Thomond College of Education, Limerick, Bill, 1980: Report Stage.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 4, to delete lines 41 and 42, and substitute the following:—

"(f) one of those members shall be so appointed on the recommendation of An Chomhairle Oiliúna;

(g) two of those members shall be so appointed on the recommendation of the Irish Vocational Education Association;"

When we discussed this Bill on Committee Stage, an amendment put down in my name to this effect was discussed by the House and withdrawn by me to give the Minister an opportunity to consider it again between then and Report Stage. I am very sorry to see he has not accepted the logic of my arguments on that occasion.

How does the Deputy know?

If the Minister is indicating acceptance——

I am not.

If my assumptions were fully justified, I do not see the point of the Minister's interruption. In relation to what the Minister said at that time — that he would give an assurance that he would be appointing somebody from the Irish Vocational Education Association and therefore that the query I was raising and the structural problem I was identifying did not exist as far as he was concerned — after some consideration, I put down the amendment again for Report Stage. I have done so because there is a critical difference between what the Minister is proposing and what I am proposing. I suspect there are two critical differences.

First, I am proposing two members from the Irish Vocational Education Association; up to now the Minister has not given any indication that he intends to appoint more than one. The second difference, and it is much more critical, is that anybody from the IVEA who reaches the governing body of this institutionvia the ministerial nod will not necessarily be the nominee of the IVEA itself. The appointment will be a ministerial one, carried out by the Minister within whatever constraints and sense of opportunities habitually operate. This is in marked contrast to the method of nomination in relation to the other bodies specified under this section, not least AnCO whose own nominees are effectively ratified and appointed by the Minister. I take it that even in these cases the Minister might have the opportunity to refuse to ratify or to nominate somebody who was totally inappropriate, but I do not see that possibility arising in the ordinary course of events.

My amendment is designed to give the IVEA a strong voice on the governing body of the institution and to do it by writing into the statutes governing the creation of the governing body a specific right of nomination for the IVEA. The Minister's assurances are welcome in so far as they go but they do not go far enough. The Minister would not lose anything but the governing body would gain substantially if the amendment were accepted.

On Committee Stage we went into the suggested amendment in reasonable detail and I indicated my thinking to the House on that occasion. I stated then and I reiterate now that I realise that the Deputy tabled this amendment because of his appreciation of the work done by the Irish Vocational Education Association in the whole field to which these trainee teachers are related specifically.

As I pointed out at the time there are two parts of the Bill whereby members of the IVEA may be selected to be on the governing body and, consequently, to represent their association. These are section 5, sub-section (4), (a) and section 5, sub-section (4), (i). I hope that the Deputy was not implying that while he has admiration for the IVEA in general, that admiration is selective in any way. I say this because he indicated that he feared that if the matter were left to the Minister's choice and if he were to select someone from the association, it might be someone who was undesirable in some way. I would not restrict my admiration to any specific member of the association. Anybody who is working and giving service in that field would be a worthy representative of the association in this instance.

If I were to accept that the composition of the sections of the Bill was such as to leave it open to exclude the IVEA, I would accept the amendment but there is no doubt in my mind as to there being plenty of scope in the Bill as it stands for selecting people from the association for the governing body. I have given the House an assurance of my intention to select people from the association for representation. Deputy Horgan made the point that there might be only one or two persons left. The wording of the Bill does not preclude me from nominating three members of the IVEA.

I am very disappointed in the Minister's response. The points he made were essentially debating points which did not touch the core of the argument in respect of this amendment. In order that there not be any misunderstanding, I would stress that the purpose of my amendment was not merely to express appreciation of the work done by the IVEA and by the organisations and schools associated with that organisation. Though that appreciation is worthwhile, my amendment is an expression of a structural reality in the field of education in general and especially of the nature of the subjects which are to be taught by the people who will graduate from Thomond College.

The Minister tried to put words in my mouth by suggesting that I considered as undesirable his right of appointing anybody to the IVEA. From my point of view it would be more accurate to say that I appreciate that right in the case of the IVEA as in the case of any of the other organisations, institutions or bodies who are named in connection with the governing body but that it is less desirable that the Minister should nominate than that the body or organisation concerned should nominate.

I am confident that the Minister will not choose anybody unsuitable from the ranks of the association. That is not what is at issue. Neither is the issue the number who may be selected. The question is whether the associations themselves should have the right to nominate. I fail entirely to understand why the IVEA in relation to Thomond College and to this sector of the educational system should be denied the right to nominate members. I find it all the more extraordinary because AnCO — and this was admitted by the Minister on Committee Stage — who are to some degree a subsidiary body, have written into this Bill a right of nomination to the governing body of the new college whereas the IVEA which by any standards would be the most suitable umbrella organisation for nomination purposes is excluded and may only come in on the Minister's say-so or at his whim.

I do not have to go into much detail about the IVEA. The Minister is well aware of their past, of their present and of their potential. In addition, many members of the Minister's party throughout the country are members of the IVEA and are playing a full part in the running and organisation of that association, an association whose educational policy is closer to that of the Labour Party and to the recently-expressed Fine Gael policy in many respects than to the policy of the Government in this area.

However, what we are talking about is not basically a party matter. The association are a non-party organisation. They are an educational association and their record in terms of creative thinking and constructive criticism of our educational system is very good. They have a particular role to play in the government of Thomond College and for that reason I urge the Minister to reconsider the amendment and to accept it.

Is the amendment being withdrawn?

Do I not have permission to reply?

The Deputy has replied to his amendment.

I wished to speak also but was told that I could not do so.

I had some gems by way of reply to what the Deputy has just said.

I wanted to speak after the Minister spoke.

I waited to see whether Deputy Collins was offering.

Once the Deputy has replied to his amendment, debate is finished on that amendment. That is the position on Report Stage.

On a point of order, when Deputy Horgan had spoken, I wished to hear the Minister's views and while the Minister was speaking I indicated to you that I wished to speak also but you indicated that I could not do so.

That was during Deputy Horgan's speech. If the Deputy had indicated earlier his wish to speak he might have been facilitated.

I thought I was entitled to speak once.

Before speaking, I paused and looked over at Deputy Collins.

I appreciate that but the situation is as I have outlined.

Is it not the case that every Deputy is entitled to speak once between the Report and the concluding Stages?

That is correct but the Deputy proposed and concluded. Deputy Collins should have spoken after the Minister.

Deputy Horgan was making a point.

It was no harm to try.

Question put: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá 49; Níl, 23.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Aherne, Kit.
  • Andrews, Niall.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Browne, Séan.
  • Callanan, John.
  • Calleary, Seaén.
  • Cogan, Barry.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Gerard.
  • Coughlan, Clement.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Farrell, Joe.
  • Filgate, Eddie.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom. (Dublin South-Central).
  • Flynn, Peaédraig.
  • Fox, Christopher J.
  • French, Seaén.
  • Gallagher, Dennis.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Killeen, Tim.
  • Lemass, Eileen.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Murphy, Ciarán P.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Donoghue, Martin.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael J.
  • Wyse, Pearse.

Níl

  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Burke, Joan.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Deasy, Martin A.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Horgan, John.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Toole, Paddy.
  • Taylor, Frank.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Moore and Ahern; Níl, Deputies B. Desmond and Horgan.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment No. 2 not moved.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 5, line 12, to delete "staff" and to substitute "management, staff and students".

Deputy Horgan on Committee Stage asked for this. As it was not formally down by him as an amendment he asked me to consider it on Report Stage. I am now moving this amendment. When we were debating the National Council for Education Awards Act it was mentioned in a different context, namely "the management, staff and students of any institution to which the Act applies". In this Bill it is "any college or body referred to in the said subsection (4)" of this section, that is the list of nominating or recommending bodies.

The effect of the amendment is that the Minister before selecting his seven nominees to the governing body would be bound to have regard to the extent to which the staff or management of any college or body referred to in subsection (4) should be represented on the governing body. As the House knows the following colleges or bodies are mentioned:

Thomond, The staff and students are already substantially represented by definition in subparagraphs (b), (c), and (d).

National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick. The governing body, that is the management of the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick, have the right to nominate three members.

An Comhairle Oiliúna, as we have been discussing on Deputy Horgan's amendment, two members.

A university in the State or a constituent college or recognised college of a university in the State. One governing body member is to be a member of the staff of the university.

Representation by the management of the university on the governing body is hardly necessary.

The College of Education for primary teachers. The staff only have been named as essential representatives.

Bodies representative of the interest of second level education.

That came up for discussion under Deputy Horgan's amendment already, I indicated, when we were discussing that amendment, that I have certain powers which would possibly meet Deputy Horgan's amendment. I recommend the amendment to the House.

I welcome the amendment. I am sorry the Minister did not go as far in the earlier amendment as he has in this one. It improves the Bill. Even though its practical effect may be limited it is an expression of goodwill which will be welcomed by all the interests involved.

I would also like to support the amendment. It offers some improvement on the wording of subsection (5) and allows a wider interpretation in relation to the selection for representation on the governing body.

Amendment agreed to.
Bill, as amended, received for Final Consideration.
Agreed to take Fifth Stage today.