Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, 1962— From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider an amendment from the Seanad.

I move: That the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following amendment:

SECTION 5.

1. In page 4, lines 36 to 51 deleted and the following substituted:

"‘25. A person shall not be eligible at any particular time for election to the office of conservator for any electoral division unless, either—

(a) he would, if an election for that electoral division were held at that particular time, be entitled under subsection (2) or (4) of section 24 to vote at the election, or

(b) (i) he is the rated occupier of a fishery of which the rateable value is less than fifty pounds and which is in the fishery district which includes that electoral division, and

(ii) he has paid the fishery rate in respect thereof for the fishery year immediately preceding the year in which the election for such office takes place and the amount thereof is not less than one pound.'"

On the Order, the amendment can be introduced today but I know the Taoiseach's sensitive feelings in this regard. He does not like them being taken on the day they are introduced but, as a special consideration, in order to facilitate the despatch of business, if the Parliamentary Secretary can overcome the Taoiseach's scruples, I shall be prepared to agree to taking it today.

I give notice that I am accepting the amendment.

It is being taken now.

The Taoiseach's scruples are overcome.

The purpose of the amendment is to permit a rated occupier of a fishery or a licence holder to be eligible in certain cases for election to a board of conservators. It was pointed out in the Seanad that under the Bill as passed by this House a non-resident rated occupier who might indeed be the fee simple owner of a fishery right would not be eligible to stand for election to a board of conservators, that in many such cases there are rated occupiers with long leases of fishery rights who live outside a particular board's area or who do not hold real property in it. Under the Bill as passed by the Dáil these people would not be eligible for election. On consideration, I felt there was some merit in this point and, therefore, I introduce this amendment to the House.

We have no objection to this amendment and are prepared to agree to it. I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary can avail of this amendment, which deals with rated occupiers, to refer briefly to a matter which I mentioned to him in the course of the debate on the Fifth Stage of this Bill before we sent it to the Seanad, in regard to certain problems relating to unascertained rated occupiers of certain fishing rights. Could he indicate now whether any early steps are likely to be taken to meet the problem to which I then referred?

We are closely examining at the moment the very problem referred to by the Deputy and he may expect an announcement on the matter.

While this amendment deals with the eligibility of persons for the position of conservator, may I appeal at this stage to the Parliamentary Secretary to introduce a further amendment to permit boards of conservators to pay travelling expenses to conservators who are duly elected? These men attend meetings throughout the country, at considerable expense to themselves. They do it voluntarily. We have reached the stage now, with the cost of transport and everything else going up, when they should be permitted to be paid some small allowance towards travelling expenses. There is no more opportune time than this stage and the Parliamentary Secretary could introduce a further amendment.

We have examined that aspect and we do not think it is desirable to interfere with the present arrangements whereby voluntary service is given by members of boards of conservators throughout the country. We feel this might be an interference with that principle at the moment.

I do not wish to pay them, merely to give them out-of-pocket travelling expenses.

The matter has been examined and we do not think it is desirable. This matter was mentioned on various readings of the Bill in the House and we gave consideration to it. For the present, we do not think it is desirable to do so.

Question put and agreed to.
Amendment reported and agreed to.