: This section refers to the management of property and section 6 (1) states that the governing body shall manage and control all the affairs and property of the Institute. I should like to know if that amounts to a duplication. Is there any need to mention the management of the property twice in the Bill?
National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, Bill, 1980: Committee and Final Stages .
: Section 4 deals with the functions of the institute while section 6 is concerned with the functions of the governing body acting as the governing body of the institute.
: I should like to know if the Minister had consultations with the NIHE, Dublin, about the composition of the governing body. Is the composition of that body satisfactory as far as the NIHE, Dublin, is concerned?
: The NIHE, Dublin, got a copy of the Bill and did not raise any objections to its provisions.
: How recently did the NIHE, Dublin, get a copy of the Bill?
: I do not have the date offhand but I will check that matter for the Deputy.
: I do not have any violent objections to the composition of the governing body. We had a similar discussion when considering the Bill in relation to the NIHE, Limerick. It would have been simpler had the Minister obtained agreement on the composition of the governing body of the NIHE, Dublin, before bringing the Bill before the House.
: We received representations from all kinds of groupings when the NIHE, Limerick, Bill was going through the House. We had a good deal of the wisdom of this area of education, and that of Members, when we were putting this Bill together.
: Was there any reason for including the word "generally" in subsection (3) (d), a word which was not included in the Bill which dealt with the NIHE, Limerick?
: We raised this matter with the parliamentary draftsman and he was very insistent on the necessity to include the word "generally".
: Why did he not insist on it being included in the Bill which dealt with the NIHE, Limerick?
: He wanted to take away the specificity from the word "students".
: Is the Bill dealing with the NIHE, Limerick, any weaker because of that omission?
: On the argument of the necessity of including "generally" in this Bill it would seem that he thinks it was. It appears he feels that it is better to have the word "generally" in from a legal point of view. From the educational point of view I cannot see that it makes that much difference but those who are experts in certain fields have their own reasons, firmly grounded in their own science, for the use of words like that.
: God preserve us from the legal profession.
: Subsection (3) (d) states that the academic council shall make recommendations to the governing body for the selection, admission, retention and exclusion of students generally and article 14 of the First Schedule gives the governing body direct control of the admissions and exclusions of students from the institute. I should like to know why in the first instance the academic council is asked to make a recommendation and the absolute powers are retained by the governing body in a later part of the Bill.
: I do not think there is any clash in that. Section 8 (3) (d) deals with making recommendations to the governing body, while the First Schedule states that the determination of the conditions rests with the governing body. The governing body will be statutorily tied to having a look at what the academic council think of any matter.
: Would the wording in article 14 of the First Schedule be better if a phrase such as "on the advice of the academic council" was included?
: In my view it would be better to raise that matter when we reach the First Schedule.
: Would it be better to use the words I have suggested? The academic council are being asked to set standards, they are being given responsibility in this important area which could be subject to litigation, and would it not be better to refer to the existence of that council and their powers as dealt with in section 8 in article 14?
: Section 8 clearly talks about recommendations but the buck stops with the governing body and that is specific in the First Schedule. I do not think there is any clash of interest or meaning of powers.
: I am not saying it is wrong but I would like to see it more precise. That could have been done had the words "on the advice of the academic council" been inserted.
: It would be unwise to involve the academic council in article 14 of the First Schedule. If that was done it would have the effect of inhibiting action from the governing body unless the academic council had put a recommendation to the governing body. The governing body, even in the absence of a recommendation from the academic council, should be free to act.
: The question of fees is an annual thorny question. May I take it that the governing body primarily set the level of fees and the Minister approves them, or do do I take it that the Minister sets down the fees, which he is inclined to do, and that the governing body have to accept them?
: The Minister is not inclined to do any such thing. In this case the governing body of the institute will have a look at their financial situation and will themselves determine the level of fees.
: But then the Minister acts through the grants through the HEA to force the institute to charge a certain level of fees.
: There is no question of forcing.
: I object to paragraph 6, page 11 where it states:
Where a member of the Governing Body—
(i) is nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann or for election to either House of the Oireachtas, or is nominated for election to, or is appointed to be a representative in, the Assembly of the European Communities,
I do not think that should be in the Bill. I said this on the Limerick Bill. I think it is adequately covered in (b) (i) and (ii) in lines 25et al, where if a person is entitled under the Standing Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein or if he is for the time being a representative in the Assembly of the European Communities he shall not be eligible to be a member of the governing body. The distinction is that if a person is elected or appointed he should not be eligible to be a member of the governing body. That is fair enough although I do not see anything wrong with being a Member of either House of the Oireachtas or of the Assembly of the European Communities and being a member of the institute but certainly where a man is only nominated to be a candidate or to contest an election I do not think that it should automatically debar him from membership of the governing body. That is too harsh, as I said in the case of the Limerick Bill. I repeat that here. I do not think the nomination to contest an election should debar somebody from being a member of the governing body whatever about being a Member of a House of Parliament.
: This is a point that we have all talked about and we recognise that there are arguments on both sides. Would the Minister think, not necessarily in relation to this Bill but possibly in relation to an amending Bill, that the point might be met by requiring that persons who are nominated for election should not, between the period of nomination and the election, attend meetings of the governing body so as to avoid any charge of conflict of interest that might arise?
: As Deputies have said, this is a knotty problem that arises regularly. I must confess that when I was in Opposition I expressed much the same sentiments as Deputy Collins now expresses. We did make one advance. The original intention was to exclude staff members from standing for the Houses of the Oireachtas or the Assembly of the European Communities. That original intention has been changed. I think that "nominated" as a Member of Seanad Éireann refers to those Senators who are nominated rather than elected. That is the significance of the word "nominated" there. The whole idea of being able to attend to the duties of the governing body and be a fully involved member of the Assembly of the European Communities seems to be an impossible one. The improvement that has been made in this part of the Schedule is as far as I can go at the moment.
: Paragraph 7 says:
A member of the Governing Body who has—
(a) any interest in any company or concern with which the Institute proposes to make any contract, or
(b) any interest in any contract which the Institute proposes to make,
shall disclose to the Governing Body ...
Would it not be a better modus operandi in this area if members of the governing body were to declare in writing directorships, shareholdings and so on as we are supposed to do in the Dáil? Would that not make their commitment to impartiality stronger?
: A member of the governing body is not precluded from doing it in writing. The important thing is the obligation imposed in paragraph 7 (1), the actual disclosing of the interest, and the obligation not to take part in any deliberations or decisions in relation to a contract. The whole business has to be recorded in the minutes of the governing body so that there is a written element in it. This should meet the Deputy's point.
: On paragraph 8, is it the intention to pay remuneration to ordinary members of the governing body? If so, I think that would be a departure from accepted practice.
: Not as of now, no.
: I do not agree with paragraph 4 which provides that the director shall preside at all meetings of the academic council. I think that is undesirable and I have said so before. The academic council should appoint their own chairman from among their own members. That is the proper approach to the question of chairman of the academic council.
: Does the Deputy think the director should not be at the meetings at all?
: No, I am merely saying in this case that certainly the director is now an ex officio member of the academic council but the academic council should elect their own chairman from among their ordinary members.
: Possibly for the most part the director will be so busy that he will not be able to preside at meetings but I think it desirable that as director with all the duties and obligations imposed on him by this Schedule and by the Bill itself he should be aware particularly in the academic field of what is going on. If he is present, the power should be there for him to preside at the meeting.