Dublin Docklands Development Authority Bill, 1996: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Over a period spanning more than 200 years, Dublin's docklands have made an invaluable contribution to the development of Dublin as a port and as a city. It was the need to reclaim land to accommodate the increasing size of ocean-going vessels which led to the working port moving into the docklands area from further west along the Liffey quays in the 18th century. The profile of the area rose dramatically on the strength of this trend.

Ironically, in the case of the docklands, it was the very same forces which had once led to the area's growth that also prompted its decline. The need for ever deeper berthage to cope with the development of larger ships and the containerisation of cargo saw the port continue to move further eastwards. The bulk of the working port is now concentrated outside the original docklands area, on the north docks to the east of the East Link Bridge.

Now that the principal port activities have moved on, the docklands area left behind is mixed in character. On the one hand, the area has obsolete and undesirable uses and many vacant sites, all with significant adverse visual and amenity implications. On the other hand, it contains many features of heritage value which bear testimony to the area's heyday as part of the working port of Dublin. The docklands are also home to a number of strong residential communities and it has significant amenity potential with its network of waterways. Its location close to the city centre adds considerably both to the importance of the area in terms of the wider city and to the development potential of the area. The extent of land in the area under the control of public bodies is also of some significance.

The aim of the Government's initiative is to harness the collective energies of all the interests in the area for the purposes of securing the area's regeneration. The special purpose authority for the area, which this Bill provides for, will act as the engine driving this process. It has the potential to secure the vital synergies between the actions of the individual players in the area which would otherwise be lost.

In announcing the docklands regeneration initiative in this year's budget, my colleague, the Minister for Finance, described the large area on both sides of the Liffey which makes up the docklands as an area in transition. The area is, in effect, at a crossroads. To ensure that the many diverse interests in the area do not read the signposts at the crossroads in different ways, the Government decided that a master plan should be prepared to which all concerned could subscribe. Before I get into the detail of the Bill, let me outline what has been done so far to chart the course ahead.

Immediately after the budget, a Docklands Task Force representative of the key Departments and semi-State organisations involved was established. Its remit was twofold. First, it was asked to consider what arrangements should be made to prepare the master plan for the docklands area. Second, it was to make recommendations on the appropriate mechanism for the master plan's implementation.

The task force considered these issues separately and speedily, yet thoroughly, and submitted its report to Government in April. It concluded that the master plan should be prepared by a team of consultants with the diverse range of expertise which would be required if the very many issues facing the area were to be addressed. It also recommended the establishment of a new authority which would lead the implementation of the master plan and, ultimately, the regeneration of the docklands area.

In late April the Government considered the report of the task force and accepted these two principal recommendations. The first recommendation has been implemented through the appointment of a broadly-based team of consultants whose work on the preparation of the docklands master plan is now well under way. The Bill we are debating today fulfils the Government's commitment to the implementation of the task force's second recommendation, that is, the establishment of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

There have, of course, also been other factors which have influenced the development of the docklands regeneration initiative. One of the most significant of these is the wealth of urban renewal experience which we have gained since the first urban renewal scheme was introduced in 1986. Ten years ago parts of the heart of our inner urban areas were beginning to suffer the urban equivalent of heart disease. They were simply not able to continue to fulfil their role as the force driving the blood of the urban economy. Much of this role had by then been assumed by smaller, leaner satellites in the suburbs. Although sustainability was not a word much in vogue at that stage, it was clear that the suburbanisation process which had become established was unsustainable. Ever increasing suburban development compelled us to provide a whole range of infrastructural services which were already available with spare capacity in city and town centres.

The aim of the urban renewal schemes was to encourage investment back to the hearts of our urban areas. Under the first scheme introduced in 1986 and its successor which came into operation in 1994, areas designated for urban renewal have seen some £1.9 billion of investment to date. The schemes have, therefore, recorded remarkable success in achieving their principal aims. A consultants' study on urban renewal published only last week strongly supports this view.

However, the past ten years have shown us that the health of the hearts of our urban areas is not dependent only on investment or physical renewal. There must also be social renewal where local communities have a role in determining the way their area is renewed and benefit from that process. There is also a much deeper appreciation of the importance of architectural and urban design considerations in shaping our urban centres.

The consultants' study on the urban renewal schemes makes extensive recommendations on how these issues can be more fully addressed in the future. These recommendations are currently being considered as part of an overall review of urban renewal policy. A consultative process has been initiated in relation to the recommendations with a view to developing proposals for future policy on urban renewal to be considered by the Government in the first half of next year. Even though the review has not yet been concluded, we have learned much from what has so far emerged from it. Many of the provisions in the Bill reflect that learning process.

Another important factor which has influenced the docklands regeneration initiative is the experience gained in the Custom House Docks and Temple Bar. The docklands area includes the Custom House docks, home of the International Financial Services Centre which has now firmly established itself on the global financial services map. The new Docklands Authority to be established by the Bill will be at a considerable advantage in having this ready-made engine for further growth available to it. One has only to look at the constantly growing demand for office space in the IFSC from approved companies for evidence of the centre's growth potential in the years ahead.

Much of the success achieved to date in the IFSC is due largely to the tireless efforts of the Custom House Docks Development Authority which, since 1986, has, with the help of the powers given to it under the Urban Renewal Acts, acted as the driving force in turning the Custom House docks area around. I take this opportunity to acknowledge the Authority's considerable achievements. The 3,500 people now employed in IFSC and non-IFSC companies in the area will stand as testimony to the Authority's ten successful years, long after it is subsumed into the Dublin Docklands Development Authority to be established under the proposals contained in this Bill.

In Temple Bar we have seen the importance of an architectural framework plan in facilitating the introduction of imaginative, modern, yet sympathetic, architectural styles. Both the Temple Bar and Custom House Docks models have also highlighted the success which can be achieved when a specially dedicated organisation is established to lead a regeneration initiative. At the same time, the size and nature of the docklands show us clearly that the area requires more sophisticated structures than a simple replication of either the Temple Bar or Custom House Docks models could provide. Bringing together the wide range of interests in the docklands area will be a fundamental requirement for the successful completion of the regeneration voyage we are about to undertake.

Many influences have been brought to bear in framing this Bill. The influence of the urban renewal experience gained over the last ten years is clear from the mandate being given to the new Authority. While recognising the importance of improving the area's physical environment, the Authority's remit will be considerably wider, encompassing the sustainable social and economic regeneration of the area. The unique structures of the new Authority reflect the need for a more sophisticated model than those employed in the Custom House Docks and Temple Bar.

The Authority will have two arms. It will have a council which will be representative of the local authority, State bodies, local development and community interests in the area and will be responsible for the principal policy making functions of the Authority. The Authority's executive functions will be exercised by an executive board. In recognition of the importance of the International Financial Services Centre and the Government's commitment to it, the Authority will have a specific statutory duty to promote the further development of financial services activities in the Custom House docks area. While the Custom House Docks Development Authority has, in effect, been exercising a similar function since the IFSC was established in 1987, it does not have the express statutory duty to promote the centre as the new Authority will have under this Bill.

I will now deal with the individual provisions of the Bill in more detail. The 58 sections are split into four Parts and there are three Schedules. Part I of the Bill contains sections 1 to 13. These include the usual technical provisions in relation to short Title, commencement, interpretation, the power to make orders and regulations, repeal of enactments and expenses of the Minister. Provision is also made in section 11 for the indemnification of certain persons connected with the Authority in relation to the bona fide performance of their functions. Under section 12, the Authority will not be liable for damages because of a failure to perform any of the functions provided for in the Bill. Section 13 deals with the prosecution of offences under the Bill and the penalties applying to such offences.

Part II is the most significant part of the Bill, covering sections 14 to 47. Section 14 provides for the establishment of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority or, as Gaeilge, Údarás Forbartha Dugthailte Bhaile Átha Cliath, which will consist of a chairperson, a council and an executive board.

Under section 15, the chairperson of the Authority will be appointed by the Minister for the Environment. The term of office of the chairperson will usually be five years.

Section 16 provides for the establishment of the council which will consist of the chairperson and 25 ordinary members. While the ordinary members are to be formally appointed by the Minister for the Environment, the Bill ensures that they will be drawn from a range of sectors, reflecting the many interests involved in the area. The relevant Government Departments and semi-State bodies will be represented on the council as will Dublin Corporation, at both elective and official level. There will also be representation for organisations concerned with the social, economic or other development of the area, as well as community-based organisations. The town planning, urban design, architectural, conservation and engineering professions will also be represented on the council, as will individuals with experience in a range of areas which are of relevance to the Authority's functions.

Section 17 provides for the establishment of the executive board which will have eight members. This will include the chairperson and seven ordinary directors appointed by the Minister for the Environment for terms of up to five years. Section 18 sets out the functions of the Authority. Under this section, the Authority will be obliged to secure the sustainable social and economic regeneration of the docklands area, the improvement of the area's physical environment and the continued development of financial services activities in the Custom House Docks area. The remit of the Authority will be quite broad reflecting the wide range of factors which have a bearing on the regeneration of an area which covers 1,300 acres and is home to over 21,000 people. The participation and inclusion of local communities in the regeneration of the area will be vital. As the future of the docklands area will obviously have an important impact on the futures of its people, it is only right that they should have an important role in shaping that future and be in a position to reap its benefits.

The types of activities in which the new Authority will be able to get involved will be very varied. For example, it will be able to develop land, carry out environmental improvement works and make provision for infrastructure. It will also be able to promote the co-ordination of investment in the area and the development of an appropriate mix of housing. Provision is also made in this section for further functions in relation to the regeneration of the docklands area to be assigned to the Authority.

Sections 19, 20 and 21 set down the duties and functions of the chairperson, the council and the executive board. Section 19 provides that the chairperson will be responsible for securing the efficient discharge of the business of the Authority, by virtue of chairing both the council and the executive board. Section 20 sets out the functions of the Authority which are to be the responsibility of the council. In line with the report of the Dublin Docklands Area Task Force, the council will be responsible for policy matters, including the preparation of the master plan under section 24 and the making of planning schemes under section 25. Its functions will also include making certain recommendations to the executive board and to Ministers. The remainder of the functions of the Authority, other than those assigned to the council under section 20, will, under section 21, be the responsibility of the executive board. Sections 22 and 23 are standard provisions governing the meetings and procedures of the council and the executive board.

Section 24 provides for the preparation of the master plan for the docklands area. It will serve as the blueprint for the Authority's fulfilment of the general duty imposed on it by section 18. Provision is made for significant public consultation in the course of the master plan's preparation, reflecting the critical importance of bringing all the interests in the area together in support of it. Work on the preparation of the master plan, including extensive consultations with all the interests in the area, has been initiated in parallel to the preparation of this Bill. This will ensure the new Authority, once established, will lose no time in getting the docklands initiative formally under way. It will facilitate the Authority's early consideration of a range of proposals now being developed by the consultants preparing the master plan.

The consultants' work has benefited from the completion of a number of studies on the docklands area commissioned by the Custom House Docks Development Authority. These studies cover the area's socio-economic profile, its land-use and building conditions and the important features of its architecture and industrial archaeology, all key factors to be considered in preparing a workable, viable master plan.

Section 25 provides for the making of planning schemes for certain areas, the effect of which is to exempt development complying with the scheme from the requirement to obtain planning permission. This power was available to the Custom House Docks Development Authority in respect of the Custom House docks area and schemes were made in 1987 and 1994. The process of making a planning scheme provides for consultation with Dublin Corporation and requires the Authority to have regard to the corporation's development plan.

In addition to the Custom House docks area, the new Authority will also be able to exercise the power to make planning schemes in respect of other areas specified by order of the Minister for the Environment under section 25 (1) (a). It is envisaged that the power to make orders for this purpose would only be used where very special circumstances exist, which would make the planning scheme approach appropriate. Under section 6 (3), any order made under section 25 (1) (a) would have to be approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas before it could come into operation.

Section 26 provides for an environmental impact assessment in connection with certain planning schemes prepared under section 25. While under the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, any development to which EIA applies may be included in a planning scheme, section 25 (1) (c) will place a restriction on this. In future, the types of EIA-type development which may be included in a planning scheme will be limited to industrial estates, urban development projects and seawater marinas. If any other development to which EIA applies is proposed for an area covered by a planning scheme, it will be subject to the normal requirements of the planning process.

Section 27 provides for the compulsory acquisition by the Authority of land other than land owned by statutory bodies which, under section 28, may, in certain circumstances, be transferred from such bodies to the new authority. Similar powers are available to the Custom House Docks Development Authority at present and they are being replicated in this Bill.

Sections 29 to 33 deal with the financing requirements of the new Authority. The extent of these requirements can only be considered by the Government once the master plan, which will include costings and funding options, has been completed early next year. Accordingly, in line with the recommendations of the docklands task force, the Bill provides for a range of funding mechanisms to be available to the Authority. The extent to which each will be used will be determined in light of the financing element of the master plan and the decision by the Government on it.

The funding mechanisms which are provided for include grants under section 29, borrowings under section 30, some of which may be guaranteed by the Minister for Finance under section 31, and Exchequer advances under section 33. The Authority's power to borrow will be subject to a ceiling of £50 million on the amount of borrowings outstanding at any given time. The maximum amount of this which can be sourced from Exchequer advances will be £25 million.

Section 34 will enable the Authority to ensure it has an adequate number of employees, subject to appropriate ministerial consents in relation to numbers, gradings and terms of employment. This power is subject to the requirement of section 56, under which the existing employees of the Custom House Docks Development Authority will transfer to the new Authority on its establishment. Under section 35, the Authority will be able to make provision for the superannuation of its employees. Section 36 is a standard provision which will enable the Authority to engage consultants and advisers where it considers it necessary to do so to discharge its functions. Under section 37, it will also be able to accept services provided to it by a statutory body.

Sections 38 and 39 are standard provisions under which the chairperson, ordinary directors of the executive board and employees of the Authority are prohibited from also being members of Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann, the European Parliament or a local authority. As some of the ordinary members of the council are to be drawn from the elected members of Dublin Corporation, who may also be Deputies, Senators or MEPs, the prohibitions of sections 38 and 39 will not apply to ordinary membership of the council to be established under section 16.

Section 40 deals with the disclosure of interests by certain employees, consultants, etc. and is modelled on a corresponding provision in the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992. The section will not apply to the chairperson, ordinary members of the council, ordinary directors of the executive board or certain employees of the Authority, on the basis that the corresponding provisions of the Ethics in Public Office Act, 1995, will be applied to those positions. Section 41 will regulate the disclosure of confidential information by persons associated with the Authority, while section 42 prohibits the making of improper communications to such persons.

Under section 43, the Authority will be permitted to accept gifts of money, land or property. However, it will be precluded from doing so if the conditions governing the acceptance of the gift would conflict with the effective performance of its statutory functions. The Authority will also be required to publish details of all gifts accepted by it in its annual reports. Section 44 is a standard provision in relation to keeping accounts and carrying out audits. Section 45 will require the Authority to prepare an annual report on its activities and to provide the Minister for the Environment with such other information relating to the performance of its functions as he or she may request.

Under section 46, the Minister for the Environment will be empowered to give to the Authority policy directives and directives in relation to financial objectives. This is a balanced provision which allows the Minister to make directives which would apply generally to the Authority's performance of its functions, while at the same time making clear that it does not confer any power or control in relation to the Authority's exercise of its functions in individual cases.

Section 47 makes provision for the dissolution of the Authority by way of order made by the Minister for the Environment. As was made clear in the report of the Dublin docklands area task force, the Authority will not have an infinite life but should aim to fully carry out its duties over a period of ten to 15 years. Once the Authority has completed its work, section 47 will enable an order to be made to dissolve it and to make the provisions consequential on this.

Part III covering sections 48 to 57 sets out the transitional provisions which will apply to the subsuming of the Custom House Docks Development Authority into the new Authority. Section 48 provides for the transfer of all land and other property from the Custom House Docks Development Authority to the new Authority, while section 49 makes a similar provision in relation to rights and liabilities.

Section 50 is necessary to provide for the continuation in force of a range of contractual and other agreements. This will be done by replacing the reference to the Custom House Docks Development Authority in each such case with a reference to the name of the new Authority established under this Bill. Sections 51 and 52 make similar provisions in relation to the continuation of pending legal proceedings and the construction of certain references to the Custom House Docks Development Authority respectively. Section 55 provides for the continued admissibility in evidence of documents of the Custom House Docks Development Authority after its dissolution.

Section 53, which provides an exemption from stamp duty in respect of the vesting in the new Authority of property or rights transferred under the Bill, is a standard provision where transfers between public bodies are being provided for. Section 54 provides for the preparation of the final accounts of the Custom House Docks Development Authority. Section 56 provides for the transfer of all the employees of the Custom House Docks Development Authority to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. Under section 57, the Custom House Docks Development Authority will be dissolved on the establishment day. The establishment day is the day to be specified under section 14 on which the new Authority will be established. Section 58, the only provision in Part IV of the Bill, provides for a number of technical amendments of sections 4 and 7 of the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, in relation to the making of orders and rates remission schemes under that Act.

The First Schedule to the Bill describes the Dublin docklands area which corresponds to the area outlined at Appendix 1 of the Dublin Docklands Area Task Force report. Under section 4, the Minister for the Environment may make an order adjusting the area, either by way of adding contiguous areas or excluding areas currently included. The Second Schedule describes the Custom House Docks Area which corresponds to the area currently defined as such by virtue of the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, and orders made under the Urban Renewal (Amendment) Act, 1987. Section 5 of the Bill makes a similar provision to that in section 2 of the Urban Renewal (Amendment) Act, 1987, under which the area can be extended eastwards as far as the East Wall road. The Third Schedule lists the repeals to be made by the Bill. Part IV of the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, which provided for the establishment of the Custom House Docks Development Authority, and the entire Urban Renewal (Amendment) Act, 1987, are to be repealed.

As Deputies will have gathered, this is an elaborate and comprehensive Bill. Its comprehensiveness is dictated by the need to establish structures which will provide for the widest possible degree of participation in the Authority's work and to clearly set out the comprehensive mandate which is being assigned to it.

I look forward to the master plan for the area taking shape and to seeing its proposals being translated into reality. The establishment of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority will be the critical factor in that process. The regeneration of the docklands area is, of course, not only important for the area itself, it is also of immense strategic importance to the city of Dublin and the vibrant development of the economy as a whole. A city, like any living organism, requires a healthy, beating heart. As a critical part of the heart of Dublin, the health and vitality of the docklands will be of enormous value to a city which has seen many other parts of its central area regenerated in recent years. I commend the Bill to the House with great enthusiasm.

I propose to share my time with Deputy Bertie Ahern.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

This Bill follows the successful path blazed for urban renewal by Fianna Fáil in Government. On behalf of my party I welcome the Bill in principle as, in the main, its provisions are satisfactory. It is the intention of Fianna Fáil to use the limited time available to debate this important legislation to point out what we consider the serious omissions in the Government's proposals, namely the needs of the local community.

The missing chapter in this Bill is the social chapter. On the north and south docks two issues predominate: houses and jobs. Those issues are not addressed in this Bill and until they are this legislation will be incomplete.

This Bill potentially changes the face and life of the city forever. The river and port are literally the lifeblood of the city. The river's edge is a boundary indelibly imprinted on the mind of every Dubliner. In legend and fiction the river is the living symbol of Dublin. Fianna Fáil priority is to ensure that the water's edge continues to be a living place for the communities who have lived and worked there for generations. This Bill does not address the agenda of the local communities. We will not stand idly by and allow the displacement of the indigenous community by default. The docks must not be turned into a theme park for gawkers. When we debate many issues on Dublin, people give out about the traffic in and out of the port. It is of huge concern to many communities but the port was there first and the city grew up around it. We cannot forget that.

The local people who have made their life on the docks for generations are already being displaced. The Dublin Docklands Area master plan that preceded this Bill graphically outlined the decline of the indigenous communities. I congratulate those involved in the plan as it is an excellent one. A lot of work went into it and some interesting facts and figures came out of that research.

There are now 16,700 people remaining in the docklands. A significant proportion of that population is elderly — 13.7 per cent, against a city average of 9.6 per cent. Younger people have not been staying in the area. The social profile has changed as the number of families has declined. Flats and bedsits comprise 36 per cent of households against a city average of 18 per cent. The encroachment of flatland into these areas has also entailed in many instances a degradation of the housing stock. Correspondingly, the number of households in conventional houses is far lower than the average: 63 per cent against a city average of 85 per cent. The area has a far higher than average incidence of single person households, 34 per cent against a city average of 21 per cent. The age structure of the area is characterised not only by a higher number of people over 65 but also by a higher than average percentage of households headed by persons under 24 years. Households headed by people between the ages of 30 and 50 are correspondingly under-represented. There is a substantially higher percentage of households rented from the local authority in the docklands: 34 per cent against a city average of 14 per cent. In keeping with the age and quality of the housing stock a higher percentage of households depend on solid fuel only or solid fuel with a back boiler.

These facts translate into an equally depressing employment and education profile. Of 21,000 jobs in the area covered by this Bill only 8 per cent are held by local people. The school dropout rate before the leaving certificate is 19 per cent higher than the city average. At the upper end of the social spectrum only 5.25 per cent of people are in the higher professions.

When the master plan was published on 20 November I said in a statement on behalf of Fianna Fáil:

I believe that development in the docks must be spearheaded by an integrated education and jobs plan for the local community. Education is the key to access. We must reverse the situation whereby participation in third level is appallingly low. Local people must be positioned to take advantage of development. Traditional jobs on the docks and in other major industries have disappeared. I do not want the docks to become a playground for the upwardly mobile. The unique commercial potential of the area must be harnessed for the local people who have lived and worked in the area for generations.

Those people are part and parcel of Dublin in Ringsend on the southside and the North Wall on the northside. People identify them as the heart and soul of Dublin. It is important they are encouraged to get jobs and stay in the area.

It is ironic that a Minister for the Environment from the Labour Party, which made its fortune using the jargon of equality and access, should now ignore these principles. This Bill will likely represent the Minister's only lasting achievement. He has successively avoided all the main issues on his Department's agenda.

The Deputy must be deaf and blind. He should stick around.

Local authority finance has been sidestepped. Local government reform has been buried beneath a plethora of commissions. Ireland's waste crisis has been kicked to touch——

The Deputy was not here for the Waste Management Bill enacted this year.

It has been mainly kicked to touch.

The Deputy in possession, without interruption. Let us have an orderly debate.

It is the most progressive legislation in that area in the history of the State. I am amazed. Will the Deputy airbrush this out?

We are not airbrushing it out. We have still not tackled the main problem.

Unbelievable.

It is not unbelievable. This Bill, for good or evil, will probably prove the exception. The very real danger is that it will be for the benefit of everybody except the local community, who most deserve to benefit from it. The failure of this Bill to address the social reality of the docks communities is a huge omission which must be redressed.

As a representative of people living in the docks area, I want a clear commitment from the Minister that he will meaningfully address on Committee Stage the issues of education, training and housing in the area. It is ironic that, although the area is surrounded by third level institutions, people from the Inishowen peninsula or the Ring of Kerry have a better chance of access to third level. Some 35 per cent of the local labour force have primary education only against a city average of 19 per cent. An additional 23 per cent have only lower second level education. Only 13 per cent of the local labour force have completed the leaving certificate. The disparity in educational attainment is matched by a substantial disparity in employment figures. Some 19 per cent of family unit heads in the docks area are unemployed against a city average of 11 per cent. The threat posed to local people by this Bill is that development will be for more advantaged outsiders while local housing will be priced out of locals' reach by an influx of professionals. Local people have only 8 per cent of local jobs.

The Minister is probably aware that his colleague, myself and a number of others have encouraged a local community housing project in the Ringsend area which is now going into a third phase. Approximately 50 houses will eventually be built in the local area. This is an important step in the right direction. There is a mix of private and local authority housing, affordable housing and housing co-operatives. This would be a good model on which to provide access to housing for local people in the docklands area.

Fianna Fáil calls for the provision of housing, education and training initatives in the Bill. The education needs of the local communities must be assessed with the input of local people determining the results. I want this to be provided for in the Bill. The Department of Education must give a commitment to set up the necessary structures and the Authority set up by the Bill must also give a commitment to providing resources to operate those structures. Jobs training with the involvement of the relevant agencies, predicated on local needs as determined by local people, must be an essential element of the operation of the Authority.

The Labour Party has patented the jargon of access. No Labour Party Minister needs to be reminded of the new age mantra of words like access, early education, equality, outreach and consultation which they have made part of their credo. For the people on the north and south docks, these words must ring hollow. This Bill, the single largest piece of urban planning in the history of the State, is for buildings, not people. If the Minister has his way, the docklands communities will continue to disperse and the waterfront will become the exclusive preserve of the rich.

Formal mechanisms must be put in place to target jobs and other benefits created by this Bill. This must apply from the construction stage to the establishment of new industries, commercial projects and other ventures. There is a widespread recognition of the need to match jobs with training. It is also accepted that many training schemes, at the end of which there are no job opportunities, achieve little for trainees or trainers. One way to proceed is for the working group established by CHDDA in collaboration with principals and career guidance teachers of local schools and IFSC companies to set up a monitoring scheme. The aim is to inform local young people about the opportunities presented by the IFSC and to encourage them to stay at school in order to attain entry level qualifications. This type of scheme offers the possibility of young people gaining high level employment in the IFSC. However, it must not be treated as a pilot project or simply ignored as it is by this Bill. The same approach must be expanded upon and spread throughout the docklands area.

The importance of training schemes such as those mentioned emphasises the need for early integration of job-related training into the urban renewal process. Local communities should be actively encouraged to prepare in advance for the arrival of new businesses so that they might possess some of the necessary skills to compete for these jobs once they become available. FÁS has a central role to play. Training and education programmes must be designed and implemented in advance of or parallel with development. As currently organised, FÁS and the vocational education committee do not have the flexibility to respond on demand to training requirements. This reinforces the need for planning and a cross-sectoral approach to urban renewal, something absent from the Bill.

Housing, education and jobs are key issues facing local communities. Urban renewal can generate huge investments but these must be carefully channelled. At the top of the agenda must be the creation of affordable local housing for local people. Clearly the one ingredient in urban renewal which has not worked to date is social housing. Temple Bar, which is generally a great success, has failed to generate significant social housing. However, it is hoped that a new scheme will shortly begin with a considerable amount of social housing. Co-operatives such as the successful one in Ringsend which I, as a local councillor and Deputy, have been involved with are one option. More flexible and imaginative use of local authority mortgages and shared ownership schemes must be to the fore in housing planning. Private housing, where it qualifies for incentives, must be targeted to larger family style units. Dublin has enough studio flats. All these considerations, if they are not to be platitudes, must be incorporated in the Bill from the start.

In the anticipated 20 year life of the legislation, we are unleashing potentially huge market forces. Action later rather than sooner for the local communities will be too little too late. There is a missing chapter in this proposed legislation, namely the social chapter. I and my party believe it is not right that those who are likely to benefit enormously from this Bill should have an in-built opt out from addressing the social consequences for the local communities most affected by their developments. It is extraordinary that thislaissezfaire approach should be sponsored by the Labour Party. The docklands area is characterised in the public mind by physical dereliction and social stagnation. Unfortunately, this is often the case. Within the area there are also vibrant communities operating thriving initiatives. This is a huge area which will need many different approaches. Many communities need only a little extra support. Small initiatives may in many instances make the difference for many families and groups. Huge natural advantages lie within the grasp of these historic communities. The city is on their doorstep. The port and canal basins offer opportunities for development that this legislation rightly recognises. Fianna Fáil intends to ensure that those opportunities are used for the advantage of local people.

Section 25 (5) (a) of the Bill requires that the corporation shall consider the making of a development plan variation to ensure that it is consistent with the master plan prepared by the Docklands Development Authority. Some would argue that, as the development plan was adopted by Dublin City Council, it should be regarded as a truly democratic statutory instrument. Many people think the development plan should be the dominant document and the master plan should be consistent with it, notvice versa. The section does not make provision for the eventuality which might arise if the city council decides not to vary the development plan. This would create a situation where the master plan and development plan were not consistent. It might also be difficult at a later stage for An Bord Pleanála to make up its mind about which plan would be more important.

I welcome this important legislation which will make a huge difference to the area but I am sorry educational opportunities for the local communities are not addressed.

It is a pity that such important legislation as this Bill is published at such short notice. I appreciate the Government giving us an extra week to read it. We are now trying to complete Second Stage in just over an hour. As our spokesperson, Deputy Eoin Ryan, has stated, we are generally supportive of this legislation arising from the task force report and I wish to speak about a few areas of importance within it.

The Bill comes before the House at a most important juncture in the city's development. Dubliners can see the tangible results over the last decade; clean air legislation, urban renewal schemes, tax designation and the growth of a new generation of quality employment in financial and technological services. The prospects and the potential are good but we must plan to properly exploit that potential in the decades ahead.

When Gandon's beautiful Custom House was completed in 1791, many of his critics complained that it was unnecessary and extravagant. However, it led to a major expansion of business in the Custom House docks area with the building of large warehouses and stores. One of these is Stack A, a favourite building of mine, which is one of the finest examples of 19th century industrial architecture in the world. Exactly 140 years ago, thousands of Irish soldiers who had fought and won the Crimean War had their mass celebration banquet there on their return home.

Today we look forward to a totally new era for Dublin city which will bring excitement, energy and prosperity to all its inhabitants. We are debating the future of the entire 1,300 acres of the Dublin docklands area and how we can ensure that this development will generate the employment, education, training, public and private housing, suitable enterprises, retail and leisure facilities which will release the potential of the Liffeyside development.

This development will not be completed in the lifetime of the Deputies in the chamber today but it is important and significant because, hopefully, it will provide the basis for many of those who will come after us to continue working on this plan. We must endeavour to get it right at the first attempt.

Of central importance to the development plan is the synchronisation and co-ordination of all the plans and programmes of voluntary, commercial, statutory and Government groups so that the citizens of Dublin will see by the middle of 1997 what is being proposed for their city. There have been many relevant reports and studies undertaken in the past. Some of these have been partially implemented, some have yet to be addressed and others have been put on the shelf.

In the 30 years from 1957-87 very little development took place in the docklands area. Only ten new houses were built between the Liffey and the Royal Canal in that period. Ten years ago a mere 17 people worked on the 27 acre site which now houses the IFSC with its 4,000 jobs. This figure will certainly rise to 5,000 shortly. I have had the pleasure and the privilege as a Member of this House and of Dublin Corporation of being involved with all the developments which have taken place over the last ten years. These include the launch of the urban renewal scheme which I initiated as Lord Mayor in 1986 at the request of the then Taoiseach, Dr. Garret FitzGerald, and the establishment of the Custom House Docks Authority and all that happened from 10 March 1987 when the former Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, took such an interest in the area. As the Minister who established FÁS, I helped develop full-time co-operation with the Custom House Docks Authority which, even though criticised, still results in a great deal of good work in the area. We also set up the local apprenticeship scheme and, of course, brought CERT back into the site in Amiens Street.

The docklands area enjoys a number of unique assets which will aid its development and benefit the local communities and the city. These include its city centre location, its historic links with rail and boat travel and the extensive waterway network which will create water and land-based leisure and recreational facilities. The Dublin docklands area task force draws the comparison with Howth and Dun Laoghaire which are used by a large number of people for leisure activities in contrast to the Liffey, the quays and the canal basins. It makes the point that, by optimising the advantages of the natural resources which waterways represent, the regeneration of dockland areas in our city can be very successful as it has been in many other cities around the world.

In terms of direct, public supported investment in the docklands area in recent years, the Custom House Docks Development Authority project is the most significant. There has also been considerable investment in new and refurbished local authority housing at a variety of locations in the area, including the building and acquisition programme specifically designed to re-house the former tenants of the Sheriff Street flats area. The Minister will recall that some of the buildings have been knocked down. Whatever Deputy Ryan said about what the Minister is not doing, I would consider it a favour to the citizens of Dublin if he ignored any proposals to refurbish the existing blocks and knocked them down as well. Refurbishing them is the most ludicrous idea I have ever heard. Fifteen years ago I was told the buildings could not be refurbished. Deputy Mitchell, myself and others have tried to work on them for years but I honestly believe the Minister would do everyone a favour by knocking them down. Anyone who says different is looking for a refurbishment programme which will be another disaster. If the Minister knocks the buildings down I will publicly thank him in the House.

The next five years will see considerable additional public investment in the docklands area. Substantial funds have been committed to the construction of the Dublin port tunnel, primarily to cater for heavy commercial traffic and planning is under way with a view to its completion by 2001. Plans are ready for a major new waste water treatment facility east of Ringsend and preparations have been made to invite tenders on a design and build basis. The new DART stations for Clontarf Road, Fairview and Barrow Road in Ringsend have already been announced. These projects are part of the National Development Plan and I look forward to seeing them completed.

The main purpose of this Bill is to provide for the establishment of a development authority in accordance with the task force report which was laid before the House at the end of May. The recent ESRI reportDublin Docklands Area Master Plan is of interest in assessing this Bill. So too are the KPMG report on the impact of the urban renewal schemes, the proposed review of Dublin Corporation's 1991 development plan, the HARP initiative, the DTI report, the major tourism initiatives and the many community plans, all of which must now be combined to chart the best way forward for Dublin city. I hope all of these reports will be taken into account and, while I would not stand over any of them in their entirety, they all have completed excellent research over the last decade and they should not be ignored. We do not need any more reports but it is a question of acting on what is already there.

I welcome, in principle, the thrust of the Bill because the initiatives and development proposals for Dublin docklands represent a unique opportunity for urban regeneration, environmental improvement and long-term development of an area at the very heart of the capital city. More than any other part of Dublin, the people of the docklands and surrounding areas have suffered from the problems of chronic unemployment, social deprivation, urban blight and the lack of any concrete hope for the future. In recent years there has been a very significant growth in the community sector, for example, the establishment of the area partnerships and the preparation of the local area action plans which are evidence of the consolidation, integration and focusing of the aims and objectives of community groups. Through a continuing process of public consultation, it is essential to harness the energy of such initiatives in the preparation of the master plan by setting up community liaison workshops, open forum discussions, working group sessions, invited submissions and postal surveys.

In the past, many of the communities living in the heart of the city were lectured on what was best for them. We now have an opportunity of redressing that. Both the financial services centre and Temple Bar are top class initiatives which have been an outstanding success and we in this party are proud of our associations with them.

There are specific aspects of community involvement which have not proved successful. There must be a good mix of quality housing, private and public, and an assurance of employment for local people in their own area. The new docklands Authority must help local communities to develop waterside villages which will provide leisure facilities for water sports, sea food restaurants and cultural, educational and tourist attractions which will provide jobs for some of the young people in the areas concerned.

The residential development must form a major part of the regeneration of this area if vibrant sustained activity is to be created during the day and at night. The existing residential communities should be helped to consolidate and develop alongside new residential communities that would be attracted to the area.

While a blanket tax designation for the whole area would not be a good idea, experience to date in urban renewal has shown it is essential to provide tax relief in derelict areas if renewal is to be stimulated. This was the case in Temple Bar, Tallaght, the Custom House docks area and in other designated areas in the city and around the country. The required level of development will not take place without the support of suitable tax incentives which should be targeted at areas of specific need.

Developers and others will call for all the areas to be designated. However, if one designates an area of 1,300 acres the benefit is lost. In my previous involvement with the designation of urban areas developers told me there was no point in designating certain areas because nothing would happen in them. However, when the designated areas were full they moved to those areas, for example, the North King Street and Smithfield areas.

When the areas are developed I hope Dublin Corporation and the Department will insist that aesthetic and traffic plans will be implemented. When I was in a position of more influence in this regard I regret that cars were not banned from the Temple Bar area. At this time of the year it is impossible to drive through Temple Bar with all the cars parked there. With regard to the development of the Smithfield area, if the plans for maintaining an open space with fountains, for example, are not implemented a proper residential community with families and associated facilities will not develop. It will become an area for people who want apartments for the evenings during the working week and that will not contribute to a living community.

In the limited time available I will not be able to go through every specific issue and I will communicate my points to the Minister in writing. There is no mention in the Bill of a general manager or chief executive function. An area of 1,300 acres with a huge investment programme surely requires a manager. I do not know what the Minister proposes in this regard but it should be provided for in the Bill. I hope such a post might attract somebody from the business or development sector or perhaps somebody who may have been involved with urban regeneration in the past from the public sector.

In so far as involving the community is concerned, the Minister should explain the role of the management body as against the executive. I believe strongly that the executive should have the power on such bodies. I have had enough experience of talking shops to know that somebody has to take action and the executive should have full powers to deal with the matters in question. For many years there was large scale dereliction along Dublin's north quays. Political, business, community and other groups should be involved but they cannot always agree on what is best for development. Somebody must take the decisions and I would rather see a strong executive doing so.

There tends to be much argument about the rezoning of land in suburban and county areas. However, given the amount of land available in the inner city one could build for the next 20 years without having to move to the outskirts. However, to do so effectively one must deal with crime so that people may live comfortably in these areas. Action on that front must form part of whatever plan we make for the future.

I welcome the Bill and I compliment the Minister on it. There should be an engine of regeneration for the docklands area to which the Bill applies. I agree with Deputy Bertie Ahern's warning about the social consequences of failing to take action such as is proposed in the Bill. Dublin has been described as a doughnut — big on the outside and empty in the middle. However, the regeneration schemes which have been in operation for the last ten years have made a significant difference. I was in the courts this morning and I heard a judge handing out a sentence for heroin dealing in which he detailed the extent of the destruction of the inner city community. I agree with Deputy Bertie Ahern that there must be progress on the social as well as the physical aspects.

I drove back from the courts this morning through the North King Street area and there is still a large amount of dereliction despite all the progress made along the quays and Dublin Corporation's plans for regeneration precincts in areas not properly developed to date. There is much work to be done in the north inner city. The new docklands Authority will not deal with the area around the courts and the food markets. However, the same principles will apply. One cannot expect the market system itself to regenerate inner city areas.

That is a communist notion.

Did the Minister hear that remark?

I have said that before to the Minister so I do not think it is a surprise.

The Deputy said the market does not work.

I said the market does not work unaided in urban regeneration. In fact, the market has the worst possible effect in cities if left to its own devices because we need a combination of market forces, planning and special institutions to rebuild the city to make it pleasant. This is a lesson which has no ideological content when one thinks about it. Historically, the wide street commissioners needed powers of the kind this docklands Authority will have, to make the finer parts of Dublin that we love so much today. Comparisons with other European cities lead to the same conclusion that there must be a strong planning function to combine with market forces to have any chance of doing something about the city.

Huge economies can be made if we rebuild the inner cities. They have schools, shops, roads, cinemas and shopping centres close at hand. There is a vast amount of social infrastructure which is perilously close to being closed down for want of people. From that point of view it makes economic sense to build in the inner city especially if one calculates the number of people having to travel long distances into cities and the cost of the infrastructure, including roads, Luas and DART, that must be provided.

We could do a great deal more building in Dublin. The area going westwards along the Thomas Street axis needs to be regenerated and needs a regeneration authority of some kind. Over the next ten or 20 years large portions of the Guinness brewery will be surplus to requirements. I presume Guinness will be able to make beer on a small corner of that vast complex. An enlightened Government would create a regeneration authority for that corner of Dublin, out to Kilmainham and Mount Brown, to prime the pump of development and get the planning process going. It is not really all that important to pour vast sums of public money into these projects. All that is needed is the power and a self-financing process can come into being.

I have always been surprised by the conservatism of the legal advice available in the Department of the Environment in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. I remember many conferences at which people said the constitutional right to private property was the big problem because it stopped various things from being done. I spoke at length to the former Taoiseach, Dr. Garret FitzGerald, on this subject. Rightly or wrongly, he pointed the finger at the legal advice that was generally available at the time — some of which came from the Department of the Environment — to the effect that one could not touch the right of people to build in green belts because of property rights. However, if one searches constitutional law casebooks to find a legal decision that planning was a massive curtailment of property rights, it is not there. We were frightened of our own shadows.

Everybody should accept what is written on the base of Drummond's statue in City Hall; that property has its duties as well as its rights. In an urban environment there is no right to allow dereliction. Looking at semi-derelict houses in Henrietta Street, it struck me that it is as indefensible to say someone has a constitutional right to leave them in that state as to say that Trinity College could leave the Book of Kells out in the rain overnight. It is unacceptable that our architectural heritage can be allowed to decay in pursuance of somebody's notion of a constitutional right. The courts have never laid down that notion. We are frightened of our own shadows when it comes to property rights.

I hope the Minister will encourage local authorities to use their compulsory purchase powers as soon as possible to assemble sites and get developments going. The National Building Agency has, in fairness, done it in some areas. When one looks around Dublin at the quays and other places that have been blighted by tussles between various developers to get one last tenant off a corner site, surely there is room for using such compulsory powers. The community has a right to ensure that inner city areas do not become derelict. It also makes sense for adjoining landowners who have a right to expect that half a street is not falling down. They have a right to some kind of passing trade and a right not to have the windows of neighbouring business premises cemented up. Yet this is done because somebody else exercises a so-called constitutional right to bring about dereliction.

The docklands area could be the heart of the inner city. The whole axis of Dublin could change if this Bill is accepted. South inner city areas, including Gas Company land, can be developed with imagination. Some are already being developed and there is no reason that should not apply to most of the inner city docklands, including the north inner city ones.

How will the Dublin Port and Docks Board work with the new docklands authority? Will it sell off its assets? The Dublin Port and Docks Board is overburdened by debt and pension obligations. Some mechanism will have to be found to unravel that mess and make Dublin a thriving port whose assets are mobilised for building purposes and the regeneration of the docklands rather than being used as collateral by a debt-ridden monster which the Dublin Port and Docks Board used to be and still is, to some extent.

I appreciate that a master plan must be developed but I hope it will go along with market forces. Having said that the market, by itself, is useless to achieve urban renewal, I would make the opposite point also; that a system which does not take market forces into account by using, guiding and directing them, is equally useless. We do not have the resources to publicly fund anything on the scale required. I hope, therefore, that we will not just establish a quango.

According to the explanatory memorandum, the Minister hopes this body will become self-financing. It should rapidly become self-financing and, like the National Building Agency, should pay its way as quickly as possible. I would not like to see an expensive bureaucracy built up which becomes part of the problem rather than the solution. I welcome the Bill which is only part of a broader picture requiring incentives for the huge effort involved to rebuild the Dublin Central constituency. It is frightening to think of the deprivation in those areas and the grip which drugs, and the culture of crime associated with drugs, have taken on the social fabric of those areas. Therefore, it makes good economic sense to concentrate our efforts to ensure that those areas are rebuilt. Simply rebuilding will have some positive effect in bringing employment, hope and the absence of dereliction to those areas. Bringing more people to live there will also have a tremendous effect in lifting morale and giving people the opportunity to find employment in their own neighbourhood.

This Bill is about only one of the three or four such bodies which should be established, if they can all be self-financing, to hammer away at regeneration from the north inner city to Kilmainham on the southside and to do for those areas what the Temple Bar initiative did in that area. If we have the imagination to unleash on the inner city of Dublin, the core, which is decayed at present, can be regenerated. I welcome this Bill as a tremendous positive step towards starting in one particular corner to address a problem which will require a number of Bills such as this to complete the mosaic and get Dublin up and running. I warmly congratulate the Minister on this Bill.

I am always complaining that Deputies come into this House and that Ministers are not present to hear what we have to say, and now it has happened again. This is a short debate and I resent that the Minister could not wait for it to conclude. It happens all the time. Ministers feel they can treat this House in a cavalier fashion and not be present to hear what the few of us, who want to contribute, have to say. I am very sorry that the Minister for the Environment could not wait, as I have, for this debate.

This Bill must be welcomed, but it is loaded massively in favour of the southside of the city. Ever since the Duke of Leinster migrated from the northside to the southside 270 years ago, the northside has never recovered notwithstanding the fact that people, such as Deputy Bertie Ahern, former Minister for Finance and now Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Tony Gregory and I, represent substantial parts of the northside. People will know, of course, that I am originally from the southside and my constituency straddles the border.

The result of this Bill is to extend the Customs House area, which was a northside niche of virtually no benefit to the surrounding community, across the Liffey, down to Ringsend and as far as Merrion Square. It is to yuppify that part of Dublin South-East which is not already yuppified——

Leave us alone.

——whereas the extension on the northside is a minor extension of the line down the River Liffey on what now constitutes the Custom House Docks. Between 60 per cent and two-thirds of the proposed area to be covered by this Bill will be south of the river. If one includes the Temple Bar authority area, which runs from Christchurch to Westmoreland Street, and the huge urban designated area on Burgh Quay, there is a whole raft of special authority areas from Christchurch right down to Ringsend on the southside.

This is an outrageously anti-northside Bill and it completely ignores the west end of the city. It is no coincidence, of course, that the Minister for Finance is a Deputy for Dublin South-East and that two of the three contributors were Deputy Michael McDowell and Deputy Eoin Ryan who also represent Dublin South-East. Why would they not welcome the Bill when it will yuppify that part of their constituency which is not already yuppified although, as Deputy McDowell rightly said, large rafts of the Liberties, North King Street, Smithfield and Inchicore are in tatters? Of course the Bill must be welcomed because it will further improve the city, but it shows an enormous bias in favour of the southside and totally ignores the needs of northside Dublin.

I have been trying to engage Ministers for the past three years since Deputy Bertie Ahern was Minister for Finance in debate on the north-west corner of the inner city. The 72 acres of public authority lands at Grangegorman which are about to be disposed of by the Eastern Health Board, the 30 acres in the public ownership of CIÉ at Broadstone, the Smithfield area down to the quays and the North King Street area are in dreadful dereliction. There is an enormous opportunity to regenerate that part of the city which badly needs it. We were told that, when Temple Bar on the northside and Custom House Docks on the southside were completed, the initiative would move to Smithfield. However, it will not move to Smithfield but to Ringsend and up to Merrion Square. It shows an alarming disregard for the north and west sides of the city and it was reinforced by the decision to go ahead with the two Luas lines on the southside and postpone the northside line. I protest vehemently at this.

When Ray MacSharry was Minister for Finance and Pádraig Flynn was Minister for the Environment Sligo and Castlebar, respectively, benefited from a great deal of development and both towns have benefited ever since, and fair play to them. Now Deputy Quinn is Minister for Finance and, fair play to him, he is looking after Dublin South-East but we need somebody who will take a fairer and more balanced view of the needs of this city.

I will do it.

What will the Government do about Smithfield, Grangegorman, Broadstone and that quarter of the city, and how soon?

And Seán McDermott Street.

Deputy Gregory also adds Seán McDermott Street. Something in addition needs to be done there although much renewal has taken place in that quarter.

What will happen to the village of Inchicore? I have asked one Minister after another to come and see how run down and socially deprived Inchicore is because of public policy decisions — placing drug treatment centres and problematic tenants into Dublin Corporation flat complexes in the area. The multiple effect is to destroy what was once an established area. The people of Inchicore look hopelessly at what has been done for Temple Bar, the Custom House Docks and large strands of Dublin South-East but there is nothing for the needy areas of this city.

Having made that protest and notwithstanding it, I support the concept of this Bill. I want to raise a number of questions about transport before I hand over to my colleague, Deputy Eric Byrne. Is it envisaged that more bridges will be built across the River Liffey? Will the Macken Street-Guild Street bridge be built because it would help the development of the area and ease traffic in the city centre? Are there any proposals for pedestrian bridges across the River Liffey? Is it proposed to build a bridge across the Grand Canal and the River Dodder where they enter the River Liffey to link up the quays for the last few hundred yards on the southside and open up the area?

Is there any proposal for public transport in the area? I hope that as part of the development of the area there would be a Luas-type loop-line which would go down the northside and up the southside — one line would do — from the Custom House to the Point Depot or Dublin Port and back up by Ringsend on the southside as far as College Green. That would link with the proposed Luas system. The development of the area will not be optimised unless there is some form of public transport along those lines.

Are there any proposals for what the French callgrands objectifs? Is it proposed in the next few years to construct any buildings of significance in this city? Not one building of significance has been built since Independence.

What about Charlie Haughey's building?

If Ireland had been independent for 300 years, the Four Courts, the Customs House and Leinster House would not exist. For some reason we have a blind spot about our duty to posterity. Every generation should leave a building to make its imprint on the city. There are no grand objectives and no great buildings have been built since Independence.

Please do it.

I hope this Bill will provide that type of consideration.

Deputy Lowry could do it.

I agree with Deputy Bertie Ahern that the idea of retaining some of the flat complexes and refurbishing them for private use in the Sheriff Street area is unlikely to succeed. All the blocks should be cleared and there should be new developments.

I thank Deputy Mitchell for sharing his time. I have never heard such a passionate speech and the people he represents in the north city will miss his presence after the next election. In view of his enthusiasm for his constituents, perhaps he will reconsider his decision and seek re-election for another five years to put in place——

Can I run as a Democratic Left candidate?

——the ideas about which he is so enthused.

Nobody who has travelled the East Wall Road, walked along Amiens Street towards Busaras or looked in any direction from the East Link Bridge has any doubt about the need for the regeneration of the docklands area. In common with many parts of Dublin between the canals, it has been hit by industrial decline and migration from the inner city to outlying suburbs.

I recognise many of the problems facing the area which are similar to problems in my constituency of Dublin South Central. There are run-down corporation blocks of flats, erected in the mid 1960s, which coexist with increasingly dilapidated traditional working-class housing stock where the elderly struggle to survive on low fixed incomes and many young people struggle to survive on social welfare or low pay. The result is urban blight and all its physical and social consequences, including environmental degradation, the closure of small businesses, long-term unemployment, social disintegration, drug abuse problems and high levels of opportunistic crime.

Dublin port is, or should be, the city's lifeline. The quayscape and its hinterland are an essential element of life in the capital city. I welcome the Government's decision to address the problems facing the docklands area, but I am not convinced that the establishment of this Authority in isolation will achieve the desired results. One of the many side effects of incentive-led top-down development is to suck investment into designated areas and leave adjoining communities to fall further into decay.

The First Schedule to the Bill outlines the areas which will be covered by the Authority. It takes in the intersection of East Wall Road and the North Strand Road and continues in a southwesterly direction towards Amiens Street. Where does this leave Ballybough and Summerhill, areas which have traditional links with the docklands? Where does it leave the Clonliffe area between Ballybough and the Drumcondra Road? How will other urban renewal schemes in the city, such as the Smithfield scheme, compete for the investment involved in the various incentives which are likely to be offered by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority?

I do not doubt that the Authority will make a significant difference to its immediate catchment area but there should be a much more integrated plan which takes in Dublin's inner city as a whole while still maintaining the area-based focus identified as vital in the study of the urban renewal schemes. The recent publication of this study has provided a valuable framework for the future and the context in which the Dublin docklands proposals and future urban schemes should be judged.

If one walks around Temple Bar and looks at the adjacent communities, which did not benefit from incentive-led development, one can see the obvious difference. I warmly welcome the initiatives of the Minister of State, Deputy McManus, in this area and I do not doubt the recommendation in the study will mark a watershed in the urban renewal not only of Dublin but of other urban centres in the country.

Dublin is a series of villages — for example, Perrystown, Kimmage and Crumlin — but they are interconnected and this connection, in addition to the specific character of each area, should be recognised in the urban renewal schemes as in other areas. There is an urgent need to ensure that Government policy in other Departments does not militate against urban renewal and regeneration. This point is explicitly recognised in the study. Urban renewal of areas with old housing stock is not facilitated by a finance policy which expressly favours new housing only.

People buying second-hand houses over a certain age — for example, houses built pre-1914 — should be eligible for the first time house buyer's grant and exempt from stamp duty. At present people seeking to move to the inner city are actively enticed into new developments and dissuaded from purchasing older housing stock. There is a need to take a fresh look at the issue of home improvement grants with a view to targeting them in a way which complements urban regeneration and encourages architecturally and environmentally appropriate renovation. The study on the urban renewal schemes highlighted what it termed "the lack of a clear policy defining what a conservation policy should set out to achieve". It recommended that conservation policies should be developed for each area and then form an integral part of the proposed strategic area plans.

There is a need to conserve communities in addition to buildings. In this regard, further incentives for the provision of over-the-shop accommodation are required on retail thoroughfares, such as the North Strand Road, Talbot Street, Mary Street and Capel Street on the northside and Thomas Street, Meath Street and Francis Street on the southside. I have encouraged the Minister to visit these three famous streets on the southside and to examine the accommodation above the shops. Sadly, particularly in Meath Street, there are only dilapidated buildings.

One of the worst examples of urban blight in Dublin, which has been brought to the Minister's attention previously, is the Cork Street-Dolphin's Barn area of my constituency. Since the 1940s, development in the area has been put on hold pending the anticipated Coombe bypass. Small businesses, which are the commercial lifeblood of areas, have moved out one by one and have not been replaced. Pre-1920s housing stock is crumbling before our eyes and in many cases the residents are not in a financial position to undertake the necessary works without appropriate assistance. There is a strong case for the development of a regeneration package for the Cork Street-Dolphin's Barn area but there should also be regeneration proofing of all Government policies, ranging from financial to industrial, which may impact on it.

I welcome the Government's decision to redevelop the docklands area but I hope necessary measures will be taken to ensure that a relatively small area does not benefit at the expense of other inner city areas and that the recommendations of the study will be incorporated not only by the DDDA but also the urban renewal process throughout the inner city of Dublin. I would also welcome an assurance that the communities living in the docklands catchment area will be consulted at every stage regarding projects undertaken by the DDDA. There should be no displacement of the indigenous population or indigenous industries or commercial enterprises. I hope I left a couple of minutes for Deputy Gregory to contribute.

You did not and I am obliged to call the Minister. However, he has generously agreed to give five minutes of his time to Deputy Gregory.

I thank the Minister for sharing his time. I am disappointed that he was not present for Deputy Jim Mitchell's contribution because it paralleled my views. Given that these views are held by Members on both sides, perhaps the Minister will give more consideration to them than he might otherwise. I wish to make two specific points about the Bill. The first relates to my great disappointment about the limited section of the northside of the city included within the boundaries of the new Authority's brief. The area north of the boundaries proposed in the Bill comprises Buckingham Street, Seán MacDermott Street, Summerhill and Ballybough and is the area of the greatest social and economic deprivation in the State. In excluding that area from its one chance for renewal, redevelopment and hope, we are missing a fantastic opportunity. This point was already made by local community representatives and I merely wish to place it on record.

I appeal to the Minister to reconsider the Authority's proposed boundaries and include the area to which I have referred. This area is in the immediate vicinity of the docklands and was traditionally dependent on the docks, which are long since gone, for employment. I speak from experience of that tradition because my father worked on the docks. Dublin Corporation drew up its own report in recent years on the area comprising Rutland Street, Seán MacDermott Street and Summerhill and has been pressing for the provision of European funds for the area. It is a great shame and pity that the area in most need is being excluded from the provisions of the new Bill. Urban funding recently became available and various areas of the city submitted proposals but again that part of the north inner city lost out. When they learned of the new Authority and its plans for the docklands area, community representatives and organisations in that area had great hope that it represented a light at the end of the tunnel. It seems this is not the case.

I ask the Minister to consider extending the boundaries, at least as far as Capel Street. Deputy Mitchell rightly referred to the area surrounding Grangegorman and Smithfield where the Eastern Health Board must dispose of huge tracts of land. This will lead to the possibility of major renewal and redevelopment in that area which, as several Members indicated, is in great need. I hope the docklands area will extend to Capel Street.

The experience of members of the local community regarding past redevelopment by the Customs House Docks Authority was that they had little or no involvement in the employment opportunities on offer. Virtually no one in the area obtained job opportunities during the redevelopment which took place. Whatever redevelopment is under way in this area, it is essential that it be written into the contracts of building and construction firms that they employ a percentage — perhaps 20 or 25 per cent — of people who live in the area. There cannot be a greater social injustice than to see major redevelopments taking place beside communities where 70 to 80 per cent of residents are unemployed. The people in such communities are not given the opportunity to work in the construction phase of these redevelopments and it would be a major injustice if that were to happen again.

Deputies Ahern and Mitchell raised the Sheriff Street redevelopment. I believe everyone is of the opinion that Sheriff Street flats should be entirely demolished and that whatever redevelopment occurs should take place on an open site giving adequate space for the provision of amenities for the local community. That redevelopment should not be a continuation of the process of constructing blocks of small apartments with transient residents who make no contribution to the local community. There is a great need for additional local authority housing in the immediate vicinity of Sheriff Street and there is an opportunity for the Minister to provide such housing.

I thank all Deputies who contributed to the debate on this important legislation. The Bill has received broad support and, while many Members sought to expand or comment upon the Bill's contents, everyone welcomed the tabling of this legislation.

Deputy Eoin Ryan focused on things which are not in the Bill and largely neglected to refer to its actual contents. For such comprehensive legislation, this Bill is one of the speediest strategic statements of any major initiative to be put into effect in recent times in this House. The Minister for Finance made a statement in his budget this year in connection with this legislation and the Government immediately established a specific task force to bring together the various agencies and individuals to take soundings. That task force completed its deliberations and published its report. We are now in the process of implementing the two key strategic elements of that report. We have begun the process of developing the master plan for the area and we are debating comprehensive legislation in this House. That is a great credit to everyone involved and underscores the importance of the Government's regard for this development.

I am disappointed that Deputy Ryan could not give credit where it is due and instead concentrated on issues which are not necessarily germane to this legislation. He is wrong to criticise the lack of housing provision and he is wrong to criticise the Government. Last year the Government published a new social housing programme and has provided housing for 10,000 families and individuals under the most comprehensive social housing programme in the history of the State. That impacts on Dublin and elsewhere but Dublin Corporation is encountering difficulties in finding adequate space to build the houses provided for.

In terms of Deputy Ryan's comments about the lack of education opportunities, the Minister for Education has done more to focus on disadvantage than any of her predecessors. If there is one milestone in her period of office it is that she has highlighted the area of disadvantage as her primary focus.

The Minister cannot ignore the findings of the report.

It is not fair of the Deputy to talk in terms of what will be left in place as a theme park for gawkers. That does an injustice to the major achievements of the Custom House Docks Authority to date.

What benefits will accrue to the local community?

It was I, as Minister for the Environment, who insisted on the establishment of a community liaison committee for the Custom House Docks Authority. Flowing from that there was a specific FÁS training course to involve people from the local community in training and employment in the Jury's Hotel project and onsite development and works. I recognise the importance of involving the local community and this was not done until I became Minister. That policy is strongly represented in the provisions of the Bill——

It is not.

——which, for the first time, provide the community with a real role and a representative voice on the council that will be established. Deputy Ryan should acknowledge that fact.

Deputy Ryan states that this will be my only significant achievement but he cannot have it both ways. I will not reiterate all that has been achieved in waste management during the past 12 months or the local government reform package I am about to launch, which will be a very significant development.

The Minister is cherry-picking.

I am aware the Deputy has no interest in county roads or other initiatives which do not affect him but they are important to other Members on the Fianna Fáil benches. They will be displeased that the county roads and other initiatives count for nought in the Deputy's mind.

The Minister is cherry-picking.

I strongly welcome the positive contribution to the Bill by the leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Bertie Ahern.

The Minister does not like criticism.

He recognises it as an important measure. I share his view on the importance of Stack A and on the co-ordination and synchronisation envisaged in the Bill. I will take strong cognisance of his views on Sheriff Street flats, a point echoed by Deputy Gregory and Deputy Jim Mitchell.

The Minister should have been in the House for Deputy Mitchell's contribution.

Deputy Ahern also spoke about traffic management. It is important that a comprehensive view on urban renewal should take account of traffic management. As regards this month's operation freeflow initiative, I hope the director of traffic for Dublin will be in place early in the new year. Preparatory administrative work, including a consultative paper on how the post fits into the management structure in Dublin Corporation, is well under way. I welcome Deputy Bertie Ahern's kind and supportive comments.

Deputy Michael McDowell welcomed the Bill, which he described as an engine of regeneration. His fear that this regeneration would disadvantage other areas was raised by other Deputies. On Smithfield, the specific area he mentioned, Dublin Corporation has prepared an integrated plan for this area known as the Harp area. The plan is being fully funded by the EU and my Department, which the Deputy will welcome. I take on board points made about the powers of local authorities and the NBA to acquire sites by compulsory purchase order which is done very effectively in other areas.

I am sorry I missed Deputy Jim Mitchell's contribution.

My contribution was mild compared to his.

I have three Bills before the House today and I left the House for approximately five minutes. It is unfair of Deputy Mitchell to say Ministers act in a cavalier fashion. I will read his comments on this subject carefully. He voiced a concern about the effect this proposal will have on other areas. When an urban renewal project is announced, people who are not in the area will say it will have a bad effect on their area. If we acted on that basis there would be no urban renewal schemes. Urban renewal schemes have been a huge success and almost £2 billion has been invested.

This measure will not pull the International Financial Services Centre southside. There is a specific promotional requirement in the Bill to develop the IFSC in the current Custom House Docks area on the northside. I have powers in the Bill to extend the new docklands area. There are no powers to develop it further south but there are powers to develop it further north. I will take account of the constructive comments made by Deputy Gregory in that regard.

Such a measure will not please everybody. However, it is a significant step in the regeneration of the ailing heart of the capital city. I look forward to this measure passing swiftly through the Houses of the Oireachtas and, more importantly, being implemented by the new Authority, with the benefit it will bring not only to the designated areas but also to those contiguous to it.

Question put and agreed.