Local Government (Dublin) Bill, 1993: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Tá fadhbanna faoi leith ag Contae Bhaile Átha Cliath. Is oth liom a rá nach bhfuil an Bille seo ag plé leis na fadhbanna sin go léir ach ar bhonn teicniúil teoranta amháin.

In my last contribution I gave some examples of the problems in County Dublin highlighted when the development plan for the county was considered in the last number of years. The Minister will have to make up his mind on the outcome of that development plan. There is no indication of the outcome in this Bill except that the Minister retains significant powers, some of which are excessive and others, such as in the case of this plan, which need to be invoked. It appears to the general public — people have repeatedly said this to me — that what started off as a development plan has ended up as a developers' plan. That raises the question of how the Minister will respond, given his previous commitments in terms of not spending taxpayers' money on bad proposals which would not contribute to the overall good planning of County Dublin. That question should be answered very quickly by the Minister to avoid further cynicism in County Dublin in regard to the local authority and the body politic.

The County Dublin Alliance for Proper Planning is one of a number of organisations set up in response to the development plan. That group believes that development and planning in its area has not been in compliance with overall proper planning. It cites a number of examples which should be considered by the Minister in the context of his overall review of local government in County Dublin. The first in Malahide which goes under the name of Rob's Wall raises the question of the difference between a developer allegedly secretly making payment to a councillor and a developer flaunting money and inviting local sports clubs to accept payment in return for serving as lobbyists with county councillors. Clarification is required on this matter.

In the light of local government reorganisation, it has been argued very vociferously by a State agency, Aer Rianta, that the area around Dublin Airport is the subject of very dubious and bad planning practice. Apparently there is no prospect of this land ever being developed for industrial purposes. Yet, the taxpayer, whom we represent, will be expected to come to the aid of Aer Rianta when it is seeking to buy such land for necessary airport developments and pay a severely inflated price for it. The Minister for the Environment is the proper person to deal with this issue.

A few miles down the road from Dublin Airport, a small road in Brackenstown in Swords was expected, under a previous development plan, to cater for a large development. It is proposed to locate further developments along this road. It seems that no lessons have been learned from what happened on the last occasion. There was what one can only describe as a street riot between the residents on that road and gardaí had to be called to maintain peace between the longer established residents and the new residents. The new residents want a bus service to be provided but the longer established residents do not think buses will be able to negotiate the road. This impasse has been brought about by shortsightedness and bad planning. The Minister should get off the fence and indicate clearly what he will do to resolve the problems in this area.

The people in the Liffey Valley area of west Dublin have a number of grievances, one of which relates to the Laraghcon housing development which will open up the north bank of the Liffey Valley. Reference is often made in this House to the charm and natural resources of Dublin, advantages which will be publicised during the Eurovision Song Contest next year. However, at the same time we are selling out, so to speak, on the things which make people want to live in and visit Dublin and on our tourism industry, on which so many people depend for a livelihood. This disregard for the needs of the community has to be tackled. This Bill provides an opportunity for the Minister and Deputies to comment on the state of play in regard to the development of Dublin, some of which is not good.

Obviously taxpayers, who will be expected to pay for many of the proposals which have been voted through in a development-led fashion, will want answers to their questions. The Minister, and Deputies, have said that one should not question the planning process for the entire country merely because there are problems in Dublin. I accept that Dublin has the greatest number of planning problems but we must refer to what is happening elsewhere. Trends throughout the country have contributed in no small way to the planning problems in County Dublin. I am referring to policies pursued by various Governments which have inadvertently encouraged migration from rural areas, particularly along the west coast, to Dublin.

There are now fewer people working on the land and more people are moving to Dublin, the big city, in search of employment. In addition to leading to the depopulation of rural areas, the closure of schools, post offices, etc. and a breakdown of rural life, which is only too familiar to the people living in the areas affected, this trend is leading to longer housing waiting lists in Dublin and more problems in providing employment in Dublin which has a large population.

I regret to inform the Deputy that the time available to him is well nigh exhausted. I would be grateful if he would bring his speech to a close.

The Minister should bear in mind that local government will have to be reorganised if any progress is to be made in combating the problems to which I referred. Local authority members need to be given powers similar to those enjoyed by local authority members in other countries if they are to act as proper representatives and not merely carry out instructions issued by central Government. In this context, consideration should be given to the issue of the dual mandate, into which the Minister might have some input, so as to further enhance the role of councillors and ensure that we have proper local government not only in Dublin but throughout the country.

I wish to share my time with Deputy Costello.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

This Bill proposes to create three new councils in the Dublin area, the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council, the Fingal council and the South Dublin council, while at the same time dissolving Dublin County Council and Dún Laoghaire Borough Corporation. The dissolution of these councils will mark the end of an era in local government. This Bill is in many ways a followon from the Local Government Act, 1991 which set up three new committees and appointed three new managers in Dublin County Council. The most far-reaching change in local government in Dublin was provided for in the Local Government (Reorganisation) Act, 1985 which transferred the Howth-Sutton-Baldoyle area from the Dublin city area to the Dublin county area and transferred the Ballymun area from the county area to the city area. This reorganisation led to a substantial net loss in terms of land for Dublin Corporation.

In order to fully understand the implications of what is contained in this Bill one has to go back 30 years to when Dublin Corporation had the foresight to buy land cheaply in the Dublin county area ahead of the developers, speculators and rezoners. The corporation built 11,000 local authority houses on this land with the approval of Dublin County Council and the Department of the Environment. It also built the Tallaght town centre, which is a development showpiece, and provided much of the land for industrial development and employment creation in the Dublin county area. The corporation also provided some of this land for amenities in the new estates in the county area. We should pay tribute to the corporation planners who 30 years ago had the foresight to save the taxpayers of this country and the ratepayers of Dublin county and Dublin city millions of pounds by buying this land at that time.

The availability of this land to Dublin Corporation allowed the corporation to switch its housing policy from one of building high rise flat developments to building standard three and four bedroom family housing units with front and back gardens and with open spaces for children to play and other areas that a community needs to develop. Dublin Corporation's practice of building housing developments outside its boundaries was not uncommon. Other local authorities throughout the country in Cork and Limerick also had a policy of building outside their administrative areas because the land was not available to them to build within their boundaries.

At present there are 5,152 families on the Dublin city housing lists and there are 7,198 families on the Dublin city transfer list. They are mainly people living in flats who wish to transfer to houses. I say this as a member of Dublin City Council since 1979 and a former Lord Mayor and chairman of the City Council. Every member of any local authority is aware that the housing needs of one's elected area are always one of the most pressing matters to be addressed. They are also one of the issues that takes up most of the time of members of local authorities.

Dublin has had a housing crisis going back to the sixties and the seventies, and it was tackled in various ways at various times and with varying degrees of success. But the greatest success in terms of housing in Dublin city occurred during the period from the early to mid-eighties when the corporation, with the approval of Dublin County Council and the Department of the Environment, were building approximately 1,500 houses per year.

In 1986, Dublin Corporation built over 1,600 houses, which was the highest housing output of any local authority in this country. That represented the peak of the housing drive to tackle the housing needs in the city. In 1986, Dublin city had substantially solved its housing needs. Unfortunately, in 1987 that policy was reversed and the housing programme was halted and for many years few houses were built by Dublin Corporation in either the city or the county. That led to a situation where once again we now have over 5,000 families on our city housing list. I would acknowledge, however, that attempts are now being made to tackle that problem; the corporation hope to have 500 housing starts made this year and that programme will continue next year.

In the county area to which I have referred, under the housing drive of the early eighties Dublin Corporation built 11,000 local authority houses in the Dublin County Council area. Of those 11,000 houses, 7,500 remain tenancy dwellings available to Dublin Corporation. At an approximate estimate of £30,000 per house, they represent a value of £231 million. Those 7,500 houses in the county area represent over 40 per cent of Dublin Corporation's total housing stock. In recent years vacancies in dwellings have been the main source for housing families on the corporation waiting list. The vacancies which arose in the county area accounted for over 70 per cent of the vacancies in Dublin Corporation's housing stock. The withdrawal of this pool of vacancies from Dublin Corporation will make it almost impossible for it to tackle its housing needs. By comparison, Dublin County Council has 2,391 families on its waiting list with the same population approximately as the city. With the establishment of the three new councils this means that each new council will have approximately 700 families on its housing list by comparison to Dublin city which has over 5,000 on its housing list and over 7,000 on its transfer list. I say that merely to put the issue into perspective.

In addition to the housing stock in the county the corporation also have 1,850 acres of land in the county area which it is proposed, under this new legislation, to transfer to the new local authorities. This land has been valued at £40 million and its loss to the corporation would be a further setback to their efforts to tackle the housing needs in the city. One also fears what might happen to that land with Dublin County Council's policy of rezoning land willy nilly and one wonders what would happen to that land if it went into the ownership of the new local authorities.

The corporation's housing stock in the county consists largely of houses built in recent years, whereas most of the corporation's housing stock in the city is much older. A very high percentage of it is made up of flats, which are considerably more expensive to maintain than houses. If the corporation loses its housing stock in the county, which now seems inevitable under the new legislation, we will need a clear housing policy, particularly in relation to the allocation of vacancies. Financial arrangements would have to be put in place to compensate the corporation for the very heavy loss of income which would arise from these transfers.

In relation to the policies for allocating houses in both the city and county and the new county areas, at present both Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council have totally different schemes of letting and housing priorities. Most local authorities would evolve a scheme of priorities taking into account the particular needs of its area. Because of the demand for housing in the city, the corporation has evolved a scheme of priorities which takes into account various social factors. There is a housing welfare section within the corporation made up of social workers, who carry out work in this area and who allocate priority on the housing list to families, taking into account their particular social housing needs and other social factors affecting those families. Dublin County Council do not have a similar scheme on their list of priorities and I would be concerned that people in those situations might not be given sufficient consideration by the new local authorities.

The policy for allocating houses and for drafting a scheme of priorities is the most urgent task facing the new regional authorities. What is needed for the Dublin city and county areas is a common housing allocations policy and a common scheme of priorities so that people would have consideration for housing vacancies in the county area as heretofore.

I welcome this legislation and I regard it as a rationalisation of a situation that exists at the present time. I am not a great believer in the phrase that big is beautiful. I am more concerned to have manageable areas in relation to the extension and the development of Dublin so that we are in a position to ensure that there are sufficiently manageable geographic areas in which we can provide good government for the entire city.

I welcome the fact that the former Dublin County Council will now be divided into three administrative areas and that, by and large, the corporation will remain as it stands at the present time. This is a continuation of a long period of democratic local authority operation going back to 1837, when the first township of Rathmines was established and the other townships of Drumcondra, Pembroke, Dalkey and so on. They were developed under the 1898 local government legislation and were followed on with the more recent legislation in 1985 and indeed the legislation that gave effect to this Bill, the 1991 legislation, where the various managers drew up the reports which we are now dealing with in this legislation.

I am happy to note that henceforth Dublin Corporation will be continuing the policy first enunciated in the Civic Charter of 1991, embarking on a policy of urban renewal so that we will develop inwards rather than outwards. For example, we will not be seeking to extend the boundaries of Dublin Corporation's authority but rather will be seeking to develop and upgrade the city at its core. With that aim in mind we are seeking further residential development in the private sector by providing incentives along with the new commitment on the part of the Government vis-à-vis development of housing in the inner city. We are concentrating in particular on eliminating dereliction, on building up areas in the city that had become derelict and totally unsatisfactory for human habitation, with the ultimate objective of once again having an inner living city where people can walk about day and night. The provisions of this Bill will facilitate that development.

The Bill raises major problems from the point of view of Dublin Corporation. The nub of the problem arises in Part V and the Third Schedule, Parts I and II which relate to the formulation of policy and programmes in functional areas along with the co-ordination of activities of the various local authorities and their managers. The second problem arises in relation to the transfer of the assets of one principal local authority to the functional area of another. That is a major concern to Dublin Corporation since the burden of such problems must fall on that local authority. Its original policy had related to the inner city. In the sixties its policy was to move outwards, to green field areas, and develop new housing estates and for example, the creation of the peripheral towns of Tallaght, Lucan and Blanchardstown. That was where people wanted to live. Of course, in the process Dublin Corporation acquired a considerable land bank for a reasonable amount of money. In fact most of the land accumulated by Dublin Corporation — in excess of 1,800 acres is in its possession — was acquired by way of two separate loans of £3 million. The acquistion of that land now would constitute an enormous burden.

We have witnessed the problems caused by rezoning in the Dublin County Council area and the enormous profits made by speculators and property developers. However, it has to be said that Dublin Corporation, had the foresight, using taxpayers' money and revenue collected from commercial and residential ratepayers, to acquire that pool of land for development. Some of that land has been built on. As my colleague, Deputy Kenny pointed out, there are 11,000 dwellings belonging to Dublin Corporation in the county area, which means that that authority allocates houses in that area to those on its waiting list.

That land bank is needed for Dublin Corporation's city tenants. Indeed, it is a stark fact that there are in excess of 5,000 people at present on Dublin Corporation's housing list compared with in the region of 2,300 in the entire Dublin County Council area. As a result most of those on the housing list are given relatively new accommodation in the county. That problem must be addressed but that has not been done in this Bill. I do not want to talk about the matter of rents, or the tenant purchase revenue that would properly accrue to Dublin Corporation, but I wish to refer to a former housing allocation area of Dublin Corporation. There is no provision in this Bill for a common housing list or how that problem is to be dealt with. The Bill should have catered for that, alleviating Dublin Corporation's concerns and its ultimate responsibility to provide accommodation for its tenants.

What will happen to the land acquired using ratepayers' money? The presumption is it will be transferred either through agreement among the various local authorities or, alternatively, the Minister intervening by appointing somebody to deal with the matter.

There is no provision for independent arbitration or an appeals mechanism. That concerns me because we cannot forget that this land was acquired using ratepayers' money. Indeed there is here a question of legal title. Can a Minister unilaterally decide to transfer to another local authority land acquired, not through any departmental resource or funding but rather through the independent funding of Dublin Corporation?

What is the need of Dublin County Council, which has approximately the same quantity of land in its ownership as Dublin Corporation, for that land? Why should we add to the former's land pool? The Bill should specify how that land belonging to Dublin Corporation is to be used, what will be its ultimate fate? For example, will we allow the three new local authorities to sell it off for private development?

That would not be satisfactory because the land was purchased by city of Dublin ratepayers' money. The Minister should address that matter. We should remember that the three area managers in their report did not recommend that procedure. Rather they recommended that it be dealt with in a more coherent fashion within the existing local authority functional areas. They did not recommend a transfer of those lands to any other local authority functional area.

I perceive two major problems. The first is in relation to the land bank. Either there should be no provision for its transfer or, if there is to be provision made for such transfer, we must ensure its future usage is stipulated. There must be a better mechanism than is prescribed in the Bill. Second, we must deal with the housing needs of the local authority that will suffer by the transfer of those 11,000 dwellings to which I referred. There should be some joint housing list drawn up for the entire city. Perhaps that can be done under the auspices of the proposed regional authority. These are loose ends not covered by the provisions of this Bill but which are exceedingly important for the citizens and tenants of this city.

I realise that this Bill constitutes the final stage of Government policy begun in 1985 or, perhaps, earlier. Its provisions create three new local authorities to replace Dublin County Council. Many people are sad that Dublin County Council, set up as an administrative authority in the 1890s, is about to be abolished. In some respects I am inclined to the view that local government around Dublin needs more power delegated by the Department rather than more local authorities.

While many provisions of the Bill are welcome others give rise to many queries, for example, whether they will lead to increased efficiency or even greater confusion than at present. Under the present system there had been very little co-operation between councillors representing the city and county of Dublin although there was co-operation and co-ordination at management level. Sometimes it was hard to see it but theoretically it was there under the city and county manager. Obviously there has to be co-ordination. The various services such as housing, roads, sewerage and water have to be provided at individual council level but others will have to be provided on a regional basis where they will be looked after by one authority and contracted to others.

At the beginning of the century Dublin people lived in very overcrowded conditions. We have now moved from that trend and the population of the city and county has grown considerably during the past century. People sought improved living standards and moved to the developing suburbs. For many years that resulted in the city boundary being extended so that houses were always built in the city. Eventually people worried that, if the trend continued, the county would shrink. The county council fought back and asked that these boundary changes be scrapped.

The last major change in the early 1950s led to a considerable number of extra houses being built in the city area. Since then, Dublin Corporation, which has always been under pressure to house its citizens, has had to buy land and build houses in the county. We also had boundary changes in 1985 and, overall, the city lost ground. They gained some places such as Ballymun in my own constituency but they lost Baldoyle, Sutton and so on and overall there was no great change.

Following the last major change in the 1950's Dublin Corporation bought land in the county and built on it. It gave some to private builders so that there would be a good social mix. In all Dublin Corporation built 11,000 houses in the county area for which it obtained approval from the county council and the Department of the Environment. At present 7,500 of those 11,000 houses are tenancy dwellings with the rent paid weekly. The remainder are being bought out by the tenants. The 7,500 houses comprise about 40 per cent of the total corporation housing stock, excluding flats. The bulk of the vacancies arise in the county.

Most of the corporation housing tenants in the city area have been there a long time. They rarely move from the area with the result that very few vacancies arise. When they do there is enormous demand for them. If these 11,000 houses had not been built by Dublin Corporation, the equivalent of five or six Ballymuns would have been the only option open to it.

As city councillors the part of the Bill about which we are concerned is section 35 and the Third Schedule. I should like to comment on the two main aspects: land and housing. Housing falls into the 7,500 rented dwellings category and the balance are tenant purchase houses. Most of the 3,500 tenant purchase houses may have been fully bought out at this stage, I do not have the figures. Deputy Seán Kenny gave the housing waiting list figures earlier. Dublin Corporation has just over 5,000 on its housing waiting list and in excess of 7,000 on its transfer list whereas the county has only 2,400 on its housing list. If all these houses are transferred to the authority in which they exist how will the city provide housing for its citizens in future?

Opening the Second Stage debate the Minister spoke about being fair in whatever arrangement was arrived at. If you have to hand over everything there is nothing fair about that. For a start Dublin Corporation will be at the loss of the rent from the 7,500 dwellings. The point has often been made that there is no net revenue from local authority dwellings and that we spend more on maintenance than we collect in rent. That is true but it is caused by many factors. As we discovered in 1988, if you sell half the houses maintenance costs are not halved because roads, parks, water, sewerage and so on are all charged against the maintenance budget in Dublin Corporation. Even when half the houses are sold many of those bills remain. When we say we spend more on maintenance than we collect that is not true. By and large the houses in the county are relatively new, built about 20 years ago. They are in better condition than many of the older houses in the city and there is a net revenue from them.

Dublin Corporation built in the county because land was not available to cater for housing needs. I accept that small infill sites are being developed but this depends on the funding available from the Department. One can certainly build in the inner city but not on the scale of ten years ago when we built 1,500 houses per year. Now that the Department is giving more money to the corporation it is looking at sites. Most of the plans submitted to us are in respect of small schemes, they involve professional work and absorb much of the time of the corporation officials.

We do not want to go back to the situation which prevailed at the turn of the century, people cannot be asked to live in overcrowded housing accommodation and we cannot adopt the European style of building high rise dwellings. People in Ireland do not like to live in dwellings which are 15 or 25 storeys high.

Regardless of what happens, the houses in the county will have to be available solely to the corporation or through some type of joint list for a number of years to allow time for a replacement scheme. We cannot allow this to turn into something like the sale of the century. If houses are transferred to the county some money must be handed over to allow the corporation to acquire sites and build replacements within the city area. The Bill refers to a scheme being set up. The managers will have a meeting to make arrangements and next year or the year after they will be told whether there will be a cash handover. That seems very strange as ideally, all that should have happened before the legislation goes through. As somebody said, the dowery should be known before the marriage takes place.

The second category is where tenants are buying their houses from Dublin Corporation under the tenant purchase scheme. At present 3,500 tenants buy their houses from Dublin Corporation which in turn funds its capital works and refurbishment programme from that money. There is no logical reason to change the present arrangement as it would involve unnecessary bureaucracy. It would be wrong to take the money from Dublin Corporation and there is no logic in interfering with the present arrangements under the tenant purchase scheme.

There are no Dublin County councillors in the Chamber this morning, but having listened to them I accept they have a genuine gripe about housing. They represent constituents who are Dublin Corporation tenants in the county areas. They believe the channels of communication between county councillors and the corporation are not good. There is probably some validity in that assertion. Dublin County Council has houses in Ballymun and Santry and I have experienced the reverse situation although on a much smaller scale.

The land banks are a different matter. There is no sense in forcing Dublin Corporation to hand over its lands in the county areas. The corporation has over 1,800 acres of land in the county, I understand the county council has a similar amount and that a couple of hundred acres is in joint ownership. There have been times in the past when Dublin County Council and Dublin Corporation agreed that land should be taken into public ownership and, as neither was able to buy it on its own, it was felt that the best thing to do was to take the land into joint public ownership. They always cooperated in matters of that kind. The corporation land bank is valued at £40 million and it is obvious that, as the county owns 1,800 acres, it has more than it needs for its short term use. Why is it suggested that corporation lands should be handed over? I know county councillors are much more experienced than city councillors at making land deals and they have pulled many a stroke when rezoning land for developers. Is it proposed that the corporation's land be handed over so that the county councillors can continue with the fun and games of land deals? The Department has criticised the decisions on rezoning yet it appears to take the side of the county council by handing lands over to it — that is the way city councillors see it. We must also ask if the county council will be free to dispose of these assets which the corporation originally acquired from its own funds. If this land is handed over to the county council, ratepayers in the county council area will benefit. It appears that if the land is handed over instead of being acquired by statutory order, the county council will be free to dispose of it.

I hope the proposed regional authorities will be given real powers, otherwise they will be just talking shops. Under the present arrangement there is a lack of co-ordination and with four authorities it could be far worse unless the regional authorities have real power.

Recently the city councillors went on a bus tour of the city-county boundary areas. Many councillors do not seem to know where the boundaries, are but others seem to be acquainted with them. The itinerant sites, some official but mostly unofficial, are sited on the boundaries, which creates problems. There is a similar problem with Dunsink tiphead which is located a couple of hundred yards inside the county boundary. The county council is not very worried about this because it does not have houses nearby but the corporation houses are very near it. I wish there was provision in this Bill which would allow any local authority to demand a say in the running of any facility within half a mile of its boundary.

A recent trend is that people want to live in the city. However, if we stop furtheir development in the county area all the development will take place in the city. I accept some sites have to be developed but church land and lands belonging to institutions, green areas around Glasnevin and Drumcondra — I could rattle off six or seven institutions — have all been sold recently for development. It is now getting to the stage that there will not be a blade of grass in the city, that is going from one extreme to another. Certainly we have to develop derelict sites but we should not build on green field sites. I know that Dublin people still want to live in the suburbs and we should foster that trend.

City councillors are worried about the fact that under the Bill there is neither a system of arbitration nor appeals system against decisions. Having built up a land bank and a portfolio of houses over the years councillors feel very strongly that they should not be taken from the corporation and if there is some arrangement in future years for the transfer of this property there should be a system of arbitration and appeal so that justice will be seen to be done. Otherwise the city ratepayers may take the matter to court.

I have a particular interest in this Bill as I served for 13½ years on Dublin County Council and immediately prior to my present appointment I was its chairman. While I was delighted to be appointed it was one of the sadnesses that I had to instantly leave an authority in which I had been so deeply involved. I was also involved in the process of devolution, which has come a long way in Dublin County Council. The area committees have worked reasonably well and this is the final stage in a process that began in 1985.

If local government is to mean anything it must mean that local people and those they elect make the decision on services and bring their local knowledge to bear on the decisions that affect the local community. It means delivering services to people. Up to now Dublin County Council has not met within its own functional area and in many cases people from Balbriggan are making decisions on land in Shankill and vice versa. The break-up of the second largest public body into manageable units which can work is timely. With 78 members it is larger than the Seanad.

Dividing the council into three local councils is only one part of the process of devolution. We need to provide information and access to council services in local areas and there are moves in that direction in County Dublin. In local shopping centres people should be able to gain access in a one-stop-shop to all the services of the local council without having to go to an office remote from where they live. Local government officials should work in the heart of the community which they serve and bring local knowledge to bear in their work.

I welcome the moves by the Government towards the devolution of power and responsibility to local authorities. The single biggest complaint by local councillors is their lack of power, for instance in relation to road traffic functions. Decisions about where to locate double yellow lines or pedestrian crossings were always referred to Garda headquarters. I am glad that road traffic legislation transfers that function from the Garda Síochána to the local authority.

One of the difficulties with a 78 member public body is that if everybody wants to speak for three minutes, which is the standard speaking slot to discuss one issue, it takes three and a half hours. Members were being disenfranchised in not being able to speak and the sheer volume of business meant that people who were not full-time politicians were being disenfranchised. Local government is meant to be the amateur tier of local government involving ordinary citizens in running their communities. Such people were being disenfranchised because their employers would not allow them two or three days a week of to provide virtually full-time local government service. That has affected the quality of decision-making and the nature of participation in Dublin County Council. The inability to be present two or three days a week has probably deamaged rezoning policy. Some of the decisions made by Dublin County Council on rezoning do not represent the wishes of the communities of the full council as some councillors are unable to attend council meetings for two or three days a week. Votes can be called at any time and are not scheduled as they tend to be in this House. The decision represents the vote of the people who were present at the meeting rather than the council as a whole.

I am profoundly concerned at the orgy of land rezoning which has taken place in County Dublin over the past number of months. Most of it had more to do with rewarding land owners or development companies who speculated in land than with the ordinary planning and development of the capital city.

In the city, which still has substantial dereliction and under-used land and buildings in the centre, and thousands of acres of scheduled development land not yet built on, including land for which there is valid planning permission, the effect of this rezoning orgy is to divert limited development from rebuilding the city centre and planned development of the suburbs to vital green belt areas. There is limited development taking place in Dublin which is no longer the fast growing urban centre it was in the sixties and seventies. Between 1986 and 1991, the population of the greater Dublin area grew by only 0.4 per cent. Zoning new areas for development in a haphazard way can only be at the expense of the city centre and areas already earmarked for redevelopment. If the signal to developers is that if they put enough pressure on the right political parties they can buy a green field site for £6,000 an acre and on rezoning subsequently have it revalued at £60,000 an acre, is it any surprise that we do not have builders developing the derelict sits in Dublin city centre?

A prime residential site in Dublin city which should be developed before we encroach on the green belt around the city is that at Charlemont Street Bridge, a site of about eight acres which has been derelict for the past 15 years. Why would developers buy a site like that and rebuild the city centre when they can buy land cheap and get their political friends to rezone it so that they can make a killing?

The rezoning orgy represented a sustained attack on the green belt between the city and the mountains from Firhouse to Shankill. At Ballycullen Farm 360 acres have been rezoned and a whole new area at Scholarstown has been rezoned. The Knocklyon community simply cannot take the amount of traffic already there. People feel trapped in their homes and cannot get out in the mornings to get to work. The county council is proposing a huge development on very sloping ground at the foothills of the mountains.

In the last round there was rezoning at Ballinteer just below the Blackglen Road on the far side of the Southern Cross motorway line which is meant to be the development boundary for the city. The village of Stepaside will now be engulfed by greater Dublin. There has been rezoning of land on the Burrow Road for three development sites and rezoning of land to the south side of Stepaside village. The Southern Cross motorway line is again being breached here and this will set a precedent. Ultimately will we see the city stretching all the way to the Wicklow border at the Scalp? The Carrickmines valley, a beautiful scenic amenity right up to the doorstep of Tully church, an historic monument with an ancient cross, has been rezoned although this area is a vital green belt for the citizens of Dublin.

My local village of Dundrum risks losing its economic and commercial viability through the decision to rezone the Pye lands at Crazy Prices for commercial development, including a major shopping complex. This is likely to move the commercial heart of this area from the historic village centre with its attractive Victorian shops to a faceless modern shopping centre at the motorway junction at Crazy Prices. That will destroy the heart of my community despite the efforts of local business people to renovate the village with "the greening of Dundrum" project. I feel very strongly about that.

I fear that the division of County Dublin into three administrative counties will simply multiply the rezoning frenzy by three, unless the new regional authority takes on the responsibility for developing a framework plan for the county as a whole. The regional authority should look at the development needs bearing in mind population projections for the greater Dublin area and assign any development land between the four new administrative entities, Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and Dublin Corporation in the city centre. I hope we can start by rebuilding the city centre and eliminating the derelict sites that mark down town Dublin, what should be the heart of our city. The Minister of State, Deputy Stagg, and I have been at pains to put measures on urban renewal into the National Development Plan and we do not want to see it thwarted by the rezoning frenzy in County Dublin.

When the framework plan is agreed individual councils will decide on development using local knowledge. If the establishment of three local authorities multiplies rezoning by three it will result in great damage to the city. I urge the Minister, in considering the powers of regional authorities, to ensure that they have responsibility for co-ordinating services and co-ordinating a framework strategy for overall development planning.

Deputy Ahern referred to Dublin Corporation housing in the county area and to that body's land bank in the county area. In my 13 years on Dublin County Council I discovered that one of the biggest causes of heartache for the council was the position of Dublin Corporation tenants living in the Dublin County Council area who elected people to that Council. Their main problems were associated with the maintenance and management, of their estates by their landlord, Dublin Corporation, who was not answerable to them. It was answerable to Dublin Corporation councillors but not to the councillors the people of Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Clondalkin elected. Effectively, Dublin Corporation has been acting like an absentee landlord in such areas. I welcome the proposal to move the ownership, management, control and maintenance of such housing stock to the local authority in which such houses are situated so that in voting for local representatives the people can vote for a person who can follow up their queries at council level. It would be nonsensical to move the existing housing stock and leave the land bank in place so that Dublin Corporation could create similar problems to those that existed in the past. The 1991 Act provides for financial transfers between local authorities and that provision should cover some of the concerns expressed by Deputy Ahern.

Dublin Corporation pioneered the development of inner city housing and urban renewal in Dublin. Their schemes at the Coombe, in Ringsend and City Quary are models but the private sector was slow to follow suit. It would be regrettable if such commitment to the city centre is abandoned as many sites in Dublin city centre could be developed. I would like Dublin Corporation's building plans to concentrate on its own area.

The residential qualification was repealed in the 1988 Act. It is now open to anybody living in the Dublin Corporation functional area to apply for housing in the Dublin County Council area. The Dublin regional authorities should coordinate the points and applications system, and the letting priority schemes of the four new local authorities which will come into operation on 1 January so that we can operate a common housing list and housing stock from public money. That would give people living in the corporation area an opportunity to apply for current corporation-owned housing stock in the Dublin County Council area and alleviate many of the problems associated with housing. In ten year's time the people applying for housing will be today's teenagers growing up in Tallaght and Blanchardstown. They will be seeking housing in the areas in which they grew up. We are dealing with a transitory phenomenon where the main housing vacancies are in the county area and the main housing list is in the city area. In future years the major housing list will be in the county area because that is where the young population of today live.

I represent Dublin South, a constituency that will be divided between two councils, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. The boundaries separating those two regions were selected in 1985, that choice had more to do with Fine Gael's electoral prospects in the 1985 local elections than with selecting rational boundaries. In dealing with a matter as serious as local government division we must select boundaries that people recognise. In my constituency people are not aware that when they cross a small stream at the triumphal arch on the Dodder Park Road they move from the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area to the South Dublin area. That type of boundary makes no sense. At a minimum I urge that the boundary between those two areas should be Grange Road which people would recognise as a real boundary. It currently runs behind the Loreto estate on the Nutgrove to Clarkestown Road. That boundary does not bear any relationship to other boundaries in the area. The most sensible boundary on the east-west line between Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin is the Dodder River which is recognised as a natural boundary between communities. That would make more sense in the long term. I appreciate the difficulty of redrawing boundaries when dealing with existing elected local authority members. For example, those elected to the Tallaght-Old Bawn area represent the Whitechurch and Firhouse area on one side of the river and areas in west Tallaght, such as Old Bawn and Killinarden, on the other side. They are not natural communities. I appreciate the difficulties associated with changing local government boundaries between elections, but for something as serious as permanent councils I urge that the boundary between the South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown areas be re-examined so that we can establish councils to whom people may owe an allegiance and have boundaries to which people can relate.

Difficulties in relation to the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area arise also because of the amalgamation of the old Borough of Dún Laoghaire area with areas of County Dublin. That should be a new area in its own right. It is unfortunate that the Dún Laoghaire name will continue to be used, in a sense it is similar to the Borough of Dún Laoghaire taking over the Rathdown area, places such as Shankill and Churchtown. People in parts of Churchtown which have been in the Dublin County Council area for years are being moved to the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area without even moving house. People should be allowed to develop an affinity with their areas.

It is regrettable that some of the legacies of the separateness of the Dún Leoghaire area persist in this legislation, even in a minor sense. For a new local authority to be successful one area should not have a head start on others. If places such as Dundrum, Churchtown, Clonskeagh and Shankill are to feel part of the new unit, rather than taken over by the Dún Laoghaire area, they should be placed on a similar footing. Those are my personal comments, but they reflect the feeling of the community.

People might wonder why I should speak on the Local Government (Dublin) Bill, 1993, but I am interested in any local government reform. I can relate to many of the problems in Dublin. For example, in Waterford city many local authority houses are situated in the Kilkenny County Council area and this legislation deals with a similar problem. I have been interested in local authority reform since I was elected to Waterford City Council in 1985 but, unfortunately, I had to vacate that position on becoming Minister of State.

I am concerned about the lack of power given to elected members of local authorities. In 1989, when I was elected to the Dáil for the first time, my parliamentary party set up a sub-committee to examine the question of local government reform and make recommendations. As part of this study the sub-committee travelled to the United Kingdom to visit city, county, district and even parish councils. It struck me that the leader of a council there, the equivalent of a mayor or chairman of a county council there, had more power than anyone else. The equivalent of a city or county manager was a chief executive and the contrast was striking. This person had to consult at all times with the leader of the council. I would like to see us move in that direction because local representatives do not have sufficient powers. Whether we like them or loathe them they must go before the electorate every five or six years and they stand or fall on their record. It is not right that city and county managers, secretaries and engineers should have all the power.

It was once put to me that the amount of time local representatives spend at meetings or at council offices is the equivalent of one week of the year whereas these officials are always present. With this in mind how can we compete? It is practically impossible for a local representative to acquire the same knowledge given that officials tend to give minimum information. Perhaps the answer is to make greater resources available.

We have also fallen into the trap in recent years of abolishing various bodies of which local representatives are members. We are moving more and more in the direction of not allowing local representatives to be members of the local bodies that remain. This is a mistake and points to a lack of democracy. The many interest groups who wish to be represented on these bodies are not answerable to anybody while public representatives are.

In this debate the problems associated with rezoning in Dublin have been highlighted. I share the concerns expressed. While this leaves much to be desired at the end of the day the people who make the decisions will have to face the electorate and if they do not do what the electorate wants them to do they will be voted out of office. They must bear this in mind. It is wrong that others can dictate what the policy should be given that they are not answerable to anybody. While I do not agree with much of what has happened in Dublin, where various tracts of land have been rezoned, probably, for the wrong reasons, the people who are making the decisions will have to answer to the people.

Some speakers suggested there was a need to change traffic by-laws in Dublin. Similar problems are being experienced in Waterford city. In Dublin if the roads committee decides to restrict traffic and parking, through the use of yellow lines, at a particular location it will have to seek the approval of the local Garda chief superintendent who has to consult with the Garda Commissioner, no less. Why do we elect people to do a job if we will not allow them to do it? Local councillors, who are elected by the people, should make the decisions and they should stand or fall on their record.

I would now like to deal with the question of boundaries. Given that three new county councils are being established in Dublin boundaries will have to be changed. In Waterford we have been seeking an extension of the city boundaries. There is a large number of local authority houses on the opposite side of the boundary in south Kilkenny. For historic reasons, development has only taken place on one side of the river. In this regard I should mention there is a need for a second river crossing. More important, the city boundaries need to be extended. While I am aware the establishment of regional authorities should lead to better planning it has been shown that there is a need for this extension. About 15 years ago the boundary on the opposite side was extended to include land for which Waterford County Council was responsible and there is a need for a further extension on this side also.

Under this Bill there will be a mechanism to decide the new boundaries in Dublin. I presume, however, that any Minister for the Environment would be slow to make changes elsewhere given that one group will say one thing while another group will say the exact opposite. Therefore, we need a new mechanism to allow orderly development proceed.

On the question of regional councils, on Second Stage the Minister said that the purpose of these authorities was to promote the co-ordination of public, including local authority, services. He said the order establishing them will provide for a significant role in relation to the review and co-ordination of development plans. It would be eminently sensible to make arrangements to allow adjoining local authorities to communicate with each other. In this regard Waterford Corporation and Kilkenny County Council have a good working relationship and cooperate with each other when it comes to the provision of water, sewage disposal and other services. I am sure the same is true in Dublin but it would make sense to put a mechanism in place to allow regional authorities communicate with each other. It would be in everybody's interests to ensure that the services are properly developed in the future.

On the question of local authority housing, members of local authorities should be given more responsibility. I often wonder why it costs so much to build a local authority house. It would probably be cheaper for a local authority, if it wished to provide a scheme of 20 houses, to go to McInerney's to buy a block of houses. That needs to be examined.

The local representatives should be given more responsibility and power and they will stand or fall on what they do with that. Broadly speaking, this Bill is welcome as is all local authority reform, but it does not go far enough. However, at least it is a start and I hope we will continue to make progress.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to say a few words on local government issues. This new initiative of the Government to change local authority administration is a good idea. There is a need to ensure that local authority administration meets the needs of the increasing population of Dublin city and the neighbouring lands and the growth in business, trade, etc. Therefore, the reorganisation of Dublin County Council into three separate administrative centres of Fingal, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin must be welcomed as a progressive step. I am sure, however, that many would argue strongly against the new system, that is a natural response to any new idea. Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council have done excellent work in the past, but we must move with the times.

At one time local authorities depended to a great extent on national revenue. However, in the last few years, because of expenditure problems at national level, they get less money from national Government by way of rate support grants, etc. This puts pressure on local authorities to find the money locally. People are finding it difficult to finance both local and national expenditure, they feel they are being trebly charged, they pay income tax, VAT and rates, yet they have to finance projects at local level as well. The Government must look seriously at the question of local authority expenditure.

In my home town of Navan there is traffic chaos because of increasing trade and commerce in the area. Meath County Council is seeking approval from national government for a new spur road and bridge there. The amount of time lost by business and working people trying to get in and out of the town is unbelievable. I hope the Minister will look seriously at this application and that immediate structural funding is allotted.

The new body in Fingal should acknowledge the advantages of the roads in County Meath which are financed by Meath people. I am not speaking about national primary routes, etc, I am speaking about county roads which are in a scandalous condition because of heavy traffic through our county to Dublin.

Maybe the Deputy should put a toll on all of them.

Maybe we should, I do not know if anybody would object to that, but if people can see the advantages of using toll roads to do their business and are prepared to pay, I see nothing wrong with the idea.

There is a movement of population from the Dublin area to County Meath and that puts tremendous pressure on finance in County Meath. Sewerage schemes cannot cope with the increasing population in towns like Navan, Kells, Trim, Ashbourne and Dunboyne and Meath County Council needs money to cater for that. One might say that certain sections of County Meath should be incorporated in this Bill and linked up with the new Fingal administration by way of a joint venture.

The Government is shifting the cost of implementing European Community regulations to local level. The cost of lighting, pollution control, improving water quality etc., must be paid for by the local authority; we are moving money urgently needed in one area to other areas; and we must do so under EC regulations.

There is a two-thirds grant for disabled persons for essential repairs to property, some of these people are old age pensioners or single people with small incomes. They cannot raise the other one-third and, therefore, cannot avail of those grants.

Local authorities are finding it more difficult to raise finance from local business to provide necessary services in their areas. This is understandable when one considers that those businesses are expected to pay tax in respect of employment and business. The Minister should note the points I made. I support the Government's proposals in regard to local authorities. It would be a worthwhile exercise if local authorities in the next 12 months were to consider how administration might be improved at local level. If local authorities continue in the manner in which they have been operating for the past 20 years, many will not survive. They must change their administrative practices. I hope the people will benefit from the proposed new administrations.

My contribution will be brief. I know the Minister of State has a keen interest in housing people on local authority housing lists and in recent times has shown a particular interest in the efforts of Dublin Corporation in that regard. Although the Government has reversed the trend of recent Governments by providing finance for the building of a substantial number of local authority dwellings, the Bill may have a retrograde effect in Dublin city. That is a matter of extreme concern to me, other members of the city council and the officials who deal with the people on the local authority housing waiting list. I am referring to the provision under which land and houses in the county council area will be transferred from Dublin Corporation to Dublin County Council.

At present, there are 5,152 families on the Dublin Corporation housing waiting list and a further 7,100 families on its transfer list. The transfer list is often not considered but it is significant because many of those families live in grossly overcrowded conditions in flat complexes. In many instances the conditions are Dickensian. Very slow progress has been made in the refurbishing of the flats due to a lack of finance and many dwellers wish to move to houses. The Minister is aware of this problem and members of the city council and I discussed this matter with him on many occasions. Each year 60 to 70 per cent of house vacancies for those on the Dublin Corporation housing and transfer lists arise in the county area. That is a significant figure in respect of Dublin Corporation's attempts to house people.

I understand there are 2,391 families on the Dublin County Council housing list. In excess of 30 per cent of the corporation's rented houses are currently in the county area and, significantly, only 317 people on the corporation's housing list reside in the county area. The majority of people who are homeless or in need of adequate accommodation in Dublin live in the city area, Dublin Corporation area. The potential to rehouse those people lies largely in houses for which Dublin Corporation sought loans to build in the county area.

Dublin Corporation has approximately 1,850 acres of undeveloped land, some of it serviced, in the county area. The bulk of that land is zoned for housing purposes. It is significant that the money to acquire that land was borrowed and repaid and that land represents the city's assets. The county council has a land bank available to it. The implication is that if that land is passed to it, it will sell it because it does not appear to have any pressing need for a land bank when it has already a similar resource.

The Minister of State, Deputy Fitzgerald, suggested that housing lists are transitory and in future the bulk of the housing waiting list will be made up of young families in the county area. That may be true, but how far into the future did the Minister envisage that would be the position? Based on Dublin Corporation's up-to-date figures which I quoted, that will not be in the near future, but in the far distant future. I hope the Minister will be able to indicate precisely how Dublin Corporation's housing and transfer lists will be catered for if the Bill is passed.

I disagreed with the policies of the last two Fianna Fáil dominated Governments, the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats Coalition Government and the earlier Fianna Fáil Government, who used some of the councillors and TDs who were of the same opinion as me, to force Dublin Corporation to sell its land bank in the inner city.

Even though policy has changed and we are told we should be building in the city, the last Fianna Fáil dominated Government forced the corporation to sell the bulk of its land, certainly its best sites in the inner city, for private developments. If this Bill is implemented, a combination of the two policies will leave Dublin Corporation without a significant land bank in the city or county area. I do not know how Dublin Corporation or Dublin City Council will meet its responsibilities as a housing authority to the families and people on the waiting lists.

This matter will have to be addressed before the Bill is implemented. If not, I hope the members of the Labour and Fianna Fáil groups on Dublin City Council, who are also Members of this House, will oppose the full implementation of the Bill. They have been talking a lot at Dublin City Council meetings about the implications of the Bill and how strongly they are opposed to it. Indeed a Labour councillor called a special meeting of the city council in the last couple of weeks, instructing the city manager and his officials to be present, to protest and express alarm at the implications for Dublin city and the people on the housing lists of the introduction of this Bill. I hope that is not a PR exercise for the Labour and Fianna Fáil councillors on the city council.

The Deputy would be fairly good at that.

If there was a competition in this House for people who spend a great deal of their time and effort trying to improve their image, there would be a tie between the Minister of State, Deputy Emmet Stagg, and possibly Deputy Gay Mitchell on the Opposition side.

If there was a competition for nastiness Deputy Gregory would win hands down.

To take one example, I attended a meeting of my constituents in a place called Temple Buildings — I did not intend to mention this, but the Minister of State is drawing me out——

The Deputy already mentioned The Irish Times this morning.

The Deputy should not encourage interruptions.

The Minister turned up at Temple Buildings with a string of photographers and correspondents and told the people what he would do to help them, but he has not been seen since. I was not quite prepared for this contribution——

Acting Chairman

Deputy Gregory should confine his remarks to the topic under discussion.

I came here this morning from the courts where the first of those tenants was served with an eviction order, that person will be evicted in the next couple of months. I hope that Deputy Stagg will go back to his file to see what he said he would do on behalf of these people and take the action he promised. So far there has been more talk and PR activities than action. I did not wish to introduce a note of antagonism into my contribution——

The Deputy could not avoid doing so if he tried.

It is very difficult to avoid it when one is continually interrupted by the Minister of State. It is his interruptions to which I am responding but——

The Deputy is naturally a nasty person.

——I hope that will not take from the thrust of my contribution which is that if this Bill is put into effect there will be a major crisis facing the people on housing and transfer lists in Dublin city. The future potential of Dublin Corporation to build houses will be taken from it, leaving it without the resources to provide for those people. I hope that the Minister and Minister of State will consider this problem and respond to it before the Bill is implemented.

When listening to the previous speaker talk about PR it reminded me of the early 1980s and the famous Gregory plan — in reality a Martin O'Donoghue plan — for which Deputy Gregory received great credit.

Acting Chairman

Does the Deputy wish to share his time?

Yes, I wish to share my time with Deputies Briscoe and Power.

This is a turnaround from an hour ago. The Deputy should not tempt me to put on record what is going on.

Is the Deputy aware that she is using my time? She will have time to speak.

I have spoken at length on the Bill.

I will write to The Irish Times to tell them that I spotted a Fine Gael backbencher in the House.

Lets there be any doubt, I spoke at length on the Bill and such was my contribution that none of my colleagues felt the need to reply.

It failed——

Acting Chairman

Deputy Leonard, when the Chair is standing you should not speak. I ask Deputy Doyle and the Minister to refrain from interrupting.

Land rezoning in Dublin seems to be as newsworthy as the weather. An in-depth study should be carried out not alone in Dublin city but in towns and villages, of derelict sites and buildings with a view to getting them back into use rather than moving to new sites. The time has come for a complete re-examination of our housing needs. The health board in my area is co-operating with the local authority in providing the best type of housing for the needs of the old and homeless. For years the trend in regard to house building has been to erect in each housing estate a number of old people's dwellings consisting of one or two rooms. The trend has changed in my region to provide a group of houses for old people where they can be serviced by the district health nurse and social workers, it is a trend that should continue in the future.

Even though there is an inflation rate of less than 2 per cent the cost of services, water, sewerage, fire fighting or waste disposal is increasing. The cost of implementing EC directives, particularly those relating to public water supplies and waste disposal, is prohibitive. The revenue accruing from such services does not meet the costs of providing an adequate service. Most local authorities are now moving towards the provision of underground water supplies rather than surface water supplies as there is less pollution from farms, industries, etc. There are huge costs involved in the provision of adequate water supply and treatment facilities to ensure a proper quality of water.

Reference was made to speed limits. I agree that local authority members and managers would be the most competent people to deal with this issue. The procedure for increasing or decreasing speed limits is very drawn out. The proposed limit has to be approved by the Garda authorities and a regulation has to be brought before the House for approval before the speed limit can be implemented. This procedure could be short circuited if local authorities were given the power to implement speed limits.

Reference was also made to the extension of boundaries. In many towns half of the local authority houses are located outside the urban boundary. For reasons best known to themselves, the local authority have failed to extend the boundaries. Local authorities should have one housing waiting list rather than having separate lists, which can give rise to much duplication and the need for investigation by housing officers in some cases.

I did not intend to contribute to the debate but I felt I had to reply to Deputy Gregory, who lectured Members on this side of the House. Deputy Leonard referred to the so-called "Gregory Plan". In 1982, when Fianna Fáil was negotiating with Deputy Gregory, whose support it needed to form a Government, it took a plan outlining its proposals for Dublin city off a shelf, where it had lain for many years, and dusted it. The plan was mainly composed by a former Member of this House, Martin O'Donoghue, but it became known as the Gregory plan. Deputy Gregory has been given credit for this great plan, but he had no input whatsoever into it. He lectured people on this side of the House about PR, but I know he has certain friends who are very anxious to help and promote him.

The loss of land by Dublin Corporation to the new county councils will be a tremendous blow to Dublin. People like my father, who served on Dublin Corporation from 1930 to 1967, supported the purchase of a land bank during the sixties to promote housing for the people of Dublin city. People sometimes forget that in 1932 approximately 100,000 people were living six to 14 to a room in Dublin city, which had the worst slums of any city in Europe. The only city it could be compared with in terms of misery was Calcutta, where people died on the streets. Great progress has been made in improving the housing conditions in Dublin city.

When Dublin Corporation purchased land in the county it was with the intention of housing people in the Dublin city area. As has already been said, there are approximately 5,500 on the corporation's housing waiting list. What will I say to people who come to me asking to be housed? I will have to tell them to go to a county councillor, because the corporation no longer has a housing department as such. I cannot make representations to the corporation on their behalf and the land has been handed over to the new councils. These people will be disenfranchised by this Bill. The Minister should look again at what he is proposing in the Bill.

I do not understand why there cannot be greater co-operation between the corporation and the new councils. Some people will regard the new regional councils as their local power centres. This will be done at the expense of the people of Dublin city. The Minister needs to look again at the Bill. The former members of Dublin Corporation, including a member of the Cabinet, in this House could advise the Minister on his proposals in regard to Dublin Corporation. He is proposing to take away its housing function.

According to the 1991 census, the population of Dublin county is approximately 550,000. The major changes in population over the past number of years have necessitated the introduction of this Bill, which provides for the establishment of three new county councils — Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. As a Deputy from a neighbouring county, I would be very anxious to see co-operation between the new councils and the councils in the neighbouring counties. Local authorities have a lot in common, but the co-operation necessary to make our local government system more meaningful and democratic has not existed for the past number of years.

Over the past few years a lot of progress has been made in providing new motorways. To a large extent these motorways can cause great inconvenience to the people living in the counties in which they are built; motorists from other counties tend to benefit more from them. In this connection I would refer to the Newbridge bypass, a fine motorway, which is mainly used by people travelling through County Kildare but who do not stop there. We have erected appropriate lighting along that road which is very helpful to those leaving Dublin and driving through Kildare. Unfortunately, Kildare County Council must foot the bill for the lighting, not the Department of the Environment and for the coming year that lighting will cost £50,000.

Debate adjourned.