As he said, Deputy Garland's amendment was tabled in an effort to introduce fairness and equity into the provisions of this section, which I fully accept.
The consumer price index was what we discussed originally, very extensively in my Department with regard to this section. The point made by a number of contributors was that, when something is impaled as it were, in a statute, one must follow it to the nth degree. As members of my staff, experienced in finance, indicated, one is then getting into fractions. If one wanted to be punctilious about it, one might charge, say, .88 of a penny if one adhered strictly to the consumer price index.
I thought that my amendment, as tabled, would commend general support. It is totally democratic in that if a majority of societies decide that the amount to be determined should be the approximate consumer price index figure, then that is what it will be or, if they decide there should be no increase at all, then there will not be any increase. Equally, if they decide on some other figure, that will be the determinant. I appreciate Deputy Garland's amendment but, substantively, my amendment covers what he is endeavouring to do.
Deputy Gilmore mentioned corporate members. Once more I should like to place on the record of the House that a corporate member, say, of an hotel, a magnate, with a lot of money, and a conscience — of course conscience kept titillated by Deputy Garland and his party — who lives in a certain area and decides to invest, say, £1,000, £2,000, or whatever, will have one vote or the institution concerned will have one vote. It would be my hope that such people in the various regions — realising the gift we have in our lakes and rivers — would be convinced that they should contribute to their development. It does not give them any rights in accordance with the size of their wallets but, as happens nowadays, in some countries to a greater extent than in ours, people who have amassed wealth should consider investing money for the development and protection of fisheries and for the benefit of the community in general.
With regard to angling clubs, again from the manner in which Deputy Gilmore spoke, one would think he was talking about the Freemasons. These people are ordinary anglers who decide to form a co-operative society for the specific purposes I have mentioned continuously, that is, the protection and development of fisheries in their regions. A person will only have one vote whether or not he be a member of an angling club.
The other point I want to make is germane to the remarks made by Deputy Taylor-Quinn when she said there was no recognition of the work undertaken by clubs; au contraire, it is quite clear in section 8 that there is such recognition. From the very beginning of our discussions the point was made strongly to me that the actual voluntary work undertaken and investment on the part of angling clubs had not been appreciated within the community generally and, specifically, by the Department of the Marine, formerly the Department of Fisheries. It was with a view to that that section 8 was constructed as it is ab initio that point was made to me time and again by the people who are committed to angling.
Deputy O'Sullivan mentioned that the anglers were quite prepared to pay. I agree with him and I took them at their word. They came and made that case to me. They said it was a travesty of their position to state that the reason they were opposed to the rod licence was that they did not want to contribute to their own sport. I accepted their contention. The whole system is based on voluntary subscriptions which Deputy O'Sullivan said is desirable and I agree with him. There is no compulsion on anyone to join. In a case where a particular society decide there is no requirement to have a certificate to fish then the point made by Deputy O'Sullivan is covered. Deputy O'Sullivan used an emotive word, "coercion". There is no element whatsoever of coercion in it.