Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 22 Jun 1993

Vol. 432 No. 6

Private Members' Business. - Animal Remedies Bill, 1993: Report and Final Stages.

Amendment No. 1 is in the name of the Minister, amendment No. 2 is an alternative and I suggest amendments Nos. 1 and 2 be taken together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 6, to delete lines 30 to 36 and substitute the following:

"(2) (a) The Consultative Committee shall consist of 9 members appointed from time to time by the Minister, of whom two shall be directly appointed by the Minister and, subject to paragraph (b), one each shall be appointed by the Minister on the nomination of—

(i) the Minister for Health,

(ii) the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland,

(iii) the Veterinary Council established under the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1931,

(iv) one or more organisations prescribed, for the time being, for the purpose of this subparagraph which, in the opinion of the Minister, are representative of persons whose profession or occupation relates to the manufacture, distribution, sale or supply of animal remedies,

(v) one or more organisations prescribed, for the time being, for the purpose of this subparagraph which, in the opinion of the Minister, are representative of persons whose profession or occupation relates to livestock farming or the keeping or rearing of animals to which this Act applies or to the use of animal remedies,

(vi) one or more organisations prescribed, for the time being, for the purpose of this subparagraph which, in the opinion of the Minister, are concerned with the production of food of animal origin or the promotion or development of the food industry, and (vii) one or more organisations prescribed, for the time being, for the purpose of this subparagraph which, in the opinion of the Minister, are concerned with consumer interests.

(b) Where an organisation or organisations duly prescribed under subparagraph (iv), (v), (vi) or (vii) of paragraph (a) for the purpose of nominating a person to be appointed as a member of the Consultative Committee fail to duly nominate a person, the Minister may, in the place of such a person, appoint to the Committee a person who, in the opinion of the Minister and having regard to the interests involved, would be an appropriate person to have been nominated as such a member for those interests.

(c) In this subsection "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made by the Minister for the purpose of this subsection.

On Committee Stage I undertook to amend this section in order to provide for the appointment of persons to the Animal Remedies Consultative Committee who would be representative of the various groups and interests who may be affected by secondary legislation in this area. On Committee Stage I did not consider it appropriate to mention the bodies who would make the nominations. This was not because I was in any way opposed to seeking and accepting nominations from the bodies mentioned by the Opposition spokesperson. It is a matter of procedure rather than a principle. I have already explained that for such an important committee the Minister must be in a position to ensure the Members appointed to represent particular interests are nominated by the most representative group in that area. The difficulty about naming non-statutory representative bodies in primary legislation is that if it is ever necessary to change or replace those bodies it would become necessary to amend the Act.

A similar committee was established under the 1956 Act which is being replaced by this Bill and I must point out to the Deputies that many of the organisations which made nominations for appointment to the area consultative committee are no longer with us. As an organisation concerned was not specifically mentioned in the Act it was possible to call upon suitable replacements. I am, therefore, providing that the nominating bodies should be named in regulations made under this section. This mechanism will ensure the desired transparency, coupled with the necessary flexibility, to ensure that an effective committee can be put in place.

In relation to two interest groups, namely, pharmacists and veterinary surgeons, I am providing specifically in the Bill for the statutory bodies which regulate those professions. Because they are statutory bodies any change in the Constitution must be provided for by statute and the necessary changes to this Bill can be provided for when this takes place.

The mechanism for appointing members to the committee is based on that used for the appointment of members to the Environmental Protection Agency. This House is agreed this method ensures both transparency in the appointment process and proper representation of all legitimate interests. For these reasons I regret I am not in a position to accept Deputy Dukes' amendment.

I will set the Minister's mind at rest, I do not intend to move amendment No. 2. The Minister's amendment No. 1 is very satisfactory and I thank the Minister for going as far as he has in his amendment. In the circumstances, his amendment is a reasonable response to what has been proposed. I note that of the nine members of the committee seven are eartagged so the Minister has some leeway in terms of the appointment of the other two members and I welcome that. Further, the Minister has provided that those persons will be appointed by regulations and I will not argue with or cavil at the Minister about the form of regulations except to take the opportunity to make the point that it seems the appointment of members of a committee of this kind is the type of matter which is properly dealt with administratively and, therefore, the type of regulations that need to be made are appropriately ones that do not require an active vote of the Houses of the Oireachtas. For future reference in regard to future Bills, I ask the Minister to reflect on the difference there is between the appointment of members to a committee like this, undoubtedly an important matter, which can be carried out in a quasi-administrative fashion, and other matters dealt with elsewhere in this Bill which are dealt with by the same type of regulation which I consider is totally inappropriate. From what I have said, I am sure the Minister will discern that I am broadly in favour of the amendment. I thank him for widening the scope of representation in the committee. I will not make any other inferences or charges in advance about how those people will be picked because I am aware the Minister will have a completely impeccable approach in that regard. I hope he will ensure that his successors on that side of the House will have a similar impeccable approach and they would, of course, be beyond question if they came from this side of the House.

I appreciate the Minister accepting the points made by Opposition spokespersons on Committee Stage of this Bill. The Minister said he would bring forward his own amendment on Report Stage to achieve what Members requested. His proposals are fully in line with what Deputy Dukes and I sought on Second Stage. Members of all parties who spoke, supported the amendment we tabled. Would the Minister indicate what measures he proposes adopting in making his selection between the various organisations which may qualify under the headings he has given? The Minister in his amendment provided that one representative would represent a profession or occupation relating to the manufacture, distribution sale or supply of animal remedies. Another representative would be from the area of production of food of an animal origin or development of the food industry. The other main interest to be represented would be the consumer interest. There is a procedure contained in other legislation whereby the Minister places a public advertisement inviting persons who have an interest in being considered for nomination to put forward their proposals or make themselves known. The Minister does not explain what method he will employ to arrive at the point where he actually selects a person. For instance, under amendment No. 1 (2) (a) (iv) the Minister states:

one or more organisations prescribed, for the time being, for the purpose of this subparagraph which, in the opinion of the Minister, are representative of persons whose profession or occupation relates to the manufacture, distribution, sale or supply of animal remedies.

Could the Minister elaborate a little more on the procedures that he intends adopting in order to arrive at the point where he actually makes the selection?

I also welcome the fact that the Minister has taken on board the various recommendations from the Opposition. I tabled an amendment relating to consumers and I am glad that the Minister has provided a framework that will give consumers an opportunity to be represented on this body. I would like the Minister to reply to two points. First, I raised the question of the accountability of this body and the matter was voted down on Committee Stage. I do not know whether this can be incorporated into regulations but I still believe there should be some accountability by the body so that members who have been appointed by representative organisations will have some terms of reference to which they can refer if any controversy arises in the future.

Second, on Committee Stage I raised the whole question of women being appointed to State bodies. The Government has adopted a blanket approach by stating that there will be a 40 per cent representation of women on State boards. However, in relation to my own experience, the County Enterprise Board for my county for example, was nominated and only 25 per cent of the members are women. The Government's 40 per cent quota of women on State boards is being seen simply as a recommendation rather than a stipulation. Can the Minister, within his remit, ensure that when he is establishing this State body it will have a 40 per cent representation of women and that that will not simply be an aspiration? I am disappointed this commitment is not included in the legislation because my experience has been that unless it is enshrined in legislation in some solid form it is simply regarded as an aspiration and nothing more. If I had known this I would have introduced it as a proper amendment but I was innocent enough to believe that when people said something they intended to stick by it. If the County Enterprise Boards are any indication, this 40 per cent proportion will not become a reality unless there is some firm commitment to ensure that it will be a reality. The task force on the needs of travellers contained the proper gender balance without any great difficulty. However, if a difficulty arises in this case I suggest that the Minister request each representative body to nominate two persons, one male, one female, thereby ensuring that the commitment made by the Government to allow women to take their place as equals on these boards will become a reality. We must give women power and input into the decision making process of Government.

I wish to thank all three Deputies for their constructive response to my amendment. In keeping with the spirit of this entire debate I responded to requests from the far side of the House to increase the representation from seven to nine so that the views expressed by the Deputies regarding broad representation could be incorporated in the legislation.

I thank Deputy Dukes for agreeing to my amendment and I compliment him and all the Members of the House for their almost united approach to dealing with what, for all of us and the country generally, is a serious matter.

Deputy Molloy asked about the eventual structure and representation of the consultative committee. I have no responsibility in that regard. The Minister for Health will make a nomination, the Veterinary Council will make another and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland will make their nomination to the committee. Obviously the farming organisations will be consulted and asked to nominate their representative to the board. All Deputies expressed an interest in the food industry. I was extremely anxious that the food sector would have a strong and unified voice and therefore, we will be asking organisations such as CBF, An Bord Bainne, meat processors, co-operatives and so on, to nominate their representative to the consultative committee. I am doing it on that basis so that when they make their individual nominations, the other constituent organisations within the broad framework will have, say, a conduit into the committee through their representative. That also answers the query by Deputy McManus on accountability. The nominee from, for example, the food sector would have to report back to the broader constituency base, the various organisations. I hope there will be a great degree of transparency and accountability in relation to the involvement of the various organisations and their official nominee.

As regards the Minister's two nominees, when all organisations have made their submissions I hope the House will agree that I should have the freedom to take an overview of the committee so that if there is an obvious omission from the broad representation on the committee I can use my two nominees specifically to redress that weakness, if I could call it that. I sincerely thank the Deputies concerned for their objective comments.

May I ask the Minister a question?

I am not satisfied that the Minister has explained how an organisation becomes a prescribed organisation. The Minister said he would prescribe certain organisations, but the question I raised related to the opportunities organisations would have to be considered as prescribed under the legislation. Is it the Minister's intention to advertise and invite organisations who wish to nominate people?

I will not be specific in relation to the constituent organisations under a particular heading. If an organisation believes it has a right to nominate a person for consideration within the broader constituency organisation, that will present no problem. The Deputy is concerned that I will be the person who will decide what organisation should be entitled to put forward a nominee, but that will not be the case. I have given no thought as to whether I should advertise to alert organisations to the fact that they have a right to nominate under particular headings but that is a matter I will seriously consider.

Is it not obvious that in order to have the whole process above board, which is what we wanted from the outset——

Acting Chairman

It was agreed the Deputy would ask a brief question and the Minister has given a reply.

He has not answered the question.

Acting Chairman

This is the Deputy's third intervention but on Report Stage Deputies may speak only once.

Is the Chair saying I cannot ask a question?

Acting Chairman

Not at this stage.

I would be happy if the Minister would indicate——

To be of help to the Deputy I will give an undertaking to put a public announcement in the paper in relation to this matter.

That is the practice under other legislation.

My question about the 40 per cent representation by women was not answered. Will this clause be established in regulations since it is not laid down in the Bill? If it is not established in some measure the practice will eventually die out.

The Government has made a very clear statement on representation of women on State boards and other subsidiary bodies. In this instance we are simply asking consumer organisations and constituent organisations to nominate a person for appointment to the consultative committee. All we can do in those circumstances is to mention in communications with these organisations or in the announcement that it is the wish of the Government, and is part of Government policy, that women should be represented as referred to by Deputy McManus. It is not possible under this legislation to instruct the nominating organisations and bodies that they must nominate a woman. If I were to do that I would be restricting the bodies in their freedom to nominate whom I hope would be the person most qualified. I am sure Deputy McManus accepts that women may be as qualified as men, but that imposition should not be put on the nominating bodies. I am not in a position to give any specific instructions in this regard except to state the Government's guidelines on the filing of vacancies in State bodies.

We are not talking about a guideline; we are talking about a commitment made by the Government.

Acting Chairman

As this is Report Stage we may not have a discussion on the matter.

I am most dissatisfied because the Government is backing out of its commitment.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 2 not moved.

Acting Chairman

Amendment No. 3 is in the name of Deputy Dukes. Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 8, to delete lines 11 to 13.

I tabled this amendment to find out what exactly the Minister has in mind in subsection (3) of section 4. This subsection provides that certain requirements set out in subsection (1) shall not apply to the importation in bulk of an animal remedy otherwise than in the container or outer wrapper in which it is intended to be put on sale. There is a link between this amendment and a later amendment which relates to a matter we discussed on Committee Stage. The Minister indicated on Committee Stage in response to amendments we tabled that he was considering licensing of the wholesale and retail trade in the products we are talking about—the Minister will have an opportunity to deal in greater detail with that matter when we come to the relevant amendment. As subsection (3) of this section exempts bulk imports from labelling requirements we are losing the first link in the chain that needs to be put in place in order to track these products from the time they first appear on our territory to the time they are finally used. The Minister agreed on Committee Stage that it would be desirable to have this kind of tracking mechanism for many reasons, not least of which is our concern with health, particularly of humans and also of animals. If products imported in bulk are unidentified the possibility of tracking these products through the system is weakened.

This amendment seeks to remove that exemption so that the requirement to state what the product is will exist whether the product is imported in bulk or in broken down packages. The Minister's amendment No. 4 does not meet my concern. If amendment No. 3 is not made the Minister's amendment No. 4 cannot have any effect in terms of items imported in bulk. My concern is left unaddressed. We still may have products coming in that cannot be identified and, if unscrupulous people get hold of them at that stage, they will work their way through the system without us having track of them. What is the Minister's response to that fear?

I fully understand the Deputy's concern that bulk animal remedies should not enjoy unhindered and unlabelled access to the marketplace. I share the Deputy's sentiments. However, I cannot agree that it is reasonable or even feasible to require a bulk product to be labelled in the same way as proprietary products. I hope the Deputy agrees that I have taken due note in my amendment No. 4 of the concern expressed on Committee Stage. On Committee Stage I undertook to look at the total exemption from the requirement to disclose the composition of animal remedies in a bulk state. Having examined the matter, I agree fully with the concerns expressed by the Deputies. My amendment proposes that the identification and disclosure of the composition of bulk animal remedies, whether by labelling or other means, should be addressed by regulation made following consultation with the consultative committee. It would not be appropriate in all circumstances to require the exact same labelling requirement to be applied to bulk as to proprietary products. My amendment will ensure that the bulk product is properly identified in an appropriate manner.

To satisfy the concern of Members, particularly of Deputy Dukes, in relation to the bulk importation of the products dealt with under this Bill, I assure Deputies that under my amendment all bulk animal remedies imported will bear a full chemical analysis and composition on the label attaching to that bulk product. The difficulty in relation to extending it any further than that is that it would not be practical or necessary to proceed further by way of quoting the various administrative doses and so forth that would be applied by the farmers or by the veterinary profession. To deal with the concern expressed by Deputies, I can assure the House that all the bulk importation will contain a clear and accurate description of the contents in terms of chemical composition, the name of the manufacturer and the source of the product. That should meet the wishes of Deputies. I am sure Deputies will appreciate that it will be easier to do that by way of regulation than by making provision in this Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 9, between lines 43 and 44, to insert the following:

"(9) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 8, the Minister may, after consultation with the consultative Committee, make regulations providing for the disclosure of the composition, whether by labelling or by any other means, of—

(a) animal remedies to which subsection (1) does not apply by virtue of subsection (3), or

(b) ingredients for animal remedies.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 11, line 35, to delete "for the purpose of slaughtering it".

On Committee Stage the Minister did not seem to be too sure why the offending words are there. This relates to a provision in section 6 (2) (a) (ii). It refers to selling or otherwise supplying the animal to another person for the purpose of slaughtering it. I wonder why "for the purpose of slaughtering it" is there. While clearly animals sold in that way for the purpose of being slaughtered need to come under the scope of the provisions here, animals which are sold other than for the purpose of being slaughtered equally should be brought under the provisions of this section. I am worried that the inclusion of these words would seem to take out of the scope of the application of this section animals which are sold, for example, as stores and not for slaughter. Are we to take it that a young animal sold to a fattener as a store will be regarded as eventually being for slaughter? It does not seem to me to be the intention of the subsection in the way it is written. I am baffled as to why that qualification is put in here, particularly since subsection (2) (a) (i) already deals with the question of slaughtering the animal. It seems that the two parts of this subsection are badly drafted and do not really fit together very well. They seem to create this uncertainty as to whether we really need to follow up on animals which are being sold as stores rather than ones that are just being sold as cattle ready for slaughter. On Committee Stage the Minister did not seem to be too sure why those words were there. I would like to know if perhaps the Holy Ghost has descended upon him in the meantime and if he can tell us a bit more about it.

On Committee Stage Deputy Crawford raised the question as to why this subsection related only to animals being sold for slaughter and I agreed to look into the matter. I have consulted with the Attorney General on this point and it has been explained that the purpose of this subsection is to enable certain presumptions to be made in relation to the slaughter of an animal or the sale or supply of an animal for slaughter. The availability of these presumptions will, in conjunction with regulations made or deemed to be made under this Bill, place an onus of responsibility on every person who slaughters or sells an animal for slaughter and will facilitate enforcement of provisions intended to ensure that illegally treated animals do not enter the human food chain. In this context illegal treatment covers both the use of prohibited substances and the incorrect use of authorised products — for example, failure to observe a proper withdrawal period. Deputies will be familiar with this in relation to the dairy industry.

Subsection (1) deals generally with the possession or control of an animal or an animal remedy in contravention of regulations made or deemed to be made under this Bill. The possession or control of an animal, the slaughter or the sale or supply of which is prohibited under this Bill of regulations made thereunder, is prohibited.

In subsection (2) we are dealing with where a person has possession or control of an animal for the purpose of slaughtering it or selling or supplying it for slaughter. In these circumstances the Bill is providing that the person knows certain things in relation to that animal. The seller or slaughterer is presumed to know that it is an animal which has been treated with an animal remedy and that the animal will be slaughtered for human consumption. Paragraph (b) draws similar presumptions in relation to an animal from which produce is derived without slaughtering the animal — for example, eggs, milk and honey.

Without these presumptions, which switch the onus of proof to the defendant in an action, difficulties would be experienced in instituting proceedings because the party concerned could deny he had knowledge that the animal was treated with an animal remedy or that the animal would be slaughtered for human consumption.

The Deputy's concerns relate to the possibility that a person in possession of an illegally treated animal may try to dispose of it to an innocent purchaser. The question of sale of animals and fitness for sale is not at issue in this subsection. As I mentioned earlier, section 6 (1) deals with possession or control for the purpose of sale or supply where such a sale is prohibited by other provisions of this Bill. Indeed the sale issue is addressed also in section 8 which provides, inter alia, that it is an implied condition in every contract of sale that the animal in question had not been treated with any animal remedy other than in a manner provided for by law.

I know, strictly speaking, it is disorderly of me to say this — and I will not press the amendment — but the Minister has not dealt with the question. If one looks at the text of section 6 (1) (a), (b) and (c) and compares it with the text of section 6 (2) (a), (b) and (c) the only real difference of intent between them is the qualification in subsection (2) (a) (ii) which contains the words "for the purpose of slaughtering it". The Minister or one of his successors may have trouble with that later because it seems to restrict the scope of the section, whereas elsewhere it includes animals held, owned or sold for the purpose of slaughtering. I hope the Minister will not have to return here at a later stage with a technical amendment, because a court decided the words had created a doubt.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 17, to delete lines 17 to 27.

There was some amusement about this amendment on Committee Stage. The Minister remarked that if Deputy Crawford or I had our way nobody would ever again be able to advertise a product on a biro. The question here is the extent to which information will be provided. The presumption in this Bill is that we are dealing with substances that are basically noxious, harmful or lethal as in the case of clenbuterol and others. I know there are preparations in which substances otherwise provided for in this Bill will be used for the purpose of making other preparations which are medications or related products or substances that would otherwise be banned from normal use here, if used in different quantities and in different ways, can be medications.

I really wonder whether substances of the kind about which we are speaking are likely to be advertised, for example, on biros. A very restricted range of products can be advertised on biros. I have one here——

The Minister did not mention biros, I did.

That is better because I am even more allergic to smart alecry from that quarter. I will not read out what it says on my biro, it is the name of an animal health firm and I am familiar with a great many of their products. I would be much less inclined to use a biro with the name of a worm or sheep drench on it — although at a pinch I might use it — or even indeed one carrying the name of a Senator, which is what I think Deputy Molloy was talking about on Committee Stage. Indeed I would bet my bottom dollar that Deputy Molloy did not vote for that gentleman either in spite of having the biro. I too have one of them.

I will not vote for him the next time either.

Most of the products about which we are speaking are so specialised their producers will not engage in major advertising campaigns, they are not likely to appear on biros, notepads or anything of that kind.

My concern is whether this provision is necessary in the Bill. For example, is it necessary to have so many exemptions, although I know they are restricted, and to detract in that way from the force of the provisions of the Bill? In these matters we should always adopt a restrictive, not a permissive, approach. I remarked in relation to environmental legislation, that where health is at issue we should never be afraid to press the panic button and worry afterwards. It is easier to deal with the situation if one does that instead of not being worried at the beginning and then having to escalate one's response because things turn out worse than anticipated. The parallel is not exact but I think the Minister knows what I mean. When dealing with substances like these our first instinct should be to be totally restrictive. For that reason I object to the provision in the Bill.

Section 8 (4), which this amendment seeks to delete, is an important element of this Bill. We are all agreed on the need to control information in connection with the advertising of animal remedies. Generally speaking, the information provided should not be less than that required to be conveyed on the labelling of the animal remedy advertised. Deputy Dukes made the point earlier in relation to the bulk importation of goods. It must be appreciated that there are different forms of advertising and promotion, with different media and audiences targeted by promotions or advertisements. I thought I had convinced this House, ably assisted by Deputy Molloy who agreed with my former position on this matter, that certain media and methods of promotion could be exempted from having to convey very detailed information about a product they were promoting.

I am not advocating a free for all in this area and appreciate that regulations will be drawn up in consultation with the consultative committee. However, it must be conceded that, to require the entire contents of a package to be reproduced, for example, in radio and television advertising, promotional gifts and on hoardings surrounding football pitches — to give just a few examples — and in the arenas of agricultural shows, borders on the ridiculous. As Deputy Dukes was unable to participate in our deliberations on this matter on Committee Stage he did not have the benefit of this explanation——

I was there in spirit.

——and perhaps he may have residual concerns. I hope I have succeeded in reassuring him and that he will withdraw his amendment.

The Minister is now inclining me to evil. There will not be detailed advertisements for products containing beta-agonists and so on. This is a redundant provision in a Bill that sets out what we intend doing. These products will not be advertised on the radio, on the hoardings in Semple Stadium or on the sides of buses. Indeed they will not even be advertised in the pages of the Irish Farmers Journal We are talking about specialised products and their particular application. The Minister is really drawing the long bow to make the case in the way he has. People will not produce thousands of promotional biros, notepads, folder covers or even sliotars with these things advertised on them. The Minister is provocative in saying that.

I will not press the amendment but I hope the Minister will not have cause to rue the laxity of this provision in the Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 18, between lines 24 and 25, to insert the following:

"(8) The Minister shall make regulations providing for the licensing of wholesalers and retailers of animal remedies. Such regulations shall provide for—

(a) requirements as to fitness to hold a licence,

(b) requirements as to the suitability of premises for the carrying on of a wholesale or retail trade in animal remedies, including the security of such premises and their fitting for the proper handling of animal remedies, and

(c) the keeping of adequate records to ensure that animal remedies received at or sold from the premises, or both, can be adequately traced.".

I do not intend to spend much time on this. The Minister said on Committee Stage — and Members on this side of the House appreciate it — that it is his intention to proceed differently in a separate context, to deal with the matters in this amendment, the licensing of all stages of the trade. I wonder if the Minister of State would indicate if he has given the matter some further thought since Committee Stage and if he is in a position to state when he might proceed along the lines proposed on Committee Stage?

Again, I thank the Deputy for withdrawing his amendment. We are at the point once again of agreeing in principle about what Deputies wish to do but differ on how it should be done. My objections to this amendment are twofold, neither of which means that I wish to take an easier line on the question of licensing of the outlets mentioned. First, the powers to make regulations to cover these specific areas are covered in this section. On Committee Stage I gave the House an undertaking to introduce regulations of this nature. In fact, discussions between officials of my Department and interested parties had commenced before the Bill was introduced. In regulating these outlets the Minister must be able to consider a wide range of issues in deciding on whether to grant a licence to engage in these activities. These considerations, if dealt with by way of regulations, can be regularly reviewed in the light of experience and the prevailing circumstances and the benefit of the experience and expertise of the consultative committee can also be availed of.

My concern with Deputy Dukes' amendment, which has been withdrawn, is that rather than giving the Minister powers to consider a wide range of issues in deciding whether to grant a licence, which I am sure is the Deputy's intention, the insertion of this subsection may act to prevent consideration of a wider range of issues to determine suitability as is permissible under the general regulation making powers available under the section.

My second reason for opposing the amendment arises from the fact that the licensing of wholesalers and retailers is required by Council Directive 90/676/EEC in respect of which I gave the House an undertaking on Committee Stage that the necessary implementing regulations will be introduced within two to three months of the Bill becoming law. It is perferable that we do not have a multiplicity of provisions all requiring us to achieve the same objective. There is a real danger that such an assortment of legal bases could create the legal loopholes to assist offenders that we are anxious to avoid.

In view of his commitment on Committee Stage, which he has repeated tonight, can the Minister of State say if in the interim he has looked into this matter more thoroughly and is now in a better position to indicate when the new licensing regulations will be introduced?

I have had discussions with senior officials in my Department and I am satisfied that these regulations will be introduced and put into operation within a short period of time. The fact that we are back in the House today to take Report Stage of this Bill is an indication, so far as I and the officials of my Department are concerned, that we are extremely anxious to put this legislation into operation as quickly as possible in advance of the forthcoming livestock production season. The Deputies can take it that this matter is receiving attention within the Department and that there will be no avoidable delays in putting the new regulations into force.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 8:

In page 19, lines 10 and 11, to delete ", an ingredient for an animal remedy or a prohibited animal remedy" and substitute "or an ingredient for an animal remedy".

This is a drafting point. The words "or a prohibited animal remedy" are superfluous as the term "animal remedy" covers all animal remedies, including prohibited ones.

Amendment agreed to.

Acting Chairman

We now come to amendment No. 9. Recommittal is necessary in respect of this amendment as it does not arise out of Committee proceedings.

I move: "That the Bill be recommitted in respect of amendment No. 9":

In page 19, to delete lines 32 to 36 and substitute the following:

"(2) As soon as is practicable after receipt of a substance or combination of substances by an approved person or body from or on behalf of——

(a) an authorised officer,

(b) a member of the Garda Síochána,

(c) an officer of Customs and Excise, or

(d) such other class or classes of persons as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Minister for the purposes of this provision,

that person or body shall analyse the substance or combination of substances, or a sample thereof, to detect whether or not it consists of or contains a specific substance or specific substances.".

The purpose of this amendment is to clarify the classes of person who may submit samples for official examination. In addition to authorised officers, members of the Garda Síochána and officers of Customs and Excise, provision is made for other classes of persons to be prescribed by regulations for this purpose.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment reported.

Acting Chairman

We now come to amendment No. 10. Amendments Nos. 11, 12, 13, 16, 17 and 19 are consequential on amendment No. 10. Amendments Nos. 14, 18 and 20 are related and amendment No. 15 is consequential on No. 14.

I move amendment No. 10:

In page 19, lines 37 to 39, to delete "the result of the test or analysis is that the substance for the detection of which the method was prescribed was detected" and substitute "the outcome of the test or analysis is that the specified level or the specified result, as the case may be, was obtained".

The purpose of this subsection is to provide that the result or outcome of a reliable first method of analysis may be used as evidence in criminal proceedings unless challenged by a person who could be affected by the result. Any person so affected must be informed of the result and given an opportunity to challenge the outcome. If the outcome is not challenged it will not be necessary to proceed to a second method of analysis. This will speed up proceedings and, in addition, reduce the costs incurred on uncontested analytical results.

The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that a result or outcome to which this provision relates must be a specified level or specified result as prescribed under subsection (1) (b) of this section. As the Bill stands, that may not be absolutely clear and the amendment will put it beyond doubt. A defendant who does not contest analytical results is not prejudiced from refuting the charges and pleading not guilty on other grounds.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 11:

In page 19, line 40, to delete "result" and substitute "outcome".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 12:

In page 19, line 42, to delete "result" and substitute "outcome".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 13:

In page 19, line 44, to delete "result" and substitute "outcome".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 14:

In page 19, line 45, to delete "result" of a test or analysis" and substitute "outcome of the test or analysis (hereinafter in this section referred to as `the first method of test or analysis')".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 15:

In page 19, lines 47 and 48, to delete "(hereinafter in this section referred to as `the first method of test or analysis')".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 16:

In page 20, line 6, to delete "result" and substitute "outcome".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 17:

In page 20, line 8, to delete "result" and substitute "outcome".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 18:

In page 20, line 49, after "certified" to insert "and that the substance has been detected by that method of test or analysis".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 21, line 15, to delete "result" and substitute "outcome".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 20:

In page 21, line 16, to delete "is not an approved method" and substitute "is not a test or analysis to which subsection (6) relates".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 21:

In page 21, line 17, after "Without prejudice to" to insert "the provisions of".

This is a drafting amendment for the purpose of clarification.

Amendment agreed to.

I would like to take amendments Nos. 22 and 23 together.

Acting Chairman

Amendment No. 23 is consequential on amendment No. 22. Is that agreed?

It is not, but we agree that they should be taken together.

I move amendment No. 22:

In page 27, line 14, after "shall include" to insert "a photograph of the person to whom it is issued and".

As Deputy Dukes will recall, on Committee Stage I undertook to draw up an amendment to the section to provide that all composite identity cards would bear a photograph of the bearer. These amendments deliver on that promise. The definition of "photograph" is purposely defined in order that, if necessary, some recent technological developments, such as computer generated images, can be availed of in the preparation of these composite identity cards.

I am delighted that the Minister of State has seen fit to produce this amendment.

I do it all the time.

He is a very delightful person when he puts his mind to it.

Unless it is for women.

If he continues like this he will be able to make a habit of it and be such a totally different person that he might even join my party. I am delighted that this amendment has been introduced. I am aware that the Minister of State listened to the debate on Committee Stage. This will be a very useful measure.

Now that the Minister has agreed to include this provision in the Bill, I ask him to follow up the logic of it with his colleagues in Government and adopt the same procedure in relation to other matters. For example, it is not so long ago that there was quite a bad tempered debate in this country about whether a photograph of the licensee should appear on a driving licence. Suggestions that the same should apply to other forms of identification were regarded by people outside this House as a case of, "big brother is watching". I am delighted that there will be photographs of little brothers and little sisters on these identification cards so that we can be sure that the holders are who they claim to be. I hope that the seed which has been planted by the Minister in accepting these amendments will lead to further more rational action in other areas where that should have happened long ago. I sincerely congratulate the Minister on including this provision in the Bill.

I wish to raise one small carping question. I suppose we cannot argue that a definition of the word "photograph" is needed since it is not included in the definition section of the Bill. The Minister referred to computer generated images. I question whether this may lead to some difficulties. Even though computer generated images are not referred to specifically in the amendment, reference is made to "...any other full-face image of the person concerned which is in the nature of a photograph, whether produced electronically or otherwise". Computer generation of images is a very exciting art these days and I caution the Minister about this. One can do much with computer generation of images which may lead to the production of an image which one may not regard as a mirror image of the original subject. The Minister has only to look at an article in last week's Irish Farmers Journal about an action taken by the Tánaiste, and for which he claims credit though it was my colleague, Deputy Deenihan, who first raised the matter. The case concerned a picture of the Tánaiste which is a computer generated image. It is a picture which was somehow frozen before it got to the stage of final resolution. It is composed of a very large number of tiny squares. If one looks closely at the picture one will see that all the outlines are in steps. That is not the type of image the Minister has in mind. People do not want to see a computer generated image of the inspector; they want to see a recognisable photograph. Will the Minister take steps to ensure that these photographs are recognisable and not images which might have been fuzzed, tampered with or enhanced in any way? Sometimes people like to see the photographs on their identity documents enhanced. We have all had the experience of having our photograph taken in one of these photographic machines, looking at the photograph afterwards and wondering what it was that startled us to much to make us look so different from the way we normally look. I caution the Minister about computer generation, a process which may have its own problems somewhere down the line.

I do not claim to be an expert in computer technology. This Bill seeks to protect Irish agriculture and Irish farmers and the advice available to me is that the technology in the area of photography is continually changing and that it is essential that we be forward-looking in this regard in the legislation and include a provision covering these technological changes. This will enable the composite identity cards for the various officers and officials who will administer this scheme on behalf of the Department to be updated and kept ahead of the various changes which are taking place. This is merely an extra provision in legislation which is both enlightened and forward-looking in terms of the future of Irish agriculture.

I thank the Minister for putting down this amendment, in keeping with the promise he made on Committee Stage. The Minister may recall that we had quite a job getting him to agree finally to include this photographic requirement for identity cards. I asked that the identity card should carry a recent photograph of the officer named on the card, and I hope that that will always be the case. I hope this requirement will not be met by way of producing a photograph which does not exactly resemble the person seeking to gain access to a person's private house, for example, a photograph which was taken when the officer joined the Civil Service 35 years previously. I assume that commonsense will prevail and that recent photographs will be used.

That will be the case.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 23:

In page 27, between lines 26 and 27, to insert the following:

"photograph' means a full-face photograph of the person concerned and includes any other full-face image of the person concerned which is in the nature of a photograph, whether produced electronically or otherwise;".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 24:

In page 30, to delete lines 34 to 43, and in page 31, to delete lines 1 to 9, and substitute the following:

"25.—(1) Where—

(a) an animal remedy, or

(b) an ingredient for an animal remedy, or

(c) an animal to which an animal remedy has been administered, or

(d) any thing used in connection with a prohibited animal remedy or any thing directly used in connection with any other animal remedy, or

(e) any thing used in connection with an animal to which a prohibited animal remedy has been administered or any thing directly used in connection with an animal to which any other animal remedy has been administered,

has come into the possession of an authorised officer in respect of which an offence is with reasonable cause suspected by the officer of having been committed under this Act, or where an offence has been committed or is alleged to have been committed under this Act in respect of any of the matters referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e), and on the application before a court of—

(i) the Minister, or

(ii) where criminal proceedings have been instituted, the person who instituted those proceedings, the appropriate court may, at its discretion and where it is satisfied that an offence has been committed (whether or not any person has been convicted of the offence) order the forfeiture of any such animal, animal remedy, ingredient for an animal remedy, or other thing, as the case may be.".

Section 25 provides for an appropriate court to order forfeiture of prohibited animal remedies or animals treated with such remedies whereas contraventions can arise in relation to both authorised and prohibited animal remedies. The purpose of this amendment is to provide for the possible forfeiture of all animals or animal remedies and related matter in respect of which a contravention of the law has taken place. I am sure Deputies will agree with my views on this matter as not only consumers but pharmaceutical, livestock and food industries can also be threatened by the illegal use of authorised products. It is, therefore, appropriate that this problem be dealt with in the same way as the use of prohibited products is dealt with.

Unless I am mistaken it seems that the purpose of this amendment is to extend and broaden the scope of section 25. The original section 25 enabled the appropriate court to take action and seize prohibited animal remedies and animals on which prohibited remedies had been used. The purpose of this amendment is to extend the scope of the section to any animal. Why is this change being made? The amendment sets out the way in which the court may go about seizing these products and animals. I am not sure that this is any clearer than it was before. Why did the Minister find it necessary to extend the scope of this section at this stage? Why has the entitlement of the court in this respect been slightly changed to its entitlement in the Bill as originally drafted?

This amendment will broaden the scope of this section. The section as originally drafted dealt with a range of prohibited products. As the Deputy will be aware, many authorised products could also have a serious effect on the food chain if improperly used, for example, inter-mammary injections administered to animals used in the dairy industry. This amendment will strengthen the section and broaden it to the extent that it will cover the illegal use of both prohibited and authorised products.

Amendment agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I wish to raise a point of information: it relates to a question I raised earlier. I understand the Minister is bound by the Programme for Government to ensure that there is 40 per cent representation by women on State bodies under the aegis of his Department. This commitment has been underlined by the Minister for Equality and Law Reform as being binding on Ministers.

Acting Chairman

A brief question, Deputy.

The Minister stated that he will not be able to honour this commitment in regard to the consultative committee. How can he square that with the directive from the Minister for Equality and Law Reform?

Acting Chairman

The Deputy may not pursue that point further. It is outside the scope of the Bill.

It is necessary to do so because the Minister will be in conflict with the Joint Programme for Government.

May I ask a question?

Acting Chairman

A brief question, Deputy.

I asked a question but I did not get an answer.

Acting Chairman

Will the Deputy please resume her seat.

Surely I am entitled to an answer?

Acting Chairman

The Minister will reply.

I do not know why the Chair has suddenly become so cross.

Acting Chairman

I am complying with procedure, Deputy.

Will the Minister reply to a point raised by Deputy McManus earlier, that there be a requirement on the consultative committee to make an annual report to the Oireachtas on its work? On Committee Stage the Minister gave an undertaking to consider this matter and return to it on Report Stage but even though he was invited to do so by Deputy McManus he has not done so. Will he now deal with this point?

I understood I had responded to Deputy McManus's query on the 40 per cent representation by women on the consultative committee. I indicated to the Deputy that we would be inviting a wide range of organisations to nominate one person to the consultative committee but it is not open to me to specify to these organisations that they be required to nominate a woman. I do not have the freedom to do that. In terms of the formulation of the committee, and the notification attaching to it, I understand we will be bringing to the attention of the nominating bodies the Government's stated position on representation for women. We have to be practical and we have been so in the debate on this Bill. Even if I had the power — which I do not — I do not think I could reasonably suggest to any one of the nominating organisations — which can make only one nomination — that it must nominate a woman. I would like to see the Government's clearly stated position on the percentage of female representation being achieved. I understood I had responded to Deputy McManus's earlier query because I do not like to ignore serious questions raised by Deputies on the consultative committee reporting back to the House. I indicated that because of the constituency structure of the committee the nominee from that broad representation of organisations would be reporting back to the broader constituency organisations and, as a result, there would be an interchange of views and the transparency that Deputy McManus refers to.

I hope I have not left any serious questions unanswered. That would be unfair bearing in mind the spirit of the debate since the Bill was introduced. I take the opportunity to thank Members for their co-operation in dealing with this Bill. The House has had a major influence on its final shape. The Bill is better as a result of the amendments made during the course of this debate. I wish to put on record my appreciation of the positive, constructive and non-contentious manner in which the Bill was debated. Its basic purpose of providing a comprehensive basis to ensure the safe, responsible use of animal remedies and the protection of the integrity and safety of the food chain was fully supported by all Members, regardless of political affiliations. It truly transcended all political divisions.

Encouraged by Members' solidarity and support I look forward to bringing this Bill to the Seanad at an early date. In view of the difficulties we face, the early enactment of this Bill is desirable in order to reassure our consumers, and to send a strong signal to those who contemplate the use of illegal substances that they will find no support for their cause among Members.

This Bill has as its heart the protection of all consumers and the livestock and food industries. I would like to assure those who have supported it that the legislation when enacted will be vigorously enforced. This is in everybody's interests.

I thank again the Members who contributed to the debate.

I would like to echo what the Minister said. We have done a good job and although there are some frayed edges, on the whole it has been worthwhile business. This has been achieved very largely by the generous way in which the Minister approached the debate on the amendments. The House can be satisfied that it has done a good job. I am tempted to ask the Minister if he is going to give us all a biro with the name of he Bill on it.

I echo the sentiments expressed by Deputy Dukes on the good work done on this Bill but I believe the Minister is in direct contravention of the Joint Programme for Government in the approach he has taken.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy should not pursue that any further.

That is not a fair comment and the Deputy knows it.

It is a commitment; it is not a guideline or an aspiration.

Question put and agreed to.