I move amendment No. 1:
In page 9, to delete lines 49 and 50 and in page 10, to delete lines 1 to 4.
As pointed out on Committee Stage and during the currency of a proposed amendment by the Opposition, in particular Deputy Sheehan, I undertook, if allowed, to revisit his proposal on Report Stage. I said I would have a serious look at it in the context of what was proposed. I indicated that section 15, as proposed on Committee Stage, was flawed by reason of the fact that the use of foreign ships and the conjunction of an "and" and one or two other areas clearly indicated that the proposed amendment, from the point of view of the draftsman and the locus standi of the amendment, would not fit into the context of the Bill. In those circumstances I was prepared to examine the figure of £250,000 in the amendment.
It is my intention to meet the proposal releating to capacity plans and under-sized nets with a fine not exceeding £200,000, together with a fine not exceeding £50,000 for the latter, which would give us what might be described as the "Sheehan amendment". At no stage did I have a problem with it. All I wanted to do at the time was to examine it in a legal context on its own. I have no difficulty whatever about accepting the proposal.
I am not suggesting that either Deputy Sheehan or Deputy Bradford did it, but othere who were not privy to the debate on Committee Stage went immediately to the front line and misrepresented me on the proposed amendment. The House will recall that on Committee Stage I indicated that I would review the level of fines for secret holds and undersized nets with the intention of accommodating the expressed will of the House. The House took the view that the prposal by Deputy Sheehan was what they wanted. I have been a Member of this House for a long time and I have always taken note of what Deputies from whatever side intend. For that reason I do not intend to upset the intention of the proposed amendment.