(Limerick East): I move amendment No. 1:
In page 5, line 27, after "provisions." to insert "No order may be made by the Minister, under this section, after the 1st day of July, 1990".
I am glad that the Committee Stage of this Bill is being taken at such an early date. For many decades now the Trustee Savings Banks have provided a tremendous service to small savers and, since 1968, have not operated only as institutions which take savings on deposit but have also operated and extended some other banking services to many of their depositors. In recent years they have established a niche for themselves in the market in providing home loans.
There are now two Trustee Savings Banks only as a result of the recent amalgamations — the Dublin-Waterford and Cork-Limerick Trustee Savings Banks, which means that this Bill is all the more timely.
I am very critical of the manner in which the Minister has decided to legislate in this matter. Of course, I have no objection whatsoever to the intent of the Bill, which is to allow the Trustee Savings Banks to extend other banking services to the general public, to operate on a level playing field with the associated banks and building societies, thereby providing necessary competition in the banking sector. That is the reason I believe there is a certain urgency about the implementation of its provisions. I asked on a number of occassions, on the Order of Business, when this Bill would be introduced. While I remain critical of the manner in which the Minister is legislating here, it would be appropriate that the Bill, as amended on Committee and Report Stages, would be implemented at a very early date.
The provisions of section 2 allow the Minister by order to set a commencement date for the Bill in its entirety or portions thereof as he sees fit. We have had examples in this House of other Bills having been passed by these Houses and of a Minister failing to introduce the necessary orders or regulations to give effect to their provisions.
The purpose of my amendment is to give the Minister the freedom to implement the provisions of this Bill, in whole or in part, over the next seven months. But if he has not implemented its provisions by 1 July 1990 he will have to return to these Houses. Seven months is a reasonable time limit within which the Minister can implement all of its provisions. The precise purpose of my amendment is to put a time limit on the Minister, to ensure that this Bill, which has been in gestation for over nine years, promised by successive Ministers for Finance, requested on numerous occasions in this House, is implemented as soon as possible. The intent of my amendment is to ensure that this be done at the earliest possible date. Mid-summer 1990 affords the Minister plenty of time to do so. I recommend that the Minister accept my amendment.