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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 24 Apr 1991

Vol. 407 No. 4

Written Answers. - Sectoral Development Committee.

Michael Bell


21 Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce the involvement of his Department in the various sectoral development committees and sectoral consultative committees; the nature of such involvements; the date of the last meetings of same; whether his Department were represented; and if he will make a statement on the continuing desirability of keeping these committees in existence.

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the Sectoral Development Committee which was established in 1981 and the various Sectoral Consultative Committees that have been established from time to time by the SDC to assist in the preparation of particular reports. My Department have been represented on the Sectoral Development Committee since 1981 and responsibility for the committee was transferred to my Department in April 1989. The Sectoral Development Committee normally meets on a monthly basis and their most recent meeting was held on 22 April 1991. My Department were represented at that meeting. The last meeting of a sectoral consultative committee was that of the Sectoral Consultative Committee for the bread industry which was held in early 1990. This committee were under the chairmanship of an officer from the Department of Agriculture who have responsibility for the food industry. My Department were not represented on this committee.

The Sectoral Development Committee were a tripartite committee representative of employer associations, trade unions, Government Departments and State agencies, but now with an independent chairman, have had the role of evaluating and making recommendations on sectoral issues. The committee published 12 reports between 1983 and 1986 and while they were comparatively inactive between 1986 and 1989, a further two reports were published in 1990 with a further two subsequently completed and currently awaiting publication. As a tripartite committee representative of the social partners the SDC have been able to make a useful contribution towards a consensus approach in addressing issues of a sectoral nature including those adverted to by the NESC. To a degree the work of the SDC may in recent years have paralleled that of the NESC and the Central Review Committee under theProgramme for National Recovery. These bodies largely shared common membership with that of the SDC.
The newProgramme for Economic and Social Progress, which has recently been agreed with the social partners, provides for the establishment of an industrial policy forum involving the social partners and relevant Government Departments to examine industrial policy issues such as those adverted to by the NESC, including the implementation of measures for indigenous industries and the achievement of the maximum return from the industry budget. Detailed arrangements for the operation of the forum and whether the more relevant functions of the SDC might better be continued within that forum are currently under consideration.