Finance Bill, 1997: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 3:
In page 15, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following:
"4. — The Revenue Commissioners may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, from time to time make regulations for the purpose of exempting persons resident within the State from liability to taxation and levies in respect of earnings from employment in Northern Ireland to such extent as, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, is reasonably necessary to create equal treatment as between such persons and other persons resident in the State and liable to taxation and levies on similar incomes earned in the State."
—(Deputy M. McDowell.)

Before the debate was adjourned I referred to the strong feelings in County Donegal about the lack of progress in this matter since this time last year. I stress the human aspect. Places like Inishowen have not benefited from the economic boom or the Celtic tiger. When jobs are not being created in their areas people must take up employment in Derry which is the natural hinterland to parts of County Donegal.I do not understand why these people should be penalised for securing employment for themselves.Even if they were able to secure similar employment in County Donegal or other Border counties the wages would be much lower. People are moving out of these areas. As I said on Committee Stage last week, I know of two families who have moved away. They were not employed in the area, so the loss is not felt in that respect, but their children went to the local schools and they bought their groceries in the local shops. When a family moves away from an area it can result in the loss of a teacher in the local school, particularly in small rural areas such as the one from which I come. Two or three children leaving a school could result in the loss of a teacher in subsequent years. Services generally are declining in certain areas as a result of people moving away. We do not want that situation further exacerbated by this problem.

The Minister stated earlier that the movement of people out of rural areas and into towns was a national trend. That is not the case in areas such as the constituency I represent. People enjoy living in these areas. They have many natural amenities which people will be aware of if they visited our area during the by-election. Unfortunately, work is not available and people will move away to find it. They are now being penalised for doing that.

If we addressed this problem through these amendments, we would also address the wider human issue. Teachers would be kept on in schools in rural areas, shops would remain open and services would continue to be available. People want to work. This problem must be urgently addressed. We do not want to see further anomalies. There is little point in resolving one problem if we are creating another. Nor do we want to penalise people because of where they live and because they want to work. That has repercussions for everybody in these areas. An equitable tax system would solve many of the existing problems.

I ask the Minister to clarify the position in regard to Article 18. If a group of people were previously covered by that bilateral agreement, how can they no longer be covered if a change has not been made to it? I realise there was a change in their status as far as Northern Ireland was concerned, particularly in regard to teachers, health care workers, civil servants, etc., but if they were previously covered by a bilateral agreement, can that be changed without being changed on both sides? People are waiting for clarification on this matter. If people were previously covered by Article 18, they should continue to be covered because there has not been any update in that bilateral agreement. Any decision we reach today or at any other time would have to be ratified by both Governments.

Issues like this annoy the people in the area I represent. They want to see progress being made. I acknowledge the levies were changed last year and that a special case was made for cross-Border workers. That provides us with an opportunity to examine these amendments and address this problem. If we resolve it we will be helping many other people in terms of the economic benefits that will arise. If we do not resolve it, however, areas will be depopulated. I do not want to engage in scaremongering but if a number of families leave an area every week, it will have major implications down the line. I support the amendments.

I support Deputy McCreevy's amendment. The Minister has met Deputies from the Border counties on a number of occasions to try to resolve this issue, which is of concern to them. Irrespective of which side of the Border a person lives or works on, this State benefits. A person who works on this side of the Border and lives on the northern side pays tax at the southern rate. The State obviously benefits from that. If a person lives in the Republic and works in the North, this State benefits also because tax is assessed on the domestic tax rate. However, no rebate is given to people living in the North but working here. Tax harmony on both sides of the Border is the answer to this problem but in the meantime the issue should be addressed.

Will the Minister indicate if this issue has been addressed in a European context? There are 15 member states in the European Union with a number of frontiers dividing various countries. Is there harmony on the different frontiers in terms of the way this issue is dealt with? If not, this matter should be raised at European level with a view to finding a solution that will ensure workers on both sides of a frontier are treated alike.

(Wexford): I ask the Chair to allow me some latitude to raise the issue of borders across the sea and the question of seafarers' tax. The Minister might give his views on this when replying as concerns have been expressed to him already by the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Howlin, in relation to the Irish Ferries' workers. As the Minister is aware, recommendations were made some time ago by the steering committee set up to examine the question of seafarers' tax. Those recommendations have been taken on board by the Minister for the Marine. I understand the Minister for Finance is sympathetic to this issue but he has not implemented the recommendations of the steering committee in this Finance Bill. The committee made certain recommendations which would be of major benefit to Irish seafarers, particularly the workers in Irish Ferries. The Minister is aware of the withdrawal of Irish Ferries' ships from the Continent for six months earlier this year. They are back on the route but there is a possibility that they will be removed again in September. That will have serious effects on the workers in Rosslare and in other parts of the country. I ask the Minister to seriously consider the recommendations of the steering committee and the suggestions put to him by Irish Ferries and SIPTU in December concerning a number of changes that would copperfasten the jobs of Irish seafarers and not allow them be taken over completely by Third World workers.

I ask the Minister when replying to deal with the family income supplement and the other two queries I raised, namely, the yield for this category of people and the estimated administrative cost.

I regret I am not in a position to accede to either of the two amendments. The amendment in the name of Deputy McDowell is generously drafted from the point of view of giving mecarte blanche to amend it as I see fit.

The Minister can do whatever he likes.

I know that, but both parties have approached the same issue from different angles from a legislative drafting point of view. There is a basic principle here and, to answer Deputy O'Hanlon, the principle is applied in virtually all of the other member states where people are taxed on the basis of their residence. There is a certain logic in that because where one lives is where one partakes of the services which that revenue funds. Deputy Browne raised a matter of which I am acutely aware, the very difficult and competitive position with regard to carriers on the Irish Sea. I am looking at that in the context of other ways in which help can be provided to them because the principle of residence is as germane to seafarers as it is to cross-Border workers. I could be partisan and politically acerbic and say that in all the years during which Fianna Fáil was in office it never addressed this issue and that its conversion in Opposition to finding a solution is wonderful. However, I will not make that point.

The Minister has just made it.

I will not press it home. I recognise that Border Deputies — particularly Deputy Keaveney from the point of view of the campaign, where she lives and her previous work experience — are uniquely positioned to articulate this concern. As Deputy McDowell observed earlier, this problem has been exacerbated by two factors, much lower personal rates of income tax in the United Kingdom combined with a lower salary, and that was further aggravated when the Irish pound was trading at £1.04p against sterling. The situation has changed somewhat in the last few days and again today. Those three pressures are new relative to when Fianna Fáil Ministers were in office. I accept that the matter has become worse than it was in previous years.

What the House is asking me to do is to deal with a perceived inequity — I do not necessarily accept that it is an inequity although the aggrieved parties feel they are being unequally treated — with the creation of another inequity, that is by providing for different rates of income tax as between people who earn their income outside the State and those who earn their income in the State. A new inequity would be open to challenge in our courts, and we have a litigious, well-informed and well-represented citizenry who are not slow to go to court and who could argue their case clearly. Because of our Constitution and the experience of the Murphy judgment, which has been cited on a number of occasions, one would have to conclude that a breach of principle in respect of one category of worker which would establish in law a legislative inequality treatment would have to be extended to every other category that made a similar case. I am simply not in a position to solve the problem in the manner suggested, although I recognise the difficulties.

There are other difficulties that compound the problem. Rural depopulation affects parts of the country that have no cross-Border complications. One cannot change geography — Inishowen will always be closer to Derry than to Letterkenny. The question is what can we do. It is to be hoped that if the movement towards the reduction of income tax narrows the margins over time — and we can debate the speed at which that will happen — that will address the matter in some way. Second, we have addressed it somewhat in the margins in the context of the levy. Deputy Kirk asked me about the numbers and categories of people living in the Republic and working in the North. I am not sure that the figures could be compiled in a manner that would be administratively simple, but I have some information which I will give in a moment.

Deputy Kirk's first question was about eligibility for family income supplement. The advice I have received since the matter was raised is that a person who has an income level such that he or she qualifies for family income supplement in the Republic should, in principle, qualify for family income supplement, even if the income is earned outside the Republic. The individual case should be looked at. The regulations seem complex but, to give evidence of my good faith, if there is ambiguity and the regulations are crafted in such a way that it is not possible to administer the family income supplement to people whose income is derived from employment outside the State I will undertake here and now to change the regulations to deal with that. That would be one way of addressing the problem because if someone is low-paid, he is low-paid, irrespective of who pays him, and he is an Irish citizen paying Irish tax and should be entitled to the same benefits as others in his situation.

There are no definite figures available as to the number of Irish residents who work in Northern Ireland. The PAYE limit was extended in 1991 to cross-Border workers paying PAYE in the United Kingdom and it was estimated that around 1,000 workers would benefit. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that this figure would have increased since then due specifically to the expansion of employment opportunities, particularly in Derry, but the total number remains small. The Cross-Border Workers' Association claims that its numbers may be as high as 15,000, and this estimate is based on the observations of members of the Cross-Border Workers' Association standing at Border crossings and counting the number of occupants in the cars crossing the Border from the Republic to the North. If polling were carried out on that basis we would have a pretty hairy estimate of the electoral support for our various parties. I do not know what their tax contribution is, but the Deputy will probably get a more prompt reply if he tables a written question.

The last point I want to address is one made by Deputy O'Hanlon that the State is winning both ways in that people who live in Newry and work in Dundalk get credit for the tax they pay in the UK where they are registered for tax because they live in Newry, but pay more tax here than they would have to pay in the UK. Therefore, to a certain extent we do win. As somebody who grew up in a family that comes from both sides of the Border, I have noted that there is an extraordinary silence when the tide comes in on one's own side. Deputies Kirk and O'Hanlon would be aware of this. Since the age of three and a half, I travelled on a regular basis to Warrenpoint and was introduced to the vagaries of regulated markets and the opportunities on either side of a tariff barrier from a very early age.

Did the Minister exploit it? In these politically correct times, he should be careful.

I did not but I saw other people doing it. I had great pleasure in being the courier of cigars for my late grandfather, the price being much cheaper in the Republic — they were available in the Republic but not in Warrenpoint in 1950, 1951 and 1952. The Border Deputies know better than anybody else in the House about that.

The principle in question is fundamental, and I say this not from a lack of sympathy. We cannot breach the principle because we do not know where it would end. In regard to the family income supplement, I am prepared to address it if that is appropriate.

The last question posed by Deputy Keaveney related to article 18 and the bilateral nature of the double taxation agreement. Obviously the agreement itself can be altered only with the agreement of both sides because it is, in effect, a contract. However, the interpretation domestically can vary from time to time, and if the status of a particular worker who previously was deemed to be a Government worker and now for reasons of internal policy in the United Kingdom is no longer deemed to be a Government worker but one employed by a parastatal organisation, he forfeits any benefit of that agreement.

In response to Deputy McDowell's query, the reason for the differentiation goes back to an OECD regulation under which, if Governments were paying public employees' salaries they ensured they and nobody else got the tax revenue.It was not a question of a bias between public and private which, if I understood him correctly, was the way the Deputy interpreted the matter. The then Government was trying to maximise its tax revenue and was not going to pay the salary of one of its nationals merely to have the tax collected by another country. That is why the conventions exist. The discussions which are taking place may address the question of the status of teachers and other public employees in Northern Ireland, but it is primarily a matter for the UK authorities to revise or otherwise alter their interpretation of the employment status of those people so they can qualify for the exemption. While I understand the sentiments behind the amendments, for the reason I have outlined I cannot accept them.

Recent unemployment figures and reports reveal that, despite the allocation of Structural Funds and other sources of funding to the Border region, it is one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country. When we re-examine the disbursement of Structural Funds in 1999, if they are available, if the entire island is not treated as an Objective One area at least Border areas will be included. Recent employment figures show that there is long-term unemployment in Louth and Donegal. The greatest amount of lobbying Oireachtas Members on this matter was from cross-Border workers in Donegal and Louth. Workers in those areas find it necessary to cross the Border to get work. For that reason, we believe a special case should be made for them.

Approximately two years ago Fianna Fáil sought advice from tax experts on this matter and they submitted helpful proposals. Prior to the Minister's reply, I was going to ask if he was still examining the position. I thought it might have been possible to put in place a moratorium in respect of those who will face substantial tax bills if this provision is passed. In view of the Minister's comments, perhaps some type of facility could be provided for these people.

The proposals we have put forward are water-tight.We have them checked every time we discuss a Finance Bill in the House. They will stand the test of time and will include approximately 80 per cent of those affected. Paragraph (a)(i) deals with the problem of cross-Border workers who are absent from the State for five consecutive days, the normal working week. Those people would, therefore, not meet the requirement in the existing legislation of being abroad for at least 14 consecutive days. The proposed amendment would reduce qualifying periods of absence to at least five consecutive days. Paragraph (a)(ii) would remove from the original legislation the rule that a person must be regarded as being abroad for one day only if he is abroad at midnight on that day. Few cross-Border workers would be out of the State overnight.

Accordingly, this proposal would replace that rule with one which would regard cross-Border workers as being out of the State for a day when they are out of the State for a period of eight hours in a day. The average full-time worker working in Northern Ireland would be absent from the State for a period of eight hours in a day. Paragraph (b) of our amendment deals with the exclusion from the relief of periods of absence from the State where a person is working in the UK. This exclusion is included in the existing legislation by providing that it does not apply to employment which is subject to the provisions of Part III of the Sixth Schedule of the Income Tax Act, 1967. Such employment relates to the UK. The proposed amendment states that this exclusion does not apply to employment located in Northern Ireland. The exclusion would continue to apply to an employment located in Great Britain. The amendment is confined to Northern Ireland employment, since this is the aspect about which complaints have been received. A wider amendment which would include Great Britain would involve a great deal of cost.

This amendment would result in Northern Ireland employment income being exempted from Irish tax for an Irish resident working in Northern Ireland. The arguments put forward by the Minister over many years do not stand up. I accept he has people advising him on this matter and that in other circumstances he might support the amendment. I am not want whinging about this matter. Figures are available to prove that workers in Border areas are being disadvantaged and, therefore, special attention should be given to them. We will probably have to wait for another day for this to happen. However, if in the next couple of weeks we move from this side of the House to the Government side — the Minister can quote me on this — the amendment will get favourable consideration in next year's Finance Bill.

I was watching from a hospital bed last week when tributes were being paid to you, a Cheann Comhairle. I join with the good wishes extended to you by Members on all sides, particularly as both of us were elected on the same day. Please convey my good wishes to your good wife, Kathleen.

I did not think I would ever hear a Fianna Fáil Deputy make the pledge given by Deputy Ahern. I am gratified because for many years I have been trying to persuade Fianna Fáil that the problem is national rather than international in that it refers to people on both sides of the Irish Border. I have made many approaches on this matter to Fianna Fáil Ministers. I have argued that anyone who travels daily to work in Northern Ireland should be exempt from this provision. I am pleased Fianna Fáil has pledged that if it is returned to Government it will take up what I have been preaching to it for many years. The Minister is more amenable to change on this issue than any other person, including members of my party. This provision came into being in 1976. I was unaware of it until I was in Opposition. I argued that it was partition in the strictest sense. What we call partition is symbolised by a Union Jack, red telephone boxes in the North, the Tricolour and green telephone boxes in the South and the fact that the police wear different uniforms on both sides of the Border. But real partition occurred when the Government in the South said to people living in the Republic that if they went to work in Northern Ireland and brought their wages into the Republic they would be subject to double taxation. The message was that if people wanted to avoid double taxation they should live in the area in which they work.

I made a proposal to the Minister and we have covered a good deal of ground on this issue. When we start dictating where people should live through the laws we enact in this Parliament, we are being partitionist. That is against everything in which the main parties in this House believe.

The largest party, not the main party.

Particularly the largest party. I am also against partition. I am very much in favour of harmonising the economies of both parts of Ireland. In this regard cross-Border workers have identified one of the matters which cuts across and contradicts all the policies of the major parties.The issue is much broader than cross-Border workers. It is how do we approach the solution to the Irish problem. I argue that if we cannot unite Ireland economically, there is no possibility of uniting it politically. We have the ability to influence the economies of both parts of Ireland. That may involve talking to whoever will be elected in Britain tomorrow about how we can contribute to harmonising the economies of the North and South.

The laws are discriminatory and unconstitutional; they are partitionist and wrong. I wonder why a case has not been brought to the Supreme Court. I am aware the Minister subscribes to many of the thoughts I expressed. I appeal to him to reconsider the concept of the North-South relationship. There is a broader dimension to what we are talking about than cross-Border workers. That issue is only the tip of the iceberg. We are talking about harmonising the economics of the North and the South and doing everything in our power to eliminate the economic border that exists. When that is eliminated everything else will come into play.

I grew up 100 yards from the Border. Many of the people who lived in Lifford went to work in Strabane and many of the people from Strabane went to work in Donegal. In those years their employers deducted their taxes at the rate that applied where they worked and that was the end of the matter. Then a person had a bright idea that we must stop the abuse caused by somebody working on one side of an international border and living on the other side of it, thereby gaining a some economic benefit. That may have been a problem for the financiers of different nations, but it not the core issue in the debate on cross-Border taxation before the House.

Cross-Border taxation is wrong and the theorists in the Department of Finance here and in Britain believe if there is a change in the status of a cross-Border worker we will lose the tax which that worker's income generates when it is imported into the Republic. However, there is a neutralising position in this regard. If that person decides to live in Northern Ireland, we will lose the economic benefit of the wages that person imports from across the Border and his or her family spend in the Republic. It is a case of which is the shortest or longest way around the egg. It is a catch 22 situation. We could start to cheesepare in this regard, but there is no easy solution. We are blocking the resolution of this problem because our perception of it is blinkered. I argue the problem is much broader. It challenges the concept of where Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the Progressive Democrats stand on economic unity on the island of Ireland. Unless we can come to terms with that and find a solution to it, we should stop talking about Irish unity because it will never happen. If we cannot unite Ireland economically, there is no hope of uniting it politically. It will never happen — it is a million years away.

I appeal to the Minister to see the issue as involving more than a few dozen people from my immediate area going to work in Northern Ireland and having to pay double taxation. This issue which cross-Border workers rightly challenge, is also challenging the principle of the basis of political belief enunciated by the Fianna Fáil Party since its foundation, Irish unity. It also challenges the thinking of the Fine Gael Party that believes in a united Ireland, the Labour Party that wants the unity of the Irish people by consent, the Progressive Democrats and everyone else. Anyone who disputes that does not understand what I am talking about.

To address the difficulty of cross-Border workers, as I said to many Ministers of different parties privately in the corridors of this House, in their offices or during debate in this Chamber, this provision should be confined to people who must travel on a daily basis to work in Northern Ireland. If we broaden the issue, we will be in a bigger arena. I want to achieve that by having every party on the island of Ireland, North and South, and every party in Great Britain to sit down in open forum in a neutral venue to discuss economic co-operation between Britain and Ireland.

Two hundred years ago Henry Grattan identified four basic positions, to unite Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter, one of which was political separation from London. We did not want to be governed by Westminster. That applied to southern Catholics as much as it did to northern Protestants.In latter years, they called for the reconstitution of Stormont, another way of saying that they do not want to be governed by Westminster. The other positions were economic union, free trade and stability of currency. They are as valid a basis for an economic and political settlement between Westminster and Dáil Éireann as they were 200 years ago. If we examine this closer, those four basic positions are the reasons the Irish and British people agreed to join the European Community. If we are to settle the Northern issue, we should consider the economic dimension rather than the political barriers that separate us, a matter about which we could argue until the cows come home.

Whatever Government will be in office after the general election, it should sit down with the British Government. It is time for the new British Government to sit down with the Irish Government and include every party in both parliaments, from the Unionists and Nationalists in the North to all the parties in Dáil Éireann, as well as the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists and all the parties in Britain. The peoples of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic are in this together. Governments on their own have never found a solution to the Irish problem. May be it is time for parliaments to find a solution.

While I have broadened the debate, I pay tribute to the courage and stamina of cross-Border workers in following through on what they feel is a wrong they want to have corrected. I see it more as a challenge to the fundamental beliefs of all political parties in this House. Where do we stand on economic co-operation between North and South? This is the beginning, it is the tip of the iceberg. The Minister might have another look at it.

As a Deputy representing the Border areas also, I reiterate the concerns of cross-Border workers. Part of the economic problem in the Border areas has been caused by the necessity for my constituents and others in those areas to travel to Northern Ireland to seek employment. That is a reflection of what has happened over the last number of years due to the lack of investment in Border areas. Towns such as Beleek, Enniskillen, Derry and Strabane have provided employment for people who live close by in remote areas.

This matter goes beyond the decision by the British Government to recategorise workers who heretofore were exempt from cross-Border taxation. It relates in particular to health workers and teachers, for whom trusts were set up.

I heard what Deputy McDowell said and I suppose there would be no problem if all our taxes were the same. Since the take home pay of many who live in the Republic and work in factories in Northern Ireland is less than people who work in the Republic, they feel aggrieved about the imposition of an Irish tax on their pay. We can respect the view that if they live in Donegal or other parts of the Republic — years ago they used to refer to the Free State — they benefit from taxation via education, the roads, etc. However, when one is asked in November to pay £4,000 or £5,000 in tax it is very difficult to do so.

One of the solutions would be to look at a system such as PAYE. People are aggrieved that they must pay tax here, in particular because of the economic necessity to go to Northern Ireland to find a job. I represent remote areas such as Pettigoe and Lettercran, where people go to Lough Derg. All that is there is bog and mountain.But for the access to Lisnaskea, the Beleek pottery and Enniskillen, they would have no employment. If we are committed to ensuring that people remain in these remote areas, an interim solution must be found until the taxation system between the Republic and Northern Ireland is the same.

I realise the Minister is doing his best to address the matter and, in fairness, he has met us on a number of occasions and set up committees to deal with the matter. However, the loss to the Exchequer is negligible. The Minister should look again at the amendments which would give much relief to people many of whom are badly paid, particularly factory workers. They resent the fact that they must also pay tax on this side of the Border as they do not see any visible return for it. The return is there but they do not see it. The Minister should reconsider this and accept the amendments to deal with this as an interim measure until such time as we have taxation parity and then there would be no problem.

It is always fascinating to see the issues which arouse most interest among Deputies in terms of the number of contributions made and the intensity of the debate. Last year it was an argument about Salthill, Westport, Arklow and such places.

It will not be repeated.

This year we are talking about something really serious. Listening to the debate it struck me that the Minister's position is fundamentally wrong. I say this not because I am contemptuous of his position but because there is an error at the heart of it. We are dealing with a distortion caused by two separate taxation systems.The distortion is also caused by the fact that some people who reside in one area where residence is the tax criterion, must work in another market in which tax and employment remuneration are intimately connected. They are being taxed at a higher level in the Republic on incomes which are lower in Northern Ireland precisely, but not entirely, because of the differing tax regimes.

I listened to what Deputy Harte said about economic unity but I take what he said with a grain of salt. Although it was sincerely meant, he and his colleagues voted down an amendment in my name earlier which would have achieved the tax unity he was talking about. As a parliamentarian, one does not have to go to Mr. Grattan for a solution on tax equality North and South. Henry Grattan did not have to deal with a border. I gave the solution this morning yet Deputy Harte voted against it. That is the problem.

In 200 years time they will not be talking about Deputy McDowell, but they will still be talking about Henry Grattan.

I wonder why.

I know they talk about nobody else but Henry Grattan in the Deputy's constituency. In my constituency, however, we are concerned with what is happening now. Cross-Border workers want something done. I am confident the next Government will introduce income tax rates which, roughly speaking, will be the same as those in Northern Ireland so there will be no distortion. It will take five years to do so, however, and it cannot be done in a big bang overnight. I wish it could be but it cannot.

We must deal with realities. The reality is that for a number of years there will be a category of workers that is taxed heavily on low incomes which are earned in Northern Ireland because they reside in the Republic. It is not beyond the wit of the Revenue Commissioners to devise a scheme to give some relief. The Minister said people could end up in the Supreme Court arguing about this and that, but a measure which was designed to achieve equity between people doing similar jobs on different sides of the Border, and which gave relief to those earning in Northern Ireland and residing in the Republic, would not fall foul of the Supreme Court or any equality provisions in the Constitution, if it were carefully drafted.

If a matter reflected genuine inequality, inequity and injustice in society it would be regarded by the Supreme Court or any other court as an area in which the Legislature was competent to take some remedial action. It is within the capacity of the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners to provide relief. The Minister could accept Deputy McCreevy's amendment and set out in the Finance Bill the mechanism for such relief or he could do what I have suggested and give the Revenue Commissioners, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, the capacity to make regulations to relieve the heavy burden of tax on people in these circumstances. No court would invalidate such a measure for which there is no bureaucratic appetite.

Cross-Border workers must vote for parties which will equate the tax systems in the North and South. Any cross-Border worker who votes for the rainbow coalition has only himself or herself to blame. They should vote for parties willing to make a concession on a regulatory or statutory basis to reflect the injustice being done to them. The Minister has had this issue on his plate for a number of years so he could have made some concession or indicated this morning that he would equate Irish and UK tax rates. However, he is not offering us any hope in the short or long-term.

If the Minister comes across an injustice, anomaly or a distortion, he should not take a principled stance on it. The remedy for anomalies and distortions is by necessity anad hoc sticking plaster one. This country has every reason — not only in relation to the plight of cross-Border workers — to achieve tax rates in the Republic which are as attractive as those in Northern Ireland. The people paying the Republic's tax rates on Northern Ireland earnings are entitled to some relief. If they were more vocal and the willpower was there, their plight would be relieved.

I saw figures the other day on the size of the various political constituencies in Ireland — the farming lobby, the pensioners lobby, etc. The country is segmented by occupational and genuine interest groups. When farmers galloped in Killarney, the world took fright. However, I do not expect pensioners to gallop at the same speed. It seems the louder the bark, the more the political system responds.

Cross-Border workers have a case which should be met; they should not be confronted by a bland statement of principle. One does not resort to principle when dealing with an anomaly and a distortion, but to a pragmaticad hoc sticking plaster remedy until there is time to deal with the basic cause of the injustice.

Am I allowed to comment on Deputy Michael McDowell's points?

I indicated to the House that Deputy Michael McDowell was replying to the debate on this amendment. I allowed a certain amount of latitude but the procedures must be applied. The debate on this amendment has now concluded.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 57; Níl, 78.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John
  • (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Foxe, Tom.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Moffatt, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Ahearn, Theresa.
  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bhamjee, Moosajee.
  • Boylan, Andrew.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Brian.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Gallagher, Pat (Laoighis-Offaly).
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Bree, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Kenny, Seán.
  • Lynch, Mathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McDowell, Derek.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Mulvihill, John.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Penrose, William.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, P.J.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Walsh, Éamon.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies O'Donnell and Callely; Níl, Deputies J. Higgins and B. Fitzgerald.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 15, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following:

"4.—Section 154 of the Finance Act, 1994 is hereby amended in so far as it has application to an employment situated in Northern Ireland;

(a) (i) by the substitution of ‘5 consecutive days' for `14 consecutive days' in paragraph (a) of subsection (2),

(ii) by the substitution of the following paragraph for paragraph (b) of subsection (2):

‘(b) one of which the individual concerned is absent from the State, and present in Northern Ireland for at least eight consecutive hours during the day,',

and

(b) by the insertion of the following proviso after paragraph (c) of the proviso to subsection (3):

‘Provided that paragraph (b) (i) shall not apply to an employment which is subject to the provisions of Part III of Schedule 6 to the Income Tax Act, 1967, solely by reason of the employment being situated or exercised solely in Northern Ireland.'.".

Amendment put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 5 not moved.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 18, between lines 20 and 21, to insert the following:

"8.—(1) In this section—

‘An Foras' means An Foras Áiseanna Saothair;

‘approved course provider' means a person providing approved courses who—

(a) operates in accordance with a code of standards which from time to time may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be agreed between An Foras and the Minister, and

(b) is approved of by An Foras for the purposes of this section;

‘approved course' means a course of study or training, other than a post graduate course, provided by an approved course provider which—

(a) is confined to—

(i) such aspects of information technology, or

(ii) such foreign languages,

as are approved of by the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, for the purposes of this section,

(b) is of less than two years duration,

(c) results in the awarding of a certificate of competence, and

(d) having regard to a code of standards which, from time to time, may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, be agreed between An Foras and the Minister in relation to

(i) the quality and standard of training to be provided on the approved course, and

(ii) the methods and facilities to be used by the course provider in delivering the course and in assessing competence,

is approved of by An Foras for the purposes of this section;

‘certificate of competence', in relation to an approved course, means a certificate awarded in accordance with the standards set out in the code of standards referred to in paragraph (d) of the definition of ‘approved course' and certifying that a minimum level of competence has been achieved by the individual to whom the certificate is awarded;

‘foreign language' means a language other than an official language of the State;

‘the Minister' means the Minister for Enterprise and Employment;

‘qualifying fees', in relation to an approved course, means the amount of fees chargeable in respect of tuition to be provided in relation to such course where the net amount of such fees are not less than £250 and to the extent that they do not exceed £1,000.

(2) (a) Subject to the provisions of this section, where an individual makes a claim in that behalf and proves that—

(i) he or she has on his or her own behalf made a payment in respect of qualifying fees in respect of an approved course, and

(ii) has been awarded a certificate of competence in respect of that course,

the income tax to be charged on the individual, other than in accordance with section 5(3) of the Finance Act, 1974, for the year of assessment in which that certificate of competence is awarded, shall be reduced by an amount which is the lesser of—

(I) the amount equal to the appropriate percentage of the aggregate of all such payments proved to be so made, and

(II) the amount which reduces that income tax to nil.

(b) In this subsection ‘appropriate percentage', in relation to a year of assessment, means a percentage equal to the standard rate of tax for that year.

(3) Where, for a year of assessment in which an individual is awarded a certificate of competence—

(a) the spouse of the individual is assessed to tax in accordance with the provisions of section 194 (inserted by the Finance Act, 1980) of the Income Tax Act, 1967, and

(b) qualifying fees are paid by the individual, or paid by that spouse on behalf of the individual, in respect of the approved course,

then, relief under this section shall, except where the provisions of section 197 (as so inserted) of the Income Tax Act, 1967, apply, be granted to the spouse of the individual in respect of the qualifying fees so paid as if the qualifying fees had been paid by him or her on his or her own behalf.

(4) Relief under this section shall not be given in respect of an individual for a year of assessment in respect of more than one approved course.

(5) For the purposes of this section a payment in respect of qualifying fees shall be regarded as not having been made in so far as any sum, in respect of or by reference to such fees, has been or is to be received either directly or indirectly by an individual from any source whatsoever by way of grant, scholarship or otherwise.

(6) An Foras, where it is satisfied that an approved course provider, or an approved course provided by an approved course provider, no longer meets the appropriate code of standards laid down, may by notice in writing given to the approved course provider withdraw the approval of that course provider or approved course, as the case may be, from such date as it considers appropriate and this section shall cease to apply to that course provider or that course, as the case may be, with effect from that date.

(7) (a) As soon as may be practicable after it has—

(i) approved a course provider or a course for the purposes of this section, or

(ii) withdrawn such approval,

An Foras shall notify the Revenue Commissioners in writing of such approval or withdrawal of approval.

(b) If any question arises as to whether—

(i) a course provider is an approved course provider, or

(ii) a training course is an approved course,

for the purposes of this section, the Revenue Commissioners may consult with An Foras.

(8) Part II of the Table to section 137 (inserted by the Finance Act, 1996) of the Income Tax Act, 1967, is hereby amended by the addition of ‘Section 8 of the Finance Act, 1997'.

(9) Section 198 (inserted by the Finance Act, 1980) of the Income Tax Act, 1967, is hereby amended, in subsection (1)(a), by the insertion of the following additional subparagraph:

‘(xix) so far as it flows from relief under section 8 of the Finance Act, 1997, in the proportions in which they incurred the expenditure giving rise to the relief,'.

(10) Any relief under this section shall be in substitution for and not in addition to any relief to which the individual might be entitled to in respect of the same payment under any other provision of the Income Tax Acts.

(11) This section shall come into operation on such date as may be fixed by order of the Minister for Finance.".

During the past two years the Government has introduced the free fees scheme for undergraduate university education and tax relief for private college courses and part-time third level courses. However, the Government is also conscious of the need to promote greater participation in courses to upgrade skills generally, particularly those of a technical nature. Arising out of this the Ministers for Education and Enterprise and Employment recently launched a Government action plan on skills.

Skilled young people are a key determinant of our competitive advantage. The Government is determined to ensure that there will be a significant supply of suitably qualified young people to fill vacancies in the future. As an incentive in this area, amendment No. 6 proposes tax relief for fees paid by individuals for training courses in the areas of information technology and foreign languages.The training courses, which can be up to two years' duration, will be approved by FÁS. Tax relief, which will be based on the standard rate, will be given on fees up to £1,000 subject to ade minimus of £250. To qualify for such relief, an individual will have to obtain a certificate of competence on completion of the course.

I support the amendment and have no difficulty with it. Will the courses be run by An Foras, which means FÁS, and what procedures will people have to undergo to have a course approved? The Minister is aware that there has been much debate in the past about a variety of activities in which FÁS engages. When I served in Government I had my own ideas with regard to what changes could be made in FÁS, particularly in the areas of manpower, training, etc. I believe that some of those changes, which a number of my predecessors in a Cabinet might have advocated, could have found favour in the Department of Finance. I recently read an article which stated that the Minister for Enterprise and Employment had notified FÁS of a number of changes. The issue of FÁS will be debated on another occasion but it would be foolish not to acknowledge that, over a long period, there have been differences of opinion about certain activities in which that body is engaged.

Politicians may have expressed views about this issue but any who assumed office in a Department with responsibility for FÁS quickly changed such views and became supportive of thestatus quo.

I believe that is termed "going native".

When these people left the Department in question they appeared to revert to their original opinion that changes should be made. I do not wish to enter a debate on whether changes should be made in FÁS. However, if FÁS is to make the sole decision on approving courses, it would be preferable that the Minister for Finance should have a role to play. In my experience — I do not state this in an accusatory fashion — FÁS likes to control many of these matters. I suggest that it should not be the sole organisation responsible for determining approved courses and, perhaps, the Minister for Finance or some other body could play a role in this regard.

The Deputy raised a related matter, which will be addressed in a different context. I am a supporter of FÁS as I was of AnCo, the Manpower Service and the YEA. FÁS will have the capability to provide the certification process. Certain codes of practice will be set out by the Minister for Enterprise and Employment in consultation with the Minister for Education where necessary, for example, in respect of language training. Courses will be certified by FÁS because it is the training authority. We are discussing existing workers financing improvement in their skills in order to enhance their job opportunities or prospects to obtain promotion and advancement within employment. There is no other appropriate body to provide such certification.

Given the lateness with which the amendment was circulated, I appreciate the Deputy's co-operation and graciousness in that regard, the impression could have been obtained, from a first reading of the text, that the courses would be exclusively run by FÁS. That is not the case. FÁS will be the certification body.

I am also supportive of the training aspect of FÁS. This morning's ESRI report laid heavy emphasis on education and training as one of the reasons for the great improvement in the economy. Cursory articles and comments on the report did not highlight the fact that education is one of the major determinants of the major growth rate in the economy. Training also played a very important part in this regard.

My criticism of FÁS is that it is too large a conglomerate and there are too many aspects to it. I agree that FÁS is the training authority but the national manpower aspect of that body should have been delegated to another Department many years ago. There should be a greater relationship between the Department of Social Welfare and the section of FÁS which deals with placement. They should work in tandem, training being the responsibility of FÁS, as the training authority, with a greater interlink between State agencies, the Department of Social Welfare and the Revenue Commissioners. As the Minister will be aware, there had been that interlink between them even in small rural towns. I do not want to be critical of FÁS or its training but its structuring could have been organised somewhat differently.

When there will be a lesser amount of European Union funding coming our way, on which FÁS is very dependent, I should like to see a lean, fit and able organisation in place able to handle the new goals and targets set when the inevitable occurs. I do not want to give the impression of being anti-FÁS — I am not — and anybody who will have read the ESRI summary and executive report this morning will acknowledge that training and education have been a major component of our economic breakthrough.

That being said, I support the relief provided by this amendment.

I wish to correct a statement I made earlier which was misleading. The Minister for Education will not have a direct involvement in this process, it will be the Department of Enterprise and Employment, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, that will monitor codes of standard and their administration.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 7 to 9, inclusive, not moved.

Amendment No. 10 in the name of Deputy McCreevy. Amendments Nos. 10a, 10b, 10c, 10d, 10e, 47 and amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 47 form an alternative composite proposal. With the agreement of the House I suggest they be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 10:

In page 40, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:

"21.—For the purposes of Chapter IV (Urban Renewal Reliefs) of Part I of the Finance Act, 1994 the Minister shall in accordance with section 39 of that Act, by order, direct that Gallanstown, Dublin 10 be a designated area.".

The Minister's composite amendments render mine extant, his relating not alone to the Gallanstown area but extending the concept of designation to a wide range of activities. While the principle of designation is not new to this House, the political connotations that appear to follow these schemes have a familiar ring to them.

I referred earlier to the seaside resort renewal scheme comprised of some 17 areas. I read in the press the past two Sundays of the intention to designate Connacht/Knock International Airport, yet we read in this morning's papers that seven regional airports are to be so designated in addition to eligible adjacent areas.

As an economic principle I have no difficulty in giving taxation relief to encourage an entrepreneur or individual to incur some expenditure he or she would not necessarily incur if that taxation relief did not exist but I doubt that much thought was given to this morning's announcement. This Government will never be accused of lacking in public relations resources. Since it came into office, almost daily we hear the heads of Bills announced as legislation. As anyone who has ever served in Government will know, it was never the custom to announce heads of Bills as promised legislation. Yet when this Government passes the heads of a Bill, it announces the fact by way of a press release. We have witnessed press releases on everything from chicken coops to football pitches, to seaside resort towns' renewal etc.

The Taoiseach has yet to officially open a milk parlour.

The manner in which he is travelling round County Meath leads me to surmise he will shortly be able to open a henhouse never mind a milk parlour.

The Deputy should be careful where he treads.

I find it amazing that this announcement was not made after the Cabinet meeting of yesterday, giving the impression that it came into the public arena this morning. After that Cabinet meeting, a number of Deputies must have been informed because they announced the airports in respect of their constituencies. It becomes obvious from a reading of today's paper that, when the idea about Knock International Airport was mooted other Ministers, Ministers of Sate and Deputies were of the strong opinion that their respective areas should also be included.

Whereas the designation of the Gallanstown area would have been appropriately done by way of an amendment on Report Stage, it was not signalled on Committee Stage that we would have such a major piece of amending legislation. Right up to last weekend I know the Minister for Finance had no intention of designating all of these regional airports and probably put up considerable resistance to the proposal — politics appear to have intervened.

While the politics of running a three-party Government must be difficult at the best of times, in order to comply with the provisions of these amendments, all regional airports must satisfy the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Deputy Coveney, the Minister of State at the Department of Tourism and Trade, Deputy O'Sullivan — the Tánaiste could not be excluded in regard to Farranfore Airport — and the Minister for Tourism and Trade, Deputy Enda Kenny, pushing the designation of Knock International Airport because of the difficult political position in that constituency——

What about Sligo Airport?

Not to mention Donegal.

Neither can the Minister for Social Welfare be excluded. He must be included in the area designated for a large part of Finglas in the Tenth Schedule, Part III.

Which all goes to prove the people opposite have had too much of a good thing.

Which all goes to prove that, if a general election is not announced soon, we will all be up a gum tree.

I do not think these types of decisions should be taken in this manner. It is impossible to oppose the inclusion of any of these areas because all could advance a justifiable case for their inclusion. The same case could be made in regard to seaside resort towns' renewals, some of which clearly should have been omitted from that scheme. I surmise that, had the Minister for Finance had his way, he would not have included them either but political exigencies came into play.

As inevitably they come to play in the case of every Government.

I have never witnessed such blatant political play-acting in advance of any general election. This is a mere example of what has continued for some considerable time. It is a bad way of running a business, particularly in the case of a Finance Bill.

Will any Member of any party in this House say that a given number of acres adjoining any of these areas should not be included or so designated?My party was the originator of the concept of tax designation——

My party was to the forefront in pushing the idea; the urban renewal scheme was introduced which has proved to be very successful, led to much development, resuscitated the inner city, the redevelopment of the Temple Bar area, the International Financial Services Centre and so on. I have no difficulty with the principle but the Minister's officials will tell him, if he does not know already, that if the whole country is to be designated for one purpose or another, it will not benefit anybody. When my party was in Government considerable pressure was brought to bear on many occasions in relation to the urban renewal scheme. Following the designation of certain towns, the question of other towns being designated was raised. It takes political courage to say we will see how it works out in town A or B before moving any further. Given the various aspects of designating urban areas, airports and enterprises, soon it will be like the GSN telephone service in that the only special areas will be those not designated. That is against the whole idea of designation.

On Committee Stage the Minister said studies had been carried out on designating areas for special tax status which have shown there has been a movement of resources from one place to another. If we do not have an overall cohesive plan for such designation there will be pockets of the country where there will be no investment. Why would an entrepreneur build a factory or a warehouse in one area when he can do so in another county and get special tax treatment, thus displacing investment?

An excellent case could be made for designating the area at Knock Airport. I know the area well and declare a professional interest as my company has a practice not far from there. Long before I became a Member, I proposed that the west should be a designation area for special tax status for 25 years. Had that been done it would have been interesting to see how it would have worked. There is a need for certain parts of the country to be designated for tax purposes. So far as the area around Knock Airport is concerned, there is not much industry or business but the airport has done very well. I was one of those who had grave doubts about Knock International Airport, which I expressed both inside and outside the House, and went against the wishes of my party at the time but I have been proved wrong. It has worked well and has brought much business to the area.

In regard to all the other areas, if we are going to displace investment by designating every area, the Minister for Finance does not need me to tell him there will be great anomalies. We now have tax designation for enterprises, airports, towns and seaside resorts. This means adjacent towns are starved of investment. I can think of one town in the west which was designated under the seaside resort renewal scheme. It was a boom town. All the designation succeeded in doing was to drive the price of accommodation in that town skywards. Many people made a profit. Nearby towns are starved of investment. County Mayo is one of the few counties outside of County Kildare that I know very well. I spent four months of the four years from 1970-4 ensconced in a town in the west. It is deserving of investment.

Had this proposal been thought out or given detailed consideration, the Minister for Finance would have announced it some considerable time ago. The idea of Knock Airport was being pushed by the Minister for Tourism and Trade, Deputy Enda Kenny and I have no problem with that. When it became clear that airport would receive special attention, all the other politicians and Ministers had to be in on the act. The Minister must have allowed them to do so, otherwise he would be in political trouble. If he said he would designate only two places, the other five would ask why their areas were not designated. To highlight the politicisation of this idea in advance of a general election, the leader of Democratic Left could not be left out. As Dublin International Airport is in his area, the Finglas enterprise area has to be designated. I do not know whether the whole of his constituency is now designated.

Post the general election, other Deputies in all parties will want commitments from their spokespersons that their town or area will be designated for tax purposes.

We have had that already, it has been rejected.

That is exactly what will happen in the next partnership negotiations in the event of a coalition Government. If Deputy De Rossa, leading six Members into a Government, got special tax status for his constituency, Deputy Sargent with his three Deputies would feel obliged to get the same for some part of his constituency.This is not the way to do business. I know the Minister for Finance quite well and despite his political protestations he knows I am right about these matters. He is in a position in advance of a general election where there is nothing he can do. It is not always politically popular to speak like this but it is necessary to so do.

I cannot recall any report in the past number of years which recommended that areas around all regional airports should be designated for special tax, nor can I remember any media coverage of any such report. The next issue would then be for areas around the smaller airports to be so designated.

I recall being in Government when the whole debate on airports took place. It was stated that if grant aid was provided for some of the regional airports it would take business away from Dublin airport. This was a live issue at the time. There were representations and reports asking if the State, through the taxpayer, was expected to fund all these airports. Now we have gone a considerable step further and designate areas around all the regional airports. I do not believe these proposals have been well thought out. They are politically motivated and that is not the correct way to do business. I say this in the full knowledge that every Deputy will support each of those places, including a few others which should be so designated.

It is impossible, as I have said many times in the past few months, to stand up to pressure groups in the run up to an election. We are making mistakes hand over fist in a wide variety of areas of public policy. At least all that will happen will be that tax will be foregone. This is not a streamlined, coherent or impressive approach and I, for one, am not impressed.

While I respect Deputy McCreevy's analysis of how this might have come about, I refute what he said on a number of issues.

It is correct.

I did not receive representations from Deputy De Rossa at any stage on this matter and there was no trade off in Cabinet terms on different areas. I received representations from promoters of Gallanstown and from people in Finglas who brought to my attention the fact that these sites were adjacent to areas of high unemployment and that no development was being carried out in the area. Deputy Ahern will testify to that. Notwithstanding the economic activity in the greater Dublin area, they simply would have been passed by. We know from the area based partnership approach to unemployment that unless factories are nearby there are difficulties for a variety of complex reasons. That is why I responded to those areas.

In regard to the airports, Deputy Kenny made a good case for Knock. In light of previous experience with seaside resorts, I took the decision to fund regional airports. The State has invested taxpayers' money as well as European funds. Exchequer capital grants to Donegal, Sligo, Knock, Galway, Kerry and Waterford airports totalled £15.58 million in addition to £10 million in European Regional Development Fund grants and Exchequer marketing grants of £2.6 million. A further £1.6 million was budgeted for 1997 to 1999 and an additional £2 million is available which the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications proposes to allocate in respect of residual infrastructural works.

Following the Gulf War and other downturns in international trade with which the Deputy will be familiar the airports were not trading comfortably and, in some cases decidedly uncomfortably.

The Minister had to bail some of them out.

This is an enterprise zone measure. It is not urban designation in the form with which people are familiar. That has distorted private sector residential investment in a number of towns. There are three benefits — double rent relief, ten years phased rates relief and a 100 per cent capital allowance, 50 per cent of which is available in the first year. It was introduced in the Finance Act, 1995, by Deputy Bertie Ahern at my request when I was Minister for Enterprise and Employment. Enterprise zones were locations into which IDA type companies wanted to go but which did not have facilities. We introduced them in two locations in Dublin, three locations in Cork and one in Galway. The East Point Industrial Office Park, East Wall Road, Dublin, is the only area to have taken off. I suspect Deputy Ahern is more familiar with this than Deputy McCreevy.

I worked on the East Wall Road.

But the Deputy may not necessarily be familiar with East Point. I urge him if he has time — he will have plenty over the next four years — to pay a leisurely visit to it because it is there exclusively as a result of the enterprise zone tax facilities. The measure is being extended to the airports because it makes sense to reinforce such investment by way of a tax incentive.

The IDA found that there was a dearth of available industrial space for inward investors. The last available big area was taken up by Seagate in Clonmel. Factories are not available for investors. Forfás, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Enterprise and Employment have to sign these companies off as 10 per cent companies. This will generate capital investment from the private sector which otherwise would not go there as can be seen at East Point. It will provide facilities in parts of the country which would otherwise not get them and the overall payback to the economy will be highly positive. That is why it has been done.

I refute Deputy McCreevy's suggestion that this is similar to throwing snuff around at a wake.

And it has nothing to do with an election.

I received numerous representations with regard to additional urban designation areas and resisted them as did the Minister for the Environment. Proposals have been made with regard to seaside resorts which we may get to later and I will not accept them. We said it would be a pilot scheme. The Minister for the Environment will issue guidelines for the successor to the urban renewal scheme that will come into effect in July 1998.

Deputy McCreevy is more knowledgeable on these matters and he is right to say this is not the way to do it. Perhaps it will lead to anomalies but he is right in predicting that Deputies from the constituencies concerned will welcome it. I especially welcome the Finglas investment and claim some credit for it.

Deputy Shortall brought it to my attention.

She announced it as well.

The Minister is more accessible to her than me, but we embarrassed the three colours of the rainbow into it. I am glad the Minister admitted he gave promoters a considerable amount of time and I thank him. He also said that he did not receive representations from his Cabinet colleague so that narrows the field to two.

This is politics based on the latest opinion poll but I welcome the proposals because the present system is not fair. While parts of Dublin may be doing well, one sees major infrastructural projects, such as the convention centre, going to Dublin 4 rather than Gallanstown or Finglas. The new measures are valuable in providing a boost to certain areas, irrespective of whether they happen at election time. Amendment No. 47 concerns Finglas. It seems to have been a last minute decision. However, Finglas has received nothing over the past few years as there is not available land. I spoke to people employed by estate agencies whose job it is to show the representatives of multinational companies around and they will not bring them near some sites because the general surroundings are such that they would go straight back to the airport. The current system is not perfect and does not provide a balance. Such measures, whether they are unfair or lead to anomalies, are necessary.

Has the Minister more information on Finglas? What has been approved? Is it subject to the same terms as East Point or will it involve warehousing or manufacturing? Has he received a submission on this? Will there be a single factory or a number of units? Is this the initial stage of the process? Does the Minister have a document with all the answers? Even allowing for the inherent dangers, I welcome this provision as it will help to spread the benefits of the economic boom to all areas.

Despite the reservations expressed by Deputy McCreevy, his party's spokesperson was quick to enter the jetstream and present his own proposals.

Do I need to say more?

I welcome this provision under which regional airports will be granted special tax status to facilitate the development of new enterprise zones. I appreciate fully the importance of Knock Airport in this development. It is important to emphasise, however, that all other regional airports, including Sligo Airport in the heart of my constituency, will benefit. The new tax status will be as important to Sligo Airport, in terms of its prosperity and future development, as to Knock Airport. Sligo town has the necessary infrastructural facilities, including a successful third level college. It is my guess that each of the regional airports will be developed along separate lines. It is my hope they will not be excessively competitive and seek to enter the same niche market.

It has been mentioned that up to 2,000 jobs may be created over a number of years at Knock Airport which has had a head start but others have been quick to enter the jetstream. Sligo Airport Authority, a progressive body, will be quick to benefit from this status which it has been seeking for some time. To this end, it recently met the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, Deputy Dukes. It is very fortunate that there is 100 acres of land in public ownership situated nearby which I am sure it will acquire for this purpose.

There is another important dimension. This provision fits in perfectly with the policy of the IDA on the attraction of industry to the regions, particularly the west and north west. There is a need to create jobs throughout the country, not just in Dublin.

Two weeks ago, with the co-operation of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle, I made what I thought was my last speech in Dáil Eireann in which I called on the relevant Minister to preserve the post office in my native parish. Thankfully, it has been readvertised. I am grateful for the opportunity to make another speech and to thank the Minister, Deputy Quinn, the Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, Deputy Dukes, and the Minister for Tourism and Trade, Deputy Kenny, for providing these valuable incentives with which I am delighted. As a result, Sligo Airport should prove to be one of the great success stories.

I welcome the amendment. This is tremendous news for the regional airports, particularly Donegal Airport situated in Carrickfin 200 miles from Dublin. I can see the terminal building from my home in Gweedore across the inlet. It is a significant announcement for the west. In spite of all its difficulties, Donegal Airport has been operating successfully. The scheduled Dublin flight, which it secured only last August, has proved to be a tremendous success. The number of passengers passing through the airport has increased by 130 per cent in the past two to three years.

This provision, however, adds a new dimension.It will result in the attraction of many investors to that part of Donegal where there is a lack of adequate infrastructure and which is not served by a railway line. It will trigger massive investment and job creation. The benefits of the economic boom — the economic Renaissance as it was described this morning — will be felt in every part of the country.

I am glad high-tech industries will be established which will provide employment for our young graduates with certificates, diplomas and degrees from Letterkenny and Sligo Regional Technical Colleges. Instead of having to travel to the Ruhr Valley in Germany or Silicon Valley in California they will be able to remain at home and take up employment in high-tech industries in Donegal, Sligo, Galway, Mayo and Kerry. I thank the Minister and all involved in the designation of Donegal Airport.

I understand Ross Perot has expressed an interest in Knock Airport which has had a head start due to the efforts of the Minister for Tourism and Trade, Deputy Kenny. I am sure, however, that other international investors will be attracted to County Donegal to avail of the incentives provided to create jobs. Candidates in the forthcoming general election have accused the Government of ignoring the west. This is yet another indication — following the establishment of the Western Development Commission — of the importance it attaches to its development. The Minister of State, Deputy Carey, outlined the amounts provided for the islands off our west coast.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

I remind colleagues that we are on Report Stage, not Second Stage.

Or the hustings.

Deputy McCreevy's contributions are always interesting but it is clear that the members of his party are divided on the issue. Earlier this week his Front Bench colleague, Deputy Brennan, advocated that something like this should be done. The only thing wrong with it is that it is being introduced by the Government. I hope it results in the creation of much needed employment in my part of the country.

I take this opportunity to thank the Minister for designating Knock Airport. This is essential to allow it develop to its full potential. In 1992, my party colleague, Deputy Michael Ahern, had talks with the Perot family to encourage them to take part in such a venture. I am mindful, however, of what Deputy McCreevy said which should be borne in mind. It was not all good news for each of the traditional seaside resorts designated. However, it has not been of benefit in every area. It is important to target certain airports so that we do not overdo it. I am glad Knock Airport has been included on this occasion as it is the most deserving. I hope this measure will lead to the level of job creation which has been purported for it.

I compliment the Minister and the Government on introducing this measure. I was not surprised at the points made by Deputies McCreevy and Moffatt as last Tuesday on local radio a Fianna Fáil Deputy criticised the Government and said his party intended, on return to Government, to introduce tax initiatives for regional airports. Similar comments were made by members of that party some weeks ago in regard to the deflector system. I am beginning to wonder if that party has inside information on proposed legislation as it makes announcements on its proposals a few days before legislation is introduced in the House.

Prior to the introduction of the seaside resort scheme, Westport was the only town in county Mayo which had no designation of any kind. While the scheme has driven up the price of property, Westport is one of the few towns where it has worked. Prior to the introduction of the scheme Westport did not have a proper hotel. By the end of this year's summer season it will have three top class hotels and a leisure centre. I ask Deputies McCreevy and Moffatt to stop making negative comments about Westport. When Fianna Fáil was in Government it did not look after Westport.

I welcome the seaside resort scheme and this new measure as they are not aimed at private interests. On previous occasions when announcements were made about the designation of certain parts of County Mayo some people made millions of pounds by buying property in advance of the introduction of the scheme. This will not happen under the seaside resort scheme or this scheme which are aimed at ordinary citizens and at increasing investment in the county.

The Deputy is jumping on the band wagon. What did he say about Knock Airport years ago?

These schemes are not aimed at friends or people who have bought property in certain areas.

The Western Partnership Board, Mayo County Council, the Minister of State, Deputy Higgins, the Minister, Deputy Kenny and I have been looking for the introduction of a tax initiative scheme for many years and I congratulate the Government on finally introducing it.

Members of Fianna Fáil say one thing in their constituencies and something else in Dáil Éireann. Deputy McCreevy's party had an opportunity to do something about Knock regional airport over a seven year period, yet it did nothing.

We put it in place.

We have delivered on the regional technical college,——

It has not started yet.

——the hospital, the roads network and sewerage and water schemes.

I look forward to the election campaign when we can show the people of County Mayo what we have done over the past two and a half years. Five weeks ago on a radio programme I asked Dr. Moffatt what his party had done during its time in office but he has still not responded.

I will tell the Deputy what we did.

All he and Deputies Hughes and Morley have done is talk.

The Deputy's party has not created any jobs in County Mayo. It has made promises but we want to see results.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

No interruptions, please.

We have provided £600,000 for the regional technical college——

——included Knock Airport in the tax incentive scheme and included Westport in the seaside resort scheme. I welcome this equality for County Mayo.

(Interruptions.)

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

No interruptions, please.

Fine Gael will win four of the five seats in County Mayo in this general election. However, following the implementation of the scheme announced by the Minister and the setting up by Ross Perot of his business in County Mayo we will win five seats in the next election.

Ross Perot for President.

We will spell out for the people of County Mayo what we have done in Government.

I congratulate the Minister and the Government on the introduction of this scheme. I have been receiving phone calls all day from people in County Mayo who are delighted with this announcement. It is time recognition was given to County Mayo.

It was time the Deputy recognised Knock Airport.

I am glad I was present for that comedy. I never heard such hypocrisy from a member of the Government. I am delighted the Minister has given designated status to Sligo and Knock regional airports and the other regional airports. I was present when Charlie Haughey opened Knock Airport. The only other politician present at that opening was Deputy Enda Kenny who is now the Minister for Tourism and Trade. At that time Knock Airport was called the foggy bog.

I am delighted the Government——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

No interruptions, please.

I did not interrupt the Deputy. Thankfully, Monsignor Horan received support from the then Fianna Fáil Government to build Knock Airport. At that time Barry Desmond and the Labour Party criticised this development in the west. Members of Fine Gael also criticised it.

That is not true.

Even though they were invited they did not attend the opening of the airport.Fair play to the Minister, Deputy Enda Kenny, for attending it. The Deputy should get his facts right.

I welcome the announcement of this new measure.

The Deputy is shocked.

I praise the late Monsignor Horan for his initiative in building an airport at Knock. He said that if this airport was not built rural Ireland would die. I welcome the decision by Ross Perot to open an office in Castlebar as it will bring welcome money to the west. For many years all there was in County Mayo and the part of Sligo I represent was emigration. There should not be a problem in securing 100 acres at Sligo Airport as the county council owns land in the area. This new measure will be of great benefit to Sligo Airport and Strandhill and I congratulate the Minister on introducing it. I would like to see what happened in Enniscrone repeated in Strandhill which needs to be developed. The inclusion of Sligo Airport in the scheme will be of great benefit to Strandhill in this regard.

It will thrive without it.

I was not present at the launch of Deputy Seamus Brennan's document in Galway on Monday. We said that we would introduce this measure on return to Government. However, the Government stole it from us. If it was not for the Minister's party leader, Fianna Fáil would probably still be in Government. There is no question but that we gave Fine Gael the opportunity to enter Government. I do not mind being in Opposition; all parties should spend time there.

Fianna Fáil needs it.

Would the Deputy be better if he stayed there longer?

When I was in Opposition previously I praised measures introduced by the Labour Party in Government. The Minister, Deputy Quinn, discussed with me the introduction of the social employment scheme as it was then called. This was one of the best schemes ever introduced as it gave people the dignity to take up work. I hope this measure will give people the dignity to take up work at Knock and Sligo Airports and will create jobs in the west. County Mayo and my part of County Sligo suffered a high level of emigration for many years. Thanks is due to the late Monsignor Horan and the then Fianna Fáil Government for building Knock Airport which hopefully will benefit from this measure in the future.

Having listened to Deputies McGinley and Nealon and the news on RTÉ 1, it is obvious that the election will be called earlier than we thought; I would not be surprised if it were called tomorrow. The Deputies opposite are using debates in the House to practice what they will say outside Church gates during the election campaign. However, this does not affect Members on this side of the House.

I welcome the Minister's announcement in principle but I wish to remind him that he introduced a similar measure for 13 seaside resorts three years ago. The purpose of that was to upgrade the infrastructure of certain types of accommodation in tourist towns. Those incentives were generous but they were only taken up in some instances. Deputy Ring referred to Westport where the incentives were very attractive. People responded to those initiatives but in less than 12 months, the Minister took away a substantial portion of that tax relief. He gave tax relief for a six month period which that city previously enjoyed for many years.

The tax relief originally provided for the Custom House docks development has been left untouched. The Minister recently introduced the Dublin Docklands Development Authority Bill in the House, and his Department published a leaflet in respect of the docklands development which referred to the massive growth in Dublin, where one-third of the population lives and where there are many advantages for people in business to avail of the economic activities taking place in Dublin. In the debate on the Docklands Development Authority Bill, the Minister said tax incentives would have to be sufficiently attractive to encourage people to invest. If the Minister lived in Connacht or Munster, he would view the growth of Dublin in a totally different way.

The Minister should make the tax incentives very attractive in Connacht so as to generate the type of investment he wants as a result of this or any other fiscal provision. If those incentives result in increased development, the Minister should not remove them after six months or change some of the provisions simply because the Revenue Commissioners do not want people to avail of them to reduce their income tax liability.

There are problems with the seaside renewal scheme. The Minister should give people in small towns one year to avail of the relief and if they do not, that is their hard luck. If 15 per cent of a development is completed within the year, there should be a carry over relief. If the relief is made available to small towns for a long period, it causes house prices to increase. A young married couple in Westport cannot afford to buy a house, yet barristers, solicitors, consultant doctors and others can purchase a second holiday home there because they have the wherewithal to pay an additional £20,000, £30,000 or £40,000. I ask the Minister to seriously examine that matter.

I welcome the tax relief in respect of Knock Airport and hope it will be available for many years to come. I also welcome the fact that tax relief has been made available to other regional airports. Perhaps there is a Ross Perot III lying in wait in Donegal Airport and a Ross Perot IV lying in wait in Tralee Airport. Ross Perot's approach to Minister Kenny was the spur for the provision of the tax relief incentive.

There is a promise of 2,000 jobs and perhaps thousands more over the next few years, but what is the position on the ground? The Minister has presided over a rising economic tide from which we are now benefiting, as a result of conditions laid down over the past decade. The jobs secured at the time of the changeover of Government, which were signalled by Kieran McGowan, were the results of the efforts of his people abroad in trying to attract industry. That does not happen overnight. Many hours of negotiation must take place to convince foreign companies to invest in Ireland. In 1996, the Minister created 53 new jobs in the west, and 17,000 new jobs in Dublin. Many of the jobs created in Dublin — the Minister will recognise this when he does a house to house canvass, if that is what he does in his constituency——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

I am anxious that the Deputy would speak to the amendment. This is Report Stage, not Second Stage. There are only a few minutes remaining.

A large number of the Minister's constituents are from my county. They had no choice but to go to Dublin where jobs were being created. How is it possible to create 2,000 new jobs at Knock Airport over the next three years when Deputies Nealon and McGinley referred to high tech jobs? We will not turn out that number of young people in Mayo or the surrounding counties of Roscommon and Sligo, which can also benefit from this relief, in the next two years — perhaps 100 or 200 people will be available. People may come back from Dublin but if they do, the question of housing, water supplies, etc. will be raised.

I accept the Government has been generous in giving this support, but I do not believe Ross Perot will create 2,000 jobs. If they are created, they should not be labelled high tech. I understand this will be a freight forwarding centre. That means there will probably be only a handful of high tech jobs and a substantial number of blue collar jobs. Those jobs will be welcome but they will not be a panacea for the rest of the country. They will be another arrow in the Minister's bow. The fruits of economic prosperity must be spread not only to Knock Airport and the surrounding areas, the Black Triangle, but to other parts of Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and all parts of Connacht.

The people of my constituency will not be carried away by this. There will not be a massive swing to Government Deputies when they do house to house canvassing. I welcome the creation of jobs outside Dublin because the growth in Dublin is now causing severe problems, as is the population decline in rural Ireland. I am pleased the two main political parties recognise the need to stabilise the population from which many benefits will flow.

I hope Ross Perot delivers the number of jobs anticipated, but I have some doubts in that regard. I accept my party promised that jobs would be created in a biscuit factory many years ago, just before a general election campaign. Those jobs were never realised, although the candidate was elected.

Minister Kenny and Deputy Ring were having a go at each other this week on the radio. The Minister asked the Deputy what type of tablet he had taken.

The Deputy should deal with Beverley because she is dealing with him.

I know Deputy Ring is well able for the challenge. Listening to that radio interview I thought that collective responsibility at the Cabinet table had broken down because he seemed to know a lot more about it.

Is amendment No. 10(c) the one that reflects the position we spoke about regarding the problem in Athlone? Has an amendment been brought forward to make the change we spoke about? The Minister promised to look at that. Perhaps the Minister's officials will brief him on that point.

I am not in a position to address the Athlone position. I consulted with the Department of the Environment and received strong representations not to alter the matter because it could give rise to a precedent.

I thank Deputies for their comments.

In the course of his comments about seaside resorts, Deputy McCreevy said that the Government was under relentless pressure and had caved in to it. Originally, seven seaside resorts were included under the scheme. Subsequently that number was increased to 15. Since then we have received representations from an additional 69, and every one has been refused. We also received representations for extensions to the existing areas and for the inclusion of certain towns in the urban renewal scheme, which is similar to the seaside resorts scheme. For the reasons Deputy McCreevy articulated we have refused. Therefore, while his analysis is correct, his criticism is ill-founded, because we have done what I believe he would have done.

In regard to Athlone, I am not accepting the amendment. However, the project in question is not at risk. Planning permission can be applied for, and it is up to the local authority to make the case for the inclusion of that area in future.

Will the Minister be sympathetic in a future Finance Bill to problems that might arise? I am notau fait with the situation, but I respect the opinion of the people who made representations to me.

I will not close off that possibility, but I will give no commitment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. a10a.

I move amendment No. a10a:

In page 43, between lines 3 and 4, to insert the following:

24. — (1) In this section—‘approved institution' means an institution in the State in receipt of public funding which provides courses to which a scheme approved by the Minister for Education under the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Acts, 1968 to 1992, applies;

‘qualifying expenditure' means capital expenditure incurred on—

(a) the construction of a qualifying premises, or

(b) the provision of machinery or plant,

which, following receipt of the advice of An tÚdarás, is approved for that purpose by the Minister for Education with the consent of the Minister for Finance;

‘qualifying premises' means a building or structure which—

(a) apart from this section, is not an industrial building or structure within the meaning of section 255 of the Income Tax Act, 1967, and

(b) (i) is in use for the purposes of third level education provided by an approved institution,

(ii) is let to an approved institution onbona fide commercial terms for such consideration as might be expected to be paid in a letting of the building or structure which was negotiated on an arm's length basis,

but does not include any part of a building or structure in use as, or as part of, a dwelling-house;

‘An tÚdarás' means the Body established by section 2 of the Higher Education Authority Act, 1971.

(2) Subject to subsections (3) to (7), all the provisions of the Tax Acts (other than section 303 (3) of the Income Tax Act, 1967) relating to the making of allowances or charges in respect of capital expenditure which is incurred on the construction of an industrial building or structure shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary therein, apply in relation to qualifying expenditure on a qualifying premises—

(a) as if the qualifying premises were, at all times at which it is a qualifying premises, a building or structure in respect of which an allowance falls to be made for the purposes of income tax or corporation tax, as the case may be, under Chapter II of Part XV, or Chapter I of Part XVI, of the Income Tax Act, 1967, by reason of its use for a purpose specified in section 255 (1) (a) of that Act, and

(b) where any activity carried on in the qualifying premises is not a trade, as if it were a trade.

(3) In relation to qualifying expenditure on a qualifying premises section 264 of the Income Tax Act, 1967, shall apply as if——

(a) in subsection (1), the reference to one-fiftieth were a reference to fifteen-hundredths, and

(b) in subsection (3), the reference to fifty years were a reference to seven years.

(4) No allowance shall be made under subsection (2) unless, prior to the commencement of construction of a qualifying premises, the Minister for Finance certifies that—

(a) an approved institution has procured or otherwise secured a sum of money, none of which has been met directly or indirectly by the State, which sum is not less than one-half of the qualifying expenditure to be incurred on the qualifying premises, and

(b) such sum is to be used solely by the approved institution for the following purposes:

(i) paying interest on money borrowed for the purpose of funding the construction of the qualifying premises, and

(ii) paying any rent on the qualifying premises during such times as the qualifying premises is the subject of a letting on such terms as are referred to in paragraph (b) (ii) of the definition of qualifying premises in subsection (1), and

(iii) purchasing the qualifying premises following the termination of the letting referred to in subparagraph (ii).

(5) Notwithstanding section 265 (1) of the Income Tax Act, 1967, no balancing charge shall be made in relation to a qualifying premises by reason of any of the events specified in the said section 265 (1) which occurs more than 7 years after the qualifying premises were first used.

(6) This section shall come into operation on the 1st day of July, 1997.

(7) The Minister for Finance may not give a certificate under subsection (4) at any time later than the 1st day of July, 2000.".

I thank Deputy McCreevy for accommodating me in this respect. This is, in effect, a way of ensuring that those third level colleges, having met the criteria, will be able to raise finance through a tax mechanism to provide additional resources and facilities. We had difficulty in designing something that was tax efficient and revenue efficient, but I believe this amendment resolves the matter, and I apologise for the lateness with which it was circulated.

I have no problem with the thrust of the amendment. However, representations were made to me at a very late hour in the interval between the adjourning of the debate early this afternoon and the time the debate recommenced. Does this amendment apply to universities as well as to other third level colleges?

It applies to all third level colleges, including universities.

It is provided that this is subject to conditions and must be approved by the Higher Education Authority or the Minister for Education. An addendum has been suggested to provide that it should also be subject to approval by the Minister for Finance. Has the Minister ruled that out?

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment reported.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

As it is now 6.45 p.m. I am required to put the following question in accordance with an Order of the Dáil of this day: "That the amendments set down by the Minister for Finance and not disposed of are hereby made to the Bill, Fourth Stage is hereby completed, and the Bill is hereby passed".

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 80; Níl, 60.

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

Níl

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Brennan, Matt.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Calley, Ivor.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Fox, Mildred.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hughes, Séamus.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Keogh, Helen.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • O'Donnell, Liz.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Woods, Michael.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and B. FitzGerald; Níl, Deputies D. Ahern and Callely.
Question declared carried.