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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 2 Jul 1991

Vol. 410 No. 2

Temple Bar Area Renewal and Development Bill, 1991: Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

The purpose of this Bill is, firstly, to establish, on a statutory basis, Temple Bar Renewal Limited as the company to act as provided for in the Finance Act, 1991, and provide that the company shall lay its decisions, on the approval of development proposals before both Houses of the Oireachtas for their information; Temple Bar Renewal Limited is a company limited by guarantee. Up to now its essential function has been to advise me, and through me the Government, on how the Temple Bar area should be developed. From now on its essential function will be to decide which development proposals merit the incentives provided for the Temple Bar area in the Finance Act, 1991. Secondly, to establish, on a statutory basis, Temple Bar Properties Limited as the company to implement the development of Temple Bar on behalf of the Government; Temple Bar Properties Limited is a company limited by shares of which the Taoiseach, through his nominees is the sole shareholder, as the member of the Government with responsibility for culture. Its essential function is to act as the development company for the Temple Bar area on behalf of the Government in accordance with the recommended development plan.

The development of the Temple Bar area is a Government Flagship Project for Dublin's Year as European City of Culture in 1991. The objectives of the renewal and development of Temple Bar is to build on what has been taking place in the area spontaneously and to create a cultural and tourist quarter which people will visit and in which others will work and live.

Temple Bar has developed over the years to become a "village" within the city. The tenants have been attracted by the historic ambience of the streets and buildings, and through their wide variety of activities they have contributed greatly to this "village" atmosphere. Already there exists a vibrant intertrading and interdependence among the tenants involving artists, traders, restaurateurs, musicians, business people, publicans and residents. The expansion of existing facilities and the promotion of new tourism and recreational facilities will include restaurants, speciality shops, recording studios, a film centre, craft workshops, theatres, art galleries, hotels and a variety of retail shops and markets.

The visual impact of the area will focus in particular on cobble stones, wood panelled shop exteriors, lamp standards, sculpture, buskers and speakers corner and a weekend market. In this way the unique character and "left-bank" atmosphere of Temple Bar will be promoted. The objective is also to provide residential accommodation for students and others who wish to live in the area. This is in keeping with the policy of creating a living vibrant inner city area along this part of the quays.

Temple Bar Properties Limited will implement the European Commission pilot project for the Temple Bar area for which the Commission has provided funding of IR£3.6 million representing 50 per cent of the total cost. In addition, the European Investment Bank have agreed to provide a loan of IR£5 million to Temple Bar Properties Limited for the first phase of the development of the area and to consider favourably further loans for later phases of the development.

The development of the Temple Bar area has been undertaken by the Government on the basis of unanimous proposals and recommendations made to them by Temple Bar Development Council, which represents people from the area, in Dublin Corporation's action plan for the area and by representative groups. The development has the full support of the Arts Council and the council will be actively involved in its implementation.

The company will acquire all the properties owned in the Temple Bar area by CIE and Dublin Corporation. It will, also, acquire such other key properties in the area as it considers essential to its development role. A particular focus of this role will be to encourage refurbishment of existing buildings in a way that enhances and complements the conservation and architectural legacy of the area.

The Bill provides that Temple Bar Properties Limited will be required to provide details of its operations to the Minister for Finance given that he will give a State guarantee of the company's borrowing up to a limit of IR£25 million. The company's accounts will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. As a commercial State company, Temple Bar Properties Limited can be added to the remit of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Commercial State-Sponsored Bodies; Temple Bar Renewal and Properties Limited will be subject to public service pay guidelines; tenants may not assign, sublet or share possession of premises without the prior consent, in writing, of Temple Bar Properties Limited; Temple Bar Properties Limited will have powers of compulsory purchase in the Temple Bar area in accordance with the Third Schedule to this Bill; and Temple Bar Properties Limited will be exempt from stamp duty in relation to the properties it acquires in the Temple Bar area.

A number of tax reliefs have been introduced for the Temple Bar area, which are similar to those in "designated areas". Broadly speaking, these include double rent allowances, industrial buildings allowance, owner occupier allowance for private dwellings and "section 23" allowances for rented residential accommodation.

In recognition of the need to give priority to the refurbishment of the area, a special new 100 per cent capital allowance is being given for refurbishment of the existing buildings. This new capital allowance will cover the actual expenditure incurred on refurbishment plus either the cost of acquiring the building or its value as at 1 January 1991 — exclusive of site cost or value — where the amount spent on refurbishment exceeds the latter.

I believe that the new incentives for refurbishment in Temple Bar which allow not just the full cost of the refurbishment but also the cost of the building which is being refurbished are critical for Temple Bar being redeveloped sensitively as we all wish. Already the first steps have been taken in the redevelopment process. The acquisition of the CIE properties is being arranged and new leases will be drawn up by the new company with existing tenants. A survey of Dublin Corporation properties is underway and a report is expected shortly. A large number of developers have already expressed an interest in developing sections of Temple Bar and these inquiries are being actively pursued. Needless to say, such a high level of development will provide considerable jobs in the construction industry and support services.

Jobs will also be provided in the cultural industries. Temple Bar Properties Ltd. has commissioned several cultural reports to direct the development of the area with specific reference to job creation. These reports include: a report on the National Music Centre; a report on a development strategy for the Irish film industry with particular emphasis on job creation; a report on food and employment in the food industries; a report on the social impact of the development on the local community.

Specific proposals for a wide range of artistic, cultural and retail projects have been received from many individuals and entrepreneurs. The Irish Film Centre Project, which is a flagship has gone to tender and will be started this summer. It will be completed in spring 1992. An architectural competition for a comprehensive and co-ordinated building plan for the Temple Bar area is being launched in conjunction with the RIAI. The building, known as Saint Michael and Johns at Fishamble Street, has been acquired for the development of the Viking Adventure in conjunction with Bord Fáilte. This project will be totally suitable for this historic area beside Wood Quay. Dublin Corporation has commenced the pedestrianisation of a number of streets in the area. The current phase will be completed by the end of the year.

The redevelopment of the Temple Bar area will make history in the life of this city. It is a distinctive part of Dublin frequented by young people, attracted by the unique ambience of the area, where art and cultural activities have begun to flourish spontaneously and which will now be extended and nurtured by these new companies, which the Oireachtas is establishing. This old and well-loved part of Dublin will be restored to prime condition, which it deserves.

I am confident that the development will provide a vibrant new living area, providing new jobs and attracting many visitors. It will, no doubt, provide a showcase both nationally and internationally to emphasise the great potential for renewal in inner city areas where there is a cohesive plan, supported by Government, city planners and people from the area itself, for development encompassing cultural and business activities.

The Temple Bar Project brings to physical reality a dream that many dedicated people have cherished for a long time. It also gives expression to our hope that Irish society will develop a vibrant artistic dimension in which all will be involved and in which creativity will be fostered and extended to all sections of the community. I know this project has support right across the political spectrum and for that reason I will welcome and carefully consider any ideas or suggestions which Deputies may wish to offer.

I commend the Bill to the House.

We on this side of the House are happy to support any significant move to restore elegance, life and ambience to our city centre, but why should the Taoiseach introduce this Bill here today? The fact that the Taoiseach is handling this Bill, the fact that the Bill nominates the Taoiseach as the sole shareholder of both companies proposed to be set up by this Bill — Temple Bar Renewal Limited and Temple Bar Properties Limited — is very unusual and gives rise to many questions which have been the subject of parliamentary questions in this House but which have never been adequately answered.

The cloak under which the Taoiseach introduces this legislation is his responsibility for culture. I submit that the cultural dimension of the renewal of the Temple Bar is but a side show. Clearly the responsibility for urban renewal lies with the Minister for the Environment. Why is that Minister not the sponsor for this Bill, and why is he not nominated as the sole shareholder of the companies proposed to be set up under this Bill?

It is unusual for the Taoiseach to take direct responsibility for something that is clearly the function of one of his Ministers. The Minister for Finance, appointed by the Taoiseach, is the only other person required to give approval to guarantees and other loans under the Bill. The function of the Minister for Finance here would be normal if this legislation involved another Minister as he would provide, for the taxpayer and the House, a safety check so that at least the approval by the Minister for Finance would be required before another Minister could become involved in expenditure either directly or indirectly from the Exchequer. The Minister for Finance is independent of other Ministers in that respect. It cannot be said, however, that the Minister is independent of the Taoiseach who has the hiring and the firing of him.

I am disturbed that the Taoiseach should take direct responsibility for this Bill. I am disturbed that the Taoiseach should be the sole shareholder of the two companies proposed to be set up under this Bill. This is unusual and raises certain worries and concerns on this side of the House.

I will come back to the whole question of the ownership of the Temple Bar, the profits that will be or could be made and the compensation that should or could be made to a number of institutions. Does the Taoiseach not have any confidence in his own Minister for the Environment in the area of urban renewal? Would he not permit him to sponsor this Bill or to be the shareholder of those companies? What role has the Minister for the Environment in urban renewal in this Government? What is the role of Dublin Corporation in relation to urban renewal?

When the Government of which I was a member set up the Metropolitan Streets Commission it was denounced by Deputy Haughey, although it was clearly a statutory body without any shareholding whose statutory purpose was to renew the city centre and to restore elegance with urgency to the city centre. This body was peremptorily cut off by the Taoiseach as soon as he became Taoiseach in 1987. As a result there has not been any coordination in the drive towards urban renewal which was proposed by the Urban Renewal Act, 1986. In so far as this Bill is an extension of the purpose of the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, introduced by the Fine Gael-Labour Government, I welcome it. There is no doubt that the Temple Bar area has particular features and that it lends itself to a certain atmosphere, character and ambience which can add to the vitality of the city.

Some people query the boundaries proposed for the Temple Bar area. In the minds of Dubliners and those who know the Temple Bar area, the area would stop at Parliament Street. The fact that it is being extended as far as Fishamble Street has caused some eyebrows to rise. It may be said that the extension is because the Church of Sts. Michael and John, which is to be a vital museum, is in the section between Parliament Street and Fishamble Street, but I would have thought that the building could have been designated without designating the whole area. The area is detached physically from what is understood to be the Temple Bar area and it is detached in character and in mood. The extent of the Temple Bar area provided for in this Bill would not meet Dubliners' normal definition of the Temple Bar area.

What about the role of Dublin Corporation, the council elected to develop and run the city, to restore the city and to maintain it in an elegant and clean environment? Some months ago we ran through this House what purported to be a local government reform Bill which in almost every section centralised power with the Minister for the Environment and further diminished the role of the local authority and thus the power of the people. Now even the Minister for the Environment is not being trusted with power and it is going directly to the Taoiseach.

If the Taoiseach came into the House to make a major statement on employment or to introduce an employment Bill, I would welcome that because that is where we have a central crisis. While unemployment figures soar to all time records, the Taoiseach refused to appoint a Minister for Employment but he has introduced a Bill which in reality should be the responsibility of a junior Minister at the Department of the Environment.

The Taoiseach is usurping the role not only of his own Minister for the Environment but of Dublin Corporation. It is no wonder that in last week's elections people used their votes, so far as they voted at all, to appoint even absentee candidates. The attitude of the electorate is that if the Minister for the Environment is to treat local government as a joke, so should they and many of the electorate took the opportunity to treat local government as a joke. Yet again in this Bill the role of the local authority, in this case Dublin Corporation, is being diminished and taken over not by the Minister for the Environment but by the Taoiseach. This gives rise to many questions. For example, what are the Taoiseach's priorities?

The Taoiseach did not say anything in his introductory speech about two vital matters to which I now want to refer. The first relates to planning and by-law procedures. I want an assurance that the normal planning and building by-law procedures will have to be adhered to and that no pressure, either overtly or covertly by virtue of the enactment of this Bill or by officials at central Government level, will be put on planners to make decisions which they would otherwise not objectively make. I should like an assurance that it is not the intention of this House through the enactment of this Bill to override normal planning considerations or to put on planners moral pressure to make planning decisions which they would otherwise not objectively make. In other words, just because Temple Bar Renewal Limited or Temple Bar Properties Limited designate an area or building for concessions this should not ipso facto require planning authorities to give planning permission or building by-law approval which would be in breach of their normal standards and requirements or of what they consider good planning. There was no reference whatever in the Taoiseach's speech to planning matters.

These are serious issues. The electorate of Dublin city and county have thrown out Fianna Fáil majorities on the council and corporation. One of the issues of concern to the electorate was planning and the decisions made in regard to planning matters. This House, and the people of this city, need a reassurance that no explicit or implicit attempt will be made to get around normal planning procedures and that no pressure, explicit or implicit, immoral or moral, will be brought to bear on planners to make decisions which they would otherwise not make in keeping with good planning criteria.

The second issue I want to raise — no reference was made to this in the Taoiseach's speech — is that of windfall profits. Will any individual or groups at one remove, two removes or several removes, either directly or indirectly, stand to profit financially to an excessive degree by virtue of the enactment of this Bill and Chapter VII of this year's Finance Act? Are any steps being taken to ensure that there will be no such massive windfall gains for individuals as a result of the passing of this legislation? Can we have an assurance that no individuals will gain massively from the passing into law of this legislation and the relevant Chapter of this year's Finance Act? If so, are any steps being taken to ensure that those windfall profits will be taxed?

I raise this issue because many reasonable people believe individuals could make substantial gains as a result of the passing of this legislation. It was the scandal of individuals who make huge gains as a result of planning decisions in County Dublin which caused so many sitting councillors to lose their seats in the local elections. People were clearly not happy with a situation where re-zoning decisions had the effect of enabling individuals and groups to make large profits. Frequently those decisions seemed to be in breach of good planning norms. It would be a great scandal if this House enacted legislation which had the principal effect of enabling individuals to make windfall profits either directly or indirectly. I should like the Taoiseach to give us an assurance that his officials have taken steps to ensure that this will not be the effect of this legislation. I should like to know what inquiries have been made regarding the ownership of properties in the extended Temple Bar area. I should like to know if any attempt has been made to quantify the increase in property values as a result of this legislation.

I wish to refer to windfall losers. As a former Minister for Transport, I know that for many years CIE acquired parcels of property in this area, and on the other side of the quays, with a view to developing a central bus station on both sides of the Liffey, possibly inter-connecting with an extension of the DART eventually. This was to become the hub of communications for the city and county of Dublin. However, because of a very speedy decision which could not have been properly considered, and the waving aside of all their years of planning, CIE have had to abandon their plans for the development of a central bus station in the heart of the city. It is wrong that a decision could be taken so quickly and lightly and, obviously, without any due regard to the future needs of the travelling public. However, it will be worse if CIE are penalised for accumulating that property over the years. I should like the Taoiseach to tell us how much money CIE have spent over the years in acquiring property in the Temple Bar and Bachelors Walk areas. I should like to know in today's money terms how much they spent. I should like to know what value that property will have following the enactment of this Bill. By how much will the value of that property increase by virtue of the enactment of this Bill and the relevant Chapter of the Finance Act?

Finally, I want to know if compensation will be paid to CIE. This is a very important issue. At Question Time today a series of questions on employment were put down to the Taoiseach, one of which related to the role of the State sector in employment creation. That specific question arose from a high profile meeting the Taoiseach had with the heads of semi-State bodies on their employment potential. The reality is that the State sector have been clobbered and banged on the head by the Government many times. Any time they have shown initiative which has resulted in profits they were clobbered. There is, for example, the case of RTE who, because they were successful and transformed losses which they incurred in 1982 when I became Minister, into profits, were clobbered and restricted. We now have a situation where CIE, who prudently acquired properties over the years and then sublet them pending the acquisition of the full parcel of land, have been robbed of that property. It will be a shame if they are not fully compensated, by which I mean not just given back with interest the money which they expended in acquiring the properties but part of the profits which will arise out of the revaluation of the properties upwards following the enactment of this legislation.

The dereliction and the rundown state of Dublin city centre has irritated, aggravated and alienated many Dubliners for a long time. The area covered by the Bill is undoubtedly in need of some refurbishment but it is a long way from being the worst part of the city centre. Indeed, the area west of this site up along James's Street and Bow Lane approaching the far side of Guinness's and the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham is in a state of dire dereliction mainly because Dublin Corporation have postponed, deferred and prolonged decisions. On the other side of the Liffey the section of the city from Park Gate to East Wall and from the Liffey to the North Circular Road is full of what I would call "environmental obnoxia". I regret to say that a great number of people in that part of the city are living in what can only be described as ghettoes. In the main the individual flats and houses are kept very well but the environment outside is appalling. It is a matter of regret that we do not have a Bill before the House which would give priority to the task of transforming those "environmental obnoxia" on the north inner city into acceptable habitats for people.

There is an old saying that we are all products of our environment but we should all be ashamed of the north inner city. Within a half or three quarters of a mile of the Custom House there are environmental standards which are unacceptable. It is not fair or right to ask people to live in such conditions any longer. Yet no priority has been granted to the renewal of the north inner city; in fact during the past four years the Government have deferred and delayed the refurbishment programme commenced in 1985 by the previous Government of which I was a member.

This debate will not go on for very long as it has been curtailed and we will not have much time, if any, to discuss each section of the Bill. I want therefore to go through the Bill very briefly and raise some questions on it. In relation to Part II which will set up Temple Bar Renewal Limited, can the Taoiseach point to the precedent for the Taoiseach being the sole shareholder? Why is it that the Minister for the Environment or Dublin Corporation will not be shareholders in the company? Would the Taoiseach explain why it is necessary to set up two companies? Why are Temple Bar Renewal Limited going to be set up parallel to Temple Bar Properties Limited? Why can there not be just one company? Is there any significance in that?

I would also like to know if it will be possible for the company to sell some of their properties and, if so, whose consent will be necessary. Will it be possible for them to set up subsidiaries in which there will be other shareholders? What rights will these subsidiaries have and what control will this House have over those subsidiaries? Will it be possible for either of the companies which will be set up under this Bill to assign property or properties to subsidiary companies in which they themselves will only be a part shareholder? These are questions which should be teased out in great detail on Committee and Report Stages but because of the decision to guillotine the debate it will not be possible for the House to do so.

The Bill before us should be welcomed without question by the House in that it adds to the momentum for the renewal of the inner city, but my enthusiasm for the Bill is tempered by the concerns I have already expressed, by a feeling that unnamed individuals may be the great beneficiaries — renewal of the inner city may take place in any event without the Bill — and by the fact that it is the Taoiseach of all people and not the Minister for the Environment who is introducing the Bill and it is the Taoiseach and not the Minister for the Environment who will be the shareholder. I cannot recall any precedent in my time in this House for such personal intervention by the Taoiseach. I would like him to explain when replying why it is that he can do nothing about unemployment and will not appoint a Minister for Employment and yet seems determined to do the job of the Minister for the Environment and of Dublin Corporation. Because of these concerns and the decision to guillotine the debate, we in Fine Gael will oppose all Stages of the Bill.

I welcome the dynamic approach to the development of the Temple Bar area which is inherent in the Bill and the Labour Party will support the Bill in principle but it is scandalous that so little time has been allowed for the Committee Stage of the Bill and that we have to complete all Stages today. There is no time to put down properly drafted amendments which are desperately needed between the end of Second Stage and the commencement of Committee Stage. The amendments are so vital that we will have no choice but to oppose the final passage of the Bill in its present form.

In a number of important respects this is a deeply flawed and very dangerous Bill. It contains within it the genesis of a very substantial conflict of interest. Indeed, if the powers in the Bill were put into the wrong hands the seeds of corruption on a grand scale could be planted. Apart from the issue of a conflict of interest and the potential for corruption which I intend to deal with in detail in a moment, there must be a serious question mark surrounding the constitutionality of the Bill. Among other things, the Bill establishes a public company with a very loose structure and reporting relationship. That public company will have wide and sweeping powers, including powers of compulsory purchase and the power to borrow and spend public money which is guaranteed to the tune of £25 million by the State. The structure of the company, its relationships and overall accountability are extremely ill-defined in this Bill to such an extent that we are moving down a dangerous road in passing this legislation.

In relation to the achievement of its objective, which is to retain the physical fabric of the area in question without substantial damage or extensive and costly refurbishment, unless something is done to ensure there is a proper mechanism of planning evaluation combined with a very explicit understanding of the application of the by-laws — they are still legally in force and most of these buildings would be closed down under them — and the implementation of the mechanisms to administer the Building Control Act which still do not exist, including adequate and specific provisions for fire certificates for buildings approved for artistic purposes set out in one of the Schedules, this Bill will simply not function. I make a prediction that the builders who are invited or enticed into developing the Temple Bar area will walk a million miles away from various refurbishment programmes because the Minister for the Environment still has not established the mechanism to administer the Building Control Act. In the absence of a proper interpretation of the fire regulations of the building control regulations which we debated in this House so long ago — it is ten years since the Stardust tragedy I might add — no cautious or prudent property developer is going to invest in this area because of the unbelievable uncertainty that exists in the operation of that part of the city at present. One cannot get a clear and concise timetable from Dublin Corporation's building by-law section as to when, if at all, they will grant building by-law approval to an application.

The central issue thrown up by this legislation is the potential for corruption. What do I mean by that? This Bill sets out to establish two companies. Temple Bar Renewal Limited will act as the body which will decide what projects will attract a very generous range of incentives from the State. The second company, Temple Bar Properties Limited will act as the development company for the area and will be putting up the projects to attract the incentives either directly on its own or in conjunction with other partners, as Deputy Mitchell referred to earlier. Clearly these two companies must act at arms length from each other if the normal principles of democratic accountability are to be observed. The same relationship must exist as between any planning authority and any private developer.

What do we find in this Bill? We find that the Taoiseach is arrogating to himself the sole shareholding of the development company and at the same time he will appoint all the directors of the overseeing company, in fact, the directors to both companies. There is no time limit in relation to their appointment. There is no process for their removal nor is there the normal provisos that would attach to the directors of any semi-State company in relation to political activity, standing for elections and so on which are on a standard file in the parliamentary draftsman's offices and which could be attached in the normal way. We believe this is wrong, fundamentally wrong for a number of reasons.

The Taoiseach would not dare bring in a Bill before this House which would allow, for example, the confederation of Irish Industry to appoint all the directors of the IDA or the petro-chemical industry to appoint the members of the Environmental Protection Agency. Nobody in this House would defend the notion that only property developers and speculators should be allowed to be members of local authorities in view of all the planning functions they must carry out but this is precisely what the Taoiseach is proposing in this Bill. We do not know who will be appointed. Temple Bar Renewal Limited, effectively owned and run by the Taoiseach, will have the power to decide that projects put up by the Taoiseach through Temple Bar Properties Limited will have access to the extraordinarily generous range of incentives. All of this is to be done in private and behind closed doors. Copies of decisions made by Temple Bar Renewal Limited will be laid before the Oireachtas on a quarterly basis for information only but the implications of those decisions will not be spelled out.

The Taoiseach has already indicated in this House that he is unlikely to be taking parliamentary questions about the activities of the companies. We have had experience in the past at how adept the Taoiseach is at avoiding parliamentary questions which he does not wish to answer. Indeed, his very absence from the House now during this very short debate is not out of line with his performance in these areas. He is not a Taoiseach who likes to be asked questions by his own side and certainly not by Members of the Opposition. Therefore, we are unlikely ever to be told with any clarity or certainty how much it is costing the taxpayer to support projects put up by the Taoiseach's company and approved by the Taoiseach's other company.

It is pointless and wrong for the Taoiseach to argue that he will own those companies in an ex-officio way. The questions that this proposed arrangement raise are too numerous. Why is the shareholding of Temple Bar Properties Limited not vested in the Minister for Finance or indeed in the Minister for the Environment as would be the normal procedure? Why is the board of Temple Bar Renewal Limited not appointed by the Government, as would be the normal procedure? More fundamentally, why did the Taoiseach not propose an arms length nominating procedure for this board, the regulatory board, as applies in the case of An Bord Pleanála or the Environmental Protection Agency? Why has the Taoiseach so blatantly and gratuitously chosen to construct a Bill which contains an obvious and dangerous conflict of interest between the developer and the regulator? Why has he allowed that conflict of interest to reside in the middle of his own office? At the time that this whole scheme was announced the Taoiseach made it clear that the chairman of Temple Bar Renewal Limited would be the Lord Mayor of Dublin on an ex-officio basis. This has been dropped completely from the Bill without any explanation in the Taoiseach's speech.

The Chairman of Temple Bar Renewal Limited will be whoever the Taoiseach chooses. Could it be that the Taoiseach has now realised that there is unlikely to be a Fianna Fáil Lord Mayor of Dublin for the foreseeable future and that the greater likelihood is that there will be a chairperson who will be less than amenable to his will or that of his Department?

There is a fundamentally important reason why all these questions deserve straight answers. The Labour Party have already advised this House on the establishment of a number of companies hidden behind nominee shareholders and directors who appear to have been established principally for the purpose of taking advantage of the scheme of incentives outlined in the Finance Bill. Clearly we do not have the resources to carry out a detailed investigation into the real ownership of these companies but what is particularly worrying is that they also appear to have been established prior to the publication of the Finance Bill when nobody should have known about the incentives likely to be available. I am perfectly willing, if the Taoiseach should so wish, to supply him with the limited information. I have about these companies. What I want in return is a complete investigation of who the owners of these companies are, what are their intentions in relation to the Temple Bar area and the very large sums of taxpayers' money that will be invested directly and indirectly in this area.

There is another very worrying feature to the Bill. The area intended to be covered by the grants and incentives is far larger than any of the original studies and examinations of the Temple Bar considered to be necessary. When we think of the Temple Bar area — indeed the original people who came forward with the proposals were of a similar mind — we tend to think of the Crown Alley area, and the streets immediately around it which are full of run down buildings of great character and charm, attracting young and old alike because of its bohemian atmosphere. The tax incentives and grants envisaged in this legislation will extend to an area which stretches the whole length of Dame Street and includes a great many expensive and lucrative commercial enterprises that do not need the assistance of these tax incentive packages that will now fall into their lap, and, perhaps, constitute part of the windfall profits to which Deputy Mitchell referred.

The grounds for approval outlined in the legislation are sufficiently flexible to enable a great many profitable businesses to move into the area. It is perfectly possible, for example, to envisage the Temple Bar area becoming a mecca for the rock video industry in the future but it is equally possible to see it as a centre for solicitors' offices. Whether either or both of these activities will ensure the survival of the left bank atmosphere of the area is open to question. The essential point is that this Bill ought to be aimed at supporting enterprises which are not of themselves highly lucrative, but it is not tightly drawn up in drafting terms to achieve that objective.

We have already tried a similar experiment in this city, namely the Financial Services Centre. Nobody can yet say that this has been a successful experiment because not enough time has elapsed to be able to judge the number of jobs and the spin-off impact. There are already questions about the cost of that experiment. It is inexplicable, for example, that nobody appears to be able to calculate how much State investment there has already been and how much tax revenue has been foregone to attract the 600 or so jobs already located there. The Taoiseach when replying might elucidate. Nobody has been able to quantify the benefits, if any, which have accrued to Ireland as a whole through the existence of the centre. I say that as a person who supports the concept of the centre and was a member of the Government who set up the original Custom House Dock Development Authority. We should be able to measure the effectiveness or otherwise of a venture into which so much taxpayers' money has been poured. Above all, nobody has been able to measure the impact on the local community, including the proposed upheaval associated with the detenanting of people who are trying to build a community spirit against the odds in the vicinity of the Custom House Docks.

If we cannot say that the experiment of the Financial Services Centre has been an unqualified financial success, we should at least be able to learn some lessons from it. We must establish absolute transparency and accountability in relation to any new experiments. The Taoiseach has been guilty of a serious error of judgment in bringing this Bill in its present form before the House because it completely fails the test of transparency. It must be clear to Members who look at the Bill objectively that a foolish and dangerous structure is being established here. Given the very large amounts of public money that could go astray, borrowings of up to £25 million plus tax foregone of a substantial amount, the lack of wisdom associated with this project in its present form is all the more evident.

It makes me wonder what is in the Taoiseach's mind and if the Progressive Democrats Ministers attend Cabinet any more. With their alleged concern for probity, how did they allow the Bill to be drafted in this way? Will they support a Bill which makes the Taoiseach not only the planning authority for the area and the principal developer but also gives him sole power to decide who should get access to the very large sums of public money involved? If the Taoiseach does not wish to stand accused in this way, he should realise that he has left himself open to being suspect.

The local elections allowed the people to give their verdict on planning impropriety in County Dublin. Because the Taoiseach is suspect due to the lack of transparency in this Bill, he should take it back to the drawing board and ensure that it is redrafted to provided for a proper distance between the developer and the regulator, with full independence for the regulating company. If he does not do so, he leaves himself open to the charge that this Bill has the potential to be a recipe for corruption and in time he will have to shoulder the blame.

I urge the Minister to withdraw the Bill at this stage or else to proceed no further than Second Stage and to come back in the autumn with a substantially redrafted Bill. It would in no way affect in real terms the operations of the Temple Bar Properties Limited or Temple Bar Renewal Limited as they are currently constructed. There is ample time to get this Bill right and to avoid some of the serious charges contained in my contribution. The Government are failing to address themselves to this issue in the aftermath of a local election when the Fianna Fáil chairman of Dublin County Council was swept out of office because of an alleged perception by many people that things were not right in Dublin County Council in relation to planning decisions, rezonings, material contraventions and the relationships between elected politicians and property developers.

It is a most unwise political decision of a Government who have suffered such a defeat at local level to proceed beyond Second Stage with this Bill. I would urge the Minister to withdraw it and to invite us to make suggestions. There are many ways in which this Bill could be put right through consultation between Members of this House and the Government. In its present form it is seriously flawed and I will have no hesitation in voting against it at the appropriate time.

I have mixed feelings about the Bill before us. I share the concerns of previous speakers about potential problems. As elected public representatives we should be very careful that any legislation passed by this House is good legislation and that we do not give authority or power to groups, companies or individuals which is so great that it could possibly be misdirected and ultimately used in an incorrect or corrupt manner. Of course we should be concerned that this Bill is to be subject to a guillotine. We, as public representatives should be allowed to make a full input with a view to strengthening the Bill but because of the guillotine, we will miss out on the possibility of amending some important provisions.

Despite these concerns, I hope everything will go well for the development. Unlike the two previous speakers, I wear two hats, one as a member of Dublin Corporation and one as a Deputy. I am highly conscious of Dublin Corporation's marvellous and innovative plans and the extremely dedicated staff in the planning department who make an incredible contribution and who were the prime movers in getting the Government to address the problems of decay in Dublin's inner city. I congratulate Dublin City Council, the managers and the planners who collectively have been working tirelessly over the past six years to bring about in the mind of Government and of the public generally an awareness of the great treasures in the heart of our city and to get something done to retain what is best in the inner city core, to try to develop to the utmost all those important buildings, communities, quays and streetscapes, retain them for the benefit of future generations and beautify and enhance them in the interest of tourism which has rightly been targeted as an area of potential employment. I hope everything will go well and that within the Temple Bar area generations to come will see the beauty of Dublin, its history and its antiquity retained for their benefit.

When Dublin Corporation planners set about producing their document on the area they restricted themselves specifically to a zone which they classified as the Temple Bar area. They did remarkable work on that project and geared themselves specifically to a more limited area than that covered by the legislation here. Questions are being raised about why the Taoiseach extended the area from that earmarked by Dublin Corporation to a much wider area, possibly greater in extent by at least the same total area, twice the size of that originally planned. I am of mixed opinion as to why this was done. One of my immediate problems is that possibly the original plan did not go far enough. It stops now sandwiched between Westmoreland Street and Fishamble Street.

There are other interests out there in the community who are concerned about Dublin's inner city core, not least of whom are the South Inner City Community Development Association who went to tremendous ends to produce documentation in favour of an environmental improvement scheme with a commitment from Government similar to that of the Liberties, and enhance the area because therein is the living core of Dublin.

It is interesting that the South Inner City Community Development Association represent basically an area to the west of what the Taoiseach has earmarked for substantial grant assistance and development in the Temple Bar area. In a sense the important element in the plan, which is to attract people back to live in the inner core, is very positive and worthy of support, but it recognises that the Temple Bar area has been denuded of residents and is in need of this incentive to get people to come and live in it again, whereas the Liberties contains people. There are living communities in the Liberties area where there is tremendous potential. If similar thinking and plans are set afoot with incentives to developers, there is great potential for job creation so sadly and badly needed. There is great potential for environmental improvement with a view to encouraging more and more tourists to visit the area.

The Temple Bar area as regarded by Dublin Corporation is the Temple Bar area strictly speaking. The present legislation is going to cover an area bigger than that. I wish it well and hope it works. However, I wonder if it could be argued that there are areas to the west of Fishamble Street that are equally in need of some financial input. Let me point out that the Viking Village in the crypt of St. Audoen's is not included in the present area. St. Catherine's Church in Thomas Street and other historical landmarks, buildings in a state of incredible decay, are seriously in need of a central Government support to assist, in conjunction with the local authority, in saving them. The ruin of St. Nicholas Within at Christchurch Place unfortunately falls outside the zone. St. Luke's Without nearby unfortunately has been vandalised and is almost totally in ruins, to join St. Nicholas Within. The Iveagh Markets and Werburgh Street Church are just across the road from the area earmarked by this legislation. There is a very depressed community and economic decay in large portions of the area west of this line.

While there are tremendous incentives and benefits for the leaseholders at the moment, the numbers of residents are limited — let us be honest, in comparison to the Liberties they are insignificant. The incentives will be tremendously important to the leaseholders of the properties, mainly CIE, but is it enough that the area should be so earmarked with incentives for both tourism and employment while alongside it is all this dereliction and decay in what is possibly of equal importance in the historical context, that which lies to the west of Fishamble Street?

The South Inner City Community Development Association put tremendous effort into the publication of their plans for the environmental improvement of their community. EC money was being sought. Unfortunately, nothing has gone their way. I am questioning whether this is the way forward in planning, targeting just a particular area and everything alongside it is neglected or allowed to deteriorate further. If we are interested in the tourist element of the Temple Bar area, we must remember that tourists are equally attracted to the west, to Guinness's hop store for example. A quarter of a million tourists annually visits the Liberties and 80,000 of them visit Guinness's hop store. Will this legislation stymie them? Will they think the Temple Bar is where you stop and go no further because you are meeting areas of massive dereliction, urban decay and poverty? That is not a good approach to the planning of the city.

I started by sharing the concerns of previous speakers and I call a spade a spade. Presumably the argument being put forward is that if the Taoiseach is the man in the driver's seat and given the lack of democratic controls, somehow or other companies would be formed and huge killings made and somebody would get terribly wealthy as a result. I hope that never happens. It would be criminal. I live in hope that the Taoiseach's intentions are in the best interests of the city, but I want to mention the lack of democratic control. We must be careful about and conscious of the possibility of people making a killing through property values being enhanced or out of the incentives that are available, but we are the more conscious of it on this occasion because of the structure of the companies. It is fair to say that we in The Workers' Party are not at all happy about the lack of democratic input particularly by the City Council and their public representatives. I say from memory that the Bill provides that the Taoiseach will nominate the boards of Temple Bar Properties Limited and Temple Bar Renewal Limited.

Given that it is such an important area within an important city and given that there are people who go to the trouble of being elected through the democratic process, it is scandalous when one looks at the list of board members that, for example, on the board of Temple Bar Properties Limited there is not one single elected public representative and there is only one representative from Dublin Corporation in a planning capacity — he is a bureaucrat and a member of the staff of Dublin Corporation. Somebody mentioned the Lord Mayor, but he is not a member of that board, and probably will not be in the future.

When the board of Temple Bar Renewal Limited was established the Lord Mayor at that time, Alderman Seán Haughey, was represented on it. However, there is no guarantee that future lord mayors will sit on that board. I would not have been very impressed by the presence of lord mayors on these boards because they are usually put there in an honorary capacity. Their activities on a day to day basis are so demanding that for them to play their role on such boards would be asking a bit much.

I believe very strongly that, while at present there are two officials of Dublin Corporation on the board of Temple Bar Renewal Limited, who may or may not be on the board after the Taoiseach has made his nominations, there are no elected public representatives on that board. It is important that the concerns expressed about how things might go wrong be lessened by the Taoiseach giving us a commitment today that the appointment of members of these boards will be more democratic in the future.

Three members of the Temple Bar Development Council — I have much respect for that council who have done tremendous work — are represented on the board of Temple Bar Renewal Limited, and rightly so, but they represent the vested interests of the lease holders, the property owners or the residents within the Temple Bar area.

I have studied some of the documentation and submissions they have made to the Taoiseach but while, in the main, they are excellent, there is one major fault in a section of one of their submissions. I will highlight this because it brings me back to the need for a role for the city council where public representatives, planners and officials of the Dublin Corporation should be sitting on these boards. In their submission Temple Bar Development Council called for two new car parks to be constructed — one at the ESB site identified in the corporation action plan and the second to the west of Parliament Street. Obviously as a result of their lobbying and their participation on the board of Temple Bar Renewal Limited, they had the Minister for Finance include, for incentive purposes, the building of multi-storey car parks. Section 55 (1) (a), which deals with Temple Bar reliefs, states:

"multi-storey car-park" means a building or structure consisting of three or more storeys wholly or mainly in use for the purpose of providing, for members of the public generally without preference for any particular class of person, upon payment of an appropriate charge, parking for mechanically propelled vehicles;

As a city councillor, I would say that the council, in general, would not be supportive of two multi-storey car parks in excess of three storeys in the Temple Bar area. I am highlighting this aspect because — this is where democracy and the democratic structures are lacking — it would not be the general consensus of Dublin Corporation to allow two multi-storey car parks in the Temple Bar area. Yet, the influence the Temple Bar Development Council have on the Taoiseach is such that he is willing to grant these incentives. I will not labour the point.

It is very disturbing that they are not democratically structured boards but when one looks at the structure of the Financial Services Centre, the Custom House Docks site, one sees that this is happening more and more. Central Government can make decisions for large tracts of land and allocate to other boards and committees functions that had normally been the function of the City Council and Dublin Corporation, with all sorts of financial ramifications for rates in the city. We have the Temple Bar area, the Financial Services Centre and the other areas, referred to earlier, which carry tax breaks and rates reliefs which combined would constitute a huge potential source of income from commercial rates to the city. The city is now being developed by all these little committees for their own benefit.

Regarding the prospects for jobs and tourism, I would ask the Taoiseach to look at the sites of major importance in the Liberties and to ask members who represent tourist interests — for example, Mr. McNulty of Bord Fáilte is on the board of Temple Bar Renewal Limited — to integrate the tourist trail network through the Temple Bar area and even extend it, because if any money accrues from the potential success of Temple Bar Renewal Limited, rather than that money going back into the Exchequer, it should be used to benefit the adjoining districts which, if not upgraded economically, socially and environmentally will not attract tourists in the near future.

I would like to ask questions about the duration of the terms of office of these boards. Besides the fact that the Taoiseach would nominate them, I could not find in the Bill any reference to how long their terms of office would be. Could we be faced in the future with the Taoiseach hiring and firing board members on a week to week, month to month, year to year basis? I would like clarification on how it is proposed these boards will operate. Will their appointment be for an indefinite period? Is there a time schedule? At some stage it might be argued that the boards could be phased out of existence and that everything would revert back to the local authority. I cannot come to terms with the open-ended nature, not so much in terms of the salaries of the boards but as a State owned company, and I would like to know what is the duration of the term of office of the officers elected.

I want to make a few comments about the area. I am deeply committed to the prospect of successfully improving the area. As a Dublinman, it is an area I frequent. Following our local election victory, I went there to see many people, young people in the main, who were enjoying themselves in the open. There is a great air of festivity and a great sense of joy about the place. The variety of middle price restaurants is a massive attraction, anything from a Cajun to a traditional Irish restaurant is there. I had a pizza in "Fat Freddie's" which was very nice and I encourage the Minister to try it.

I was also conscious — I made this point before — that there is a history of exploitation of young, cheap labour. I hope as the area develops, as controls are brought in and as unions organise the younger members of the workforce, that exploitation will cease. It would be sad to think that after all the financial incentives, including the commitment of European money to the development of the area, some of it would be built on the exploitation of young labour.

Deputy Quinn mentioned by-laws and planning. I am sad to have to tell the House that I had to report a restaurant in the area to the corporation's fire officers. I went to this restaurant, which shall remain nameless, and I was directed to the basement from which there would be no escape in the event of fire, the kitchens were on the ground floor above them. I hope the boards of these companies will not lower the traditional high standards of Dublin Corporation's fire officers and that regulations will remain in force to protect life and limb, not just in relation to those working in restaurants and other premises but for the people who visit for all sorts of reasons.

At city council level we are very conscious of the fine buildings in our city. Even though some of them are listed it did not make much difference if the property owner did not have the money to repair a decaying building. We certainly know that in the past listing a building did not mean it will survive; I argued very strongly that there should be incentives to the owners of important buildings to retain, maintain and upgrade their fabric. I am overjoyed that there are incentives for people who decide to move from the outer to the inner suburbs. We are trying to attract such people to the inner city and it is important that there are incentives. Their faith in living in inner city Dublin should be rewarded by way of assistance for refurbishment of property. I have had experience of living in two old houses and I know it is extremely expensive to try to maintain them in a semblance of their original state. When dealing with property which was built 100 years ago it is even more costly to maintain it.

I note the substantial powers to make or even withhold incentives. I am not satisfied that the structure of the board is sufficiently democratic to be above suspicion or that they will avoid rows in the future. I can see all sorts of problems, given the structure of the committee. Temple Bar Renewal Limited and Temple Bar Properties Limited have the power to accept, reject and make recommendations. I am afraid that there will be rows in the future about conflict of interest or applicants for incentives being badly treated and allegations of political skulduggery. Perhaps the Minister will ask the Taoiseach to make the structure more democratic.

I have tabled an amendment, am I allowed to speak on it?

Your amendment is out of order and you cannot speak on it.

I wish to refer to the question of multi-storey car parks. The Minister is wrong in allowing incentives to developers to build three storey — and bigger — car parks. The scale of the multi-storey car parks will be completely out of proportion. The area does not need multi-storey car parks, they are counter to the consensus of Dublin Corporation in relation to development. We need more facilities for people living in the inner city, such as pedestrianised areas, where people can get around on bicycles. If this area is to have theatres, art galleries, restaurants, public houses, and so on, we should not encourage people to bring their cars. This is an ideal area to argue in favour of a proper public service transportation system coupled with a highly efficient taxi service.

The multi-storey car parks would have a negative effect on the area. Like SICCDA, who have identified areas in which they feel car parks should be developed, I see no reason for them not being developed within those districts mentioned by SICCDA near Thomas Street. We do not want cars in the immediate Temple Bar area and opening multi-storey car parks will merely attract more cars to the area. Perhaps the Minister will consider my proposal in regard to public transport and taxis because we should encourage people who go out to enjoy themselves at night and who will drink to be safe. This will be the night life district of Dublin and drinking invariably is part and parcel of night life. The last thing I should like to see is multi-storey car parks for people who have been enjoying themselves all night and who would then get into a car over which they did not have proper control. I would be glad if the Government could see their way to developing a link between Heuston Station and Connolly Station, with an underground station in the Temple Bar area. It has been mentioned on previous occasions by Dublin Corporation that it should be possible to build an underground station in the Temple Bar area.

Leaving aside the notion of people drinking late at night, it is important to point out that there would not be great enthusiasm for a multi-storey car park in the area, even on the part of the daily commuting traveller. If a car park was built it would act like a magnet and would suck motor cars into the area. It would completely undo the stated aims of the people in the Temple Bar area who say they do not want parking meters on the streets, they want the streets pedestrianised and want to see the development of all the derelict sites at present used as car parks. I would ask that consideration be given to this matter.

I would like some answers to the questions I have raised. I am sorry the Bill has been guillotined because there are areas I would like to have teased out but I did not have the time. I share some of the concerns expressed already but hope they are unfounded. I would like to see more democratic structures in this regard and a greater role for Dublin Corporation and the elected public representatives. I wish the Temple Bar area well and hope there will be a knock-on effect for the area to the west, around the Liberties. I am living in hope that the Taoiseach does not let us down.

I warmly welcome this legislation. The fact that the Taoiseach came into the House today to deliver the Second Stage speech and that he is taking an active interest and participating directly in this legislation is a measure of the important focus the Government are placing on renewing the city. It would be a shame if one was to pour cold water on a proposal such as this. For many years we have harked back to our past and have done everything possible to try to develop the old atmosphere of the city. Perhaps conflicting with unsavoury development, high density traffic, multiplicity of cars and choking air in the city, this move should be welcomed by everyone. It should be seen as a move forward in an area of the city that will act as a catalyst to the development of other areas. It is quite impossible to have an all-embracing locality that would include huge areas as has been referred to by previous speakers, but at least this is a start and it is to be welcomed. There should be no conflict between our major local authority, Dublin Corporation, and a renewal group as proposed. I would see it as a synergy — both bodies acting in tandem would do nothing but good. In fact — I have referred to this matter before and I make no apology for doing so again — the example of true bureaucratic vandalism in this city lies very close to the Temple Bar area. I refer to the development at Wood Quay site and the building of the civic offices there. That development which was set in train by Dublin Corporation many years ago had a snowball, knock-on effect, much to the shame of the city.

A genuine attempt is being made here to revitalise a very ancient part of the city. It is ironic that it is directly beside the Wood Quay site, the development of which many of us in Dublin Corporation felt at the time was a mistake. It stands as a testament to very bad planning and a serious error of judgment. Senior officials on Dublin Corporation will readily admit that it was a mistake. It is no harm to refer to that again because it is from our mistakes we learn.

One matter that has not been referred to in previous contributions and is particularly important is that this area of Dublin is very rich in archaeological treasure. It is important that we approach progress by protecting our heritage. Any development in the Temple Bar region affords us an ideal opportunity to take cognisance of archaeological surveys that would take place prior to the development. Archaeological examination has become very sophisticated. Archaeologists are on hand and ready to move in very quickly before developers start work, to see if there are treasures or parts of the city that can be preserved. A poignant example is Ushers Island where a complete Norman harbour was found recently. A development was taking place there and the developer encouraged archaeologists to survey the site. Fortunately they discovered a most interesting, unique, complete Norman harbour in the locality and some important archaeolgoical treasures were found on the site.

It is not unreasonable to assume that the region we are talking about is cluttered with important treasures of our past, and these should be sought and housed within a museum in the Temple Bar region. A museum of this kind would be a tremendous tourist attraction and would be a living example of Viking, Norman and Medieval times, right up to the present. It would be a huge tourist attraction in the region.

The last speaker referred in eloquent fashion to the invasion of motor cars in the locality. I am totally opposed to this. I feel a sense of disquiet in relation to multi-storey car parks. Perhaps their presence is an admission of defeat in coping with a problem that is now strangling the city to death. Everyone will realise that over the past year or so the traffic in Dublin has become quite chaotic. It has been building up over the years. Ten or 12 years ago I raised this question in Dublin Corporation as a serious matter, and it has now gathered momentum. We have to face up to this very quickly, otherwise we will have a city like Athens or Cairo where there is constant blowing of car horns in what are dusty, noisy, polluted cities and we could not even contemplate revitalising an area like Temple Bar.

It is interesting to consider building a station at Temple Bar. I concur with the suggestion that we should examine the possibility of such a project in that area. It would be approporiate to start a pilot scheme in light transport around the periphery of that locale. People speak about light rail and so on, and although such an operation would be very costly it might be possible to consider some system of light rail for within the inner city on a pilot basis — to find out how it works. Light rail systems are now available practically off the shelf. Continental firms such as Siemens and large multinational transportation firms offer packages on light rail systems. The development of the Temple Bar area would provide an ideal opportunity to experiment with such a scheme. We would be in trouble if we considered the redevelopment of an area without feeding it with the right transport. Dublin people, Irish people in general and visitors here do not tend to be taxi-minded for one reason or another. Very often taxis spend a lot of time in the traffic jams and because of that they are more costly. Perhaps the Department of the Environment could engage in a publicity scheme to encourage the use of reasonably priced taxis and could provide incentives for people to avail of car pooling and the sharing of motor cars to feed the inner city.

It is important to try to struggle against over use of motor cars in this development concept. We have become very lazy in the use of the motor car. We virtually want to drive into town and park outside a premises rather than as happens on the Continent and in many cities, be prepared to park outside the city and come in by a rapid system of public transport. People would guarantee to find a parking place on the periphery of the city. The problem can be tackled and it has to be tackled. Up to a year ago there was appalling pollution in the city's air. Pollution was affecting the health of the elderly and young to an extent that could be quantified and measured medically. That has gone. Now we have a traffic problem, which will be a huge blight on the Temple Bar area and other areas to be developed unless the problem is tackled. Why not take the incentive now and create "pink" zones in the city into which motorcars are just not allowed? We have to stand up to the pressure groups and the vested interests who will say that there is no alternative, that people are entitled to use their motorcars and so on. People are not entitled to use their motorcars if that means affecting the health and safety of many others. The content of lead in the air in my constituency, around the Pearse Steet area, and, indeed, in the Temple Bar area, is very high and results from exhaust fumes, despite the programme for the use of unleaded petrol. They are stressful areas in which to live in Dublin. Dublin is under siege from the uncontrolled use of the motorcar. In the Taoiseach's summary I should like him to take cognisance of the fact that something has to be done about that problem urgently and that it could be worked alongside the Temple Bar experiment.

Nothing would please me more than to have the dereliction of the Temple Bar area remedied. The potential in the development is vast. If the development gets under way very quickly, is an efficient mechanism and receives full local authority co-operation, then it will obviously become an example for other areas. Competition being as it is, people will rapidly recognise the Temple Bar development as working and will say that they have to do something about their own area. There is no reason that other areas of the city cannot also be renewed, as was the spirit of the legislation on urban areas renewal.

On the more positive side, Dublin Corporation are to be congratulated on some of the highly successful pedestrian schemes operating in the city. Dublin looks much better than it did a few years ago. I do not wish to drift back to the subject of talking motorcars, but they present the one inherent danger that will destroy the city's character. The River Liffey is an ideal waterway flowing right through the city and opening out into a rapidly developing port. From the point of view of the Temple Bar area, it would be practical to try to use the river for boat trips, including trips at night, which have proved to be a highly successful operation in other cities such as London. In that way Dublin would take on a whole new perspective and proper development of the quay area would be encouraged.

There has been some talk about revelry and enjoyment within the area, and that is as it should be. However, Temple Bar should also be an area of cultural development. Whilst I am certainly no killjoy in my attitude towards young people enjoying themselves, the consumption of alcohol and so on, I have nonetheless become apalled in recent months — and I am quite sure that the House will agree with me on this — by a seemingly uncontrolled blitz of young people drinking on the streets outside public houses in Dublin. That has got out of all proportion, and it sets a very bad example to young children. The Rod Stewart concert in Ballsbridge the other evening provided a poignant example of that. It went well beyond the point of acceptability. Hundreds of young people were out drinking on the streets and were trying to cross the roads against the traffic flow. Children, and I speak of very young toddlers, were looking on with absolute amazement. The behaviour was irresponsible in the extreme and was breaking the law as well. Publicans should be very careful when they allow uncontrolled drinking on the streets. If such behaviour carried on into the Temple Bar area it could destroy the whole purpose of the development. There has to be a controlled attitude.

Temple Bar will be an area of developed culture, theatre and the arts, but we do not want the development of uncontrolled consumption of alcohol with its consequential effects of vandalism and sometimes, regrettably, drug pushing and so on. As I said, I am not a killjoy, but Ireland has reached the stage at which it has to square up to the massive problem facing the young population through the abuse of alcohol. It is better that that is said and spoken about rather than to take an ambivalent attitude to uncontrolled drinking and breaking of the law by people who literally run around the streets and lie down on the streets with glasses and cans of beer in their hand. I am completely opposed to that, but that is not to say that I do not encourage the development of the area with proper restaurants and licensing laws being strictly enforced. We all want the development to succeed.

I share the Taoiseach's confidence as shown in his opening address. He went into a fair amount of detail. One could gather that there is this sense of urgency to get on with the development. We have fine examples of success in Dublin at present. The Government Buildings restoration is a magnificent example of what can be done. There are other buildings crying out for that type of development at present.

Here we are dealing with the old part of Dublin where literally hundreds of different trades took place during the 16th and 17th centuries and they are now to be highlighted again. This is a tremendous focal point for Dublin and it is significant that it is happening in the year of culture for the city when Dublin is the focus of European culture. It is an area that can be highlighted for tourism and can be sold abroad. It will give our young people an opportunity to participate in the development of the city.

As I said at the beginning, it is ironic that alongside this we were developing the civic offices. I say, tongue-in-cheek because it might be a non-starter anyway, that with European funding and the fact that the European Structural Funds were supportive of maintaining Wood Quay as a Viking site at the time, it might not be hugely expensive to remove those buildings. I say that tongue-in-cheek because I know people would jump up immediately and say that is outlandish, but we are talking about future generations. Could you imagine how Dublin would look without those buildings, but with the development of the Wood Quay site as a park alongside Temple Bar, with Christchurch and the whole area properly excavated? We would have a unique city.

In conclusion, I welcome the Bill. I want the area archaeologically surveyed and well protected. I do not want motor car intrusion into the city. I pledge my support for the Bill. I hope it will be a dream success for the city that is so much needed.

I listened with interest to Deputy Brady's contribution. I note with particular interest his desire not to have an intrusion of the motor car into that area. He was gracious enough to acknowledge the progress that Dublin Corporation made in giving access to pedestrians in many areas of the city — Henry Street, Grafton Street, South William Street, Duke Street and many other areas.

If the city is to remain economically viable some accommodation must be given to the short term motorist who wants to come in and support the economic viability of the city. I see no problem providing short term car parking facilities for people who wish to shop in the city or to do business in the Temple Bar area. That is essential for the economic future of the city. It must be remembered that the motorist is being given a choice now. There are excellent roads now being built, for example, the Southern Cross and the Western by-pass, and new businesses will be established along these roads, drawing business from the city unless we provide some car parking facilities in the city. I would be in favour of multi-storey car parks and pedestrianisation as far as possible, to get cars off the streets. I think that is the ugliest aspect of Dublin — seeing so many cars parked on our streets.

To get back to the Bill, for a long time, CIE have been purchasing parcels of land in the Temple Bar area on both sides of the river for a central bus station. A central bus station has many merits. To make this central bus station viable, CIE needed a financial partner and, unfortunately, such a partner was not forthcoming. In the draft development plan which Dublin Corporation are now preparing, we request that CIE move elsewhere so that land in Temple Bar could be developed for the benefit of the city.

I must say that while the actions of CIE did result in some dereliction, the company deserve credit for leasing the property they bought at very low rates to young entrepreneurs and so allowing young business people to completely change life in the Temple Bar area. It has produced a bohemian type of centre city, very much like the Parisian Left Bank. A lot of credit has to be given to CIE and to these young people. I want to see that progress continuing. It is very important that whatever development takes place in the proposed Temple Bar area, it will provide the kind of development that exists there at present.

I want to refer briefly to section 3 which provides that, notwithstanding any provision of the Companies Acts, 1963 to 1990, the Taoiseach shall appoint the directors of Temple Bar Renewal Limited. We see the same statement in section 10: "Notwithstanding any provision of the Companies Acts, 1963 to 1990, the Taoiseach, through his nominees, shall be the sole shareholder of Temple Bar Properties Limited." We are told in the memorandum that we have to read these sections in conjunction with Chapter VII of the Finance Act, 1991, which provides the incentive for the Temple Bar area. I spoke on Committee Stage on that section of the Finance Bill and was given an assurance by the Minister for Finance that the Lord Mayor of Dublin would be chairman of Temple Bar Renewal Limited. We see nothing about that in this Bill, so I would like the Minister to guarantee that that is the Government's position, that they still hold to the definite statement made by the Minister for Finance, Deputy Reynolds, on Committee Stage of the Finance Bill.

Dublin Corporation have drawn up an action plan for the Temple Bar area. There are pedestrianised areas in that development plan. I would like to know what the role of Dublin Corporation is in the development proposed in the Temple Bar Renewal and Development Bill. It is important that Dublin Corporation would have a function and that any development that takes place there would have the approval of the planning department of Dublin Corporation. I feel that would eliminate the possibility of abuses that have been mentioned in the House this evening.

I have always welcomed the proposal to develop the Temple Bar area. I support this Bill in principle but there are many questions that have to be answered. I will not take up the time of the House now because I know Deputy MacGiolla wishes to say a few words and there are a number of amendments being put down by my colleague, Deputy Jim Mitchell, on Committee Stage, which will take place shortly. In view of that, I will give way to Deputy Mac Giolla.

The first point I want to make is in regard to the extremely short time that has been given to debate this Bill. It is unbelievable that a guillotine should be imposed on a Bill of this nature. We have two and a half hours to take all Stages of a Bill of such importance for the city of Dublin.

Deputy Doyle just made the point that CIE have been much maligned for their entry into the Temple Bar area with the intention of building a central bus station. There was no objection when they moved in because no thought was given to the Temple Bar area which was generally rundown and which was moving gradually into decay. When CIE gradually bought over properties they implemented a very enlightened policy, whereas other developers who purchased properties in the city then ensured that they would gradually fall into dereliction and if sites were not becoming derelict fast enough, they removed slates from the roofs and allowed buildings to decay so that they could be knocked down and the whole area could be redeveloped.

In contrast to that, CIE leased out properties at cheap rent and gradually the area awoke and was automatically renewed. Once the area was developed through the enlightened policy of CIE and grew in importance with young people moving in, and all sorts of small shops and so on developing in the area, everyone began to attack CIE and to say that we must get them out of the area. On the corporation we also said that they should find another site for the central bus station. CIE need a central bus station. I still believe in the CIE policy of a rapid rail system to Tallaght, Clondalkin and Blanchardstown, to the youth population. There should be a small six mile underground system from a central bus station to the various CIE stations. That is the best policy, but this Government shot it down, simply saying that it would cost too much, while they have probably spent 50 per cent more on roads in the meantime. CIE gave new life to the area in the beginning and they should get credit for that. I do not see anything in the Bill to indicate that they will be compensated by the Government. I would not be surprised if the Government just took it over leaving CIE at a loss.

My party and I totally support the idea of developing the Temple Bar area which will be of vital importance to the city but this Bill has been brought in now because, as the explanatory memorandum says:

The Bill contains provisions for the implementation of the renewal and development of the Temple Bar area. This is a Government flagship project for Dublin's year as European City of Culture in 1991.

Because this is a flagship project we must rush it through before the Dáil goes into recess and so that the Taoiseach can stand up for his flagship project for the year of culture, 1991. That is no way to develop an area of this vital importance for the city of Dublin. The Taoiseach seems to want to take control of the whole city in a Ceausescu-like manner, first building the Custom House Docks and now renewing the Temple Bar area. What area will he take over next for renewal? The corporation have been thrown out. We have just had a local election to elect a new city council and when they meet on Monday morning they will discover that this is another area of the city in which they have no remit, a no-go area for Dublin Corporation. They are losing control of the whole city to the Taoiseach and to central Government when we were supposed to be getting more control in local government. The Minister for the Environment wants to run the city in his own way but suddenly the Taoiseach has taken over and has decided to run it his way. If this is to be the procedure in the city the new members elected to Dublin City Council will have their eyes opened when they see what they are up against. They will see that they are wasting their time on the city council, as the Taoiseach decides to grab one piece after another to implement his plans. The Taoiseach will decide whether or not there will be multi-storey car parks and the city council will have no say as to what will be developed in the Temple Bar area.

Dublin Corporation have made detailed plans for the Temple Bar area as Deputy Eric Byrne outlined to the House. They have already commenced a programme of pedestrianisation in the Temple Bar area. The corporation should be consulted on this Bill and members of the city council should have an opportunity to discuss the Bill and make representations to the Taoiseach and other Deputies as to what they think before this Bill is rushed through the House prior to the first meeting of the new city council. The manner in which this Government and the Taoiseach are trying to bulldoze their way across the city is outrageous. The Taoiseach seems to want to leave some sort of monument to himself when he moves off stage, like Ceausescu in Romania, to leave some kind of city landmarks with the words "Charles J. Haughey was the man who thought of this, ran this or organised that". This issue concerns the people of the city. The members of the city council should have a detailed say in what happens and on the Bill. If the people of the city do not want a multi-storey car park there, it will not be built.

Deputy Gerard Brady pointed out that Dublin Corporation made a right mess of the Fishamble Street area, and I agree with him. I came on to the city council in 1979 in the middle of the big agitation in relation to that area. A bad decision was made by the architects as well as by everybody else, in designing such an enormous bunker to be built right beside Christchurch Cathedral. Deputy Brady seems to indicate that it was just as well that the Taoiseach was taking this over seeing that Dublin Corporation would make such a mess of the decision. That is an outrageous comment. There is a new city council there now with new ideas. They will be putting their ideas to the Temple Bar Council. There is no guarantee here that the Lord Mayor will have any say in this, but we on Dublin City Council will attempt to ensure that at least the Lord Mayor is there and that there will be other representatives on the council to see that things are done in accordance with what the citizens require.

I listened with interest to the contribution of the Opposition spokespersons and Deputies for almost three hours and I am shocked at the negative attitude prevailing. Deputy Mac Giolla's contribution was typical. A good idea, a positive approach, a renewal of a particularly traditional environmental area in the city, a special area in the city, is being objected to, and Deputies are trying to impede its development. When the State, through the Government, through the tremendous leadership of the Taoiseach and this party, are prepared to support financially and legally the renewal of this area, I cannot understand why representatives of Dublin Corporation, who admit that they made mistakes, oppose the Government here. It baffles me as a rural Deputy.

Any programme involving the conferring of special benefits on localised areas necessarily involves a degree of judgment. In so far as Temple Bar is concerned there are good development reasons for the size of the area. The boundaries for the area were not decided by the Government in particular but mainly by Dublin Corporation and the Temple Bar Development Council which represents people from the area. This is a homogeneous area stretching from Fishamble Street to Trinity College. While the proposed area may extend beyond what is commonly referred to as the Temple Bar, I am sure the House will agree that the western part of the area should definitely be included in this scheme as it is very much part of old Viking Dublin.

The Taoiseach is sole shareholder of Temple Bar Properties Limited arising from his Government responsibility for cultural and artistic affairs. It is normal practice that the member of the Government responsible for a project holds the shares. It should be emphasised that the sole shareholder is the Taoiseach of the day and the shares are not vested in the present Taoiseach in any personal capacity. The Taoiseach appoints the members of both companies. As the Taoiseach indicated at his recent press conference, the chairperson will be the Lord Mayor of the day. The Taoiseach has not indicated that the position will be changed and I do not understand the negative attitude of Opposition speakers on this point. Neither will board members be changed, daily or weekly, as suggested by Deputy Byrne. Membership will be changed in the normal way.

Temple Bar Properties Limited may have subsidiary companies under section 18 of the Bill. Such companies would be subject to the same regulatory procedures as Temple Bar Renewal Limited and Temple Bar Properties Limited in terms of the auditing of accounts. The companies will be subject to the remit of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on State-sponsored Bodies. I also want to emphasise here the important role of the Comptroller and Auditor General in his capacity as Comptroller and Auditor General of all State expenditure right across the board for Departments and semi-State companies. The same criteria will apply in this case and accounts must be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas as per sections 7 and 16. The companies are subject to the provisions of the Companies Acts, 1963-1990, and, as I have said, to the remit of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on State-sponsored Bodies and their accounts will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. There will be no question of unconstitutionality in this regard.

In his reply to a series of questions in the House on 7 May last, the Taoiseach confirmed that the corporation's planning requirements would be fully adhered to. He drew attention to the fact that the corporation's plan for the area has been adopted as part of the overall development programme. Dublin Corporation will still remain the planning authority for the Temple Bar area. Therefore, all proposals which constitute "development" whether by way of construction or material change of use, will require planning permission and will be subject to appeal in the normal way.

Building by-laws are being abolished and will be replaced by building regulations under the Building Control Act. Drafts of the building regulations have been sent to the European Community in Brussels and it is expected that they will be brought into operation in the autumn. The intention is that the building regulations will be operated as flexibly as possible and different options will be available to enable their requirements to be met.

There will not be much scope under the Bill for windfall profits as key properties are owned by Dublin Corporation and CIE. The local community strongly support the development plan for the area. With regard to the tax relief available for capital expenditure, there can be no inflated tax relief by virtue of the Temple Bar incentive package. Any inflation of property values caused by the Temple Bar reliefs will be ignored in computing the tax reliefs available.

We are not usurping the role of the Minister for the Environment in this Bill, as suggested by Deputy Mac Giolla and others. This Bill is multidimensional and is directed at renewal, tourism and the creation of jobs with a strong cultural emphasis through the activities of the two companies whose functions are being given a statutory footing. It is entirely appropriate that this function is being taken by the Taoiseach as the person responsible legally and constitutionally for projects like this. Neither does the Bill usurp the role of Dublin Corporation in relation to planning. As I have already said, the normal planning requirements will be adhered to. Deputies will note that Dublin Corporation officials are members of both Temple Bar Properties Limited and Temple Bar Renewal Limited. Surely this acknowledges the key role Dublin Corporation play in this area.

Temple Bar Renewal Limited is chaired by the Lord Mayor of Dublin of the day. It has a board of directors which is made up of high ranking officials of Government Departments, municipal and other State bodies and members of the Temple Bar Development Council which represent people from the area itself. Given the composition of the board of directors of the company, the House can be assured that only projects which will contribute in the right manner to the revitalisation and development of the area will be approved of by Temple Bar Renewal Limited. There can be no suggestion that ill-conceived projects will gain approval for tax purposes.

In deciding whether to approve buildings or premises for the purposes of the Temple Bar scheme of tax reliefs, Temple Bar Renewal Limited will have to have regard to the criteria which are set out in the Second Schedule to the Bill. These criteria will allow Temple Bar Renewal Limited to approve the following categories of buildings: any building or premises where activities of a cultural nature are carried out, buildings providing services for tourists, restaurants, public houses, hotels and hostels, craft workshops and small retail outlets employing not more than 20 people, multi-storey car parks, residential accommodation and office or service buildings primarily serving the Temple Bar area. Temple Bar Renewal Limited will be precluded from approving factories other than small craft workshop type enterprises, warehouses and large stores for the purposes of the scheme.

Pending the establishment of the proposed depot in Temple Bar, CIE gave out a number of leases to very desirable small projects, not necessarily at economic rents. We were faced with the problems of how to deal with the cessation of CIE's interest in the area while, at the same time, maintaining the people in the CIE properties who had set up all sorts of desirable enterprises. We decided that the new company, Temple Bar Properties Limited, on behalf of the people in the area and the Government, would take over the premises from CIE at an agreed valuation so that Temple Bar Properties Limited would be in a position to continue the tenancies of the various people who had established enterprises there. That is the economic basis of the whole operation.

Many of the people who are running art galleries, studios, musical venues and so on, are not in a position to pay the commercial rents that normal redevelopment would require. This is why Temple Bar Properties Limited, on behalf of the Government, are stepping in and becoming a property company. They will encourage these people to carry on at rents which they might not otherwise be able to pay.

In reply to a number of questions raised, particularly by Deputy Mac Giolla. I can assure the House that CIE will be compensated. A figure in excess of £3 million has been agreed and as soon as the Bill is enacted, the necessary contracts will be signed and the necessary compensation paid.

That is not compensation. They paid £12 million for the property three years ago.

A comparison with the Financial Services Centre, as suggested by Deputy Quinn, is misplaced. It is not in the same category as that of the Financial Services Centre, which is very successful and profit driven for the companies locating there. We are seeking to encourage in the Temple Bar area, by way of special incentives, many small enterprises which would not in the normal way be commercially viable.

Deputy Quinn also referred to a number of other registered companies. These companies are nothing more than aggressive private enterprises. I want to assure the House that they will have no influence, connection or association with Temple Bar Properties Limited or Temple Bar Renewal Limited, which have their own special mission. I do not want to speculate on why this range of companies is being formed by other groups, but it may be that they want to take possession of names for their own purposes. They will certainly not be associated in any way with the two companies covered in this Bill.

Temple Bar Development Council have played a key role in ensuring that this project has been put forward. I want to stress that the development council did not get all the concessions they looked for. The concessions were carefully considered by both the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners before they were finally put forward.

If people are to avail of the range of social, cultural and tourist related services which the Temple Bar area will offer it is essential to ensure access to the area, which is in the inner city, and that there be adequate car parking facilities. The multi-storey car parks provided for must meet the aesthetic construction standards under the supervision of Temple Bar Renewal Limited. The tax reliefs for Temple Bar will run out in 1996 and the role of Temple Bar Renewal Limited in relation to these reliefs will terminate at the time. I hope that the objectives of the Temple Bar package will be fully achieved by that time also.

I think the House will agree that this is a very important Bill, particularly during this year when Dublin is the European city of culture. It is a major effort by the Government to acknowledge the key role Dublin can play in maximising the cultural and tourist opportunities which are there for all people, Irish people and the many tourists who will visit this country in the future. I hope the House will acknowledge, endorse and support the efforts being made to avail of this tremendous opportunity to expand and develop cultural and historical tourism in the capital city during European City of Culture year.

As it is now 7 p.m. I am required to put the following question in accordance with the resolution of the Dáil of this day: "That the Bill is hereby read a Second Time; that sections 1 to 18, inclusive, the First, Second and Third Schedules and the Title are hereby agreed to in Committee and that the Bill is hereby reported to the House without amendment; that Fourth Stage is hereby completed and that the Bill is hereby passed".

The Dáil divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 58.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
  • Cullimore, Séamus.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • O'Toole, Martin Joe.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Stafford, John.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hillery, Brian.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kelly, Laurence.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McDaid, Jim.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Morley, P. J.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Noonan, Michael J.
  • (Limerick West).
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.


  • Ahearn, Therese.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Belton, Louis J.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Connor, John.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Cotter, Bill.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Durkan, Bernard.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Garland, Roger.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Gerry.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Reynolds, Gerry.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies V. Brady and Clohessy; Níl, Deputies Flanagan and Howlin.
Question declared carried.