Finance Bill, 1995: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

I wish to share my time with Deputy Dempsey.

I am sure that is satisfactory and agreed.

I awaited, with interest, this year's budget and Finance Bill as they were the first to be introduced by the Rainbow Coalition and the majority Fine Gael Party, which during its term in Opposition produced many promising policy documents. During the past six years when the budget and Finance Bill were introduced the panacea for taxpayers was trotted outad nauseam by the Opposition, mainly by Fine Gael and the Democratic Left, but they flattered only to deceive.

While welcoming the continuing process of reducing the tax burden on unemployment, low incomes and the cost of employment, which was begun seriously by Fianna Fáil on its return to power in 1987 despite the horrendous financial morass in which the country was handed over to us the steps taken are not consisent with the oft-proclaimed promises of the various parties in Government, especially the Fine Gael Party which declared in its documentFine Gael's Priorities for Government 1992-97 that it wanted to create jobs by implementing a number of measures. It stated that employers' liability should be reduced by half in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector, but did not refer to the indigenous service sector where there is real growth and employment. It stated also that a real incentive should be given to companies to provide jobs for the young and Fine Gael said that thousands of jobs could be created if employers did not have to collect income tax from them. That was to be achieved by giving young people up to the age of 23 an extra annual tax free allowance of £5,000 and it was to apply to their first two years in employment even if they were self-employed, after completing full-time education. According to Fine Gael's policy statement, it would apply to those commencing work on or after 5 November 1992 but, three years later, it has done nothing. Fine Gael said that it would introduce a tax break on labour intensive home delivered service such as childcare, nursing care and home repairs. Fine Gael said it would allow approved new businesses to defer profits tax for the first two years of operation without incurring interest charges. It said it would introduce a working dividend payable through the PAYE system that would guarantee take-home pay at least £25 over and above the social welfare entitlements to anyone working more than 20 hours per week. I have scoured the Finance Bill to find evidence of fulfilment of any of those promises, but have failed in my search. I was not surprised because Fine Gael has continued the U-turns which it commenced on its first day in Government as evidenced by its position on programme managers and the appointment of additional Ministers of State.

Sections 1 to 4 which deal with the PAYE and PRSI allowances give the lie to the fine words of Fine Gael and Democratic Left spokespersons when in Opposition during the past number of years with the minimal increase in tax exemption limits and tax free allowances given this year. There is a reduction in the PRSI allowance which offsets some of the increases in tax free allowances.

Ireland has an enviable tradition regarding the contribution it has made to developing countries through the centuries by priests, sisters, brothers and lay people who have gone abroad and given their services unselfishly to develop those nations. The people at home have not been found wanting in making necessary financial contributions. A sour note has crept into that generous practice by the Government's decision to allow certain charities to claim back tax associated with contributions. This is an unnecessary decision as the Government could have made an extra contribution to those charities and not brought dissension, confusion and fear into home-based charities. I do not believe it will greatly affect donations to home-based charities which are also needed, but it is unwise of the Government to create a problem in this area.

We were told by the Minister that he would restrict covenant allowances to pay for the free education system, but he has gone much further and only allowed relief for certain categories. I agree there was some misuse of the covenant relief scheme, but by making wide-ranging changes to it, the Minister has hit people who are not abusing it and in real need of the benefits accruing. I ask him to reconsider this and to be more clinical regarding exclusions.

Section 19 of the Finance Act, 1992, granted income tax relief for the owners and occupiers of certain heritage buildings and section 18 of the 1994 Finance Act tightened the rules for granting relief. One of the additional conditions attached was that the claimant had to inform Bord Fáilte of the dates and times buildings were open to the public and a new definition of "reasonable access to the public" was laid down. In addition to the condition to inform Bord Fáilte, the dates and times those buildings are open should be advertised in the press. Section 20 extends that relief to heritage buildings used as guest-houses. The press should carry details of when those buildings are open to the public.

The introduction of new stock relief for young trained farmers is welcome as it will give an opportunity to those taking over farms which are not fully developed from elderly parents, to build up stock to ensure a viable holding. However, the relief should apply to young farmers who first became liable in the 1991-92 tax year.

I welcome section 30 which changes the surcharge for submission of late returns under section 48 of the Finance Act, 1986. The 10 per cent surcharge was introduced when returns were not filed in time even when they were filed the morning after the date due. I welcome the decision to reduce the surcharge to 5 per cent when the return is filed within two months of the filing date due and that it will apply to new business only from the filing date for the second tax return provided the taxpayer or his spouse did not carry on a trade in the previous year.

When Deputy McCreevy was Minister for Tourism and Trade he initiated a scheme for the renewal and improvement of certain resorts and I am delighted that the Minister for Finance, Deputy Quinn, included in the Bill the extension of the equivalent of the urban renewal scheme benefits to certain seaside resorts, especially Youghal. Following the closure of Youghal Carpets, Blackwater Cotton and Seafield Fabrics in the mid-1970s, the town of Youghal was savagely wrecked by unemployment but, through local efforts and those of the Industrial Development Authority, the position has improved somewhat. Nonetheless a major initiative was warranted to enable the town benefit from increased tourism. This is particularly so, as many people have plans to invest in the provision of modern facilities complementing its natural attributes to render it a booming tourism area.

Will the Minister consider granting tax relief similar to that granted to private developments to individuals who invest in public amenities, such as Water World?

I want to notify the House of my interest as a registered auditor and accountant, especially in referring to section 153 which, as everybody now knows, was included on the recommendation of Mr. Justice Hamilton in the beef tribunal report that auditors should be required to report any tax evasion by companies. I believe Mr. Justice Hamilton was referring to organised tax evasion at a high level but, as drafted, this section goes way beyond his recommendation. Whereas Mr. Justice Hamilton recommended that requirement should apply only to auditors, the section has been extended to include any professional person who might advise a company on its tax affairs or on the completion and submission of its tax returns.

The second manner in which section 153 goes beyond Mr. Justice Hamilton's recommendation is that it requires tax advisers to inform the Revenue Commissioners of any reportable offence of which they become aware. The list of reportable offences is vast, including a myriad of minor matters, such as the late submission of income tax returns, delays in paying VAT and PAYE contributions and failure to maintain proper records, none of which could be classed as tax evasion. It will clearly be seen that the Hamilton recommendation has been used as a peg on which to hang a substantial increase in Revenue powers, not recommended or intended and not welcomed by many officials within the Revenue Commissioners.

What is particularly worrying is that while, on numerous previous occasions, the Institute of Taxation assisted the Minister for Finance and the Revenue Commissioners on technical matters arising from proposed legislation — a consultative process that led to many improvements within our tax system — there was no prior consultation on this occasion. Why? This submission could place a question mark over the continued operation of the Tax Administration Liaison Committee.

Since 1987 when Fianna Fáil returned to power, the self-assessment system has operated in an efficient, effective manner and been responsible for increased tax compliance and a consequent tax take improvement. In addition, Revenue audits have increased enormously, the number of Revenue auditors having increased to approximately 600. Hundreds of people police the self-employed sector. The Revenue Commissioners have sophisticated computer systems which, at the press of a button, show up the late processing of returns or payment of VAT or PAYE. Why do we need other auditors and tax advisers to become unpaid civil servants? There is no doubt this will bring about a huge change in the client/adviser relationship. It is an insult to the profession to imply, as have some Members, that auditors, accountants and tax advisers advise people on how to evade tax, since any professionally qualified accountant or auditor in this day of high technology, fax machines and the like, will not take undue chances with his reputation and/or livelihood by furnishing false information.

Auditors are charged, under the Companies Acts 1963 and others, to report on the accounts presented to them by company directors. They must report to board members that all the reports and information required have been furnished, that proper books of accounts have been kept and that the accounts give a true and fair view of the company's affairs. If an auditor is not in a position to give that report, he will furnish a disclaimer putting anybody on guard, in which case, it is up to the Revenue Commissioners to follow it up. These days, auditors are subjected to ever increasing strictures by their institute, requiring continuing professional education with a file review of its membership and ever more numerous financial reporting and auditing statements to be complied with. Section 153 will lead to an adversarial position that will benefit the legal profession more than any other.

Deputy Eric Byrne spoke last evening about the dismal world of Fianna Fáil policies. He would need to look at the history of his party, for which I believe funding was obtained from private presses and the use of illicit arms. Deputy Byrne spoke also of democracy, referring specifically to the various interpretative centres which had the support of the majority of the people where they were proposed to be located. However, their democracy was quashed. This view of democracy is Orwellian — the big brother scene — Democratic Left believes in control from the centre. There is not much democracy in such a system whose destruction of society was made clear to us with the fall of the Iron Curtain, but the spirit of Ceaucescu lives on in Democratic Left.

I look forward to a more detailed discussion on Committee Stage but, despite some worthwhile amendments, this Finance Bill must be a great disappointment to the myriad of followers of the left and right, having done little or nothing to improve the position of supporters on either side.

As my party spokesperson on the Environment I will address a subject of particular interest to me, the granting of a tax allowance for local authority service charges provided for in section 7, which I ask the Minister to re-examine, since it appears to comprise a very convoluted way of doing something relatively simple. The proposed system on which I may table an amendment on Committee Stage will lead to a huge paper trail within local authority offices and those of the Revenue Commissioners.

Something to which I take exception is the proposal that, as a private citizen, I would have to submit my RSI number to a private contractor. I have the same objection, to a lesser extent, to having to submit my RSI number to a local authority for public scrutiny. That is a matter between me and the Revenue Commissioners. Without labouring the point, the system can and should be simplified, perhaps through a simple, straightforward, stamped receipt from a local authority. I suggest the Minister omit the phrase "paid on time"; otherwise I and every other Member of this House will have to endeavour to adjudicate or ascertain whether somebody has paid their service charges on time. As the Minister is aware, in most local authorities the first moiety becomes due on 1 January, the second usually in June, so that if a person pays on 2 June, the payment will be late. Instead, perhaps the Minister would consider substituting words such as "in the year in which they are due".

Like other Members, I welcome the seaside resorts scheme. Although it eventually stretched around the south east coast to Courtown, in the Minister for the Environment's constituency, I am disappointed it did not stretch any further northwards. Perhaps that should be examined.

Would Deputy Dempsey settle for Ringsend?

Perhaps the Minister would consider including north county Dublin but, certainly, Laytown and Bettystown in which I have particular interest. While it is a welcome scheme it could be extended somewhat.

I might mention one other hobbyhorse of mine, that is section 1 and the general income tax exemption limits for aged persons. I request the Minister, if still in this portfolio next year, to be more generous, particularly in granting elderly people exemption. People should be in receipt of very large pensions before being caught for taxation. I have had representations — as I am sure has the Minister — by old people who have worked throughout their lives and are now in receipt of a small pension in addition to their social welfare pension, all of which is taken into account. That exemption limit should be raised significantly for elderly people — even to begin with a figure of £75 or £80 next year would be very welcome.

If the news I heard after lunch today is true — that the Minister has withdrawn his request to the two councillors on the board of the Agriculture Credit Corporation to resign, or left it to them to decide whether to resign — I welcome it. It was inappropriate to say that it was wrong to have these people on the board of a State banking company, it was a slur on members of local authorities. If there was a perceived problem because of a possible conflict of interest then the appropriate action was to introduce a regulation. I welcome the withdrawal of that call by the Minister. It takes a big man to admit that he was wrong, and the Minister did this speedily.

The two people involved were only asked to consider their position and possible resignation. I have the power to remove them but I never indicated that I would exercise it. This was a private dialogue which, regrettably, became public. The matter is closed as far as I am concerned, and I thank the Deputy for his comments.

I thank all the Deputies who contributed to the debate on this important Bill and I hope to cover all the issues raised by them. These matters can be discussed in greater detail on Committee Stage.

This Bill gives practical effect to the measures announced in the budget. I reject the criticism made during the debate that the Bill does not go far enough in the area of tax reform. The Policy Agreement for Renewal sets out a detailed and focused programme of tax reform. The programme includes the lessening of the income tax burden, especially on the lower paid; the further widening of the standard tax band; the broadening of the tax base by the continued standard rating of principal reliefs notably mortgage interest reliefs and VHI; measures to stimulate enterprise and initiative; better targeting of tax reliefs to promote particular economic and social objectives; continuing the improvements in the tax collection system and an integrated approach to income tax and social welfare measures which interact with each other on employment.

This Bill delivers in substantial form on this programme. We have widened the standard band considerably to remove more taxpayers from the 48 per cent net. The increase in the band exceeds the change in 1994 and more than compensates for the restrictions in mortgage and VHI reliefs this year. We have improved personal allowances, increased the income tax exemption limits and brought in special employee PRSI allowances which are targeted especially at the lower paid in the private sector. We have reduced the cost to employers of employing labour by increasing the lower rate employers' PRSI threshold from £9,000 to £12,000 and we have kept the income ceiling on employers' PRSI at its 1994 level. The Government has reduced the standard rate of corporation tax with a commitment to further reductions in time to bring the standard rate into line with overseas competitor economies. While we have not cut the rates of capital taxes as Deputy McDowell suggests, we have considerably extended the reliefs from capital gains tax and capital acquisitions tax in a concentrated manner by increasing the rates of business relief in capital acquisition tax and by improving the capital gains tax reliefs on retirement and on investment in unquoted business concerns.

For the first time we have taken an integrated approach in the budget to income tax and PRSI rates by combining changes in both areas to improve take-home pay. No doubt we can do more and this is the Government's intention. I look forward to the report of the group on the integration of tax and social welfare which the Government has undertaken to publish later this year.

The full year cost of the changes in exemption limits, personal allowances and the standard band is £151 million. The full year cost of the PRSI measure is a further £150 million. These commitments exceed the annual £250 million which Deputy McDowell suggested should be set aside as part of a sustained programme of tax reform. He has not done his sums — we have gone further than he proposed. I do not want to suggest that we have gone as far as he would wish or in the direction he would choose but the changes in the budget should be acknowledged. Clearly there is more to do in improving the competitiveness of our economy and I hope to consolidate and build on the 1995 budget in the next two budgets of this Government.

I now wish to turn to public expenditure. In yesterday's debate, and again this morning, comments were made in relation to the growth in public expenditure this year and the fact that the Government's limit of 6 per cent growth in current supply services expenditure may be breached. Various figures were mentioned for the likely growth in public spending in 1995. In particular, Deputies McDowell and Ahern have commented that it appears that the real increase in public spending will be of the order of 9 per cent. This is incorrect. The increase in gross non-capital supply services expenditure this year will be 6.9 per cent. This is about 1 per cent above the increase of 5.8 per cent provided for in my budget last February. The increase since budget date is due almost entirely to the addition of £140 million for equal treatment payments, on top of the £60 million provided for in the budget, following the Government's decision to accept the judgment of the High Court in relation to the entitlements of women under the EU Equal Treatment Directive. The Government has committed itself to paying the full amount involved, estimated at £260 million, £200 million of which will be paid this year with the balance to be paid from January 1996 onwards over as short a period as possible.

I do not deny that the decision to provide an additional £140 million for equal treatment payments will result in the Government's limit of 6 per cent on current spending this year being exceeded. However, the equal treatment payments are an extraordinary, non-recurring item of expenditure. These payments, awarded by the court, are a legal obligation which was not created by any act of this Government. The payments had to be provided for at some stage and the Government was prepared to commit itself to discharging its obligations in this regard over as short a timescale as possible. I can assure the House, however, that meeting these liabilities does not indicate any weakening of the Government's resolve to contain public spending. If these exceptional payments are excluded from the expenditure figures, the increase in gross current spending in 1995 falls from the aforementioned 6.9 per cent to just over 5 per cent, well within the Government's limit on spending growth this year.

I deny the allegations that this is a spendthrift Government with loose and lax control on public expenditure, and the charge that we have been engaged in some form of "creative accounting". I assure the House that the Government is fully committed to respecting the spending growth limits provided for in our programme. As the Minister with primary responsibility for management of the public finances, I am totally committed to ensuring that the limits on public expenditure are achieved. I assure the House that the Government will not shirk the task it has set itself.

Undoubtedly the main talking point about the Bill is the requirement in section 153 for auditors and tax advisers to report on tax evasion to the Revenue Commissioners. I should like to respond to the points made by various speakers. It has been claimed that there is no demand for such a new provision for reporting tax evasion to the Revenue Commissioners. This is not so. The report of the beef tribunal last year recommended specifically that such a duty be placed on auditors to report tax evasion to the Revenue Commissioners. This was on foot of a detailed consideration of particular tax arrangements in the beef industry and consideration by the chairman of the tribunal of the existing professional guidelines for auditors governing such cases. The previous Government accepted that recommendation, as did the House.

It was also said that the provision was unworkable and showed a lack of understanding on how enterprises and business operated. There has been a deal of overreaction to the proposals. There were detailed discussions with the accountancy bodies prior to the announcement of the measure and we took on board several of their concerns. I also accepted that if a requirement is to be placed on auditors it must, for equity, consistency and competitive reasons, apply to tax advisers generally. We sought to meet concerns over the burden of extra reporting through the insertion of a materiality clause. As I said in my opening remarks, the section was also structured so as to allow the auditor to report to the client in the first place and to give the client ample facility to rectify the situation.

The section requires that an auditor or tax adviser must have reasonable grounds to believe that there is tax evasion being committed before being required to report this to the company or to the Revenue Commissioners. What are reasonable grounds will depend on the facts of the case but it goes further than having a mere suspicion as suggested in some contributions.

Let us be clear on one thing. Tax evasion is a criminal offence and cannot be condoned. I know the House fully supports this and I note that representative bodies, who have genuine concerns with the section have nonetheless made it clear, to quote the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, that they do not in any way condone tax evasion nor would they expect their members to condone tax evading companies.

I am prepared to listen to these concerns and to reflect on the matter before Committee Stage. I have no doubt we can retain the focus of the section on tax evasion while seeking to take account of practical difficulties that may exist in the section for the professional auditors and advisers concerned.

Deputy McCreevy proposed that the abolition of tax relief be confined to educational covenants. However, in tax law there is no such category of covenants. If we simply precluded tax relief on covenants for educational fees, there would be nothing to stop the continuation of covenanting for various other purposes, such as maintaining a student at college or providing the student with an income generally. The only effective way to reform the tax relief system in this case is to abolish it generally but confine it to particular specified categories. This the Government has done and in picking these categories, such as covenanting for the aged and the incapacitated, we have sought to cater for what many would regard as particularly deserving categories for continuation of tax relief. I hope the House can accept the balance we struck in what is a complex area.

As the House knows, I did respond to a case made by the Alzheimer's Society that the application of the 5 per cent income limit was particularly restrictive in the case of those supporting incapacitated relatives. I decided to disapply the limit in this case to allow for the particular nursing and care costs involved in such cases.

Deputy McCreevy also mentioned that the cost of such so-called educational covenants had been given as £38 million or £40 million. I know that in various replies given by me to parliamentary questions, I have always made it clear that the estimated cost of covenants made for educational purposes was in the region of £25 million and that the balance covered the cost of other covenant relief. There was no sleight of hand in the use of these figures. It should be pointed out that the cost of covenant relief has grown sharply in recent years from approximately £3 million ten years ago to £38 million or £40 million this year, and some action to contain the escalating cost of this tax efficient device may have been considered necessary even leaving aside the third level fees issue.

I have met representatives of the domestic charities and explained the particular background to the tax relief for charities and why it is focused on Third World charities. One only has to read of the horrible and atrocious sufferings in certain parts of the Third World to realise the rebuilding of communities and whole nations that will be required. This special tax relief is giving practical expression and assistance to the desire of Irish people to make a contribution to that rebuilding.

As I said in the budget, this tax relief will count as part of our official development assistance and will allow the public for the first time to exercise their choice with regard to the agency to which they wish the State to contribute part of our ODA. Deputy McCreevy suggested that it had not been made clear at budget time that the tax relief would be paid to the charity and not the donor. This method of operation was, however, set out in my budget speech and is not a later innovation, as suggested.

I was surprised that some Deputies suggested the scheme of rent relief for persons in private rented accommodation would not benefit persons in such accommodation. The introduction of the relief will have the effect of giving a married couple in private rented accommodation an additional £270 a year. I can assure the House that, judging by inquiries my Department and the Revenue Commissioners have recorded a high level of public interest in the relief. To meet this, the Revenue Commissioners have prepared and issued a special application form for the relief.

On the question of the structure of the allowance for single, married and widowed persons, raised by Deputy Michael McDowell, I would like to point out that this structure of allowance mirrors the existing differentiation in allowances in the rent relief scheme for over 55s which has been in operation for some time. I would be reluctant to change the over 55 structure of relief or to introduce two different allowance structures for the same tax relief scheme, for obvious reasons. In the case of a married couple, the doubling of the allowance to £1,000 is, therefore, simply a logical doubling of the single person's allowance in the same way as if two single persons were tenants. As for a widowed person, the provision of an allowance of £750 is a recognition that such people may have greater rent commitments than a single person.

A number of Deputies mentioned the low take up of the seed capital scheme. This has certainly been the experience until recently. I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that there has been an increasing interest in the scheme in recent months with 63 applications received by Revenue to date, 48 companies have been approved to date and 58 individuals have received refunds. A further 15 cases have been received and are either being processed or awaiting further information. While I am encouraged by the increase in the uptake of the scheme, I expect the measures in section 17 of the Finance Bill will make the seed capital scheme more attractive and effective as an incentive to business start-up.

There were, I believe, some questions raised as to why the Minister for Education should decide on which colleges or courses should get tax relief. It is not unusual, however, for the Minister directly concerned with the functional area in which relief is being given to act in the first instance as the designating authority. This is also the case, for example, with Third World relief where the Minister for Foreign Affairs certifies the qualifying bodies. As Minister for Finance I still retain a role since my consent is required for the criteria on which colleges or courses will be approved. I hope this response will alleviate the concerns of Deputies.

Deputy Deasy was concerned about the impact of section 110 which makes the non-member income of memberowned golf clubs liable to VAT provided turnover from this source exceeds £20,000 in any 12 months period. As I already explained, this proposal is focused on an area where clear distortions of competition to the detriment of commercial operators have been identified and where EU law requires that the exemption giving rise to this distortion should be withdrawn. Far from conflicting with Government support for the development of golf facilities, failure to act along the lines proposed in the Bill could affect the viability of many of the commercial clubs which have been established in recent years and which have been liable to VAT since 1992. I hardly need remind the Deputy that the commercial sports sector has been at the forefront of the drive to market golf to overseas tourists. Accordingly, I do not believe the measure should have a negative impact on tourism.

Deputies Ahern and O'Dea, in referring to section 29 of the Bill relating to the tax exemption for foreign branch profits, suggested it was a "cosy deal" introduced to facilitate one particular financial multinational and that it will lead, as one newspaper report put it this morning, to "secret tax breaks worth millions of pounds" to foreign companies setting up here. I deny that. The purpose of this measure is to attract substantial foreign companies providing significant levels of investment and employment to set up in the State. It is no secret that this facility arose from approaches last year to the Government, of which Deputy Ahern was a member, by a particular investment project. However, Deputies will clearly see from the Bill that the provision is not specific to any one company, but is drafted in general terms with a view to attracting other companies to avail of the foreign branch concession. I can confirm that there has been substantial interest in the provision with inquiries from a number of other multinational companies who may be interested in setting up here. I stress that the provision is not confined to foreign multinationals alone and that any company operating through branches abroad can equally avail of the scheme if they meet the substantial investment and employment criteria involved. The bottom line as in all tax incentives will be job creation and investment. I am talking of substantial job creation and a significant level of investment here over a short number of years. If we can generate badly needed jobs by attracting international companies to locate here, companies who clearly would not have done so in the absence of the foreign branch exemption, then that is an incentive worth putting in place.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge the welcome that has been given from all sides of the House to the new pilot renewal scheme for traditional seaside resorts. The incentives under this scheme are aimed at renewing and updating the tourist accommodation and facilities in traditional resort towns which have lost out in recent years to the growth in foreign package holidays. While I can appreciate the arguments that many Deputies have made for the inclusion in the scheme of particular seaside resorts in their own areas — I listened to Deputy Sheehan this morning in that regard although I was not sure whether I was getting a weather forecast report or a wish list of possible towns.

The Minister has left out one.

The Minister left out Shannonbridge.

I stress, however, that at this stage this is only a pilot project and we will have to review its effectiveness. Clearly, that effectiveness has yet to be evaluated. I also acknowledge that it has been a difficult task to choose between the areas included in the scheme but I believe we have achieved a good representative balance of resorts around our coast which are most in need of renewal. I realise, however, that no matter what selection is made there will be disappointment for those who believe their case for inclusion is as strong as any other.

I thank the Deputies for their constructive contributions and for the general welcome they have given to the Bill and its many provisions. Clearly, a Bill of this size, in its First and Second Stage drafting, cannot get all of its constituent and component parts exactly right and we must now commence work on Committee Stage to improve the Bill with the help of all Deputies.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 64.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bree, Declan.
  • Broughan, Tommy.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Dukes, Alan M.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Eithne.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly)
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Walsh, Eamon.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick West).
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hilliard, Colm M.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Barrett and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Calley.
Question declared carried.