I propose to answer Questions Nos. 212, 216 and 228 together.
The subjects for the annual programme of special and commemorative stamps are selected by the Philatelic Advisory committee of An Post after very wide consultation, and are then approved by the board of the company and by the Government. In order to allow sufficient time for design, printing and publicity, each annual stamp programme should be finalised well before the year of issue.
I understand that the Centenary of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association was one of many worthy suggestions put forward for inclusion in the 1999 programme, but which was not selected by the committee. However, in view of the fact that a significant number of representations have been made to me by Members of the Oireachtas expressing the wish to have the centenary year of the association marked by the issue of a special stamp, and having regard to the association's extensive membership throughout the country, I have asked An Post to re-consider their decision in this regard.