Private Members' Business. - Natural Heritage Conservation: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by Deputy Síle de Valera on 26 November, 1996:
That Dáil Éireann, recognising the need for conservation and sustainable farming methods, condemns the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht for the lack of openness, accountability and consultation particularly with the Houses of the Oireachtas in relation to his plans to introduce areas of conservation and further condemns him for not bringing the following promised legislation before the House, the Wildlife Amendment Bill and the National Parks and Heritage Areas Bill and notes with concern his stated intention to introduce regulations under the European Communities Act in relation to special areas of conservation without prior debate in the Oireachtas.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "That" and insert the following:
"Dáil Éireann, recognising the importance of the implementation of Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive) and of the importance that it attaches to sustainable farming practices
—acknowledges the efforts of the Minister for Arts Culture and the Gaeltacht regarding ongoing consultations with farming and conversation interests;
—endorses his plans to transpose the Directive into Irish law by Regulations under the European Communities Act, 1972;
—notes his intention to bring forward the amendment to the Wildlife Act and the Bill to give statutory protection to national parks and heritage areas; and
—commends the Minister's record in introducing legislation for the protection of the heritage."
—(Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht).

(Laoighis-Offaly): I am pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to the debate. It is good to have an opportunity to discuss this very important issue not alone in its own right but as part of the wider responsibility which the Minister and the Department have for heritage and conservation. While welcoming this debate I was most disappointed to hear Deputy de Valera personalise and in some cases try to trivialise this debate. Phrases such as “the Minister dancing excitedly to his desk” etc. may go down well in a student debate in a university but they do not do justice to the seriousness of this issue or to the work the Minister has done since coming into office. Having listened to Deputy de Valera last night one would think the Minister had done nothing since coming into office. She claimed vicarious association and compliments for everything the Minister had done as having been done by previous Fianna Fáil Ministers, that Teilifís na Gaeilge had been in operation for the past four or five years and that the film industry had been revived somewhere in the last decade. No attention was paid to the great strides made in protecting our natural heritage, greater policy direction and greater administrative and financial backup. The Minister's record in this regard bears no comparison. Deputy de Valera almost said there was no need for this Department although the achievements of the Department and the Minister in recent years indicated the need for this Department.

The directive we are discussing has been around since 1992. Prior to this Department being set up little attention had been given to it. In the intervening years between 1992 and 1994 we had the split function of the Office of Public Works whereby policy was decided by one Department and implemented by another. That too was unsatisfactory. It is only since the transfer of the heritage services division to the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht earlier this year that there has been real action on this and many other issues. Deputy de Valera more or less said this area of activity was fine when it was a subsidiary section of the Department of the Taoiseach and there had been definite achievements in that Department. It is more desirable for this matter to be treated in its own right in its own Department rather than remain as the personal playground of any Taoiseach or Minister. That we can have accountability for this type of activity through a Minister and a Department is preferable in terms of the interest which Members have in monitoring what is going on and influencing that process.

This matter and indeed many others would not receive the same attention had not the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the National Monuments and Historic Property Service and the Inland Waterways Service been transferred this year to the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht. Those services now have a higher profile, better policy direction and more funding at their disposal to implement their plans. An example of this can be found in the type of work being done by all three services under the National Development Plan where large sums of European funding have been secured by the Minister through negotiation for those important areas of our natural heritage. Deputy de Valera and everybody in the House will make every effort to be associated with the developments taking place in all our constituencies but it is only because a specific Department was set up with specific functions assigned to it, funding provided and policy direction given that we are witnessing action in that area.

In this debate we are concerned about the implementation of the 1992 habitats directive. Sometimes people are confused by the titles of these directives and think we are talking about another planet. We are talking about an important part of our natural heritage, elements of which make this country attractive to visitors. It is important therefore that we afford them proper protection to ensure that our heritage continues to be a major source of attraction to overseas visitors.

The habitats directive deals with the introduction of provisions to cover two areas: the protection of species and the protection of habitats. These measures are necessary to conserve the most important flora and fauna habitats and to ensure Ireland is well represented at the NATURA 2000 initiative of the European Union — that is the designation and promotion of a community wide network of sites of natural heritage importance. Given the pride in our natural heritage it is imperative that as many elements as possible are recognised, protected and promoted at European level. It is important to be at the forefront of this movement and not be seen to drag our heels. When we advertise our wares in the stalls of the European Union to attract visitors here we display, first, our natural heritage and, second, our cultural heritage. We should be seen to be the vanguard of this type of protection. Obviously this type of policy development needs to be implemented with sensitivity following consultation with other interests. The concerns of people who are affected at local level need to be addressed.

In his contribution last night the Minister stated that all interests, farming, environmental and conservation, need to be consulted as all share a common objective to protect our environment in a way which enhances rural development. I welcome the Minister's commitment prior to this debate, to ongoing consultation in implementing the directive. That is the only way to proceed and ensure local support for the types of initiatives we are endeavouring to have implemented.

I was very heartened that the Minister acknowledged the farming community's contribution as custodians of our national heritage. With proper consultation and the necessary elements built in I am hopeful this type of initiative will represent a landmark in the practical recognition of the role of members of the farming community in this respect.

Since entering the EEC in 1973 the farming community has been pushed and pulled in many different directions. They were initially encouraged to modernise, develop and increase production. Then there were policy changes in Brussels, the wind blew from another direction, when farmers were pressured into set-aside, production limitations and capping of many developmental projects they had previously been encouraged to undertake. With the positive engagement of the farming community in the conservation of our natural heritage, this type of initiative will complement those already in train under REPS. This process has the potential to build on lessons learned in other member states where farmers are clearly recognised by the wider community as performing a function in the protection of their national heritage for the common good. As we move beyond the expiry of the present tranche of Structural Funds in 1999 into the 21st century this type of approach will become ever more important. Whatever about the overall Community budget, tremendous pressure will be brought to bear on its agricultural element. In enhancing farmers' role in the conservation of our natural environment we shall ensure the existence of a genuine explorative element in respect of rural Ireland when the next round of Structural Funds come on stream.

Within the proposals being discussed by the Minister's Department, a number of different types of areas are being proposed, including natural heritage areas, their proposed and designated aspects, special areas of conservation and special protection areas. Under the heading of proposed natural heritage areas there are approximately 1,200, comprised of some 750,000 hectares, a large portion of the country, for listing as important wildlife conservation areas, most of which have already been advertised in local and regional papers. We are now talking about converting them from proposed to designated areas.

The designation of national heritage areas to some degree has already been taken into account under REPS. I urge the Minister to introduce and implement the necessary legislation for their designation as soon as possible. It is important that Members are afforded an opportunity to examine that designation procedure. The Minister has said these areas will have to be taken into account by local authorities in their local development plans.

I understand that an amendment of the 1976 Wildlife Act will be necessary to allow that procedure to take place. I presume the amendment will provide for an appeals procedure. Where necessary, I urge the Minister to clarify the compensatory arrangements that will arise in certain cases.

A number of natural heritage areas will be selected for designation as special areas of conservation, selected from the best NHAs, identified initially by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. I anticipate a process of advertisement and public notification, with provision for an appeals procedure and that our national list will be finalised as soon as possible for submission to Brussels for inclusion in the European network of such sites. As best practice dictates — I accept the Minister's assurances in this respect — the National Parks and Wildlife Service will consult the farming community on appropriate changes in farming practices with regard to special areas of conservation ensuring that, whenever and wherever action is necessary for the protection of a site, compensation will be forthcoming.

Similarly, under the birds directive, in the case of special protection areas, proposed action will be advertised in local and regional papers with a similar appeals mechanism applicable. I am aware that many farmers in such areas adopt measures amenable to the conservation of various species within their locality. Whenever and wherever such changes are necessary to implement these protective measures I hope that level of financial support will be payable. While critics may allege that the farming community is looking for more money that is not what we are talking about here. The Minister has clearly recognised their value and importance in the protection of our national heritage. I anticipate that the consultation process to which he has committed himself will result in measures on which all party consensus can be reached. He has already indicated his willingness and that of his departmental officials to compromise in this area and acknowledged that, whenever financial support is necessary — in some cases to ensure that our objectives are attained — it will be forthcoming.

I commend the Minister's action in this area, I support his amendment to the motion and urge him to proceed expeditiously with the introduction of the relevant legislation.

With the permission of the House, I should like my remaining time shared between Deputies Ring, McCormack and Nealon.

Acting Chairman

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I am glad to have an opportunity to speak on this important issue highlighted by a number of public meetings held throughout our constituencies. On 18 November I attended a public meeting in Westport at which in excess of 700 farmers participated on the matter of natural heritage areas and special areas of conservation. The following day I met the Minister and clearly drew his attention to the fact that he had not engaged in any consultation with the farming community. He promised he would write to me outlining the meetings he had had with the farming organisations, which he did, showing that he has had seven meetings with them, with another today, which I welcome.

The Fianna Fáil Party is saying that this latest process of consultation constitutes a pull back, that the Government has now withdrawn whatever plans it had——

A U-turn.

The Government had no plans. This directive emanated from the European Union. I was interested to note that successive Ministers had brought in these regulations without consultation, for example, a former Deputy and Minister for Fisheries, Brendan Daly, in 1982, former Minister for Justice, now European Commissioner, Pádraig Flynn in 1989 and former Minister for Finance, Bertie Ahern in 1994, clearly demonstrating that that party is familiar with directives, yet their representatives in my constituency pretended to know nothing about them. I was indeed interested to discover that all those directives had been implemented without the degree of consultation now being engaged in.

I am pleased the Minister has agreed to engage in further consultation because the farmers of the west are entitled to know what will happen to their land. If restrictions will be placed on its usage they should be fully consulted and informed. I have heard farmers predict they will be unable to plant, will lose some of their ground and that auctioneers will be unable to obtain adequate financial return for certain lands. I am an auctioneer——

I thought the Deputy was a fulltime public representative.

——and I will get a good price for land in any area. I have always got above the odds for agricultural land in County Mayo. That is probably because I am a good auctioneer.

I make no apology to anybody for saying that if restrictions are placed on land then farmers are entitled to compensation. I raised this matter with the Minister and I am glad he is responding to it. It is very important for farmers to be consulted so that they know which land is being designated and have an opportunity to appeal decisions. I am glad the matter is being dealt with in a common sense way as this will eliminate the hysteria created by people who used it for their own political reasons. I am not talking about members of Fianna Fáil on this occasion; rather I am talking about people who used this matter to secure their political future down the line.

As Deputy Hughes said at a public meeting in Westport, the IFA has not had many meetings since we came into office two years ago. The reason is that the Government is doing a very good job on behalf of farmers.

What is the reason for the U-turn?

This is not a U-turn. Deputy McCormack, Deputy Nealon, I and other Fine Gael public representatives from the west met with Ministers. The difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is that Fine Gael Ministers listen to Government backbenchers. When Fianna Fáil was in Government matters were raised at parliamentary party meetings and that was the last Deputies heard about them.

Will Fine Gael Ministers listen to farmers?

The Minister, Deputy Higgins, and the Government have responded to the representations made by backbenchers. However, I will not be completely happy until farmers are properly looked after, which is my job.

The Deputy wants to be on both sides of the fence.

As we have done in the past, we will continue to look after the interests of farmers in the west. I assure the IFA delegation in the public gallery that farmers will be given adequate compensation and people will be available to discuss their problems with them. Members of the IFA are also members of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael but, in fairness to them, they always try to get the best possible deal for farmers. The Minister must give them whatever compensation they require as they are entitled to it.

I am glad the heat has been taken out of this debate. Most people are satisfied with the Minister's proposals.

There is great unease among farmers about these provisions. This matter is about the ownership and control of land, the most sensitive issue in so far as farmers are concerned. This does not imply a lack of interest or good will among farmers in the protection of our natural heritage; the contrary is the case. This issue needs to be dealt with in a sensitive way. We are transposing into Irish law Council Directive 92/43/EEC which deals with ecosystems and habitats. However, as far as farmers are concerned it deals with their land.

I am delighted the Minister has given a commitment to the three "Cs"— consultation, compromise and compensation, of which one could not have too much. The Minister should consider adding another "C" to his list, cartography. Many farmers do not know whether their land is included as it is impossible to read some of the maps. The use of decent maps would relieve much unnecessary anxiety among farmers.

The only way to proceed with this issue is on the basis of agreement. Regardless of how long it takes or how laborious it may be, we must proceed by way of agreement. In addition to the sensitive issue of land, there is also the question of massive amounts of money. The difference between whether there can be afforestation on land or not can be as much as £500,000 or £250,000 if the land is on the side of a mountain. Conservation of our natural heritage can take place side by side with farming; these issues are not mutually exclusive. Vast areas of counties Sligo and Mayo and other counties in the west are involved and agreement must be reached through negotiation and a commitment to the three "Cs". This is the only way to proceed.

The motion notes the Minister's intention to introduce an amendment to the Wildlife Act. I welcome this as it will give us an opportunity to discuss this matter in greater detail.

Ba mhaith liom a rá go bhfuil easpa mor eolais ar an gceist seo. Tá an-íonadh ar na feirmeoirí agus ar na daoine a bhfuil talamh acu i gConamara faoin riail seo atá á shíniú ag an Aire.

This directive was introduced in 1992 and I am puzzled as to why we are only working out the compromises at the eleventh hour. Why was action not taken four and a half years ago by the parties in Government and the Ministers who had responsibility for working out a package in the interests of all concerned? Many of the concerns arise from a lack of knowledge of the proposals and fear of the unknown.

Deputy Nealon is concerned about conservation, consultation, compromise and compensation. Landowners must be compensated for any devaluation of their assets under this directive. The Minister has met with farming organisations on seven occasions and he will meet with representatives of the IFA today. I encourage them to iron out whatever difficulties they may have and to ensure that questions are answered so that concerns can be allayed.

Two years ago compensation was offered for land which had been flooded in south Galway. As well as offering compensation to landowners and those who will be disadvantaged as a result of the directive, compensation should be channelled to communities. There is nothing wrong in compensating communities by improving services such as community halls, harbours and roads. Last year some of the compensation paid to farmers in Ballindereen and Kilcolgan whose land was flooded was channelled to a drainage scheme which helped to improve the environment and the lot of the community and ensured schools, nursing homes, houses and roads would not be flooded in the future. This type of compensation is of more benefit to communities than compensation paid to individuals.

I have some concerns about the regulations. Regulation 19 provides that where an operation or activity is carried out on a European site in contravention of the regulations, the Minister may direct the owner, occupier or user of the land to restore the land in accordance with the directive. That could prevent farmers from carrying out necessary drainage or other essential works on their farms. When a local community in my area initiated a drainage scheme to prevent their houses from flooding, I encountered serious difficulties, not with this Minister, but with the Office of Public Works. If the local community had not started the work prior to getting permission to do so, I do not believe it would have been granted permission for the scheme. In hindsight everybody recognises it is a worthwhile and environmentally friendly project.

Farmers are the best conservationists in the country. A farmer will not destroy land he or she has been handed down over generations. I do not want farmers to feel threatened because of this directive. Will the Minister examine this matter before it is signed?

I wish to share time with Deputies Geoghegan-Quinn and Quill.

That is satisfactory and agreed.

I was pleased Deputy Gallagher referred to the range of activities dealt with in the Minister's Department, particularly the waterways service. When Fianna Fáil in Government decided to restore the Ballinamore-Ballyconnell canal it gave particular instructions to the Office of Public Works and ESB International not to damage the flora and fauna. The works were carried out without causing such damage. I am still awaiting a financial allocation for the additional mooring facilities in Ballyconnell. Such a development would be welcome in 1997. Will the Minister advance the environmental impact assessment study of the Erne navigation southwards from Belturbet to Killykeen and Killeshandra? While that may not be relevant to the debate, it is relevant to the Minister's Department.

I compliment Deputies de Valera and Lawlor for giving us an opportunity to debate this comprehensive and important motion. Otherwise we would not have had an opportunity to discuss the matter. The Fianna Fáil motion refers in particular to the lack of consultation on areas designated for conservation. Each Fianna Fáil speaker last night referred specifically to the need to consult and communicate with all the people involved in the designation of such areas. Not only did the Minister's proposals exclude adequate consultation with landowners——

That is not true.

——but the views of Members of both Houses of the Oireachtas would also have been ignored. The views of local communities and farmers are fundamental to any conservation programme. The farming community has a key role to play in such conservation work. Unfortunately, there is widespread concern throughout the farming community about the Minister's proposals. The farm organisations have put forward reasonable and practical proposals on this matter. A meaningful and proper consultation procedure must be followed, involving direct consultation with the landowners. Consultation should not be of a hurried nature. The parties to any consultation must be given adequate time to tease out all the issues involved.

Directives, be they of domestic or European Union origin, should not be imposed on large numbers of people and communities without all sides having an opportunity to put forward their viewpoints. The passing of legislation through the two Houses of the Oireachtas enables various interest groups to put their views to Deputies and Senators and frequently the legislation passed by both Houses is much improved on that initially published. Legislation involves consultation and openness to ideas and important and far reaching decisions in the crucial area of conservation should be made through legislative mechanisms rather than through directives.

Tourism and farming, both of which are crucial in rural Ireland, will be affected by these designations. There must be coexistence between farming and environmental interests. Farming and tourism can grow side by side with proper implementation of measures. Too often particular interest groups try to confer on themselves exclusive rights to environmental and other matters. The majority of farmers are keen conservationists and try hard to respect and improve the environment. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry made a disgraceful decision to suspend the control of farm pollution scheme which is necessary to ensure that farmers put in place adequate and proper on-farm facilities to offset the dangers of pollution. Farmers need grant assistance to meet the huge costs involved in installing proper pollution control mechanisms on their farms.

It is on the road again.

Since when? I hope the Deputy is correct, but to my knowledge it is not.

Many areas could be preserved by the rural and farming communities. Farming has changed dramatically since our accession to the European Economic Community in 1973. Thankfully, farm incomes have improved substantially and many farmers have availed of incentives such as the Common Agricultural Policy, direct income supports, limitations to quota regimes, increased production and intensification. The efforts of farmers have contributed substantially to income generation in rural communities, but the livelihood of many is now at stake.

I welcome the Minister's decision to defer implementation of the directive for three months, the minimum time necessary to ensure adequate consultation. Will he ensure adequate consultation takes place with all interested parties? The concerns of farmers about farming practices post designation time must be allayed and adequate compensation must be put in place to offset losses incurred by landowners.

Tá áthas orm an deis seo a bheith agam labhairt ar an ábhar seo. Creidim go bhfuil an cheist atá á plé agus á cíoradh ón oíche aréir fíor-thábhachtach, chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé le h-iarthar na tíre go speisialta. Creidim go dtuigeann an tAire é sin ón méid atá ráite anseo agus ó na cruinnithe fíochmhara atá ar siúl ar fud na tíre faoi láthair agus a bhí ar fud na tíre. Creidim go dtuigeann sé chomh maith an chontúirt a bhaineann leis na regulations a bhéas á shíneadh aige an bhliain seo chugainn.

Tá seod luachmhar againn sa tír seo, seod ár n-oidhreachta, agus go hiondúil nuair a labhraímid faoi oidhreacht na tíre smaoiníonn an chuid is mó againn ar ár gcultúr, ar ár dteanga agus ar ár gceol ach ní minic a smaoinímid go bhfuil an-seod luachmhar eile againn — ár n-oidhreacht nádúrthá — agus go bhfuil sé de dhualgas orainn ar fad, cuma cén slí bheatha atá againn nó cén chuid den tír a gconaímid, go bhfuil dualgas mór trom orainn ar fad an oidhreacht nádúrtha sin a chruthú agus a chaomhnú.

Creidim go bhfuil an-ionsaí déanta ar fheilméaraí na tíre le blianta anuas mar go gcreideann daoine áirithe, nó grúpaí áirithe, ar fud na tíre, go bhfuil slad á dhéanamh ar an oidhreacht nádúrtha ag na feilméaraí. Ní fhéadfadh aon rud a bheith níos faide ón fhírinne ná sin. Táimid go mór faoi chomaoin ag feilméaraí na tíre, ag feilméaraí beaga clainne in iarthar na tíre leis an oidhreacht nádúrtha atá againn sa chuid sin den tír a chaomhnú.

Ní mór dúinn comhoibriú leo agus tá cainteanna ag teastáil idir oifigigh na Roinne agus na feilméaraí. Tá cumhacht thar cuimse anois ag roinnt de oifigigh an Office of Public Works, cuir i gcás. Ceapann daoine amuigh ansin go bhfuil contúirt nó dáinséar ann go mbainfí mí-úsáid as an chumhacht sin. Ansin tá cúiteamh i gceist chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis na rialacha a bheidh á dhéanamh ag an Aire an bhliain seo chugainn agus chomh fada agus a bhaineann siad le féilméaraí na tíre.

Farmers felt it would be a November or December dawn, but it appears it will be a February dawn when the regulations are made by the Minister. Many farmers are concerned that it might bring a dull sunset, particularly for small farmers in the west and small family farmers in the Connemara region.

We must look at a number of "Cs" in relation to this area. For example, history has imprinted certain events on people's minds. One thinks of the buoyancy and resoluteness of farmers who despite a great deal of bloodshed were able to survive Cromwell, the harsh penal laws and the brutal landlord system. Their survival shows the commitment of the farming community over generations. They feel under threat at the moment and while there will not be bloodshed, they are being attacked by the State sector. Our business as politicians must be to articulate their fear and ensure the Minister takes our views into account when preparing the regulations.

There is a fear that areas such as Connemara, which is rich in cultural and natural heritage, could easily be turned into a huge, beautiful national park where nobody lived. Family farmers, who have subsisted on very small farms, are under threat and may not continue such farming in the future. There is concern among farmers that they are under attack. We are not talking here about ranchers or large farms of 100 or even 50 acres in that part of the west. The farming carried out there is a necessity which ensures families can be educated and get on in life. It is a type of farming which needs to be supported and it is hugely important.

I do not believe farmers and environmentalists cannot live together. There is such a "C" as coexistence. With courtesy, civility and co-operation they can all live together and preserve our very important natural heritage.

I am not attacking officers of the Office of Public Works because they have done a huge amount of important and vital work in preservation and conservation throughout the country. However, we should recognise and discuss the current fear that officers of the Office of Public Works will wield huge powers under the law. That is how it should be but it must be done in full and absolute consultation with the farming community.

I am delighted that one of the results of this very important motion tabled by my colleague, Deputy de Valera, is that this wonderful statement has been finally published by the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

I am afraid it was done in advance of the motion.

Another "C"— coincidental.

Consultation is very important because otherwise everybody is afraid, concerned and suspicious. Wherever there is conflict — and there is the potential for conflict here — we must have compromise. I am glad the Minister will open the appeals system, which was sadly lacking for so long, in this regard. Those who deserve compensation will now have an appeals procedure through which they can operate.

The Minister and I have been local authority members. If a local authority decides to widen a road or take out a bad corner it has to acquire land by way of compulsory purchase order and pay compensation. A great deal of compensation is paid in other areas of the public service and local government. It is only natural, right and fair for compensation to be paid to farmers whose livelihoods are taken away.

These family farmers are located in the most isolated areas along the western seaboard which is thinly populated and deprived of many luxuries. I lived in that area for 20 years beside people who had to eke out a living on rocky farming land and where every arm of the State put blockades in their way. Over the years we have ironed out many of the problems and difficulties and have simplified rules and regulations. Why should we now impose further regulations which will drive more of those family farmers off the land?

I am pleased the Minister has given a public, formal commitment to the House that there will be consultation. It is very important that there be compromise and compensation. It will show that although the Office of Public Works has substantial powers, nobody need be afraid that they will be used to make impositions without consulting or compensating anyone.

It is very important that we have had this debate. As public representatives, in helping to draft and formulate legislation we can ensure that legislation is fair, that we consult those who will be affected by it and that it is implementable. We cannot ask people to sign a blank sheet of paper and hope for the best.

I was delighted the Minister gave an undertaking last night that the regulations would not come into operation until the beginning of next February. I think he will get a generous response from the farming community to that announcement because they are anxious to cooperate, consult the Minister and have a real input into those regulations. I implore the Minister to ensure that consultation takes place in an atmosphere conducive to getting a result with which we can all live.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this debate and to Deputy de Valera for tabling the motion and creating the conditions where we can discuss this important matter. This discussion will help to heighten public awareness of the importance of what is proposed under this directive. It will also help to enlist the support of every citizen, including farmers, for the fundamental importance of what is at stake here in this important element of our natural heritage.

Our natural heritage is an important element of our overall heritage. It is the legacy of geological history and climate, tempered by the hand of man over the generations. There is a clear obligation on us to cherish this legacy and to take all steps open to us to conserve, maintain and protect this vitally important part of our inheritance.

The natural environment, with its flora and fauna, is particularly important to a country such as Ireland. These features are among the main reasons for our flourishing tourism industry. Discerning tourists of the non weather dependent variety are the mainstay of our future tourism trade. Therefore, apart from our moral obligation to protect items of key intrinsic value, it makes sound economic sense to protect and conserve our natural heritage.

The formulation of Government policy on nature conservation is based mainly on EU directives. How we transcribe those directives into law is fundamental. I would prefer if we proceeded by way of legislation rather than regulation because of the nature of the process involved in making legislation in this House. That process helps to engage media attention, to arouse public interest and it puts politicians in a position to give leadership to their communities on an issue. Proceeding by way of regulation passes up that opportunity.

The success or otherwise of Ireland's efforts to implement Council Directive 92/43 EEC on the conservation of natural habitats, fauna and flora depends mainly on two factors, the degree of co-operation from the farming community and the degree of public education on the importance of the items we set out to conserve. The need to preserve nature is widely recognised, particularly among our young citizens, because bio-diversity is under threat on a scale unknown since the beginning of human history. A quarter of all existing species are threatened with extinction within the next 30 years. In Europe 22 per cent of higher plants, 42 per cent of mammals and 52 per cent of fish are believed to be under threat. Ecosystems and habitats are being constantly downgraded and destroyed. Once they are lost or destroyed they are gone forever, they can never again be recreated and future generations of young people will be stripped of their natural birthright. How we set about preserving and conserving our natural environment is very important.

I was particularly pleased last night when the Minister outlined the three pillars of consultation, compromise and compensation under which he proposes to proceed. I am also pleased that the time has been extended until February which will allow time and space for those three processes.

The most important of those processes is consultation. The obligation to act as custodians of our environment falls equally on every citizen, but citizens needs to be educated and alerted to have a sense of responsibility in regard to our environment. The main custodians of our natural habitats are farmers or occupiers of land. It is of critical importance that the Government should enter into dialogue with farmers that would lead to concordance where farmers and the Government would work in close co-ordination and co-operation. To achieve that there must be a thorough programme of consultation from the outset. Farmers must be fully informed, listened to and their concerns taken into account. They must know their role is valued and critical to success. There must not be a directive from the top or imposition from the outside. This must be a joint venture in the truest and most important sense of the word. We must put in place at local level programmes of agreed management.

There must be compromise. Landowners and land occupiers must be given the categoric assurance that no decision will be made without full consultation. They must also be given the assurance from the outset that if a decision adversely affects their livelihoods they will have access to a clearly defined independent appeal system, a system under which their concerns will be taken into account before any decision is finally implemented.

There must be adequate compensation in all cases of SAC designation at all levels. That is critical to the success of the venture. Such compensation must be worked out in advance so that farmers will know what is entailed, what they stand to gain as well as what will be required of them to make this a success.

Armed with that three-pronged approach to the process, we are in a position to make a success of this proposal. There is a good deal at stake and I am very anxious to play my part as vigorously as I can in assuring farmers that we will proceed in the proper manner, that we are conscious of all the uncertainty in farming at this time, and of the deep love and traditional appreciation of farmers for their land and the role they wish to play as custodians of it. That is important to us. We should also assure farmers there is no intention on the part of any official or Minister to proceed without having enlisted their goodwill. The Minister should let the consultation begin now.

It has started already.

I am informed it has started but there is still a great deal of concern and the extent of the consultation that has taken place to date has not been adequate. We must intensify our consultation and our listening process. It is my aim that the directive should be incorporated into Irish law and implemented in such a manner that farmers and all other citizens can be proud of it.

I propose to dwell for a few minutes on the three Cs, consultation, compromise and compensation, sought by farmers in the context of the regulations transposing the habitats directive into Irish law. I will also emphasise once again the extent to which the Government and my Department have gone to ensure transparency and equity in these regulations.

Regarding consultation sought by farming organisations, last night in the House we were accused of not consulting farmers and not being open. That was categorically refuted by the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Higgins, who detailed the extent of the consultation that has taken place and promised that further consultation would take place.

When problems arose with farmers in the north Clare area full consultation took place. The farming organisations, the farmers involved, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry and officials from his Department, Deputies and other elected representatives from that area, officials from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and from REPS met. Their concerns were noted and a compromise was reached. Consultation and compromise worked in that instance.

I am somewhat taken aback by the ferocity of the attack made by Deputy de Valera on the Minister last night. It was out of character for the Deputy to make that attack, at least since she came to County Clare. Prior to that she was a loose cannon representing a Dublin constituency to such an extent that she brought about the downfall of one Taoiseach. I do not know if she intends to bring about the downfall of this leader. She was very unfair to a Minister who, at all times, has tried to be accommodating in dealing with difficulties that arises in this area. Deputies on the other side have expressed an understanding of those difficulties. Attempts to whip up hysteria are not very becoming because the approach of consultation, compromise and compensation had been undertaken. Even the tabling of this motion appears to represent a claim of a victory. Arising out of meetings and consultation, particularly in Galway, the Department decided to give full information on the matter by way of advertisements in newspapers.

My Department has demonstrated its willingness to meet farmers. Indeed, the Minister for Arts Culture and the Gaeltacht referred to the number of meetings with the leaders of the groups. Since my appointment as Minister of State with special responsibilities for the west I have always met Deputies. For example, I met Deputy Hughes at his request. Given that most of these areas are designated in the west, farmers could have requested a meeting with me. I met the leaders of the IFA on this matter and on other issues relating to the islands. We have resolved some problems and are in the process of solving others. There is no lack of transparency on our side.

I regret the hysteria that has been built up on this matter. However, I was pleased that Deputy Michael Kitt acknowledged my commitment to the west during the period that I have been responsible for western development. I live among and appreciate the concerns of farmers in the west and I, therefore, deplore references by Deputy de Valera to Cromwell in the context of the EU Habitats Directive. Similarly, I fail to understand the inverse logic applied by Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn. She admitted that she was a member of a local authority which from time to time produces county development plans limiting the scope of development in areas, yet there was no protest in counties Mayo or Galway about the special areas designated in their respective county development plans.

They areultra vires.

The Deputy's council accepted them and the Deputy had a vote on them.

We have not adopted the county plan.

I endorse the level of consultation and the commitment for its continuation. It is worth reiterating the point made by the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht that without farmers, conservation cannot succeed.

On the issue of compromise, Deputies are aware of our proposal announced last night to give farming interests a voice in examining objections to designations where these are based on scientific grounds. The Government and my Department are committed to the greatest possible amount of transparency in the system, which this proposal will enhance. However, we will not stop at that. We will listen carefully to any concerns when the regulations come into effect and seek to respond to them in the best possible manner. This contrasts with the directive issued on 19 December 1989 by EU Commissioner Mr. Flynn when he was a former Minister which addressed a number of agricultural problems without any consultation. The First Schedule deals with agriculture, the use of uncultivated and semi-natural areas, waterways, management of agriculture, initial afforestation, land reclamation, poultry and pig rearing installations and sea water salmonisers. Given this, it is hollow to accuse this side of the House of lack of consultations.

On the question of compensation I was pleased that Deputy de Valera recommended a cross departmental approach involving the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht in seeking to resolve issues arising out of the directive. This is what we have been doing and I am sure the Deputy will endorse our approach. Nobody in the House, or among the farming interests is naive enough to suggest that the issue of compensation is simple. This is why we have pursued this approach while also involving farming representatives. We are determined that the outcome will reflect an equitable and satisfactory resolution of the issue.

I welcome this opportunity to outline the extent and nature of the consultations which my Department has undertaken with interested groups, especially farmers, on this directive. The directive will be significant as regards farming and conservation interests. In this respect we are engaged in a process that will blend nature, conservation and long-term sustainability of agriculture into the next century. Against this backdrop individual farmers must and will play a key role.

I must, however, express considerable concern and disquiet at the comments of some members of the Opposition on the content and tone of the motion in the name of Deputies de Valera and Lawlor. These appear to be designed more to mislead and foment fear and anxiety among farmers than to recognise and endorse the considerable efforts of the Minister and my Department to put these regulations in place in a manner sensitive to the concerns of the various interests.

In her attack on this side of the House, Deputy de Valera attempted to imply that there was no support for any initiative to relieve the plight of farmers in the west. I was appointed Minister of State with special responsibility for western development as a result of meetings originally held by a core group of farmers in Loughrea. They considered that nobody represented them, that all the political parties had failed them and that the IFA and ICMSA did not represent their interests. They were small farmers with small herds and small estates. The matter has been studied since then. The former Taoiseach, Deputy Reynolds, established a consultative group which examined the situation with the aid of EU money. When the Western Development Partnership Board, which was established by Fianna Fáil, began to examine the problems of agriculture, conflicting interests displayed at meetings resulted in a non too radical proposal by the board. If this motion is designed to help the small farmers in the west and if there was genuine concern about them it would contain some expression about the way in which quotas have been leaked from the west to the south or to other areas, and the savage long-term loss to Connaught of liquid milk. By contrast, the Government took action and ring-fenced quotas, despite opposition from some people still in the west. We made our contribution to small farming.

On the issue of additional quotas and equity, small farmers should get a disproportionate amount of aid for milk and through other headage payments. However, the Opposition is not suggesting such measures. Rather, it is trying to promote fear by implying that the Government is not doing its work.

How much did the Government give the Western Development Partnership Board?

Publish the regulations.

The Minister of State, without interruption.

To allay farmers' concerns and highlight the level of assistance provided by the Government, an amalgam of Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left, at public meetings post the BSE crisis Teagasc representatives indicated that some farmers in the west with holdings of approximately 100 acres are receiving £13,000 in headage and other payments. It is the Government's intention to look after farmers put at risk unnecessarily because of matters outside their control.

This in contrast with Fianna Fáil's record in power. It never provided for the payment of compensation to farmers in times of crisis. The farming organisations should look at the record and see what efforts were made by Fianna Fáil in power to help in times of crisis.

What about the Fianna Fáil Government of 1973-7?

Its record is not good.

We are talking about the survival of the west.

In the event of a dispute, the matter of compensation, which was raised by Deputy Ó Cúiv, will be resolved by means of arbitration. That is fair and equitable. All this is being done in consultation with farmers. That is the proper way to proceed.

Aontaím go bhfuil gá le comhoibriú idir an Roinn agus na feirmeoirí maidir leis na Rialacháin a chur i bhfeidhm. Is iad na feirmeoirí caomhnóirí na h-oidhreachta nádúrtha agus táim féin agus an tAire ar aon intinn faoi sin.

If any of the interested groups are dissatisfied, as far as practicable I am prepared to meet them and to attend public meetings to allay people's fears.

They are looking for answers.

The colleagues of the Minister of State, Deputies Kenny and Higgins, were not prepared to turn up in Westport.

According to newspaper reports, Deputy Ring was present. If meetings are arranged at convenient times, Ministers will attend. When meetings were held in my constituency on a Wednesday night to discuss controversial issues and matters of concern to me Fianna Fáil refused to provide a pairing.

That is not fair.

When farming interests wanted to highlight various problems in the west and to discuss policy on the islands, I met them. While I have visited many small villages throughout the country, I am not too concerned about Westport which is prospering, in terms of employment, because of the efforts of the Minister for Tourism and Trade, Deputy Kenny, and Deputy Ring.

Not to mention the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Higgins.

The Minister of State has yet to bring a cheque.

The whinging on the other side of the House rings hollow. I commend the amendment to the House.

I wish to share time with Deputy Éamon Ó Cúiv.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I was taken aback by the Minister's indignant response. He seemed to imply that, in tabling the motion, we were not complying with normal criteria, in terms of what is acceptable. He used the words "consultation", "compromise" and "compensation". Does he not think he should have reported progress to the House? He referred many times to meetings with the farming bodies and other interested groups. When will he give a lead and spell out his intentions so that they can respond?

The directive was issued in June 1992 and the Minister has had two years in which to implement it. We are heading into 1997 and the Minister is still talking about more meetings, the need to reach a compromise and the payment of compensation. He should do the job he is supposed to do and dispel the confusion. If farm leaders were adequately briefed, there would be no necessity to engage in a PR exercise.

The Minister said he consulted exhaustively with the various interested groups but there was no mention of county councils, the management and elected members of which will be given the task of implementing the regulations. If guidelines were issued, the elected members would be in a position to speak in detail.

The impression is being given that we are breaking new ground. Deputy Ring and his colleagues pass through the Liffey Valley each time they travel to and from the west. In 1984 I tabled a motion to have a special amenity area order introduced. One was eventually signed in 1989 by Padraig Flynn when Minister for the Environment. It was the first such order to be introduced, although it has its limitations.

The Minister highlighted in great detail the problems that have been encountered in drawing up the regulations. Is it not time he made decisions and, on the question of compensation, issued factual information? As he said, there is a need for compromise. The consultation phase is long over. The time has come to take action.

The local authorities are reviewing their development plans. They need clear, concise and specific information as to what should be included. People should know the implications. This is not just a rural issue, it has implications in every county. We are at one on the need to protect our heritage and areas of scientific interest.

In laying claim to various achievements the Minister omitted the words "with all due modesty" from his speech. He should be prepared to accept constructive criticism. We have a legitimate entitlement to table this motion to debate a matter which is being discussed at meetings throughout the country. The motion calls on the Minister to provide clarification and resolve the compensation issue.

No one questioned the Deputy's right to put down the motion.

When on the Opposition benches, the Minister had an answer to everything and was highly critical of the Government. Yet, when one expresses constructive criticism it is taken as a personal affront. The reality is that the Minister must take it, regardless of whether he likes it.

Nobody said that.

Cronyism has been involved in all the Minister's work to date. There is no reflection on the people from various areas.

The Deputy is plummeting the depths.

Nobody refers to the reality.

The Deputy would know about that.

In his constituency, the Minister has selectively given effect to far more than the population related aspects. Cronyism runs through the Minister's work in the Department.

That is untrue.

The proof is there in terms of his allocation of funding and the nomination of people with ability.

Is the Deputy objecting to funding for the west?

The Minister is not capable of dealing with the issue. He is consulting, but he should stop waffling and get the job done.

The Deputy has some neck.

The waffle meter takes off.

Is é an rud atá raíte sa rún atá curtha ag Fianna Fáil faoi bhráid an Tí ná go bhfuil buairt orthu i measc rudaí eile go raibh i gceist na rialacháin maidir leis na ceantair SAC a thabhairt isteach gan iad a phlé i dTithe an Oireachtais nó i gceann de na coistí. Tá rud amháin bunúsach agus is é sin gurb é seo amháin Oireachtas na tíre seo. Is muide agus muide amháin ionadaithe tofa an phobail. Glacaim leis go bhfuil bunús ag an Rialtas a rá go ndearna rialtais rompu agus rialtais ina raibh Fianna Fáil páirteach iontu rudaí a thabhairt isteach gan dul i gcomhairle leis an bpobal.

Ach é sin ráite caithfear cuimhneamh go bhfuil sé ag tús chláir an Rialtais seo go mbeadh siad oscailteach, go mbeadh plé agus go ndéanfaí rudaí ar bhealaigh dhaonlathach. Deir sé i gClar an Rialtais:

The reform of our institutions at national and local level to provide service, accountability, transparency and freedom of information. In doing so, we are committed to extending the opportunity for democratic participation by citizens in all aspects of public life.

Tá mise tinn tuirseach de dhreamanna ar a bhfuil ionadaithe ó fheilméaraí iontu ag teacht chugam agus ag cur ceiste ormsa: "Cad tá á dhéanamh agatsa faoi na SACs", agus gan a fhios agamsa go hoifigiúil cad iad na SACs mar níl an t-eolas ná an idirphlé á dhéanamh liomsa mar bhall tofa ar son an phobail. Ag deireadh an lae tá siadsan freagrach dá mbaill. Táimidne mar ionadaithe tofa freagrach don phobal uilig agus labhraimidne le chuile dhuine inár ndáilcheantar. Sin an rud atáimid ag iarraidh sa rún seo. Táimid ag iarraidh go dtiocfar i gcomhairle linn agus go mbeimidne in Oireachtas Éireann ar an eolas faoin rud atá á bheartú do na daoine sá tír seo. Má tá éinne ag cur in aghaidh an phrionsabail sin tá siad ag cur in aghaidh an rud ar troideadh ar a shon le blianta fada. An dara rud go gcaithfear a rá agus go gcaithfear a rá go soiléir ná go raibh feilméaraí na tíre seo in mbun caomhnaithe leis na céadta bhlian agus gurbé an dream is mó a rinne dochar don nádúr sa tír seo ná an EU iad féin. Sin an dream a rinne an scrios agus tá fhios ag an Aire é sin. Rinne siad scrios leis an mbealach ar thug siad deontais isteach. Ansin thug siad deontais fhoraoiseachta isteach agus rinne siad scrios. Tuigeann chuile dhuine é sin.

Roimhe sin bhí na feilméaraí ag déanamh na rudaí arbh cheart dóibh a dhéanamh. Bhí siad ag tabhairt aire don talamh. Bhí siad ag tabhairt na hoidhreachta ar aghaidh ó ghlún go glún. Bhí sin a dhéanamh acu ar bhealach a bhí ar mhaithe leo féin, ar mhaithe leis an bhfeilméaracht agus leis na glúnta a bhí ag teacht in a ndiaidh.

Tháinig na deontais agus rinneadh an scrios, ach in ionad an EU ag teacht agus a rá: "tá brón orainn gur chuir muid amú sibh agus rinne muid scrios agus cad a dhéanfaimid faoi seo" tháinig siad agus d'iompaigh siad thart agus chuir siad milleán ar na feilméaraí faoin rud go raibh siad féin ciontach as. Is mór an náire é sin.

Go bunúsach is í an fhadhb is mó a bhíonn SACs ag stracadh leí i gConamara ná go bhfuil an iomarca caorach ar na cnoic. Tuigeann chuile dhuine é sin agus tuigeann siad cén fáth a bhfuil siad ar na cnoic. Sin an t-aon bhealach atá ag na feilméaraí slí bheatha amach. Tá réiteach an-shimplí ar an bhfadhb sin, ar ndóigh, agus is é sin ná 30 faoin gcéad breise a chur leis na deontais agus gan é a íoc ach ar 60 faoin gcéad den stoc. Ní bheadh costas pingin ar an réiteach sin agus bheadh an feilméar chomh maith as agus a bhí riamh. Ach ar nós an cheadúnas tiomána bhéadh an réiteach sin ró-éasca, ró-shimplí, róshaor do lucht an mhaorlathais a chaithfeadh é a scríobh síos i dtuairiscí móra páipéir chun a chruthú go bhfuil siad gníomhach i mbun ceiste.

Tá súil agaim taréis an lae inniu go dtiocfaidh an tAire nuair a bheidh na Rialacháin seo faoi réir aige, os comhair an Tí seo nó os comhair ceann de na coistí Dála agus iad a phlé sula ndéanfar iad a achtú. Mura ndéanfaidh an tAire é sin beidh sé ag séanadh bun-chearta an daonlathais ar an bpobal.

There is much I wish to say about this subject but, unfortunately, my time is limited. There is much talk about compromise and appeal boards but before people are fooled, we should be clear about what is involved. A regulation will be made declaring an area on SAC but on the basis of the proposals, a farmer may only appeal it on scientific grounds regardless of how much it interferes with his economic circumstances. I presume the Minister has done his scientific homework and unless the farmer can come up with massive scientific information and employ experts to disprove the Minister's evidence, there is no appeal.

We should also be clear about compensation. We have created the fact of life that most farmers depend on grants for forestry or farming to make a living from the land in the west. This is how matters have been organised and the Minister and I know there will be no compensation for loss of entitlement to grants. Most activities are now so organised that they are not viable without grants. There is no need to pay compensation for the majority of the loss of income because most of it is sourced by grants. Farmers who might wish to plant trees cannot claim compensation because it is not paid in that case.

I understand much of the compensation will be paid through REPS, which will last for five years. What is the deal for farmers who decide to remain outside REPS until they receive their compensation? Will they then be entitled to take part in REPS as free citizens like everybody outside SACs? When the Minister finishes drafting the regulations, I ask him to afford the House the courtesy, which was promised in the Programme for Government, of bringing them to the House or a select committee for discussion before they are enacted. This is a democratic request which would ensure all the issues are thrashed out. Deputies are the only people who can claim to represent all the people in our constituencies and if that was done, it might be possible to allay the existing fears.

As a TD for Galway West, it was not until yesterday that I received official notification from the Minister, the Department or the Government about SACs. As a people's representative, I should not have to rely on organisations to give me second-hand information on proposals for my constituency.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 55.

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bhreathnach, Niamh.
  • Bree, Declan.
  • Broughan, Tommy.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Bruton, Joan.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Upton, Pat.
  • Walsh, Eamon.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Foxe, Tom.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and B. Fitzgerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Amendment declared carried.
Motion, as amended, put and agreed to.