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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 12 Jun 1985

Vol. 359 No. 7

Dublin Transport Authority Bill, 1985: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

This year will be a year of major overhaul and reform for transport in Ireland. We have four major Transport Bills before the Oireachtas at this moment: the Road Transport Bill, the Air Transport Bill, the Canals Bill and now the Dublin Transport Authority Bill.

Within a week I will be circulating the Free Ports Bill and during the course of the year we will have the CIE Restructuring Bill, the Sea Pollution Bill, the Shannon Port Authority Bill and the Rosslare Harbour Authority Bill. In addition, during the summer recess, a Green Paper on national transport policy will be published.

Therefore, this Bill is part of the most substantial overhaul of the transport scene in Ireland for many years, the intention of which is to give to transport a vibrance, vitality and efficiency which it has for too long lacked. I should say at the outset that this Bill is quite different from the draft heads of Bill prepared by my predecessor, Deputy Wilson, and I make no apologies for that. When I came into office, I examined Deputy Wilson's proposals and I felt that the net result of what he proposed would be to add greatly to bureaucracy and almost certainly reduce the vitality of transport. Therefore, what we are bringing before the Dáil in the present Bill is a set of proposals greatly revised, giving a much leaner and fitter structure to the Dublin Transport Authority — DTA for short. For example, under the previous proposals the DTA would have become a very substantial bureaucracy of road designers and planners, replicating what is already duplicated in the local authorities and the Department of the Environment. Moreover, final road plans would have fallen to be decided by the Cabinet which would have become a super-planning committee for Dublin city and county.

I say this not as a criticism of Deputy Wilson's proposals, but just to point out that I felt there was a better way, a more efficient way, a cheaper way of achieving the same objectives and these are the proposals I have now before the House. Moreover, there was a need to correlate this measure with local government reforms in Dublin. This has now been done.

The need for co-ordination of transport investment, traffic management and public transport services in the Dublin area is self-evident and the aim of this Bill is to give it that co-ordination so as to rid Dublin of traffic jams and to give it a reliable and cheap public transport system.

The Dublin Transport Authority will:

(1) be connected to the new local authority system for Dublin city and county;

(2) take over from the Garda Commissioner the role of road traffic authority in its functional area;

(3) assume responsibility for all traffic management schemes, i.e., traffic lights, road signs, etc.;

(4) take over responsibility for the taxi service from the Department of the Environment and the local authorities;

(5) have responsibility for the routing, pricing and licensing of all bus services;

(6) be the advisor to the Government on transport infrastructure investment in the Dublin area on road, rail and bus;

(7) have the right to make recommendations to the local authorities and to the Minister for the Environment about local authorities' development plans and road plans, and the right of consultation by the local authorities and An Bord Pleanála on all planning applications and appeals with significant implications for traffic management or provision of transport services;

(8) have the power to direct local authorities to bollard roads, to convert long roads into a number of cul-de-sacs to prevent joyriding;

(9) have power to direct local authorities to ramp roads to prevent speeding;

(10) have control over the provision of public car parks in the Dublin area;

(11) have control over the timing and co-ordination of road works.

As far as transport planning for the Dublin area is concerned, there is a clear need to ensure that public and private transport requirements are treated in an integrated and co-ordinated manner. In particular, the development plans and road proposals of the local authorities must take public transport needs fully into account.

Secondly, co-ordinated planning should in turn result in co-ordinated assessments being made of the requirements for annual Exchequer funding of public and private transport. This is vital if the limited Exchequer funds available are to yield the maximum benefits to the community.

Thirdly, as far as public transport services are concerned, monitoring of CIE's performance and regulation of such matters as taxi services and the provision of bus services by private operators should all be entrusted to a body whose functions relate to every major aspect of private and public transport in the Dublin area.

Finally, the regulation and management of traffic in the Dublin area needs to be put on a new statutory footing. The establishment of a Dublin Transport Authority was the principal recommendation of the Report on Passenger Transport Services in the Dublin Area, presented by the Transport Consultative Commission.

The Dublin Transportation Task Force, the non-statutory forerunner of the DTA, has achieved quite a lot. I wish to record my appreciation of its efforts. Comprising senior representatives of the Government Departments directly concerned, the Garda Commissioner and the Dublin City and County Manager, and with the assistance of CIE, the Task Force has achieved a number of important improvements in traffic management in the Dublin area.

These improvements have been secured as a result of the development by the Task Force of a strategy aimed at reducing traffic congestion at peak hours by getting commuters to switch from cars to buses. The strategy has involved a combination of improvements to the bus services and a parking policy which discourages all-day parking in the city centre. Among the measures implemented have been the following:

— over 600 new or re-engined buses are now in service in CIE's Dublin fleet, which numbers about 840 buses in all;

— buslanes have been successfully implemented at 65 locations, covering virtually all of the main arterial routes into the city centre;

— the traffic warden service has grown from a small number working on a part-time basis to 109 full-time and 16 part-time wardens;

— 1,700 on-street car parking spaces formerly available for all-day parking have been converted to short-stay use by the provision of parking meters.

Notwithstanding these improvements traffic congestion persists as a very pressing problem. The continuing lack of a single statutory body with responsibility, and the necessary powers, for traffic management in the Dublin area and the consequential complexity of arrangements has meant that traffic problems could not be tackled with sufficient speed, vigour or thoroughness. A non-statutory grouping such as the Task Force, which is dependent on the combined efforts of its member-agencies, each of which has its own priorities and concerns, is not equal to the task except on an interim basis.

It would be appropriate at this juncture for me to indicate in detail how the Dublin Transport Authority proposed in this Bill compared with what was proposed by the Transport Consultative Commission. As regards functions, as recommended by the Commission the DTA will have functions in the areas of transport planning and funding and public transport services, in addition to traffic management. However, the Authority's planning functions exclude a substantial element recommended by the Commission, namely, that the authority itself would draw up a comprehensive Dublin Transport Plan. Such a plan, when approved by the Government, would be binding on all concerned. This recommendation was not accepted because of the risk of duplicating the on-going planning work of the local authorities and CIE.

Instead, the Bill required the Authority to assess the plans of those bodies and make recommendations to the Ministers for Communications and the Environment, as appropriate. Any recommendations to Ministers by the Authority in relation to local authority functions will also be submitted to the Dublin Metropolitan Council when that is established in due course. In these ways the integration of transport planning recommended by the commission will be achieved.

In practice, the Dublin Transport Authority would have to operate having regard to the settled general planning strategy adopted for its functional area by the local authorities in question. It will input into that strategy. The Authority's planning functions will be reviewed in the light of how the authority is operating. Additional functions in that particular matter, or in other matters within its remit, may be given by ministerial order under section 9 of the Bill, subject to Oireachtas control.

As regards the structure of the Authority, the commission recommended an executive board below the Authority itself. The Authority would have 15 members, including elected representatives of the Dublin local authorities and other relevant interests. This would be too unwieldly an organisation and could not therefore be accepted. Instead, the Bill provides for a more concise and unified Authority, with a maximum of 12 members, to be appointed by the Minister for Communications on the basis of appropriate experience and expertise in transport and other relevant matters. Four members of the Authority will be members of the four proposed main Dublin local authorities who are nominated by them for membership of the Authority.

Under section 10 of the Bill, the DTA's functional area will generally cover all of the areas of the three existing Dublin local authorities, Dublin Corporation, Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Borough Corporation. It may be desirable, however, that for the purposes of specific functions, for example, in relation to public transport services, the Authority's area should be somewhat greater than that. Section 10 provides the necessary flexibility in that the authority's functional area may be varied in respect of all or any of its functions by ministerial order, subject to Oireachtas control.

Since the Bill is accompanied by Explanatory Memorandum, it is not necessary for me to go through it in any detailed way. I have already referred briefly to the planning functions of the Authority, which are set out in Part III of Bill. I indicated how the DTA will integrate the roads and land use planning of the Dublin local authorities and the public transport planning of CIE. It will also have an advisory role in relation to planning applications and appeals which have major implications for traffic management or the provision of transport services.

Over the past few years, major road works in the Dublin area have included the Clontarf Embankment Road, development of the Airport road, the construction of Templeogue Bridge and by-passes at Swords, Palmerstown, Cabinteely and Santry. In recent years, three new bridges have been erected over the River Liffey — the Frank Sherwin Bridge at Heuston Station, the Matt Talbot Bridge at the Custom House, and the East Link Bridge which has facilitated some through traffic in avoiding the city centre and a substantial time saving is being achieved by users.

In the major road plans already approved by the Government, the road situation in Dublin will be completely transformed by the end of this decade. The motorway box around the city from Stillorgan to Swords will be completed in three parts, the Southern Cross Route at one end, the Northern Cross Route at the other end and, in the middle, the Western Parkway, which only in the past few days has got the go-ahead from Dublin County Council. This will include a high-level toll bridge over the River Liffey at Strawberry Beds. In addition, the Airport by-pass, already well advanced, will be completed; the Chapelizod, Lucan and the Bray/Shankill by-passes, together with the new Navan Road, will be completed. So, too, will the inner tangent route.

This massive infrastructural investment has been accompanied by a huge public transport investment in the electrified rail services on the Howth-Bray line, or DART as it has become known. The DART services commenced in July of last year and the public's response so far has been encouraging. However, even to cover its operational costs, it would require twice as many passengers per day as have now been achieved and it is CIE's aim to achieve this by 1987.

I must express grave disappointment at the failure of CIE and the unions to agree so far on the provision of feeder services for the DART. If the huge public investment in the DART is to be even half justified, it is absolutely imperative that these feeder services commence without further delay. CIE and the unions should know that if they are not prepared to provide the feeder services, there are many private operators who would be so prepared; and I am under some considerable pressure to consider this option.

The Dublin Rail Rapid Transit Study of 1975 saw the electrification of the Howth-Bray line as the first phase in a city-wide electrified rail system. The next phase recommended was the provision of electrified services between Tallaght and Heuston Station. Discussions have taken place between CIE and the Department of Communications in recent years about the question of providing electrified services between Tallaght-Clondalkin and Heuston Station with, initially, a feeder bus service to the city centre. The cost of that proposal could be in excess of £100 million. The possibility of various cheaper alteratives such as a busway to Tallaght, or diesel rather than electrified rail services, has been discussed with CIE but no definite proposals have yet emerged.

The question of what public transport services are to be provided for Tallaght-Clondalkin and other developing areas west of the city, and whether such services should be provided by rail, road or busway, will require priority consideration by the DTA. Consultation will be necessary with the local authorities and CIE. Given the constraints on resources, the high cost of rail projects will require that cheaper bus-based alternatives are brought to the forefront in the DTA's consideration of these questions.

As far as funding of transport is concerned, the authority will make recommendations as to the priorities in annual Exchequer allocations, both capital and current, for roads and public transport to the Ministers for the Environment and Communications, respectively, to which section 21 refers. The importance of striking the best balance between the transport modes is readily apparent. In 1984, Exchequer grants to the Dublin local authorities for road maintenance and improvement works totalled £25 million, while CIE's Dublin services were subvented by the Exchequer in the amount of £34 million.

Section 21 should provide the Authority with an effective budgetary role to complement its planning role, without the additional procedures which would be necessary if the relevant funds were to flow through the DTA to the local authorities and CIE. Again, however, the budgetary functions of the Authority merit reconsideration when experience of the working of the Authority is gained. The ministerial order mechanism under section 9 of the Bill provides the necessary flexibility. In the area of traffic management, where a more direct regulatory role is proposed for the Authority, the DTA will disburse Exchequer funds under section 42 of the Bill to the local authorities to have specific schemes implemented.

In the area of public transport services, which is dealt with in Part IV of the Bill, the Authority will set objectives in relation to the extent and standard of bus and suburban rail services to be provided in the Authority's functional area by CIE, within their Exchequer subvention. The Authority will also monitor CIE's progress on meeting such objectives. This will impose a healthy discipline on CIE, and will enable value for money to be assessed as far as Exchequer subvention is concerned.

The Bill also provides that CIE will not vary their fares for Dublin bus and suburban rail services without the approval of the Authority, given with the consent of the Minister for Communications. The DTA will also take over responsibility from the Minister for Communications for the licensing of private bus operators to provide public transport services in Dublin, if thought necessary, and for the control of taxi services in the area.

The restructuring of CIE will involve the separate administration by subsidiaries of Dublin city services, provincial bus services and the railway. Links will, therefore, have to be established between the DTA and the new CIE subsidiaries with responsibility for Dublin city services and for the railway — which is likely to retain responsibility for DART — or directly with CIE itself.

While the preparation of the new CIE legislation is in hands, the restructuring of CIE will take some time to effect. The Government are anxious to get the DTA working as soon as possible. The interface between the DTA and the new CIE subsidiaries with responsibility for Dublin bus and suburban railway services will broadly follow the lines of the interface between the Authority and the present CIE provided for in this Bill.

I must now refer to the continuing industrial relations difficulties in CIE's Dublin bus services which have contributed to a continuing decline in bus usage in the city. The number of man days lost through industrial action averaged over 12,000 per annum from 1980 to 1984, compared with approximately 4,000 per annum in the preceding five years. In 1984, 25, 181 man days were lost. These stoppages have adversely affected public confidence in the reliability of the service, despite the real improvements brought about by investment in new buses and bus priority measures.

The new organisational structure for CIE will enable any management defects in the industrial relations area to be remedied. The DTA will be intensifying the pro-public transport traffic management strategy begun by the task force, so that the operating environment for buses and trains will be further improved. It is not too much to ask that the unions and management resolve the various defects on their sides, particularly that of unofficial or unalloted industrial action on the union side. The Government and the general public are entitled to demand good industrial relations in order to aid the major efforts that are being made to help CIE.

The DTA is being given the function, now the prerogative of the Minister for Communications, of licensing private bus operators to provide public transport services, subject to the Minister for Communications having an appellate function in the matter. The licensing question will, therefore, be one for the Authority in the first instance. While there may well be scope for the provision by licensed private operators of limited or specialised bus services in the Dublin area, it is not possible at this stage to indicate the likely extent of such provision.

As I have said, the establishment of the DTA and the reorganisation of CIE will provide the environment in which CIE management and staff should be able to deliver an efficient and reliable service. It would be inconsistent at the same time to permit private operators to provide scheduled services on any extensive basis, even if they were in a position to do so. CIE must avail of the opportunity being provided for them, however, and no doubt the DTA will keep the licensing question under continuous review.

The DTA will be the regulatory body for taxi services in the Dublin area. Matters such as the licensing of vehicles and drivers and the approval of maximum fares will be controlled by the Authority. Taxi services are part of the public transport system and should be consciously developed as such. They should be an element in the overall traffic and transport strategy for Dublin. Taxis should provide a flexible service to complement the bus services, for example, in the city centre areas to meet the needs of business people and shoppers particularly. Such a service, particularly if attractively priced, would make it easier for people to leave their cars at home.

I have mentioned that the Authority will approve maximum taxi fares and also any change in CIE fares. This Bill also provides that the authority will control charges for public car parking, both on street and off street, in the Dublin area. The involvement of the National Prices Commission in settling these various transport related charges and fares will cease. This is not a removal of price control, of course, but a transfer of that function to the Authority from the NPC. This is in view of the overall nature of the Authority's role in transport matters and in the interest of minimising the number of agencies required to be involved in those matters.

Part V of the Bill sets out the traffic management functions of the Dublin Transport Authority. The Authority will both devise traffic and parking measures and make by-laws to give effect to them. These functions have, heretofore, rested with the Garda Commissioner acting either on his own initiative or at the request of the local authority. The consent of the Minister for the Environment will be required for the Authority by-laws. This will ensure the necessary degree of compatibility with the national "rules of the road" regulations made by that Minister, and with other local traffic and parking by-laws throughout the country which will continue to be made by the Garda Commissioner.

The Authority will also regulate public car parks and roadworks under powers being provided in legislation for the first time. The other important new power which is being provided in section 32 will enable the Authority, by means of bollards, to restrict, wholly or partly, the use of public roads by vehicles and, by means of road ramps, to restrict vehicle speeds on public roads. This power will have particular relevance for controlling traffic in built-up areas and housing estates.

This new power will be an extremely important one. Unfortunately, due to the alarming growth of what has become known as joyriding, many residential roads have become dangerous racetracks where life, limb and property are constantly endangered. Moreover, with the growth of vehicular traffic, many motorists use residential roads as "rat runs" or short-cuts from one arterial road to another. It will now be possible for the Dublin Transport Authority to decide, where appropriate and suitable, to make existing residential roads in whole or in part, into cul-de-sacs, by means of bollards. I have no doubt that this power will be warmly welcomed by many communities throughout the city as a means of making their roadways safe once again. We are also providing power for the Authority to arrange, where suitable, for ramps on Dublin roads in order to inhibit joyriding or excessive speeds.

The traffic warden service will be transferred to the Authority under section 15, but otherwise the Garda will continue to be responsible for traffic law enforcement. The traffic and parking schemes will be implemented by the local authorities on behalf of the Authority with funds provided for by the latter.

The objective of traffic management is to make the optimum use of the existing roads network for the movement of people and goods. Traffic management is vitally important. Traffic management works can yield significant returns, in terms of alleviating congestion, from relatively low levels of expenditure. In 1985 £2.7 million approximately will be made available by the Exchequer for such works in the Dublin area.

I will be looking to the Dublin Transport Authority to revamp and intensify the traffic management efforts of the Task Force, and to examine afresh existing traffic arrangement. In particular, I wish to see the Authority develop a comprehensive parking strategy in favour of the short-stay parker, as against the all-day parker. Such a strategy would embrace off-street and on-street spaces, charges, parking periods and types of parking controls and, in particular, effective measures against illegal parking.

No traffic management strategy can succeed without proper enforcement. The transfer of the traffic warden service to the DTA should result in a more effective and professional service. The provisions of the Bill dealing with the transfer include guarantees against any worsening of the wardens' pre-transfer pay, conditions of service and superannuation entitlements. I would like to see the development of a supervisory structure for the Dublin traffic warden service which would improve efficiency and, also, provide incentives for advancement for the traffic wardens. The Garda too, I feel, could step up their traffic law enforcement efforts considerably, notwithstanding the many higher priority demands that are made upon them.

In addition to the specific functions I have outlined, the DTA will have the general functions under section 8 of the Bill of ensuring, in so far as they can, the proper planning and efficient operation of road and rail transport in their functional area and of promoting and engaging in public education and research related to road and rail transport. There should be no overlap or duplication between the education and research functions of the Authority and functions of An Foras Forbartha and the National Road Safety Association, and vice versa.

The maximum penalties for offences under the Bill when enacted are set out in section 52. The actual penalty imposed in any case will, of course, be a matter for the court. Maximum penalties of £1,000 and/or one year's imprisonment on summary conviction, or £50,000 and/or five years' imprisonment on conviction on indictment, are provided for in respect of three types of offence. These are unauthorised disclosure of information by a member or employee of the Authority, failure of an Authority member or employee to disclose a beneficial interest in matters being dealt with by the Authority, and unauthorised roadworks. The maximum penalties provided for in these cases are high, but rightly so I believe, in view of the potentially very serious nature of the offences.

Section 52 also provides that the same penalties as apply under the Road Traffic Acts for the country as a whole will apply to other offences under the Bill, namely breaches of the Authority's by-laws under sections 31 and 36. Under section 43 the levels of the fines-on-the-spot imposed for parking offences will continue to be set in regulations made by the Minister for the Environment. He is currently reviewing the levels of these fines.

As far as the Authority's running costs are concerned, the Bill provides for financing of the Authority by the Exchequer, and that staff numbers and salary levels will be subject to ministerial control, in the interests of economy and efficiency. I can, if necessary, avail of the flexibility provided by the commencement provisions of the Bill to assign functions to the Authority on a phased basis. I can assure the House that the Authority will be a lean and fit body.

With this approach, the running costs of the DTA will not be permitted to exceed £400,000 in their first full year of operation. This figure is net of the costs of the traffic warden service, the transfer of which will merely result in a re-allocation of Exchequer funds between the Vote of the Garda Commissioner and that of my Department.

The terms and conditions of the staff of the Authority will be analogous to the terms and conditions of staff in the local authority service. I am hopeful that the Authority will be able to select staff among existing competent and experienced public service personel. This should enable some offsetting staff savings in other bodies, but, at this stage, it is not possible to quantify the likely level of such savings.

After their first year of operation, the staffing of the Authority will be reviewed in the light of experience, and in the light of any additional functions which might be given to them and of their capacity to bring about worthwhile savings to the Exchequer or to the community.

It is very clear now that traffic and transport problems in Dublin are currently imposing massive hidden costs on industry, public transport and private motorists and will continue to do so until the problems are properly tackled. I am convinced that the establishment of the Dublin Transport Authority, with the comprehensive range of functions and powers contained in this Bill, is the way in which to tackle those problems. I am confident that the benefits which will accrue to the Exchequer and to the community from the establishment of the Authority will greatly exceed its costs.

Therefore, I commend the Bill to the House.

Having called on numerous occasions on the Minister to bring the Bill before the House I must say that my disappointment at what has been brought before us is great. This is precisely the sort of Dublin Transport Authority Bill which Dublin city does not need at the moment. The amount of thought and work put into the problems of Dublin city transport since the Transport Consultative Commission were set up, and reported in March 1980, was an indication of the importance attached to the Dublin transport problem as far as Dublin city was concerned, and as far as the whole country was concerned because it is a matter of great consequence for all citizens how transport is managed in the capital city which is either the focal point or starting point for so much transport. It is quite obvious that either the Minister's heart was not in the Bill or, and this is more likely, that the Minister was outvoted or outmanoeuvred by his colleagues in major elements which the Bill should contain. It is a weak and inadequate Bill, one which makes no new demands on the interested parties, those with vested interests in transport in Dublin, to improve in a scientific and positive way the traffic in this our capital city.

It is a matter that is obvious to anybody who is travelling through the city of Dublin that the provision of the new link bridge and, of course, the numerous industrial and commercial shutdowns, have caused an easement of traffic congestion but I would like to think that the House would not relate our transport policies to the present position. Hopefully with a change in economic policy, consequent upon a change of Government, of course, because there is no hope otherwise, industry and commerce will revive in the city. In order to cope with the heavy traffic that will result we will have to have intelligent, effective transport legislation to take us on to the end of this century and beyond. The Bill is not it. The very wording of the Explanatory Memorandum to which the Minister referred in his speech is anaemic and apologetic. There is no drive behind the phrasing. I should like to quote from the explanatory memorandum:

Transport planning: it will be responsible for appraising and making recommendations to the relevant local authorities and to the Ministers for Communications and the Environment, as appropriate, on the long term planning of road and rail transport in the Dublin area, both as regards infrastructure (roads, bus and rail facilities, etc.) and public transport services.

Appraising and making recommendations indeed. Appraising and making recommendations is a national pastime. We are wonderful at appraisals and making recommendations. What we want is some vehicle to make those appraisals and recommendations effective.

The next paragraph of the Explanatory Memorandum reads:

Transport funding: it will make recommendations annually to the same two Ministers in relation to priorities in both capital and current expenditure on road and rail transport in Dublin.

There is no fund available to the authority and consequently no power to decide on the allocation of funds to road or rail or to determine priorities between them. There is a theoretical power to determine priorities but there is no muscle in the Bill to have those priorities, when decided, made effective.

The next paragraph in the Explanatory Memorandum reads:

Public transport services: it will set service objectives and standards to be achieved by Córas Iompair Éireann in the Dublin area within its Exchequer allocation, and will monitor Córas Iompair Éireann's progress. It will also be responsible for the licensing of private bus operators to provide public transport services and for the control of taxi services in Dublin.

It "will monitor Córas Iompair Éireann's progress": The whole nation spends all its time monitoring CIE's progress, or lack of progress. All we have here is verbiage and flummery. It is a waste of time bringing this Bill before the House: "it will set service objectives and standards to be acheived by Córas Iompair Éireann in the Dublin area". Originally the relationship envisaged between the Dublin Transport Authority and CIE was that CIE would be the agent for the DTA in the area covered by the DTA. I have no objection to the licensing of private bus operators and so on. This is at least giving a little power to the Dublin Transport Authority.

In effect the new authority will be nothing more than a statutory replacement for the Dublin transport task force. It lacks the dimension regarding traffic plans — and the Minister knows that is a weakness in the Bill and referred to it in an apologetic manner in his speech — and it lacks the dimension of the budget which the Fianna Fáil Bill catered for in 1982.

We are opposing this Bill even on the Second Reading on the basis of its inadequacy and weakness. This is a changeing, not the healthy child the Minister found, and which he criticised at the beginning of his speech, when he went into the transport office in December 1982. It will be the purpose of the Opposition, and an obligation on the Opposition, if severely critical of the Bill to suggest alternatives and I shall be putting down a series of amendments to try to strengthen the Bill, to put some muscle into it, and I will outline what those amendments will be in broad terms, not in detail, for the House.

Before I do that I would like to make a few comments on the Minister's speech. In his opening paragraphs he sounded the tocsin for vibrancy, vitality and efficiency. He chose three suitable nouns if the Bill he was bringing before the House was vibrant, vital or making for efficiency. I will qualify the last noun because there are areas of the Bill which will make for improved efficiency, but as it happens, they were in the original Bill the Minister found when he went into that office. One statement he made at the outset and which I want to repudiate is "I felt that the net result of what he proposed"—"he" being myself —"would be to add greatly to bureaucracy and almost certainly reduce the vitality of transport". Vitality of transport in Dublin at the moment — God save the mark. As far as I remember a budget assessment was made of the costing at that time and with the transfer of functions and duties from existing officers in communications, the budget was very low indeed. There was no question of an accretion of bureaucracy and I want to repudiate that straight away.

Another statement the Minister made and which I want to repudiate is: "Moreover, final road plans would have fallen to be decided by the Cabinet who would have become a super-planning, committee for Dublin city and county". That is a ridiculous statement and is not in accordance with the facts. There was not the remotest possibility in the original proposal that that would be so. I will tell the House why the Cabinet did come into it. When there was a question of a dispute between the Dublin Transport Authority and the local authorities — then Dublin Corporation, Dublin Council and Dún Laoghaire Borough Council; now there are new local authorities but the area is the same — and it could not be settled between them, then, and only then, would the matter be referred to the Cabinet. I am challenging the Minister on that. Am I right in saying that that is what he found in the original suggestion for legislation?

The Minister thinks his way is the better, more efficient and cheaper. I have dealt with the accusation that it would not be a cheaper way, and it remains to be seen what will happen about efficiency, but I do not believe the proposals before the House will make for more efficiency. I will now skim through the points made by the Minister. He said the Dublin Transport Authority will be connected to the new local authority system for Dublin city and county. That is true, it has to be, but all they are doing now is connecting to the new system in place of connecting to Dublin Corporation, Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Borough Council. The Dublin Transport Authority will take over from the Garda Commissioner the role of the road traffic authority — that too was in the original Bill. The DTA will assume responsibility for all traffic management schemes — that was in the original Bill. The DTA will take over responsibility for the taxi service from the Department of the Environment and the local authorities — that was in the original Bill. The DTA will have responsibility for routing, pricing and licensing of all bus services — that was in the Bill. The DTA will be the adviser to the Government on transport infrastructure investment in the Dublin area on road, rail and bus — that was in the Bill by implication, but there was more to it. The Dublin Transport Authority proposed by me had far more muscle with regard to road, rail and bus infrastructure in the relevant area.

No. (7) refers to the right to make recommendations to the local authorities and to the Minister for the Environment about local authorities' development plans and road plans...." As they say nowadays, I am not "into" the recommendations aspect of this Bill because of their weakness. All the suggestions, advising, monitoring, recommending, and so on, are examples of this weak and wan Bill.

Items (8) and (9) are new. If my memory serves me correctly, this is about bollards and ramps. Instead of calling this the Transport Authority Bill it should be called the Bollards and Ramps Bill. That is about all the novelty that this Minister and his officials could think to put into it. Admittedly, bollards and ramps have become important since the heads of the original Bill were put together in November-December of 1982, because of what is wrongly called joyriding. If that is all that we can expect from the Bill, then it should be called the Bollards and Ramps Bill, 1985, and it will be a useful bit of social history later on when all these problems. It is hoped, are resolved, to find a Bill with such a flamboyant name on the Statute Book.

No. (10) states that the DTA will "have control over the provisions of public car parks in the Dublin area". That is also in the original drafts of the Bill. No. (11) says that the DTA will "have control over the timing and co-ordination of roadworks." That is very important and was also in the original Bill. So was the provision of taxi services.

It is a long, important list.

It is, but the Minister began by criticising the Bill he found on his desk.

I am just indicating to him that his Bill contains much of what was in the original Bill, but it is nevertheless, as I characterised it at the outset, a changing, a weaker baby than the one he found.

I support the Minister in what he said about the Dublin Transportation Task Force, which is non-statutory as we know, and part of the purpose of this Bill is to give statutory authority to a body which will continue with the work the Dublin Transportation Task Force were doing, and doing very well.

Deputy Kelly objects to people claiming this or that. Administration of Government is a continuous flow, but the Minister has claims about re-engined buses and new buses and I must claim some credit for part of that.

The Deputy certainly can.

The Minister went through a number of recommendations made by the TCC, for example, functions in the area of transport planning and funding and public transport services. As far as the planning and funding are concerned, we interpret those recommendations in a certain way and they are totally excluded from the Bill. I want to read a sentence from the Minister's speech as follows: "However, the Authority's planning functions exclude a substantial element recommended by the Commission namely, that the Authority itself would draw up a comprehensive Dublin Transport Plan."

The plan and the budget put together, to my mind, are the substance of what should be in this Bill and that is totally excluded. The Minister said that the plan as originally envisaged, when approved by the Government, would be binding on all concerned. "This recommendation was not accepted because of the risk of duplicating the on-going planning work of the local authorities and CIE." I interpret that this way. The environment lobby objected to this from the very word "go". There was an on-going argument between the Departments of Communications and the Environment. The Department of the Environment did not want to allow any input whatsoever from the new Transport Authority in this area. My interpretation of that sentence is that the environment lobby won. They certainly did not win rounds Nos. 1 and 2 but, to use a metaphor which is at present appropriate to my constituency and that of the Ceann Comhairle, they certainly seem to have won in the end, overall on points.

I am puzzled by the following sentence: "Additional functions in that particular matter, or in other matters within its remit, may be given by ministerial order under section 9 of the Bill, subject to Oireachtas control." I am not objecting to the principle of a ministerial order and I know that in evolution certain developments may take place which require a ministerial order to cover matters which were not relevant or pressing at the time when the legislation was put on the Statute Book. I am not particularly enamoured of the whole process but would ask, why not now? If there are matters high on the Minister's consciousness in this area, as there would seem to be from that quotation, why not now? Elsewhere in the Bill there are similar kinds of provision.

I envisaged a nine member authority. It has been increased to 12. I think the Commission recommended 15. However, I agree with the Minister. We continue to tell the story of the camel being a horse designed by a committee. It is important to have a reasonably small membership and I could not criticise 12 members if there are to be four from the local authority. One of the difficulties which surfaced when we were debating this whole problem was that if you have a representational type of authority, then you will have a transfer of dog fights from many areas over the transport field to the Authority. This will leave the Authority less effective and will paralyse their efforts.

With regard to the functional area, I suppose it is wise that the Minister is taking power to himself to change that area at any time he finds it necessary. I am a little puzzled about the necessity with regard to the planning. We have an elaborate and I might add an expensive — Bord Pleanála. We have expertise available to that board and while it is only natural that the Dublin Transport Authority should have an interest in planning which would affect traffic flow, such as the building of roads, or railways, and so on, I am wondering whether it is necessary to cater for that elaborately in the actual legislation. I agree with the Minister the decisions on the rapid rail services will be paramount in the consideration of the Dublin Transport Authority as soon as they are established.

I was interested in the Minister's comments regarding DART. I know the Minister was less than enthusiastic about it. The Taoiseach drove me on the DART on the inaugural journey — I felt quite safe because there was a qualified man beside him — but when it was pointed out to him that a lot of money had been spent on DART his response was that Fianna Fáil were responsible for that. I am glad that at least he attributed it to Fianna Fáil. I have great confidence in DART and in its possibility for making a profit. I know that what the Minister said is true, that CIE must attract many more passengers if DART is to make a profit. A selling job is needed. Recently I saw that people in charge of the planning of conferences had planned them for places easily accessible to those using the DART line. It was precisely that kind of thinking that always buttressed my hopes for that service. In addition, it is a kind of semi-circle with many seaside resorts along the line and there is great potential for sales in that area also.

I see pictures in today's newspapers of the chairman of An Post with a postman's cap on and selling his service. I should like to see super selling of the DART line. That leads me to support fully what the Minister said about the failure of CIE and the unions to agree on the provision of feeder services. I support the Minister 100 per cent in what he has said on that point. I ask him to take initiatives to prod and to stimulate them to resolve that matter for the summer. Admittedly the weather we have been having recently is not very good and perhaps the loss on the line is not that great yet in so far as the utilisation of DART is concerned for resorts along the way from Howth to Bray. It should be a priority in the Department and in the boardroom of CIE to resolve the problem. There appears to me to be a little threat at the end of that paragraph and I do not think that will be very effective. However, it may be a little prodding on the part of the Minister when he referred to private operators.

In his statement the Minister points out that the cost of providing electrified services between Tallaght-Clondalkin and Heuston Station could be in excess of £1 million. He also makes the following comment:

The possibility of various cheaper alternatives such as a busway to Tallaght, or diesel rather than electrified rail services, has been discussed with CIE.

The Minister did not say if it had been discussed between himself and CIE. He also made the statement that no definite proposals have yet emerged. Did the Minister tell CIE he would make available a certain amount of capital for the development of the line, did he ask them their views on the economics of the proposal and so on? I do not understand what he means by the words "but no definite proposals have yet emerged". Did the Minister tell the board of CIE that he wanted them to adopt a certain course, that he would give them a certain amount of money over a stated period and did he ask them if they could or would do it? I should like the Minister's comment on his statement. The constraint on resources seems to be the cadenza if not the burden of the Minister's tune.

I am quite pleased with the section of the Bill dealing with traffic management and I have already said that. With all the improvements that have been made such as traffic lights, bus lanes, a proper transport authority, good buses, efficient services, lists of times that could be adhered to generally and a better traffic flow, I cannot see why the Dublin city services should not be able to pay their way. It is a mystery to me. We have about one million people in the conurbation and they would use the services if they were available. If we had the Fergal Quinn type of approach the Dublin city services should be a paying proposition. A habit of mind has developed that this cannot happen and this, in itself, is self-defeating. Pessimism grows with the belief that the services cannot be made to pay. I had a look at some European cities roughly the same size as Dublin and this city did not compare badly with those other cities with regard to public transport. There is a basis for hope that they can be made to pay.

I have always believed in the bona fides of the Minister. I think I can read between the lines in some of the sections of his speech. He told us that section 21 should provide the Authority with an effective budgetary role. That is a laugh. I will come back to that later when I talk about the budgetary role I had envisaged and that I am going to try to get inserted by way of amendment on Committee and other Stages of this Bill.

In his speech the Minister said:

Section 21 should provide the Authority with an effective budgetary role to complement their planning role, without the additional procedures which would be necessary if the relevant funds were to flow through the DTA to the local authorities and CIE.

That is precisely what the Minister should have in the Bill. He should have the plan and the budget but both are excluded. For that reason I regard this as a changling Bill, a weak and wan Bill, instead of a strong, vigorous and efficient Bill to use the Minister's own words. The Minister also said:

Again, however, the budgetary functions of the Authority merit reconsideration when experience of the Authority is gained.

That is a significant sentence. He knows that the absence of that budgetary function represents a weakening of the Bill. I see hope in that. I see a possibility of the replacement in the Bill of the two items I mentioned, namely, the plan and the budget.

I support what the Minister said regarding the number of man-days lost. It is simply appalling that they numbered on average over 12,000 per annum from 1980 to 1984 compared with approximately 4,000 per annum in the preceding five years. In 1984 some 25,181 man-days were lost and, as the Minister pointed out, public confidence in the reliability of the service was affected. It is very disheartening for anyone who is committed to having an efficient service in our capital city. The Minister says that the new structure will enable any management defects in the industrial relations area to be remedied. I hope he is right. There must be a reason for so many stoppages and for the loss of so many man-days. This area is a major priority so far as the transport services are concerned. People do not go on strike without reason. They do not regard a few days or a few weeks off work as a joyride.

A serious attempt must be made to determine the cause of the discontent that leads to strikes, strikes that are unnecessary and are damaging the transport system. I trust the Minister is correct in stating that the new division will make easier the task of coping with industrial relations. What we do not want is a new layer of industrial relations experts who are way up in the clouds and far from the chap who is dispensing the tickets or driving the bus. We have plenty of expertise. Universities and other colleges are turning out people with qualifications in that area, but a determined effort must be made to solve the problem. It is a problem that has been developing for many years; and, if we believe that small is beautiful, the smaller sectors who will have to deal with industrial relations should be given the opportunity of turning over a new leaf. I read with interest the chapter by Mr. Todd Andrews on industrial relations in CIE during his time there. There are plenty of insights in that chapter that we could apply to today's situation. We should do everything possible to find the reasons for the problem and then endeavour to resolve it. I approve also of the appellate function given to the Minister in cases in which private bus operators may be refused licences.

I have no fault to find with that section of the Bill which deals with traffic management. Already I have complimented the task force for what they have done without having statutory muscle, but if there is any muscle in the Bill it should be in that section because elsewhere whatever muscle might have been in it has been emasculated.

The Minister referred to education and research and to the danger of overlapping or duplication of functions as between An Foras Forbartha and the National Road Safety Association. That is a very important part of the Bill and I shall return to it later.

In order to facilitate the integrated planning and operation of transport in Dublin, Fianna Fáil consider that a purely advisory body are useless. I have pointed to weaknesses in the Bill in this regard. In our opinion all that woolly area of recommendations, appraisals, monitoring, setting of objectives and so on will not make for an effective Dublin Transport Authority. The authority should not be an amalgam of vested interests. The Minister's prudent judgment in selecting the members of the authority should ensure that it will not be an amalgam of vested interests. The representation from local authorities may mean that, if there is a question of a demarcation dispute as between one local authority and another, each will be fighting solely for their own corner. It may be important that they should have a voice in such cases and the fact that they will have four out of 12 members will mean at least that the vested interests aspect of the authority would not be paramount. We proposed an authority of nine members but I do not think the Minister's 12 are out of kilter. Action is what is needed and small is beautiful so far as committees are concerned.

Basic to our ideas and firm proposals, proposals that were incorporated in the heads of the Bill we sent to the parliamentary draftsman in December 1982, was a transport plan. The power of budgeting for road and rail was number two in that plan because these are the essentials. The Bill could be called something else with regard to traffic management rather than a Bill setting up a Dublin Transport Authority.

The Authority were not to be standing back, advising CIE, monitoring them or making recommendations to them. CIE were to be the agent for the Authority. I do not know what transpired when the Minister was putting the Bill together but it seems as if CIE said that the Authority could advise them, monitor them, and make suggestions to them but that the company would not be the agent for the Authority. The question of traffic management is very important and our Authority would have had strong and well defined functions in the area of research and education.

We envisaged that the Dublin Transport Authority would put together a plan to cover a certain period. A period of five years was mentioned, but that was not to be de rigeur. There was to be a plan covering a substantial number of years. The plan was to be renewed or varied or improved or extended at the end of the period decided on. There was to be the reconciling of the plans of the Dublin local authorities, now four in number and covering roughly the same areas as Dublin Corporation, Dún Laoghaire Borough Council and Dublin County Council. The overall plan and the plans of the local authorities were to be reconciled and made consistent with each other. One of the strengths of the original proposal was that there was to be statutory and all round consultation and comment from local authorities and other bodies — Dublin Port and Docks Board, CIE and so on — in regard to the making of the plan. A draft plan was then to be published and a public inquiry was to be held at which statutory bodies, ordinary citizens, people who had the wisdom or expertise in this field would be free to make their contribution. It was not until then that the plan would be put before the Government for approval, modification or rejection. The Government were entitled to alter and then approve.

Also any dispute between the Dublin Transport Authority and local authorities would be settled by the Government. The Minister's claim that there would be constant Government sessions deciding on plans and so on was somewhat of an exaggeration.

I did not say that. I said a super-planning committee.

I commented on it and quoted the Minister directly from his speech. I do not think it was a valid criticism of the original proposals.

To my mind the budget is a crunch issue. Theoretically anyway, in a sense the budget would follow upon the plan. What we have here is an advisory, recommendatory, monitoring Authority. There is not any strength or muscle in that. To effect substantial improvements in the transport situation in Dublin my contention is that the budgetary power should have been given, as originally proposed, to the Dublin Transport Authority. The areas to be covered were (a) the non-capital Exchequer support, which was to be given for the operation of public transport services; (b) Exchequer capital for the provision of new transport infrastructure and assets, plus traffic management facilities; and (c) non-capital Exchequer funds for the maintenance of roads and traffic management facilities.

In respect of the first I mentioned there, the whole consideration of the passenger miles, the levying of fares and the budgetary implications were to be incorporated. The authority, as we envisage it, would allocate funds to CIE or private operators. The Minister mentioned private operators for the suburban railways, capital works, rolling stock or buses and local authorities for improvements and maintenance of roads and traffic management facilities. The idea was that the Authority could take a comprehensive view of the transport situation. They would be in a position to balance off the claims of people who were exclusively dedicated to rail development, who could see nothing else, and people who were exclusively dedicated to bus or road development and who had the wisdom and expertise to make a decision between them.

As of now we could have a March hare situation with people developing their predilections without consideration to what others are doing. This could apply as far as roads are concerned with Dublin Corporation, Dún Laoghaire Borough Council, Dublin County Council. It could apply as far as the rail sector of CIE is concerned, developing rail, the road sector, developing the roads, without any overall, comprehensive view and power of decision, which is important. The Dublin Transport Authority, as now envisaged, will not have the kind of strength to be able to do that. They can recommend, monitor, appraise, propose but, if they had their plan fully thought out, discussed and agreed, backed up by a budget, they would be in a position to provide the capital city with the kind of transport system it deserves.

The Minister referred to Dublin city services and the new CIE arrangements. In replying he might let the House know when he thinks the CIE legislation setting up by statute the new CIE bodies will come before the House. It is a pity the Minister did not insert into his Bill a section indicating that CIE would be statutorily obliged to operate bus and suburban rail services in accordance with the Dublin Transport Authority's overall plan. They seem to have been able to back off a responsibility which should be placed on them and which the Dublin Transport Authority should be in a position to place on them. I do approve of the provisions with regard to the licensing of private operators and of the provision that there should be a right of appeal to the Minister.

The regulation of taxi services is an area on which we could spend a good deal of time in the House in an effort to see how best the overall service should be regulated and developed in the city. We do an awful lot of talking about tourism, about having for our citizens and for visitors an efficient transport service — public, taxi or whatever. It is an area which impacts on tourists to a great extent. A good, well run, efficient and clean taxi service is something found in many cities which impresses visitors and makes them want to return.

Car parking is important. I do not quite understand why the National Prices Commission should be excluded. If it is with a view to speeding up operations then I would go along with it. One of the main complaints that those who studied the question had originally with regard to traffic management was the long, slow, lethargic, drawn-out process of effecting any changes. This Bill seeks to speed up that process and I am fully in support of it because there was too much red tape in the old system. As far as I remember there was an illustration in the Transport-Consultative Commissioner's report showing what had to be done to effect the simplest little change in by-laws. In so far as the Bill removes that obstacle it is welcome.

Some time ago — I think it was in this House — somebody raised the question of public car parks, of their being foreign-operated and controlled. I do not see why the Dublin Transport Authority should not be empowered to develop car parks, to employ people to run them and to charge for them. Our citizens, homegrown entrepreneurs should be encouraged in that regard rather than have us import people. After all, there cannot be that much expertise required to run an efficient car park. Even charities could be given a licence and it would ease many of their campaigns. I am sure it has to be a paying proposition. It must be a business in which it is easy to make money.

With regard to roadworks and road openings, the Dublin Transport Authority should have extensive powers. It is a general joke that the ESB rips up the road and then closes it, that then An Bord Telecom comes in and a few feet away rips up and closes the road, and then the gasworks, the waterworks, sewerage works and so on all come in and have a hand at the game. For years there have been complaints. It is easy to be cynical and laugh when one does not know the inside story. One is inclined to believe that rational planning and thinking obtains in these matters. I am afraid that experience teaches that that is not so. The stronger the powers of the Dublin Transport Authority in this regard the better. The Transport Authority should also have an eye to the damage that can be done by the various public agencies when they are about their business. Last year, there was consternation in an area of South Dublin when the ESB attempted to undermine a whole row of beautiful whitebeam trees that had been growing for 20 years in that area. Were it not for the fact that the citizens who lived along the road objected when this was happening all those fine 20 year old trees would have been heeled over and an amenity would have been lost. The Dublin Transport Authority should employ some sort of officer to keep an eye on the environmental aspects. Also the co-ordination, timing and manner of execution of roadworks and road openings should get the close attention of the authority and should be under their control. If one is not an expert one is inclined to believe the best of the engineers, planners and so on. However, on dozens of occasions in the middle of the tourist season or the horse show or some international event, the main arteries leading to and from the RDS are ripped up and piles of stuff is left on the middle of the road. The Dublin Transport Authority should have strong powers for dealing with that sort of thing.

Although the Minister does not give much consideration in his speech to it, I am glad that education and research have been incorporated, as it was, in the original heads of a Bill. The whole area of transport studies is practically a new applied science and especially in areas like Dublin city, Cork and Galway, we need a section to study the problems. I know that our universities have in recent years employed in the economics departments people who have specialised in the transport area. With the development of electronics and computerisation — we are now using computerisation for traffic light co-ordination and so on — there is an important field for study. There is also a need for social studies with regard to traffic and traffic management, for instance relating to industrial and commercial working times which impact very much on transport and traffic problems. We need to study the opening and closing times of schools, third level institutions, factories, shops or offices and the pressure that that puts on traffic. We should have research and discussion on these subjects with a view to possibly organising times so as to relieve congestion and improve traffic flow. Every new fad gets great publicity for a time, and some time ago we launched the idea of flexitime. It is working in some areas. We should research that idea and see if the idea could be fitted into a system that would ease traffic flow. A data bank also has been mentioned and I would like if that idea were provided for.

On the Bill itself, my main criticism is the exclusion of the overall plan and the exclusion of the budgetary powers which the Dublin Transport Authority have. I have already indicated my support for the rest of the Bill. I regret that other lobbies, other pressure groups seem to have got into the act and weakened the Bill. Section 9 (1) says:

The Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for the Public Service, and where matters within the responsibility of the Minister for the Environment are concerned with the consent also of that Minister, may by order confer....

It reminds me of Swift "So nationalists observe a flea hath smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller fleas to bite 'em and so proceed ad infinitum”. The Minister was looking over the two good shoulders that he has and if he had two more he would have to look over those to see who was trying to trap him. That is apparent in the explanatory memorandum and the result has been a very weak Bill.

I had been pressing genuinely and sincerely for a long time, as not many other Deputies do.——

Speak for yourself. Are there moments when you are not genuine and sincere?

I am sure that Deputy Kelly who is peering from under his hand knows a good occulist who would be able to clarify that for him. There are, as Deputy Kelly very often reminds the House, political conventions which cause Ministers to come in and claim things.

We should put our boots into these conventions.

I heard Deputy Kelly attacking this kind of convention, decrying it and saying it was a great pity that when some IDA officer had achieved something a Minister who had nothing to do with it came into the House and claimed it. It was in that context I was speaking and I was going to back the general philosophy of Deputy Kelly. This is a Bill that should have been brought before the House. The Dublin transport situation required this Bill. It required the kind of muscle that was in the original proposal which was before the parliamentary draftsman when the Minister took office in 1982. I am gravely disappointed with what has come before the House. I think it will improve the situation with regard to traffic management and other areas which are important but are not at the heart of the matter. As I have said, people have found an easement in the traffic in Dublin recently as a result of the East Link bridge in particular and, of course, as a result of industrial and commercial shutdowns where so many people are unemployed. I hope that we will not be gearing our policy to that as a priority.

As I said at the outset, I will be putting down amendments to try to put a bit of muscle into this Bill, and I am afraid that the Minister's appeal at the end of his speech that the House find this Bill commendable is meeting with a negative response from me.

I welcome the arrival of this Bill, for which we have waited a very long time. The 1980 report of the Transport Consultative Commission envisaged that within six months an interim transport authority would be in operation. It is sad that we have had to wait for five years instead of the hoped for six months.

The Bill that has come before us is like the curate's egg, good in spots and, I am afraid, bad in spots too. The picture of Dublin transport at the moment is bleak. We have serious traffic congestion in the streets throughout many hours of the day, not only at peak hours. We have also a very sad picture on the public transport front. Public transport in Dublin is attracting only about one-tenth of all travel spending by people in the city. Since 1970 we have seen a continuous decline in the usage of the public transport system run by CIE. It has fallen since 1970 by 25 per cent, a very sad situation not unique to Dublin, let it be said. It is affecting many western cities. In the face of falling numbers of that magnitude we have been increasing our bus numbers and employment in CIE, so it is scarcely surprising that this has wrought havoc for both the taxpayer and the traveller in terms of the cost of what must be paid for. In Dublin travellers have faced year on year increases in fares of the order of 4 per cent every year over and above inflation, a real eating into the spending power of people who are travelling by bus and train in the city.

We have seen also the sad growth in the subvention to the Dublin city services. At the beginning of the seventies there was no subvention at all, and since then it has reached a peak of 40 per cent; the taxpayer was paying 40 per cent of all spending by CIE on their operations in the city. That peak was reached in 1981. I have nothing against paying subventions to public transport. Indeed, it is the pattern throughout Europe and the western world that public transport must be sub-vented. However, what is sad in the Irish case is that it has been a decline in passenger numbers that has forced the Government to pick up the tab for unprofitable services. It is not that the Government have identified worthy social objectives or the need to, say, take passengers out of cars at peak periods and say, "We will pay for that". That has not happened here. We are paying for loss making services and, generally speaking, we do not know what precisely are the loss making services or why they are loss making. This Dublin Transport Authority Bill presented an important opportunity to confront what we are paying for in the city and, sad to say, it has fallen short in that respect.

Before leaving the present picture of Dublin transport I must say that since 1981 there has been some progress. For a start, there has been a slow down in the decline of passengers on CIE buses and trains, and that is welcome. No doubt it has been achieved by the bus priority schemes pioneered by the task force who have been working in the city. We have also seen a halt in the productivity losses in CIE, and it is encouraging to see that the subvention which was so bad at 40 per cent in 1981 is now decreasing and it was only just over 20 per cent in 1984. That is a little bit of encouragement on the horizon.

This Dublin Transport Authority will be facing in the next 15 years very daunting tasks and not only the existing rather bleak picture which I have painted. We are told by An Foras Forbartha that within the next 15 years up to the end of the century we will see a further doubling of the number of cars in the city. Anyone who has sat in congested streets in the day or at peak times with the present level of cars can imagine what is going to happen if we have doubled the number of cars in the city by the year 2000. Our streets will become more like car parks than streets carrying traffic. The DTA will have to take a very firm hold if they are to reverse the trends that are apparent now in the uncontrolled growth of car numbers and the sad decline in the use of public transport. The DTA will have to be very assertive and a very effective executive if they are to deal with these issues.

It is worth recalling what the Transport Consultative Commission saw the DTA doing when they proposed it in 1980. It provides a worthy basis for comparison with what we have before us. According to the TCC, the authority were to have the following functions; overall responsibility for integrated planning and operation of transportation; channelling to Government all plans and budget proposals in relation to Dublin transportation; the release of all Government funds for transportation and monitoring the expenditure of the various bodies like CIE and so on; overall responsibility for traffic management. They were to have responsibilities in relation to licensing road passenger and taxi services and for public education, promotion and research in relation to transportation.

In many of those areas this Bill is very different from what the TCC envisaged. While I do not go the whole way with what they envisaged, I feel that the Bill has fallen short in some respects. In particular the present proposal does not envisage the Transport Authority channelling to government the plans of other agencies like CIE and the road authorities. They will not have that control over the investment proposals of these authorities, nor will they have control over the release of Government funds. I think those are going to prove to be serious weaknesses in the operation of this authority.

I recognise, as the Minister said, that in section 9 he is retaining for himself the power to expand the role of the DTA should he see fit, but I must sympathise with Deputy Wilson's suggestion that section 9 seems to be the most unwieldy section possible. Certainly three Ministers and their Departments will have to give agreement before anything can move there. That will be an ineffective section in the long run. The Dublin Transport Authority must have more control than is being envisaged in relation to planning transport and controlling the investment proposals of various authorities. If we are to get the best value for scarce resources in the city there must be some authority capable of ranking different proposals and deciding that one proposal is more valuable than another or that a certain proposal should be amended or delayed. It is sad that this will not be the position. This Authority will have the power only to make recommendations to the Minister. It will not have the more central role of evaluating and ranking schemes, as was originally envisaged. I am concerned that this will prove to be a serious weakness.

Other authorities such as Dublin Corporation and CIE will still have powers to decide on what investments will go through, with the approval of their own Minister. In the case of Dublin Corporation, approval would be sought from the Minister for the Environment. These proposals will not go through a central channel where the real choice about how to use resources most effectively could be made. This is a serious difficulty. At a very minimum the Minister should require that not only should the Dublin Transport Authority have the power to make recommendations but that the other authorities who might have investment proposals should not be permitted to go ahead without the approval of the DTA. We should shift more power towards the DTA and allow them to be a sanctioning body. All the scattered agencies who have major proposals concerning rail and road transport should have to seek the approval of the DTA. I suggest that the Minister amend the legislation to require these bodies to get difinite approval from the DTA before going ahead. That could be quite an easy amendment. It would not involve a large and unwiedly Dublin Transport Authority which would be duplicating the work of other bodies but it would mean that a final sanction would have to be obtained from them.

There are some key problems on the horizon which the Dublin Transport Authority will have to face. One of them is the choice between bus and rail transport in the city. For a long time we have had proposals about a rapid rail system. My feeling, which is not based on hard analysis, is that it would prove a very expensive proposal. I do not think anybody has produced a hard analysis. It was envisaged that such a system would take 12 per cent of peak hour traffic in Dublin if implemented. Some people might have ignored the statement in the small print that the bulk of that extra traffic would be coming from the buses. If rapid rail goes ahead we will see a cut of at least 30 per cent in bus patronage. We might have a Rolls-Royce rapid rail system showing a reasonably good performance but we would build up huge losses in the bus system. The Dublin Transport Authority should look much more seriously at the option of rapid bus corridors. Feeder buses will be needed to make the rapid rail system effective. Why not go the whole hog and have effective bus services along rapid bus corridors? People would not have to get off the feeders and get onto another system. It would be much more cost effective and is much to be preferred. Under the proposals for the Dublin Transport Authority that sort of rational assessment of the options may not be possible because we are to have the rail proposals coming independently of the DTA, the latter being able only to make recommendations. I fear that we might find ourselves not making the most cost effective decisions in the future. CIE have always seen themselves more as a rail company than a bus company. We have seen the bus service suffer over the years, starved of the resources which have been showered on the rail system. There is a need to redress that.

Growing car numbers and increasing congestion will cause serious problems for the Dublin Transport Authority. If public transport gets into the business of carrying peak hour passengers and if the DTA take effective means to restrain commuters coming into the city at peak hours, our bus services will become loss-making. It is important that there should be much more clarity as to what we are paying for. If CIE opt for the peak hour carrying of passengers it means that during the rest of the day many of their buses will be idle and they will have difficult rostering systems for staff. This will be a loss-making activity by CIE. Nevertheless the problem will have to be met head on because otherwise there will be chronic congestion. We do not know what we are paying for when we sanction £34 million for Dublin city transport. We do not know whether the buses losing money are those which carry high volumes of passengers at peak hours and are idle for the rest of the day or whether it is the buses which are empty most of the day. It is crucial that such information be obtained. It is regrettable that the DTA have not been given the power to disburse the subsidy now going to CIE in that way. If the DTA had been given the right to disburse the money to CIE there would be several advantages. It would become public knowledge which are the loss-making services of CIE. This is the most tightly guarded secret and nobody knows precisely what services are losing money around the city. Consequently we cannot possibly have a rational basis for subsidising services. There should be clear reasons for subsidising a service which is loss-making. If a route is to be subsidised it should be providing some desirable social service.

I strongly suspect that the buses that have clear social value are profit making and that those serving the higher income areas are loss makers. However, if you are trying to achieve a sort of social subsidy, it is not achieved by the present system and we will just have to get the information to enable us to make rational decisions. The Dublin Transport Authority should have responsibility in this area instead of CIE, because CIE are getting this subvention and anybody will go for the quiet life and leave things as they are.

The other advantage in the Dublin Transport Authority disbursing this subvention to CIE is that they would not be obliged to pay CIE solely and, if they saw that it would be viable to take off CIE bus services in some areas and provide an alternative, they could provide a subsidy to do so. That could involve privately run buses, taxis, and so on, but the Dublin Transport Authority should have the ability to disburse money flexibily. They should not be locked into subsidising a loss making route run by CIE if there is a better alternative. That is a missed chance in the present proposals. The whole relationship with CIE in these proposals is very vague. The Bill says they can specify objectives for CIE and monitor their performance in meeting these objectives.

However, it is not clear what the force of the objectives being set by the transport authority will be. For example, it is not clear that the transport authority can insist on a route and frequency review by CIE and that is something that has not been done for years in the city. CIE have muddled along with the same routes and frequencies, largely unchanged, over the years and Dublin Transport Authority should be an agency capable of forcing through these sort of changes.

They should also be capable of setting objectives for the performance of the bus fleet in many ways and, not only should they be capable of monitoring those changes, they should have the power to impose effective sanctions when the targets set fail to be achieved. The Bill is silent regarding the powers in this area given to the Dublin Transport Authority over CIE. In practice, it will mean that the powers are very limited because, if the Dublin Transport Authority do not have the disbursing of money, I cannot see how they can specify objectives or targets to be met by CIE. That will be a big problem; we will not get the central co-ordinating role from the authority that we expected.

There is an enormous amount to be done by CIE in selling their services to passengers. It is disappointing that CIE have been so weak in this regard and that they have not made innovations in regard to off-peak fares, changing their routes or allowing through-fares, enabling people to travel from one side of the city to the other, without having to pay two separate fares. They have also not been very enterprising in attracting passengers to the buses. I would like to have seen the Dublin Transport Authority with a clear brief to set targets for CIE in relation to getting passengers back on the buses and also in regard to marketing activities which CIE have done for example in relation to sundry rail packages. Although they have put promotional activity into that, they have never once promoted their bus services which are far more desirable and worthy. The relationship between the Dublin Transport Authority and local authorities is probably a sad comment on planning. It is proposed that the Dublin Transport Authority should have the ability to express their views to the planning authority. Planning seems to envisage drawing zones and lines on maps, but real planning is about providing transport services for a city. It is ludicrous that all bodies like CIE and the Dublin Transport Authority are not involved in the planning process. If planning is to be effective, these bodies should be hammering out plans together, not sending the odd missive about what they would like to see done by the planning authority. Rather than criticising the precise proposals in the Bill, I am critical of the whole planning system because we have not got to grips with getting the various agencies who are supposed to provide services into the planning process. Indeed, they are almost entirely divorced from this process and this Bill will not greatly alter the situation.

The other great weakness in our planning system is that there is no financial backing to the planning proposals and it looks as if this will be continued in this Bill. Unfortunately, most of my comments on the Bill have been somewhat negative but we are missing an opportunity to put in an authority which would be a very effective executive in tackling the serious problem in Dublin city. I acknowledge and welcome many of the powers given by the Bill to the Dublin Transport Authority, particularly regarding roadworks, providing car parks and other operations, but I am convinced that the Bill will have to go further if it is to be effective in tackling the problems in Dublin today. The Dublin Transport Authority will have to hammer out an effective parking policy and also a policy to cover pedestrians.

The authority do not have the power to work out an effective policy for public transport. I hope that on Committee Stage we will go through the precise powers and perhaps tip the balance a bit more strongly in favour of the authority. I hope the Minister will strengthen some aspects by giving new powers to the authority. In the years to come the DTA will have to play a strong role in controlling traffic coming into the city. That may mean introducing such things as licensing areas, selective taxes on those going to certain sections of the city or new types of parking penalties which would if not paid roll up so that we would not have the ludicrous position of an authority incurring huge expenses chasing a tiny sum.

I can see a need for a very strong transport authority in Dublin in the future. Such an authority will have to do things that will be unpopular at times such as telling people that they cannot use their cars as freely as they would like. I am concerned that even in that area the Bill will fall short in that the Authority will not have at their disposal the methods used in other European cities to tackle the problem of growing car usage and the strangulation that has been imposed on cities. I welcome the Bill. In the course of my contribution I dwelt mainly on what I consider to be the weaknesses in it because I did not think there was any point in wasting time discussing its strengths, which are obvious.

(Dublin North-West): I welcome the Bill and anything that will help to improve the traffic problems in the city. I have not had time to study the details of it because, as the House will be aware, with the election campaign in progress we have a lot of literature to read and other things to do. As a member of the traffic committee of Dublin Corporation I am well aware of the traffic problems of the city. We have discussed them on many occasions at our meetings. The Minister told us that he disagrees with the proposals put forward by Deputy Wilson in his Bill but I saw many good points in it. For any system to work properly it must be operated by a competent authority. Deputy Wilson proposed establishing an authority consisting of nine members who would be appointed by the Minister on the basis of their competence. He proposed to limit the term of office of members to five years, subject to specific conditions including remuneration, if any, and allowances for expenses, with the consent of the Minister for the Public Service.

It is importance that the members of any authority are chosen for their expertise. In the past people appointed to State bodies were not always chosen for their experience and that may be the reason why many State and semi-State bodies are not working satisfactorily. In fact, many of those appointed to the board of CIE were figureheads and were not put there for their experience. When their term of office ceased many of them were fortunate enough to be made directors of a number of companies. Deputy Wilson's idea was the correct one. He wanted to appoint people who had the necessary experience, as operates in the UK. Members of the board are appointed on the basis of their ability. It is unfortunate that the Minister is not adopting those proposals.

I note that the Minister proposes to give permission to the Authority to construct ramps on certain roads in an effort to curtail the activities of the so-called joyriders. Dublin Corporation embarked on a pilot scheme for the construction of ramps in the city and have plans to extend it, but unfortunately, those plans are hampered by a lack of finance. Last Monday the principal officer in the traffic department pointed out to members that the roads suggested by them for ramps would have to be listed in the order of priority because he would not be able to do anything until money was provided. The Minister should approach the Minister for Finance and request an allocation for such works.

I hope it is the Minister's intention to provide proper car parking areas in Dublin. At present any site that becomes vacant is taken over and used for car parking. I do not know the people involved. I noticed that within a few days of the demolition of six houses in Parnell Square a gentleman was sitting in a little hut taking money from people anxious to park their cars on the site. I do not know who gave that individual authority to do that. Most of the sites around the city have been purchased by Irish Life for the purpose of erecting office blocks and it appears that they use the sites as car parks until they raise the finance to proceed with their work. I understand that these sites are being let to English companies who are said to be expert in that area. The sites are covered with tarmacadam and fenced off and car owners are charged an exhorbitant fee, in some cases 60p per hour or part of an hour, to park their cars. I hope the Minister looks into that matter.

Many people who come to Dublin at weekends are approached by individuals who do not have authority from the Garda Síochána, Dublin Corporation or anybody, and encouraged to park their cars in certain areas. In some cases people are directed to park their cars on double yellow lines. The men involved in giving those directions are there for the purpose of collecting money. When I brought these activities to the attention of the Garda I was told that there was nothing they could do about it. On three occasions I wrote to the commissioner but only received an acknowledgment. It appears that he is prepared to tolerate this. It is part and parcel of the breakdown of law and order here. Those men are openly committing an offence. Any charitable organisation anxious to take up a collection in the city must apply to the court or the Garda Síochána for authorisation but the men I am referring to dress up in a uniform and collect money wherever they like. I am aware of an unfortunate man who travelled from the country to see his wife in hospital and gave money to a gentleman to look after his car but after spending an hour or so with his wife, he returned and discovered that his car and the gentlemen had gone. I hope the Minister under the Bill will not permit anybody to direct traffic on our streets other than gardaí. I have not seen such an operation taking place in any other city. In other countries police would not permit that to take place. The Minister should ask the Garda to control this problem.

It is very costly to travel by public transport at present although we are all aware that private coaches charge fares that are half those of CIE. At weekends private coaches transport young people from the city to rural areas at half the fare charged by CIE. If they can do it, why cannot CIE? The problem here seems to be that there is a monopoly. The public transport authority do not have to compete for business but in other countries where private transport operators compete, there is a more satisfactory transport system.

Many years ago I worked in the suburbs of Manchester where there were public and private transport operators. And people did not have to wait an hour for a bus. I welcome the day a Minister brings in such a system here. I am concerned about the unfortunate people who wait for more than an hour for a bus that never comes.

The Deputy will not see such a system here until the civil war is ended.

The Deputy is living in the past.

(Dublin North-West): In the past we saw unfortunate people waiting for buses which never came because of lightning strikes. I remember a case where an employee had left CIE under the impression that he had not got a fair deal. He picketed Clontarf garage and brought the transport system in Dublin city to a standstill for a few days. If there were private transport operating CIE workers could go on strike for as long and as often as they liked because the people who pay their taxes would still be able to get transport to and from work.

The freight service provided by CIE seems to be almost non-existent. I remember a time when CIE carried almost all the freight in this country, thus creating employment. Now it is very difficult to travel by car anywhere in Ireland because of the juggernauts and lorries travelling the roads. Some of these lorries are using very narrow roads in the city and this is causing havoc. They are damaging the roads and the drivers of private cars cannot use the roads because of this heavy traffic. I would like the Minister to limit the number of roads which could be used by heavy transport, and perhaps when people are going to and from work heavy transport could be discouraged from coming through the centre of the city. Drivers of heavy transport vehicles should be encouraged to by-pass the centre city where traffic is at a standstill during rush hours.

The Minister said he was trying to discourage private individuals from driving their cars into the city. I believe everybody has the right to drive his car into Dublin. It is very costly to buy a car, pay high tax and insurance and then leave it at home. I am sure there are many people who would not drive their cars into the city if there was a proper transport system. The only reason they use their cars is that there is a bad bus service, or maybe they are on shift work. We all know that if a person brings his car into the city and parks it, there is no guarantee it will be there when he comes back. The remedy seems to be to improve our public transport. If we did that, fewer people would drive their cars into the city.

The Minister proposed that the Authority would take full control of transport in the city and he said this would mean eliminating Garda involved. I do not know how he proposes to do that, but it would be a welcome move if he could ensure that a garda's time was more effectively spent dealing with crime. I hope the Minister will take note of the points I have made.

I hope it will not annoy anybody if I begin by calling attention to the amazing absence this morning from this debate of these tribunes of the people, Deputy Mac Giolla, Deputy De Rossa and Deputy Gregory-Independent who hold the rest of us in such sovereign contempt for our bourgeois values and who I would have imagined, would want to come in here to denounce the laying on of a very expensive electrical facility to suit the decision-making suburbs along the bay while leaving the people they represent high and dry, a point of view with which to a very large degree I sympathise. This will not stop them from coming here and deploying their usual contemptuous language towards the rest of us when it is convenient for them to do so. I notice it is only the representatives of the despised bourgeoisie who have taken part in this debate so far——

Not guilty m'lud.

If not then you either——

Nor have I ambition to be.

I do not think the Deputy would say that too loudly in his own county.

I would.

Over the years I have come to look with horror at those big envelopes I get in the morning to see will there tumble out of them yet another Bill proposing another authority, board or commission. We have enough boards, commissions and authorities to sink a battleship and we do not need any new ones. If there were a case to be made for a new board, it would be a board with the specific draconian remit to close other boards down. It could be called An Bord um Threascairt Bord or An tÚdarás um Dhunadh síos Udarás, but we need that more than anything else. Any board being given birth to by a Minister accouched in this Chamber is entering the world on the defensive, required at every moment to justify its existence and by reference to standards more compelling than merely that it would provide posts for a certain number of public sector people.

This is a general observation about new boards. In recent years I am afraid I have detected a tendency to create boards and authorities with the purpose of relieving persons who have held themselves out as being anxious to exercise public authority of that responsibility. A couple of years ago — and it was not the first time it was mooted — our colleague, Deputy Noonan, Minister for Justice, floated the idea of a police authority. We do not need a police authority because the whole point of having a Minister for Justice, a Government and a Dáil to which he is responsible is that he must carry the wind. He must stand up to the whirlwind of criticism and take responsibility for the correct functioning of the police force and its proper command. He must make certain that the only thing a policeman has to fear is not doing his duty — if he does his duty he has nothing to fear, but has everything to fear if he abuses it. That is what a Minister is there for, not an authority. I am delighted that the Minister, Deputy Noonan, heard me say this at a meeting. He has gone off the theme and we have heard no more about the police authority.

I must ask the Deputy to speak to the Bill being debated.

Bord na bPóiliní is now a spook. It has joined Deputy O'Malley's employment action team——

Three cheers for the radical Tory.

——and his industrial development consortium and will be heard of no more in the land of the living. However, I cannot guarantee that some future Minister will not again produce a police authority in order to shed the responsibility which he himself must carry.

Would you speak to the Bill?

I am trying to put the thing in some kind of perspective so that I shall not be thought unreasonable or selective in picking this authority for this kind of critique. Deputy Wilson and I were both in the Dáil at the time — and we are not by any means the senior Members — but it is not so long ago that it was felt that a Minister for Local Government no longer could be trusted to do the job which, presumably, once upon a time he held himself as able to do, namely decide planning appeals. The suspicion — and, indeed, in many cases the certainty — of political interference was so strong that he could not any longer be trusted to do that job in a clean way. So in a Bill which came into force in 1977 we got An Bord Pleanála, the Planning Board. That was to be a board to decide planning appeals. It was a new authority because the existing authority, the Minister, could no longer be trusted to do this. I do not mean any particular Minister, but the Minister as an institution, a body, a corporate soul with perpetual succession. It was not that he was thought to be overburdened in terms of work, but simply that people had no confidence in his ability to withstand political pressure.

We have now gone a stage further. In between the Government and An Bord Pleanála we inserted last year another board because the Minister — and I do not mean the present Minister, I mean any Minister — now cannot be trusted even to be clean in his appointments to An Bord Pleanála. We have now an interpolated commission who make the appointments to that board. The thing is becoming byzantine, ludicrous in its elaborateness and in the degree to which it represents a vote of no confidence by democratic politicians in themselves.

You have gone from the Minister for Justice to the Minister for the Environment. Would you please get back to the Transport Authority?

I do not see anything quite so sinister in the Dublin Transport Authority but what I do see is authorities already in place which have the function and finance, and to some extent will still retain these, for doing a certain range of jobs. I am afraid that this is my cynicism about it. What I see is the Dublin Corporation, the Garda Síochána and CIE heaving sighs of relief at the proposed enactment of this Bill because it will, to some extent, take the heat off all three: off the Garda in regard to traffic control; off the planning authority in regard to their being able to wash their hands and say that the authority recommended something else, and off CIE in regard to their saying that they are constrained by this or that and did not get this or that suggestion from the Dublin Transport Authority. I do not like that.

It would be far better to approach the whole question of not just transport but Government generally in a quite different spirit. I know the Minister for 15 years and, as he knows, have always admired him. It is one of his qualities that he has a skin thick enough to withstand criticism of this kind, even when it comes from behind him. Our attitude towards Government in this country is going in the wrong direction. We keep making generalised appeals to the people to accept more responsibility in between elections. At election time we are anxious to relieve them of these things. When it comes down to it, we ourselves are guilty of trying to shed authority as fast as we can. That goes from the Government right down to the local representatives who are now standing for election. A thousand gentlemen and ladies elected to all local authority districts will have the spending of public money but are unwilling to have the odium of raising it. I do not notice any party clamouring for the restitution of a locally raised tax. They want lots of money to be left to them by central Government, so that they can spend it, but do not want to raise it.

You are wandering all over the place.

I do not want to quarrel with you.

The Deputy wants a bollard and a ramp.

Perhaps we are not supposed to comment on the Chair, good or bad, but the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is an extremely good and enjoyable chairman.

That does not mean that you may go from one place to another as you wish.

I am trying to put in perspective what I see as a general tendency in all administrations to enjoy the purposes and pomp of office but to shed its responsibility. I mention local authorities only because it is topical. We are going to be electing a thousand of these begowned and, in some cases, "becoached" dignitaries next week. Presumably, we will be providing them with the finance to go on skites to Bulgaria in strict rotation and enable them to shoot down objective——

I am going to have to shoot you down shortly if you do not stay with the Bill.

This is worth drawing attention to. It is not the local authorities or the Minister for Justice, or the Minister for the Environment — it is the whole tendency of Government here to shed authority, to create something else, to get the crow off their shoulders. The local authorities do not want to solve the itinerant problem. They are supposed to have the local knowledge, but that is to be managerialised or centralised. Above all, do not ask a local councillor who has sought election on the grounds that he knows his area enough to serve it to solve an ugly, odious problem.

You had all the time you wanted to talk about that yesterday.

I am talking about the question of this latest proposal of the Government in regard to Dublin. I am not trying to flatter the Minister. I know that in his heart he will be as conscious of this as I am. Although the Bill necessarily has to concentrate on one theme only, namely transport. I have to say this about the casting of the Bill and the drafting of the explanatory memorandum and, indeed, the Minister's speech, that none of these seemed to reflect a consciousness of any dimensions of what I might call the life of a capital city. You cannot look at transport, particularly that in a capital city, in an isolated way. We are not now dealing with all urban transport in this Bill, but with the transport situation in the capital city of our Republic.

A capital city is in a special category, a special position. It is, or should be, a showpiece and a source of pride, not merely to those who by accident, choice or whatever reason become, or have been always, its inhabitants, but to everybody in the country. There were a couple of Deputies from the country in the House this morning and I am hoping that they will contribute on this Bill, because the conditions of the capital city should be as close to their hearts as they are to those of Deputies like ourselves on this side who happen to live here. A man from Letterkenny, or Gortahork, or Belmullet or Two-Mile-Borris ought to be as interested and as proud of the capital city of his Republic as those who live here. Most of us are "Cuid-a Dós" one or two generations back. I was born here, but neither of my parents was. The same is probably true of many Deputies who represent Dublin constituencies. There are some representing Dublin constituencies who were born in Cork and some do not seem to have arrived from Cork too long ago.

They would wish themselves back in Cork, but not with the unemployment situation there.

We should all be interested in the capital city and a piecemeal treatment of it as though it were just some other town is wrong. During Deputy Richard Bruton's very factual contribution, the Chair did not have to pull him in the whole of his excellent speech. That Deputy thought that there was more to planning than simply drawing a red line on a map or designating a zone and hoping that all would then go well. One had to make sure that something happened. One had to make provision for the necessities which arise from people living in the place, as citizens of a capital city and also as the human front of the national showpiece.

I do not want to be making needless jibes at this Bill. One does not expect to find too much in a Bill like this about anything except what it sets out or purports to do. I would have wished, at least, some passing reference to expressly environmental considerations. However, one does not expect to find that. This Bill seems to envisage the city as potentially an easily moving spaghetti of roads in the inter-slices of which ordinary people, businesses and public administration, must exist as best they can, no doubt a dimension of their lives facilitated by freer moving transport but not necessarily any other dimension of their lives enhanced and the general picture of the city not necessarily improved.

I am not saying that a city that is a world by-word for traffic jams — perhaps like Lagos or some other place — should be indifferent if we head in that direction. Of course we should not. The overall planning and government of a capital city is something that requires a united treatment that does not simply co-ordinate or go some distance towards co-ordinating the police, the nationalised transport company and the planning authorities, but which absorbs the other dimensions of government.

I am not of the opinion that merely to call somebody a Minister will make any serious difference to what he is supposed to administer but I have always thought that in a country like this, because of our peculiar history and the fact that for so long Dublin was merely a provincial or colonial outpost capital, we should have a Minister for the capital. We should have a Department for the capital with the budget covering all dimensions of government. They should not merely make recommendations and give advice but should have the spending of money for hospitals, schools, roads and for the policing we need. I do not see it as necessarily essential to have a national police force. I can see the political reasons for it and I support it in a general sense. However, the policing of a capital city of this size, particularly when it is so far out of scale with other towns, is a problem all of its own. There would be a case for a centralised governmental authority here with a budget to do everything so far as this city was concerned.

We want Dublin to be a city of which all of us can be proud. Although traffic congestion is bad enough in my opinion it is one of the least of our problems. At the moment this city can only make one weep. Yesterday my colleague, Deputy Coveney, got coverage for some hard truths he spoke about Cork. He was right to speak his mind because in the long run we do not do ourselves any good by deceiving ourselves about the things around us. For what my opinion is worth, Cork is about the only good looking city in Ireland and I say that with apologies to people in Limerick and Galway. Cork presents an infinitely more smiling, more interesting and more human face than does Dublin, even if it is on a smaller scale. Perhaps the Leas-Cheann Comhairle does not notice it as he goes hurriedly with his bag to the station on a Thursday evening, but Dublin has become an absolute dog's breakfast. If I were a member of the Dublin Corporation I would hang my head in shame — if I did not hang myself — at the shame of being part of the alleged or supposed government of a city like this which can decline so far and so fast. When I was a student in the fifties there was still some faint charm about the admittedly ramshackle quays, the old bookshops and so on. Perhaps they would have fallen by now anyway——

If the Deputy will allow me to interrupt him, I do not know if we are in Dáil Éireann or if we are in the university getting a lecture on the annals of Dublin and its history. I am doing my utmost to keep the Deputy on the Dublin Transport Authority Bill. I appreciate the concern of the Deputy for Dublin city, with which I am familiar, but I should prefer the Deputy to familiarise himself with the Bill we are discussing here and confine himself to the question of transport and the facilities proposed in the Bill.

I will do that. I do not want to quarrel with the Chair. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle is as fair, as reasonable and as generous a chairman as anyone could wish and Deputies on both sides will be glad to acknowledge that.

I ask the Deputy to stay on the Bill.

I ask the Chair to acknowledge that this subject of city transport cannot and should not be treated in isolation. That point was made for me no earlier than this morning in an excellent article in The Irish Times.

I am not interested in The Irish Times.

It was an excellent article in that paper by the local government correspondent. The starting point was the proposal to have a boulevard through the middle of the Liberties. Perhaps he was a little personal on where the chief city planners hailed from: very few of them seemed to be jackeens. The implication, perhaps it was unfair, which lurked not too far beneath the surface of the article was that since they did not come from here they had no instinctive feeling for the place. I hope the correspondent did not mean that and I hope they will not be offended if that is the sense they take from the article. However, his point was a valid one, namely, that there is more to a city than simply facilitating traffic flow and that if you facilitate traffic flow you may destroy several of the reasons that led to the city being there in the first place. It may be turned into a wilderness from which people want to escape. That has been the experience of cities that have got an overdose of fly-overs, double junctions and so on, where people want to get away from the 24 hours a day noise, filth and dust. Such cities are no longer places where people want to live or to do business. The history of inner city decay in American cities is a problem so great for them as to have serious political dimensions. It has a history of fly-overs freeways, 16-lane highways of all kinds and the traffic flow facilitated but the people are no longer able to lead a decent existence.

The Irish title of this Bill is An Bille um Iompras Bhaile Átha Cliath. That is a good one. I often think of the weary heroes in Rannóg an Aistriúcháin in this House slaving for a lifetime — I have to say with amazing skill and perseverance — to turn the inventions of politicians into plausible Irish. Occasionally I think that perhaps one of them may say, "We'll try this word. It was never used since the world began and never will be used until the world ends, but we'll see if we can wish it on those oinseachs in there and see if they will swallow it."

The Deputy is in rare form today. He has not said one word on the Bill.

I have a lot to say on the Bill.

The Deputy is a long time getting around to it.

I am approaching it in the best way I can. I am not accusing Iompras Átha Cliath of having any intention of destroying the quality of life but I am entitled to point to the frame of mind that can suppose that a Bill concentrating on the transport dimension of a city and which does not appear to reflect any understanding of other dimensions, is likely to produce bad results.

I may have missed it but in the section dealing with pedestrian control I have not seen any suggestion that this Authority will have the power to pedestrianise. If I am wrong in what I say I will withdraw it at once, because I do not want to waste the time of the Minister or of the House by making an assertion that is untrue. I do not see anything that entitles the Authority to pedestranise zones of the city. Two things are notable. The pedestrianisation of large zones of an inner city, particularly of an ancient city with narrow streets that do not lend themselves to be turned into freeways and fly-overs, is common on the Continent and in the older cities of Britain.

I do not wish to concentrate too much on the British because they are not anything to write home about in so far as much of their town planning is concerned but the pedestrianising of large zones of inner cities is common in Europe. It has been tried in a half hearted way with Grafton Street, with mixed results. It ought to be tried in a much wider area of the city, perhaps in an area connecting the north side with the south side though such a move would not appear to be within the power of the authority. However, many people would ask whether we should be thinking in terms of a traffic flow through the centre of the city but that problem does not seem to be addressed in the Bill. In addition it seems to be outside the remit of the Authority the Bill proposes to set up. One would have thought it was a matter that would have figured large in the Bill. I do not mean that the Authority should be compelled to close areas of the city to motor traffic, or to restrict them to public service vehicles as happens on the Continent, but it should have been included explicitly in the remit of the Authority.

Lest I am told that such detail cannot be set out in the Bill, I wish to draw attention to the amazing feature whereby the Authority are to be allowed specifically to direct their attention towards the erection of bollards and ramps. Where have we arrived in this ancient city when the only idea in the Bill that has any teeth would seem to be the erection of bollards and ramps? It is surprising that Rannóg an Aistriúcháin did not think to call the Authority Bórd na gCuaillí Concréide. Are the board or Bord an nIomairí Concréide to concentrate on the provision of concrete bollards and ramps which are not used by any civilised city in the world except perhaps, Belfast whch has its own problem to deal with. Are we to admit that the place has become ungovernable and unlivable in to that extent and, if so, why can we not produce in the Bill some provision that would give some hope to the people that they might finish up with a city of which they could all be proud instead of having a situation in which visitors have to be brought from the airport at night or by some circuitous route in order to avoid their seeing what is going on?

Though there are dimensions to this Bill that are not fully explored or which, as Deputy Bruton said, are not explored at all, I would have wished some indication of a direction to be given to the Authority to take an interest in the development of the rapid rail option. Many may say that I am on the wrong side in regard to the rapid rail transit system. This system involves an exceedingly high level of capital investment. I have heard the Minister say that the cost of running the service, too, will be enormous, that it will be a loss maker unless the public use it at double the existing volume.

The investment is colossal when one takes into consideration the fact that the system is being provided on an existing railway, that very little land had to be acquired and that very little by way of bridge building and not much by way of work on embankments was involved. Despite these figures I cannot be persuaded that there is not a future here for rail transport. If the new system has not provided the justification for itself so far that we might have expected, this may be partly due to the causes the Minister has hinted at, but it is due partly also to the fact that we failed in the past to plan the city with an eye to transport. A moment ago I may have seemed to have been decrying the role of transport but, far from that, I am saying that it cannot be looked at in isolation, and neither can town planning be considered in isolation.

It was ludicrous, for instance, to have built a city like Tallaght where, apart from the lack of other amenities which the inhabitants are struggling gallantly to overcome, there are no rail lines by which the people might be transported to the city centre. The extension of this city into the surrounding countryside should have proceeded on the basis that the fastest and most trouble free mode of transport is rail transport. If managed properly, rail transport can be the most economical also. Therefore, building of as high a density as people were willing to tolerate should have been provided around rail transport.

I played no part in the decision to provide the DART system but now that it is in existence I have unstinted admiration for it. If there is anybody living within usable distance of the service who has not availed of it so far, I urge them strongly to begin using it immediately. The system is one from which we can all learn. The service is respected by the people who use it. Smoking is not allowed on the trains and that rule is well observed. Occasionally someone lights a cigarette but obviously there are some very clever sniffers around because one then hears the driver calling out in the most frightening tones, all the more frightening because nobody knows how he can see the smoker, that the cigarette is to be extinguished. There is almost never any litter in the trains and neither are there any graffiti or any signs of dirt anywhere.

The trains are a pleasure to travel on and from what I can see, and I travel at times other than rush hours, the service is well patronised. The total traffic could be doubled but then the number of trains would have to be increased. The system has become so popular that I notice in advertisements for houses on either the north or the south side of the city, that proximity to the DART service is mentioned. The cost of inserting that bit of information in any such advertisement is an extra £3 or £4 per day but obviously people consider it a selling point. This means that people wish to live near a service of that kind and that in turn carries the implication that future building policy, either in the public or private sector, should be concentrated on the rail lines which still exist in the city but which are not used nearly sufficiently.

Debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.