Private Members' Business. - Broadcasting and Other Media (Public Right of Access and Diversity of Ownership) Bill, 1998: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

I wish to share my time with Deputy Michael Kitt.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

As I stated last night, Deputy Higgins's Bill gives us the opportunity to discuss the important issue of access to television coverage of major events. I welcome the Minister's clear statement that access to major events will be protected and I look forward to the publication of the Government's proposals in this regard.

An important and rapidly growing section of the media is the Internet. It is true that it was not included in the terms of reference of the Commission on the Newspaper Industry. Perhaps that was for a good reason as it is wrong to put the Internet, which relies so heavily on telecommunications facilities, with traditional print and broadcast media. This Bill refers to the provision of Internet services without any further definition. While it is natural to think of the Internet in terms of other media, we should not forget that at present most Internet services in Ireland are provided by telephone lines through existing networks operated by Telecom Éireann. The Internet is not a cable television system where programmes can be easily controlled. It does not respect sovereignty and anyone with a small amount of know-how can access an Internet service provider anywhere in the world. The operators are seldom more than a coded address and they do not have to identify themselves. The Internet cannot be policed properly and that is a cause of concern.

Most of us agree with the European Union's directive on broadcasting and the section which attempts to constrain the cheque book television coverage of sporting events. We are all aware of how important the enjoyment of sport is to professional and amateur sports people and to those who have not participated in a sporting activity. Only a small percentage of people are lucky or energetic enough to be able to attend these events. The buzz of live sports is irreplaceable, but there are many who believe that it is possible to see more by watching an event, whether it is a golf tournament, a cycle race or a football, hurling or camogie match, on television. Television coverage offers a greater number of angles on the action and the viewer is able to be in more than one place at the same time, usually where and when the game is being won.

We are all too sadly aware of the growth of cheque book sports coverage where huge media companies, usually those involved in satellite television, snap up television rights for the coverage of important sporting events which are then available only to the channel's subscribers. Non-subscribing sports fans are left with few options. They may be compelled to be content with the 30 seconds of coverage in the nightly news broadcast, a snippet which brazenly brandishes the satellite company's logo in a corner of the screen. If that is not satisfactory, they may be forced to congregate outside the windows of television shops instead of watching it in the comfort of their homes. There is also the option of going to the pubs or clubs which offer satellite television coverage as an enticement.

These developments could have detrimental effects on the fabric of society and family life. The days of the 1930s when one family in a parish owned a wireless and provided free hospitality to everyone on the day the county team played an important match are long gone. There are other negative developments. Existing broadcasters who have built up a unique bank of expertise in the coverage of a particular sport are often forced into a mad and insane decision to outbid the satellite television companies for the coverage of sporting events. If they are successful, coverage of less popular, although no less important, sports is affected. The arithmetic of profit and loss combined with the rise and fall of audience figures take the place of commonsense and fair play.

We must not forget the important and often vital role that televised sports coverage has had on the development of individual sports and athletes. Nick Faldo freely admits that his interest in golf was stimulated by watching the BBC's coverage of the game when he was a teenager. Many other examples could be cited. However, far more significant for society is the fact that those who watch sport on television enjoy it and get something from it. They may not achieve international, national or local glory or take up football or golf, but they acquire a sense of well being and fulfilment by watching others compete and push themselves to the limit.

So far we have been relatively untouched by the poaching of sporting events by satellite television companies. Nevertheless, I am sure the Government is alive to the inherent dangers in these developments. I welcome the intention of the Minister and the Government to introduce comprehensive and watertight legislation which takes into account all the possible loopholes and hidden traps into which hurried legislation, no matter how well intentioned, might fall.

This Bill envisages the use of criminal sanctions to curb these practices should they raise their ugly head. However, such sanctions would be difficult to enforce. What type of effective sanctions could be used against organisations which are likely to be based outside the State? A more effective solution might involve a form of heavy financial penalty which would be imposed on any organisation seeking to unreasonably or unfairly restrict media access to a sporting event.

The various forms of the media have made the world a smaller place. Events, whether good or bad — sadly they are more often bad than good — are visible to us on our television screens. However, we must always remember that much of what matters and the news people want to hear and know about does not occur in a far off land seared by intractable conflict but in localities in our neighbourhoods.

We must not lose sight of the valuable role played by the local media, especially in our own country. Many of our local newspapers have been in business for over a century or longer. Throughout our troubled past, they seldom failed to issue their newspapers each week. These are a unique record of the events, local tragedies as well as events of national importance, which occurred in their respective areas. They are a witness to the quiet revolutions which swept this country, such as the breaking up of the landed estates, the opening of local cinemas and the arrival of new technology such as the motor car and the radio. Some newspapers were fortunate to remain in the ownership of one family and, through pioneering proprietors and editors, they promoted a new outlook on life in their area.

The concept of local in anything today, whether it is politics or the media, is often used pejoratively. It is considered the antithesis of the global. Yet local newspapers have seldom closed their eyes to what was happening beyond their readership areas. They recounted events of importance throughout the world and elsewhere in Ireland as well as carrying instructional pieces on local history, farming practice and practical health care. All this was placed within the reach of anyone who could read and at a price which everyone could afford.

The local press did not lose sight of the vast multitudes leaving their native place for distant shores. We can still read in their pages the pride with which the exploits and feats of the native sons and daughters were recounted. Furthermore, they acted as a unique window on home for many who had emigrated and who could read of events in their home parish, the triumphs or failures of their local football team or the death of a well known or long lived character in a locality.

Many local newspapers have moved with the times, employing the most modern printing and reproduction machinery. In the age of the Internet and the information superhighway, they are making a contribution to the rapidly changing world. An increasing number of local newspapers maintain websites where readers, including latter day exiles, can download the newspapers and read about their home place regardless of how far away they may live.

In my own county the publication of The Anglo-Celt began in 1846. It has always enjoyed a wide readership, not only in County Cavan but in counties Monaghan, Fermanagh and Meath. Since 1868 the paper has been in the hands of the O'Hanlon family and they have also supplied the newspaper's editors. The O'Hanlons, through the medium of The Anglo-Celt, have helped to promote a wide range of issues and activities, particularly Gaelic games. The unprecedented success of the GAA in Cavan and its neighbouring counties in due in no small measure to the support and coverage of The Anglo-Celt and the patronage of the O'Hanlon family. No worthy story, no matter how local, has ever been unimportant for inclusion in the pages of the newspaper, available for many years for the price of one penny. It is still an important bridge between Cavan and the wider world and many emigrants not only subscribed to it but contributed letters and articles. Today The Anglo-Celt still has readers in Cavan, neighbouring counties and throughout the world among the global community of Cavan people.

A more recent addition to the world of local media is local radio. There were many writing the obituaries of local radio in Ireland before it had started broadcasting, but today it provides an exciting and lively aspect of local life. It has helped to stimulate interest in sports at local level and given air time to those events and people whose stories might otherwise go unheard. It has concentrated the minds of the national broadcasters on the need for regional coverage.

I compliment Deputy Higgins on the publication of his Bill and I look forward to the Minister bringing forward effective legislation to regulate this complex area.

I welcome the Bill and congratulate Deputy Higgins on introducing it. I am concerned about the move towards pay per view for television coverage of major events. The Minister raised the matter of access to these events. However, the first point that should be mentioned is the cost of television licences. RTE can decide to increase the licence fee and the Government of the day usually accedes to its request. There is a good reason Governments in the past introduced a scheme of free television licences for certain categories, particularly the elderly and social welfare recipients. That was a welcome move and I have always been told at election time that it has been of great benefit. However, many people in the west have access to only two stations and it is difficult for those people, particularly retired emigrants, to accept that limited choice.

Other categories of people should also have a free television licence. I raised this matter in the past in respect of boards of management of schools who are required to pay a licence for a television which may be used for showing videos in schools which are not open 12 months of the year. The same case could also be made for students, particularly members of the students' union in Galway, who wrote to me stating they may have to get a licence for eight or nine months of the year. They may have to change accommodation during that time but they are required to pay the full television licence. I have raised this matter with the former Minister, Deputy Higgins, and the Minister for Education. This matter should be resolved because it is fundamental to access to television coverage of major events.

We started off with one satellite sports channel but there are now a number of sports channels with which RTE has to compete. It has done very well in its coverage of soccer matches, the Olympic Games, athletics and the World Cup 1998, which we have been told may be the last free coverage of that event. Access to coverage of it in the future will be on a pay per view basis. I would be very disappointed if that were to happen.

We must be concerned about the major sponsorship involved in sporting events. Vast amounts of money are available to participants, the organisers and the clubs involved. Money can dictate the days on which sporting events take place and the times they are broadcast. There is a large amount of money available from the corporate sector in this regard. Megabucks are taking over these events and seats at them are being bought up. It seems there cannot be a sporting event now without a corporate or a hospitality tent. We have super Monday in the premier league and super Tuesday and RTE and the GAA are competing with that. They have done very well in promoting the GAA games in hurling and football in the past few years. Next Sunday RTE will broadcast two live games, the Munster football semi-final and the Leinster hurling final. Great credit is due to the RTE and the GAA for organising that on the same day.

There is great confusion in the west about the broadcasting of programmes. We are waiting for applications for the deflector system to be decided by the regulator. Those operating the MMDS system said they would provide access to multi-channels, but they have not been able to provide that service in all parts of the country. The price of that service may have been reduced and service providers may be spending more money on it, but as of now it is not successful. The satellite system is expensive and it is becoming more so because as well as viewers having to pay for the sports channel they have to pay for an extra fee for viewing a major event, such as the heavyweight boxing championship.

Access to multi-channel television is available free of charge on the east coast because of a geographical accident, but people in the west have had to come up with systems, such as the deflector system, to provide that service. Great credit is due to those involved in providing it. Deputy Tom Gildea said, "the Government made our wee system illegal", and he was elected to the House on that issue which must be resolved.

I am taken aback that there is no quid pro quo in the sense that RTE programmes cannot be broadcast into Great Britain. I have met members of emigrant associations, particularly in Birmingham and the West Midlands, who told me they pay for a service in Britain to have Irish television programmes relayed and they are usually shown on a deferred basis. Similarly Teilifís na Gaeilge is not available in parts of Northern Ireland, a matter the Government should address.

The British-Irish Agreement states that we should cherish Irish people living abroad. We could do that by ensuring our programmes are available through Teilifís na Gaeilge and RTE. Great credit is due to RTE for the promotion of Irish games and other games including rugby, soccer and athletics. Recently when Irish, English and Welsh rugby teams travelled to the southern hemisphere, Sky Television took over the coverage of those games. Viewers here are in a better position than American viewers. I was in the United States a month ago and viewers there may have a quantity of channels, but they do not have great quality programmes. They have merely game shows and vox pop programmes, but no serious discussion programmes.

I welcome the fact that TV3 will be on air in the autumn. RTE has had the monopoly up to now, but TV3 will present it with a challenge and I hope it will take it up. I hope TV3 will provide an opportunity for new faces and that it will have strong current affairs programme that will enhance our political process. Above all it will add to the choice we deserve in this country.

I take this opportunity to compliment Deputy Higgins for bringing this Bill before the Dáil. He had responsibility in the last Government for arts, culture and the Gaeltacht. He has a great understanding of the arts and is a man of great culture. I understand why he brought this Bill before the Dáil and I am glad his leader, Deputy Quinn, has raised on the Order of Business on many occasions the problem of Sky Sports taking over coverage of major sports events in this and other countries.

I was not a strong supporter of Teilifís na Gaeilge. However, I compliment the people involved on getting Teilifís na Gaeilge up and running and on their interest in local matters. For example, a few weeks ago Teilifís na Gaeilge televised the Gaeltacht football final in Donegal. A school in Belmullet, St. Brendan's, won an all-Ireland competition and Teilifís na Gaeilge televised that also.

Local radio is strong because RTE forgot about rural Ireland. Its problem was that it geared itself towards the cities and it forgot there were other parts of the country. In saying that, I am not being critical of RTE. It did an excellent job over the years and broadcast some excellent programmes despite all the criticism. The only criticism I would have of RTE and various Governments relates to the fact that for many years parts of the west could not receive RTE properly. That is still the case in some instances. We cannot get Network 2 in County Mayo. Parts of the Gaeltacht area in County Mayo cannot get Teilifís na Gaeilge, despite all the questions I tabled here, yet now we are talking about TV3. At least people can get Sky television in part of the county, but the broadcasting companies let these people down and it is wrong.

I hope that in the future RTE will be the national broadcasting agency on a regional basis so that there will be stations in the west, the south and the east. People could then tune in for local news and events and return to the national scene. RTE made a mistake in not implementing that system for local radio. It always thought it could hold its market share while the local radio people were out selling a product to which people responded. Local radio has been well supported by the community because it broadcasts local events about which people want to hear, as well as national events.

Local radio has done a wonderful job. In my area, the listenership of Mid West Radio, under the leadership of Mr. Paul Claffey, is greater than that of RTE. It is the top radio station in the country. It is the first station people in my county switch on in the morning. They listen to the news on local radio and they continue to listen all day. They switch over to RTE at certain times of the day but RTE has lost a market. If, like the BBC, RTE had regionalised radio over the years, there would have been no need for local radio. People could have listened to local programmes and returned to the national service at certain times of the day. RTE did not do so and it did not compete. It has lost a market which it will not get back because local radio will win out.

With regard to coverage of arts and culture, on three Sunday nights recently I watched "Amongst Women" which was filmed in my constituency. I compliment everybody who was involved in that splendid programme. There was no dirt or filth and there was no need to broadcast it at 1 a.m. It was broadcast at 9 p.m. and I watched every episode. It was wonderful to see Bertra Beach and villages in County Mayo and other parts of the country. I was delighted to see many of my friends in it, such as Mr. John Mayock who is my good supporter.

That reminds me of "The Field", which was filmed at Leenane, although not by RTE, and "The Quiet Man". Those are the kinds of films which I and other people like, yet RTE and BBC continue to broadcast violence every night.

Despite what people say, the greatest influence on family life over the past 50 years — there have been many, such as the Internet, computers, landing people on the moon — must be television. Young kids watch television at dinner time, in the morning and in the evening. They watch American and Australian programmes, such as "Home and Away" and "Neighbours", and Irish programmes such as "Glenroe" and it has a great influence on them. That is why it is important that we keep control of Irish airwaves. It is fine to see Sky television available, but it must be controlled. The Government must be able to keep control of these stations. They should not be allowed to broadcast uncensored filth beamed from another country. Something must be done in that regard in the near future.

With regard to the deflector question, many people in the Dáil, Dublin and elsewhere could not understand why 1,000 people would turn up to a public meeting on this issue. RTE was there to cover the story and it showed the people at a meeting in Westport. The following Friday night there was a meeting in Claremorris. This occurred over Easter and people had plenty of more important things to do on Good Friday. On the following Sunday night another 1,000 people turned up in Ballinrobe. People bothered to do that because for many years they could receive only RTE 1. For a long time people could not even receive Network 2 in certain parts. We listened to our comrades all over the country telling us how they were watching BBC, UTV and Channel 4 while we in the west could not receive those stations.

Then there was a major debate about the award of licences. If the cable people concerned who received exclusive licences — we now know why — had provided the signal where it was required in the early days, there would have been no disputes. Ministers in two Governments introduced a regulator. It annoys me that every day the Dáil gives away powers to people who are not answerable to anybody. When that regulator was first asked to come before a Dáil committee she refused. I do not know whether she has now come before the committee but she was to do so. Such people have no responsibility to the Dáil. In response to every second question I table in this House the Ceann Comhairle writes the next day that the Minister has no responsibility for it.

People were annoyed that every Minister avoided the issue of television deflector systems. We now know why. These people got exclusive licences accompanied by letters telling them that nobody else would get the franchise, there was millions of pounds to be made and they could go out and make it. They became involved in the cable service because they thought they would also get the licences for local radio. It is a good job that did not happen. If one good thing came out of the Burke affair, it is that these people were scalded by the cable system and they were not quick to get involved in local radio. That was great because it would have lead to a media monopoly, although one almost exists already. That would not be good in a small country like this where people are influencing editors and telling them what they can and cannot put in newspapers. Editors might say that does not happen but it does. People should not be codded. If one sells a £50 ticket to a person and if he wants a medical card or wants a Deputy to do something for him, he feels the Deputy owes him something. What if a person gave a Deputy £30,000, £50,000 or £100,000? How would the person feel? Would he not feel that he deserved a reward from the State?

Some cynics in the media will ask why we should have deflector systems. The deflector systems were set up and run by the community and nobody makes money out of them. The general public have a service which they can afford. They would have paid for it from the people who got the licences if they had provided the signal, but of course they did not bother doing that. Now the company sees it may have a case and it may be able to sue the State for millions of pounds.

I wish to share my time with Deputy Perry.

Acting Chairman

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I want to turn now to sports, particularly the GAA, soccer and tennis. I enjoy all kinds of sport. I am not a GAA man, a soccer man, a tennis man or a golf man. I do not play golf. Many of my colleagues spend a great deal of time playing golf but I do not. However, I enjoy sport and I would watch it on television at any hour of the day or night. RTE is doing an excellent job in covering major sports events despite stiff competition from the BBC, UTV and Sky Television which are prepared to pay large sums to secure exclusive rights. They should not be allowed to secure exclusive rights to the all-Ireland hurling and football finals and soccer internationals, control of which should be retained under legislation by the national station.

Following the success of Michelle Smith-de Bruin in winning three Olympic gold medals — she is now the subject of much bad publicity which is undeserved — there was much talk about a 50-metre pool and the question was asked why the Government was not assisting sporting organisations. How many footballers who played with English clubs and how many runners and cyclists who competed abroad and made much money have come back to this country to live rather than places like the Isle of Man?

Sporting organisations are being supported by the taxpayer. They are also being supported indirectly through the deployment of gardaí at major sporting events, although in some cases promoters are required to pay for this service. Despite this, many are critical when Ministers are at the airport to meet those who have won major honours. Why should the Ministers, Deputies de Valera and McDaid, not be present to meet them? The process begins with the local club for which Deputies Higgins and Perry and I make representations to secure national lottery funding.

We have not done too badly as a small country. We have produced many fine footballers, athletes and swimmers who have done themselves, their families and their country proud. I hope many more Olympic gold medals will be won. I hate the knockers as they always knock politicians. Many were critical when the Government gave the GAA £20 million recently. I hope we will be in a position to spend much more.

When the national lottery was established by Donal Creed many said it would not work. It was envisaged that a major percentage of the proceeds would be devoted to sport but that is not the way it has turned out. The money that has been allocated, however, has been spent wisely. One can point to many fine achievements throughout the country.

Even at this late stage I hope the Government will accept the Bill. It would be wrong to allow people like Rupert Murdoch and millionaires like Tony O'Reilly to secure control of the airwaves. While RTE should be supported and assisted in every way possible, it has an obligation to viewers throughout the country, not just in Dublin. It is beginning to realise that it made a fatal mistake in relation to radio broadcasting. It will not make the same mistake in the case of television.

The development of digital television will have major implications. If people want to subscribe to Sky Television, so be it but there should be some control over what is beamed into people's homes. It would be wrong of the GAA and soccer clubs to sell exclusive rights to the BBC, UTV and Sky Television. It would be a sad day if the people who support the GAA throughout the year could not watch the all-Ireland football and hurling finals on television.

I compliment Deputy Higgins on introducing this Bill which is designed to protect public right of access and diversity of ownership. The provision under which a ceiling of 25 per cent would be set is an excellent one. When one considers what is happening in the retail sector where there has been an avalanche of multiples establishing here, it is critical that we ensure diversity of ownership of the media. The development of Internet services, satellite and digital television will have major implications.

There are major divisions between broadcasters with public service obligations and those whose primary aim is to maximise profits. Perhaps the best medicine is to ensure public service broadcasters which put the public interest first and which are committed to sustaining a creative non-derivative production base are properly supported and funded.

Television has a much greater impact than school in the education of children. This presents a delicate problem. In this context there is a need to preserve the role of public service broadcasters. This cannot be done by extending the principle of universal services. That would be a grave error.

In the information society the protection of intellectual property rights holds the key to protecting employment and the profits of small and medium-sized companies and ultimately economic success. Dominant global players do not always use their economic power to support the European audiovisual industry, particularly here.

Broadcasting holds the key to promoting our culture, traditions and heritage. It is the modern storyteller. We must consider how future generations will learn about us. We should be able to depend on public service broadcasters to fulfil this role. As Deputy Ring indicated, major films made here with the support of the taxpayer serve to promote the country and its scenic beauty. This is worth millions of pounds in advertising. I commend Deputy Higgins for commencing this process which has been continued by the Minister. Commercial television relies on cheap secondhand American imports at the expense of original European productions. This will eventually cost them dear.

Public service broadcasting holds the key to guaranteeing access to information. The development of digital television heralds great changes and should allow full access to all programmes for all citizens but we are in danger of moving towards premium services and pay per view. National broadcasters should have the right to secure clips of major sporting events covered on this basis. RTE should have an entitlement, for example, to secure clips of all matches involving Manchester United to be rebroadcast as soon as possible after the event.

Free to air television is a thing of the past in the case of major sporting events. At present, the cheque book syndrome holds sway. Free to air broadcasting means that viewers should be able to watch major events on any channel and there will be major difficulties if this is removed.

Television is an important medium in terms of information, education and entertainment. Those words were used to launch the BBC and they are the principles by which other European public service broadcasters have stood. Let us begin by defining public service broadcasting in the context of television. Public service broadcasting is available to everyone, it offers a reference for our national and European identity, it ensures that a range of opinion is expressed in balanced debates and reports, it broadens the choice of programming and caters for all tastes and it is politically, editorially and financially independent. Public service television represents the foundation stone of a healthy, interactive and democratic society. Television's power lies in its value as a common reference point for millions of people.

Public service television's main role is to put quality first. Commercial channels put their advertisers and shareholders first and that is where the major difference lies. As in any business, competition is important. While Ireland has benefited from its membership of the European Union, we must not be afraid of competition. RTE is doing an outstanding job in the production of home-based programmes and we must increase our efforts to sell such programmes on the European, US and world market. We have imported many American television programmes in the past but it is time we began exporting our own.

We should call on broadcasters to consider their role in respect of audio-visual creation, fostering new talent, setting aside broadcasting time for innovative programmes and enabling a network of independent producers to be maintained. It is here that the Minister has played a major role because independent producers are the key to Ireland's future success. We must use our third level institutions to promote, encourage and educate a new generation of independent producers. This will provide others with the incentive to follow in their footsteps.

I call on broadcasting companies to broadcast programmes with a multicultural content which will promote a feeling of solidarity among people of different cultures. That is extremely important. I call on the Minister to ensure the continuation of free to air transmission of major sporting, entertainment and scientific events of particular value and interest. The legislation drawn up to deal with this area must confer on the Minister of the day the power to ensure that people's choice of programmes is not interfered with by monopolists intent on making them pay per view.

A key element in the future development of an information society for all will be to ensure that the largest number of citizens are catered for. In that context, let us consider the partnership between television producers and viewers. Producers must realise that viewers are intelligent and that they demand to be well informed in terms of public debate. Public broadcasters must be allowed to broadcast new digital material provided it is compatible with their remit and instructions to consumers in respect of decoder systems must be made public. We must also recognise that certain measures may endanger the financing of television channels such as TnaG and TV3.

As Deputy Ring stated, the arrival of local radio was a great development. This medium has created a new debate in terms of Irish culture and music and local radio stations attract massive audiences. Despite the advent of pay per view television and major competition from across the globe, I believe Ireland can stand firm. We have a strong television industry which was given great support by the previous Minister, Deputy Higgins, to whom great credit is due for raising arts and culture in Ireland to a new level. The current Minister, Deputy de Valera, is doing a good job in the promotion and preservation of our culture.

Given today's historic events in Northern Ireland, we now have a 32 county culture. Deputy Ring referred to the regionalisation of television and in my opinion RTE could do more to develop and explore the production of programmes concerning culture throughout the regions. Television represents a great way to tell stories and people are often enlightened by educational programmes as opposed to American imports. In the past, RTE was obliged to import foreign programmes because of the costs involved in home production. However, I believe viewers would not be overly critical of home produced programmes if they were made aware that these were being used to develop new skills in TV production and foster a new generation of producers and directors. As already stated, local radio is well established and in the future we will see the development of and major competition between regional television channels.

Competition is very important in terms of the control of ownership of the media and the national press. I accept that there is a 25 per cent threshold, but it is imperative that new competitors should be encouraged to enter the print and television media because it would be dangerous to allow a monopoly to develop. I accept that we have a free press but it is important that people with a passion for development should be encouraged to enter this area, which has major potential for growth.

Profitability is the bottom line in any business. However, to preserve our culture and encourage the growth of the industry, the Government must continue the process of subsidisation in terms of promotion and development. Controls must be put in place to ensure that a monopoly does not develop in the media before the turn of the millennium. As an example, let us consider the fact that we welcomed competition in the retail trade with the arrival of British multiples on the market. While these multiples are not major players on the Irish scene, they are dominant in Europe and hold a monopoly there.

We must ensure that our hard work and investment in the television industry is preserved in the future and that the country is not overrun by European multichannel stations. Someone waving a cheque book should not be allowed to purchase exclusive rights to the All-Ireland hurling or football championships or the fleadh. As with copyright legislation, we must ensure that the rights of people who are marginalised, who may not have access to multichannel television and who are happy to watch two channels are protected.

I am glad to have the opportunity to speak on the Bill. I look forward to the Minister's forthcoming visit to County Sligo. She has shown great passion in the battle to preserve our culture. The print media is the major area in respect of which she can take further action. I compliment Deputy Michael D. Higgins on introducing this innovative Bill. His efforts in this area are no surprise, given the major role he played as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht in the previous Government.

My predecessor, Ted Nealon, was one of the first Ministers given responsibility for arts and culture and he set high standards in that area. I have no doubt that he will be delighted by the development of its role in our society.

I wish to share my time with Deputy Eoin Ryan.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I have a great deal of respect for Deputy Michael Higgins and the work he has done. However, this Bill is a hurried attempt by the Labour Party to try to capture a few headlines without adopting a constructive approach to the Government's proposal which will be put before the House in the autumn. This is a missed opportunity to tackle some of the key issues facing broadcasting and the media in the decades ahead. Among those issues are digital television, increased competition for RTE and the impact of broadcasters from outside the country being allowed to hijack many of our major sporting and cultural events for pay per view television. Legislation is required but it must be framed in a manner which addresses these issues. It must not be presented with political motivations.

We must take a detailed and unbiased look at the competition in the media market. We cannot rush in with proposals which some Members would like to direct at one particular element of the media. I may be correct in assuming they wish to target a successful man who they feel is not helpful to their political viewpoint.

That would be totally wrong.

This Bill should not be about such an approach.

I support the Minister's approach to the Bill. She has given an indication of her ideas with regard to RTE's request for a review of the Broadcasting (Amendment) Act, 1993. RTE wishes to develop a new company with a strategic partner to avail of the opportunities of digital television. It considers that it must do so to face competition. It will have to compete with an independent TnaG and the new TV3.

The Minister's approach is common sense and practical. I support her view that this Bill would be ineffective at this time. All relevant details must be available before we proceed with legislation. The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has requested the Competition and Mergers Review Group to look into matters related to this issue. That report will take time to complete in view of the complex issues involved in the field of cross-ownership of the media and the format of modern broadcasting. There are issues about terrestrial rights, satellite rights, digital and analogue television, paid and unpaid viewing and concern about the rights of viewers in this age of rapid change. This change parallels and is linked to the daily advances in computer technology.

If we enact legislation to meet the challenges of the next century we cannot afford to take shortcuts. The last comprehensive survey of broadcasting took place in 1960. This indicates a need for new legislation but such legislation must be introduced for the right reasons. We cannot use a Bill to settle old scores. We should wait until there has been full consultation with interested parties and until such time as the review group has reported.

There is a Green Paper on Broadcasting.

European law prohibits actions in member states that would deprive a substantial population of its traditional right to free television viewing of many national highlights under section 3(a) of Council Directive 89/552/EEC. This directive is often referred to as "Television without Frontiers". It has been introduced at an exciting time for the broadcast and print media.

In the light of such developments we must ensure that public access and a right of complaint are acknowledged. We need to consider new bodies to monitor standards in the broadcast and print media. We should consider setting up an independent complaints commission which would allow viewers, listeners and readers to take complaints to an independent body. There should be a body with definitive powers to punish those who infringe controls. People may find they are badly treated by the media — I have been badly treated on one or two occasions. They may find a particular story or photograph distasteful, they may regard a television or radio programme as unsuitable or they may find a subject is treated in an unfair manner or is misused solely for commercial or sales purposes. People must have a mechanism of appeal against practices they consider objectionable.

We cannot allow what happened with local television to happen again. One group should not be allowed to control a service in any given area. This is a problem we must address in the home market and it is as important as ensuring that pay per view services controlled from outside the country cannot be allowed to dictate that the only way we will be able to watch the millennium all-Ireland finals will be by paying through the nose for the privilege.

While implementing part of the EU directive we must be aware of the challenges to our networks from within the EU and from other sources. The EU must use its power to address the monopoly that re-transmits from satellites. Satellite television and pay per view services have brought new and unwelcome developments to television and radio availability in Ireland. There is an unacceptable hijacking of major sporting events by the pay per view services. This is a threat to events from all-Ireland finals to local club matches in all sports. Sky television controlled the rights to Ireland's recent rugby tour of South Africa. This drove many people from their homes to pubs to watch the games. In some cases Sky Sports 3 broadcasts were not received on MMDS services and people could not view the games live.

The monopoly of major events by pay per view is the most disturbing development facing the industry. The large British soccer clubs are selling their weekly games on satellite services. Quite soon television viewing will be akin to a visit to a gaming arcade where one will have to pay more each time one wants to watch a major event. This is nothing short of one armed bandit television.

In its essence the Bill seeks to define the ownership of the media and proposes to define the limits of the cross-ownership of different media. I agree that certain controls should be imposed and that limits of involvement would be dictated. We must ensure that the monopoly of big interests does not gain control of the Irish media.

We can look with pride on the outstanding growth of major and local Irish media companies. Dr. Tony O'Reilly's Independent Group is a shining example of an Irish company which has done well at a world level. It has control of media groups in the US, South Africa, Britain and Australia. We should admire its acquisitions. Unfortunately, success seems to foster jealousy and unfounded suspicion. I would not like to think that some among us would begrudge this or any other company its success. Is it possible that the begrudgers believe that the many jobs generated by such successes are irrelevant? Surely they cannot be so blind.

The Independent Group's journalists are among the best in Europe and it is not given credit by some for having been at the forefront of exposing some of the major recent scandals in Irish society. I would not like to think that those exposures would have been more acceptable coming from another source.

The Crosbie family in Cork has been in the media business for over 150 years. It has developed a national newspaper title of which we can be proud and which not only competes with the other national titles but surpasses them. The Crosbies are expanding into other media and their expertise has helped to bring success to smaller operations serving provincial areas.

Other successes include 96FM in Cork and 98FM and FM104 in Dublin. Many small radio stations are thriving and expanding into other media. The Irish media thrive on competition and with the right management and ownership structures will continue to grow and to create much needed employment. In the current climate there are many success stories with much of the new broadcasting talent going into foreign markets. There are many media successes and, despite the fears of certain Members, the big guns of the global media are not controlling all the success generated.

In recent times two capable young journalists set up the Sunday Business Post and sold a major stake in the business, yet they retain control of it. I do not think I have featured in that newspaper but it has been very successful over the past decade. In Cork 96FM is the best example of a local station achieving great success in listener ratings, using quality and commercial yardsticks in presenting a product of which it can be proud.

I agree that for any one company to have too great an interest in different media is dangerous and must be controlled. Certainly, let us control and prevent monopolies, but let us not cap expansion wholesale. Let us not lose the opportunity to tap the proven expertise that exists in the marketplace and which can be of benefit to those coming into or developing a media product from a smaller base.

There are many issues in radio and television which need examination at this point. I am sure everyone here can think of some. One that springs to mind is the large volume of uncontrolled pornography which is being unleashed on us day after day courtesy of Sky Television. Another increasingly common practice in national broadcasting of widespread use of foul language by certain journalists and radio broadcasters is to be deplored. Some of these people may believe that this vulgarity makes them acceptable to the so-called "liberals" who are making a good hand of destroying Irish culture and values. We must get the message across to them that we do not respect or admire profanity. When is it all going to stop? I have no easy answer. Fortunately, most of our broadcasters continue to observe the standards we expect from and admire in them.

The intent of the legislation being prepared by Government is to ensure that no multinational could buy the exclusive rights to events such as national sporting fixtures. If that happened viewers would have to pay for reception of certain fixtures such as hurling and football finals. The public here have never had to pay any fee other than the annual television licence and it would not be greeted kindly by them.

The Minister is right to give priority to the needs of Irish viewers in line with the commitments given in the Government's An Action Programme for the Millennium. She knows that now is the time to introduce new, comprehensive and well researched legislation. She intends to engage in a process of widespread consultation with the various sectors of society. It would be regrettable to see free sporting coverage lost to viewers, and possibly listeners, of the national station. The public reaction would be hostile, and this I would understand and support.

I re-emphasise my total support for the Minister in her approach to this Bill and I ask Deputy Higgins and the Labour Party to withdraw their Bill rather than forcing a vote on it and allow the Minister time to finish her consultations and deliberations and bring forward her own Bill in the autumn as she has promised.

It is clear from the debate that Deputy Higgins has widespread support for the principles underlying his Bill. The Deputy has shown great interest in this area. He initiated the Green Paper. During his term as Minister he had much to say and did a reasonable amount of work in this area. He deserves congratulations for that work and for bringing the Bill forward. However, the Minister has done a considerable amount of work in this area since she came into office. A variety of groups are working on the matter and the Minister is shortly to bring forward her own proposals.

Sport at any level affects us all, from those who organise at community and club level to those involved at the highest level of competition nationally and internationally. Players at these higher levels can become national heroes or villains, shared by us all in our conversations and stories. The power of sport was highlighted last night when many people watched England and Argentina in the World Cup. Most of us were cheering Argentina. From about the third minute the English were the underdogs but they fought back. Even though they lost, a fair number of people were cheering for them at the end and hoping they would win, purely because of the determination and grit they showed on the pitch. It was a great example of sport at its best. People talked about heroes and villains. I hope certain people are not made out to be villains. The negative side of mass broadcasting and coverage of sport is that there always has to be somebody to blame after a game. I hope that does not happen.

Sports men and women are looked up to for their dedication and they inspire others to emulate their achievements. The ability to participate in major events through the medium of television has become part of our culture. Many of these events transcend sport and participation is a feature of social inclusion and of our own story as a country and as a community.

I agree with Deputy Higgins that there are those who seek to regard such events as simply a commodity to be bought and sold in the marketplace, for whom these events have no more cultural significance than a tin of beans, to use the Deputy's words. The exclusion of many from participation in such events through free television is unacceptable and will have significant repercussions in terms of social exclusion and fragmentation if measures are not taken to protect access for "free to air" broadcasters.

However, it is not enough to put together a set of proposals and accuse anyone who might oppose them as being uncaring or too slow to act in the face of threats from transnational media conglomerates. Any measures which might be taken will have to work and be able to withstand challenges at national and international level. It is simply not sufficient to take the provisions of section 1 of Article 3a of the Television without Frontiers Directive and regurgitate them almost without change as a provision in Irish law. The section is not mandatory. It leaves the option open to member states to list events and to designate whether such events will be available on a live or deferred, whole or partial basis. The article does not establish criteria. This is left to individual member states.

Any legislation which is produced in this area must clearly be seen to be in the public interest and it must be seen to balance the needs of the common good against the private interests which might be affected. It can be argued that it is in the common good to ensure that everybody can obtain free access to every sporting event at every level if that is what they want. We all know of course that this would cut no ice when defending an action under such legislation in the courts. What would happen, for instance, if a broadcaster provided "free to air" coverage of a listed event under Deputy Higgins's Bill via satellite? No subscription or "pay per view" fee would be necessary. It could argued that a satellite signal would be available to the whole country. However, in order to receive a signal, even if it were not encrypted, a person would have to invest in the necessary satellite dish or associated receiving equipment. What would happen if a "free to air" broadcaster offered a clearly derisory amount to the organiser of the event listed under Deputy Higgins's Bill? Would this organiser be forced to sell the broadcasting rights? Many sporting bodies rely on the income from their premier events to fund activities such as training, coaching, the provision of facilities and the development of skills. Perhaps the Deputy might deal with these questions in his response to the debate.

Deputy Kenny's idea that sporting bodies would be applying to be included in the list of designated events which would be drawn up under this legislation was interesting. I am not sure whether Deputy Kenny has an expectation that there would be no limits to the Minister's powers to designate events as being of major importance to society or expects that broadcasters would be obliged to carry events which are listed. Deputy Kenny mentioned that the game of bowling might be usefully included in the list of events designated as of major importance to society in Cork. I have no doubt that this sport has its committed followers and practitioners. However, I am not aware of any transnational broadcaster rushing to sign coverage rights of the sport on a "pay per view" basis. Perhaps this is why I am not the owner of an international media conglomerate. I do not believe this is what Deputy Higgins has in mind, but this is an indication of how his proposals might be misinterpreted.

As the Minister said in her contribution to the debate, we must be sure of the objectives of any legislation which is brought forward. We are dealing here, as indicated in the provision of the Television without Frontiers Directive, with events which go beyond the interests of the committed fan and which have a special resonance in society as a whole.

Deputy Kenny mentioned that live English premiership soccer is now only available through BSkyB's subscription sports channels. Many Irish people have a significant interest in the fortunes of English soccer clubs. They are often rewarded for their pains by having to pay ever-increasing prices for the increasingly expensive merchandise associated with their chosen club. We have to introduce a note of reality here. They are English football clubs, some of them in private ownership and some public companies dealing with an English-based broadcaster. The games are not protected under British legislation. BSkyB has also secured exclusive coverage rights for live coverage of games in the lower divisions of English soccer, and this is seen as a bad thing. The impression is that somehow we have been deprived of a right.

I am not here to defend Mr. Murdoch but we must ask ourselves some questions. How many premiership, former first division or second division matches were available on live television before the advent of satellite TV? How many lower division matches were available? How many matches are available at the top division, apart from the clashes of some of the bigger clubs which now generate mass audiences? What have we actually been deprived of? As a soccer supporter I can tell the House we have been deprived of very little. We see far more soccer now, including lower division games, than we did in the past. In many ways satellite TV has helped football in that it has given lower division clubs greater access to a much wider audience. If there was no satellite TV those clubs would lose out.

I am not saying there is no cause for concern. There is a threat to the events of major importance if action is not taken. More importantly, there is a threat to the basic concept of the provision of communications and information as a public service. There is also a threat to social inclusion and our sense of community if it becomes no longer possible to share the experience of certain events together. We must be realistic, however, in the type of event we want to protect if we are to produce strong and effective legislation.

In his contribution, Deputy Bruton made some well considered remarks about the rights of the organisers of these events and these will have to be addressed in any proposed legislation which may be brought forward. The criticisms of Deputy Carey and others with regard to the length of time it has taken the Minister to produce these important proposals ring hollow when one considers the same promises were made about comprehensive broadcasting legislation during the term of the previous Government which never materialised. It is obviously better to wait until the Minister's proposals, which she has told us are at an advanced stage, are brought forward.

Turning to the second part of Deputy Higgins's Bill, and probably the most important aspect, it is clear from the contributions from all sides of the House that he has raised an issue about which there is general concern. Media analysts have taken on the role of interpreters of our society. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that but it puts them in a position of considerable power and responsibility.

Concentration of media ownership, whether it is in one particular sector or across different media sectors, justifiably raises concerns about the potential abuse of this powerful position. This is a complex area involving freedom of speech, rights to information and to the functioning of the democratic process. As late as yesterday the Tánaiste indicated that she hoped to bring in legislation on media ownership after she has received the report of the expert group on implementing the recommendations of the Commission on the Newspaper Industry.

All sides of the House would agree that diversity and plurality of opinion in the media is important to the functioning of our democracy. However, as the Minister said in her contribution, the issues involved are complex and we should have the best advice available before we address them in legislation. Accordingly, the matter should await consideration by the Tánaiste of the expert group's report.

To return to the question of sport, one aspect that disturbed many people this year, including myself, was the feeling that they lost rugby when it was taken over by Sky Television. If the GAA were to go down that road it would be an enormous loss. The GAA is not just about a game, it is about Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and others who comment on it. The absence of personalities like that would be an enormous loss for Irish sport and culture.

I thank the Minister and the Deputies from all parties for their contributions on this legislation. It is impressive in a political sense that there was perhaps only one objection to the principle of the Bill. People made a criticism of the different means of achieving what is set out in the Bill, but if one is encouraged by that one is therefore profoundly disappointed by the fact that the Bill will not be allowed to pass the stage of principle — Second Stage — and go forward into committee where the amendments suggested from all sides of the House would be considered by me as the sponsor of the Bill. I can assure Deputies of that and I appeal to them at this stage to consider the inconsistency of saying one is in favour of the Bill in every respect except that of detail, yet it must be killed off now.

I have a difficulty also in accepting that the death of the Bill on Second Stage should happen at 8.30 p.m. when we have no sight of the Bill which is its substitute. There seems to be a certain amount of confusion. Is there to be separate legislation implementing Article 3(a), which is promised, or is there to be inclusive legislation on broadcasting in which the principles of this legislation will be enshrined?

Two separate pieces of legislation.

The Minister is helpful in telling me there will be two separate pieces of legislation but if that is the case she will therefore implement only half of my Bill. My Bill deals with two issues — implementing Article 3(a) of the 1989Television Sans Frontières directive, and the issue of cross-ownership. What then is the problem with accepting my Bill on Second Stage and implementing that first principle? It simply does not make sense.

I want to address some of the points that have been made because I am genuinely grateful to Deputies from all sides of the House for the manner in which they contributed to the debate. They emphasised an important point. There is great unease at the idea that the communications system of a country or a people should be reduced to a relationship between markets. That is what the decency at the base of all the contributions represents. Yet I must emphasise that this is precisely what will happen.

During the debate last night, people outside this House were watching the World Cup, the rights of which for the year 2002 and 2006 have already been bought by the Kirch company in Germany, with whom the European Broadcasting Union will have to deal if it is in turn to sell it back on a capacity of ability to pay to its participating members in the year 2006. Under the market price, the international Olympics have decided to go with the European Broadcasting Union into the future.

There is something very fundamental at stake here. It is sometimes difficult for politicians to swim against the tide and say there is need for new re-regulation in matters of broadcasting and ownership of the media. If that does not take place, it is clear what will happen. Public service broadcasting is protected in the Ninth Protocol of the Amsterdam Treaty but other issues are included in that. Citizens enthusiastic about Europe who speak to me know how the State was pushed aside, that we had regulators instead of State ownership and so on, but they do not know that cynically, politically and ideologically laden reasons were at the basis of the concentration of ownership directive that had been in draft by Commissioner Monti and which has been thrown in the bin by the European Commission. There is now nothing to stop a complete handover of that matter in which the State used to be active to perhaps 15 or 20 major international conglomerates. The European Commission has disgracefully abandoned any attempt at having a concentration of ownership directive.

This legislation was drafted on the basis that communication was a public area, that it was more than a marketplace. There were different phases in broadcasting. For example, from the 1920s to the 1960s there was the rise of public service broadcasting; from the 1960s to the 1980s, the introduction of independent editorial competition of different kinds; the 1980s allowed the delivery of systems such as satellite and fibre-optics and the 1990s is the era of digitalisation.

The issue facing us is a fundamental one. Are we to say there will be no regulation whatsoever of the delivery of technology to communities? Some people may say they must listen to everybody in the world before making a decision. The evidence is in front of people. The suggestion that this Bill should be defeated on Second Stage on the basis of a Bill that does not exist will mean that between now and the introduction of that legislation, if ever, a whole new round of exclusive contracts will have been signed and it will be too late to act at that stage. People should be aware of what is happening in regard to this, which is more than a cultural matter. Citizens are proud of people who excel in sports. It is not that they play themselves, but they feel good about it. Is there to be a totally private market where people who pay belong and have significance? There is a changed relationship in terms of sport.

I wish to reply to an erroneous point in the Minister's speech. She dangerously and somewhat glibly accepted the suggestion that sporting organisations have an absolute right to regard television and radio coverage of events as a private right. Clearly there are private rights to organise access to pictures and so on, but in regard to regulation of media coverage, that is between a public and a private right. Let us not fudge the matter. The issue is very simple. Will Berthesmann, Kirch and Time Warner, or perhaps 20 other companies, decide what we will view? Will we say, "I have not listened to everybody on the Continent yet and, when I have, I will listen to everyone in the world before I make a decision"?

Article 3a has been in existence since June 1997, the month I went out of office. It is explicit and should be implemented. The notion that the Government will not accept this legislation because it intends to introduce its own legislation is unacceptable. I can help in that regard. If legislation on digitalisation does not appear until later in the year, as I suspect, I will set about preparing legislation on that matter during the summer and early autumn and I will combine the two Bills.

Why did the Deputy not do so when he was in Government?

I do not wish to waste my time, but I will give the Minister an answer she might not like. I was a member of two Governments, one of which involved her party, and I prepared a Green Paper on broadcasting followed by heads of legislation. We then held the EU Presidency. I have heard the Deputy's leader say occasionally that it is difficult to get legislation through Cabinet. I agree that is difficult, but at least I had reached the stage of having the heads of legislation and a few months later a broadcasting Bill would have been published.

After four and a half years.

There was a debate on the Green Paper on issues of communication and the marketplace and the contribution by the current Minister to that debate was pathetic. She adopted a yahoo approach to the Green Paper and said that I as Minister was talking about complicated, abstract things such as the communication order and so on. At that stage she was going around with her hand behind her left ear trying to find out if anybody had anything worrying to say. Now she has her hand behind her right ear and she still cannot make up her mind.

I will deal with the contributions to this debate other than the few pathetic statements made by the Minister. The issue of ownership, dealt with in the second half of the legislation, is very important. I listened to an interesting contribution to the effect that this legislation is aimed at one person and that it could be begrudgery. I think Deputies are willing to accept my assurance that that is not the case. When moving the legislation I drew a distinction between dominant position and abuse of dominant position. I argued that a vibrant culture that is active, inclusive and participatory requires diversity of ownership to assure plurality of opinion. That has resulted in good work in newspapers all over the world. Events surrounding Rupert Murdock, whom I used as an example, in terms of International News and his threatening attitudes are not in the interests of plurality of opinion.

The public is entitled to more than the trust that there is a distinction between ownership and editorial and journalistic practice. I argued for the second part of the Bill because the diversity and plurality of editorial opinion would create the best atmosphere in which the citizen and the profession of journalism would be best served. There would be no concentration of ownership which would create the perception of the possibility of an abuse, which is extremely important.

I would understand opposition to this legislation in favour of more inclusive legislation. If the Minister tells me that her legislation will result in an international campaign to make the case for re-regulation, she will have my support in that, but that will not happen. Not only will there be no campaign in Europe for re-regulation or for a future for public service broadcasting internationally, but there will be no broadcasting regulator. The whole country is asking why there is no promise by Government in that regard to ensure at least parity between the technology and the content regulation, which would assure the diversity that is at the heart of this Bill.

They did not understand it.

I would accept opposition to the Bill in favour of a campaign on the ownership directive introduced by Commissioner Monti, but that is not what was offered. Instead, the Minister said that important legislation is planned and will be introduced in the autumn, certainly before the winter. The implication was that the decent thing for anyone else who is thinking about this matter is to get out of the way, lie down and wait for it to happen, but my answer to that is, no thanks. Those affected are the sporting interests, those interested in viewing sport as citizens within a communicative order — I use that term without apology. Citizens communicate and consumers purchase. If anybody finds that offensive I am sorry, but that is the reality. That is the choice facing us internationally.

In regard to curbs on ownership, the issue is whether that which is produced in a newspaper, film or piece of audio visual is a commodity like a bucket or a can of peas or beans, or whether it is something invested with a culture of significance which should be treated differently from commodity and competition. There is a practical side to this. If there is a vibrant assertion of the cultural aspect, we will gain jobs. DG10 in the Commission calculated that by the year 2005 the European Union audio visual market will be the same size as that of the United States. At present the world market in audio visual is about $176 billion. The growth will result almost entirely from pay television if things are left exactly as they are. In those circumstances, it is calculated that 250,000 jobs will be created in this area in the United States rather than in Europe.

As we lose diversity and our capacity for editorial plurality, we are being swamped by a message that is becoming more and more homogenised. This becomes part of a general drift where we are passive consumers of other people's products, sending away the jobs that should be ours, a mix of public service and publishing jobs that should be created at home. The answer, unfortunately, is that we must wait. The generous thing for people to do, given that all Deputies said they found no flaw in principle in the Bill but only with the mechanism of its implementation, is to agree Second Stage and I will be open to any suggestions regarding implementation on Committee Stage.

I thank all Deputies for the manner in which they contributed to this debate and I was very moved by some contributions because they reminded me in their very simple, honest way of a very old poem of Pablo Neruda about the United Fruit Company. There are things that big conglomerates should not own and control and we should be free to communicate with each other. It will be very sad if on the basis of Government partisanship this Bill is not allowed to pass Second Stage and it is killed without hearing a single case against it in principle over two weeks. For those reasons, I appeal to Deputies, particularly Independents, to support the Bill.

Question put.

Barnes, Monica.

Bradford, Paul.

Barrett, Seán

Broughan, Thomas.

Bell, Michael.

Bruton, John.

Belton, Louis.

Bruton, Richard.

Boylan, Andrew.

Burke, Liam.

Burke, Ulick.

McGinley, Dinny.

Carey, Donal.

McGrath, Paul.

Clune, Deirdre.

McManus, Liz.

Connaughton, Paul.

Mitchell, Gay.

Cosgrave, Michael.

Mitchell, Jim.

Crawford, Seymour.

Mitchell, Olivia.

Creed, Michael.

Naughten, Denis.

Currie, Austin.

Neville, Dan.

D'Arcy, Michael.

Noonan, Michael.

De Rossa, Proinsias.

O'Keeffe, Jim.

Deenihan, Jimmy.

O'Shea, Brian.

Dukes, Alan.

O'Sullivan, Jan.

Durkan, Bernard.

Owen, Nora.

Enright, Thomas.

Penrose, William.

Farrelly, John.

Perry, John.

Finucane, Michael.

Quinn, Ruairí.

Fitzgerald, Frances.

Rabbitte, Pat.

Flanagan, Charles.

Reynolds, Gerard.

Gilmore, Éamon.

Ring, Michael.

Gormley, John.

Ryan, Seán

Hayes, Brian.

Shatter, Alan.

Higgins, Jim.

Sheehan, Patrick.

Higgins, Joe.

Shortall, Róisín.

Higgins, Michael.

Stagg, Emmet.

Hogan, Philip.

Stanton, David.

Howlin, Brendan.

Timmins, Billy.

McCormack, Pádraic.

Upton, Pat.

McGahon, Brendan.

Wall, Jack.

Yates, Ivan.

Níl

Ahern, Dermot.

Kelleher, Billy.

Ahern, Michael.

Kenneally, Brendan.

Ahern, Noel.

Killeen, Tony.

Andrews, David.

Kirk, Séamus.

Ardagh, Seán

Kitt, Michael.

Aylward, Liam.

Kitt, Tom.

Blaney, Harry.

Lawlor, Liam.

Brady, Johnny.

Lenihan, Brian.

Brady, Martin.

Lenihan, Conor.

Brennan, Matt.

Martin, Micheál.

Brennan, Séamus.

McDaid, James.

Briscoe, Ben.

McGennis, Marian.

Browne, John (Wexford).

McGuinness, John.

Byrne, Hugh.

Moffatt, Thomas.

Callely, Ivor.

Molloy, Robert.

Carey, Pat.

Moloney, John.

Collins, Michael.

Moynihan, Donal.

Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.

Moynihan, Michael.

Coughlan, Mary.

O'Dea, Willie.

Cowen, Brian.

O'Donnell, Liz.

Cullen, Martin.

O'Donoghue, John.

Daly, Brendan.

O'Flynn, Noel.

Davern, Noel.

O'Hanlon, Rory.

de Valera, Síle.

O'Keeffe, Ned.

Dempsey, Noel.

O'Kennedy, Michael.

Dennehy, John.

O'Malley, Desmond.

Doherty, Seán

O'Rourke, Mary.

Ellis, John.

Power, Seán

Fahey, Frank.

Roche, Dick.

Fleming, Seán

Ryan, Eoin.

Flood, Chris.

Smith, Brendan.

Foley, Denis.

Smith, Michael.

Fox, Mildred.

Treacy, Noel.

Hanafin, Mary.

Wade, Eddie.

Harney, Mary.

Wallace, Dan.

Haughey, Seán

Wallace, Mary.

Healy-Rae, Jackie.

Walsh, Joe.

Jacob, Joe.

Woods, Michael.

Wright, G. V.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Stagg and Barrett; Níl, Deputies S. Brennan and Power.
Question declared lost.