Tairgim leasú Uimh. 1:
Ar leathanach 9, líne 33, "príomh" a scriosadh agus "chéad" a chur ina ionad.
Vol. 311 No. 7
Tairgim leasú Uimh. 1:
Ar leathanach 9, líne 33, "príomh" a scriosadh agus "chéad" a chur ina ionad.
I move amendment No. 1:
In page 8, line 32, to delete "principal" and substitute "primary".
The argument about this amendment, which was eventually withdrawn on Committee Stage, was not a very intense one. The Minister himself said that he did not have strong feeling about it one way or another. I was encouraged by this statement to withdraw it and resubmit it so that the Minister would have an opportunity of reconsidering it in the intervening period, and I would be interested to hear what he has to say about it.
The word "principal" which is included in the Bill as it stands at present, owes its parentage to the Commission of the Revival of the Irish Language, where the phrase "principal medium of communication" was first adopted. I suspect that the difference between the words "principal" and "primary" may only be a question of semantics. However, I feel that the word "primary" is a stronger word and that we do have an opportunity to depart from the rather jargonistic phraseology of the Commission on the Revival of Irish in this regard and substitute a word which is a stronger word and a better word in all the circumstances. I do not propose to make an enormous issue of it. If the Minister is genuinely convinced that "principal" is a stronger word than "primary", one will bear with him on it, but I hope to hear the result of any consideration he has been able to give to it since Committee Stage.
Bhí deis agam an rud seo a scrúdú arís ó cuireadh an Chéim dheiridh den Bhille os comhair na Dála, ach tar éis scrúdú a dhéanamh air níl mórán difríochta le firinne idir an Bille agus an rud atá molta, ach má ghlacaimid le príomh-mheán cumarsáide sílim go bhfuil sé níos láidre agus go dtugann sé feidhm níos fearr don Bhille.
Luaigh an Teachta Horgan rud a bhí scríobhtha ag Coimisiún na hAthbheochainne agus séard a bhí luaite acu ná "gnáth-mheán cumarsáide". Sílim go bhfuil an rud atá molta anois níos láidre. Dá bhrí sin, sílim go bhfuil an Bille níos fearr dá bharr.
Tairgeadh siar an leasú faoi chead.
Tairgim leasú Uimh. 2:
Ar leathnach 11, idir línte 18 agus 19, an méid seo a leanas a chur isteach:
"9.—(1) Chun forbairt na Gaeltachta a chur chun cinn ó thaobh teanga, geilleagair, sóisialachta, cultúir agus gnéithiúlachta, iarrfaidh aon údaras pleanála a bheidh ag feidhmiú sa Ghaeltacht comhairle agus toiliú an Údaráis sula dtabharfar cead pleanála le haghaidh aon fhorbairt sa Ghaeltacht.
(2) Ní chuirfidh aon ní san alt seo srian le ceart aon iarratasóra achomharc a dhéanamh chun an Bhoird Phleanála.".
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 10, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:
"9.—(1) For the purpose of promoting the linguistic, economic, social, cultural and environmental development of the Gaeltacht, the advice and consent of an tÚdarás shall be sought by any planning authority operating in the Gaeltacht before planning permission is given for any development in the Gaeltacht.
(2) Nothing in this section shall restrict the right of any applicant to appeal to an Bord Pleanála.
When we were discussing this question on Second and Third Stages of the Bill, the Minister's defence to my attempt to write such a power into the Bill was that there is a section in the Bill which entitles an tÚdarás to make representations to the Minister if they believe that this function or any function is necessary for the adequate exercise of their powers. Unfortunately, as we well know, once this Bill leaves this House, goes through the other House and receives the signature of the President it has effectively gone from the legislative process. An tÚdarás have to be appointed, an tÚdarás have to meet, an tÚdarás have to deliberate, an tÚdarás have to come to a conclusion about what powers they may or may not seek from the Minister. This is a process which could take many months. Even if, as seems possible if not always likely, an tÚdarás come to the conclusion that they would need a planning power such as the one outlined in this amendment, it would then come back to the Minister and the Minister would then have to make an affirmative order which would carry the status of amending this piece of legislation and have this debated in the Dáil. The Minister would be forced into the position of again seeking from his Cabinet colleagues time in what will obviously become an increasingly complex and logjammed parliamentary timetable for a relatively small piece of amending legislation by way of motion or resolution without which an tÚdarás might not consider themselves capable of doing their job properly. That is why we feel that this power, which is fundamental to the working of an tÚdarás, should be put in at this stage.
The relationship of the planning function to the reservation, development and growth of the Gaeltacht is surely vital. It is absolutely essential that an tÚdarás should have a direct input into that planning process. If they are not going to be given this role, most of the other powers that are mentioned in the Bill are little more than verbiage. They are good intentions and the best of intentions, but without real powers of this kind an tÚdarás will remain something that is not much better than a reconstituted Gaeltarra Éireann.
There is an alternative version of this amendment which we shall be discussing in due course. The amendment we are discussing at present suggests that the advice and consent of an tUdarás should be sought by any planning authority operating in the Gaeltacht before planning permission is given. It is a fairly dramatic power to seek to give to an tÚdarás, but I suggest that there is a very good argument in favour of it.
If my recollection is correct, towards the end of the discussion on a similar amendment on Committee Stage the Minister suggested that the real problem he was facing was in deciding whether or not he should give them any other additional powers; that if he had to give them this power he would open the gate to argument that they should also be conferred with a third power and so on.
I fully accept that this is a legitimate worry on the part of the Minister. He cannot effectively change the structure of the Bill without laying himself open to argument that he should further extend the powers being given to him by the House. But in asking for this we are only doing our duty as a Parliamentary Opposition. If the Minister were prepared to give a power like this one to an tÚdarás or some analagous power there would not be any great pressure from this side of the House for further powers to be added to the Bill because this power is so basic in its function to the development of the Gaeltacht that it seems that without it an tÚdarás runs the risk of being reduced to a cipher. If it is inevitable that it will be given this power or some similar power it is all the more important, given the fragile nature of the Gaeltacht today that it should be given that power sooner rather than later. That is why we put down this amendment on this stage of the Bill.
Is malairt leasú Uimh. a 3 ar leasú Uimh. a 2. Amendment No. 3 is an alternative and amendments Nos. 2 and 3 may be discussed together.
May I continue very briefly then?
I was not under the impression that we were discussing amendments Nos. 2 and 3 together. I take it we shall have separate decisions on them?
Amendment No. 3 is really the minimum acceptable in my view in terms of what can or should be transferred to an tÚdarás by way of powers. Amendment No. 2 suggests that not only the advice but the consent of an tÚdarás should be sought. Amendment No. 3 restricts the power simply to giving advice and requires a planning authority to seek the advice of an tÚdarás. I accept that within the framework of the planning legislation as we have it at the moment a case and an argument can be made that it is complicated to effectively have two planning authorities for the same area, an tÚdarás and the local authority constituted under the Local Authority Acts and the Planning Acts. It is only in response to that kind of argument to which objection was mainly made by the Minister that I put down the alternative amendment, amendment No. 3, which requires any planning authority operating in the Gaeltacht to seek the advice of an tÚdarás. Such a planning authority would be free to reject the advice of an tUdarás but such advice should be sought and should be publicly given. If the advice is rejected the planning authority would obviously be under at least some obligation to defend its decision in that regard, if not at the point at which it makes the decision, certainly in the forum of An Bord Pleanála and perhaps in public at a public inquiry organised by An Bord Pleanála. While I feel that amendment No. 2 would be ideal, that the various legislative and planning problems could be ironed out, I must say that amendment No. 3 is the minimum acceptable for this party in relation to this Bill.
Tá cuspóir na leasuithe seo mínithe go soiléir ag an Teachta Horgan agus ní gá domsa deileáil leo ach ar a laghad. Aontaím leis na leasuithe seo agus táim cinnte go n-aontóidh an tAire go bhfuil siad réasúnta agus go háirithe go bhfuil tábhacht ar leith ag baint le cúrsaí pleanála ó thaobh forbairt na Gaeltachta de.
Is cuimhin liomsa na deacrachtaí a bhíodh ann ó am go ham ó thaobh cúrsaí pleanála. Cúpla blian ó shin bhí fadhb agus achrann an-mhór sa Spidéal nuair a bhí cead pleanála tugtha ag an Comhairle Chontae chun scéim luxury houses a thógáil. Ansan bhí oral hearing agus tugadh an cead pleanála. Chuir mo Roinnse, thar mo cheann agus thar m'ainmse objection isteach agus bhí gach éinne buartha ansin ó thaobh na teanga de agus ó thaobh forbairt shóisialachta go háirithe sa cheantar sin. Dá bhrí sin sílim go mba chóir go rachadh aon údarás pleanála, is cuma an údarás áitiúil atá i gceist no údarás náisiúnta, i gcomhairle le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta nuair a thagann fadhbanna pleanála nó nuair atá sé measta aon fhorbairt a dhéanamh a bheadh ag brú ar an teanga agus rudaí dá leithéid.
Dá bhrí sin sílim go bhfuil na leasuithe seo an réasúnta, ach go háirithe ó thaobh prionsabail de. Tá tábhacht ar leith ag baint leo agus b'fhéidir go bhfuil breathnú déanta ag an Aire ar an bprionsabal atá sna leasuithe seo agus a bhfuil mise i bhfábhar leo.
Is é atá á iarraidh sna leasuithe seo ná go mbeadh comhairle agus toiliú an Údaráis ag teastáil i gcúrsaí pleanála. Beidh caoi ag an Údarás cead a fháil ón Rialtas na cumhachtaí seo a fháil agus má bhíonn an cead sin acu beidh an tÚdarás níos láidre go mór. Ní aontaím, gur gá go mbeadh comhairle an Údaráis ag teastáil. Is féidir é sin a fháil am ar bith. Nil aon deacracht le comhairle a fháil ón Údarás, ach is beag an mhaith comhairle nó toiliú a thabhairt mura bhfuil cumhacht pleanála ag an Údarás féin. Sílim go mbeidh an t-alt níos fearr má fhágaimid é faoin Údarás na cumhachtai seo a iarraidh nó a fháil ón Rialtas má shíleann siad go bhfuil gá leo agus gur ceart na cumhachtai sin a bheith acu. Dá bhrí sin tá mé ag iarraidh go nglacfadh na Teachtaí leis an chuid sin den Bhille de réir mar atá sé molta againne.
Cuireadh an diospóireacht ar athló. Debate adjourned.
Business suspended at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.