuffe: I referred to cross checking.               mildest, remiss in the matter of naming roads.
                                                         Even in centres like Greystones, there are roads
   Mr. Roche: While local authorities are cur-           which have yet to be named. Deputy O’Dowd’s
rently required to conduct door-to-door inquiries,       point on multiple occupancy addresses is valid.
Deputy Cuffe was correct to say standards vary           There is a propensity on the part of enumerators
from authority to authority. I will put it no            who check registers to miss many of the places in
stronger than that. The process has always been          question. Additionally, there are increasing
decentralised and I am not disposed to centralis-        numbers of gated multiple-dwelling units to
ing every activity. I would prefer, with reference       which it is impossible to gain access.
to Deputy O’Dowd’s contribution, if local auth-             I will try to address in the guidelines any
orities did their job more efficiently and that we       reasonable suggestion a Member makes. There is
introduced a system to make sure that happened.          a great deal of experience in the political system
   Deputy Cuffe referred to voter security and the       which can be brought to bear. We have all known
use of personal public service numbers. While I          for years that the electoral register has contained
am aware of the procedures operated in the               a significant degree of error and it is time the
North of Ireland, to introduce the cross-check           issue was addressed. I am anxious to proceed.
Deputy Cuffe mentioned would, especially on
voting day, require an information technology              Mr. Cuffe: I hope the Minister accepts that
link between the Department of Social and                reform of the electoral rolls is not rocket science.
Family Affairs and the electoral database. A             It is a comparatively simple undertaking, and
number of issues, including data protection,             using personal public service numbers does not
would arise with this approach. Nonetheless, I am        raise significant data-sharing issues. The electoral
open to considering any proposal which offers            rolls close a considerable time in advance of an
security in voting, has the potential to make the        election taking place. Surely a little cross-check-
process more open and transparent and ensures            ing could be done at that point at national level
the register is properly prepared. Whether we            and if there were duplicate PPS numbers one
accept the number of surplus polling cards issued        would simply write to the individuals advising
is 300,000 or 800,000 as hypothesised in the article     them of this and giving them a chance to remove
referred to by Deputy O’Dowd, it is simply not           themselves from the register in one location?
good enough to have a significant level of error         That could be done a long time in advance of the
407                    Priority                   28 June 2005.                 Questions                  408

  [Mr. Cuffe.]                                                Under Part V agreements with developers, a
election. It would allow us to deal with the               total of 508 affordable housing units were
300,000, 800,000 or whatever number of people              acquired by local authorities up to the end of
who are registered in two or more locations. It            December 2004, 1,215 affordable units were in
could be done comparatively simply. Would the              the course of acquisition and a further 2,260 were
Minister consider doing this relatively quickly            earmarked for acquisition on foot of Part V
and bring in the necessary regulations to ensure           agreements with developers. In addition to the
we can have a lot more confidence in who is on             affordable housing units, nearly 300 social units
the register and that people are not registered in         have been acquired together with 12 land
several locations.                                         transfers to local authorities involving over 11
                                                           hectares, a further 156 sites have also been trans-
   Mr. Roche: I see the attractions of the PPS             ferred and some \11 million has been received in
approach as it offers a unique number which can            payments in lieu and under the withering levy.
be cross-checked. However, a system of cross-              These figures demonstrate the effectiveness and
checking would have to be built into that to               further potential of Part V. I am confident that
ensure efficiency when the registration system is          the Part V arrangement will contribute signifi-
in operation. Local authorities would have to be           cantly to the provision of social and affordable
able to counter-check names against PPS                    housing in the future.
numbers, and that is not as simple as it would                Under the affordable housing initiative sub-
appear. It is not rocket science if the linkage and        stantial progress continues to be made. Over 70
the IT access are there but it raises a number of          sites have been identified on State or local auth-
issues.                                                    ority lands, which, including Part V, have a poten-
   As Deputy Cuffe said, one of the problems we            tial yield exceeding 10,000 affordable housing
have is that the register is closed at a specific date     units, meeting the target proposed by the parties
which is arbitrarily established. As a poll observer       to the pay agreement. To date, the initiative has
in South and Central America, I have seen polls            delivered nearly 500 units, including from Part V.
operated by the Organisation of American States,           Delivery will continue throughout 2005, with an
and registration took place up to a very short             estimated 1,350 units forecast for completion and
time before the election. One of the big problems          projects with a potential of 2,200 units either
at the moment is that there is a cut-off point. I          under construction or commencing construction
know the supplementary register has been intro-            during 2005. Projects with an estimated potential
duced but it is not used as well as it could be.           of 3,400 units will commence construction dur-
   These are issues which we should all discuss            ing 2006.
because there is a problem in this regard and,                To promote the earliest possible delivery of
irrespective of who was in government, we never            units, a fast-tracking mechanism for delivery of
addressed it. We have all known for years that             units has been agreed and is being implemented.
problems exist with the register and now is the            This followed a pilot land exchange arrangement
time to address it. I am willing to discuss it with        for a 0.4 acre city centre site at Harcourt Terrace
Members of the House and to take on board                  Lane which is to be exchanged for 193 additional
reasonable suggestions. I do not think the                 affordable units to be made available on a phased
situation on the PPS is quite as simple, as Deputy         basis over the next nine months. Some 140 of the
Cuffe suggests, although it has many attractions.          units will be delivered in 2005 with the balance of
                                                           53 available early next year. In light of the posi-
         Social and Affordable Housing.                    tive outcome of the pilot land swap, a number of
                                                           other sites will be developed using the same
  25. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for the
                                                           model.
Environment, Heritage and Local Government
                                                              I assure the House that there is a strong com-
the total number of affordable houses that have
                                                           mitment in Government to deliver on this initiat-
been constructed, provided and allocated to date
                                                           ive and I believe that the substantial progress
under Sustaining Progress and Part V of the Plan-
                                                           made to date and our arrangements for accelerat-
ning and Development Act 2000; and if he will
                                                           ing delivery emphasise this commitment.
make a statement on the matter. [22462/05]
   Mr. N. Ahern: Part V of the Planning and                   Mr. Gilmore: The Minister of State indicated
Development Acts 2000 to 2004 is fully oper-               that 500 dwellings have been provided under Sus-
ational and all relevant residential planning appli-       taining Progress, including some from Part V.
cations are now subject to a Part V agreement.             How many houses under Sustaining Progress,
Apart from the provision of housing units to the           excluding those provided under Part V, have
local authority on or off-site, an agreement under         been provided to date?
Part V may provide for a range of other options.              Do I understand the Minister of State correctly
Notwithstanding the availability of these options,         that from the Part V initiative that was originally
my Department’s stated preference, which has               announced in 1999, only 508 affordable dwellings
been communicated to local authorities, is for the         have been provided to date, at a time when hous-
provision of housing units whether on-site or              ing construction is running at almost 80,000 units
off-site.                                                  per annum and when we were to expect 20% of
409                   Priority                  28 June 2005.                 Questions                   410


development to be provided by way of social and          time houses are provided. Next year will see a
affordable housing initiatives?                          higher output of housing units. By the end of the
   Will the Minister of State explain the inconsist-     year we expect to be on 13 sites.
ency between the figure he has given me today
and the figure which he provided for me on 18               Mr. Cuffe: Are they all in Finglas?
May? Today he informed me that 1,215 dwellings
were in the course of acquisition but on 18 May             Mr. N. Ahern: They are not but——
he informed me that 1, 910 dwellings were in the
course of acquisition. He also informed me today                                                       ´
                                                           Mr. B. O’Keeffe: They are certainly not in Dun
that 2,260 dwellings were earmarked for acquis-          Laoghaire-Rathdown anyway.
ition but on 18 May he informed me that 2,885
were earmarked for acquisition. What has hap-              Mr. Gilmore: What is the valuation of the Har-
pened in the past six weeks that has caused 700          court Terrace site?
dwellings that were in the course of acquisition
to disappear and 600 which were earmarked for              Mr. N. Ahern: The local authority in Finglas
acquisition to also disappear?                           has been active in this area, mainly under the
   Will the Minister of State indicate to the House      1999 scheme, and there is some affordable hous-
the valuation put on the Harcourt Terrace site?          ing initiative. The valuation of the Harcourt Ter-
                                                         race site is \39 million.
  Mr. N. Ahern: Deputy Gilmore’s question is
about affordable units but the total dividend from          Mr. Gilmore: The Minister of State is not get-
Part V would include social as well as affordable        ting good value if that is the case.
units. The figure of 508 units relates to affordable
housing. However, the total dividend from Part              Mr. N. Ahern: We are receiving a net consider-
V is about 800 units.                                    ation for this site of \15.6 million, which is \2.6
                                                         million more than its pre-sale valuation of \13
  Mr. Gilmore: Is that 800 in all?                       million. This equates with \39 million per acre
                                                         and is at the top of the range of sale prices
  Mr. N. Ahern: It is approximately 850. Where           achieved in city centre locations. It is a very good
I referred to 1,200 affordable units today, that         deal. We could have provided approximately 30
would amount to 1,900 Part V units in total.             apartments on the site and some commercial
                                                         units but instead are getting 193 units——
  Mr. Gilmore: How many housing units relate
specifically to Sustaining Progress, excluding             Mr. Gilmore: The Minister of State would have
Part V?                                                  done as well as he did for the past three years.
  Mr. N. Ahern: It is small, it is only about 30           Mr. N. Ahern: ——and much quicker. That is
units.                                                   the real beauty of it. We could have got 30 apart-
                                                         ments but it might have taken another three or
  Mr. Gilmore: Thirty.                                   four years. We are to have 140 of the 193 units
                                                         this year. It is not just a case of getting more but
  Mr. N. Ahern: This is where Deputy Gilmore
                                                         of getting them much quicker. This is a really
deliberately tries to blackguard and act the fool.
                                                         good deal.
He is the only person he is codding.

  Mr. Gilmore: The Minister of State is codding             Mr. Gilmore: Thirty out of 10,000.
the public.
                                                            Mr. N. Ahern: No, it is not 30 out of 10,000.
  Mr. N. Ahern: No, I am not. It takes time.
                                                           Mr. Gilmore: It is. That is what has been
  Mr. Cuffe: Ten thousand units.                         produced.

   Mr. N. Ahern: The public is more sensible.              Mr. N. Ahern: The social partners know the
People realise that it takes time to build houses.       deal into which they entered. Deputy Gilmore
One cannot just produce houses overnight. The            keeps getting mixed up deliberately.
affordable housing initiative was first mentioned
two years ago. Some 350 units will be produced              Mr. Cuffe: It was always separate.
this year under Sustaining Progress that are not
related to Part V. That will increase substantially.       Mr. N. Ahern: The deal includes 10,000 afford-
Any developer would say the same thing.                  able houses, including Part V.

  Mr. Gilmore: It is a long way from 10,000.                Mr. Cuffe: It was always separate.

  Mr. N. Ahern: I am sorry if I sound boring                Mr. N. Ahern: The social partners know this.
repeating myself but it takes a minimum of three
or four years from the time one gets a site to the          Mr. Gilmore: It excluded Part V.
411                   Priority                 28 June 2005.                 Questions                   412


  Mr. N. Ahern: It most definitely did not. I am        construction of new houses and buildings with
sorry the Deputy keeps confusing himself.               effect from 1 April this year. The enhanced
                                                        measures which call for radon sump outlets to be
  Mr. Gilmore: It excluded Part V.                      clearly identified should help to further raise
                                                        awareness among householders and the building
  Mr. N. Ahern: It did not.                             industry.
                                                           The institute has published the results of a
  Mr. Gilmore: That was the deal.                       recent survey undertaken by it of a number of
                                                        houses in Kilkenny built before and after July
  Mr. N. Ahern: It did not.                             1998 when the updated 1997 regulations stan-
                                                        dards came into effect. This survey showed that,
  Mr. Roche: It is absolutely certain that there        of the 33 houses built after July 1998, three had
will be more houses completed than Dun        ´         radon concentrations above the national refer-
Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has deliv-            ence level, including one which was very seriously
ered in the past ten years. It is an appalling          affected and had a radon concentration of over
council dominated by the Deputy’s party.                seven times the reference level. However, the sur-
                                                        vey results also showed a reduction of some 33%
  Mr. Cuffe: Nice try.                                  in the average radon concentration in the houses
                                                        built after July 1998 compared with the average
 Question No. 26 answered with Question
                                                        concentration for houses surveyed by the institute
No. 24.
                                                        under its national radon survey carried out in the
                                                        period 1992 to 1997. I expect further improve-
               Radon Gas Levels.
                                                        ments will emerge from the enhanced measures I
   28. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for the Envir-      have mentioned.
onment, Heritage and Local Government if, in               The testing of domestic dwellings for radon is
view of the fact that the RPII estimates that           straightforward and inexpensive, amounting to
between 10% and 15% of all lung cancer deaths           approximately \40 per house. I urge house-
in Ireland, which is the equivalent of 150 to 200       holders, particularly those in high risk areas, to
deaths per annum, are linked to radon gas               check their houses for radon concentrations and
exposure, he will consider the introduction of a        carry out remediation work, if recommended.
radon testing scheme for homes and a grant to              Both my Department and the RPII will con-
assist with the cost of remedial measures in cases      tinue to use all appropriate opportunities to raise
in which houses are found to be above the               public awareness of the dangers of radon and
accepted safe level of radon; if, in view of the        every effort will continue to improve information
recent survey from the RPII showing that new            to householders to enable them to address moni-
homes fitted with barriers to prevent the build-up      toring or remedial requirements effectively and
of radon gas still have high levels of the gas, he      economically.
intends to undertake a review of the building con-
trol regulations introduced in 1998, particularly          Mr. Stagg: I remind the Minister that we are
with a view to ensuring that the protective bar-        talking about 200 entirely avoidable deaths per
riers are properly installed; and if he will make a     annum. He has stated enhanced measures for
statement on the matter. [22463/05]                     excluding radon gas from houses were introduced
   Mr. Roche: During the years the Government,          recently. He has also referred to the building and
largely through the Radiological Protection             other regulations made on foot of these which
Institute of Ireland, has committed significant         were developed by his Department under the
resources to assessing the extent of the radon          guidance of his constituency colleague, Deputy
problem throughout the country and increasing           McManus, when she was Minister of State at the
public awareness of radon and public health.            Department. Does he agree that the regulations
While the provision of Exchequer grant assist-          are not working because of one simple failure,
ance for testing or remediation works is not envis-     that is, the expectation the building industry
aged, efforts will continue to be directed at           should self-regulate? If I were to pick one indus-
improving information to householders to enable         try in the world that should not be asked to self-
and encourage them to address monitoring or             regulate, it would be the building industry. Strict
remedial requirements effectively and economi-          regulation should be imposed on it rather than
cally. The institute has recently embarked on a         self-regulation.
series of nationwide public information seminars           That the houses supposed to have exclusion
targeted at selected areas with high radon levels.      systems fitted since 1997 are now found to have
These seminars have received widespread media           dangerous levels of radon gas indicates clearly
coverage and generated a large number of                that the measures required to be taken at con-
inquiries.                                              struction stage are not being implemented cor-
   In October last I announced the publication of       rectly. I am sure the Minister will agree. There is
an updated technical guidance document under            no inspection at any stage except at the end of the
the 1997 building regulations containing                process, at which time an architect signs a piece of
enhanced radon prevention measures as recom-            paper. This architect is hired by the builder dur-
mended by the institute to be incorporated in the       ing the planning process and subsequently paid
413                    Other                    28 June 2005.                 Questions                   414


by him or her to state the development is built in       ster will agree, that there are or should be two
accordance with the building regulations, includ-        Departments involved — the Departments of
ing radon gas regulations. Does the Minster have         Health and Children and Environment, Heritage
any view on enforcing the regulations rather than        and Local Government.
allowing self-regulation? Does he agree that
there should be a requirement on those selling             Mr. Roche: The Deputy touched on a number
pre-1997 houses to have a radon test carried out         of issues. Grant schemes announced by one
on the dwellings before they are sold?                   Government in 1997 were never funded.

  Mr. Roche: I do not agree with the Deputy’s                                                 ´
                                                           Mr. Stagg: That is because Fianna Fail came
gloomy view of the effect of the 1997 regulations.       into Government and abolished them.
In so far as we do have a study — the study con-
ducted by the RPII on houses in Kilkenny after              Mr. Roche: Grant schemes have been intro-
the regulations came into effect — it suggests           duced elsewhere and have not been terribly
there has been a significant improvement. I              successful.
accept it also suggests there is room for further           Regarding the Deputy’s other points, there are
improvement. I have sought to make the issue             statistics. Nobody can put a price on an individual
much more clear in the new regulations which I           life and we should ensure that people, including
have outlined. For example, radon sumps should           property owners, take due responsibility.
be marked clearly and readily identifiable.
  On the general issue, the regulations I have              Mr. Stagg: I am speaking of medical costs.
introduced are being enforced. The Deputy’s
points on inspection and the sale of houses               Mr. Roche: I accept that is what the Deputy
require further consideration. He made a point           meant.
on the sale of older or other houses. As he will
know, the RPII has made a submission to the                              Other Questions.
Law Reform Commission advocating the
inclusion of radon-reducing measures in further                               ————
legislation on house conveyancing. I must give
further consideration to this suggestion.                                 Planning Issues.
  The regulations that have been introduced                 29. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for the
further strengthen the procedures. There is an           Environment, Heritage and Local Government
overwhelming onus on property owners to ensure           when the new fast track planning procedure for
radon levels in their homes are properly moni-           major infrastructural projects will be operational;
tored. It is not expensive to carry out a radon          the measures he is proposing to provide for
test. Paying \40 is certainly not difficult for most     adequate public consultation during the fast-
households. In a number of areas local authorities       tracking of such projects; and if he will make a
have provided monitoring devices, particularly           statement on the matter. [22201/05]
for rented accommodation. I encourage house-
holders to take up from the RPII what is avail-            34. Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for the
able in terms of monitoring. I will give further         Environment, Heritage and Local Government if
consideration to the matter of conveyancing.             he will make a statement on his plans for the
                                                                                             ´
                                                         restructuring of An Bord Pleanala and for
   Mr. Stagg: Money is the usual problem. We             changes to planning legislation. [22317/05]
have asked the Minister repeatedly to introduce             112. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the
grants to assist with the cost of remediation where      Environment, Heritage and Local Government
required. I am not referring to testing for radon        the funding allocation for the new strategic infra-
as this involves a relatively small sum of money.                                                  ´
                                                         structure division within An Bord Pleanala; and
Last year the Department sent back \154 million          if he will make a statement on the matter.
which it did not spend to the Department of Fin-         [22304/05]
ance. It sent back another \17 million pertaining
to disabled persons’ grants because it did not             114. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for the
spend it. Therefore, there is no question of the         Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Department not having the money.                         the major transport projects of strategic import-
   Some 200 people are dying per year because            ance that he envisages will come under the terms
of the radon problem. Their medical treatment is         of the strategic infrastructure division of An Bord
costing the State \200 million per year. The aver-             ´
                                                         Pleanala. [21232/05]
              age cost of treating a lung cancer            Mr. Roche: I propose to take Questions Nos.
4 o’clock     patient, from the time he or she is        29, 34, 112 and 114 together.
              diagnosed with cancer to the time he          I recently announced that the Government has
or she dies, is \1 million per year, given that such     approved my proposals to amend the Planning
patients usually die of cancer. Radon poisoning is       and Development Act 2000 to help fast-track
costing the State a fortune. I ask the Minister to       major infrastructure projects. The Government’s
remedy the problem with a relatively small sum           objective in advancing these proposals is to con-
of money. The problem is, as I am sure the Mini-         tribute to the delivery of a highly effective infra-
415                    Other                   28 June 2005.                 Questions                   416

   [Mr. Roche.]                                         soon as possible after the legislation has been
structure that the public rightfully demands while,     enacted.
at the same time, respecting the environment and
the right of people to object to developments. It          Mr. Gilmore: The final section of the M50 will
is important to provide greater certainty on the        at last open on Thursday. This has been 20 years
timeframe for delivering decisions while at the         coming, the first six or seven of which were taken
same time ensuring robust analysis of proposals.        up by the old Dublin County Council preparing
   The proposed new legislation will establish a        an initial design. The next five years were taken
new strategic infrastructure division as part of An     up by the EIS process which was ordered by the
              ´
Bord Pleanala. The new division will handle the         Minister’s Department to examine and change
planning decisions for major roads and motor-           the different routes. It took three years from the
ways and other large-scale projects proposed by         time the Minister signed off on the motorway
local authorities that the board currently over-        scheme until construction started. All told, I can
sees. The division’s role will also extend to           only count 18 months where the scheme was on
decisions on other strategic infrastructure, for        public display or when there were planning
example, railways and major electricity trans-          delays, including cases taken with regard to the
mission lines.                                          Carrickmines issue.
   In addition, the new legislation will provide           The purpose of this legislation is to fast-track
that major transport, environmental and energy          infrastructural development but, given the M50
infrastructure projects that are of strategic           experience, to address the planning aspect is to
importance and that at present require a planning       address the shortest element of delay. The great-
application accompanied by an environmental             est delays appear to occur where elements which
impact statement to be submitted to the local           have nothing to do with public consultation are
authority will be referred directly to the new div-     concerned, such as design, consultants and con-
ision of An Bord Pleanala.´                             tract document preparation.
   It is also my intention that the board will take        If major projects are to be referred directly to
a more proactive role in the pre-planning process                         ´
                                                        An Bord Pleanala, which is to be the planning
for such projects, especially to ensure that devel-
                                                        authority of first instance, will there be an appeal
opers deal with all relevant matters in their plan-
                                                        process from that or will we be left in a situation
ning applications and environmental impact state-
                                                        where the courts are the only recourse for people
ments. This will help to ensure that the key
                                                        who wish to submit an appeal?
planning issues and appropriate environmental
mitigation measures are addressed by developers
at an early stage in the process, which should help        Mr. Roche: People will be able to make sub-
to avoid unexpected delays at a later stage and                                       ´
                                                        missions to An Bord Pleanala. Deputy Gilmore
aid people who wish to review the process. The          must be the only person in the country who
public will also have substantial rights to com-        would dispute that infrastructure developments
ment on infrastructure proposals before the             have been delayed in this country for an inordi-
board, as is the case for major local authority         nate amount of time. He gave a highly question-
infrastructure.                                         able analysis of the M50. However, I draw his
   I am happy that the new proposals build on the       attention a little further down the road to the
                                      ´
proven expertise of An Bord Pleanala in handling        extraordinary delays that were encountered in
planning appeals and, since 2001, approvals of          the Glen of the Downs on the N11 and the Ark-
major local authority infrastructure. Obviously I       low sewerage scheme which has been locked in
am concerned to ensure that the board is                legal and planning battles for 12 and a half years.
adequately resourced and has appropriate organ-         Deputy Gilmore is probably the only Member of
isational structures to handle these new                the Oireachtas that holds the view he has can-
responsibilities as well as maintaining its current     vassed here.
excellent performance in respect of planning                               ´
                                                           An Bord Pleanala did some analysis in this area
appeals. My Department is in discussions with the       which reflected that the time taken in High Court
board and the Department of Finance to ensure           proceedings on which judgment was given in 2003
this outcome.                                           and 2004 was 92 weeks. It took almost two years
   The Government has decided that as well as           from the lodging of an appeal to final court
changes to the planning system, we need to tackle       decision. It is a fallacy to suggest that we have
delays in the courts. My colleague, the Minister        not had undue delays in delivering planning and
for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy            infrastructure, and I am surprised that the Deputy
McDowell, will therefore examine ways, in con-          would do so.
sultation with the courts, to ensure that cases get
heard earlier and that court decisions are made           Mr. Gilmore: The Minister is not addressing
quickly. In addition to these changes, I am pro-        the problem. He is only addressing part of it —
posing some specific changes to judicial review of      the populist bit.
planning decisions in the draft Bill.
   Drafting of the new legislation, which is com-         Mr. Roche: I am addressing the planning prob-
plex and will take some months, has begun. The          lem and not only the populist aspect. The citizens
new division will be brought into operation as          and taxpayers of this country have a right to
417                    Other                    28 June 2005.                 Questions                  418


understand and expect that planning will be                Mr. Roche: I hope so. We have until 2007 to
handled in a timely way——                                complete it and I certainly hope we can do so.
                                                         Deputies McCormack and O’Dowd have plan-
  Mr. Gilmore: The consultants will not take five        ning and infrastructural issues in their constitu-
years, but one.                                          encies, which I know are of concern to them.
                                                         Given their concerns, I anticipate help from them
  Mr. Roche: I do not disagree with the Deputy.          in getting the legislation through when it is
Undue bureaucratic delay must also be dealt              presented to the House.
with. However, it is simply nonsense for the
Deputy to suggest there has not been undue delay            Mr. O’Dowd: To take up the last point made
and an abuse of the planning system.                     by the Minister, is it not the case that his prede-
                                                         cessor, Deputy Cullen, met Indaver Ireland at the
  Mr. Gilmore: The greatest delays with regard           end of the planning process regarding an inciner-
to the M50 were outside the planning process.            ator for Carranstown? The company made sub-
                                                         missions to the then Minister and he agreed to
  Mr. Roche: There has been a rank abuse of the                                                   ´
                                                         change the decision of An Bord Pleanala. Is that
system in the cases of the N11, the Arklow sewer-        not a fact? At the same time, the process relating
age scheme and others. I have outlined the points        to the waste licensing system had not been com-
                          ´
raised by An Bord Pleanala statistics. Some 32 of        pleted through the Environmental Protection
the board’s decisions last year were challenged in       Agency. Is it also not a fact that Greenstar,
the courts, which is an increase of eight since the      another company with interests in waste licensing
previous year. Therefore there must obviously be         in this country, met officials of the Department
an integrated approach and we must build on              of the Environment, Heritage and Local Govern-
                                            ´
what has been a record in An Bord Pleanala. We           ment in Brussels — I do not know why they met
must also deal with the manner in which the              in Brussels — to make a submission to them on
courts system has been abused to introduce                                                ´
                                                         the decisions of An Bord Pleanala?
delays which have cost the taxpayer hundreds of                                                        ´
                                                            If the Minister is putting An Bord Pleanala at
millions of pounds and added huge amounts of             the heart of his plans for a fast-track decision
time.                                                    making process, which I welcome, it is utterly
                                                         wrong that Ministers would try to change or side-
  Mr. McCormack: With regard to Question No.                                                ´
                                                         step decisions of An Bord Pleanala by changing
34, what is the status of the transformation of An       regulations. The Minister brought in regulations
             ´
Bord Pleanala? How much of the work has been             several weeks ago relating to regional boundaries
done? How far advanced is the appointments               for the transport of waste. Those regulations have
process? Is the funding yet in place? Can the
                                                         put Indaver Ireland back in position and allowed
Minister estimate how quickly a major infrastruc-
                                                         it to circumvent the decision of An Bord
ture project will go through the planning process
                                                                ´
                                                         Pleanala, which was a democratic one.
under the new system?
                                                            If one disagrees with a decision of An Bord
                                                                ´
                                                         Pleanala, one has a right to appeal it to the High
   Mr. Roche: Until such time as the legislation is
in place, it would neither be prudent nor normal         Court, which was the process to date. From now
to make the funding available up front. However,         on, however, the Minister proposes to establish a
I and my Department are engaging with An Bord            process for specific projects whereby an inciner-
       ´
Pleanala to discover what it needs and with the          ator developer, for example, can lobby the Mini-
Department of Finance to ensure the necessary            ster to introduce new regulations to circumvent a
resources are in place.                                  decision that is not to his or her liking. This can
   Deputy McCormack should consider the alter-           occur, notwithstanding the fact that thousands of
native of a second board, an issue which was can-        people may have objected to the incinerator, as
vassed at one point. A limited number of people          is the case in my constituency, in County Cork
with planning expertise at a very senior level are       and other parts of the country. This is simply not
available in this country and we are conserving          good enough.
and focusing them within An Bord Pleanala. It´
is better to review, revise and update an existing         Mr. McCormack:         The     Minister   raised
system which works quite well at that level.             objections.
   The Deputy also asked how long the process
will take. It will be a difficult piece of drafting,       Mr. O’Dowd: Deputy McCormack is correct,
and there will then be a lengthy debate on the           the Minister objected to incinerators in the past.
issue when it comes before the House. It would           Where does he stand on the issue now?
be wrong of me to speculate on how long the pro-
cess will take. I am anxious to ensure the process         Mr. Cuffe: The allegations from Deputy
is as limited as possible. With regard to the per-       O’Dowd are outstanding.
sonnel numbers——
                                                            Mr. O’Dowd: They are not allegations, they are
  Mr. McCormack: Will the process be complete            statements of fact, and I have the documents to
before the next election?                                prove it.
419                  Adjournment                28 June 2005.               Debate Matters                 420


  Mr. Gormley: Fair play to Deputy O’Dowd if                Mr. Cuffe: The Minister is being inaccurate.
that is the case. Let us nail the Minister on these
matters.                                                   Mr. Roche: Deputy Cuffe’s party was partic-
                                                         ularly culpable on the matter of the Glen of the
   Mr. Cuffe: Does the Minister accept that the          Downs. He does not want to hear the truth of the
two major causes of delays are political indecision      matter and I can understand that. The activities
and appeals by property owners? Is he putting            of his party contributed to a loss of \42 million
any measure in place to deal with these two              to the taxpayers and a delay of over two years.
issues? He must accept that the Luas was delayed
for several years by Deputy Harney’s dithering             Mr. Cuffe: The Minister should speak to the
over whether it should be put underground or              ´
                                                         Tanaiste about the loss of taxpayers’ money.
over ground. Even now, the two lines still do not
join up in the city centre. The M50 was delayed             Written answers follow Adjournment Debate.
for years because appeals by property owners
were going through the courts. Is the Minister
doing anything about either issue? After three                    Adjournment Debate Matters.
years in government we still do not have a                  An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I wish to advise
decision on the proposed metro.                          the House of the following matters in respect of
   On the issue of judicial review and judicial pro-     which notice has been given under Standing
ceedings, there is a marked silence as to what the       Order 21 and the name of the Member in each
Minister’s colleague is doing in the Department          case: (1) Deputy Cowley — to ask the Minister if
of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Has                 he agrees that the Health and Safety Authority
Deputy McDowell given the Minister anything in           should investigate the circumstances of an acci-
writing about his proposals to deal with the legal       dent; (2) Deputy Neville — to ask the Minister
obstacles to the process? The two major causes           to comment on a recent report by an Oireachtas
of delays on projects are political indecision and       committee on orthodontic services; (3) Deputy
legal challenges, and I am not convinced that the        O’Dowd — to ask the Minister to discuss the
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and               decision of the Health Service Executive not to
Local Government has done anything to address            recommend the transfer of Leas Cross residents
either of those issues.                                  to certain other nursing homes in the Dublin
                                                         area; (4) Deputy Breeda Moynihan-Cronin — the
  Mr. Roche: I am not sure if the Deputy heard           need for funding for the establishment of a sexual
me correctly, but I made a major point about             assault treatment unit at Kerry General Hospital;
improving the situation in terms of legal chal-          (5) Deputy Carey — the need to review the
lenges. I reject the idea that a Minister should         impact of the policy decision on the probation
retrospectively interfere with any decision made         and welfare service village project in Finglas,
                   ´
by An Bord Pleanala.                                     Dublin 11; (6) Deputy Jim O’Keeffe — the need
                                                         for clarification by the Minister of his approval or
  Mr. O’Dowd: The Minister did just that.                otherwise of a decision of the Dublin Port Com-
                                                         pany to make a site available; (7) Deputy Michael
  Mr. Roche: I certainly did not.                        Moynihan -the lack of progress on the acquisition
                                                         of a site from the Department of Defence for a
  Mr. Gormley: What about the regulations?
                                                         school (details supplied); (8) Deputy Burton —
                                                         to ask the Minister to comment on the reports
  Mr. O’Dowd: The Minister interfered by intro-
                                                         of further extensive problems with the national
ducing regulations. He got around the decision of
                ´
An Bord Pleanala.                                        aquatic complex; (9) Deputy Crawford — the
                                                         urgent need for the Minister to provide adequate
  Mr. Roche: That is simply untruthful.                  resource-remedial teaching hours to small rural
                                                         schools; (10) Deputy Deenihan — the need to
  Mr. O’Dowd: It is not untrue.                          address the shortfall of funding for additional
                                                         places in the intellectual disability sector in
   Mr. Roche: That is simply untruthful and I will       County Kerry for 2005; (11) Deputy McGinley —
not engage in a debate on an untruthful                                                   ´
                                                         ag iarraidh ar an Aire go bhfagfar foireann tea-
statement.                                                               ´ ´          ´
                                                         gaisc Scoil Naisiunta Oilean Thoraigh, mar ata     ´
                                                               ´
                                                         faoi lathair don scoil bhliain 2005-06 — to ask the
  (Interruptions).                                       Minister to leave the teaching staff of Tory Island
                                                         national school as it stands for the school year
   An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputies must                                          ´
                                                         2005-06; (12) Deputy Sean Ryan — the lack of
allow the Minister to finish his point.                  services available to a four year old boy (details
                                                         supplied) who has autism and a global develop-
  Mr. Roche: To address Deputy Cuffe’s point             ment delay; (13) Deputy Finian McGrath — the
about political indecision, the Deputy knows that        potential loss of the 12th classroom teacher at
delays on issues like the N11 were caused by             Scoil Mhuire Marino, Griffith Avenue, Dublin;
people using the planning system to create them.         (14) Deputy Fiona O’Malley — to ask the Mini-
Sadly, his party was involved in that process.           ster to undertake a review of the electoral register
421                   Leaders’                   28 June 2005.                  Questions                  422


system in the country given the high level of inac-         The Taoiseach: I advise all concerned to allow
curacies; and (15) Deputy Kehoe — to ask the              the courts——
Minister if she is aware of the condition of New
Ross elderly day care centre.                                (Interruptions).
  The matters raised by Deputies Jim O’Keeffe,
Burton, Moynihan and McGinley have been                     The Taoiseach: Everyone should allow the
selected for discussion.                                  courts to deal with the issue and not be fooled
                                                          by red herrings, because that is what yesterday’s
                                                          furore in the media is about. I am very sad to see
               Leaders’ Questions.
                                                          the Opposition aligning itself with the company
   Mr. Kenny: Very few people in the country will         that CSID has taken to court and acting as its
forget the description, in May 2002, of the campus        mouthpiece in the House today. Opposition
Ireland project by the Minister for Justice,              Deputies appear to have no compunction about
Equality and Law Reform as being “Ceaucescu-              making public statements on matters before the
like”, but recent revelations suggest that this anal-     courts. I agree with CSID that court proceedings
ogy might not be as far-fetched as people                 should not be prejudiced and will not attempt to
imagined. After all, the infamous Romanian                prejudge the outcome of the court’s deliberations.
tyrant left behind him a battery of extravagant,          Once the court proceedings have been com-
egotistical, sub-standard, unfinished monuments           pleted, CSID will no longer be constrained from
and buildings, the price for which his people will        putting the facts before the public and answering
continue to pay for many years to come. The               any questions Deputies, the media or anyone else
debacle of the National Aquatic Centre truly is           may have about the various matters before the
                                      ´
an apt metaphor for the Fianna Fail-Progressive           court.
Democrats Government — massive costs to the
public, a so-called state-of-the-art attraction that         (Interruptions).
is all splash, with fake waves, the roof blown off
and leaking like a sieve.                                   The Taoiseach: I am happy to outline the fac-
   I put it to the Taoiseach that, as the sole pro-       tual position for the House. CSID has a legal
moter and shareholder of this project, he is per-         action in the commercial court against Dublin
sonally responsible for the huge failures that have       Waterworld, the operator of the aquatic centre,
been exposed. Does the Taoiseach stand over his           for breaches of the lease agreement. In the com-
statement at the opening of the centre on 10              mercial court on 3 June Mr. Justice Peter Kelly
March 2003 that “a visionary concept has been             made an order regarding the following matters
brought to magnificent fruition”? Will the                which were the subject of a statement of claim
Taoiseach confirm that the facility is leaking            lodged by CSID against Dublin Waterworld.
water at the rate of 5 million litres per month and
that a consultant’s report has found that the orig-          (Interruptions).
inal roof structure was substandard, suggesting
that either corners were cut or plans were washed            The Taoiseach: The dispute as to whether
away at the construction stage? Were these facts          Dublin Waterworld is liable to pay VAT of
known to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tour-           \10,254,600 on the granting of the lease has been
ism, who claimed two weeks ago that the \62 mil-          referred to arbitration which will be concluded
lion capital expenditure on the project “repre-           shortly. The dispute regarding repair and main-
sents money very well spent” or can we take it            tenance and as to whether Dublin Waterworld
that this farce is the benchmark, or rather the tide      has properly maintained the national aquatic
mark, of Government spending and standards?               centre has been referred to an architect for expert
                                                          determination. This process is under way as per
  The Taoiseach: Campus and Stadium Ireland               the court ruling.
Development has stated that the reports in the               On the question of the lease, the remaining
media relating to the National Aquatic Centre             issues against Dublin Waterworld for failure to
are inaccurate in most respects and it would be           pay rent, the failure to provide audited accounts,
inappropriate to comment on any of these issues           thus preventing the profit share to be circulated;
as there are proceedings before the court.                the failure to pay insurance on the building; and
                                                          the failure to establish a sinking fund, are still
  Mr. Durkan: It might also be embarrassing to            subject to court proceedings——
have to comment on the issues.
                                                             (Interruptions).
  (Interruptions).
                                                            An Ceann Comhairle: Please allow the
  The Taoiseach: The proceedings are before the           Taoiseach to continue without interruption.
court. Yesterday, CSID’s legal team referred to
the situation which has grown murkier and                    Mr. Durkan: Literally, it has already sunk.
murkier——
                                                            The Taoiseach: I am reading from the court
  Mr. Durkan: Curiouser and curiouser.                    order.
423                   Leaders’                   28 June 2005.                  Questions                  424


  Mr. Bruton: The court jester.                              The Taoiseach: It is one of them.

   The Taoiseach: If Opposition members want to             Mr. Kenny: Will the Taoiseach explain who is
make fun of Mr. Justice Kelly’s order, that is a          responsible for the fact that the roof blew off
matter for them.                                          the building——
   Deputy Burton has been claiming that the
national aquatic centre is a pet project of mine. I          The Taoiseach: The wind.
wish to confirm to the House that this is the case.
I am proud to claim it as such. The motivation of            (Interruptions).
the Government in developing the centre in the
first place was to provide a 50 metre pool for the         An Ceann Comhairle: Please allow Deputy
country and, specifically, a suitable location for        Kenny to continue without interruption.
hosting the aquatic events of the Special Olymp-
ics. The project was delivered on time and                  Mr. Kehoe: I hope they can put it back up in
within budget.                                            the Taoiseach’s constituency office in St. Luke’s.

  Mr. Durkan: As were the cracks in the                     The Taoiseach: While I am hugely powerful, I
concrete.                                                 am not the one who will organise it.

  An Ceann Comhairle: The Taoiseach’s time is               Mr. Kenny: I remind the Taoiseach that the
up.                                                       wind also blew over a lot of other rooftops, none
                                                          of which blew off.
  The Taoiseach: I only need another minute; I
                                                             The Taoiseach: It blew off a lot of them.
have injury time. Opposition members are giddy
because they are getting their holidays.
                                                            Mr. Kenny: Who is responsible for the inferior
                                                          construction of the building and the fact that 5
  (Interruptions).                                        million litres of treated water is leaking out on a
                                                          monthly basis?
  An Ceann Comhairle: Please allow the
Taoiseach to continue without interruption.                  (Interruptions).
  Mr. Kehoe: He will be on his holidays.                     Mr. Kenny: Does the Taoiseach stand over the
                                                          remarks he made about the shelf company on 26
  The Taoiseach: The national aquatic centre has          March 2002, that despite being a shelf company,
drawn well deserved admiration from those who             it was a company not only of substance but of
have visited and used the facilities since the            international standing? It was criticised in the
centre was opened just over two years ago.                High Court yesterday when Mr. Justice Kelly
                                                          queried the reason a company worth \127 should
  Ms McManus: It is leaking.                              be given a 30 year lease on an asset worth \62
                                                          million. Does the Taoiseach now stand over that
  The Taoiseach: It has successfully hosted the           statement? Has the company lived up to his
Special Olympics Summer Games and later in the            expectations? Will he stand over the arrange-
same year the European short course champion-             ments whereby the Government entered into an
ships, both to significant acclaim. In its first year     agreement with the company which was sharply
of operation it had close to 1 million visitors           criticised in the High Court?
which placed it among the top attractions in the             I was in the Mansion House last night to wel-
country.                                                  come the new Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor
                                                          Catherine Byrne. In the middle of all the pomp
  (Interruptions).                                        and power, I noticed the coat of arms of the
                                                          Ahern family whose motto reads——
  The Taoiseach: It continues to be equally
popular as a facility for those who love water               Ms Lynch: Water wings.
sports, especially young people, tourists and
swimmers of all ages and abilities. Deputy Kenny            Mr. Kenny: ——Per ardua surgo, I rise through
has referred to a statement made last week by my          difficulties. As the Taoiseach is nearing his escape
colleague, the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tour-         from the House for his summer holidays, how
ism, who said the capital expenditure provision           does he intend to deal with this matter? Does he
represented value for money. I fully agree with           plan to wade, swim or dive through the
him.                                                      difficulties?

  Ms O. Mitchell: It is time to retire.                      Mr. Durkan: I suggest he change the motto.

  Mr. Kenny: I am glad to receive confirmation              The Taoiseach: Since Deputy Kenny has asked
from the Taoiseach that this is his pet project and       for my opinion, the Government is not happy
that, therefore, he knows all about it.                   with the performance of the company. While it
425                  Leaders’                  28 June 2005.                 Questions                   426


has done a very good job in Killarney in the            The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law
Kerry operation, it has not done a good job in          Reform, Deputy McDowell, anxious as ever to
this case. That is the reason CSID has brought          give precedence to the necessity to clear himself
the company to court. I support the action being        and make a display of the correctness of his own
taken. Obviously, I do not stand over the remarks       advice, has dropped the Minister for Arts, Sports
made at the time.                                       and Tourism, Deputy O’Donoghue, into the most
   I have already answered the question of what         serious situation any Minister has experienced in
happened on 1 January. People have been critical        this shambles of a Government.
of the damage caused by the freak storm. It is             He has created a circumstance where the Mini-
unfortunate it damaged a large number of build-         ster, Deputy O’Donoghue, is on the run. He will
ings in the area, uprooted 200 year old trees and       not even appear on “Questions & Answers”
hit the centre. A report on the damage was com-         when invited. He will not come in here in case he
missioned by the OPW following a request from           is asked a question about it. I want to ask the
the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism in            Taoiseach a question because he came in here
consultation with CSID. Its findings were taken         and misled the House as well. He said they only
into account in agreeing the repair programme           had partial knowledge and not then until Nov-
with the contractor. Legal, contractual and finan-      ember 2001. We know they had the Conroy
cial issues are being considered in the light of        report in August 2000. Was the Conroy report in
the report.                                             any way inadequate and, if the answer is no, why
   Our primary concern at all times must be to          did the Taoiseach promote him to Com-
protect the taxpayer’s investment and that is what      missioner? If the answer is yes, why did the
we are doing. In spite of all the exaggerations in      Taoiseach fail to investigate the serious matters
the newspapers about leaks and cracks, the              with which he dealt? That report is a very com-
national aquatic centre is fully operational——          prehensive summary of what is in the Carty
                                                        report. The fact the Minister for Justice, Equality
  Mr. Durkan: In the Government.                        and Law Reform is shaking his head and that wit-
                                                        ness statements were not appended is neither
  The Taoiseach: ——and bringing endless                 here nor there. If I were Minister for Justice and
enjoyment to adults and children, day in, day out,      I or any Minister for Justice got the entire barrow
as well as providing a top class facility for our       full of the Carty report, he or she would be
swimming athletes. I was in it ten days ago for a       annoyed. Assistant Commissioner Conroy sum-
national swimming competition in which children         marised the gravamen of the allegations in a 37-
and teenagers from all over the country partici-        page legible, intelligible report to these two Mini-
pated. Because the issues are being dealt with in       sters and now they are covering up why they
the courts, CSID are constrained from dealing           failed to investigate one of the most serious
with them in the media while it is fighting in the      public interest issues in this jurisdiction.
courts. I want to see the company win the case
and compel Dublin Waterworld to pay. I hope                Mr. McDowell: That is wrong.
the necessary legal process will resolve the issue.
                                                           Ms McManus: Hear, hear.
   Mr. Rabbitte: Does the Taoiseach agree that
                                                          The Taoiseach: Deputy Rabbitte made two
the state of the aquatic centre is a metaphor for
                                                        points. As we approach the school summer
the state of the Government? He has just admit-
                                                        holidays thousands of children throughout the
ted that the centre and the Government are his
                                                        country are using the National Aquatic Centre
own creations; that both are defective and
                                                        every day. Therefore, the Deputy is badly
incapable of performing the job they were set up
                                                        informed on this issue and totally wrong.
to do. Their foundations are cracked and both are
                                                          In February 1999, Assistant Commissioner
leaking like a sieve. They are swallowing up and
                                                        Carty was appointed by the Garda Commissioner
wasting taxpayer’s money and both are involved                                               ´
                                                        to investigate allegations that gardaı in Donegal
in a cover-up and PR bluster.
                                                        had engaged in criminal and unethical behaviour.
   I refer to one of the cover-ups, the circum-         In July 2000, Assistant Commissioner Carty sub-
stances where as a result of the story in The Irish     mitted his report — that was the investigation file
Times on Saturday we now know that what has             — to the Director of Public Prosecutions. In
been asserted from these benches all this time is       August 2000, Assistant Commissioner Conroy
true, that both the Minister for Justice, Equality      forwarded a 37-page summary of Carty report to
and Law Reform of the day and the Attorney              the Department of Justice, Equality and Law
General of the day had full knowledge from the          Reform. This was not the Carty report.
report submitted by then Deputy Commissioner
Conroy in August 2000 of what was happening in             Mr. S. Ryan: Come on, Taoiseach.
County Donegal and the circumstances surround-
ing the framing of the McBrearty family and so             Mr. McDowell: The Deputies do not under-
on. Despite this, they refused to investigate. They     stand this.
came into this House and voted down a motion
tabled by the Labour Party, Fine Gael and the             The Taoiseach: Deputy Rabbitte wanted to
Green Party to have the matter inquired into.           ignore a judge in the last case and now he wants
427                   Leaders’                  28 June 2005.                  Questions                   428

  [The Taoiseach.]                                       gave us conflicting, partial, half answers. It is no
to ignore the Director of Public Prosecutions. I         thanks to the Minister, Deputy McDowell, that
ask him to please listen. At that stage the Direc-       whoever leaked it to whomsoever leaked it, in
tor of Public Prosecutions was considering the           turn, to The Irish Times that we now know the
Carty report and its recommendations and pros-           sequence of events. It now seems the Taoiseach
ecutions. A number of civil actions related to           as well as the Minister, Deputy McDowell, will
Donegal were well under way and a number of              dump on the Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue. The
complaints were then with the Garda Complaints           Taoiseach keeps saying he had only a partial
Board. In light of the growing controversy, in           report and so on. The Minister, Deputy
June 2001, the Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue,              O’Donoghue, said “The investigation by Assist-
sought a preliminary opinion from the Attorney           ant Commissioner Carty was completed and
General about the options open to him to have            presented to me and, in turn, to the DPP” in
the matter inquired into.                                answer to a question from Deputy Howlin.
                                                            I acknowledge this is disquieting and I enjoyed
  Mr. Howlin: A year later.                              the way the Minister, Deputy McDowell,
                                                         declared the Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue,
   The Taoiseach: The Attorney General replied           innocent judicially. I enjoyed his performance
in June 2001. He required sight of the full Carty        last week——
report. The Attorney General, while agreeing
that a public inquiry was the most attractive               Mr. Howlin: His acquittal of the Minister.
option, advised that since tribunals had to be con-
ducted in public it would seriously prejudice the           Mr. Rabbitte: ——and his pat on the head for
pending prosecutions. He also advised that a tri-        the Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue. He wanted to
bunal could be established if the truth did not          tell the House that the Minister was
emerge in the pending court cases.                       blameless——
   In November 2001, having consulted the Direc-
tor of Public Prosecutions on foot of the Attorney         An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy’s time is
General’s request to see the Garda file, the             concluded.
Garda Commissioner gave an edited version of
the Carty report to the Department of Justice,              Mr. Rabbitte: ——and that is the judicial
Equality and Law Reform. This consisted of               decree in the matter. The Minister, Deputy
those parts of the Carty report considered to be         McDowell, has declared the Minister, Deputy
relevant to the defence of the civil actions related     O’Donoghue, to be blameless and innocent, and
to Donegal. This edited version was a very bulky         that this should be good enough for him and that
document and the Office of the Director of Public        he should skulk off to south Kerry and not appear
Prosecutions remarked that it would be difficult         on “Questions & Answers” or anywhere else to
for persons reading themselves into the case to          answer questions. The Minister has dropped him
make sense of the issues without sight of these          in it, and he knows that. The Taoiseach has come
papers. Therefore, it was not possible to do it and      in here and said that when the Assistant Com-
the Director of Public Prosecutions had declared         missioner of the day, Noel Conroy, intelligibly
that.                                                    put the evidence together from the Carty report
   In November 2001, Mr. Shane Murphy was                in a legible form and submitted it to the Mini-
appointed to review all the papers and advise how        sters, that this was not the Carty report. I refer to
best to proceed. The full Carty report was given         an answer from one of the Taoiseach’s prede-
to the Department in the second half of January          cessors, Mr. Haughey, when he denied that there
2002. Mr. Murphy submitted his report at the end         was any such meeting. The Taoiseach is now
of that month also.                                      denying there was any such report. We are not
   In February 2002, the Government approved,            talking about the investigation file of the Mini-
in principle, the establishment of a tribunal of         ster, Deputy McDowell, nor about the depth of
inquiry and the drafting of a Bill to amend the          documents that must be furnished to the Director
tribunals of inquiry Act to facilitate the holding       of Public Prosecutions before a prosecution is
of an inquiry allowing a tribunal to hold part of        mounted; we are talking about the substance, the
its hearing in private, if necessary, to avoid pre-      gravamen, of the allegations made where two citi-
judicing a criminal prosecution. At all times the        zens were framed for a murder that was never
Minister and the Attorney General were anxious           committed. Neither the Taoiseach nor anyone
to have the matter fully inquired into. The issue        else could answer the question as to why that was
in question was — Deputy Rabbitte knows this             redesignated from a murder to a hit and run two
because I said this last week — one of prejudicing       years earlier than we were told about it and the
pending proceedings and that difficulty was over-        Taoiseach allowed a debate to happen in this
come only by amending the law, and that is what          House to cause a tribunal to be set up and we did
happened. Those are the full facts.                      not even know Mr. McBrearty and his first cousin
                                                         did not know that they were no longer under sus-
  Mr. Rabbitte: We know the history of this case         picion for murder because it had been redesig-
now no thanks to the Taoiseach or the Ministers,         nated a hit and run two years ago. It is a disgrace.
Deputies McDowell and O’Donoghue. They all               Your combined efforts——
429                  Leaders’                  28 June 2005.                 Questions                 430


  An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy had one                  The Taoiseach: I point out to the Deputy that
minute but has spoken for almost three minutes.         I would like to answer the question — it is about
                                                        important matters.
   Mr. Rabbitte: ——to cover up and to collude
in a cover up is reprehensible.                            An Ceann Comhairle: I point out to Deputy
                                                        Jim O’Keeffe that this is Deputy Rabbitte’s ques-
  Mr. Howlin: Hear, hear.                               tion, not Fine Gael’s.

 The Taoiseach: Deputy Rabbitte, as always,                The Taoiseach: I will start answering everyone
makes a——                                               if Deputy O’Keeffe wants me to do that. The 37-
                                                        page document did not come to a conclusion
  Mr. Rabbitte: Compelling case.                        about Mr. Barron.

  The Taoiseach: ——number of propositions,               Mr. Rabbitte: It summarised the Carty report
which he knows are untrue.                              — I have seen it.

  Mr. McDowell: It is sad.                                An Ceann Comhairle: Allow the Taoiseach to
                                                        continue without interruption.
   The Taoiseach: With regard to the quote by the
Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue, to which he                   The Taoiseach: The Deputy is assuming-——
referred, Deputy Rabbitte knows that previously
the Minister made it very clear what was the posi-         Mr. McDowell: He is bluffing.
tion about the stated facts.
                                                         Mr. Howlin: The Minister is misleading the
  Mr. Howlin: He never did.                             House.

  The Taoiseach: It is in the document.                   Mr. Rabbitte: I have seen it and the Minister
                                                        saw it and denied it.
 Mr. Howlin: He did not speak on it at all; the
                                                           Mr. McDowell: The Deputy is bluffing.
Minister, Deputy McDowell, did but the Minister,
Deputy O’Donoghue, did not.
                                                          An Ceann Comhairle: I ask the Minister,
                                                        Deputy McDowell, and Deputies Rabbitte and
  The Taoiseach: It is part of the section of the
                                                        Howlin to keep silent and allow the Taoiseach
document Deputy Rabbitte raised.
                                                        to continue.
  Ms McManus: That is not true.                           The Taoiseach: I want to answer Deputy
                                                        Rabbitte. It is clear that his party does not want
  The Taoiseach: On the issue——
                                                        me to answer him but I would like to do so. The
                                                        report of August 2000 from Assistant Com-
  Mr. Howlin: Let this be accurate.
                                                        missioner Conroy, of which I said he forwarded a
                                                        30-page summary——
  An Ceann Comhairle: Allow the Taoiseach to
continue without interruption.                             Mr. Rabbitte: A 37-page summary.
  The Taoiseach: On the issue of the 37-page              The Taoiseach: ——a 37-page summary, did
document, it did not come to a conclusion as to         not come to a conclusion about what happened
who was——                                               Mr. Barron.
  Ms Lynch: It did not need to.                           Mr. Stagg: That is why the Taoiseach needs
                                                        an inquiry.
   The Taoiseach: I am answering Deputy
Rabbitte. Why do other Deputies keep jutting in?          The Taoiseach: Deputy Rabbitte was trying to
I am trying to answer Deputy Rabbitte.                  give the impression it did but it did not.
  Mr. J. O’Keeffe: The Taoiseach is rattled.              Mr. Rabbitte: It summarised the Carty report
                                                        and it justified our request for an investigation.
  The Taoiseach: The 37-page document does
not——                                                      An Ceann Comhairle: I ask the Deputy to
                                                        allow the Taoiseach to continue without
  Mr. J. O’Keeffe: The Taoiseach is rattled.            interruption.
  The Taoiseach: I am just trying to answer                The Taoiseach: It did not.
Deputy Rabbitte’s questions as opposed to those
of four or five Deputies.                                  Mr. Rabbitte: I have seen the report.

  Mr. J. O’Keeffe: The Taoiseach is very rattled.          Mr. McDowell: So have I.
431                   Leaders’                  28 June 2005.                  Questions                   432


  Mr. Rabbitte: I know the Minister did but he             Mr. Sargent: The Taoiseach has not told any-
did not tell us about it.                                thing like the full story in so far as investigations
                                                         indicate. Does he believe in the basic wisdom that
  Mr. Howlin: He saw it five years ago.                  justice delayed is justice denied? On that basis
                                                         will he explain to the House whether he finds it
   An Ceann Comhairle: I ask the Minister,               satisfactory that when the former Minister for
Deputy McDowell, to allow the Taoiseach to con-          Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy
tinue without interruption. Members of the               O’Donoghue, received the report of the Carty
Labour Party should allow the Taoiseach the              investigation, over nine months elapsed before
same courtesy that Deputy Rabbitte was given             the advice of the Attorney General was sought?
when he submitted the question.                            On the basis of the questions which arise from
                                                         that, would the Taoiseach not like to see a Private
   The Taoiseach: In November 2001, which was            Notice Question on which Deputy Cuffe has been
a long time after that——                                 working on behalf of the Green Party in which
                                                         Deputies O’Donoghue and McDowell could
  Mr. Stagg: It could have been done two years           answer for their lack of actions in the course of
earlier.                                                 this saga? Not only was there a nine-month delay,
                                                         when the advice was sought, the full file was not
   The Taoiseach: ——having consulted the                 made available to the Attorney General, as we
Director of Public Prosecutions on foot of the           now know. Was that not unacceptable to the
Attorney General’s request to see the Garda file,        Taoiseach?
the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions          Is he not, as Taoiseach, duty bound to hold to
noted that it would be difficult for persons read-       account Ministers who displayed such ineptitude
ing themselves into the case to make sense of the        and prevarication on a matter which has not only
issues without sight of these papers. That was a         cost the State a great deal of money, but has also
                                                         damaged the reputation of the Garda Sıochana ´    ´
long time after that particular period. The full
                                                         and generated enormous trauma and pain, partic-
Carty report was not available until 2002. The
                                                         ularly for the McBrearty family and others? Will
Minister had raised the issue the previous year.
                                                         he not take responsibility as Head of Govern-
                                                         ment and initiate action about what we now know
  Mr. Howlin: It could have been done two                to have been ineptitude and prevarication?
years earlier.
                                                            The Taoiseach: The Deputy is again raising the
  The Taoiseach: He had written asking for               issue of the delay. As I have already stated, the
advice and looking for the options and that issue        reason for the nine-month delay was that the
was dealt with. Six months after this was done,          DPP was considering the file over that period.
the Director of Public Prosecutions was still rais-      Even in November 2001, a long time after that
ing the issue of the doubt.                              period, the Office of the DPP——
  Mr. Stagg: It was a limited inquiry. Deputies             Mr. Sargent: And the Government.
McDowell and O’Donoghue could not be
investigated.                                               The Taoiseach: ——remarked that it would be
                                                         difficult for persons reading themselves into the
  The Taoiseach: Since Deputy Rabbitte is                case to make sense of the issues without sight of
intimating that there were divisions between the         the papers. That was the position. The Director
Minister, me and the Attorney General when               of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General and
everyone knows that was not the case, I will again       the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law
repeat that it was this Government and not the           Reform were all concerned, but there were cases
Opposition which identified the solution to the          pending and this could not simply be ignored.
impasse which existed during this period, namely,        That was the issue.
the enactment of legislation to enable a tribunal           In the light of the controversy that was grow-
to hold part of its proceedings in private to avoid      ing, in the summer of 2001 the then Minister,
possible prejudice, which was a difficulty. The          Deputy O’Donoghue, sought the Attorney Gen-
then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law              eral’s advice about the options that were open to
Reform, Deputy O’Donoghue——                              him. He got a quick reply which said the Attorney
                                                         General could not make a judgment on that until
  Mr. Stagg: He could not be investigated by             he saw the full Carty report. That was in June. In
the inquiry.                                             November the DPP was saying the same thing.
                                                            To try to paint the picture now that the
  The Taoiseach: ——brought forward that                  Attorney General and the DPP had the full Carty
amending legislation to facilitate this. That is why     report, as some Members maintain, when the fact
we passed in this House the Tribunals of Inquiry         is that they did not and two officers of the
(Evidence)(Amendment) Act and that is why we             State——
have the Morris tribunal today. Those are the
facts.                                                      Mr. Howlin: He told the House he had.
433                    Leaders’                   28 June 2005.                   Questions                   434


  Mr. Rabbitte: Yes, he told the House he had it.          General. Is it not the case that the Attorney Gen-
                                                           eral is employed, very handsomely, to give politi-
  The Taoiseach: He did not say that.                      cal advice?

  Mr. McDowell: The Deputies are misleading                   Mr. Roche: Legal advice.
the House again.
                                                             Mr. Sargent: Legal advice of a political nature,
  An Ceann Comhairle: It is Deputy Sargent’s               I would argue, in terms of the Government. Not
question. The Taoiseach, without interruption.             to ask for that is, in itself, an irresponsible lack of
                                                           action. Does the Taoiseach not accept that on the
   The Taoiseach: It is a pity, just to try to confuse     back of that delay by the then Minister, Deputy
issues, that Members of the House——                        O’Donoghue, the Attorney General was involved
                                                           in prosecuting criminal cases in which we now
  (Interruptions).                                         know the State to have been in the wrong? Is the
                                                           Taoiseach not duty bound as Head of Govern-
  The Taoiseach: There is no confusion in my               ment to hold to account the people who brought
mind about this. The Attorney General, the                 about that farcical situation and, in turn, wasted
Director of Public Prosecutions, the then Minister         an enormous amount of money, damaged the
for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Garda                                           ´    ´
                                                           reputation of the Garda Sıochana and sentenced
Commissioner and the assistant Garda com-                  to McBrearty family to years of trauma, which
missioner, Mr. Carty, knew there were cases                was completely unjust and of which they were
pending.                                                   innocent? As Taoiseach he is required to take
                                                           action.
  Mr. Costello: What about screening?
                                                              The Taoiseach: I should not have to, but I will,
   The Taoiseach: The Director of Public Pros-             remind Deputy Sargent that the Attorney Gen-
ecutions was dealing with those cases. The                 eral does not prosecute criminal cases. Since 1975
Attorney General was not prepared to give the              it is the Director of Public Prosecutions. That
options and the DPP was not prepared to go to              change was made 30 years ago, so the basis of his
finality until they saw the full report. That is what      argument is incorrect.
happened and no amount of bluster will change                 This is the second time in this debate today that
that position.                                             Members have stated what the Minister, Deputy
                                                           O’Donoghue, did at the time. They know that, on
  Mr. Howlin: It was too late to vote down a tri-          the record, just prior to the section they quote
bunal of inquiry motion.                                   from, he made it absolutely clear that he had
                                                           not seen——
  The Taoiseach: Statutory officers of the State
have stated they were not proceeding until they               Mr. Howlin: He did not.
got the full report. Neither did they——
                                                             The Taoiseach: It is on the record of the House
  Mr. Howlin: It was covering up.                          to be read.
 The Taoiseach: ——and when they did, this                     Mr. Howlin: He did not.
Government acted. Those are the facts.
                                                              An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Howlin should
  Mr. Howlin: They are not the facts.                      allow the Taoiseach to speak. It is Deputy
                                                           Sargent’s question. He is entitled to hear the
   Mr. Sargent: The former Minister for Justice,           answer without interruption and so is the rest of
Equality and Law Reform, Deputy O’Donoghue,                the House.
told the House on 23 May 2001: “The investi-
gation by Assistant Commissioner Carty was                    Ms McManus: We are entitled to hear the
completed and presented to me and, in turn, to             truth.
the DPP.” The Minister implied that he had
received the Carty report, not just Deputy Com-              An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy McManus is not
missioner Conroy’s synopsis of it, before passing          a member of the Green Party.
it on. Even if it was only a synopsis, the Taoiseach
knows this is damning. To hide behind it as if it             Ms McManus: I am not the Taoiseach either.
were some type of innocent document that does
not tell the full story is in itself a perversion of         An Ceann Comhairle: The Taoiseach, without
the truth. The Taoiseach has not answered why              interruption.
the full file of the investigation was not passed
over to the Attorney General.                                The Taoiseach: The Minister said that he had
   I would like to tease this out. The Taoiseach           not seen the Garda file.
suggests that because the DPP is addressing a
matter, somehow there is a wall of silence                   Mr. Eamon Ryan: The Taoiseach should set
between Cabinet Ministers and the Attorney                 some standards.
435        Requests to move Adjournment of      28 June 2005.          ´
                                                                      Dail under Standing Order 31      436


  The Taoiseach: The Minister for Justice,               them. I cannot give Deputy Sargent anything
Equality and Law Reform, the Attorney General            other than the facts.
and the Director of Public Prosecutions of the
time all stated that they could not proceed until           Mr. Sargent: The Taoiseach should apologise.
they saw the full Carty report.
                                                           Mr. Gormley: He should hold the Minister to
  Mr. Howlin: They said nothing of the kind.             account.

  The Taoiseach: I have just given the references.         The Taoiseach: There is no question of anyone
                                                         apologising when the law officers of the State
  Mr. Rabbitte: They did not say anything of             made clear determinations at the time, all of
the kind.                                                which are on the record. The fact that Opposition
                                                         Deputies are trying to paint a delay——
  An Ceann Comhairle: I ask Deputy Rabbitte
to allow the Taoiseach to continue, without                 Mr. Sargent: There was a delay.
interruption.
                                                           The Taoiseach: The delay was due to the
  The Taoiseach: I have just given the references        reasons I gave. As I said, it was this
but I will give them again. In light of the growing      Government——
controversy in June 2001, the then Minister,
Deputy O’Donoghue, sought a preliminary                     Mr. Gormley: They are spurious reasons.
opinion, in writing, from the Attorney General
about the options open to him to have the matter           The Taoiseach: If that is the Deputy’s attitude,
inquired into. The Attorney General replied in           then the DPP, the Attorney General, the Minister
June 2001. The reply cited the full Carty report.        for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and every-
That is one reference.                                   body else is spurious. I do not agree with him.
  In November 2001——
                                                           An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Sargent, the
  Mr. Howlin: Privately.                                 leader of Deputy Gormley’s party, is competent
                                                         to deal with the question.
   The Taoiseach: I do not why the Deputy is jus-
tifying himself. He seems worried. I am just giving         The Taoiseach: I reiterate that it was the
facts; I am not blaming the Deputy.                      Government, not the Opposition, which iden-
                                                         tified the solution that is working successfully.
  Mr. Howlin: It is not a fact. None of these
events took place in public.                               Mr. Stagg: It was not the Government; it voted
                                                         down the solution two years earlier.
  An Ceann Comhairle: We are dealing with a
question tabled by the Green Party and Deputy               The Taoiseach: While I recognise that Oppo-
Sargent is quite competent to deal with it.              sition Deputies feel guilty about all of that now,
                                                         that is a matter for them.
  The Taoiseach: We have had approximately 20
interruptions. I am just giving facts and the              An Ceann Comhairle: For the information of
Deputy is trying to twist them.                          the House, we went 13 minutes over time on
                                                         Leaders’ Questions today.
  Mr. Howlin: They are not facts.
                                                            Mr. Gormley: It was worth it.
  An Ceann Comhairle: I ask Deputy Howlin to
remain silent.
                                                          Requests to move Adjournment of Dail under
                                                                                           ´
                                                                       Standing Order 31.
   The Taoiseach: In November 2001, the edited
version was a bulky document but the Office of             An Ceann Comhairle: Before coming to the
the Director of Public Prosecutions remarked             Order of Business, I propose to deal with a
that it would be difficult for persons reading           number of notices under Standing Order 31. I call
themselves into the case to make sense of the            on the Deputies in the order in which they sub-
issues without sight of the full report and the pap-     mitted their notices to my office.
ers. That was the second reference. What I have
outlined is, therefore, the factual position.              Mr. O’Dowd: I seek the adjournment of the
                                                           ´
                                                         Dail under Standing Order 31 to discuss an issue
  Mr. Gormley: It is bluster.                            of national importance, namely, that the Health
                                                         Service Executive has decided, after inspection,
  The Taoiseach: Lastly, in February 2002, when          not to recommend the transfer of Leas Cross resi-
the Government approved in principle the Tri-            dents to certain other nursing homes in the
bunals of Inquiry (Evidence) (Amendment) Bill            Dublin area, the breaches of regulations found at
2002, it did so when it received the full Carty          the further homes in question, the names of the
report. Those are the facts and I cannot change          homes in question, whether they are registered
437                   Order of                   28 June 2005.                 Business                   438


homes under the Health Acts and if they continue                         Order of Business.
to be so registered, if any public patients are resi-
                                                             The Taoiseach: The Order of Business today
dent in the homes and if they will now be moved
                                                          shall be as follows: No. 13, Social Welfare Con-
to other homes, if any subvented patients are resi-
                                                          solidation Bill 2005 — First Stage; No. 14, motion
dent in the homes, if they will be moved or
                                                                                       ´ ´
                                                          re proposed approval by Dail Eireann of a report
advised to move and, if not, why?
                                                          by the Minister for Defence pursuant to section
                                                          4 of the Defence (Amendment) Act 1993, back
   Mr. Sherlock: I seek the adjournment of the
                                                          from committee; No. 27, Electoral (Amendment)
  ´
Dail under Standing Order 31 to discuss the fol-
                                                          Bill 2005 — Report and Final Stages (resumed);
lowing specific and important matter of public
                                                          No. 1, Disability Bill 2004 — amendments from
interest requiring urgent attention, namely, the
                                                          the Seanad; and No. 28, Veterinary Practice Bill
need for the Minister for Agriculture and Food,
                                                          2004 [Seanad] — Order for Report, Report and
Deputy Coughlan, to make a statement on bio-
                                                          Final Stages.
fuels production in view of the proposal for
changes in the sugar regime. In view of the                  It is proposed, notwithstanding anything in
importance of this issue, I hope the Ceann Comh-                                        ´
                                                          Standing Orders, that the Dail shall sit later than
airle will agree to my request.                           8.30 p.m. and business shall be interrupted not
                                                          later than 10 p.m.; Nos. 13 and 14 shall be decided
   Mr. M. Higgins: I seek the adjournment of the          without debate; the proceedings on the resumed
  ´
Dail under Standing Order 31 to discuss the fol-          Report and Final Stages of No. 27 shall, if not
lowing matter of urgent public concern, namely,           previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion
the increasing vulnerability of workers, in part-         after 60 minutes by one question which shall be
icular migrant workers, who are affected by sud-          put from the Chair and which shall, in relation
den closures in the construction industry, often          to amendments, include only those set down or
on public contracts, without notice, breaches of          accepted by the Minister for the Environment,
statutory regulations and general absence of pro-         Heritage and Local Government; and the pro-
tection and the need for a hardship fund to               ceedings on No. 1 shall, if not previously con-
address their immediate needs and such statutory          cluded, be brought to a conclusion at 9 p.m. and
changes as will meet their basic rights.                  any amendments from the Seanad not disposed
                                                          of shall be decided by one question which shall
                                               ´
   Mr. Sargent: I seek the adjournment of the Dail        be put from the Chair and which shall, in relation
under Standing Order 31 to discuss the following          to amendments to the Seanad amendments,
matter of urgent national importance, namely,             include only those set down or accepted by the
the fact that a large construction company, Glen-         Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.
man Corporation, which has Government con-                   Private Members’ Business shall be No. 56,
tracts to build council houses in Ballymun, For-          motion re G8 summit and overseas development
tunestown B and other places, has failed to meet          aid.
its payment obligations to more than a dozen
other companies which have subcontracted work,               An Ceann Comhairle: There are four proposals
including one company, KBD civil engineering,             to be put to the House. Is the proposal for the
which is owed \374,000, and another company               late sitting agreed?
owed \254,000, and this is resulting in a signifi-
cant threat of job losses and companies going to             Mr. Rabbitte: I do not wish to record my point
the wall — and the associated tensions created by         in this manner but there is no other parliamentary
such non-payment of Bills — and the need for              procedure for so doing. What happened last week
the Government to make transparent, account-              was as big a shambles as I have ever seen in the
able and fair its procurement procedures in light         House. Deputies were required to vote——
of such evidence.
                                                            An Ceann Comhairle: That matter does not
  Mr. Deenihan: I seek the adjournment of the             arise at this stage. The question is whether the
  ´
Dail under Standing Order 31 to discuss the fol-          Deputy opposes the late sitting.
lowing matter of national importance, namely,
the ongoing difficulties between CSID and                    Mr. Rabbitte: My point is directly connected.
Dublin Waterworld regarding the National                  We had to come into the House to vote on some-
Aquatic Centre and the need for the Taoiseach             thing and we did not even know, with the number
or the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism to            of items of different coloured paper that had been
make a statement clarifying the various diffi-            circulated by the Minister for Justice, Equality
culties which have arisen in respect of the               and Law Reform——
building.
                                                            An Ceann Comhairle: The matter does not
  An Ceann Comhairle: It is not in order to go            arise at this stage.
beyond the statement submitted to my office.
Having considered the matters raised, I do not              Mr. Rabbitte: If the Ceann Comhairle wants
consider them to be in order under Standing               me to explain the reason I am opposed to the
Order 31.                                                 proposal, I will do so.
439                   Order of                   28 June 2005.                  Business                   440


  An Ceann Comhairle: We must have some sort                An Ceann Comhairle: I am taking questions on
of order on the Order of Business.                        the same proposal together, as is the standard
                                                          practice, and we will then hear from the
   Mr. Rabbitte: On Friday night, the Minister for        Taoiseach.
Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy
McDowell, blamed the Ceann Comhairle and the                 Mr. Stagg: I have no problem with that.
staff of the House because the amendments were
not disseminated. Anybody who knows anything                 Mr. Sargent: The Ceann Comhairle will be
about the Bills Office, knows that its staff are the      aware that it is also standard practice to oppose
most industrious in the House. I am sure I need           the taking or lumping together of items together
not labour the point or say how distressed I was          as if they are of no consequence. He should take
that the Minister should reflect on the Ceann             into account that the Green Party does not regard
Comhairle’s efficiency                                    it as satisfactory to give No. 14, which has just
                                                          come back from committee. This item is a signifi-
  An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy should                   cant defence motion which must be considered
resume his seat as he is out of order. As he is           and our giving it the nod takes for granted the
opposed to the late sitting, I will put the question.     Government’s thinking on the matter, something
                                                          it has not made clear. I ask that the Minister for
   Mr. Rabbitte: I just wanted to place on record         Defence make a clear statement in the House and
the disquiet caused to me over the weekend by             that we debate the matter.
the Minister’s decision to reflect on the Ceann
Comhairle’s deficiency, which was unfair in the              The Taoiseach: The Minister hopes to be in a
circumstances.                                            position to do that at the end of the summer, so
                                                          it will happen when the House returns in the
  An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has made                 autumn.
his point.                                                   In reply to Deputy Stagg, the Social Welfare
  Question, “That the late sitting be agreed to,”         Consolidation Bill passed First Stage and was
put and declared carried.                                 sent to committee, as has happened since the first
                                                          consolidation Bill in 1980. The motion will just
  An Ceann Comhairle: Is the proposal for deal-           move it into committee in order that the matter
ing with Nos. 13 and 14 without debate agreed?            can be dealt with during July and September,
                                                          when committees will continue to meet.
  Mr. Kenny: On No. 14, when does the Govern-
ment expect to make an announcement about                    An Ceann Comhairle: Is the proposal for deal-
Ireland’s participation in the battle groups              ing with Nos. 13 and 14 agreed? Agreed.
referred to under the Department of Defence                  Is the proposal for dealing with No. 27, con-
proposal?                                                 clusion of Report and Final Stages of the Elec-
                                                          toral (Amendment) Bill 2005, agreed?
   The Taoiseach: As I stated previously, the
matter is under examination but it will take con-            Mr. Gilmore: The Labour Party is opposed, on
siderable time. It will not arise for a number of         two grounds, to a guillotine being imposed on the
              months. We have not opted in or out         Electoral (Amendment) Bill, which will revise
5 o’clock     at this stage, we must consider how            ´
                                                          Dail constituencies. As a matter of principle, the
              we can participate if we are to go          Government should not use its majority, in the
down that road. Many countries have already               form of a guillotine, to enact legislation on the
declared that they are looking at the major infras-       revision of constituencies because the latter are at
tructural issues and we must assess if we can use-        the heart of our electoral and democratic system.
fully do it. It will be some time before we com-             Furthermore, we cannot adopt the proposal
plete our assessment.                                     before the House. On Report Stage on 16 June,
                                                          the House agreed to recommit section 3 in order
  Mr. Kenny: Will it be this year or next year? I         to address an issue I raised, namely, the likeli-
heard on a radio programme last week that the             hood that it will emerge from the census in 2006
Minister for Defence, Deputy O’Dea, got an                that, on foot of an increase and change in the
award for straight talking. How long will this                                                              ´
                                                          location of population, significant revision of Dail
assessment take? Will the Minister for Defence            boundaries will be required. If the election is held
indicate whether we are in or out?                        after the publication of the census figures in 2006,
                                                          it may give rise to legal proceedings and consti-
  Mr. Stagg: Will the Taoiseach explain why the           tutional questions in respect of the Bill. The
First Stage of a Bill is being introduced without         recommitted Committee Stage of section 3 is still
debate?                                                   in progress. The House adjourned without con-
                                                          cluding the Committee Stage debate on section 3
  An Ceann Comhairle: I call Deputy Sargent.              and it is not possible to make an order for the
                                                          resumed Report and Final Stage of the Bill until
  Mr. Stagg: Do I not get an answer?                      the Committee Stage debate is concluded.
441                   Order of                28 June 2005.                      Business                 442


  An Ceann Comhairle: On the Deputy’s second               extensive debate on this matter and the legis-
question, it has been agreed to recommit amend-            lation emanates from an independent body. The
ment No. 1 for discussion in the House.                    Government has given adequate time to some-
                                                           thing we have all accepted as a fait accompli from
  Mr. Gilmore: Yes.                                        the outset.

   The Taoiseach: On the first question, we have             Question put: “That the proposal for dealing
tried during this session not to guillotine Bills.         with No. 27, conclusion of Report and Final
The guillotine has been applied in very few                Stages of the Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005
instances in recent months. There has been an              be agreed.”

                                        ´             ´       ´
                                   The Dail divided: Ta, 76; Nıl, 58.
                                                      ´
                                                     Ta

      Ahern, Bertie.                                             Keaveney, Cecilia.
      Ahern, Dermot.                                             Kelleher, Billy.
      Ahern, Michael.                                            Kelly, Peter.
      Ahern, Noel.                                               Killeen, Tony.
      Andrews, Barry.                                            Kirk, Seamus.
      Ardagh, Sean.´                                             Kitt, Tom.
      Brady, Johnny.                                             Lenihan, Brian.
      Brady, Martin.                                                            ´
                                                                 Martin, Micheal.
      Brennan, Seamus.                                           McDowell, Michael.
      Browne, John.                                              McEllistrim, Thomas.
      Callanan, Joe.                                             McGuinness, John.
      Callely, Ivor.                                             Moloney, John.
      Carey, Pat.                                                Moynihan, Michael.
      Carty, John.                                               Mulcahy, Michael.
      Cassidy, Donie.                                            Nolan, M. J.
      Collins, Michael.                                          ´     ´ ´
                                                                 O Cuıv, Eamon.
      Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.                                    ´          ´     ´
                                                                 O Fearghaıl, Sean.
      Cowen, Brian.                                              O’Connor, Charlie.
      Cregan, John.                                              O’Dea, Willie.
      Cullen, Martin.                                            O’Donnell, Liz.
      Curran, John.                                              O’Donovan, Denis.
      Davern, Noel.                                              O’Flynn, Noel.
      Dempsey, Tony.                                             O’Keeffe, Batt.
      Dennehy, John.                                             O’Keeffe, Ned.
      Devins, Jimmy.                                             O’Malley, Fiona.
      Ellis, John.                                               O’Malley, Tim.
      Fahey, Frank.                                              Parlon, Tom.
      Finneran, Michael.                                         Power, Peter.
      Fitzpatrick, Dermot.                                                 ´
                                                                 Power, Sean.
      Fleming, Sean.´                                            Roche, Dick.
      Fox, Mildred.                                              Sexton, Mae.
      Gallagher, Pat The Cope.                                   Smith, Brendan.
      Glennon, Jim.                                              Smith, Michael.
      Harney, Mary.                                              Treacy, Noel.
      Haughey, Sean.  ´                                          Wallace, Dan.
      Healy-Rae, Jackie.                                         Walsh, Joe.
                 ´
      Hoctor, Maire.                                             Wilkinson, Ollie.
      Jacob, Joe.                                                Woods, Michael.


                                                      ´
                                                     Nıl

      Allen, Bernard.                                            Hayes, Tom.
      Boyle, Dan.                                                Higgins, Michael D.
      Breen, James.                                              Hogan, Phil.
      Broughan, Thomas P.                                        Howlin, Brendan.
      Bruton, Richard.                                           Kehoe, Paul.
      Burton, Joan.                                              Kenny, Enda.
      Connolly, Paudge.                                          Lynch, Kathleen.
      Costello, Joe.                                             McCormack, Padraic.
      Cowley, Jerry.                                             McGinley, Dinny.
      Crawford, Seymour.                                         McGrath, Finian.
                 ´
      Crowe, Sean.                                               McGrath, Paul.
                   ´
      Cuffe, Ciaran.                                             McManus, Liz.
      Deasy, John.                                               Mitchell, Olivia.
      Deenihan, Jimmy.                                           Morgan, Arthur.
      Durkan, Bernard J.                                         Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
      Enright, Olwyn.                                            Murphy, Catherine.
      Gilmore, Eamon.                                            Naughten, Denis.
      Gormley, John.                                             Neville, Dan.
      Gregory, Tony.                                             ´       ´           ´
                                                                 O Caolain, Caoimhghın.
      Harkin, Marian.                                            ´
                                                                 O Snodaigh, Aengus.
443                        Order of             28 June 2005.                         Business               444


                                                 ´
                                                Nıl—continued

       O’Dowd, Fergus.                                            Ryan, Eamon.
       O’Keeffe, Jim.                                                       ´
                                                                  Ryan, Sean.
       O’Shea, Brian.                                             Sargent, Trevor.
       O’Sullivan, Jan.                                           Sherlock, Joe.
       Pattison, Seamus.                                                      ´ ´
                                                                  Shortall, Roisın.
       Penrose, Willie.                                           Stagg, Emmet.
       Perry, John.                                               Timmins, Billy.
       Quinn, Ruairi.                                             Twomey, Liam.
       Rabbitte, Pat.                                             Upton, Mary.



                           ´                               ´
                 Tellers: Ta, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Nıl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

  Question declared carried.                               took place last night in Limerick and the ongoing
                                                           strength of feeling around the country, not least
   An Ceann Comhairle: Is the proposal for deal-           because the Minister has indicated that he
ing with No. 1, Disability Bill 2004, amendments           believes in the virtues of inequality. It is abso-
from the Seanad, agreed to?                                lutely essential that we go back to the drawing
                                                           board in respect of the Bill and put the requisite
   Mr. Kenny: I am opposed to No. 1 being guillo-          rights-based legislation in place. To proceed on
tined in this fashion. I also note that former Mr.         this basis is to do a disservice to this House and
Justice Fergus Flood has stated the Bill should be         people with disabilities.
                           ´
torn up and that the Dail should legislate in a
proper manner for an issue of such importance.               Mr. McCormack: It will be third time lucky.
Hence, I oppose No. 1 being brought to a con-
clusion at 9 p.m.                                                        ´ ´
                                                               Caoimhghın O Caolain: I also record Sinn
                                                                                     ´
                                                             ´
                                                           Fein’s opposition to the proposal that we proceed
  Mr. Rabbitte: I share that sentiment. The dis-           with the 33 amendments which are broadly tech-
ability movement——                                         nical in nature and do absolutely nothing to
                                                           address the fundamental flaws in the Disability
  Mr. Kelleher: The Deputy is bluffing well.               Bill identified by the disability legislation consul-
                                                           tation group, a body established by the Govern-
   Mr. Rabbitte: ——which is extremely dis-                 ment. Hence, it is absolutely bizarre that the
tressed that, after the collapse of the first Dis-         House is proceeding with the legislation which
ability Bill under the previous Government, this           has proceeded through both Houses and is now
one is——                                                                  ´
                                                           back in the Dail. As I stated, there are 33 amend-
                                                           ments, none of which addresses any of the sub-
  (Interruptions.)                                         stantive inadequacies of the Bill in meeting the
                                                                                                       ´
                                                           needs of people with disabilities. Sinn Fein would
  An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Rabbitte should               have been happy to address the Bill on its return
be allowed to speak without interruption.                  from the Seanad if the amendments reflected the
                                                           recommendations of the Commission on the
  Mr. Rabbitte: I also oppose the moving of this           Status of People with Disabilities but sadly that is
Bill.                                                      not the case. Accordingly, we must oppose this
                                                           proposal.
  Mr. Sargent: The Green Party once again
opposes the guillotining of the Disability Bill. It          Question put: “That the proposal for dealing
asks the Ceann Comhairle and the Government                with No. 1, amendments from the Seanad to the
to have regard to the significant meeting that             Disability Bill 2004, be agreed to.”

                                           ´             ´       ´
                                      The Dail divided: Ta, 76; Nıl, 54.
                                                       ´
                                                      Ta

       Ahern, Bertie.                                             Collins, Michael.
       Ahern, Dermot.                                             Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
       Ahern, Michael.                                            Cowen, Brian.
       Ahern, Noel.                                               Cregan, John.
       Andrews, Barry.                                            Cullen, Martin.
                   ´
       Ardagh, Sean.                                              Curran, John.
       Brady, Johnny.                                             Davern, Noel.
       Brady, Martin.                                             Dempsey, Tony.
       Brennan, Seamus.                                           Dennehy, John.
       Browne, John.                                              Devins, Jimmy.
       Callanan, Joe.                                             Ellis, John.
       Callely, Ivor.                                             Fahey, Frank.
       Carey, Pat.                                                Finneran, Michael.
       Carty, John.                                               Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
       Cassidy, Donie.                                                         ´
                                                                  Fleming, Sean.
445                    Order of                 28 June 2005.                      Business              446


                                                 ´
                                                Ta—continued

       Fox, Mildred.                                               ´    ´ ´
                                                                   O Cuıv, Eamon.
       Gallagher, Pat The Cope.                                    ´          ´    ´
                                                                   O Fearghaıl, Sean.
       Glennon, Jim.                                               O’Connor, Charlie.
       Harney, Mary.                                               O’Dea, Willie.
       Haughey, Sean.´                                             O’Donnell, Liz.
       Healy-Rae, Jackie.                                          O’Donovan, Denis.
                  ´
       Hoctor, Maire.                                              O’Flynn, Noel.
       Jacob, Joe.                                                 O’Keeffe, Batt.
       Keaveney, Cecilia.                                          O’Keeffe, Ned.
       Kelleher, Billy.                                            O’Malley, Fiona.
       Kelly, Peter.                                               O’Malley, Tim.
       Killeen, Tony.                                              Parlon, Tom.
       Kirk, Seamus.                                               Power, Peter.
       Kitt, Tom.                                                            ´
                                                                   Power, Sean.
       Lenihan, Brian.                                             Roche, Dick.
       Martin, Micheal.´                                           Sexton, Mae.
       McDowell, Michael.                                          Smith, Brendan.
       McEllistrim, Thomas.                                        Smith, Michael.
       McGuinness, John.                                           Treacy, Noel.
       Moloney, John.                                              Wallace, Dan.
       Moynihan, Michael.                                          Walsh, Joe.
       Mulcahy, Michael.                                           Wilkinson, Ollie.
       Nolan, M. J.                                                Woods, Michael.


                                                        ´
                                                       Nıl

       Allen, Bernard.                                             McCormack, Padraic.
       Boyle, Dan.                                                 McGrath, Finian.
       Breen, James.                                               McGrath, Paul.
       Broughan, Thomas P.                                         McManus, Liz.
       Bruton, Richard.                                            Mitchell, Olivia.
       Burton, Joan.                                               Morgan, Arthur.
       Connolly, Paudge.                                           Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
       Costello, Joe.                                              Murphy, Catherine.
       Cowley, Jerry.                                              Naughten, Denis.
       Crawford, Seymour.                                          Neville, Dan.
                  ´
       Crowe, Sean.                                                ´       ´           ´
                                                                   O Caolain, Caoimhghın.
                    ´
       Cuffe, Ciaran.                                              ´
                                                                   O Snodaigh, Aengus.
       Deasy, John.                                                O’Keeffe, Jim.
       Deenihan, Jimmy.                                            O’Shea, Brian.
       Durkan, Bernard J.                                          O’Sullivan, Jan.
       Enright, Olwyn.                                             Pattison, Seamus.
       Gilmore, Eamon.                                             Penrose, Willie.
       Gormley, John.                                              Quinn, Ruairi.
       Gregory, Tony.                                              Rabbitte, Pat.
       Harkin, Marian.                                                       ´
                                                                   Ryan, Sean.
       Hayes, Tom.                                                 Sargent, Trevor.
       Higgins, Michael D.                                         Sherlock, Joe.
       Hogan, Phil.                                                            ´ ´
                                                                   Shortall, Roisın.
       Howlin, Brendan.                                            Stagg, Emmet.
       Kehoe, Paul.                                                Timmins, Billy.
       Kenny, Enda.                                                Twomey, Liam.
       Lynch, Kathleen.                                            Upton, Mary.



                           ´                               ´
                 Tellers: Ta, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Nıl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

  Question declared carried.                                   An Ceann Comhairle: The matter does not
                                                             arise. What is the Deputy’s second question?
  Mr. Kenny: I wish to ask the Taoiseach three
questions. First, in respect of the Morris tribunal,            Mr. Kenny: The bogus confession is a serious
the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law                   and central issue for the tribunal. Before the
Reform promised a ringing apology to the                     House rises, will it hear statements from the
McBrearty family. When can the House expect to               Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
hear it?                                                     giving the ringing apology to the McBrearty
                                                             family to which he has committed himself on the
  An Ceann Comhairle: This matter does not                   issue of the bogus confession?
arise on the Order of Business.
                                                               An Ceann Comhairle: That matter does not
  Mr. Kenny: Legislation was introduced to set               arise on the Order of Business. Does the Deputy
up the Morris tribunal and there are serious con-            have a third question?
sequences in respect of that legislation.
447                   Order of                  28 June 2005.                 Business                  448


   Mr. Kenny: My second question pertains to the            Mr. Naughten: In light of the fact that An Bord
ongoing negotiations between the European                Altranais deals with applications by nurses for
Union and the United States on an open skies             registration, when will we see the relevant prom-
policy. Will the Taoiseach fund a professional           ised legislation because it now takes up to eight
study on the impact on the mid-west and west             months to process applications for registration?
   region? Some 40,000 people are employed by            There is a shortage of nurses in this country.
American companies in that region.
   When will we see the natural gas regulation Bill       An Ceann Comhairle: I would prefer if the
which was expected to be published in 2005? Will         Deputy did not make a statement.
the Government take an interest in the fact that
tomorrow a number of people face jail sentences             Mr. Naughten: The situation is crazy.
because of confusion and lack of clarity in respect
of the Government policy being implemented in              The Taoiseach: The legislation is being drafted
regard to the Corrib gas field?                          but I do not have a date as to when it will be
                                                         ready.
   The Taoiseach: I will raise the issue of Shannon
with the line Minister. The natural gas regulation                                            ´
                                                           Ms McManus: Yesterday the Tanaiste and
Bill will give effect to the restructuring of the        Minister for Health and Children caved in crav-
natural gas industry. It is being drafted and is due     enly to the demands of the health insurance com-
in the first half of next year.                          pany, BUPA.

  Mr. Rabbitte: When is it proposed to bring the           An Ceann Comhairle: Does the Deputy have a
Abbotstown Campus Development Authority                  question appropriate to the Order of Business?
Bill before the House? I remind the Taoiseach of
his commitment that the work permits Bill would             Ms McManus: I have. It is important because
be through the House this session, but it has not        we will see a continuation of a windfall profit
even been published. Obviously, it will not be           going to a UK national because of the Minister’s
moved in this session so will the Taoiseach indi-        failure to introduce risk equalisation.
cate when it will be published?
                                                            An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy cannot
  The Taoiseach: The Abbotstown Campus                   make a statement. If she does not have a ques-
Development Authority Bill will be brought                                               ´     ´
                                                         tion, we will move on to Deputy O Caolain.
before the House in the autumn session. I said we
would try to take the work permits legislation this         Ms McManus: In regard to promised legis-
session but it will be published tomorrow and will       lation, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and
be taken in the autumn session.                          Children has been processing amendments to the
                                                         health insurance regulation which will be taken
  Mr. Sargent: Is the Government contemplating           in the House on Thursday without debate.
any amendment to the prompt payments
legislation?                                               An Ceann Comhairle: That is Thursday’s
                                                         business.
  An Ceann Comhairle: Does the Deputy have a
question appropriate to the Order of Business?              Ms McManus: The situation has changed
There are a number of Deputies offering and we           dramatically. Will the Taoiseach ensure a debate
cannot go on too long.                                   in this House——

   Mr. Sargent: The diplomatic relations and               An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise at
immunities amendment Bill is on the minds of             this stage.
people, particularly since the husband of Ingrid
Betancourt, the presidential candidate in Colom-            Mr. Rabbitte: We are giving the House notice.
bia, is in the Public Gallery. She had been in cap-
tivity for over 40 months and is one of thousands           Ms McManus: ——about the extraordinary
in that situation.                                       failure to introduce protection and safeguards for
                                                         subscribers to health insurance——
  An Ceann Comhairle: We must move on to the
next question.                                             An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has made
                                                         her point.
   Mr. Sargent: Is that a matter on which the
Government will allow statements? Will the legis-         Ms McManus: ——which has been recom-
lation be published to allow us to debate such           mended by an independent expert authority?
matters?
                                                           An Ceann Comhairle: I would like to facilitate
  The Taoiseach: That Bill was approved by the           some of the Deputy’s colleagues. There are a
Cabinet today and it will be published shortly.          number of ways to raise the matter.
449                   Order of                  28 June 2005.                   Business                    450


   Ms McManus: Will we have a debate in the              their houses and who will be thrown in jail
House on this important issue? I want that ques-         because they are in fear of their lives——
tion answered by the Taoiseach now.
                                                            An Ceann Comhairle: The natural gas regu-
  The Taoiseach: No debate has been promised.            lation Bill has been dealt with.

  An Ceann Comhairle: On the Order of Busi-                Dr. Cowley: This pipeline will be located
ness the Deputy may ask a question only on               beside these people’s homes and they have no
promised debates. I ask Deputy McManus to                choice but to live in them. They just want to get
resume her seat and allow her colleagues to ask          on with their lives but they face the threat of
questions.                                               being sent to jail.
  Ms McManus: What is the point in having an               An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Cowley should
expert authority established by this House——             take a lesson from Deputy Stagg on how to ask an
                                                         appropriate question on the Order of Business.
  An Ceann Comhairle: If Deputy McManus
does not resume her seat we will have to move               (Interruptions).
on to the next business.
                                                            Mr. Hogan: The Taoiseach’s brother, the Mini-
                            ´
  Ms McManus: ——if the Tanaiste and Minister             ster of State at the Department of the Envir-
for Health and Children disregards the need——            onment, Heritage and Local Government,
                                                         Deputy Noel Ahern, promised in the Seanad in
   An Ceann Comhairle: I ask the Deputy to               2004 the stage payments Bill to abolish stage pay-
allow her colleagues to ask questions.                   ments. When will this Bill be published?
            ´ ´
  Caoimhghın O Caolain: If a debate is not
                        ´                                 The Taoiseach: It is not listed. I will consult the
scheduled, will the Taoiseach accommodate an             Minister of State.
opportunity for the House to debate the mid-
term review of the national drugs strategy?                 Mr. Hogan: It is on his list, the never, never list.
  An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise on
                                                            Mr. Broughan: This is a postscript to Deputy
the Order of Business.
                                                         Stagg’s question. When does the Taoiseach
                                                         intend to appoint the RTE authority or is he wait-
            ´ ´
  Caoimhghın O Caolain: Is a debate scheduled
                   ´
                                                         ing until the holiday weeks in July to make the
or will the Government accommodate such a
                                                         announcement? On a number of occasions last
debate?
                                                         week, the Ceann Comhairle steadfastly refused to
                                                         allow me raise by way of Adjournment debate
  The Taoiseach: No debate has been promised.
                                                         the situation of the An Post pensioners and work-
  An Ceann Comhairle: I call Deputy Naughten.            force who have not received their delayed pay-
                                                         ments for the past two and a half years.
  Mr. Naughten: I already asked a question but
perhaps the Taoiseach will answer it this time.            An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has communi-
                                                         cated with the Deputy.
   Mr. Timmins: Regrettably, there was another
fatality on the N81 at the weekend. When will the         Mr. Broughan: The Chair communicated with
strategic national infrastructure Bill be before the     me twice.
House so we can debate funding for this road,
which is the most dangerous in the country?               An Ceann Comhairle: That is the reason the
                                                         Deputy cannot raise the issue in the House.
 The Taoiseach: The Bill will be before the
House in 2006.                                             Mr. Broughan: The Ceann Comhairle allowed
                                                         me to raise the issue before Christmas. The postal
  Mr. Stagg: Given the highly regrettable                service is collapsing.
decision by RTE to end the long wave trans-
mission of sporting occasions to Britain, will the         Mr. Gormley: Last week I was promised I
Taoiseach indicate when the broadcasting auth-           would get the full list of nursing homes which
ority Bill will be before the House and if it will       were found deficient.
deal with this issue?
                                                           An Ceann Comhairle: That does not arise on
  The Taoiseach: It will be before the House             the Order of Business.
next year.
                                                           Mr. Gormley: It relates to the Ombudsman
  Dr. Cowley: The legislation in which I am              (Amendment) Bill. That Bill may help us get
interested is that which will protect those people       information because the Government is intent on
who will have a high pressure gas pipeline beside        covering up everything it can.
451         Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:    28 June 2005.             Report Stage (Resumed)           452


  The Taoiseach: The Bill will be introduced in                   “2.—Section 5(1) of the Electoral Act 1997
early 2006.                                                     is amended by the deletion of ‘Census
                                                                Report setting out the population of the
   Mr. Durkan: In the absence of the Minister for               State classified by area’ and the substitution
Communications, Marine and Natural Resources,                   therefor of ‘Preliminary Report containing
will the Taoiseach indicate when the national oil               provisional information on the population of
reserves agency Bill might appear, given the rap-               the State including classification by Elec-
idly escalating oil prices? When will the energy                toral Area’.”.
Bill, which is a mute subject at present, appear?                                     —(Deputy Gilmore).
The Minister is a bit shy about coming into the
House. We may have offended him, but will the               Minister for the Environment, Heritage and
Taoiseach give us an update on the legislation?          Local Government (Mr. Roche): I should learn a
                                                         lesson from this not to recommit an amendment.
  The Taoiseach: The heads have been approved            Before we adjourned, I set out my concerns with
by Government. The Bill will be drafted and it           the approach proposed in the amendment by
should be ready by the autumn session.                   Deputy Gilmore. After every census, the Central
                                                         Statistics Office publishes the results on a phased
  Mr. Durkan: Is that the case with both Bills?          basis. Volume 1, containing the population classi-
                                                         fied by area, has the necessary final data to
                                                         enable a constituency commission to review con-
 Social Welfare (Consolidation) Bill 2005: First         stituencies in accordance with the relevant legis-
                    Stage.                               lation, the Constitution and case law. The CSO
  Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mr.            publishes a preliminary report a number of
Brennan): I move:                                        months after a census, but it contains provisional
                                                         information which is subject to revision and
    That leave be granted to introduce a Bill            which is not regarded as having any statutory
  entitled an Act to consolidate the Social Wel-         force.
  fare Acts.                                                While there is always a possibility of legal chal-
        Certificate of the Attorney General              lenge in matters relating to constitutional law, I
                                                         am satisfied that it would not be the correct
      In pursuance of Standing Order 137 of the          approach to ask the commission to operate and
                            ´ ´
      Standing Orders of Dail Eireann relative to        to make recommendations on a basis other than
      public business, I, Rory Brady, Attorney           the final census results. Neither should the
      General, hereby certify that the Social Wel-       Oireachtas be asked to evaluate a commission
      fare Consolidation Bill 2005 is a Bill to con-     report prepared on such a basis. The approach we
      solidate enactments relating to social             are following reflects the statutory requirement
      welfare.                                           since enactment of the Electoral Act 1997 and the
        Date 16th day of June, 2005.                     practice extending back over a much longer
                                                         period.
        RORY BRADY,
                                                            The case law in the area supports the approach
        Attorney General.                                we are following. For these reasons, I do not fav-
                                                         our using the initial figures for a revision of con-
                                                         stituencies as would be required by the terms of
  Question put and agreed to.
                                                         the proposed amendment. I suggest to the
                                                         Deputy that he does not press the matter further.
      Defence (Amendment) Act 1993: Motion.
  Minister of State at the Department of the                Mr. Gilmore: We are very much in unknown
Taoiseach (Mr. Kitt): I move:                            territory. We have a Bill before us which will set
                                                         down the constituency boundaries in line with the
            ´ ´
    That Dail Eireann approves the report by             2002 census and the report of the boundary com-
  the Minister for Defence pursuant to section 4         mission arising from that. We know that there
  of the Defence (Amendment) Act 1993, copies            will be a census in 2006 and that the preliminary
                              ´ ´
  of which were laid before Dail Eireann on 11           figures on that census will be published around
  November 2004.                                         July 2006. We expect, based on what is already
                                                         known to the CSO, that the 2006 census will show
  Question put and agreed to.                            a population increase of about 250,000. I referred
                                                         earlier to the degree to which that is likely to give
                                                         rise to changes in the boundaries of constituenc-
Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005: Report Stage            ies. It is likely that the constituency of Louth will
                (Resumed).                               have the same population as the constituency of
                                                         Cavan-Monaghan after 2006, yet Louth will have
 Bill again recommitted in respect of amend-
                                                         four seats while Cavan-Monaghan will have five.
ment No. 1:
                                                         In her contribution, Deputy Catherine Murphy
    In page 3, between lines 20 and 21, to insert        pointed out that it is likely the 2006 census will
  the following:                                         show that the existing Kildare North constituency
453        Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:     28 June 2005.            Report Stage (Resumed)            454


will have exceeded the one Deputy per 30,000             pass muster as far as the Constitution is con-
ratio set out in the Constitution.                       cerned. If a decision is made in the High Court in
   The Minister is very buoyant in his belief that       late 2006 or early 2007 that declares the 2005 Act
the legislation before us is robust enough to with-      is unconstitutional based on what has been ascer-
stand any legal challenge against it. The truth is       tained in the census, we will all be wondering
that he does not know — none of us knows —               what will happen next. Will it be appealed? If it
what will happen if a case goes before the courts.       is, it will be taken closer to the wire. If the out-
In my opinion, there is a high likelihood that a         come of an appeal upholds a decision that the
case will end up before the courts on this issue.        2005 Act is unconstitutional, what can be done?
The court will be exercised about two issues.            Will the Minister have to establish a new bound-
First, there is a difference between the pro-            ary commission and revise constituencies on the
visional figures and the official figures. The fig-      hoof? It should be remembered that on the last
ures available around July 2006 will be the pro-         occasion a major case on electoral issues was
visional census figures. We know from experience         taken, the High Court handed down its decision
that the provisional census figures and the official     the day before polling. If that happens again, the
census figures do not differ much. On the last                                           ´
                                                         question of the status of a Dail elected on foot of
occasion, the total difference was about 130             an Act the court has found to be unconstitutional
people in the entire country.                            will arise.
   Second, we must look at what is required by              I raise this matter because we are in uncertain
the Constitution. Article 16.2.3° of the Consti-         and unprecedented territory. The next census will
tution states:                                           probably reflect the most significant ever changes
                                                         over a short period in population in Ireland, with
    The ratio between the number of members              attendant consequences for constituency bound-
  to be elected at any time for each constituency        aries. It would be prudent of the House to take
  and the population of each constituency, as            that on board. I bring my concerns to the atten-
  ascertained at the last preceding census, shall,       tion of the House because it is not good enough
  so far as it is practicable, be the same through-      for the Minister to simply say that he is satisfied
  out the country.                                       the legislation will withstand any legal test. Not
What does the word “ascertained” mean in the             only does he not know whether it will do so but
context of this article? Does it mean the publi-         there have been countless instances in which
cation of the official census figures, or does it        legislation passed by the House has been found
mean that once the information is available from         by the courts, within a short period, to be defec-
the census returns that it has been ascertained? I       tive. We do not know what the courts will decide
imagine that the courts might spend some time            because they make their decisions independently
addressing what that exactly means. We are mak-          of the House. They may present us with a politi-
ing the legislation in the almost certain know-          cal crisis if a decision is made too late to establish
ledge that this Bill, once enacted, will be chal-        an independent commission to revise constitu-
lenged if an election is not held before the census      ency boundaries.
figures for 2006 are available.                             We know what we know now and have a fair
   In such circumstances, two issues arise. First,       idea of what the 2006 census will tell us. As my
we are obliged to comply with the Constitution.          amendment seeks, we should anticipate its find-
We are obliged to ensure that no constituency            ings by making provisions for them.
exceeds one Deputy per 30,000 people. We are
obliged to ensure that the ratio should be, as far         Mr. Roche: I have listened at length to the
as is practicable, the same throughout the coun-         arguments made by Deputy Gilmore. Whatever
try. We are heading into a situation where we            we know now, however, it is certain that if we
know that the ratios are not the same. We know           proceed on the basis of preliminary figures we
that there has been significant population move-         know to be imperfect and subject to revision, we
ment, especially on the eastern side of the coun-        will face a legal challenge. This is not the first
try, which will give rise to dramatic changes in         time the issue has been dealt with by a Minister.
the ratios between the number of Deputies and            On the previous occasion, Deputy Howlin was
population. It is not wise for the Oireachtas to         the Minister who steered the Electoral Act 1997
make legislation knowing that it is creating a           through the Oireachtas. As the 1997 Act intro-
situation at the next general election where that        duced into law a practice which had extended
ratio will be skewed.                                    back over a longer period, it is untrue to contend
   Second, if the 2006 population figures are            we are in unfounded territory. Deputy Gilmore
known before the next general election and they          was pleased to vote in favour of Deputy
show the skewed nature of the representation or          Howlin’s legislation.
that the maximum limit provided by the Consti-             The long-standing practice provided for in the
tution has been exceeded, somebody will inevit-          1997 Act is continued in my Bill. There is also
ably take a case to the courts. We will be creating      case law, as I pointed out on the previous
a set of circumstances where we will have a case         occasion on which we discussed the matter. I
before the courts in the run up to a general elec-       again draw the attention of the House to the
tion. That will create much uncertainty if the           decision of Mr. Justice Budd in 1961, as set out
courts decide that this Bill, as enacted, does not       on page 119 of the Irish Reports, which could not
455         Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:      28 June 2005.             Report Stage (Resumed)           456

   [Mr. Roche.]                                                     2.—Section 6(2)(b) of the Electoral Act
be clearer. According to Mr. Justice Budd, while                  1997 is amended by the insertion after ‘five’
the preliminary figures of the 1946 census were                   of ‘(or where necessary to avoid the
provided in the case he was judging, it is the final              breaching of a county boundary, six)’.”.
figures to which regard must be had for the
                                                           Amendment No. 2 arises from Committee Stage,
proper purposes of comparison to the distribution
                                                           on which we addressed in particular the issue of
of population. While Deputy Gilmore was correct
                                                           County Leitrim and the sense of grievance that it
to say that the final figure for the total population
                                                           is being divided. One part of the county is to be
in the most recent census did not vary greatly
                                                           included in a Sligo-Leitrim constituency, while
from the preliminary figure, he was wrong to sug-
                                                           the other will be included in a Roscommon-
gest that there were not variances at the micro
                                                           Leitrim constituency. Amendment No. 2 seeks to
level at which constituency boundaries are
                                                           provide terms of reference to the next boundary
discussed.
                                                           commission to allow it to recommend constitu-
   Variances at the constituency level can be sig-
                                                           encies of six members where it is necessary to
nificant. There should be no great difference in
                                                           avoid the breaching of a county boundary.
the first and last figures for the overall population
if enumerators have been doing their jobs. The
                                                              Mr. Morgan: There are a number of amend-
final figures on which the Oireachtas has always
                                                           ments before the House on specific constituenc-
depended are precise and they deal exclusively
                                                           ies. Leitrim is the key to amendment No. 2 and
with the data below electoral division level. I
                                                           was the subject of lengthy debate on Committee
refer here, for example, to the figures relating to
                                                           Stage. Amendment No. 6 addresses in principle
townlands. The CSO is adamant that the prelimi-
                                                           the need to put in place the infrastructure to
nary figures do not have a statutory basis and that
                                                           allow the commission to deal with constituencies
it cannot provide the detailed information on
                                                           in a broader sense. It seeks to provide that each
which boundary commissions depend until Vol-
                                                           constituency shall return three, four, five, six or
ume 1 is published. One can never suggest that
                                                           seven Members. Meath and Kerry are two of a
there will be no legal challenge in respect of a
                                                           number of constituencies which would be
matter which has touched on constitutional
                                                           affected by the amendment.
issues, one can only follow the long-standing                 I seek to achieve a greater degree of pro-
practice. In this instance, that practice has been         portionality per constituent, while retaining the
to use the final, precise census figures.                  integrity of the constituency boundaries. While
   In the context of hypotheses as to whether                            constituencies which accord to
there will be a legal challenge, it is far more likely     6 o’clock     county boundaries are more common
that one will be successful if we go forward on                          in rural areas, the principle is also
the basis of the imprecise, preliminary figures. It        relevant to Dublin where almost all of the con-
would not be right or proper to request a com-             stituencies north of the Liffey contain three seats
mission to use those figures. If one were to               and most of those south of it are five seaters. It
operate on the basis Deputy Gilmore suggests               is ironic that after partition in the early 1920s, we
only to find the final figures to outline significant      had constituencies with up to nine Deputies. In
differences below the electoral division level, one        spite of the turbulence of that period, the foun-
would face a real crisis. The best practice is that        ders of the State saw fit to put in place constitu-
which has operated for a long time. This was put           encies offering significant proportionality in
into law by Deputy Howlin in the 1997 Act and              terms of representation. Unfortunately, Govern-
it accords with precedent in case law, two                 ments on both sides of Britain’s border in Ireland
examples of which I have recorded. It would not            have since sought to employ deliberately negative
only be imprudent and dangerous to accept the              electoral engineering policies with which we are
amendment, it would be reckless. On those bases,           all familiar such as gerrymandering in the North
I cannot accept it.                                        and Tullymandering in the South. Notwithstand-
                                                           ing all of this, the issue of real import in my
   Mr. Gilmore: I can do no more than raise the            amendment is that of proportionality. That is the
issue. If it becomes a problem, I will certainly           crucial element.
return to it and have no doubt the House will                 It is important to point out that the concept of
revisit the exchanges in this debate.                      four seat, five seat and even six seat and seven
                                                           seat constituencies is not that new. In the North
  Amendment put and declared lost.                         all constituencies of the Legislative Assembly are
                                                           six seaters. That position is fully supported by the
  Bill reported without amendment.
                                                           Government for which I commend it but why can
                                                           we not have the same level of proportionality
  An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Amendments
                                                           here? The greater the number of seats in a con-
Nos. 2 and 6 are related and will be discussed
                                                           stituency, the greater the level of proportionality.
together.
                                                           The division of County Meath into two three seat
                                                           constituencies is a perfect example of this, as is
  Mr. Gilmore: I move amendment No. 2:
                                                           the division of County Kerry into two three seat
    In page 3, between lines 20 and 21, to insert          constituencies. Now we have this ludicrous pro-
  the following:                                           posal regarding the division of County Leitrim
457         Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:     28 June 2005.           Report Stage (Resumed)           458


into two parts, each of which would be linked to          is the situation in which we find ourselves. The
two other constituencies. Surely one large con-           issue will not go away. Therefore, from that per-
stituency would be preferable? This could involve         spective, surely we need to look at larger con-
a six seat constituency of Sligo-Leitrim or a con-        stituencies because that would give the com-
stituency of Sligo-Leitrim-Roscommon with a               mission flexibility to try to ensure the
greater number of seats. That is what I am trying         maintenance of county boundaries.
to achieve in the amendment.                                 We do not need to maintain all county bound-
   My aim is not to be prescriptive. A number of          aries. County Meath which has been mentioned
the other amendments are prescriptive in dealing          could become a six seat constituency. If one
with the issue of County Leitrim alone. What I            wanted to do it on a trial basis, one could easily
seek to achieve through my amendment is to give           have put Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon together
the constituency commission terms of reference            as one six seat constituency with County Meath
which would facilitate a detailed examination of          as another. That would have been feasible but it
all of the constituencies and allow it to arrive at
                                                          has been decided to split them into two three seat
a conclusion that would take on board the level
                                                          constituencies. The issue of splitting County
of proportionality involved while maintaining the
integrity of county boundaries. As I have illus-          Meath relates to proportionality and represen-
trated, this can be carried through in the case of        tation which is another argument but the splitting
cities like Dublin and Cork.                              of County Leitrim is a very different issue. As we
   Unfortunately, when we examine the case of                              ´
                                                          heard in the Dail today, the ratio is 1:30,000 and
Dublin, it is inexplicable that there is a host of        the population of County Leitrim is just in excess
three seat constituencies on one side of the river        of 25,000. Therefore, if one splits the county for
while there are a number of five seat constituenc-        electoral purposes, it is almost guaranteed that
ies across it. I do not object to five seat constitu-     there will not be a Deputy living in the county,
encies on the south side but greater pro-                 particularly because of the way it is being split.
portionality should be afforded on the north side         The splitting of county boundaries is an issue
also. This should apply throughout the State              nationally but the particular issue I wish to deal
wherever there is a lack of proportionality.              with is the splitting of County Leitrim.
   We must amend the legislation to facilitate the           Has the commission taken demographic shifts
constituency commission in carrying out its work          into consideration? Has it made any request to
more effectively. I do not wish to be prescriptive        the Minister or the Department seeking larger six
about any constituency but we should give the             seat or seven seat constituencies to allow it to
commission a framework that would allow it to             adhere to its guidelines? The guidelines indicate
do its work as an independent body more                   that county boundaries should not be breached
broadly. I look forward with interest to the Mini-        where practicable. Because of the demographic
ster’s comments.                                          shift, I know, as does the Minister and the com-
                                                          mission, that as time passes, it will not just be
   Ms Harkin: I support the amendments. Refer-            County Leitrim that will be split; other small
ence has been made to the population shift. If one        counties will also be split. The creation of larger
goes back to the 1920s, one will find that County         constituencies would provide a solution to avoid
Kildare had a population of 50,000, the same as           this. Has there been any communication from the
County Leitrim. In the intervening years the              boundary commission about larger constituencies
population of County Kildare has more than                to enable it to carry out its functions more effec-
doubled while that of County Leitrim has halved.          tively and adhere to its current guidelines?
That is an accurate, although extreme, example
                                                             Reference has been made to the constituencies
of what has been occurring.
                                                          of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland,
   If we look at the projections for 2030 from the
                                                          all of which are six seaters. I heard the Minister
Central Statistics Office, CSO, we will see that
the population of the greater Dublin area will            say in the House that maximum proportional rep-
grow by up to 50%. In that context, would it not          resentation would be achieved if we had one sin-
be reasonable to look at larger constituencies,           gle constituency, with which I agree, but that is
whether it is six seat or seven seat constituencies,      not practicable, as the Minister and I are both
so as to cater for population shift? This issue will      aware. Let us look to Northern Ireland where six
not go away. I will not become political, other           seat constituencies are in operation and have
than to say that if we had balanced regional              worked. In general, people appear to be happy
development and were achieving what is included           with the proportional nature of their represen-
in the national development plan, we might not            tation. Why should we have a six seat constitu-
need to have this debate. We are certainly not            ency on one side of the Border in County
striking a balance in terms of population.                Fermanagh that delivers proportional represen-
   Two or three years ago when the CSO pub-               tation to its electorate and on the other side
lished population projections for 2030 — it has           County Leitrim is forced into two three seat con-
done so again recently and revised the figures            stituencies that will not deliver the same level of
upwards — it described it as a wake-up call for           proportionality? Most importantly, it will prob-
the Government. It was saying something for the           ably not deliver a Deputy who lives in the county.
CSO to make such a statement but as I said, that          I support both amendments.
459         Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:     28 June 2005.            Report Stage (Resumed)            460


   Mr. O’Dowd: There are two issues of import-            ment. The continued creation of industry and
ance, the first of which is the fact that a report        jobs in and around the city of Dublin does not
has been produced. It is an independent report            make sense. We should be developing the west,
commissioned by the Government but with the               building transport corridors, including rail corri-
consent of everybody. When one sets up an inde-           dors, and infrastructure.
pendent commission to do a job, one cannot                   I take the point that Leitrim is a small county.
really disagree with its results because it cannot        Its population is smaller than that of Drogheda.
be argued that it acted impartially or did not fol-       There are more people living in my town of
low its terms of reference. It is not just the            Drogheda than there are in the whole of County
present Government that has commissioned such             Longford. An agreement has been signed with
reports because previous Administrations have             the consent of the Department implying that
done so since the famous Tullymander in the               Drogheda’s water and sewerage systems can sus-
early 1970s. It is not that there was not a political     tain 104,000 people. However, the county man-
carve-up of constituencies prior to that period; of       ager expects the population to grow to 140,000 in
course there was such a carve-up.                         the next five to ten years. There are, therefore,
   As a democratic Parliament, the Houses have            significant pressures on the east coast which we
given the power to an independent commission              have not been able to resist.
to do the job for us and we have given it its terms          When further changes to constituency bound-
of reference. It has followed them to the best of         aries are considered, we should consider the
its ability and we are left with the result, warts        trans-county boundary issue on the east coast.
and all. That is the reality we must face. Much of        The county boundary is not as important as it
the debate on these amendments really focuses             clearly is in rural areas with declining popu-
on the next round, namely, what will happen               lations. Perhaps we should re-examine the terms
when the next commission is set up and the terms          of reference of the boundary commission. The
of reference it ought to be given.                        Government’s national spatial strategy should be
   I accept the argument in principle that one            revisited and reorganised to focus on those areas.
should be able to elect a Deputy for one’s area.             Fine Gael cannot support the two amendments
The county system has been in existence for cen-          because the die is cast, the commission has sat
turies. In the modern world, however, and cer-            and issued its report. We are not going to change
tainly on the east coast of Ireland, it does not          it, notwithstanding the concerns that have been
really make much sense. People want effective             expressed. However, there are issues pertaining
representation and want their representatives to          to constituency boundaries that are not being
be as near to them as possible. This is the issue         addressed by way of Government policy. The
on the east coast. East Meath is a fast growing           time to resolve these issues is after the next elec-
area and there are approximately 3,000 or 4,000           tion, not now.
more people living there than there were five
years ago. These people send their children to               Mr. F. McGrath: I take the opposite view to
school in Drogheda in the constituency of Louth           Deputy O’Dowd on amendments Nos. 2 and 6
and also do their shopping there. All of the              which are very important. We need discussion
services they want and need are available in a            and debate and we need to open our eyes to the
different constituency. The proposed constitu-            scam that is being perpetrated. It is an absolute
ency seems to enfranchise the people of east              disgrace in terms of the Electoral (Amendment)
Meath, particularly those on the outskirts of             Bill. As stated previously, the legislation is flawed
Drogheda. Bearing in mind that the county                 and undemocratic. It should be thrown out. These
boundary was formed hundreds of years ago, a              amendments represent an attempt to bring
different formula is needed so that the point of          democracy back into this State.
view of these people can be represented politi-              In considering the debates on three seat, five
cally by those who understand it and who address          seat and six seat constituencies, anybody with a
every day the problems they face. As the Minister         bit of vision will realise that three seat constitu-
knows, I tabled a parliamentary question on this          encies are a disaster for democracy. They suit the
matter today. There was not enough time for him           larger parties. That is the reality and it was
to answer it in the House but I hope I will be            exposed during this debate.
delighted with the reply.                                    What is the exact position on three seat and
   There are two trends of note. There is a shift of      five seat constituencies in the Dublin area? Most
population from rural to urban areas — including          of the latter have been created on the south side
massive growth in the city of Dublin and its              of the Liffey, while many of the former have been
environs — and depopulation in the west. I agree          created on the north side. The commission could
with the Deputies from the west who contend               easily have created a five seat constituency and
that if we had a national spatial strategy that           four seat constituency on the north side but
worked, this problem would be addressed. Frank            instead it took a very conservative view. I speak
McDonald of The Irish Times stated recently that          as a Deputy from Dublin North Central, where it
Ireland is fast becoming a city state involving the       is proposed to remove one seat so that it will
city of Dublin and nowhere else. I agree that             become a three seat constituency. Many people
serious issues pertaining to the national spatial         on the north side are very angry about this. It will
strategy have not been addressed by the Govern-           backfire on the larger parties in the next general
461        Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:     28 June 2005.            Report Stage (Resumed)          462


election. It is very important that the Minister            Mr. Roche: I have rarely heard such self-serv-
recognise this.                                          ing nonsense in the House. Deputy O’Dowd
   I wish to address a couple of myths in the legis-     made a very honest contribution in which he said
lation. The amendments deal with reality. The            that if we were to make the change now, it would
commission removed from my constituency —                not have the effect in County Leitrim suggested
Dublin North Central — 5,280 people, in the              by a number of contributors. However, it would
Edenmore area, and 5,020 people, in the Beau-            mean that the commission would be re-estab-
mont-Whitehall. The commission was established           lished and more detailed legislation would be
under the 1997 Act. It has five members but its          required. The law currently provides for the
terms of reference were given to it by the               establishment of a commission on the publication
Government. It was appointed by the Minister for         of a census but no census results have yet been
Transport, Deputy Cullen, whose track record on          published. Therefore, we would have to revisit
previous issues we know. The citizens of the State       the legislation, re-establish the commission and
have major concerns about the narrowness of the          give it different terms of reference.
terms of reference. On researching the issue, I             If we were to abandon the commission’s report
noted that the commission held only ten meetings         and go back to the bad old days, we would hear
to discuss the election process and decide on the        other specious arguments. We would certainly
future of democratic elections in constituencies         hear more legitimate arguments. We abandoned
throughout the State. The Independent group              the idea of a political redrafting of constituency
would have ten meetings on smaller issues. It is         boundaries to suit the Administration of the day
interesting that the Minister of State, Deputy           and it would be an extremely retrograde step to
Noel Ahern — Wonderboy or Superman, as he                return to it. It would be a step backwards to
should be known — was given back Drumcondra              return to the bad old days. We set up a com-
and Whitehall. This poses an interesting question.       mission and gave it its terms of reference in law.
   The Minister will know that the population of         Therefore, it would be dishonest to suggest that
Dublin is exploding. If one goes down O’Connell          we should tear up the entire practice and return
Street this evening, one will see the amount of          to where we were. It is not a practical approach
people and the traffic congestion but the com-           and would not have the effect the Deputy seeks.
mission has recommended that the number of                  The constituency commission’s terms of refer-
Deputies remain at 166. It could easily have             ence are clearly set out in the legislation and in
recommended 168. This would have made the                my speech on Second Stage. Section 6(2) of the
democratic system more democratic and inclus-            Electoral Act 1997 includes requirements for
ive. We are to have 43 constituencies but will still     three, four and five seat constituencies and deals
have only 166 Deputies. There are to be 18 three-        with the issue of breaches of county boundaries.
seat constituencies, which is absolutely amazing.        Deputy O’Dowd made a very valid point with
In Dublin, with its expanding population, there          regard to the so-called sacrosanct constituency
are 47 Deputies. The commission could easily             boundaries.
have recommended that this be increased to 48
or 49 in light of the population explosion.                 Mr. F. McGrath: It is a big parties’ club.
   I raise these issues regarding the amendments
because there is a broader issue to be considered.         Mr. Roche: As Deputy McGrath does not want
Our citizens deserve respect and equality. A new         to hear the truth, he resorts to bullyboy tactics.
debate is starting in respect of the census to be        He does not prepare his contribution but resorts
held in 2006, which will lead to further devel-          to anti-democratic means.
opments. If the Government is serious about
democracy, on which we get many political lec-              Mr. F. McGrath: There are no bullyboy tactics.
tures in this House, voting rights and citizenship,      I have made some very valid points.
it should give serious consideration to amend-
ment No. 6 in the name of Deputy Morgan, which             Mr. Morgan: The Minister is bullying the
is positive and progressive. It is also important        commission.
because we are looking at the democratic
interests of the State. Those who back the Mini-           Mr. Roche: Deputy McGrath comes in to the
ster may think they are pulling a smart one with         House and tries to shout me down when I want
regard to constituencies and trying to squeeze out       to outline the facts and tell the truth. If he was
smaller parties and independent candidates.              better prepared, he would not need to resort to
However, it will backfire on them and people             such gutter tactics.
have already spotted what they are doing. Many             The legislation enacted in 1997 provides for
credible people in the other parties with a              three, four and five seat constituencies. It is
genuine interest in democracy and the inclusive          wrong for Deputies to come in to the House and
development of politics have also seen it.               impute that somehow or other those who formed
   Overall, the Bill is flawed, out of date and          the commission could have varied the law. They
undemocratic. It is an absolute disgrace for a           could not. Deputy Harkin legitimately asked a
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and               specific question as to whether they had been in
Local Government to present such amendments              contact? The answer is no because they were
and legislation to the House.                            operating within the law as it stood. It would not
463        Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:   28 June 2005.            Report Stage (Resumed)            464

   [Mr. Roche.]                                        elected representative and the person he or she
be normal for them to communicate back and             represents, which is the very essence of democ-
make such a query.                                     racy. I am sure the Deputy is not attacking it.
   From time to time the commission’s recom-              There would be an electorate of more than
mendations have been criticised for not keeping        170,000 in a seven seat constituency. However,
to county boundaries. I represent a constituency       that is not the best or most practical way to pro-
which has experienced every conceivable vari-          ceed. There would be an issue with regard to dis-
ation. At one time parts of County Wicklow were        tances in handling a constituency of that size.
included with County Dublin, parts of County           Deputy Harkin is also an MEP and can attest to
Kildare and County Carlow. There have been             the practical problems which arise.
other variations in the past. Much of the debate          There is, however, a more important point,
surrounding the Bill has focused on the breaching      given the current debate. There could be a poten-
of the boundaries of County Leitrim resulting          tial sense of political alienation in such circum-
from the commission’s proposals. I can fully           stances. There is already a sense of ennui, a point
understand the way in which people in Couinty          on which Deputy O’Dowd touched. There is a
Leitrim feel about the matter. In some areas           problem if we say that the old constituency
there is an attachment to county boundaries, as        boundaries which were drawn up between the
Deputy O’Dowd pointed out.                             12th and 17th centuries, should form the basis on
   The county boundaries issue is not as pressing      which we should deal with today’s democratic
in other areas. In places such as Drogheda the         units. We would risk alienating many and create
contiguous area affines all of its connections in      a sense of futility with regard to politics. Deputy
Drogheda. One could more legitimately argue            O’Dowd is right.
that in such circumstances the county boundaries          Bray, County Wicklow, has a population of
should be breached. There is also case law in this     32,000 and is larger than some of the constituenc-
regard such as the judgment of Mr. Justice Budd        ies about which we are talking. Parts of the town
in the O’Donovan case. He stated that although         are in Deputy Gilmore’s constituency. The identi-
in the main a system based on counties had been        fication of area is changing, the point made by
adopted, there was nothing in the Constitution         Deputy O’Dowd. If Deputies were to think long
about constituencies having to be based on             and hard about the issue, they would realise that
county boundaries. This is true because the last       in suggesting a much larger constituency, they
of the counties, County Wicklow, was formed in         would contribute to a greater sense of alienation
1604. Some parts identify more with County             and removal of the population from their politi-
Wexford than other parts of County Wicklow.            cal representatives.
Mr. Justice Budd also stated the Constitution did         We must be fair to the commission. I am ang-
not state that in forming constituencies according     ered at the suggestion that it has somehow been
to the required ratio it should be done as far as      motivated by political prejudice. That does a dis-
was practicable having regard to county                service to its members. Before throwing mud of
boundaries.                                            that nature, one should think of the implications.
   Deputy Morgan made a practical point about          When one chooses to throw mud at those who
connectedness between the electorate and the           have served the people well and operated within
elected representative. If we look at his amend-       the law, one undermines the very democratic
ment, we are talking about a larger constituency.      principles that should——
Deputy Harkin is right. The logic of a large con-
stituency is that there would be one single con-         Mr. F. McGrath: We are entitled to challenge
stituency because there would be absolute pro-         their decision. That is democracy and there is
portionality. Why stop at seven? Let us consider       nothing wrong with it. The Minister wants us all
the impact of a six or seven seat constituency.        to tip the cap.

  Mr. Morgan: I will support the Minister if he           Mr. Roche: That is a completely perverse view.
wants to amend the legislation to allow for more       After a period when politicians drafted the con-
seats.                                                 stituency boundaries, we decided, wisely, to
                                                       depoliticise that particular issue. It was decided
   Mr. Roche: I will deal with that issue. Let us      by consensus across the political parties. There
look at the practical impact of what the Deputy        has been much comment on this issue of late,
is proposing on constituencies with a population       including contributions from Dr. Garret
greater than 150,000. From the point of view of        FitzGerald.
what the Deputy has brought forward, connec-              It is not proper for Deputy Finian McGrath to
tedness between the elected representative and         cast aspersions on the integrity of the people who
the electorate is not wise.                            made the decision or the basis on which it was
                                                       made. It is quite legitimate, of course, to criticise
  Mr. Morgan: I am speaking of proportionality,        the decision and I am not suggesting otherwise.
not connectedness.                                     It was very light handed of the Deputy to dismiss
                                                       the Minister of State as being Superman,
 Mr. Roche: The Deputy is disputing the argu-          although I believe the Minister of State is a
ment that there is a connection between the            super man——
465         Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:     28 June 2005.            Report Stage (Resumed)            466


  Mr. O’Dowd: He is more like Batman.                     but it is a problem to which we have yet to face
                                                          up. Population decline is not occurring in the
  Mr. Morgan: The Minister is making this dis-            places where it used to occur.
cussion farcical.                                            My amendment attempts to address a situation
                                                          where a county boundary needs to be retained. If
   Mr. Roche: The Minister of State is a good             one takes the example of County Wicklow, it is
example of a hard-working constituency Deputy.            likely that when the 2006 census results are pub-
                     `
   One cannot be a la carte on this issue. One            lished, the county may justify having six seats
cannot say that one does not want the large politi-       rather than its current allocation of five. If that is
cal parties to make decisions on constituency             the case, and under the existing legislation, Wick-
boundaries and then say one does not like the             low will have to be divided in some way. It could
alternative either. No cogent argument has been           be divided into two three seat constituencies or
put forward for a radical departure from the              perhaps some other formula could be agreed
arrangements that have been in operation for a            upon. It would make sense for a commission to
considerable period. Constituencies restricted to         have the option to examine the possibility of
three, four or five seats have been a fact of life as     retaining the county’s integrity. It would be useful
long as I have been on the planet.
                                                          if it had a greater degree of latitude in its
  Mr. O’Dowd: That is a very long time indeed.            decision-making. Where six seats would solve the
                                                          problem, the commission would not then have to
  Mr. Roche: They have been in operation since            divide the county with all of the discontinuity that
the election of 1947, which is more years than I          can entail. My amendment simply seeks to allow
care to remember. The arrangements have                   for a degree of latitude.
applied for over 50 years and they strike a better           On the question of proportionality and larger
balance than the alternatives that preceded them.         numbers of seats, it depends on one’s starting
  I must make a point to Deputy Morgan and, in            point. If an individual or party is on 12% of the
fact, I cannot avoid doing so. His espousal of the        vote, then one could say that winning one seat in
system that obtained in this country in 1922 over-        a seven seat constituency is proportionate.
looks the minor fact that it was our former               However, if that rises to 20% of the vote in a
imperial masters who dictated the arrangements            seven seat constituency and still only one seat is
that we inherited at that time. Whatever else             won, then it is no longer proportionate. Pro-
motivated our former imperial masters——                   portionality depends on one’s starting point. It is
                                                          not necessarily the case that larger numbers of
 Mr. Morgan: They were never my imperial                  seats confer greater proportionality, particularly
masters——                                                 in terms of political parties rather than individ-
                                                          uals. One could have, for example, a four seat
   Mr. Roche: I know that; they were not mine             and a three seat constituency side by side that
either.                                                   might be merged into a seven seat constituency.
                                                          There might be two independent candidates from
  Mr. Morgan: They were not my father’s mas-              each of the original constituencies who would
ters either. We resisted them steadfastly at every        then find themselves in the same seven seat con-
turn and will continue to do so.                          stituency. That might not be the most comfort-
                                                          able arrangement and it might not produce the
   Mr. Roche: I accept that. Fair dues to Deputy          kind of proportionate results that people seek.
Morgan. What I was about to say is that whatever          Proportionality has a lot to do with perception.
else motivated our former imperial masters, it
was not the well-being of the Irish people.                  Mr. Morgan: First, for the purpose of clarity, I
   I cannot accept the amendments.                        wish to categorically state I never had imperialist
                                                          masters. While there may have been occupiers in
   Mr. Gilmore: Like the Minister, I was also
                                                          this country, they certainly were not my masters.
struck by the degree to which Deputy Morgan
was harking back to the days of the Free State            I am disappointed with the Minister’s description
for a formula for organising the constituencies.          of them as such.
   Deputy Harkin mentioned the issue of popu-                Deputy Gilmore has just commented on the
lation change and population decline in part-             issue of proportionality but I am disappointed
icular. An analysis of the census of 2002 — the           that the person to whom I directed my question,
phenomenon may be replicated in the 2006 cen-             namely, the Minister for the Environment, Heri-
sus — reveals that the areas where population is          tage and Local Government, did not deal with the
declining are the expensive inner suburbs of the          issue. Proportionality is central to the argument I
cities. In my constituency there has been a signifi-      am making.
cant population decline. In areas such as Black-             I have never challenged the independence of
rock, for example, the population is declining for        the commission. My amendment attempts to put
a simple reason, namely, the fact that housing has        terms of reference in place which will broaden
become too expensive, young families cannot               the scope of the commission and that issue was
afford to live there and regeneration is not taking       not adequately addressed by the Minister’s com-
place. This is possibly an issue for another day          ments either.
467         Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:     28 June 2005.            Report Stage (Resumed)           468

   [Mr. Morgan.]                                          mission must make decisions — that under no cir-
   As I am aware that we are pressed for time             cumstances should parishes be divided.
and that other Deputies wish to contribute to the
debate, I will ask only one question of the Mini-            Ms Harkin: I agree with the Minister; it was
ster. In the event that the census is held next year,     absolutely right to depoliticise the issue of con-
the results are published in January 2007 but the         stituency boundaries but the guidelines can be
general election is not held until May 2007, will         changed. While the commission is an independent
the Minister reappoint the constituency com-              body, this House is in a position to change the
mission in the intervening months? At that point,         guidelines. I am asking the Minister to do so.
the scenario referred to by Deputy Gilmore may               Deputy Gilmore spoke about proportionality. I
be clear and it may be obvious that pro-                  am not an expert on the matter but it seems that
portionality is not in place. What would happen           it depends on where one is coming from. The
in that event?                                            Deputy referred to two constituencies, a three
                                                          seater and a four seater with an Independent
  Mr. Cassidy: I do not think any other Member            Deputy in each who might not like to be joined in
of this House has suffered more than me through           a seven seater. However, this is not about Labour
                                                                           ´
                                                          Party, Fianna Fail or Independent Deputies but
the redrawing of constituency boundaries. One
                                                          the electorate.
third of County Westmeath was merged with
County Meath and I lost 24% of my first prefer-              Mr. Gilmore: Agreed.
ence vote.
                                                             Ms Harkin: The electorate should have——
  Mr. Morgan: Was it not Senator O’Rourke who
took those votes from the Deputy?                            (Interruptions).
                                                             Mr. F. McGrath: Or it is about winning.
  Mr. Cassidy: I am relating a factual matter. I
wish Deputy Morgan well and know he has a                    Ms Harkin: The issue of county boundaries
safe seat——                                               came to light when County Leitrim was split. Fol-
                                                          lowing the 1977 general election the county did
  Mr. Morgan: There is no such thing as a safe            not have a TD resident in it. This caused outrage
seat.                                                     at the time and a major campaign was begun, as
                                                          a result of which one of the guidelines about not
   Mr. Cassidy: ——but the public can also favour          breaching county boundaries, where practicable,
the underdog.                                             was inserted into the legislation but now in 2005
   I have been in Leinster House for 23 years and         we are right back where we started and making
seen many things. I am aware of the job that the          the same mistakes again. We seem to be moving
commission must do and understand why it has              backward instead of forward. At one point in the
to do its work. The redrawing of boundaries               1940s I think there were three County Leitrim
started in counties Sligo, Leitrim and Mayo and           TDs in a seven seat constituency but now the
then affected County Westmeath. I understand              county is facing the prospect that in a three seat
why north-west Meath was put back in with the             constituency there may be no TD living in the
rest of the county. If part of a county must be           county. This is a disenfranchisement of the
divided, I do not think any Minister should pre-          people of County Leitrim. It is almost saying that
side over the division of a parish but my parish          because the county is so small it really does not
has been divided in two. In Castlepollard my              matter. The 2002 census showed that there were
brother 400 yards to the right of my home can             25,799 people living there. I advise the Minister
vote for me but I cannot vote for myself. Neither         that if County Leitrim is split, it will almost cer-
can my mother. No one living in a rural area              tainly lose a resident TD. I ask him to look again
which takes up one third of the county can vote           at the legislation and amend it to ensure the
for me. Raharney, a small village of 230 people,          county will have a reasonable chance of having a
has also been divided in two.                             resident TD.
                                                            An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: As the time per-
  Mr. Morgan: Will the Deputy vote with us?               mitted for this debate has expired, I am required
                                                          to put the following question in accordance with
  Mr. Cassidy: This division is wrong. An area’s                            ´
                                                          an order of the Dail today: “That Fourth Stage is
identity, ethos and culture have been completely          hereby completed and that the Bill is hereby
removed. I make a strong case that whatever               passed.”
must be done with county boundaries — I
acknowledge there are exceptions and the com-                Question put.
469        Electoral (Amendment) Bill 2005:       28 June 2005.              Report Stage (Resumed)   470


                                            ´             ´        ´
                                       The Dail divided: Ta, 114; Nıl, 13.
                                                        ´
                                                       Ta

      Ahern, Bertie.                                              Lenihan, Brian.
      Ahern, Dermot.                                              Lynch, Kathleen.
      Ahern, Michael.                                             Martin, Micheal.  ´
      Ahern, Noel.                                                McCormack, Padraic.
      Allen, Bernard.                                             McDowell, Michael.
      Andrews, Barry.                                             McEllistrim, Thomas.
      Ardagh, Sean.´                                              McGinley, Dinny.
      Brady, Johnny.                                              McGrath, Paul.
      Brady, Martin.                                              McGuinness, John.
      Brennan, Seamus.                                            McManus, Liz.
      Broughan, Thomas P.                                         Mitchell, Olivia.
      Browne, John.                                               Moloney, John.
      Bruton, Richard.                                            Moynihan, Michael.
      Burton, Joan.                                               Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
      Callanan, Joe.                                              Mulcahy, Michael.
      Callely, Ivor.                                              Naughten, Denis.
      Carey, Pat.                                                 Neville, Dan.
      Carty, John.                                                Nolan, M. J.
      Cassidy, Donie.                                             ´     ´ ´
                                                                  O Cuıv, Eamon.
      Collins, Michael.                                           ´            ´
                                                                  O Fearghaıl, Sean.  ´
      Connaughton, Paul.                                          O’Connor, Charlie.
      Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.                                     O’Dea, Willie.
      Cowen, Brian.                                               O’Donnell, Liz.
      Crawford, Seymour.                                          O’Donovan, Denis.
      Cregan, John.                                               O’Dowd, Fergus.
      Curran, John.                                               O’Flynn, Noel.
      Davern, Noel.                                               O’Keeffe, Batt.
      Deasy, John.                                                O’Keeffe, Jim.
      Deenihan, Jimmy.                                            O’Keeffe, Ned.
      Dempsey, Tony.                                              O’Malley, Fiona.
      Dennehy, John.                                              O’Malley, Tim.
      Devins, Jimmy.                                              O’Shea, Brian.
      Durkan, Bernard J.                                          O’Sullivan, Jan.
      Ellis, John.                                                Parlon, Tom.
      Fahey, Frank.                                               Pattison, Seamus.
      Finneran, Michael.                                          Penrose, Willie.
      Fleming, Sean.´                                             Perry, John.
      Fox, Mildred.                                               Power, Peter.
      Gallagher, Pat The Cope.                                    Power, Sean.´
      Gilmore, Eamon.                                             Quinn, Ruairi.
      Glennon, Jim.                                               Rabbitte, Pat.
      Hanafin, Mary.                                              Roche, Dick.
      Haughey, Sean.  ´                                                     ´
                                                                  Ryan, Sean.
      Hayes, Tom.                                                 Sexton, Mae.
      Higgins, Michael D.                                         Sherlock, Joe.
                 ´
      Hoctor, Maire.                                                            ´ ´
                                                                  Shortall, Roisın.
      Hogan, Phil.                                                Smith, Brendan.
      Howlin, Brendan.                                            Smith, Michael.
      Jacob, Joe.                                                 Stagg, Emmet.
      Keaveney, Cecilia.                                          Timmins, Billy.
      Kehoe, Paul.                                                Treacy, Noel.
      Kelleher, Billy.                                            Twomey, Liam.
      Kelly, Peter.                                               Upton, Mary.
      Kenny, Enda.                                                Wallace, Dan.
      Killeen, Tony.                                              Walsh, Joe.
      Kirk, Seamus.                                               Wilkinson, Ollie.
      Kitt, Tom.                                                  Woods, Michael.


                                                        ´
                                                       Nıl

      Boyle, Dan.                                                 McGrath, Finian.
      Cowley, Jerry.                                              Morgan, Arthur.
                ´
      Crowe, Sean.                                                Murphy, Catherine.
                  ´
      Cuffe, Ciaran.                                              ´      ´           ´
                                                                  O Caolain, Caoimhghın.
      Gormley, John.                                              Ryan, Eamon.
      Gregory, Tony.                                              Sargent, Trevor.
      Harkin, Marian.

                   ´                               ´
         Tellers: Ta, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Nıl, Deputies Morgan and Finian McGrath.

  Question declared carried.
471    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                  Motion                     472


           Private Members’ Business.                               on their counterparts in less developed
                                                                    nations;
                     ————
                                                                 — calls on the Government to support a
                                                                   reappraisal of the European Union’s
  G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:                          economic partnership agreements with
                 Motion.                                           African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)
  Mr. Boyle: I move:                                               countries in light of serious concerns
                                                                   that they would inhibit rather than pro-
             ´ ´
     That Dail Eireann, given the meeting of the                   mote the economic development of
  leaders of the G8 countries being held in Edin-                  those countries;
  burgh, Scotland and given subsequent meetings
  being held for the UN Millennium Summit in                     — acknowledges the need to restrict the
  New York and meetings of the International                       international trade in arms in order to
  Monetary Fund and the World Bank in                              assist conflict resolution and prevent
  September 2005 and the World Trade Organis-                      the terrible cost in human lives and
  ation Ministerial conference in December 2005,                   attendant economic costs of such trade;
  calls on the Government through its own poli-                  — calls on the Government to strongly
  cies to assist in making poverty history and to                  support the initiative being taken by the
  this end:                                                        Government of Finland to bring about
      — reaffirms Ireland’s policy of supporting                   an arms trade treaty through the frame-
        100% debt cancellation for heavily                         work of the United Nations; and
        indebted poor countries, going beyond                    — resolves that the Government, in the
        the inadequate, though welcome, pro-                       upcoming renegotiation of the Kyoto
        posal of the G8 group of nations to                        agreement, support a fair distribution of
        restrict such cancellation to a list of 18                 carbon allocation on a per capita basis
        countries; and                                             in view of the increasing convergence
      — that such debt cancellation should not                     between the issues of environmental
        be accompanied by damaging con-                            degradation and world poverty, as evi-
        ditions which would erode the benefits                     denced by the fact that the costs of
        of cancellation;                                           climate change are being dispro-
                                                                   portionately borne by the world’s poor-
      — that such cancellation should be funded                    est people.
        out of additional moneys, supporting
        the views of non-governmental organis-            In introducing this motion we had hoped a collec-
        ations that International Monetary                tive opinion might go from this House to meet
        Fund gold reserves be sold to help fin-           what we hope is a global gathering of minds on
        ance debt cancellation; and                                     issues of world poverty. As matters
                                                          7 o’clock
                                                                        stand, an important meeting of the
      — that developed nations move away from                           G8 group of countries will take place
        operating as both judge and plaintiff in          this weekend in Scotland. However, as this House
        relation to heavily indebted poor                 will not reconvene until the end of September,
        countries;                                        this debate presents an opportunity to the
      — recognises that debt cancellation is only         Government to outline policy positions as regards
        part of what is needed to assist heavily          other international gatherings that will address
        indebted poor countries and that tar-             these important policy issues, namely, the meet-
        geted and untied aid must continue to             ings of the International Monetary Fund and the
        be given and significantly increased;             World Bank in September. Probably the most
                                                          important of all is the UN Millennium Summit
      — resolves to agree a new target date in            also to be held in September in New York.
        view of the Government’s acknowl-                    It was at a previous UN meeting that the
        edgement that it will not meet its com-           Taoiseach made the promise that Ireland would
        mitment to reach 0.7% of GNP to be                meet the commitment of 0.7% of gross national
        devoted to overseas development aid               product, GNP, in overseas development aid by
        by 2007;                                          2007. It is greatly disappointing that the Govern-
      — calls on the Taoiseach to reaffirm                ment has since stated it cannot meet this commit-
        Ireland’s commitment to this target at            ment. It is particularly frustrating that it has not
        the forthcoming UN Millennium                     indicated by what date it intends to meet this tar-
        Summit;                                           get. It is with a great deal of disillusionment that
                                                          many of us behold the failure to put in place any
      — further recognises the importance of              mechanisms to reach this target as we address
        fair trade in bringing about inter-               the motion.
        national social justice;
                                                             In the course of this debate we intend to cover
      — demands re-examination of subsidies               the five most pertinent issues at the meetings
        given to producers in the developed               mentioned. They include the important concepts
        world and the effect of such subsidies            of aid, trade and debt cancellation; the crucial
473    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:    28 June 2005.                   Motion                     474


need to put the brakes on the pernicious global            motion because it was so reasonable. I disagreed
trade in arms; the linking of issues of social justice     as I believed it would table an amendment. It has
with environmental degradation, and the need to            done so and gutted our motion. It shows a sense
adopt a truly global position on issues of climate         of cynicism — the type displayed when the
change. Each of my party colleagues and I hope             Taoiseach went before the United Nations and
other Members will address these issues on an              gave a solemn commitment to the world’s poorest
individual level.                                          nations, on which he has since reneged. At the
   I will begin by talking about what seems to be          U2 concert at the weekend when his name was
the main issue that will come from the G8 summit           mentioned, he was deservedly booed by the
next weekend. A preliminary meeting has indi-              crowd. Most Irish people recognise that it was a
cated that a deal has been reached on debt can-            cynical ploy in order to become a member of the
cellation. Many of those involved in development           Security Council. It was a matter of prestige for
work have indicated that it is an important first          this country. The Government achieved its aim
step. It must be acknowledged, however, that the           of securing a seat on the Security Council but,
deal is limited to 18 countries and that there is a        unfortunately, did not do very much with it at the
degree of conditionality as regards how the debt           time and now we are left with this empty promise.
will be met. There a great deal of uncertainty             Based on the Government’s figures, we will
about whether the debt being cancelled will be             achieve a figure of 0.43% of GNP by 2007. We
dealt with through existing aid budgets or                 will not achieve our goal of 0.7% which we will
through new funding mechanisms as proposed by              achieve at current rates by 2028.
many NGOs, namely, the sale of the Inter-                     The Minister should look at what is happening
national Monetary Fund gold reserves. If we get            in our world. Some 8,000 die of AIDS-HIV
this wrong at the outset, we could be in danger of         related illnesses every single day. The first millen-
putting the cause of alleviating global poverty            nium development goal, to achieve gender parity
back even further.                                         by 2005, will not be reached. We need an extra
   Undoubtedly, the issue has been talked about            \50 billion to reach the UN millennium develop-
for several decades on many levels since the end           ment goals. It simply will not happen.
of the Second World War. During that period,
                                                              Next September the Taoiseach will once again
however, we have seen a doubling of the distance
                                                           go before the United Nations in New York. What
in terms of overall wealth between the wealthiest
                                                           will he do on this occasion? It is clear from the
countries in the world and the 20% of countries
                                                           amendment tabled by the Government that it
at the other end of the scale. There has been
enough talk, meetings and summits. Those who               does not want to make any serious commitment.
care about these issues and, more importantly,             That is the difficulty. We have a problem with our
those affected by them daily hope the series of            credibility. We wanted the Government to
meetings which will take place next week and               produce a new timetable. However, such a time-
beyond will, at last, provide the opportunity for          table is absent from the motion. We had hoped
which people in the developing world have been             that before we broke up for the summer recess,
waiting.                                                   since we will not have an opportunity to debate
   In addressing these issues in their totality we         the issue before the Taoiseach leaves for New
are, for once, reviewing more pertinent matters            York, we might get some indication. Perhaps the
than we ordinarily deal with in this House on a            Minister will give us an indication this evening or
regular basis. These are issues of grave inter-            tomorrow. On three separate occasions he gave
national importance. While at times we get                 this commitment. I was present on one of them,
caught up in the pantomime of name calling and             at Johannesburg, at the summit on sustainability.
point scoring about individual political positions         For one moment I felt proud that the Govern-
in this Chamber to do with our system of politics,         ment was going to fulfil a promise but that did
we had hoped in tabling the motion that there              not happen.
would be a consensus of views, with the House                 There is one small mercy in the Government’s
speaking collectively. Unfortunately, the Govern-          amendment, it now recognises that we need an
ment’s amendment, in effect, amounts to a new              arms trade treaty. I hope it will, at least, fulfil
motion. It carries too much self-aggrandisement            this obligation. Today there was a separate press
to be regarded as a serious attempt to deal with           conference held in another room, at which the
the issues involved. Possibly, during the course of        cost of the Iraq war, \180 billion, was spelled out.
the debate other contributions and the potential           That is a tangible price tag at which we can look
for further amendments might see by the end of             and say with certainty that if this money had been
tomorrow’s business a coming together of views             transferred to the poorest countries, poverty
in order that this House may at least send a mess-         could indeed be history.
age that those outside this Chamber want to hear.             The arms trade treaty focuses on the supply of
                                                           arms. Once adopted, it will help to ensure all
  Mr. Gormley: At this morning’s press con-                nations are working to the same standard of arms
ference to launch this Private Members’ motion             transfers and ban the export of arms to places
some of my colleagues wanted to give the                   where human rights violations are likely. It will
Government the benefit of the doubt. They                  be legally binding and based on international law,
expressed the view that it might accept our                especially human rights and humanitarian law. It
475    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                  Motion                     476

   [Mr. Gormley.]                                         How does he intend to deal with it compre-
will help to ensure deals rejected by one exporter        hensively?
are not licensed or authorised by another.                  With regard to the millennium development
   Finland is spearheading the campaign to build          goals and the 0.7% target, if the Minister was to
international support. It will be necessary for           take part in the protest in Edinburgh next week,
countries to show support for the treaty at the           the responses to the chants, “What do we want?”
United Nations conference on small arms and               and “When do we want it?” would be “0.7% of
light weapons to be held next year. As is evident         GDP” and “Eventually”.
from the amendment, while Ireland is sympath-
etic, it has not fully declared yet. I hope the Mini-        Mr. Eamon Ryan: We are at an historic
ster will make his intentions clear this evening.         moment. There is a sense abroad, among people
   The right to sustainable development is                here and throughout the world, that there is a
enshrined in international human rights instru-           political will and a desire to make poverty history.
ments and declarations. In addition, exporter             One can feel we have a chance to achieve this
governments have made specific commitments                goal. This incredibly strong message was felt in
under numerous regional and multilateral arms             Dublin in recent days and will be stronger still
export control regimes to take into account sus-          this weekend in London and Edinburgh. In this
tainable development and the impact of arms                                            ´ ´
                                                          respect, people look to Dail Eireann to find out
exports on importer countries when undertaking            what message we have to give them.
arms licensing.                                              The Green Party motion is an attempt to set
   These are the most important issues. Compari-          out the broad range of issues which must be
sons between expenditure in developing countries          addressed if we are to make poverty history. This
on health, education and the military are                 not only involves how much we give but also how
astounding. Seven developing countries, Oman,             much we take and what type of trading systems
Syria, Burma, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea and                we have in the world. Our motion is a fair, honest
Burundi, spend more on the military than on               and balanced attempt to set out the right direc-
health and education combined. A further 14               tion we should take. I deeply regret that the
developing countries, Saudi Arabia, Jordan,               Government has chosen to confuse, minimise,
Turkey, Sri Lanka, Iran, Cambodia, China, Ecu-            remove and obfuscate because it is surely the
ador, Nigeria, Rwanda, Angola, Guinea, Ethiopia           wrong message for it, on behalf of the people, to
and Sierra Leone, spend more on the military              send on these issues.
than on health or education. These figures place             I will pick up on three issues on which there
in perspective a problem which Ireland has a role         are differences between the competing motion
to play in addressing.                                    and the amendment. First, the motion is clear and
   Last year Amnesty International produced a             simple regarding the importance of fair trade in
report entitled, Claws of the Celtic Tiger, which         bringing about international social justice. It
showed that the high tech industry here played            recognises that we must tackle the conditions that
an increasingly significant role in the defence sec-      create poverty in the first place and that between
tor. In 2002 Ireland’s military exports were valued       1997 and 2002 the lesser developed countries’
at \34 million. Dual use exports, however, which          share of world trade fell. During the same period
include many components, were valued at \4.5              the value of their food exports decreased by
billion. Irish armoured vehicle technology                67%, a disastrous failure of the world trading
appears to have been licensed via a Singapore             system.
company to Turkey where the military has used                The amendment reads like a statement straight
armoured vehicles to abuse human rights, includ-          from the Washington consensus. Mr. Wolfowitz
ing the killing of a man crushed against a wall by        and his friends could not have written it better
a tank during a Kurdish new year celebration in           as they stand by the rules of the World Trade
2002. Also in 2002 the involvement of an Irish            Organisation. The amendment lacks even an
registered company with an international arms             ounce of sense and fails to address whether these
smuggling operation was revealed. The company,            rules should be fair as well as free. That is a
Balcombe Investments Limited, owned the air-              shame.
craft operated by Renan Airways of Moldova to                I will take as an example the amended wording
fly several shipments of illegal arms to Africa.          the Government has chosen for no clear or ben-
   The Government commissioned a report on                eficial reason in response to our call for a reap-
export licensing of military and dual use goods           praisal of the European Union’s current econ-
following criticisms from Amnesty International           omic partnership agreements which almost every
and others. On the basis of this report, published        single development NGO across the world has
in May 2004, Amnesty International called for             criticised for creating systems that will hinder
legislation to be introduced to govern military           rather than help the progress of developing coun-
exports and control the activities of arms brokers        tries. The EPAs are more liberal than anything
and shippers with a view to improving trans-              than in place in the WTO rules. In this regard,
parency on documentation related to dual use              the amendment states: “ .. .it will be important to
items.                                                    have close monitoring and dialogue between the
   Will the Minister indicate to the House what           EU Commission and the Council to ensure that
he intends to do about the arms trade treaty?             the development focus of EPAs remains a
477    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:    28 June 2005.                   Motion                     478


primary concern”. Although I am utterly pro-               loudspeakers in Croke Park a strong message
European and believe multilateralism is the best           which they support and on which they want
approach to achieving solutions around the                 action. We have a fantastic history. We could go
world, I do not believe dialogue in the European           to Africa and say we were not colonisers, that we
Union should be confined to the Commission and             were like them but the Minister is now taking us
Council, with national parliaments looking on              in the opposite direction. We are setting up a
without comment. Sometimes it is appropriate for           trading system that will subjugate just as colonial
dialogue to take place between the national par-           powers did in the past. It will diminish the great
liaments and the European Union. The EPAs                  tradition and credit we enjoy in the developing
offered one such opportunity.                              world. This must change.
   At a conference in Dublin last week a Euro-                I commend the Prime Minister, Mr. Blair, for
pean Commission official noted that the British            calling for a debate. He said politicians needed to
had raised concerns about the EPAs, a new neo-             hear what the people were saying and he is right.
liberal system, adding that if only one other coun-        We should have an open, fair and honest debate
try was to come out and raise similar concerns,            and would be supported by the people if we had.
they might be subject to a proper reappraisal. We          What we will have instead, however, is fair trade
have seen recently that when two member states             coffee in the canteen of the Department of For-
ask questions, it changes the way in which the             eign Affairs while we do not dare to say anything
European Union works. The Government had a                 beyond this on the serious issues on which we can
simple, albeit small, opportunity to raise concerns        make a point and make real changes on the world
about EPAs by agreeing with the motion as set              stage. We will hang on the amendment the Mini-
out. Had it done so, its position could have been          ster has tabled which provides cover but little
used by the NGOs and others with concerns                  else.
about this issue to argue in Europe that Britain is
not alone in having concerns about EPAs. It                              ´ ´
                                                              Caoimhghın O Caolain: I accord appreciation
                                                                                    ´
would be good to reappraise EPAs, rather than              to the Green Party for allowing the House the
stepping back and indicating that we will examine          opportunity to debate and formally endorse the
the dialogue between the Commission and                    Make Poverty History campaign which is uncon-
Council. This is a narrow view of the communi-             ditionally and enthusiastically supported by my
cation which should take place in the European                                                   ´
                                                           party from the beginning. Sinn Fein activists are
Union.                                                     preparing to hit the streets of Dublin where,
   The motion includes a call which is neither rad-        together with others committed to global social
ical nor likely to rock the foundations of Irish           and economic justice, we will gather on Thursday
agriculture. Instead, it merely requests a re-exam-        evening at 6.30 p.m. in Parnell Square. I encour-
ination of the effect of export subsidies on those         age every one who believes in the universality of
farmers in developing countries who are worst              human rights, that poverty and hunger are human
affected by the European Union’s policy of                 rights violations and that another world is pos-
dumping a range of products on world markets.              sible to join us and the other demonstrators in an
It does not seek a unilateral solution but calls for       endorsement of this historic objective of the total
a multilateral recognition that dumping brings to          elimination of poverty and our expression of an
countries in Africa the very poverty on which the          alternative vision of global social and economic
developed nations spend development aid in                 justice.
addressing. The Government amendment                           I wholeheartedly endorse and share the
removes this call. Is there no room for this issue         approach that the Green Party has taken in this
to be examined? Are we not honest and open                 motion to emphasise the interlinked measures
enough to admit that this agricultural practice is         required to achieve our stated objective. With
not the correct approach and damages the coun-             100% debt cancellation for all heavily indebted
tries we are trying to help by other means?                poor countries, we need significantly increased,
   I was amazed this week to hear how clear,               targeted and untied official development aid. We
strong and correct the European Agriculture                need fair trade rules, trade justice and the Euro-
Commissioner was in this regard. She took the              pean Union to stop standing in the way of this
simple example of sugar exports. Europe is                 and start acting like a real ally to the Group of 77.
responsible for approximately 18% of world                     We need states to stop spending obscene
sugar exports and as a result, a reduction in the          amounts of money on militarisation. Just as Sinn
price of world sugar by 17% which has serious                ´
                                                           Fein’s commitment to the total eradication of
consequences for the poorest countries. The                poverty does not stop at our borders, our commit-
Commissioner has asked why we do not move                  ment to the demilitarisation of conflict does not
towards alternative markets such as bioethanol             stop with our island but is one of the core objec-
and biofuels which should be the future of Irish           tives of our international relations policy. To
agriculture. It is not as if the approaches advo-          truly make poverty history, the world needs a glo-
cated by the Green Party would damage world                bal peace dividend through the diversion of arms
farming. On the contrary, they would open the              spending to spending on human security — food,
door to the future.                                        shelter, clean water, access to healthcare, edu-
   As I stated, there is a sense of possibility in the     cation, dignified employment, a living wage and
air. In recent days 250,000 people heard from the          full human rights.
479    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                   Motion                     480

               ´ ´       ´
   [Caoimhghın O Caolain.]                                really need to do to make poverty history is to
   What will the Taoiseach do when he attends             muster the collective political will. Who could dis-
the UN summit this autumn, representing the               agree with this?
people of this State? Will he once again make                We are keeping it simple because our message
aid or other commitments he has no intention of           does not need to be complicated. We do not need
keeping, even though he also claims that our              to commission more studies because we already
economy is stronger than ever and boasts that             know the actions we have to take to make this
Ireland now ranks as the fourth wealthiest state          shared vision a reality. As the leaders of the
in the world? Will he trot out the standard weak          world’s richest countries gather in Scotland for
excuses for breaking his promise to allocate 0.7%         the G8 summit, we and millions like us the world
of GNP to ODA spending by 2007 — that we are              over, in every region and on every continent,
the ninth largest per capita donor of ODA and             demand trade justice, total debt cancellation and
that we will honour the EU deadline by 2015?              more and better aid for the world’s poorest coun-
Why should we not aspire to be at the very top            tries. As republicans, socialists and international-
of the generosity league rather than lagging              ists, we are fully committed to making poverty
behind the Nordic states? Why must we be satis-           history for everyone on this island and all our
fied with reaching only 0.5%, possibly but not            brothers and sisters in every nation.
definitely by 2007, when other countries now give
1%?                                                          Mr. F. McGrath: I commend the Green Party
    Per capita spending is not relevant to the UN’s       for tabling this motion on aid to the Third World.
proposal to contribute a fixed percentage of the          I support it as it is important that this small, inde-
nation’s wealth. Under the Government, despite            pendent country plays its part on the inter-
our unprecedented Celtic tiger wealth, Ireland            national stage in assisting countries that urgently
has failed and will continue to fail into the fore-       need our assistance. I urge the Government and
seeable future to commit just over 0.5% of our
                                                          our country to be a voice for the voiceless and
income per year to eradicating global poverty. To
                                                          poor. Sitting on the fence is not an option. The
make matters worse, in the most unscrupulous
                                                          Government must immediately meet its commit-
and duplicitous way the Government and the
                                                          ment to reach 0.7% of GNP devoted to overseas
Taoiseach misled our friends in the developing
                                                          development aid by 2007.
world to get votes for a seat on the UN Security
Council. The Government took advantage of the                It is also important to face up to the reality of
vulnerability of many of those countries for its          poverty in our country, despite the economic
own aggrandisement. The word “shameful”                   growth and development in the past ten years. It
cannot even scratch the surface. The Taoiseach            is not acceptable that 80,000 children still live in
promised the world on behalf of the Irish people.         poverty. It is not acceptable there are homeless
We supported him and felt proud of that commit-           people in our cities or that young couples are
ment, on which the Government does not have               priced out of the housing market. It is a disgrace
                                         ´
the right to renege unilaterally. Sinn Fein will not      that over 50,000 families are on local authority
give up on it; we will continue to press the              housing waiting lists. We, a society steeped in
Government to keep its promise on behalf of the           wealth, are not delivering to our people. It is not
citizens of the State.                                    right and there is no excuse that 25% of our citi-
   By now, we are all familiar with the facts and         zens are always left behind. It is up to all poli-
figures: the 600 million children living in absolute      ticians to ensure all people are treated with
poverty and the one child who dies every three            respect and equally. The debate is not about
seconds from hunger and preventable disease.              resources and wealth but how these are distrib-
We can all in our mind’s eye see the contrast with        uted. It is about how we treat our sick, elderly
the obscene, unspendable wealth amassed and               and disabled. I do not want to live in a country
wasted by an elite few. The poorest countries’            where greed and selfishness are rampant.
share of world trade has dropped by almost half              I support the international campaign of Make
since 1981 and is now as low as 0.4%. Under the           Poverty History. We know from our history about
current unjust world trade rules, poor countries          famine, poverty and exploitation. Now it is our
must pay back 14 times what they receive in aid.          turn to lead the charge against injustice and stand
The world, despite agreeing the UN millennium             by the poorer countries. Let us ensure their chil-
development goal to halve world poverty by 2015,          dren live and get back their dignity. Let us
is not following through on its commitments. At           reaffirm Ireland’s policy of supporting 100% debt
the current rate of progress, we will not even            cancellation for heavily indebted poor countries,
halve the number living in absolute poverty until         going beyond the inadequate but welcome pro-
2147.                                                     posal of the G8 to introduce cancellations to 18
   The message with which we need to really               countries. Such debt cancellation must not be
come to grips today is a simple one. Nelson               accompanied by damaging conditions which
Mandela expressed it perfectly when he recently           erode its benefits. Such cancellation must be
said, “Poverty is not natural. It is man made and         funded out of additional moneys and, as argued
it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions          by non-governmental organisations, the Inter-
of human beings.” I have said it in the past and          national Monetary Fund gold reserves must be
will repeat myself as often as necessary: all we          sold to finance debt cancellation.
481    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                  Motion                     482


   Developed nations must move away from                  Kyoto Protocol, one message became apparent,
operating as judge and plaintiff towards heavily          that of equality and the value we place on the
indebted poor countries. Debt cancellation is only        lives of the poorest in the world. Over the past
part of what is needed to assist heavily indebted         year, the increasing intensity of the campaign by
poor countries. Targeted and united aid must              Make Poverty History means all Members are
continue to be given and significantly increased.         familiar with the horrifying figures that demon-
I urge the Government to agree new target dates           strate the true extent of poverty. Some 600 mil-
in view of its acknowledgement that it will not           lion children live in absolute poverty and 10 mil-
meet its commitment to reach the 0.7% of GNP              lion children die of hunger and preventable
devoted to overseas development aid by 2007. I            diseases. That is one child every three seconds.
call on the Taoiseach to reaffirm Ireland’s com-          By the time I will have concluded, 100 children
mitment to this target at the forthcoming UN mil-         will not have survived. Some 852 million people,
lennium summit.                                           more than the populations of the US, Canada and
   Fair trade is important in bringing about inter-       the EU combined, will not have enough food to
national social justice. I demand the re-examin-          eat. One in six children will die before they reach
ation of subsidies given to producers in the              the age of five years. Unfortunately, these statis-
developed world and their effect on those pro-            tics are just a sample.
ducers in less developed nations. I call on the              The motion seeks a broad response to ending
Government to support the reappraisal of the              poverty. This is not just about throwing money at
EU’s economic partnership agreements with                 the issue. All Members received an e-mail from
African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, in light        GOAL, in which some of the matters raised are
of serious concerns that these will inhibit rather        worrying. Our Government channels approxi-
than promote their economic development.                  mately \60 million through the Ethiopian and
   We need to restrict the international trade in         Ugandan Governments. We should immediately
arms to assist conflict resolution, to prevent the        cease funding through the Ethiopian Govern-
terrible costs in human life and the attendant            ment. I am not saying we should not assist the
economic costs. The Government must support               people in those countries, but we cannot support
the initiative taken by the Government of Finland         regimes that murder their citizens, which hap-
to bring about an arms trade treaty through the           pened only last week in Ethiopia.
framework of the UN. Why do governments                      The Make Poverty History campaign argued
around the world always have money for arms,              for more and better aid. The first assertion is that
yet there is always a problem when finance is             poverty will not be eradicated without the
required for food, health care and education? I           immediate and major increase in international
challenge international leaders on this major pol-        aid. This is where our obligation starts. The cam-
itical and moral issue. It is simply not good             paign calls for a binding timeframe for the richer
enough.                                                   countries to reach this target. It demands that aid
   The Independent Members will always chal-              focus better on the needs of poorer peoples. It
lenge, fight and stand up for working people and          must be spent on better health care and edu-
the poor in society. That is our agenda and we            cation, not tied to goods and services from the
have no notion of going off course. This motion           donor country.
is about standing with the peoples of other coun-            There were several good media reports about
tries in a spirt of co-operation, generosity and          the results of aid given to some countries affected
equality. I urge all Members to stand with these          by the tsunami disaster in December. For these
peoples and support this excellent motion.                countries to recover, the money must be spent
                                                          within the region. We can see the sense in this
   Ms C. Murphy: I welcome this Private                   but I do not understand how good practice in one
Members’ motion. When the Government, on                  place is not regarded as such in another. The cam-
behalf of the people, committed to leading the            paign also seeks a more democratic World Bank
way by allocating 0.7% of GNP in development              and IMF so that not only will the concerns of
aid, I believed it was a decision of which we             people from poorer countries be addressed, but
should all feel proud. It gave us the credibility to      they will be acted upon.
punch above our weight and consolidated                      The figures of the charity, Concern, highlight
Ireland’s position as an honest broker. Just as I         that 30,000 people a day die from starvation and
felt proud of that decision, I was ashamed when           poverty related deaths. This is not far short of 1
it was rolled back on our behalf. Deferring our           million people in one month. That figure is
commitment, in practical terms, means accepting           etched on our political history as the same
that some lives, mostly those of children, will end       number died in the dark days of the Famine. The
prematurely. We cannot account for what other             only way to deal with this global catastrophe is to
countries do, but we can account for what our             act collectively. The basis for such action is
country does. Through this climbdown, we are              grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human
assisting others not to aim for that target.              Rights, signed in 1948. One part of the preamble
   Having spent some time trawling through the            to the declaration states “whereas the people of
array of information dealing with debt cancel-            the United Nations have in the charter reaffirmed
lation, development aid, trade justice, campaign          their faith in fundamental human rights, in the
against the arms trade and the provisions of the          dignity and worth of the human person and in the
483    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                  Motion                  484

  [Ms C. Murphy.]                                                   of the UN Millennium Summit in
equal rights of men and women and have deter-                       September 2005;
mined to promote social progress and better stan-
                                                                 — acknowledges the need for inter-
dards of life”. I ask that we live up to that by
                                                                   national agreements to control the
committing to the 0.7% target of GNP.
                                                                   international trade in arms in order to
                                                                   assist conflict resolution and prevent
 Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): I
                                                                   the terrible costs in human lives and
move amendment No. 1:
                                                                   attendant economic costs of such trade;
    To delete all words after “Heavily Indebted
  Poor Countries” in the second paragraph and                    — calls on the Government to strongly
  substitute the following:                                        support efforts to bring about an Inter-
                                                                   national Arms Trade Treaty;
      “— welcomes the proposal of the G8 coun-
         tries to finance 100% cancellation of                   — acknowledges that the Government is
         multilateral debt owed by 18 of the                       committed to a strong rules-based
         world’s poorest countries;                                WTO and multilateral trading system as
                                                                   being the best way to help developing
      — expresses the strong hope that the G8                      countries to integrate into the global
        agreement will be funded out of                            trading system and is working towards
        additional monies and not through                          a successful outcome to the Doha
        diversion of existing funding;                             Development Agenda negotiations and
      — calls on the Government to continue                        the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the
        Ireland’s long-standing commitment to                      WTO in December 2005;
        debt cancellation and urges it to support                — confirms that as the negotiations on the
        further initiatives to this end;                           Economic Partnership Agreements
      — recognises that debt cancellation is only                  move into a more critical phase, it will
        part of what is needed to assist heavily                   be important to have close monitoring
        indebted poor countries and that tar-                      and dialogue between the EU Com-
        geted and untied aid must continue to                      mission and the Council to ensure that
        be given and significantly increased;                      the development focus of EPAs
                                                                   remains a primary concern; and
      — welcomes the very substantial increases
        in Ireland’s aid programme, which has                    — recognising the increasing convergence
        grown from \96 million in 1994 to \545                     between issues of environmental degra-
        million in 2005, which is channelled to                    dation and world poverty, and in view
        some of the world’s poorest countries                      of the fact that the adverse impacts of
        and which has made Ireland the world’s                     climate change are, and will be, dispro-
        ninth largest aid donor on a per capita                    portionately borne by the world’s poor-
        basis;                                                     est people, supports the Government, in
                                                                   the upcoming negotiations on global
      — welcomes the fact that the Government                      action to tackle climate change after
        has already committed to expenditure                       2012, in seeking a fair, equitable and
        of \1.8 billion on Official Development                    inclusive agreement that will reduce the
        Assistance over the years 2005-2007;                       vulnerability of developing countries
      — notes that Ireland, almost uniquely                        through reducing global emissions of
        among donors, gives all of its aid untied;                 greenhouse gases and through assisting
                                                                   developing countries to access the
      — notes that the recent report by Action                     resources and expertise required to
        Aid entitled ‘Real Aid: An Agenda for                      adapt to the adverse effects of climate
        Making Aid Work’ found that Ireland                        change.”
        has one of the highest quality aid prog-
        rammes among Western donors;                      I wish to share time with Deputies Nolan and
                                                          O’Connor. I am glad of this opportunity to speak
      — notes that at the European Council of             and I thank the Green Party Members, despite
        16-17 June, 2005, the Heads of State              their comments. I am somewhat disappointed by
        and Government, including Ireland,                their attitude to the amendment which the
        agreed that the EU Member States                  Government and I thought was better-worded
        which have not yet reached a level of             and which does not detract from the Green
        0.51% of GNP should reach that level              Party’s motion’s sentiments. I regret that it
        by 2010, and that they should achieve             appears the House might divide on this issue
        the 0.7% target by 2015. The 10 new               because it is not an issue on which it should.
        Member States were set lower targets;
                                                            Nevertheless, the debate provides us with an
      — notes that the Government is strongly             opportunity. I thank the Green Party for provid-
        committed to achieving the UN target              ing the opportunity to have a debate which will
        of 0.7% for expenditure on ODA and it             embrace the totality of the development agenda,
        will take a decision on this in advance           not simply the question of overseas development
485    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                   Motion                     486


aid. It offers the House an opportunity to deal           that it would put wind into the sails of the pro-
with the key issues of aid, trade, the international      posals in his reform package, particularly in the
arms trade and the environment. Each of these             development area. Other member states which
topics would merit an extensive debate on its             joined after 2002 have lower targets. The EU 15,
own, never mind combining them in one debate.             in other words excluding the ten newer member
However, I will attempt to address each of them           states, have also committed to a new collective
as comprehensively as possible in the time at my          target of 0.56% by 2010. This means that by 2010,
disposal.                                                 the EU as a whole will disburse an additional \20
   I will start with aid. In terms of cash disburse-      billion in aid to the poorest countries in the
ments, Ireland’s aid programme has grown enor-            world. That is a major step forward and I am sure
mously over the last decade. It is worth remem-           it will be welcomed by everyone who is concerned
bering that none of the G8 donor countries                for the developing world. Naturally, Ireland fully
provides the same level of aid per capita as              subscribes to these new targets agreed by the
Ireland. On average they provide 0.21% of their           European Union.
GNP in aid, just over half the level of aid                  Cash disbursements do not give the whole pic-
achieved by Ireland. Since the formation of this          ture regarding aid as where and how the funding
Government, the aid programme has risen by                is spent is also important. In this respect, Ireland
\387 million, from \158 million in 1997 to \545           has an excellent record. Our aid programmes has
million of taxpayers’ money today. In 1997 we             been highly praised for its value and focus on the
spent approximately \39 for every man, woman              poorest of the poor. The last peer review of the
and child on our development programme. This              OECD in 2003 noted that our aid programme dis-
year we will spend about \136, an increase of             tinguishes itself by its sharp focus on poverty
almost \100. Everyone will accept that these are          reduction and its commitment to partnership
significant amounts. Moreover, they are in                principles. The recent report by Action Aid Inter-
addition to the personal donations made by many           national entitled Real Aid: An Agenda for Mak-
Irish citizens to the developing word.                    ing Aid Work, found that Ireland has one of the
   In addition, we now have a three-year commit-          highest quality overseas aid programmes among
ment, which stipulates an increase of \60 million         western donors. The report distinguished
this year. To put that figure in context, the             between “real aid”, that is assistance which
  ´
Tanaiste received \70 million to deal with the            reaches its target and brings genuine improve-
accident and emergency service issue. It will be          ments, and “phantom aid”, which ties recipients
increased by \65 million in each of the next two          to purchases from donor countries, or is poorly
years. In fact, over the three years from 2005 to         implemented. We must state with pride that irres-
2007, the Irish taxpayer will pay \1.8 billion in         pective of what political party was in Govern-
overseas development aid. Hence, this multi-              ment, we have never tied our aid. There should
annual commitment provides an excellent oppor-            be a greater focus on many of the larger countries
tunity for careful planning and implementation.           in respect of this issue. That report put Ireland at
   I do not say this to detract from the UN target        the top of the list, noting that almost 90% of Irish
of 0.7% in any way, but to show just how much             aid is “real aid” which benefits poor people in
the Irish people currently give to the developing         developing countries and that our aid is totally
world. On the issue of the UN target, I am the            100% untied. This means we do not link our aid
first to assert that we must meet this target. In my      to the purchase of Irish goods and services, as
work as a UN special envoy, I promote the UN              unfortunately do some other countries. Conse-
reform package, part of which is a greater com-           quently, goods and services provided represent
mitment to the development agenda and partic-             best value and often help to build up local
ularly to the 0.7% target. I wish to reassure the         service providers.
House that this Government is strongly commit-               Earlier this month, the G8 called on the OECD
ted to achieving the UN target of 0.7% for expen-         to set ambitious and credible targets for the indi-
diture on ODA. We need a sustainable, tenable             cators of aid effectiveness agreed in Paris earlier
and deliverable target. We will not be rushed             this year. It is particularly important to set targets
because this is serious business. I refer to the          for untying aid, so that more of it can be spent by
Government’s amendment, which clearly states              and in developing countries, thus multiplying its
that it is committed to achieving the UN target of        developmental impact.
0.7% and that it will make a decision on the sub-            Ireland’s aid programme is focused on some of
ject in advance of the UN Millennium Summit               the world’s poorest countries. We are one of only
in September.                                             six countries which spends more than 0.15% of
   Deputies will also be aware that the European          GNP on the least developed countries. To cite the
Union recently agreed — again as part of my               recent Action Aid report again, Ireland spends
exhortations as UN special envoy — to set a new           more of its aid, 79%, on low-income countries
set of targets regarding ODA. Those member                than any other country, apart from Portugal.
states which have not yet reached a level of                 As far as debt is concerned, the provision of
0.51% of GNP on ODA should individually reach             aid, though vital, is only one of several dynamics
that level by 2010. They have also undertaken to          in the relationship between the developed and
achieve the UN target of 0.7% by 2015. Indeed,            the developing world. Two other vital factors are
when that decision was made, Kofi Annan stated            debt relief and trade. The recent announcement
487    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:     28 June 2005.                    Motion                     488

   [Mr. D. Ahern.]                                          ing the funds allocated to them by the lending
by the G8 Finance Ministers that they will finance          institutions, are maintained or increased. Ireland
100% cancellation of World Bank, African                    and other non-G8 donors will be expected to par-
Development Bank and International Monetary                 ticipate in the financing of the debt cancellation.
Fund debt owed by a group of the world’s poorest            For Ireland, which is not a lender and has always
countries represents significant progress.                  provided its aid as grants, every euro we put into
   For the first time, the most powerful countries          debt relief should turn into an extra euro for the
in the world, those that effectively control                country receiving the relief.
decision-making at the World Bank and the                      I hope that in the process of bringing their
International Monetary Fund, have accepted that             donor partners on board, the G8 countries will be
many countries should have their loans with these           prepared to show the flexibility around the objec-
institutions completely written off. This agree-            tives and principles which govern the implemen-
ment represents significant progress towards solv-          tation of the initiative that will allow us all to fin-
ing the thus far intractable problem of Third               ance it with enthusiasm and hope for its success.
World debt. Ireland has argued for many years                  Some proposals for debt relief in the past have
for such a move. Our official policy on debt which          turned out to be less generous than originally
was adopted in 2002 by this Government, called              they appeared. I hope this will not be the case
for 100% debt cancellation for all heavily                  with the latest proposals. Developing countries
indebted countries. The Government felt then                deserve a fair deal on debt. It must be
and continues to feel that a country’s requirement          remembered however that debt relief or cancel-
to repay debt must not prevent it from main-                lation, even implemented in the most favourable
taining an adequate level of expenditure on                 manner possible, is unlikely on its own to solve
services and investments in health, education,              the economic problems of poor developing coun-
agriculture, water supply, sanitation, roads and
                                                            tries. The G8 agreement is historic and represents
other infrastructure.
                                                            significant progress but it is only a part of what
   Without adequate resources for these areas,
                                                            is required to make real progress in eradicating
development and poverty reduction are imposs-
                                                            extreme poverty.
ible. I am very glad the G8 countries have come
                                                               The yearly value of the debts being cancelled
to the same conclusion. For Ireland, the success
of a debt relief or debt cancellation scheme is             will be approximately US$700 million. Even if all
principally measured by how much it increases               this relief turned into new money in developing
the money available to the beneficiary govern-              country budgets, it would still be less than one
ment for spending on poverty reduction. It seems            fiftieth of the increase in annual aid budgets
clear from the conclusions of the G8 Finance                which the World Bank estimates is needed to
Ministers’ meeting that financing of the debt can-          achieve the internationally agreed millennium
cellation will be additional to the current                 development goals. The volume of assistance to
resources of the international financial insti-             poor developing countries needs to be increased
tutions. This means that in overall terms resource          significantly. As I have already mentioned,
flows from international financial institutions to          Ireland’s aid budget has grown significantly and
developing countries should be unaffected by                will continue to grow.
debt cancellation and the relief provided should               Trade is a powerful engine for economic
result in additional resources being available for          growth which can lead to sustainable develop-
recipient countries.                                        ment and ultimately to poverty reduction. Ireland
   However, it is also possible that the allocations        firmly believes that having a transparent, rules-
of funds to the individual beneficiary countries            based global trading system is the best way to
from the international financial institutions will          help developing countries to integrate into the
be reduced by an amount equivalent to the debt              global trading system. The Government is com-
relief resulting from the cancellation. Perhaps             mitted to working towards a successful outcome
that is the point to which Deputy Higgins refers.           to the Doha development agenda negotiations
Countries may not, therefore, have direct access            and the sixth ministerial conference of the WTO
to additional resources for expenditure as a result         in December 2005.
of the cancellation. Rather, they will have to com-            The most fundamental objective of the WTO
pete with other low income countries for access             Doha development agenda launched in Nov-
to the benefits of the debt cancellation.                   ember 2001 is to further the integration of
   Furthermore, if the cancellation is financed             developing countries into the global trading
from existing bilateral aid flows, it could well            system. However, many developing countries
mean that the debt relief is accompanied by an              have understandable concerns that a multilateral
equivalent fall-off in bilateral aid flows. It is vital     trading system will have severe negative effects
that this does not happen. It is important that             on their economies. The Government believes
Opposition parties publicly support our stance on           that the Doha negotiations need to result in real
this important issue.                                       benefits for these countries if their concerns are
   The opportunities for the beneficiary countries          to be successfully addressed. The Government is
to achieve the millennium development goals will            working to ensure that the Doha development
only be enhanced if, at the same time as their              round will be a genuine development round. Cen-
debts are cancelled, the aid they receive, includ-          tral to our approach and that of our EU partners
489    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                   Motion                     490


is a commitment to respond positively to the con-         establish, with his fellow Commissioners, includ-
cerns of developing countries.                            ing the Commissioner responsible for develop-
   As we approach the sixth ministerial con-              ment, Louis Michel, and in partnership with the
ference in Hong Kong next December, we will               ACP countries, a dedicated structure to keep the
maintain our commitment to this balance. Pre-             EPA process under close review. This is
paratory work for the conference is proceeding,           important not least because the Commission, as
notwithstanding the difficulty of some of the             the institution competent for EU trade policy, is
problems that need to be resolved. I am confident         the body which negotiates on behalf of member
that the Hong Kong conference will provide the            states.
necessary impetus to progress in the final nego-             Ireland is actively following developments in
tiations of the Doha development agenda and               the EPA negotiations. As they move into a criti-
that the successful conclusion of the round is now        cal phase, Ireland, in common with other EU
in prospect. Ireland’s priority in these nego-            member states, will continue to ensure that there
tiations has been, and will continue to be, that the      is close monitoring and dialogue between the
process of trade liberalisation continues in a fair       Commission and the Council to ensure that the
and balanced way and that the WTO continues               development focus of EPAs remains to the fore.
to provide a stable and consistent framework for             This Private Members’ motion raises the very
the regulation of world trade.                            important issue of international trade in arms. I
   The Government does not believe that trade             agree with the sentiments expressed and in my
liberalisation alone, including agricultural trade        amendment to the motion I have proposed only
liberalisation, is a panacea for development chal-        some slight amendments to the original wording.
lenges, particularly in the case of least developed       The best and most effective way to control such
countries. The integration of least developed             trade is through international agreements and,
countries into the global economy will require not        therefore, I have added a reference to this effect
only trade liberalisation measures, it will require       in the text of the first indent on this issue. I have
measures to fight HIV-AIDS; build trade capa-             also replaced the word “restrict” with “control”
city; attract foreign direct investment; promote          as the latter is more commonly used and under-
agricultural and rural development; support the           stood internationally in the context of export
role of women in agricultural production; and,            controls.
crucially,    increase     investment     in    new          My amended wording also deletes the refer-
technologies.                                             ence to Finland in the second indent, which deals
   The EU has a number of preferential trade              with the proposed arms trade treaty. The treaty
relationships with least developed countries. The         was devised and has been promoted by a number
biggest is the so-called Cotonou Agreement with           of non-governmental organisations, including
77 countries mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, but          Amnesty International and Oxfam. My under-
also the smaller Caribbean and Pacific states. This       standing is that the Government of Finland, while
provides access to EU markets on preferential             being very supportive of the treaty, is not the co-
terms for exports from these countries. The latest        ordinator of the campaign for the treaty. The
phase of the Cotonou Agreement has just been              campaign for the treaty has also been supported
concluded by the EU and the ACP states.                   by other countries. It is for those reasons I believe
   Another important trade link is the 2001 every-        that rather than singling out a particular country,
thing but arms initiative which grants least              a more general reference would be appropriate.
developed countries very wide access to EU                   On the fundamental issue of the international
markets. The economic partnership agreements,             trade in arms, Ireland recognises the importance
EPAs, which are due to enter into force by 1              of addressing this issue. There are all too many
January 2008, are an integral element of the              examples of conflicts which are fuelled by pro-
Cotonou Agreement. The EPAs are intended                  liferation of conventional weapons, especially in
first and foremost as instruments for develop-            developing countries. It has been estimated that
ment to foster the smooth and gradual integration         approximately 300,000 people are killed each
of African, Caribbean and Pacific states into the         year in violent conflict and war. Global stockpiles
world economy. They combine trade and wider               of small arms and light weapons amount to an
development issues in a unified framework while           estimated 600 million units. This is especially an
taking account of the specific economic, social           issue of concern in Africa where the proliferation
and environmental circumstances of each                   of these weapons continues to have a serious
regional group and its component states. This             negative impact on fragile economies and brings
overall approach is welcomed by Ireland and               terror, misery and suffering to societies through-
other member states concerned that development            out that continent.
and poverty reduction should be the principal                The Government supports the principle of hav-
objectives of the EPAs. We are, therefore, clearly        ing legally binding international agreements on
not talking in the case of EPAs about conven-             the control of arms exports with as wide a partici-
tional trade agreements.                                  pation as possible. Ireland is committed to work-
   I very much welcome recent statements by the           ing with others to ensure that the international
EU Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, that              community deals effectively with the illicit traf-
he intends to strengthen the development focus            ficking of such weapons. Currently, all exports of
of EPAs. He has announced his intention to                arms from EU countries must conform to the EU
491    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:    28 June 2005.                   Motion                     492

   [Mr. D. Ahern.]                                         which is scheduled to take place in Montreal in
code of conduct on arms exports which estab-               November 2005. Under the United Nations
lishes criteria to control such exports. Ireland was       framework convention on climate change, a
actively involved in the establishment of this pol-        special least developed countries fund was estab-
itically binding code, which was adopted by the            lished to help those countries plan for and cope
EU general affairs council in June 1998. The code          with the adverse effects of climate change.
lists the factors to be taken into account when            Ireland was one of the first to contribute to the
deciding whether to allow an export of military            LDC fund and I intend making further contri-
goods, including respect for human rights, the             butions in this and subsequent years.
internal situation in the country of final desti-             Again, I pay tribute to the Green Party for
nation and the preservation of regional peace,             highlighting the issues under discussion tonight. I
security and stability. Discussions are ongoing in         am disappointed the party could not accept what
the EU on the possible reinforcement of the                I believe is a better motion. Ireland has led the
status of the code of conduct.                             way over the years and we should pay tribute to
   Over the past two years, Ireland has actively           our own Bono and Bob Geldof and to the rep-
participated in negotiations in the United Nations         resentatives of our NGOs, who have been slaving
on an international instrument to regulate the             away on this issue for many years. I do not think
              marking and tracing of illicit small         people realise the amount of effort and the level
8 o’clock     arms and light weapons, which I am           of funding the Government spends on their
              pleased to note was agreed upon              behalf, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. It is
earlier this month in New York. This will assist           important that we air these issues so that people
the international community in its efforts to con-
                                                           are fully aware that over the next three years, we
trol such trade in a much more systematic way. A
                                                           will spend \1.8 billion of their money on overseas
welcome aspect of the international trade treaty
                                                           development, especially in Africa.
proposed by NGOs is that it has the objective of
setting out states’ existing international legal obli-
gations in the area of international transfers of             Mr. Nolan: I join the Minister in commending
arms. Once ratified, the proposed treaty would             the Green Party for putting down this motion. I
enable the international community to move for-            am disappointed that we could not reach consen-
ward incrementally, by means of subsequent                 sus and that the House will divide on the motion
specific instruments, to strengthen international          tomorrow night. All parties in the House have a
controls on arms transfers. Ireland has taken an           genuine commitment and concern. It has been a
active interest in this initiative. During Ireland’s       tradition in this country to assist developing coun-
Presidency of the EU last year, we placed this             tries, especially those in the Third World.
issue on the agenda of the relevant working group             The EU has been able to agree an interim
in Brussels.                                               overseas development assistance target as part of
   The Government fully shares the view that               the EU contribution. That is to be welcomed,
climate change is the most serious threat to the           given the challenges faced by the new member
global environment and that poor people in poor            states in meeting this target. I was disappointed
countries are most vulnerable to its adverse               to note that it will take us a little longer to meet
effects. Such people are least able to cope with           the targets set down by the UN, I still welcome
extreme weather events such as cyclones, hurri-            the fact that we have agreed to progress towards
canes and droughts which are expected to occur             that. I hope it will happen sooner rather than
with increased frequency and intensity due to the          later.
impact of climate change. The second Kyoto Pro-               There are three aspects to this debate: debt
tocol commitment period negotiations will be               relief, aid and trade. I welcomed the news that
very sensitive.                                            the G8 finance ministers have agreed to a 100%
   The Government believes that comprehensive              debt cancellation of World Bank and African
dialogue is essential and must involve the United          Development Bank debt. This will go some way
States, the oil producing countries and developing         towards alleviating the problems of developing
countries that, up to now, have had no obligation          countries. Nonetheless, we have been very forth-
to curb emissions. Together with our EU partners           coming in our aid and perhaps it has not been
at the United Nations framework convention on              targeted in the right areas in recent years. One
climate change meeting held in Buenos Aires last           area in which we can be pro-active is trade. We
December, Ireland pressed hard for the initiation          must continue that because we in Ireland have
of these negotiations. Parties to the conference           seen, as a developing country, that if we use trade
agreed to hold a seminar in Bonn, which took               and the economy to its full effect, we can be far
place in a very constructive atmosphere. Nego-             more helpful to our citizens, to the country and
tiations on the next phase should ideally conclude         to the planet.
by 2008.                                                      One aspect of all this is local to me, but is top-
   The Government believes the targets set                 ical at the moment and highlights many of the
should be ambitious and that responsibility for            difficulties we will encounter. If the sugar reform
curbing emissions should be fairly shared. We will         package being proposed by the European Com-
work to that end in the months to come and at the          mission is accepted in its present form it will not
first meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol,        only destroy the sugar industry in Ireland, it will
493    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                   Motion                     494


also have a dreadful knock-on effect on some of             Mr. O’Connor: I am very sincere about that. I
the APC countries.                                        am a very strong supporter of the Minister of
                                                          State’s work, as the Deputy well knows.
  Mr. Eamon Ryan: What about ethanol, or
biofuels?                                                    Mr. Naughten: Keep him abroad.

   Mr. Nolan: We should be mindful of those                 Mr. O’Connor: Chris Flood keeps me informed
issues. If we go down this road, I am concerned           on what is being done in this area.
that we will play into the hands of the sugar               The people of Africa are not just looking for a
barons of Brazil and other parts of South Amer-           hand out, they want an opportunity to do some-
ica. The smaller countries will be left exposed.          thing positive for themselves. As a nation, it is
                                                          not too long ago that we had our own experience
  Mr. Eamon Ryan: What about ethanol, or bio-             of famine. In our present prosperity, it is
fuels? We will not have to import from the                important that it remains in our memory so that
Middle East.                                              we can empathise with the desperate plight in
                                                          which some of these people find themselves. It is
  Mr. Nolan: I am using that as one example.              very important to continue at this level to make
                                                          the case for aid for Africa. Like others of my gen-
  Mr. Eamon Ryan: Why not import from                     eration, I brought a penny to school every single
Carlow rather than from Kuwait? Why not get               day for Africa though I was not sure in those days
our oil from Carlow?                                      exactly what I was doing. From my little experi-
                                                          ence, especially in Ethiopia recently, it seems
  Mr. D. Ahern: The Deputy should let the man             nothing has really changed. I commend the work
speak. He only has three minutes.                         of Irish aid organisations which, as I have seen on
                                                          the ground, do a tremendous job.
  Mr. Eamon Ryan: I am sorry.
                                                           Mr. Allen: I wish to share time with Deputies
  Mr. Nolan: If we accept proposals, we should            Naughten, Neville and Crawford.
look at it on the bigger scale. We should look at
the impact that it will have on developing                 An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Is that agreed?
countries.                                                Agreed.
  I again commend the Green Party for putting
                                                            Mr. Allen: Amendment No. 2 in the name of
down this motion. I am disappointed that this
                                                          Fine Gael reads as follows:
House will divide on it tomorrow night. I now
wish to give some of time to my colleague,                     In the tenth paragraph, to delete “demands
Deputy O’Connor.                                             re-examination of subsidies given to producers
                                                             in the developed world and the effect of such
   Mr. O’Connor: I compliment my colleague,                  subsidies on their counterparts in less
Deputy Nolan, on his courtesy and I thank the                developed nations;”.
Minister for his speech. I am always happy to pra-        Tonight’s motion is timely as many hundreds of
ise his work on this issue. I have a particular           thousands will gather in a few days for the Live 8
interest in this subject and thank the Green Party        concerts in London, Edinburgh, Washington,
for tabling the motion. I visited Zambia in 1995          Berlin, Paris and Rome. They will unite in a com-
and recently, I had the opportunity to visit Leso-        mon cause to demand debt cancellation for the
tho and South Africa. Several weeks ago, I went           poorest countries and increased aid and trade
to Ethiopia for the elections with Senator Fergal         with the developing world. In short, they will
Browne. We were very impressed by what we saw             demand action from all governments working
and at the same time we were very troubled by             together. While the demand coincides with the
much of what we saw. The election was held on             upcoming G8 summit, the call goes out to all. It
15 May and I found out today that the results will        is time for countries like Ireland to realise their
not be declared until 8 July.                             international obligations and begin to meet them.
   I feel very privileged to be given the oppor-             We must tackle the endemic poverty, disease,
tunity to speak on this motion in the week when           illness and starvation which form the bedrock of
the announcement by the G8 states will come to            lives which are often cut tragically short. Every
fruition. Bono and Bob Geldof have been                   day which passes sees poverty and disease thrive
referred to and we should praise the work they            in many parts of a world in which 1.2 billion
are doing. My friend and political mentor, Chris          people live on less than a dollar a day, 28,000 chil-
Flood, was the Irish envoy to the tsunami disaster        dren die from poverty-related causes, 8,000
and was also the chairman of the Minister’s advis-        people die of AIDS and 14,000 women and girls
ory body. I also mention my colleague, Deputy             die from pregnancy and childbirth-related com-
Conor Lenihan, and commend his work in this               plications. In 2002, 2 million people died of TB.
area.                                                     Among the ways we can help to alleviate poverty
                                                          and disease is through our commitment to over-
  Mr. Naughten: That sounds very genuine.                 seas development aid.
495    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                  Motion                    496

   [Mr. Allen.]                                           accelerate action on aid dramatically. In contrast,
   When Ireland made the historic commitment              Ireland has dramatically decelerated action on
to increase aid to UN target levels by 2007, its          aid, which is a cause of great concern.
announcement was justifiably welcomed through-               Debt cancellation is an integral aspect of the
out the world. The sense of disappointment and            relief required by the countries of the developing
anger which accompanied the Government’s dis-             world. The recent G8 proposal to cancel the debt
graceful U-turn has been well documented. It was          of 18 states has been welcomed. We should not
                             ´
a dark day for the Fianna Fail-Progressive Demo-          underestimate the importance of the proposal
crats coalition and for Ireland as a whole.               which writes off $40 billion and saves each coun-
Recently, the original 15 EU member states                try approximately $1.5 billion in annual repay-
agreed to increase aid to 0.51% of GNP by 2010            ments. We must also, however, reaffirm support
and to at least 0.7% of GNP by 2015. In fact, four        for the policy of 100% debt cancellation for heav-
member states have already met the 0.7% target            ily indebted poor countries which Ireland pro-
while six others have promised to meet it on a            posed some time ago.
date before 2015.                                            Ireland has a role to play in the promotion of
   Where is Ireland’s new commitment to aid?              good governance and the tackling of corruption
Having abandoned the 2007 deadline, have we               in the developing world. Every person who
also delayed the implementation of the                    donates money to the developing world from a
Taoiseach’s solemn promise to the UN by at least          pocket or pay packet wants to know it does the
eight years? The Minister of State with responsi-         best possible work for those who need it. We
bility for overseas development aid described the         should take every reasonable and possible action
EU agreement as historic recently. He went on to          in co-operation with developing world govern-
say it was positive that the European Union had           ments to ensure the best, most co-ordinated and
taken a lead on this important issue which begs           most effective use of aid is achieved.
the question of whether the Government has a                 Action on an international arms treaty is also
memory problem. Ireland took the lead on the              vital as many around the world continue to live
issue in 2000 but without apparent embarrass-             with the results of the indiscriminate use of land-
ment we are happy to abandon the role and pass            mines. We must ensure through action and co-
responsibility to the European Union. Even if the         operation with other countries that arms are
Government tries to forget that its actions are           traded according to the most stringent rules and
unacceptable, the people will not.                        regulations which take account of the value of
   If we are serious about our aid commitments,           human life. Progress should be made on the draft-
we should be prepared to back them up with                ing of the important arms trade treaty.
legislation. Last December, I outlined when Fine
Gael tabled a motion on overseas development                 Mr. Naughten: I welcome the opportunity to
aid why an aid target should be set out in legis-         contribute on the Private Members’ motion
lation to ensure that every future Government             moved by the Green Party. Tabled in the context
would meet its commitments. To set aside a fixed          of the upcoming meeting of the leaders of the G8
percentage of GNP for a specific purpose is not           countries in Edinburgh and the World Trade
a new concept. The most recent example is the             Organisation       ministerial    conference    in
national pensions reserve fund, under the legis-          December, the motion affords Members the
lation for which a set amount of 1% of GNP is             opportunity to re-examine the Government’s
automatically diverted from the Exchequer annu-           policies in the context of the goal of making pov-
ally. The process does not demand annual Dail     ´       erty history. While Fine Gael supports the Green
approval as the amounts are specified in legis-           Party Members in principle in bringing forward
lation. Legislation to provide for the allocation of      the motion, as my time is limited I will concen-
0.7% of GNP to overseas development aid from              trate on just a few points.
the Exchequer each year would copperfasten                   Fine Gael concurs with the policy of 100% debt
Ireland’s commitment to meeting its international         cancellation for heavily-indebted poor countries.
responsibilities. The legislation should be intro-        While the write off by G8 countries announced
duced now as we cannot wait until 2015 to meet            on 10 June for 18 of the poorest states in Africa
the UN aid target.                                        is a step in the right direction, Fine Gael would
   If we allow aid to increase according to current       like to see the policy broadened to include the 42
spending plans, it will be 2028 before Ireland            most heavily-indebted countries in the world. A
meets the target. In the absence of a concerted           write off would provide them with more money
effort to meet aid targets, the millennium                in their budgets to achieve the millennium
development goals will not be reached. In his             development goals by spending more on the vital
report, In Larger Freedom, the UN Secretary               services in health, education, agriculture and
General emphasises our obligation to ensure the           infrastructure which are crucial to their long-
millennium development goals are achieved in              term futures.
the context of the deaths every year of 3 million            If we are serious about making poverty history,
from HIV-AIDS while countless more are lost to            we must do more than pay lip service to an ideal.
disease, poverty and starvation. Mr. Kofi Annan           The Government must immediately agree a new
has stated clearly that while the goals can be            target date to achieve 0.7% of GNP on overseas
reached by 2015, it will only happen if all involved      development aid. The Minister of State, Deputy
497    G8 Summit and Overseas Development Aid:   28 June 2005.                  Motion                    498


Conor Lenihan, informed the Joint Committee                  The jury remains out as to whether removing
on Foreign Affairs recently that a timeframe and          all subsidies will help poor countries. A cut in EU
mechanism to meet the UN target was under                 sugar prices could have a negative impact on less
ongoing review. It is imperative that the ongoing         developed African countries——
review reaches a conclusion quickly. I call on the
Government to stop procrastinating on the issue              Mr. D. Ahern: Is there a split?
and honour its commitment by immediately set-
ting out a realistic timeframe to reach the 0.7%            Mr. Naughten: ——which currently gain from
target.                                                   the high guaranteed prices they receive for the
   The Green Party motion demands a re-examin-            sugar cane they sell into Europe. These countries
ation of the supports given to producers in the           favour an import system into the EU which
developed world and their effect on producers’            ensures predictable and regular import quantities,
counterparts in less developed regions. I will first      rather than the race to the bottom in price terms
consider the effect of subsidies on the developed         that totally free access would bring.
world using Ireland as an example. Since reform
of the Common Agricultural Policy in 1992 and              Mr. D. Ahern: I am surprised Deputy Eamon
the Agenda 2000 agreement, the emphasis of EU             Ryan is not heckling the Deputy.
agricultural supports under the CAP has moved
away from the traditional market supports to                 Mr. Eamon Ryan: I am asking for——
direct payments to farmers. In 2003 direct pay-
ments received as a percentage of farm income               Mr. D. Ahern: The Green Party is supposed to
amounted to 68%. Last year the payments                   be going into government with Fine Gael.
accounted for 74% of aggregate farm income. It
is clear that for agriculture to survive such sup-           Mr. Eamon Ryan: We will convert them.
port measures are needed.
   We must support our indigenous agricultural              Mr. Naughten: The reference in the recent EU
industry. The agrifood sector as a whole accounts         sugar reform proposals to the design of an assist-
for 9% of GDP and employment and 8% of                    ance package for less developed countries is an
exports. More than 112,000 people are employed                                              ´
                                                          acknowledgement of this fact. Trocaire has called
in primary agriculture and nearly half that               for the maintenance of quotas for less developed
number again in the food and drinks industry.             African countries. It recognises that there must
Agrifood exports last year were worth \7 billion          be room for domestic production of sugar in
to the economy, but when taken as a net value             Europe. The change to subsidies can have a direct
based on balance of payments etc., they are worth         negative impact on many of these developing
\11 billion so they are a significant element of          countries. We could see the major sugar barons
our economy.                                              in the likes of Thailand, Brazil and Australia,
   In many rural areas where farming is on the            many of whom reside within the European
decline, this decline does not stop at the farm           Union, benefiting from it.
gate. It has a significant domino effect. If we are         Food security is an important issue. The reason
serious about preserving our rural landscape, we          we have subsidies and supports in the European
must encourage people to remain on the land and           Union is to ensure we have food security for
maintain farmers in rural areas. It must be               European consumers. A key question is how
pointed out that as a result of EU payments, Irish        much we value the need to have a domestic food
farmers are now encouraged to farm in an                  supply that provides safe, quality food. We must
environmentally sensitive way, which has had a            answer that question in regard to the debate on
significant impact on the rural landscape.                the CAP. Do we want factory farms, hypermark-
   It is important to point out that for 80% of           ets and dodgy imports, which is contrary to what
European farm holdings the amount of direct               we have at present? In those circumstances the
support farmers receive is less than \5,000 but it        countryside would become a desolate place as the
is crucial to ensuring that small farmers in rural        agricultural economy is the lifeblood of many
Ireland can continue to live and work the land.           towns and villages the length and breadth of
   For those who have not been following the              Ireland. I commend the amended motion to the
recent reforms, the single farm payment is now            House.
completely decoupled from food production. We
no longer have a system of agriculture that                 Mr. D. Ahern: The Green Party would sell its
encourages inefficient farming. The focus is now          soul if it went into government with Fine Gael.
on quality, efficiency and environmental prac-
tices. The revised Common Agricultural Policy                Mr. Allen: It is better than what the Minister
which was agreed in 2002 by all member states             is suggesting.
was to provide funding for agriculture between
then and 2013. The budget was to start at 38% of             Mr. D. Ahern: One may laugh, but it will sell
the total EU budget and scale back over the               its soul.
period to 30% by 2013. That deal was signed by
each member state and we must abide by it.                   An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order, please.
499               Disability Bill 2004:          28 June 2005.               From the Seanad              500


   Mr. Neville: I welcome the opportunity to              attends the forthcoming UN Millennium Summit.
speak on this important issue. While welcoming            When he returns from that summit he must put in
the recently announced debt cancellation, we              place mechanisms to deliver on the commitment
must ensure that as part of the First World we            within two years.
would give leadership on this issue. We have                 The Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, has
given leadership in the past but, unfortunately,          questioned what an alternative Government
our name has taken a knock in recent times. I ask         would do or how it would work if it was consti-
the Minister to reiterate the objective of reaching       tuted from different parties.
0.7% of GNP in overseas development aid.
   A total of 1.2 billion people live on less than $1        Mr. Naughten: He is worried.
a day. Earlier this year I visited Ghana where I saw
people in those circumstances. I met some mission-          Mr. Crawford: For a Government that handed
aries there who after 50 years do not understand          back \383 million over a seven-year period from
how these people survive on less than $1 a day.           the Department of Agriculture and Food to the
They were wholehearted in their tributes to them          Department of Finance, its commitment to farm-
for their initiative and survival instinct in such        ing has fallen far short.
appalling conditions. Statistics show that every day
800 million people go to bed hungry and 28,000             Mr. D. Ahern: Does the Deputy agree with the
children die from poverty related causes. It is           Green Party on the subsidy?
appalling that rich countries do not respond to the
needs of the Third World. We must send a clear              Mr. Crawford: He should consider his own
message that there is a moral obligation not alone        record and let ours stand.
in this country but in the developed world in gen-
eral to ensure that basic human dignity is main-            Mr. Naughten: The Minister should read the
tained in the Third World.                                amendment.
   It is unacceptable that 14,000 women die each
day from causes related to childbirth, 99% of them          Mr. Crawford: I appreciate that money pro-
in the developing world. Some 15 million children         vided by taxpayers must be spent properly.
around the world have lost one or both parents to                                                     ´
                                                            I thank organisations such as GOAL, Trocaire
AIDS. I visited an AIDS centre when I was in              and Christian Aid for all the good work they have
Ghana and saw at first hand the devastation caused        done. It is more important to help people to help
by children being orphaned because of AIDS and            themselves than simply to give them money.
children who were born with AIDS because one
or both of their parents had it. We have a duty to           Debate adjourned.
contribute not alone financially but in every way
possible towards relieving that situation.
                                                                        Message from Seanad.
   Mr. Crawford: I welcome the opportunity to                                                      ´
                                                            An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Seanad Eireann
say a few words on this matter. I hope that when          has passed the Maritime Safety Bill 2004 and the
the G8 countries meet in Edinburgh they will              Investment Funds, Companies and Miscellaneous
make a total commitment to the cancellation of            Provisions Bill 2005 without amendment.
debt for heavily indebted poor countries. I wel-
come the publicity towards this end generated by
people like Bob Geldof, but I want no more                       Disability Bill 2004: From the Seanad.
excuses or half promises from the Minister of
State, Deputy Conor Lenihan, or the Taoiseach.                   ´
                                                            The Dail went into Committee to consider
   Ireland has had a proud record through its             amendments from the Seanad.
church workers and individuals down through the             An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Seanad amend-
centuries. Even at a time when we could not               ments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and may be dis-
afford it, our people supported those who were            cussed together.
worse off and were in desperation.
   The name of Ireland has been damaged by the               Seanad amendment No. 1:
fact that, while the Taoiseach gave a solemn com-
                                                               In page 8, subsection (1), lines 36 to 39, “an
mitment on the world stage to get his man
                                                             officer of which is the accounting officer in
elected, in the end he failed to deliver the 0.7%
                                                             relation to the appropriation accounts of that
of GNP he promised to devote to overseas
                                                             body for the purposes of the Comptroller and
development aid. Six months ago the people
                                                             Auditor General Acts 1866 to 1998” deleted
showed their total and absolute commitment to
                                                             and “which is not the subject of an allocation
the people of south-east Asia when they fund-
                                                             by a Minister under subsection (2)” substituted.
raised and gave personal donations, shaming the
Government into committing sizeable sums in               Amendment No. 1 concerns section 5. This
aid. The way it was given, one would almost think         section was probably discussed on Committee
the Minister was losing out and not the compliant         Stage more than any other section. Difficulties
taxpayer. I call on the Taoiseach to reaffirm             arose regarding how various elements of the
Ireland’s commitment to the 0.7% target when he           structure were to work but, nevertheless, section
501               Disability Bill 2004:          28 June 2005.               From the Seanad                502


5 is probably the most fundamental section of             presented that all the people of Ireland deserve.
the Bill.                                                 I emphasise this because it does not only concern
   Section 5 makes reference to services and              people with disabilities but all the citizens of this
states a “Minister” means “a Minister of the              State. We all have a right to see the desired legis-
Government”. This Bill affects several Depart-            lation presented. None of us is at a remove from
ments and therefore it is a question of “Ministers        this issue. Only for the grace of God, we might
of the Government”. Given the importance of               well be at the centre of what is actually needed
ring-fencing, what is meant by “services”? Do the         in this legislation. Who knows what the future
services to be provided by each Department com-           will bring for any of us?
prise only services specific to people with dis-               This legislation is for all the people of Ireland
abilities or all services? If, for instance, the OPW      and these amendments do absolutely nothing to
were to install a ramp to facilitate access to a          change what is, in effect, a Bill that has turned its
building, would it be part of the service? Would          back on the recommendations of the Govern-
it be what the funding is for? Is the tactile pave-       ment-established Disability Legislation Consul-
ment the Department of the Environment, Heri-             tation Group and all its good work. This is exem-
tage and Local Government provides through                plified by the withdrawal of many of those who
local government services part of the service?            had made an heroic and critical contribution and
Does it pertain to the budget?                            who ultimately found themselves, very disap-
   Is the education service provided by the               pointingly, having to campaign against the end
Department of Education and Science part of the           result of all their labours because the Govern-
service? Is this what its budget is for? I do not         ment turned its back on it.
refer solely to the education service for children             Seanad amendments Nos. 1 and 2 confer no
with disabilities because the Supreme Court               rights and establish no commitment to the prin-
decision on primary education for people over 18          ciple of progressive realisation. Every provision
extends the scope in this regard. Exactly what            in section 5 is framed to reduce the State’s liab-
services are we talking about? To what does ring-
                                                          ility for failure to provide essential services. Sinn
fencing apply? If the education service is part of
                                                             ´
                                                          Fein’s amendment, which was presented by my
the service referred to, how does this square with                              ´
                                                          colleague Deputy O Snodaigh during the substan-
the constitutional obligation regarding primary
                                                          tive debate on the legislation in this House,
education?
                                                          sought to ring-fence funding for disability-specific
   Will the Minister state exactly what he means
                                                          services. Of course this was rejected by the
by “services”? Are they disability-specific
                                                          Government.
services? Does he mean services including those
which are available to us all? I would like a com-             Although not wishing to labour my point on
prehensive answer to these questions because it           Seanad amendments Nos. 1 and 2 because we
is very important that we know exactly the budget         may wish to proceed further, I must state that any
that will be available to each Department. Will it        amendment to section 5 that does not introduce
be a question of the comprehensive service                the principle of ring-fencing funding for dis-
including services for people with disabilities or        ability-specific services is not relevant, serves no
simply a question of disability-specific services? If     useful purpose and is an example of the futility
it is the latter, how will the budget of each             of the entire exercise in which we are engaged
Department be determined at the start of each             this evening.
year?                                                          I regret greatly that we will not have another
                                                          opportunity to pass judgment on the substantive
              ´ ´
   Caoimhghın O Caolain: We are dealing only
                        ´                                 Bill. Instead, we must vote on whatever Seanad
with the first and second of 33 Seanad amend-             amendments are outstanding at 9 p.m. It is the
ments although the time allowed for considering           only mechanism open to us with which to show
them will elapse in 25 minutes. As I stated today         our absolute contempt for a Bill which shows con-
on the Order of Business, these 33 amendments             tempt for those who hoped, worked for and
are broadly technical and do absolutely nothing           deserved legislation which reflected their rights
to rescue this fundamentally flawed legislation.          and needs.
Since the Seanad did not make a series of amend-
ments taking on board the recommendations of                 Mr. Stanton: These amendments are largely
the Commission on the Status of People with Dis-          technical. I am not 100% sure what amendment
abilities, the recommendations contained in the           No. 1 is supposed to achieve. Perhaps the Mini-
document Equal Citizens, or amendments that               ster of State would explain. Judging from what
transformed the Bill significantly into rights-           he said in the Seanad this is a purely technical
based legislation, the exercise in the House is           amendment and relates to section 2 not contra-
absolutely fatuous.                                       dicting a part of section 1 when changed.
   I strongly disagree with even the notion of               In amendment No. 2, the Minister of State is
section 5, which imposes resource limitations.            replacing the word “required” with “appropri-
This is its primary purpose. This is not the stuff        ate”. It would be useful to know why that is being
of legislation that would make a key and critical         done. Perhaps the DLCG had something to do
difference in the delivery of the rights of people        with it. However, it appears to weaken the legis-
with disability. We want to see legislation               lation in that if funding is required it is up to the
503              Disability Bill 2004:          28 June 2005.               From the Seanad                504

   [Mr. Stanton.]                                        Government to respond to the advice which was
Minister of the day to judge whether it is               given by those put in place to do so. Mr. Justice
appropriate.                                             Flood was very clear in that the only approach
   The Bill would make sense if it included a pro-       was on the basis of introducing a rights-based
vision in this section whereby funding was ear-          Bill. Others who contributed were singular in the
marked early in the year and then ringfenced so          view that nothing less than a rights-based Bill was
that it could not be used for anything other than        acceptable and that it is needed to ensure that
the services needed for people with disabilities.        people with disabilities get their rights under var-
However, this is not the case, as the Minister of        ious international conventions, including the
State made clear to me on Report Stage. Is it pos-       Convention on Human Rights. Section 5 and the
sible at this point for the Government to put that       amendments before us do nothing to allow for
kind of structure in place? A judgment could then        this discussion and we are concerned in that
be made at the start of the year regarding the           regard. Politicians from many parties gave a com-
amount of money required to provide services for         mitment to ensure that, should the opportunity
people with disabilities for that year. That money       arise, a rights-based Bill would be introduced to
would then be made available and could not be            the House.
touched by anybody except for those services. If
the money ran out during the year, a supplemen-             Minister of State at the Department of Justice,
tary budget could be introduced to top it up.            Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Fahey): Amend-
   This section, however, goes the other way.            ment No. 1 is a technical amendment and makes
There will be very little left for the services pro-     it clear that the definition of specified bodies
vided for in this Bill if a flu epidemic occurs and      relates to bodies such as the HSE and the courts
the HSE must use the funding. This huge corner-          which operate with their own financial Votes and
stone should be in place but it is not. The entire       where the relevant Minister does not allocate
strategy is built on sand; it is a quicksand into        funding.
which people can sink. This is the Bill’s major             The change reflected in amendment No. 2 was
flaw.                                                    sought by the DLCG at its recent meeting with
   We are discussing largely technical amend-            the Taoiseach on 25 May. The Taoiseach indi-
ments and the changing of words. There are a             cated that the matter would be reviewed and the
number of amendments further along which some            Government has since agreed to make the related
of us suggested on Committee and Report Stages           change to the Bill. Page 9, subsection (4), line 6,
and which the Minister has now taken on board.           states that in determining the appropriate allo-
I would be interested in what he has to say about        cation under subsections (2) and (3), the Minister
section 5, one of the key funding sections. It is        or specified body shall ensure that the amount
specifically set up to protect the Minister, the         remaining after the allocation is not less than the
Exchequer and the Departments so that nobody             amount that is required. The word “appropriate”
can say that the Department must spend a certain         is more balanced in the context of the balance
amount of money to help a child badly in need of         achieved in this Bill. The DLCG felt that the
a service. Until now the courts could do this and        word “required” was somewhat too strong and
parents have had to go to court to get support           we accepted the amendment.
and services for their children. However, that will         With regard to Deputy Lynch’s point, services
not be possible under this section. It will preclude     are described in section 2 of the Bill and do not
people from going to court and the courts will be        include education services which are provided for
unable to make a judgment to provide a service.          in the new special education Bill.
That is what people are saying about this section.          With regard to the points made in terms of
   The Minister of State has said many times that        rights, I am absolutely satisfied that the pro-
he does not want the courts to tell him, the             visions in this Bill give a considerable number of
Government or the HSE what to do. Heretofore             rights to people with disabilities but do not
citizens had no choice but to go to court to get         include a new right, namely, the right to a jus-
rights for their children and for other adults.          ticiable decision. I took on this responsibility fol-
Hopefully the situation will change but unless the       lowing publication of the Bill and am satisfied
funding is sufficient and ringfenced, it will all be     that it would not be in the best interests of people
built on sand. I hope it works for the sake of the       with disabilities to have justiciable rights. A
people who deserve and need services and sup-            situation already exists in respect of health
ports from the State in order to achieve a quality       services whereby justiciable rights do not exist.
of life that gives them dignity and respect. That        They have existed in the past with regard to
is what we all wish for.                                 special education services. It is quite clear from
                                                         decisions taken and the ensuing results that most
  Mr. Neville: The proposed amendment does               of the money received in terms of justiciable
nothing to address serious concerns regarding the        rights in the courts with regard to the issue of
need for a rights-based Bill. There was an emot-         education has gone into lawyers’ pockets.
ive response to the Minister of State’s approach            I was very interested in what I read in this
at a meeting last night in Limerick. Families of         morning’s paper. I would particularly like
those with disabilities expressed their extreme          members of the Labour Party and Fine Gael to
concern and near anger at the failure of the             confirm whether they will give a commitment to
505               Disability Bill 2004:           28 June 2005.                From the Seanad                 506


introduce legislation giving justiciable rights. It is     into the pockets of barristers and solicitors. Mr.
not in the interests of people with disabilities. It       Justice Fergus Flood did not speak last night as a
is no wonder someone like Mr. Justice Flood                judge, he spoke as the chairman of the Com-
wants to have justiciable rights. He would prob-           mission on People with Disabilities. To even infer
ably feel it is the courts that should decide the          that it was in his self-interest that he proposed the
level of service to be provided for people. It is          inclusion of justiciable rights requires an apology
not the courts that should do this, but this House.        from Deputy Fahey. It is outrageous that he
   The legislation is innovative in that it provides       should make such an assertion.
for transparency for the first time, in that each
Minister must outline in public at the beginning              Mr. Neville: Hear, hear.
of the year the amount of money that he or she
will allocate for disabilities. With the multi-               Ms Lynch: People who have to go to court to
annual funding of the next five years there will           vindicate their rights do so because they have no
be no change in that departmental allocation. It           other option. I ask the Minister how he thinks we
is not possible to include in legislation the ring-        would react to legislation that stated that either
fencing of money in any area of public expendi-            he, or I could not go to court to vindicate our
ture. I had robust discussions with officials in the       rights, whether in relation to wrongful arrest,
Department of Finance who were quite clear that            slander or a civil action of some kind. We would
in the interests of good governance and the                strongly protest and we would be right to do so.
proper use of public funds, we could not ring-                People with disabilities are not lesser citizens.
fence funding in legislation. I assure the House,          They are equal citizens who just happen to need
however, that the Bill provides that each Minister         more help from the State than people who are
must outline the allocation of money he or she             able-bodied. The difficulty is that this Govern-
will devote to disabilities during the year. It            ment perceives them to be lesser citizens and is
would take a brave Minister to change that allo-           not prepared to do the right thing. I point out to
cation and with multi-annual funding, there will           the Minister of State that everything costs money.
be no need to change.
                                                              Mr. Stanton: If this Bill is all the Minister of
  Ms Lynch: The notion that one cannot ring-               State claims, why is he afraid of the courts? If this
fence money is outrageous, for the simple reason           legislation will provide the necessary services and
that it is done all the time.                              supports there is no need to insert a provision
                                                           that prevents people from going to court. The last
  Mr. Fahey: Not in legislation.                           place people with disabilities or their parents
                                                           want to go is to court. The court is the last resort,
  Ms Lynch: We already know, for instance, how             the final choice and people only go there because
much the Government intends to spend in the                the State has let them down. In most instances
next five years for disability services. The notion        they are vindicated in the neutral venue of the
that one cannot——                                          court, although the Minister of State seemed to
                                                           imply that our courts are not neutral. Under the
  Mr. Fahey: On a point of information, Deputy
                                                           Constitution the courts are there to uphold the
Lynch is incorrect. That is plainly incorrect.
                                                           rights of individuals and if the courts find in fav-
  Ms Lynch: I ask the Leas-Cheann Comhairle if             our of the citizen, they are doing their job. If this
that is a point of information.                            Bill is all that it is claimed to be, if it will provide
                                                           the services and supports Deputy Fahey claims,
  An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: There is no such               there is no need to prevent people from going to
thing as a point of information.                           court if they feel they must. People should not
                                                           have to go to court, if this Bill is so good.
   Ms Lynch: That is not a point of information.              Through the Finance Act, money is ring-fenced
It is just a point of pomposity and an indication          every year and there is no reason that could not
that the Minister of State thinks he is right about        be done in the context of the Disability Bill. I do
everything. It is not a point of information.              not know if the Minister of State has ever read
   With this Disability Bill we have a Minister of         the Finance Act. It is a large document and there
State who clearly does not have the power, the             is considerable reading in it, as well as much
will or the desire to change anything or to put            work. Money could be set aside and ring-fenced
something in place that would benefit people with          specifically for the services for which the Bill
disabilities. That was very obvious from the out-          legislates. If funding is inadequate, a supplemen-
set of this process. I do not know if Deputy Fahey         tary budget could be introduced to ensure that
felt this was a form of punishment for him but he          people receive the services they require. That is
clearly did not have the interest required to do           what should be done, but this Bill and the section
the job properly.                                          under discussion, is specifically designed to pro-
   Those who campaign on behalf of people with             tect the State and Ministers from the weakest sec-
disabilities have enough to do without running to          tor of our society, namely, people with dis-
the courts at every turn. Yet the Minister of State        abilities.
has consistently said, every time he has risen to             At the outset of the debate on this legislation,
his feet, that their only aim in life is to put money      I read out a letter from the parent of a disabled
507               Disability Bill 2004:             28 June 2005.                From the Seanad              508

   [Mr. Stanton.]                                             stage of its enactment and implementation.
child. He said that when he read this Bill, it was            Unfortunately, because of the guillotine we will
like a slap in the face. He wondered why the State            not be afforded the opportunity to discuss other
is so afraid of his child, who cannot walk or talk.           amendments tabled. However, most of these are
Why is the State so afraid that it must insert safe-          technical and will not make a huge difference to
guards into legislation to protect the State and              the substance of the Bill.
the Exchequer from his child? That is what that
                                                                           ´ ´
                                                                 Caoimhghın O Caolain: As this is almost the
                                                                                       ´
parent wondered and that is exactly what is hap-              last minute allowed for this discussion, I wish to
pening with this Bill.                                        briefly state that the Human Right’s Com-
   Some time ago I said I hoped the Bill would                             mission’s critique of Section 5, as
work, for the sake of people with disabilities. We                                            ´
                                                                           passed by the Dail will still hold,
will follow the progress carefully from the aut-              9 o’clock
                                                                           even if amendments Nos. 1 and 2
                      ´
umn, when the Dail returns from its imposed                   were accepted. The critique deals with the pro-
exile. We will track the progress of the Bill, ask            posed system of funding which provides Ministers
questions and examine how every section of the                and service providers wide discretion to deviate
legislation is put into place. We already find that           from the provision of services identified as being
the special needs area in education is being cut              required, or appropriate, by persons with dis-
back. Special needs assessment officers are telling           abilities. The Human Rights Commission con-
children in schools that they cannot have a special           cluded that this Bill does not guarantee the pro-
needs assistant. The Education for Persons with               gressive realisation of rights and therefore is not
Special Educational Needs Bill does not appear                consistent with our obligations under inter-
to be working in that regard.                                 national human rights law. In all the responses
   I appeal to the Minister of State to ensure that           from the Minister of State in the course of the
there is sufficient funding in place, that it is ring-        entire debate on the so-called Disability Bill, I
fenced and not frittered away on other services in            never noted that he addressed the concerns raised
the health or education areas and that the                    by the Human Rights Commission and I do not
services and supports are in place for the people             know if time will allow for that this evening. This
who need them. The need is great. Deputies who                is a most unsatisfactory process.
were in Limerick last night heard people describe
their experiences, the pressures they are under                 An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: As it is now 9
and their anger and frustration was palpable.                 p.m. I am required to put the following question
                                                                                                     ´
                                                              in accordance with an order of the Dail of this
One’s heart would go out to such people when
                                                              day: “That the Seanad amendments not disposed
one realises what they have to endure and the
                                                              of are hereby agreed to in Committee and agree-
fears they have for their disabled children when
                                                              ment to the amendments is accordingly reported
they die and so on.
                                                              to the House.”
   I hope this Bill will work, but I have major res-
ervations. We will track progress and follow every              Question put.

                                               ´             ´       ´
                                          The Dail divided: Ta, 65; Nıl, 51.
                                                          ´
                                                         Ta

       Ahern, Michael.                                               Haughey, Sean.´
       Ahern, Noel.                                                             ´
                                                                     Hoctor, Maire.
       Ardagh, Sean.´                                                Jacob, Joe.
       Brady, Johnny.                                                Keaveney, Cecilia.
       Brady, Martin.                                                Kelleher, Billy.
       Brennan, Seamus.                                              Kelly, Peter.
       Browne, John.                                                 Killeen, Tony.
       Callanan, Joe.                                                Kirk, Seamus.
       Callely, Ivor.                                                Kitt, Tom.
       Carey, Pat.                                                   Lenihan, Brian.
       Carty, John.
                                                                     McEllistrim, Thomas.
       Cassidy, Donie.
                                                                     McGuinness, John.
       Collins, Michael.
                                                                     Martin, Micheal.´
       Cowen, Brian.
                                                                     Moynihan, Michael.
       Cregan, John.
       Cullen, Martin.                                               Mulcahy, Michael.
       Curran, John.                                                 Nolan, M. J.
                                                                      ´    ´ ´
                                                                     O Cuıv, Eamon.
       Davern, Noel.
                                                                      ´         ´
                                                                     O Fearghaıl, Sean.´
       Dempsey, Tony.
       Dennehy, John.                                                O’Connor, Charlie.
       Devins, Jimmy.                                                O’Dea, Willie.
       Ellis, John.                                                  O’Donnell, Liz.
       Fahey, Frank.                                                 O’Donovan, Denis.
       Finneran, Michael.                                            O’Flynn, Noel.
       Fleming, Sean.´                                               O’Keeffe, Batt.
       Gallagher, Pat The Cope.                                      O’Keeffe, Ned.
509           Veterinary Practice Bill 2004:   28 June 2005.                     Report Stage              510


                                                ´
                                               Ta—continued

       O’Malley, Fiona.                                           Smith, Brendan.
       O’Malley, Tim.                                             Smith, Michael.
       Parlon, Tom.                                               Treacy, Noel.
                                                                  Wallace, Dan.
       Power, Peter.                                              Walsh, Joe.
                 ´
       Power, Sean.                                               Wilkinson, Ollie.
       Roche, Dick.                                               Woods, Michael.
       Sexton, Mae.

                                                       ´
                                                      Nıl

       Allen, Bernard.                                            McGrath, Finian.
       Boyle, Dan.                                                McGrath, Paul.
       Breen, James.                                              McHugh, Paddy.
       Broughan, Thomas P.                                        McManus, Liz.
       Burton, Joan.                                              Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
       Connaughton, Paul.                                         Murphy, Catherine.
       Costello, Joe.                                             Naughten, Denis.
       Cowley, Jerry.                                             Neville, Dan.
       Crawford, Seymour.                                         ´       ´          ´
                                                                  O Caolain, Caoimhghın.
                  ´
       Crowe, Sean.                                               O’Dowd, Fergus.
                    ´
       Cuffe, Ciaran.                                             O’Keeffe, Jim.
       Deasy, John.                                               O’Shea, Brian.
       Deenihan, Jimmy.                                           O’Sullivan, Jan.
       Durkan, Bernard J.                                         Pattison, Seamus.
       Fox, Mildred.                                              Penrose, Willie.
       Gormley, John.                                             Quinn, Ruairı.´
       Gregory, Tony.                                             Rabbitte, Pat.
       Hayes, Tom.                                                Ryan, Eamon.
       Healy-Rae, Jackie.                                         Sargent, Trevor.
       Higgins, Michael D.                                        Sherlock, Joe.
       Hogan, Phil.                                                           ´ ´
                                                                  Shortall, Roisın.
       Howlin, Brendan.                                           Stagg, Emmet.
       Kehoe, Paul.                                               Stanton, David.
       Lynch, Kathleen.                                           Upton, Mary.
       McCormack, Padraic.                                        Wall, Jack.
       McGinley, Dinny.

                           ´                               ´
                 Tellers: Ta, Deputies Kitt and Kelleher; Nıl, Deputies Kehoe and Stagg.

  Question declared carried.                                  Dr. Upton: I move amendment No. 1:
                                                                In page 16, line 6, to delete “who is not eli-
 Veterinary Practice Bill 2004 [Seanad]: Order                gible to be so registered, but”.
              for Report Stage.
                                                            The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that
  Minister of State at the Department of Agri-              an adequate number of vets will be appointed.
culture and Food (Mr. Browne): I move: “That                Having regard to the number of sub-committees
Report Stage be taken now.”                                 that may exist, it is important to ensure adequate
                                                            veterinary representation is available to each of
  Question put and agreed to.                               them. We discussed this issue at some length on
                                                            Committee Stage. It is important that account is
 Veterinary Practice Bill 2004 [Seanad]: Report             taken of this amendment to ensure the number
                     Stage.                                 of vets required is available to fulfil their role
                                                            adequately on such various committees.
   An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 2 is an
alternative to amendment No. 1 and amendments                 Mr. Naughten: I wish to speak to the three
No. 3 to 5, inclusive, and 15 are related. Amend-           amendments in my name and that of Deputy
ments Nos. 1 to 5, inclusive, and 15 can be taken           Crawford. Amendment No. 2 questions the
together.                                                   reason a veterinarian cannot represent animal
                                                            welfare groups. I accept the point made by the
   Mr. Naughten: On a point of order, can we get            Minister on Committee Stage that she wants to
a list of the grouping of amendments as it would            maintain a balance on the Veterinary Council.
be helpful when debating the amendments? It is              She wants to make sure that there are not too
normal procedure that this list is circulated.              many vets on the council. However, I do not
                                                            understand why the chairperson of the ISPCA —
  An Ceann Comhairle: Does the Deputy also                  to use the example I gave in this regard on Com-
wish to take a copy of the list for the information         mittee Stage — who traditionally was the person
of his colleague?                                           normally appointed to represent animal welfare
                                                            groups, should be disbarred from representing
  Mr. Naughten: I thank the Chair.                          that organisation on the Veterinary Council sim-
511           Veterinary Practice Bill 2004:      28 June 2005.                 Report Stage                 512

   [Mr. Naughten.]                                            Dr. Upton: It is Russia.
ply because that person holds a veterinary qualifi-
cation. That is not satisfactory. I do not believe            Mr. Browne: I am sorry, Russia.
that there will be too many vets. The legislation
should not be prescriptive in that way. I will not           Mr. Naughten: It is good we are keeping an eye
go into this amendment in further detail because           on her, anyway.
we articulated this point well on Committee
Stage.                                                        Mr. Browne: Deputies will no doubt be aware
   We also discussed amendments Nos. 4 and 15              that there was considerable discussion about the
on Committee Stage and the Minister gave a                 composition of the council during the passage of
commitment that she would examine the position             the Bill through the Seanad and on Committee
in this regard. I raise these amendments because           Stage in this House. The Minister, Deputy
for some unknown reason the legislation has been           Coughlan, already agreed to adjust the compo-
worded as if there is only one institution in the          sition of the council to ensure that sufficient vet-
State that provides veterinary qualifications, but         erinary expertise was available, particularly to
that is not the case. The National University of           serve on sub-committees. In order to achieve this,
Ireland provides the majority of qualifications            she agreed to an increase of two in the elected
here, but HETAC also provides qualifications,              veterinary practitioner membership. As regards
and account is not taken of that in the legislation.       the amendments being put forward again by
Members of the Athlone Institute of Technology             Deputies Naughten, Crawford and Upton, the
are extremely annoyed it was not consulted under           issues concerned were given considerable airing
any guise on this legislation. A significant amount        on Committee Stage in this House. As the Mini-
of the legislation directly relates to the institute       ster, Deputy Coughlan, indicated previously, the
and it was never consulted. No recognition, what-          underlying concerns are already catered for in the
soever, has been given to the Athlone institute in         Bill as currently formulated.
the legislation, yet one other institution is                 As regards the welfare constituency which is
implicitly written in, namely, UCD or the                  the subject of two amendments, already there is
National University of Ireland. As I said on Com-          a critical mass of veterinarians on the council, all
mittee Stage, either the NUI should be taken out           of who will, by virtue of their profession, be very
of the equation or HETAC should be included,               mindful of welfare. However, there is also an
for the sake of balance. The legislation has a pro-        issue of overall balance involved and I cannot
vision whereby as a default mechanism the NUI              agree to further increase the representation of
nominates members to the Veterinary Council of             vets on the council.
Ireland. Even at this late stage will the Minister            As regards consultation with HETAC, the
of State consider inserting an amendment, in con-          Minister indicated on Committee Stage that this
sultation at least with HETAC, so that at least it         would be examined further. Following this exam-
has a consultative role as regards this? These are         ination we do not believe any change is necessary
                                                           since the matter of nominating rights beyond the
the only two awarding bodies in the country and
                                                           NUI is already catered for in section 16(2) of the
I cannot see the logic of precluding one of them.
                                                           Bill. Deputy Naughten instanced a course being
   The Minister, Deputy Coughlan, in her                   run for veterinary nurses in Athlone Institute of
response on Committee Stage, said nothing pre-             Technology, which I understand is in its first year.
cludes her, as the Minister, from specifying any           It would be premature at this stage to include a
particular institute of technology, and that is cor-       specific reference to HETAC in the Bill before
rect. Yet, why does she have to include one body           the course has been accepted by the veterinary
and ignore the other? There are only two relevant          council in its role under section 13 as an approver
institutions in the State and I cannot understand          of courses for the purpose of registration.
why one of them has to be precluded from the               However, if and when this approval is granted, it
legislation. I ask the Minister of State to seriously      is likely the Minister will, at that stage, designate
consider that argument. HETAC is an awarding               HETAC as a nominating body, using her powers
body and there is absolutely no mention of it. The         under section 16(2) of the Bill.
representatives on the ground in Athlone                      Deputies Naughten and Crawford, by means of
Institute of Technology are very aggrieved that            amendment No. 15, also proposed that it be stipu-
they were not consulted as regards this legis-             lated in section 16(2) that a member of HETAC
lation. They feel they deserved to have an input,          must be appointed to the council’s education
just like everyone else. What really annoyed them          committee. Again, I feel this is premature.
is that implicit in the legislation is one institution     However, if in due course a nominee of HETAC
while the other is ignored.                                is appointed to the council, section 16(2) already
                                                           provides that the person must be on the edu-
  Minister of State at the Department of Agri-             cation committee. As regards Deputy Upton’s
culture and Food (Mr. Browne): I apologise for             proposal to specify that the dean of the veterinary
the absence of the Minister, who is on a trade             faculty must be on the council, as the Minister,
mission in China.                                          Deputy Coughlan, has already indicated on Com-
                                                           mittee Stage, we do not believe it would be
  Mr. Naughten: I believe it is Russia.                    appropriate in primary legislation to prescribe
513           Veterinary Practice Bill 2004:      28 June 2005.                Report Stage                 514


whom a nominating body must nominate. This                 of Technology to get their qualification. All of a
must be left to the nominating body itself.                sudden the sands are shifting under that structure.
  As regards the nominee of the Minister for                 Those particular students signed up for that
Education and Science, the Government remains              course on the basis of meeting specific targets
of the view that it would not be appropriate to            when they would emerge with a specified qualifi-
remove this person. Matters relating to training           cation. There is genuine concern in this regard.
and education, including continuing professional           There is also concern at Athlone institute level
development, are among the most important                  that if the NUI is the only representative as
functions being assigned to the council. In so far         regards the education element of the veterinary
as the education sphere is concerned a nominee             council, and that the university in conjunction
of the Minister and nominees from the education            with the council will set the rules for the future
providers are essential and appropriate. We                as regards the registration, functions and roles of
therefore do not accept the amendments for the             veterinary nurses, then it will not have a role in
reasons I have outlined.                                   that.
                                                             Finally, on the Minister of State’s comment
   Dr. Upton: As regards amendment No. 5, a                that the Minister, Deputy Coughlan, is likely to
very important point was being made in relation            include HETAC under section 16(2), will he be
to the dean of the faculty of veterinary medicine          somewhat more specific and indicate whether she
at UCD. As I have pointed out, it is the only              will do it?
school of veterinary medicine on the island. By
tradition the dean holds a very specific role of              Mr. Browne: On Deputy Upton’s point about
responsibility within the faculty. It would be             the dean of the faculty, it is generally expected
appropriate that as the representative of that             that he or she will be appointed. The Minister’s
body of professional veterinarians, and the edu-           point is that the House should not tell the nomin-
cators, particularly, the dean of the faculty should       ating body who it must appoint, although it is
be given a position on the council. Traditionally,         generally expected that the dean will be
this role has been held by the faculty of veterin-         appointed.
ary medicine.
   I also take account of what Deputy Naughten                Mr. Naughten: I am sure one or two individuals
said regarding HETAC. While I am promoting                 from Wexford will also be appointed.
the dean of the faculty of veterinary medicine,
UCD — I regard this as very important — I                     Mr. Browne: I hope so. While it is good that a
accept the role of HETAC, the other awarding               new and, I am sure, worthwhile course is being
body for the veterinary profession, namely veter-          offered at the Athlone Institute of Technology,
inary nurses. Some account should be taken, in             the Minister is not in a position to approve it. The
particular, of that role as well. I accept this is its     Veterinary Council of Ireland is the only organis-
first year and that awards have not yet been con-          ation which can approve a course. However, the
ferred. Nevertheless, HETAC clearly will be the            Minister has indicated that if and when approval
awarding body and it is very important it is recog-        is granted, it is likely that she will designate
nised in that role and has parity, at least, with the      HETAC as a nominating body using her powers
faculty of veterinary medicine for which I am              under section 16(2). She stated same on Commit-
arguing.                                                   tee Stage. I anticipate that as soon as the Veterin-
                                                           ary Council of Ireland, the only body with power
   Mr. Naughten: I come back to the issue of               to approve a course, approves the course in
HETAC and the significant concerns among vet-              Athlone, the Minister will be in a position to con-
erinary nurses. I do not know the ins and outs of          sider HETAC as a nominating body.
their qualifications or their training. However,
staff at the Athlone Institute of Technology are              Mr. Naughten: With regard to——
adamant that the core structure that has been
approved under HETAC is to a considerably                    An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Upton is the
higher standard than what is taking place in the           only Deputy with a right to speak to the amend-
National University of Ireland. I do not know              ment a third time.
whether that is the case. It would take someone
more expert than I am to decide whether that is               Mr. Naughten: Is that because she moved it?
the position. Perhaps Deputy Upton is in a better
position to adjudicate on that. However, be that              An Ceann Comhairle: Yes.
as it may they feel their qualification could be
watered down. The rules governing that and the               Mr. Naughten: Do I not have an opportunity
registration could be watered down because the             to speak to my amendments in the group?
function of the veterinary council is to set the
rules as regards the practice of veterinary nursing.         An Ceann Comhairle: No, the Deputy has an
That is one of the council’s first functions and           opportunity to speak twice, one long contribution
roles. HETAC has put the structures in place and           and one contribution of two minutes.
indicated specifically what hurdles have to be
crossed by students attending Athlone Institute               Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
515           Veterinary Practice Bill 2004:     28 June 2005.                Report Stage                 516


  Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 not moved.                         Dr. Upton: I agree with the thrust of Deputy
                                                          Naughten’s argument. The issue of limited regis-
  Mr. Naughten: I move amendment No. 4:                   tration has been widely debated and the Minister
    In page 16, line 16, after “Ireland” to insert        offered some useful recommendations and advice
  “in consultation with H.E.T.A.C.”.                      on the matter. Nevertheless, the veterinary pro-
                                                          fession is concerned as to what exactly might be
                                                          implied by the provision for limited registration.
  Amendment put and declared lost.                        For this reason, it is important to specify that the
                                                          provision would be activated only where a disease
  Amendment No. 5 not moved.                              poses “a significant threat to human or animal
                                                          health”. Failure to do so would open the door to
   An Ceann Comhairle: Amendment No. 6 in the             interpretation and thereby create an environment
names of Deputies Naughten and Crawford arises            in which limited registration could be made avail-
out of committee proceedings. Amendment No. 7             able in circumstances that were never intended.
is related and the amendments may be discussed            The inclusion of the specific wording, “a signifi-
together by agreement.                                    cant threat to animal or human health”, would
                                                          remove ambiguity from the provision.
  Mr. Naughten: I move amendment No. 6:
    In page 37, line 12, after “disease” to insert           Mr. Browne: With regard to amendments Nos.
  the following: “which poses a significant threat        6 and 7, the subject of limited registration has
  to animal or human health”.                             been debated extensively during earlier Stages of
This brings us back to the issue of the definition        passage of the Bill. Although the Minister has
of the term “a significant threat to animal or            explained in depth the rationale for the section,
human health”. There is considerable concern              it may be useful to briefly cover it again since
that the current wording could give the Minister          there appears to be an underlying concern that
a blank cheque in terms of the diseases she would         the provision could be used as a back door to
designate. Vets are also concerned that the Mini-         register unqualified persons in a manner which
ster could include in the designation routine pro-        would undermine the veterinary profession. That
cedures carried out as part of an animal health           is not in any way the intention behind the
programme.                                                provision.
   According to the Minister, the sole purpose of            The 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease
the provision is to deal with significant diseases,       which, though limited geographically, nonetheless
for example, class A diseases, but the powers             showed the extreme pressure a larger outbreak
given to the Minister far exceed this specific            would place on the veterinary service, both State
element. In the Seanad and in committee, she              and private. It must be taken into account that a
consistently stated that the sole purpose of the          disease episode could be EU-wide or even hemi-
provision in both the relevant sections is specifi-       sphere-wide, meaning that we could not call on
cally to deal with serious emergencies arising            practitioners from elsewhere in Europe. In these
from class A type diseases or a shortage of veter-        circumstances, it is no more than prudent to make
inarians which requires us to bring in vets from          statutory provision for an exceptional recognition
abroad. She consistently cited the example of foot        mechanism, which would allow persons with
and mouth disease as the reason for introducing           requisite skills, for example, trainee vets from a
the provision. No one, inside or outside the              third country, to be taken in expeditiously to
Chamber, would have a difficulty with the pro-            carry out specified tasks determined by the Vet-
vision, provided that this is its sole purpose. The       erinary Council of Ireland.
difficulty, however, is that as the legislation              Provision is also made under the section to
stands, any disease can come under this category.         recognise persons who, while eminently qualified
The purpose of the amendment is to provide clar-          in a particular field which would render desirable
ity in this regard.                                       their presence in, for example, a veterinary
   The Minister argued on Committee Stage that            college for teaching purposes, they would none-
she did not want to be restricted if an urgent and        theless not hold a conventional veterinary degree.
significant threat to animal or human health                 The section also contains important safeguards.
emerged and, therefore, the class A definition            The Veterinary Council of Ireland must satisfy
might not be appropriate. I accept her argument,          itself that it is appropriate to activate the pro-
which is the reason I tabled these amendments             vision. The education committee has been desig-
specifically to deal with the types of diseases that      nated under section 63 a function to advise the
would pose a significant threat to animal or              council on the skills and knowledge required. The
human health. They provide a sufficiently broad           grounds for limited registration are specified in
definition to facilitate the Minister in terms of any     section 45(2), and section 45(4) provides a basis
potential necessity to apply the provisions, as set       for attaching conditions, including time, geo-
out, while also protecting the integrity of the vet-      graphic limits and operating under supervision, to
erinary medicine profession. Given the consider-          a limited registration.
able concern regarding the broad definition in the           With regard to the specific amendments under
section, I ask the Minister of State to reconsider        consideration and bearing in mind what I have
and accept the amendment.                                 said, it would not be appropriate to limit the pro-
517           Veterinary Practice Bill 2004:      28 June 2005.                  Report Stage                518


vision to significant diseases. In any event, the          still feels the situation is the best way forward and
formula contained in section 45(1) gives the               that the VCI would go through the exhaustive
council, rather than the Minister, an adequate             conditions before any decision is made.
framework within which to decide when it is
appropriate to activate this provision.                      Mr. Naughten: The argument does not hold up.
                                                           The Minister of State made the point about class
   Mr. Naughten: I thank the Minister of State for         A and class B diseases. I accepted that and
his response. While I accept his point that the            changed the amendment between Committee and
provision contains checks and balances and the             Report Stages to redefine the issue. The amend-
Veterinary Council of Ireland ultimately calls the         ment provides checks and balances and I do not
shots in terms of activating the provision, I am at        see any difficulty with our wording. It gives rise
a loss to understand why the amendment is not              to concern that it is not acceptable.
deemed appropriate. During every Stage in both
Houses, Members were told ad nauseam that the                 Amendment put and declared lost.
provision would apply in the event of an outbreak
of a disease such as foot and mouth disease,                  Mr. Naughten: I move amendment No. 7:
which poses a significant threat to animal or                   In page 37, between lines 14 and 15, to insert
human health. Any such outbreak may not                       the following:
necessarily involve a class A disease, the defini-
tion of which may change at some future date                         “(12) For the avoidance of doubt, a person
thus requiring amendment. This amendment is                       who is registered under this section shall not
well balanced and makes provision for what the                    carry out on an animal a treatment or pro-
Minister wants. I cannot understand why she is                    cedure or administer an animal remedy, save
not prepared to consider it when it copperfastens                 in the course of a disease outbreak poses a
everything she said on all Stages.                                significant threat to animal or human
   The Minister made the point about a veterinary                 health.”.
teacher. There could be a need for microbiolog-
ists if there is another major outbreak of foot and           Amendment put and declared lost.
mouth. The fair and balanced proposal in the
amendment addresses the provision the Minister                Mr. Naughten: I move amendment No. 8:
requires while providing the protection for con-
cerns that have been articulated.                               In page 41, line 25, after “Minister” to insert
                                                                                        ´ ´
                                                              “with the approval of Dail Eireann”.
   Dr. Upton: With emerging diseases such as               This amendment comes back to the issue of
avian flu and familiar diseases like foot and              definitions. There are such wide provisions in this
mouth, the intention of the Bill is to categorise          legislation that the Minister could regulate every-
class A diseases. To include the words “a signifi-         thing bar the kitchen sink if she wished. In the
cant threat to animal or human health”, however,           definition of veterinary practice, there are such
would take any contingency into account. It                broad provisions that every Member of the
would clarify the situation while protecting veter-        Oireachtas could be defined as a practitioner of
inary practitioners in the area of limited regis-          veterinary medicine if the majority of the House
tration. There are economic and human and ani-             wanted without any debate. That is the main diffi-
mal health connotations so it is important we              culty I have with it.
specify what we are talking about.                            The Minister and the profession would be pro-
                                                           tected if there was a provision requiring the posi-
   Mr. Browne: Since the debate in the Seanad,                                        ´
                                                           tive approval of the Dail and referral to a com-
when this issue arose, and on Committee Stage,             mittee. Many Ministers are sympathetic to this
the Minister has considered the suggestions made           sort of provision but for some reason the Minister
by Opposition Deputies. She believes it would be           for Agriculture and Food is not prepared to con-
inappropriate to limit the provision of class A dis-       sider it in this legislation.
ease since a class B or uncategorised disease                 Section 53 provides for the Minister to intro-
could pose as great a threat. In terms of the sig-         duce regulations on live animal certification or
nificant threat format, this is more of a policy           products of animal origin. The Minister, when
statement than a legal provision.                          Deputy Crawford raised the issue on Committee
   There are questions as to who will decide when          Stage, said it was not the case but section 53(1)
a significant threat exists and the criteria that will     covers what veterinary practitioners can certify.
be used to decide it. The Minister feels the exist-        The veterinary profession has a certain degree of
ing draft, which reserves the power to activate            influence in the Department of Agriculture of
limited registration to the council, implies the           Food and we must ensure checks and balances
council must assess the situation in light of the          are in place.
conditions prevailing and reach a decision as to              We have teased out the transportation of ani-
whether the other possibility of getting veterinary        mals with the Minister on a number of occasions
expertise into the country at short notice is not          so there is a sensible and practical approach taken
adequate. The Minister has given considerable              that is not stacked in favour of one profession
thought to the amendments put forward but she              getting its cut of the cake before everyone else.
519           Veterinary Practice Bill 2004:      28 June 2005.                Report Stage                 520

   [Mr. Naughten.]                                         this Bill is simply to bring it within the legal
That is why I am concerned about the practice of           definition of the practise of veterinary medicines
veterinary medicine. The amendment would                   when it is designated to vets. However, the desig-
mean the Minister would have to bring regu-                nation of such functions will not be provided for
lations before the House, thus ensuring any pro-           under this legislation and, therefore, the need for
posals to extend the provisions for veterinary             the amendment does not arise.
medicine would be debated. Otherwise, it is pos-             The Minister for Agriculture and Food has no
sible that a Minister could be caught in a bind            problem with a debate in the House a year after
with the veterinary profession when the issue of           the Bill is enacted. However, it would have to be
certification by vets who want a slice of the cake         agreed by the Whips at the time. This is the stan-
before allowing these procedures to go through             dard practice in the House.
arises.
                                                             Mr. Crawford: It certainly would not work out
   Mr. Crawford: I support this amendment. I sat           then.
in this House when we agreed regulations with
the then Minister for Agriculture and Food,                  Mr. Browne: I am not sure if Deputy Crawford
Deputy Walsh, and former Deputy Dukes was                  will be the Minister for Agriculture and Food in
our spokesperson. Categorical assurances were              the foreseeable future.
given that the issues would be brought back to
the Chamber within 12 months. Recently, on a                  Mr. Naughten: He is well on his way.
debate on the special powers Act, I noted that,               The Minister of State referred to other second-
on an annual basis, the Oireachtas has an oppor-           ary legislation. It defies logic that the protection
tunity to discuss its measures. If there are prob-
                                                           regarding secondary legislation provided for in
lems with the legislation, we have the right to
                                                           section 53 is other secondary legislation that can
change it. The regulations in this legislation could
                                                           be rubber-stamped through the House. The Mini-
have major implications for the future of farming.
                                                           ster of State referred to the European Communi-
We must protect the good name of our agricul-
                                                           ties (Certification of Animals and Animal
tural produce. However, we cannot protect it at
all costs and there is justification for this amend-       Products) Regulation 1999, SI 380/99. In effect,
ment. These measures must be brought back to               secondary legislation will protect other secondary
the House if and when necessary and not just on            legislation. That is a pointless argument. It is
a Minister’s whim. I urge the Minister of State to         obvious he has not listened to our argument that
realise it is not in the interest of the Minister for      checks and balances need to be put in place for
Agriculture and Food to have all matters tied              the Minister, as much as anyone else.
down to regulations. The House has a role to play             While he argues that this is the wrong legis-
in determining this.                                       lation on which to discuss this issue, the amend-
                                                           ment states in black and white what vets can cer-
   Dr. Upton: There are two important elements             tify and it provides that the Minister, through
to this amendment. Precedents already exist in             secondary legislation, will make that provision
other legislation allowing for this type of amend-         regarding the certification. I do not want a
ment to be put in place. It is not as if an unusual        situation in the future where a partnership
provision is being sought. The second element              member, the veterinary practitioners, has an ace
concerns the power given to the Minister. It is            card up its sleeve to put pressure on the Minister
true that when dealing with any modification,              to act in a particular way. This could also have
particularly with regulations, the Minister has the        large ramifications regarding costs that could be
exclusive power to bring in that regulation. This          introduced under emergency measures. The
is neither good for the Minister nor the House.            Minister could argue that due to an outbreak of
Regarding regulations introduced in the past, it           foot and mouth disease, we have no other choice
is important the opportunity exists to have a full         but to introduce these emergency measures.
debate on them. It would serve to protect the                 We know the difficulties some provisions intro-
Minister because of the potential far-reaching             duced under the definition of emergency
consequences of any regulation that may be                 measures cause on a day-to-day basis and that
introduced.                                                they subsequently cause hardship for many.
                                                           However, these have not been reviewed as there
  Mr. Browne: On Committee Stage during                    is no provision to debate them on the floor of
which the Minister for Agriculture and Food,               the House, as Deputy Crawford pointed out. The
Deputy Coughlan, pointed out there is separate             Minister of State must examine this issue again if
legislation in place governing certification by vet-       he thinks that, just because there is other second-
erinary practitioners, this issue was discussed at         ary legislation that goes through on a nod and a
some length. This legislation is the European              wink, we should drop this amendment.
Community (Certification of Animals and Ani-
mal Products) Regulation 1999, SI 380/99.                    Mr. Browne: I will bring Deputy Naughten’s
Accordingly, the conferring of functions in the            viewpoints to the Minister.
certification is not appropriate for this legislation.
The purpose of the reference to certification in              Mr. Naughten: After the Bill is passed.
521                     Port                     28 June 2005.                Development                 522


   Mr. Browne: It will be returned to the Seanad          effected, with 104 amendments since the Bill was
this week. All Ministers are accountable to the           first introduced in the Seanad.
House through, for example, parliamentary ques-
tions, private Members’ time and Standing Order              Debate adjourned.
31. There are many ways in which a Minister is
accountable to the House. I will point out Deputy                      Adjournment Debate.
Naughten’s concerns to the Minister for Agri-
culture and Food. She has given consideration to                              ————
the issues raised on Committee Stage. However,
she believes this is the wrong legislation for this                      Port Development.
amendment.
                                                             Mr. J. O’Keeffe: I raise the need for clarifica-
   Mr. Naughten: The Minister for Agriculture             tion by the Minister of State at the Department of
and Food has seriously considered amendments              Communications, Marine and Natural Resources,
Deputies Crawford, Upton and I have tabled.               Deputy Gallagher, in the context of his replies to
That is why she has tabled so many amendments             Questions Nos. 180 of 17 May, 221 and 222 of 24
on Report Stage, all of which are of a technical          May and 247 and 248 of 31 May, of his approval
nature. That reply does not wash.                         or otherwise of the decision of Dublin Port Com-
   This is secondary legislation. The Oireachtas is       pany to make a site available without going
criticised in the courts and the tribunals of inquiry     through the normal tendering process to facilitate
because it does not scrutinise legislation properly.      a private consortium bidding for the national con-
Whatever criticism we can take on primary legis-          ference centre contract.
lation, we all accept that secondary legislation             I raise questions and I demand clarification
basically provides the Minister of the day with a         from the Minister of State, arising out of a secret
blank cheque to do whatever he or she wishes.             arrangement entered into by Dublin Port Com-
We all know that under procedures, it is difficult        pany to provide a site for a private consortium,
to tease out issues in secondary legislation. If the      the Anna Livia Consortium, on which this private
Minister signs a regulation next Friday, it will not      consortium has bid for the contract to build the
be discussed in the House until October, with no          national conference centre.
checks and balances provided. Large measures                 The Minister for Communications, Marine and
can be implemented at a particular time. I ask            Natural Resources is the sole shareholder on
the Minister of State to consider accepting this          behalf of the people for Dublin Port Company.
                                                          The Anna Livia Consortium is a private consor-
amendment, particularly in returning to the
                                                          tium comprising Bennett Construction Limited,
Seanad on this amendment. It is important that
                                                          Kilsaran Concrete Limited and Earlsfort
proper checks and balances are in place to protect
                                                          Developments.
a Minister and officials as much as everyone else.
                                                             This secret deal was arranged without a com-
                                                          petitive tendering process and thus fails to com-
   Mr. Crawford: We do not have a later oppor-
                                                          ply with public procurement law and policy.
tunity to discuss legislation passed in this House. I     Neither does it comply with the code of practice
attempted on umpteen occasions to raise matters           for the governance of State companies. After I
concerning regulations on foot and mouth disease                                   ´
                                                          raised the issue in the Dail by way of a parliamen-
in the House. When they were introduced, all              tary question, the Minister of State confirmed
sides of the House dealt with these regulations in        that his Department had received a letter from
a co-operative manner. However, this co-oper-             Dublin Port Company requesting retrospective
ation was not appreciated or given fair play after-       approval for its proposals to enter into the
wards by the Government.                                  arrangement with the consortium in question.
                                                             The Minister also confirmed that the proposal
   Mr. Browne: I will point out the Deputies’ con-        of Dublin Port Company provides that in the
cerns to the Minister for Agriculture and Food.           event of the consortium being successful in its bid
Deputy Naughten stated that the Minister for              for the development of the national conference
            Agriculture and Food was not listen-          centre and appropriate planning and other con-
10 o’clock  ing, but I note that since the Bill was       sents being issued in respect of same, Dublin Port
            first introduced to the Seanad and its        Company will make a site available to facilitate
                                      ´
subsequent passage through the Dail, approxi-             the development of the national conference
mately 104 amendments were taken on board.                centre together with further and complementary
Some were tabled by the Minister and others by            commercial development.
the Opposition.                                              The arrangement entered into by Dublin Port
                                                          Company, DPC, has been done without a com-
  Mr. Naughten: I accept that.                            petitive tendering process. No competition has
                                                          been held by DPC nor have the principles of Irish
  Mr. Browne: Hence, the Minister listened and,           and EU public procurement law and policy been
in particular, she took into account a number of          adhered to.
amendments tabled by Deputies Upton and                      DPC is a “contracting entity” within the mean-
Naughten. As I stated, major changes have been            ing of article 2 of the EU utilities directive and,
523                      Port                      28 June 2005.                Development                   524

   [Mr. J. O’Keeffe.]                                       petitive tendering process. Inquiries and offers
as such, it is subject to the public procurement            for these lands by a number of other parties have
law regime set out in the utilities directive. Fur-         been rejected by Dublin Port Company. There-
thermore, as a State-owned body, DPC is subject             fore, the arrangement between Dublin Port Com-
to Government guidelines, the most recent being             pany and the Anna Livia Consortium has all the
the national public procurement guidelines of               hallmarks of a sweetheart deal, possibly of the
2004 which update the 1994 green book. The                  Galway races tent variety, since the principals on
guidelines enshrine the principle that competitive                                                 ´
                                                            both sides are well known Fianna Fail supporters.
tendering should always be used by any public                           ´
                                                              The Dail and the public are entitled to an
body in awarding a contract unless exceptional              explanation for the fact that Dublin Port Com-
circumstances apply.                                        pany has dealt exclusively with one private con-
   In response to Parliamentary Questions Nos.              sortium in respect of this matter and has failed to
221 and 222 of 31 May, the Minister of State at             give an opportunity to others to tender or to be
the Department of Communications, Marine and                considered for any such arrangement. The Dail      ´
Natural Resources, Deputy Gallagher, indicated              and the public are also entitled to know why
that the Department is concerned to ensure that             Dublin Port Company sought ministerial
DPC has complied with “applicable legislation               approval for the arrangement only after the heads
and the code of practice for the governance of              of agreement had been completed and the matter
State bodies”. The code of practice has specific                                        ´
                                                            had been raised in the Dail by me.
guidelines on the disposal of assets. Section 5.1                                     ´
                                                              At this stage, the Dail and the public are also
provides that where any property with an antici-            entitled to full clarification from the Minister as
pated value at or above \70,000 is disposed of, it          to whether he approves of the activities of Dublin
should be by way of auction or competitive ten-             Port Company on this issue. Failure to provide
dering process, except in exceptional circum-
                                                            full clarification will certainly fuel speculation as
stances, such as a sale to a charitable body. The
                                                            to the real reason for this secret deal and as to
method used should be both transparent and
                                                            how the parties involved hoped to justify such an
likely to achieve a fair market-related price.
                                                            extraordinary arrangement.
   In the context of the national conference
centre, we are talking of significant sums of
                                                               Minister of State at the Department of
money. The ballpark figure for the national con-
ference centre will be in the order of \300 million.        Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
Ancillary and complementary developments,                   (Mr. Gallagher): I thank Deputy Jim O’Keeffe
depending on the extent, could easily add another           for providing me with this opportunity to report
\300 million or more to the overall development             to the House on the background and current posi-
project. Clearly in the context of such enormous            tion regarding the matter of Dublin Port Com-
sums of money, there are huge dangers and temp-             pany and the Anna Livia Consortium which is
tations, which in the context of more modest                one of the candidates for the provision of a
amounts, have led to the establishment of                   national conference centre. The Office of Public
tribunals.                                                  Works has provided my Department with an
   At a minimum it is essential that any involve-           information note on some key events in the pro-
ment by a State-owned company should be in full             curement process for the national conference
compliance with public procurement law and                  centre and it is appropriate to refer to some of
policy. At this stage, it is essential for the Minister     these key events by way of background.
of State to clarify the position fully. He should              In June 2003, the Government agreed in prin-
furnish details of the alleged non-binding heads            ciple to the provision of a national conference
of agreement entered into with the private con-             centre. To facilitate and oversee the process, the
sortium, including date, terms and full details of          Government authorised the Minister for Arts,
the lands involved.                                         Sport and Tourism to set up a steering group to
   I am talking about land values with full zoning          include the Chairman of the Office of Public
and planning permission, which could be in the              Works and senior representatives of the Depart-
order of \20 million or \30 million an acre.                                         ´
                                                            ment of Finance and Failte Ireland. The group
Approximately four acres are needed for the                 was to be chaired by the Secretary General at the
national conference centre. The Minister indi-              Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and was
cated that the arrangement with the private con-            to be supported, as necessary, by professional
sortium also provided for further or complemen-             expertise, including the National Development
tary commercial developments. Depending on                  Finance Agency.
the extent of such complementary commercial                    In November 2003, the steering group
development another four acres could be                     approved the placing of advertisements by the
involved.                                                   Office of Public Works seeking expressions of
   Therefore, the lands being made available by             interest for the provision of a conference centre
Dublin Port Company may have a value of more                on a design, build, finance, operate and maintain
than \200 million. If the bid of the Anna Livia             basis. Responses to the advertisements were
Consortium for the national conference centre is            received from four candidates in January 2004.
successful, that private group will end up as the           Subsequently, tenders from two of these candi-
only possible purchaser, thus avoiding the com-             dates, including the Anna Livia Consortium, were
525                   National                  28 June 2005.                Aquatic Centre                526


received by the Office of Public Works and are           this context, the two Departments have agreed
currently being assessed.                                that it is necessary to seek the advice of the
   On 22 March 2005, the Department received a           Attorney General on the matter, in particular
press query by e-mail regarding the use of land in       regarding the process applicable to the proposal
the ownership of Dublin Port Company in con-             by Dublin Port Company to make available to
nection with a proposal for the national con-            the Anna Livia Consortium a site to facilitate the
ference centre. On 23 March, the Department              development of the national conference centre
requested Dublin Port Company to provide it              together with further and complementary com-
with relevant information regarding the proposal.        mercial development. I assure the Deputy there
On 1 April, Dublin Port Company replied to the           is no question of a sweetheart deal. He can be
Department stating that it was facilitating a con-       assured this will be dealt with in an open and
sortium in a tendering process for the national          transparent manner.
conference centre. On 1 April, the Department
requested the company to provide a note setting             Mr. J. O’Keeffe: It was not initially.
out the involvement of the company in and impli-
cations for the company of the consortium’s pro-
                                                                      National Aquatic Centre.
posal and a clear statement of what was meant by
the company facilitating the consortium.                    Ms Burton: One of the water slides in the
   On 7 April, the company replied, stating that it      national aquatic centre is called the dark hole. I
has been facilitating one of the consortia bidding       reckon the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism,
for the national conference centre in so far as it       Deputy O’Donoghue, wishes he could climb into
has consented to the inclusion of a site in the          that dark hole and hide while somebody com-
ownership of the company in the submission of            petent sorts out the mess in the \62 million
the consortium to the Office of Public Works as          centre.
being potentially a suitable site for the national          This week’s revelation that the national aquatic
conference centre. The company stated that it            centre is losing 5 million litres of water a month
had entered into non-binding heads of agreement          have really proven to be the straw that broke the
with the consortium, that it had not concluded a         camel’s back. Can the Minister substantiate
formal contract with the consortium and that it          reports that substantial cracking is visible on both
had not concluded an agreement for the disposal          floors of the centre’s underground plant room
of company assets or to provide access to those          and that more than 20 large cracks have
assets in favour of any third party.                     appeared? Can he substantiate reports that
   The principal issue at stake from the point of        design flaws make it difficult to maintain the
view of the Department is compliance by the              pool’s plant equipment? Is it true that the centre-
company with the applicable legislation and the          piece of the national aquatic centre, the 50m com-
code of practice for the governance of State             petition pool, is open for a mere four hours in the
bodies. The primary responsibility for compliance        morning from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.?
rests with the company. In this regard, the com-            The Minister boasted to me previously that the
pany has confirmed to the Department that it is          national aquatic centre was completed within the
adhering to the code of practice. In my reply to         time schedule set for it and within the budget of
Question No. 180 on 17 May, I stated that, based         \70 million. Would he make the same argument
on the information provided to the Department,           if a builder built his home ahead of schedule and
I had no reason at that time to request further          within budget only for the house to fall apart
information from the company regarding this              within two years? Somehow I doubt it. Will the
matter.                                                  Minister publish a detailed analysis of how the
   On 18 May, the Department received a letter           \62 million cost of the centre was arrived at, how
from Dublin Port Company requesting minis-               much was spent on consultant and project man-
terial approval for its proposal to enter into an        agement and how much on actual building and
arrangement with a consortium as detailed in             design and to which individuals and companies
draft heads of terms attached to the letter. The         payments were made?
company states that, in essence, the proposal pro-          It has become apparent that the problems with
vides that, in the event that the consortium is suc-     the national aquatic centre are not only structural
cessful in its bid for the development of the            but that it is mired in a range of legal, contractual
national conference centre and appropriate plan-         and financial difficulties. Court reports of Dublin
ning and other consents issue in respect of the          Waterworld making payments of \4.5 million for
national conference centre, Dublin Port Com-             unspecified services to a subsidiary of the com-
pany will make available a site to facilitate the        pany that secured the contract for the national
development of the national conference centre,           aquatic centre during a time when the parent
together with further and complementary com-             company was in rent arrears of \1 million beggar
mercial development.                                     belief. Did the Government really hand over a
   The Department has had a number of consul-            State asset costing \62 million to a company with
tations with the Department of Finance regarding         a share capital of \127 originally registered in the
the application of the code of practice and the          British Virgin Islands, a well-known tax haven?
legislative provisions relevant to the particular           Will the Minister publish the details of the con-
case presented to it by Dublin Port Company. In          tract between CSID and Dublin Waterworld and
527                   National                  28 June 2005.               Aquatic Centre                528

   [Ms Burton.]                                          Stadium Ireland Development Limited, CSID,
any other companies associated with it? In               the landlords of the national aquatic centre,
March, the Minister advised me, “The concept of          against Dublin Waterworld Limited, the oper-
the National Aquatic Centre has been developed           ators of the centre. This case is currently before
with a clear emphasis on commercial viability.           the commercial court. As has been explained on
The intention was that once built the facility           a number of occasions to the Deputy, the exist-
would be a self-sustaining venture.” These words         ence of the court case precludes me, the Minister,
are coming back to haunt him now.                        who apologises for being unable to attend
   Even more scary than what has happened                tonight, or CSID from speaking freely about the
already to the national aquatic centre is the fact       issues under dispute. To do so might jeopardise
that the Government proposes to use this public          the outcome of the case. That, despite all the
private partnership-design build and operate pro-        efforts of the Opposition, I will not do.
cedure as a template for future substantial capital         I am happy to put the factual position on the
investments, including the national conference           record. At present CSID has a legal action in the
centre, about which we just heard, and the build-        commercial court against Dublin Waterworld, the
ing of offices for decentralisation. Using this          operator of the national aquatic centre, for
unique form of Government management of tax-             breaches of the lease. In the commercial court on
payers’ money, no doubt the cost of decentralis-         3 June, Mr. Justice Peter Kelly made an order in
ation will easily top \2 billion as this Government      relation to the following matters, which were the
has lost the plot in regard to its capacity to man-      subject of the statement of claim lodged by CSID
age infrastructural development.                         against Dublin Waterworld. The dispute as to
   Even the Progressive Democrats are jumping            whether Dublin Waterworld is liable to pay over
ship and are criticising the national aquatic            \10 million of VAT on the granting of the lease
centre. The Minister of State at the Department          has been referred to arbitration. This arbitration
of Finance, Deputy Parlon, said of the crisis that       is taking place and will be concluded shortly. On
he was more than a little concerned when we              repair and maintenance issues, the dispute as to
were spending more on lawyers rather than on             whether Dublin Waterworld has properly man-
architects. For once the Progressive Democrats           aged the national aquatic centre has been
maths add up in that spending more on lawyers            referred to an architect for expert determination
and less on architects equals a broken roof and a        and again this process is under way. There are
cracked pool.                                            a number of issues involving the lease, including
   Another of the water slides in the national           complaints that Dublin Waterworld failed to pay
aquatic centre is called the master blaster. The         rent, failed to provide audited accounts — thus
masters of the national aquatic centre, the Mini-        preventing the profit share to be calculated —
ster, Deputy O’Donoghue, and the Taoiseach,              failed to pay insurance on the building and failed
Bertie the Bather, have well and truly been              to establish a sinking fund. These matters are still
blasted.                                                 subject to court proceedings and are currently
   We need an independent report into the pro-           before the court. The most recent hearing was
ject and the publication of the report carried out       yesterday.
by the independent engineers into the damage to             Last evening, CSID issued a statement on the
the roof. Some 60 employees were laid off for five       matters referred to by the Deputy and I would
months. In the two years of its life, the centre has     like to bring this statement to the attention of
been closed for five months and water sports have        the House:
been badly damaged.
                                                              CSID has stated that it is satisfied that the
   The national aquatic centre is the Taoiseach’s
                                                            reports in the media relating to the National
pet project — stage one of Abbotstown. The
                                                            Aquatic Centre are inaccurate in many respects
Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance, Deputy
                                                            and would be inappropriate to comment on any
Cowen, and the Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue,
                                                            of these issues as there are proceedings before
are shareholders in CSID on behalf of taxpayers.
                                                            the court at this time.
They must come out of hiding and take responsi-
bility. The Comptroller and Auditor General              In the court yesterday, CSID’s legal team
advised me on 31 March that “these matters will          referred to a situation that is growing murkier
be examined during the course of my audit of the         and murkier.
accounts of CSID Limited.” I hope the Comptrol-            I can give an assurance to the House, on behalf
ler and Auditor General will proceed to examine          of the Minister, Deputy O’Donoghue, that the
this saga as soon as possible to prevent further         primary concern at all times has been to protect
waste of taxpayers’ money.                               taxpayers’ investment in this and other projects.
   During the 2002 general election, the Progress-       I will not play any part in the Opposition’s deter-
ive Democrats in Dublin West had a campaign              mined efforts to undermine that position, even
button calling on voters to flush the Bertie Bowl        though Deputy Burton appears to have no com-
down the drain. It is the taxpayers’ money that is       punction about making public statements on
being flushed down the drain.                            matters before the court. Once the court pro-
                                                         ceedings have been completed, CSID will no
  Mr. Gallagher: As the Deputy is well aware,            longer be constrained from putting the facts
legal proceedings have been taken by Campus              before the public and answering any questions
529                  National                  28 June 2005.               Aquatic Centre                530


Deputies, the media or anyone else may have             was safely removed. To ensure the health and
about the various matters at present before the         safety of future users of the facility and to avoid
court.                                                  a recurrence of the damage, expert consulting
  Deputy Burton has, over the past months, been         engineers were commissioned to provide an inde-
loud in her comments about the damage caused            pendent report on the situation.
to the centre on 1 January. It is unfortunate that         The Office of Public Works, at the request of
the freak storm damaged the roof of the national        the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and
aquatic centre.                                         Campus and Stadium Ireland Development Ltd.,
                                                        engaged Kavanagh Mansfield and Partners, con-
  Ms Burton: It was not a freak storm.                  sulting and structural engineers, to examine the
                                                        damage and to provide a report as a matter of
  Mr. Gallagher: There was considerable struc-          priority. The findings of this report guided the
tural damage elsewhere on that same day.                response of CSID. They were taken into account
                                                        in agreeing the repair programme with the con-
  Ms Burton: The Minister of State should ask           tractor and the consultants who carried out the
the Met office. It was not a freak storm.               report subsequently provided a service in
                                                        overseeing the type and quality of the work car-
  Mr. Gallagher: It will be recalled that, for          ried out. This work was in addition to a report
example, two aeroplanes were damaged on the             prepared by O’Connor Sutton Cronin, an engin-
runway at Dublin Airport and buildings on an            eering consultancy appointed to examine the
estate in Clonee, County Meath, were stripped by        damage on behalf of the insurance company
the exceptionally unusual high winds. I do not          carrying the insurance cover on the national
know how people in Dublin debate but I suggest          aquatic centre. It is important to be indepen-
that I should be given the opportunity to reply.        dently briefed to ensure that liability is appropri-
                                                        ately assigned and that this misadventure is not
  Ms Burton: Why did the Minister of State not          billed to the Exchequer.
get the facts first?                                       The Deputy has sought to have this indepen-
                                                        dent report published and indeed it will be when
   Mr. Gallagher: We cannot complain about any          the time is ripe. As has been explained to the
infrastructural development during the 1980s and        Deputy on a number of occasions, there are legal,
1990s when the Deputy’s party was in Govern-            contractual and financial issues that are still on-
ment because it provided little or no such              going and are being negotiated in the light of this
development. The Labour Party could not fill            report. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to
pot-holes when it was in Government. The                publish it or comment on its findings at this time.
Deputy should not talk to me about infrastructu-           The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism said
ral development. There is a great saying in Irish,      in this House, just the week before last, that capi-
   ´       ´
“Ta an fhırinne searbh”. If the Deputy does not         tal expenditure on the provision of this facility
want to listen to the truth, then I have no inten-      represented value for money and that is indeed
tion of continuing.                                     the case. For years we have heard complaints
                                                        about the lack of proper sporting infrastructure.
  Ms Burton: The Minister of State has no
                                                        This Government has made a tangible contri-
answer to——
                                                        bution in this field, delivering over \600 million
  An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Order, please.              in capital investment in sports facilities since
                                                        1997, in sharp contrast to that provided from 1994
  Mr. Gallagher: The only policy of the Labour          to 1997. The centre was only one of a number of
Party is to criticise Government policy. It has         significant state-of-the-art facilities which we
none of its own.                                        have provided. Instead of giving credit where cre-
                                                        dit is due, or indeed supporting the endeavour,
  Ms Burton: He has no answer at all.                   we have an Opposition that cannot wait to find
                                                        fault and that rushes to criticise.
   An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy must               The motivation of the Government in
allow the Minister of State to make his reply.          developing the national aquatic centre in the first
                                                        place was to provide a 50-metre pool for Ireland’s
  Mr. Gallagher: I need extra time. The damage          needs and to provide a suitable location for host-
at the national aquatic centre occurred on a day        ing the aquatic events of the Special Olympics.
when the centre was closed for a holiday and            The project was delivered on time and within
there was no injury to staff or the public. CSID        budget and resulted in games of which everyone
handled this situation immediately in an efficient      could be proud. The centre has justly drawn well-
and effective matter. CSID’s first priority was to      deserved admiration from those who have visited
look to the safety of the general public and any-       it and used its facilities. Since the centre was
body using or working in the facility. It also          opened to the public in March 2003, it has suc-
focused on ensuring that the damage was accu-           cessfully hosted the Special Olympics and later
rately assessed by the insurance assessors, that        that year the European short course champion-
repairs would be carried out as quickly as possible     ships — both to significant acclaim. In its first
and that the debris in the vicinity of the facility     year of operations it had close to 1 million visit-
531                Schools Building              28 June 2005.                  Projects                  532

   [Mr. Gallagher.]                                          The Department needs to ensure that a new
ors, which placed the facility among the top                                                  ´ ´     ´
                                                          facility is provided in Gaelscoil Uı Rıordain. The
attractions in Ireland.                                   latest extension was built with a view to the
   Today the centre continues to be equally popu-         rooms being let out individually when the build-
lar as a facility for those who love water sport,         ing would no longer be used as a school. It was
especially young people, tourists and swimmers            obviously not designed as a school building. The
of all ages and abilities. Despite suggestions to         school is located in a densely residential area and
the contrary by the Deputy, the reality is that the       that causes problems for local residents. We need
centre is fully operational and bringing endless          clarification from the Department of Education
enjoyment to adults and children alike, as well as        and Science to ensure that a new building is pro-
providing a top class facility for our swimming                                   ´ ´     ´
                                                          vided to Gaelscoil Uı Rıordain in Ballincollig,
athletes.                                                 which has provided an excellent service over the
                                                          last 20 years. I congratulate all the school part-
  Ms Burton: It is open only four hours a day.                                  ´ ´    ´
                                                          ners in Gaelscoil Uı Rıordain for their excellent
                                                          working relationship and their great school. I ask
            Schools Building Projects.                    the Minister of State to outline the plans, if any,
                                                          of the Department of Education and Science for
   Mr. M. Moynihan: I thank the Leas-Ceann                this school.
Comhairle for allowing me to raise this issue on
the provision of a new school at Gaelscoil Uı       ´        Mr. Gallagher: I thank the Deputy for afford-
  ´     ´
Rıordain in Ballincollig, County Cork. Gaelscoil          ing me the opportunity to outline to the House
  ´ ´      ´
Uı Rıordain is an excellent school which is oper-         the proposals of the Department of Education
ation for over 20 years. It is a testimony to the         and Science on the provision of a new school
work that has been put in by the staff, manage-                                      ´ ´     ´
                                                          building for Gaelscoil Uı Rıordain, Ballincollig,
ment, the parents and pupils of the school. Unfor-        County Cork. I apologise on behalf of the Mini-
tunately, the building in which the school is cur-        ster for Education and Science, who is unable to
rently housed has outgrown its usefulness. What           attend the House this evening.
are the plans to ensure that a new Gaelscoil is              The Government decision to close the Murphy
built in Ballincollig? This has been the subject of       barracks complex in Ballincollig was seen by the
an ongoing debate between the education part-             Department as an excellent opportunity to
ners in the school and the Department of Edu-             acquire a suitable site on which to provide perma-
cation and Science.                                                                               ´ ´
                                                          nent accommodation for Gaelscoil Uı Rıordain.   ´
   The partners are quite concerned about the             Following this decision, it was agreed that an area
lack of facilities in the school. There is a major        of approximately 1.7 acres would be provided on
concern regarding the safety of children as the           which to build a new school building for the Gael-
school is next to a busy main road and another            scoil. The school would also have immediate
congested road on an adjoining housing estate.            access to adjacent playing fields. Contract docu-
The building is not suitable for disabled children        ments for the transfer of ownership of the site
or wheelchair usage. At this stage, every school          were forwarded to the Office of the Chief State
in the country should be wheelchair accessible.           Solicitor. However, since then a number of issues
The parking facilities adjacent to the school are         have arisen.
very poor and parking for parents at busy periods            The map included in the contract docu-
causes some disruption to the nearby residents.           mentation shows that there are wayleaves cross-
There is no gymnasium or hall which can be used           ing the site which would have the impact of sig-
as a gymnasium. There is an almost total lack of          nificantly reducing the area available on which to
learning support in the school. The external play         build. These wayleaves were not flagged orig-
area is very confined and far from ideal due to           inally when the site was reserved for the Depart-
the steep sloping nature of the small site on which       ment of Education and Science. In addition, a
the school is situated. As the external playing           local authority road bordering part of the site
area is so small, break time is divided up between        may be widened to facilitate the overall develop-
lunch and play to allow the children more space.          ment of the barracks and could result in further
It is the only school I have visited that has to keep     reducing the amount of land available for the pro-
children in during break time due to lack of room         posed school building.
in the playground.                                           Officials at the Department of Education and
   There are no facilities on the school grounds          Science have written to the local authority seek-
for nature studies. The lack of toilet facilities in      ing clarification of the issues raised above. The
the classrooms cause a particular problem for             question of the acquisition of the site will be
children in the junior classes. Many of the toilets       addressed immediately on receipt of a response
are accessible directly off the open corridors and        from the local authority.
not in their own rooms. The corridors in the                 The Department is acutely aware of the need
school are very narrow and lead to a congested            to provide permanent accommodation for Gael-
atmosphere in the school at times. The school                     ´       ´
                                                          scoil Uı Riordain, as has been borne out compre-
building is rented and there has always been a            hensively by the Minister, Deputy Martin, in his
fear that the landlord may not choose to renew            submission this evening. The Department is
lease when the current lease expires.                     aware of the need to provide accommodation for
533                                            School                                              28 June 2005.                                  Staffing                                    534


the Gaelscoil and is determined to progress the                                                                ´                                     ´
                                                                                                             feinne a thabhairt doibh, ba choir eisceacht a               ´
issue as a matter of urgency.                                                                                     ´
                                                                                                             dheanamh go ceann bliana eile. Ta comharthaı                     ´                   ´
   I assure Deputy Moynihan that I have listened                                                                ´                           ´               ´
                                                                                                             dochais le feiceail ar Oilean Thoraigh i lathair na                    ´
to the case he made and noted the points raised.                                                             huaire, chomh fada agus a bhaineann se le daltaı                     ´          ´ ´
I will communicate his views directly to the Mini-                                                           scoile. Tuigim go bhfuil ar an laghad cuig theach                   ´
ster, Deputy Hanafin, at the first available oppor-                                                           ´ ´ ´ ´                                 ´       ´
                                                                                                             ur a dtogail ar an oilean i lathair na huaire, agus
tunity, which will possibly be tomorrow morning.                                                                     ´
                                                                                                             is docha go mbeidh teaghlaigh ura ag dul isteach         ´
                                                                                                             sna tithe sin agus, sna blianta amach romhainn,
                                    School Staffing.                                                                                   ´ ´ ´
                                                                                                             go mbeidh paistı oga eile ag teacht chun cinn ar
    Mr. McGinley: Ba mhaith liom buıochas a                                           ´                                ´
                                                                                                             Oilean Thoraigh agus ag dul go dtı an bhunscoil                ´
           ´
ghabhail leis an Aire as ucht an deis a thabhairt                                                            agus an iarbhunscoil.
                                      ´
domh an cheist thabhachtach seo a thogail ar an                                   ´ ´                             Chomh maith leis sin, is oilean speisialta e            ´                       ´
        ´                       ´
Athlo anocht. Ce nach bhfuil an tAire Oideachais                                                                       ´                         ´        ´
                                                                                                             Oilean Thoraigh, nı amhain go bhfuil Gaeilge ann
                  ´
agus Eolaıochta anseo, ar an laghad ta an tAire                                   ´                                      ´         ´
                                                                                                             ach ta cultur, ceol agus saibhreas ann a theann                                ´
    ´                        ´ ´
Stait anseo. Ta suil agam go mbeidh tuigbheail                                                        ´                          ´                 ´
                                                                                                             siar na glunta, rud nar bhris an Bearla. Nıor bhris        ´            ´
                          ´          ´ ´
aige ar an chas ata a dheanamh agam, a bhaine-     ´                                                                         ´     ´
                                                                                                             an cultur duchasach traidisiunta sıos go foill. Ta ´         ´             ´         ´
                             ´            ´
ann le scoil inar ndailcheantar fein. Is e an scoil                   ´             ´                          ´                   ´
                                                                                                             se iontach tabhachtach go mbeidh scoth an oidea-
    ´                                   ´
ata i gceist agam na Scoil Naisiunta Cholm Cille            ´ ´                                                            ´                  ´
                                                                                                             chais a cur ar fail do mhuintir og an oileain fa           ´                 ´       ´
              ´                               ´
ar Oilean Thoraigh. Sılim go bhfuil muid ag iar-                                                                                            ´
                                                                                                             choinne an cultur, an traidisiun agus an saibhreas  ´
             ´
raidh cas speisialta a dheanamh don deacracht a    ´                                                                                   ´                ´
                                                                                                             sin a choinneail beo. Is e an tuairim dhaingean ata                                  ´
bheas ag an scoil seo o Mhean Fomhair seo chu-´             ´           ´                                                     ´ ´
                                                                                                             agam na e seo. Muna mbıonn acu ach muinteoir   ´                          ´
gainn nuair nach mbeidh ach muinteoir amhain                            ´                            ´                 ´             ´          ´         ´
                                                                                                             amhain, lagoidh se sin laidreacht agus saibhreas
                          ´
sa scoil, an prıomhoide, ma theann siad de reir na     ´ ´                                    ´              an chultuir sin.  ´
                      ´
treorach ata faighte acu on Roinn. Mar a duirt         ´                                            ´                                    ´
                                                                                                                  Mar sin, is e an rud a iarraim ar an Aire Stait                               ´
    ´ ´
me, ta Scoil Cholm Cille ar Oilean Thoraigh, agus                  ´                                         agus an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaıochta na go                     ´            ´
anuraidh rinneadh eisceacht di mar nach raibh                                                                     ´
                                                                                                             ndeanfaidh siad eisceacht don scoil do bhliain eile
                            ´
aici ach naonur ar na rollaı, agus tugadh cead              ´                                                                          ´
                                                                                                             agus go bhfagfaidh siad an cuntoir sin leis an          ´ ´
  ´
doibh dul ar aghaidh le prıomhoide agus cuntoir          ´                                   ´ ´                    ´
                                                                                                             phrıomhoide sa bhliain amhach romhainn go
                                          ´ ´
ar feadh bliana. Bhı se iontach tabhachtach gur                          ´                                                                 ´
                                                                                                             bhfeicimis cad e an feabhas a bheas ar chursaı an                         ´ ´
tugadh an t-aitheantas sin don scoil lan-Ghaelach                            ´                               bhliain seo chugainn. Ta me iontach dochasach´      ´                  ´
                   ´
sin ar oilean Gaeltachta.                                                                                    go mbeidh feabhas air, agus mar sin, ta me ag                           ´       ´
                    ´             ´
    Anois, ta contuirt mhor ann o Mhean Fomhair   ´               ´             ´          ´                 iarraidh orthu eisceacht a dheanamh bliain eile.      ´
seo chugainn nach mbeidh ach muinteoir amhain                           ´                            ´                             ´
                                                                                                             Rachaidh se sin chun sochair go mor don oilean,                 ´                 ´
                 ´ ´                          ´
i Scoil Naisiunta Oileain Thoraigh, an prıomho-                                           ´                                     ´
                                                                                                             don aos og, agus d’oideachas ar an oilean.                           ´
                  ´             ´
ide. Cothoidh se sin deacrachtaı mora don scoil                      ´ ´
  ´ ´                             ´
naisiunta ar Oilean Thoraigh. Nı feidir comparaid                  ´ ´                               ´           Mr. Gallagher: Ba mhaith liom leithsceal an                     ´
         ´
a dheanamh idir scoil ar oilean beag ar nos                           ´                                ´     Aire, an Teachta Hanafin, a ghabhail leis an                ´
       ´
Oileain Thoraigh agus scoil ar an morthır a dtar-                           ´ ´                              Teach agus leis an Teachta McGinley agus mo
   ´                           ´
laıonn an rud ceanna di. Is mıbhuntaiste do scoil              ´            ´                                        ´                      ´
                                                                                                             bhuıochas a ghabhail leis as an cheist seo a tho-                         ´
                ´                           ´
ar bith, ce acu ar oilean no ar thır mor ata sı, nach´             ´       ´         ´ ´                                  ´           ´
                                                                                                             gail. Ta an-taithı agam uirthi. Ta a fhios aige gur´
mbeidh ach oide amhain inti. Cothaıonn se sin   ´                               ´               ´                   ´         ´
                                                                                                             phleigh me go leor de na fadhbanna ar an oilean                          ´
                    ´
deacrachtaı oideachais agus eile sa la ata inniu                                ´         ´                  seo le cathaoirleach an bhoird bhainistıochta ag              ´
ann. Ba mhaith an rud e da mbeadh beirt i gconaı´ ´                                               ´ ´        deireadh na seachtaine.
                                     ´           ´ ´
ar an laghad ag ple le paistı i mbunscoil no ar aon                                     ´                        Glacadh            cinneadh           i       leith       fhoireann
scoil eile.                                                                                                      ´
                                                                                                             prıomhshrutha bunscoile de reir rollachain na     ´                ´
                      ´           ´
    Mar sin fein, ce go bhfuil se fıor ar an morthır,         ´ ´                            ´ ´                                        ´       ´
                                                                                                             scoile ar 30 Mean Fomhair den bhliain roimhe
 ´ ´ ´               ´         ´
ta se nıos fıre fos ar oilean. Cuir i gcas an muin- ´                          ´                   ´                        ´
                                                                                                             sin. Deantar cinneadh i leith lıon na bpost              ´
                        ´
teoir ar Oilean Thoraigh, an prıomhoide. Is on tır               ´                             ´ ´               ´                        ´
                                                                                                             prıomhsrutha de reir sceideal foirne a chuirtear i
    ´ ´                        ´
mor ı, agus cosuil le gach duine, is maith lei dul                                            ´                    ´                               ´
                                                                                                             gcrıch do bhliain scoile airithe tar eis e a phle leis  ´ ´            ´
abhaile ag an deireadh seachtaine. Ma bhıonn la                                 ´         ´              ´                       ´
                                                                                                             na comhphairtithe oideachais. Deantar cur sıos ar   ´                 ´
                          ´
garbh ann, no munar feidir leis an bhad faran-    ´                                 ´                                                                 ´
                                                                                                             an sceideal foirne i gciorclan a eisıonn an Roinn       ´
 ´                                          ´
toireachta dul go dtı an t-oilean trathnona De                      ´         ´          ´               ´                                        ´
                                                                                                             Oideachais agus Eolaıochta do bhord bainis-
                           ´
Domhnaigh no maidin De Luain, cad e ata ag dul      ´                           ´ ´                           ´                                          ´ ´
                                                                                                             tıochta gach bunscoile. Da reir, cuirtear gach
             ´                     ´ ´
a tharlu do na paistı agus don scoil? Ta a fhios                                      ´                      bord ar an eolas faoi shocruithe foirne maidir
                                    ´ ´
againn uilig cad e ata ag dul a tharlu: beidh an                               ´                                                  ´
                                                                                                             lena scoil fein in aon bhliain scoile. Eisıodh an                ´
            ´                   ´
scoil dunta an la sin, agus an la ina dhiaidh sin,                 ´                                         sceideal don bhliain seo chugainn i Mı Bealtaine            ´
      ´                                   ´
b’fheidir, agus an la ina dhiaidh sin arıst, agus                                      ´                     2005.
                      ´ ´ ´
beidh na paistı fagtha gan oiliuint, gan teagasc,                  ´                                                   ´                ´                  ´
                                                                                                                 Thainig laghdu ar rollachain na scoile a nde-
gan fhoghlaim, agus nıl se sin inghlactha.    ´ ´                                                                                           ´
                                                                                                             arna an Teachta Dala tagairt di o 14 dalta ar an      ´
    Le blianta fada anuas, bhı se de bhuntaiste ag         ´ ´                           ´                                ´     ´                         ´
                                                                                                             30 Mean Fomhair 2002 go dtı 11 dalta ar 30 Mean                          ´
muintir Thoraigh — agus ta me cinnte go n-aon-            ´ ´                                                   ´                             ´
                                                                                                             Fomhair 2003. De reir rollachain na bliana 2003,´
   ´                                   ´
taıonn an tAire Stait agus go dtuigfidh se e seo                                          ´ ´                     ´
                                                                                                             bhı an scoil i dteideal foirne de phrıomhoide don         ´
                                ´
— go bhfuil meanscoil acu. Ta scoil iarbhunoide-               ´                                                                                     ´ ´
                                                                                                             bhliain scoile 2004-05. Da reir, bhı an scoil chun      ´
achais acu anois, ach caithfidh muid cuimhneamh                                                                         ´
                                                                                                             an chead phost d’fhoireann teagaisc phrıomshru-                ´
ar na blianta fada nach raibh. Le cothrom na                                                                 tha a chailleadh don bhliain 2004-05 toisc gurb e                           ´
535                       The                       28 June 2005.                     Adjournment                         536

    [Mr. Gallagher.]                                                                                   ´
                                                             omharc. Cuireadh bord bainistıochta na scoile ar
      ´
an lıon riachtanach chun an post seo a choinneail    ´       an eolas maidir leis an chinneadh ar 16 Mei-
  ´                     ´
na 12 dalta. Mar a duirt an Teachta McGinley,                theamh 2005.
                          ´
tugadh cead an dara muinteoir a choinneail.    ´                 ´              ´      ´
                                                                 O am go cheile deanann an tAire Oideachais
              ´
    Le cinntiu go mbeadh oscailteacht agus                                ´                           ´
                                                             agus Eolaıochta athbhreithniu ar na criteir le              ´
   ´                 ´               ´
tredhearcacht sa choras, bunaıodh bord achom-                                        ´           ´
                                                             haghaidh cheapachain mhuinteoirı. Ta sı sasta ´      ´ ´ ´
                   ´               ´
hairc neamhspleach chun casanna mar seo a                      ´
                                                             feachaint ar cheist na scoileanna ar oileain, ach      ´
                                      ´
mheas. Chuir an bord bainistıochta achomharc                          ´                      ´
                                                             deir sı liom go mbeadh se an-deacair cead a thab-
          ´
faoi bhraid an bhoird achomhairc foirne ag iar-                               ´          ´               ´
                                                             hairt beirt mhuinteoirı a choinneail nuair ata lıon         ´ ´
                       ´
raidh go gcoinneofaı an dara muinteoir don  ´                           ´           ´                  ´ ´ ´
                                                             na ndaltaı chomh hıseal sin. Ta se tabhachtach a
bhliain scoile 2004-05. Rinne an bord scrudu ar  ´ ´           ´               ´ ´                   ´
                                                             ra go bhfuil sı sasta breathnu ar an cheist seo,
an achomharc ar 3 Meitheamh 2004, agus sheas se        ´     ´               ´ ´                   ´
                                                             afach, agus ta suil agam, tar eis an achomhairc no              ´
                              ´
leis an achomharc. Ciallaıonn an cinneadh nach               an athbhreithnithe seo, go gcuirfidh sı cinneadh   ´
                ´
mbeidh ach prıomhoide ar an fhoireann do 2005-                    ´
                                                             os ar gcomhair.
06. Rinneadh an cinneadh seo toisc go raibh rolla-                                         ´
                                                                 Ba mhaith liom buıochas a ghabhail leis an      ´
    ´            ´              ´
chan de naonur ar 30 Mean Fomhair 2004. Is´                                ´
                                                             Teachta Dala as ucht na ceiste seo a ardu. Ta a          ´    ´
      ´                    ´            ´
cosuil go mbeidh laghdu eile i lıon na ndaltaı an  ´         fhios ag an bheirt againn na coinnıollacha ar     ´
      ´  ´
Mean Fomhair seo chugainn. Chuir an bord bain-                      ´                          ´ ´
                                                             Oilean Thoraigh, agus ta suil agam, tar eis an             ´
    ´                            ´
istıochta achomharc faoi bhraid an bhoird achom-                                                             ´
                                                             athbhreithnithe, go mbeidh an tAire abalta teacht
                            ´                ´
hairc foirne chun an chead phost prıomhshrutha                                  ´ ´
                                                             ar chinneadh sasuil.
                                             ´
don bhliain scoile 2005-06 a choinneail. Rinne an
bord achomhairc machnamh ar an achomharc ar                             ´
                                                               The Dail adjourned at 10.40 p.m. until
                                  ´ ´
14 Meitheamh 2005, agus diultaıodh leis an ach-              10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 29 June 2005.

				
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