Deputy Broughan is due to speak but he is not present. I call Deputy Ring.
Private Members' Business. - Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 1999: Second Stage (Resumed).
I wish to share my time with Deputies Coveney, Crawford, Donal Carey, Boylan and Ulick Burke.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
I congratulate Deputy Flanagan on bringing this Bill before the Dáil. As Deputy Broughan has just arrived I will yield to him.
I thank Deputy Ring. As usual, he is most helpful and co-operative.
I welcome the Bill introduced by Deputy Flanagan on behalf of the Fine Gael party. I particularly welcome the important definitions of bribery and secret commission. Sometimes there appears to be sufficient powers in place to deal with political bribery and corruption. Last night my colleagues, Deputy Moynihan-Cronin and Deputy Ferris, mentioned the definition of the presumption of corruption in section 2 of the prevention of corruption legislation of 1932 and referred to the legislation introduced by a former and, I hope, future colleague in this House, Eithne Fitzgerald, in relation to ethics in Government. There was an attempt in that Bill to deal with the issue of special advisers and their role.
I sometimes believe that the ethics legislation and the Bill before the House tonight represent a feeble response to the barrage of allegations which have been made in recent years and which are being investigated in the tribunals. The rainbow Government made major efforts, through the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau, to introduce a regime which would make political corruption amenable to swift investigation and punishment.
One of the problems that Government dealt with was the double standard in the Irish media and public life. I remember being severely criticised in an editorial in The Irish Times in relation to a whistleblower section, section 153, which Deputy Quinn attempted to introduce in the Finance Bill, 1995. The former Deputy, Michael McDowell, who is responsible for issuing a fine report today, and the current Minister, Deputy McCreevy, were very unhappy that the rainbow Government was attempting to provide support for accountants and lawyers who wished to act in a legal manner in the discharge of their duties.
More than two millennia ago, the philosopher Plato tried to address the question of how to run a state without corruption in his philosophical tract on politics, "The Republic". He concluded that politicians should have neither families or property so that when they reached a certain level it would be impossible to influence them through money or otherwise.
Political parties are heavily dependent on corporate funding and significant personal donations. The last six weeks were ruinous for all political parties, particularly the two largest parties, due to the cost of the recent elections. I was most unhappy that there was no limit on spending in the European elections and, consequently, in the local elections. There were massive poster campaigns and the Fianna Fáil Party was able to book the back page of local newspapers throughout the country to highlight their candidates. It must have been a hugely expensive exercise. Where did the money come from? The decision not to have spending limits was deliberately taken to secure an advantage over smaller parties such as mine.
He who pays the piper calls the tune. Parties which are heavily dependent on big business, builders and developers, such as the Government parties and, at times, Fine Gael, will find it difficult to resist attempts to gain unfair influence. The recent troubles we have had with three or four senior politicians being obliged to appear before tribunals can be directly traced to the dependence of politics on the corporate and business sector. The solution is simple. Deputy Fleming, in one of the recent reports of the committee on the Constitution, said all corporate and business donations should be banned. I agree. Deputies should be paid a decent salary, probably significantly higher than their current salary, and given appropriate staff. All donations should then be banned.
When one is engaged in fundraising, holding race nights, fashion shows and other enterprises – something every Member will have to do after these extremely expensive local elections – even a small donation, such as a £100 advertisement in the race night programme, places the politician under an obligation. It is difficult to tell somebody prepared to fund the political party and who comes to the politician with a problem, perhaps related to an aspect of planning or development, to get lost. That is the central problem and it can only be dealt with by banning political donations. That would also prevent the recurrence of the scenes at the McCracken tribunal a few years ago when State cars carrying Ministers were lined up in the grounds of Dublin Castle.
The great philosopher of the socialist movement Karl Marx said that the economic powers of a society are reflected in its parliament. By that standard this Parliament, which has approximately 23 direct representatives of the workers, is an ideal example of what happens when the great economic forces in a society dominate its affairs. That is the problem we face.
I commend Deputy Flanagan for bringing this Bill before the House, for defining corruption and for attempting to secure a level playing pitch in relation to white collar crime, particularly as it affects the political scene. Last night, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy O'Donoghue, heavily criticised the Bill for its technical shortcomings. Some of the omissions he mentioned were dealt with by my colleagues, Deputy Ferris and Deputy Moynihan-Cronin. While some of the criticisms should be taken on board by the sponsor of the Bill, the legislation is a good basis to begin improving the law on corruption.
However, Deputy Flanagan and the Fine Gael Party should be prepared to go further and take on board the sad lessons to be drawn from the scenes in Dublin Castle over the past 18 months and in previous tribunals and eradicate any threat of corruption to this political process.
I wish to share time with Deputies McGuinness, Michael Kitt and O'Flynn.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
Bribery and corruption date back as far as the Garden of Eden. Coupled with greed, they have given rise to many problems in the past 2,000 years. That is why legislation has been introduced, especially over the past century, in many countries, including Australia and the UK, to try to define bribery and corruption, the principles and persons involved and all the elements necessary to them. It is worrying that, in democratic societies at the end of this century, the abuse of power and the growth of greed has forced the introduction of new measures to prevent corruption and to improve standards. Nowhere is this more relevant than in public office, be the people involved public representatives or public officials. The principles of fairness and equality should apply to us all in our dealings with everyone and high standards are demanded of us all. In that context, it is unfortunate that Bills such as Deputy Flanagan's need to be introduced, but I welcome his contribution to the debate on the prevention of corruption.
The Bill seeks to amend the law on corruption – an area in which we have had much law dating back to 1916 – by creating new offences of bribery and secret commissions. That the law in this area dates back to 1916 and that 1914 and 1916 gave us laws relating to fraud and larceny with which we are grappling and which are impossible for juries to interpret means there is a need for the law in this area to be updated. I accept the Bill is a contribution to the overall debate, but it is not sufficient in itself to tackle the problems.
Section 2 creates a new offence of bribery. An offence of bribery already exists in common law which recognises a doctrine of joint enterprise where people are acting together. If Billy sends Jack to accept money for him, both Billy and Jack are guilty, and this principle is already well established. Section 2 seems to presume this is not the position. Even if the section were included and passed, I do not believe any person would be found guilty as a result of it who would not have been found guilty under common law as it exists.
Section 3, which deals with secret commissions, section 4, which deals with the abuse of public position, and section 5, which deals with the abuse of public office, are drafted in very wide terms. I note this because, of all things, criminal law demands certainty, and the offences drafted here appear to be vague and uncertain and would undoubtedly lead to prolonged and expensive liti gation. Section 7 seeks to say that certain things would not constitute a defence. It appears to ignore the fact that mens rea is an essential element of every criminal offence. The guilty mind and intent must exist. I am not sure this is catered for in section 7.
Despite the fact our legislation dates back to 1916 and the offence has stood the test of time, it needs to be updated, but not in a piecemeal manner. There is a need for a complete review of all areas of fraud, forgery and corruption. The principal comment which could be made on the legislation in the area is not that the offences are deficient or inadequate but that prosecutions for corruption have been relatively rare. Is that because the incidence of corruption is rare or is it in part due to a deficiency in examining and investigating this type of crime? I hope any review of the law by the Minister will also examine the powers of investigation so that people suspected of being involved in such crimes can be brought to justice.
When one thinks of crime, one thinks of handbag snatching and more serious crimes. White collar crime is a hugely neglected area in legislation because it is not as visible as handbag snatching, yet more money can be taken and more damage done. Legislation has not covered us with distinction in catering for this area. A report by Peter Maguire SC on fraud and fraud offences has been ignored for a number of years with little action taken. Various Governments over the years have commended the report but have not acted on it. We have been more proactive in recent years, especially with the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau which deals with the financial end of white collar crime. However, we also need to deal with the other elements.
I was disturbed that Deputy Broughan should choose a debate on corruption to speak about legitimate party fund-raising and expenditure. To refer in his contribution to a debate on corruption to political parties taking out advertisements in newspapers is seeking to link the legitimate with the illegitimate, the legal with the illegal.
He who pays the piper calls the tune.
The advertisements taken in whatever newspaper by whatever party are a legitimate expenditure declarable by those parties. Deputy Broughan's remarks do not add to the debate nor do they add to the spirit of the changes in legislation needed which have been contributed to by Deputy Flanagan. I acknowledge that, despite the fact that we live in a democracy, we are living in troubled times because there are suspicions about politicians and public figures. Let us at least try to confine our comments and criticisms to breaches of the law, offences committed and irregularities where they exist and not implicate people where it is inappropriate.
I welcome Deputy Flanagan's contribution to the debate and look forward to a more wide-reaching Bill from the Minister to update the legislation as it has existed since 1916.
I welcome the Bill as an opportunity to debate the wider question of corruption, not just in the political system but in general. Corruption is the one factor which has shattered public confidence in the system, institutions and other trade and activity in the State. The whiff of corruption in public life and recent scandals have caused the public to be more cynical and less respectful of the political system and politicians.
Deputy Broughan said he who pays the piper calls the tune. That brings into question the integrity of the politicians we elect. Deputy Broughan put forward one side of an argument which includes some politicians, but the bulk of politicians are included in the other side of the argument which says that they do an excellent job on behalf of the people they represent and that they are tarnished by a small number of people who have engaged in activity other than the parliamentary variety at national and local level.
That must be made clear because, whenever a person speaks of corruption, people immediately think of political corruption, yet there is much more corruption outside the political arena which has not been identified or defined. A definition of corruption is part of the proposal outlined by the Minister. This is important in identifying and dealing with corruption and transposing that into legislation. In defining corruption, it must be ensured that tackling it is dealt with in detail in legislation so that it cannot be challenged and that it cannot be doubted what this House is trying to achieve.
That we have tribunals is almost an indication that the laws relating to corruption are not adequate to deal with what has been happening in the private and public sectors. There is a need to review all of the laws which relate to public servants, public representatives or those involved in the commercial sector where corruption also exists. Perhaps the reason that there is such cynicism abroad in respect of the outcome of the tribunals is because few people have been prosecuted or brought to book for their wrongdoing in relation to corruption or fraud. If our existing laws work effectively, they will help to uncover those involved in corruption and bring them before the courts where they will be penalised for the wrongdoing in which they have been engaged.
Until the State takes the concept of corruption by the scruff of the neck in terms of introducing or bringing those involved in corruption to court in order that they can be prosecuted, sent to prison or given the appropriate punishment for the level of corruption in which they are involved, corruption will continue. We must move away from merely pointing the finger at the political system and deal with corruption and fraud in a more comprehensive way. Many existing laws deal with various aspects of corruption and they must be strengthened by way of policing. As part of our efforts to improve policing and introduce new legislation, we must engage in an in-depth analysis of the nature of corruption, how it should be defined in law and how we bring those involved in it to court.
I support the general thrust of the debate. However, I await the more comprehensive legislation promised by the Minister.
There is a need to amend the existing anti-corruption Acts which have been on the Statute Book since the first such Act was passed in 1906. Members are aware the Minister is currently preparing an amendment Bill which will be introduced later this year. That Bill will be timely and comprehensive and it will be in line with the thrust of the Council of Europe Agreement establishing the Group of States against Corruption. The Minister's Bill will propose the introduction of major improvements to laws in this area, it will enable us to meet our international obligations and it will allow Ireland to become a party to three important international agreements on anti-corruption measures. Participating states will be monitored to ensure they adhere to Council of Europe standards.
There is major and understandable public concern about corruption and fraud. It is important that the law relating to corruption and fraud be modernised and strengthened. We are all aware of public cynicism in business and public affairs following a succession of scandals over a long period. That cynicism is more and more in evidence. There is a demand that the actions of those involved in bribery, corruption, backhanders and illegal commission be criminalised.
There are some aspects of the Fine Gael Private Members' Bill that would find general acceptance among Members. I could support the thrust of some of its proposals. The intent of the proposed amendment would appear to be a genuine desire to address the many anomalies in existing legislation. This is inspired by public outrage at the perception of the abuse of public office by officials and the apparent existence of fraud in some businesses.
In response to this disquiet, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy John O'Donoghue, initiated the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau while in Opposition. The then Government fully accepted the measures he proposed. It is generally recognised that this was a major and effective innovation and was then, and is now, instrumental in recent major successes in the ongoing battle against crime. The Minister received the support of the House earlier in the year when he suggested that his proposals should be sent to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance and the Public Service.
I cannot fault some of the aims of this Bill. Under section 1, it seeks to define "advantage"' and under section 2, the act of bribery is addressed and there is also a definition of those who may be perceived to be guilty of having taken bribes. Section 3 refers to taking secret commissions. Section 4 relates to the abuse of public position and in section 5 there is reference to the abuse of public office.
Under section 6, however, a person accused of an offence under the Act – such as receipt of a gift or sum of money – would be presumed to be corrupt until that person can prove otherwise. That flies completely in the face of existing legislation which has a built-in tradition of innocence. In Ireland, the law presumes that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Long may this yardstick continue to be used. I could not support legislation which contains such a provision.
I am not satisfied with the terms of section 7 which appear to limit the grounds on which a person may fight an accusation of bribery. The fines and penalties imposed for corrupt activity are outlined in section 8. Section 9 cites the short title of the Bill.
I would argue strongly that there is need for a more clear and unambiguous statement of some of the points covered in the proposals before us. The definition of corruption is very imprecise and it is contradictory in some cases. Corruption is clearly defined in section 1 as being "the corrupt acceptance or conferral of an advantage". In that section, "advantage" is stated to be "an inducement or a reward". The wording clearly states that the acceptance is the corrupt action. However, that is wide open to misinterpretation and it is far too vague. Does the wording mean that those who would seek to influence people to act in breach of their duty are not guilty until the corrupt action has been completed? Are they absolved of all sin if their dishonest intent does not come to fruition? Is dishonesty only dishonesty, when one is caught out after having succeeded in putting in train a course of action which is wrong and immoral? I do not believe so and neither does any other Member.
I would argue that the implementation of such a provision is not the real intent of those who prepared this amendment. I am sure they did not intend to confine the terms of the amendment to only those who are caught. They must surely have intended to bring to justice those engaged in the initial stages of corruption as a deterrent to those who would attempt to tread the same path. If persons are proven to have engaged in an attempt to pervert the systems laid down in law, they are guilty even though their efforts have not borne fruit. Unfortunately, under section 1, this does not appear to be the case. This section provides for the clear definition of words used in the Bill. I am sorry to say that it does not succeed in its aims. The definition of "corruption" is open to interpretation and this cannot be tolerated in a Bill that seeks to address the whole area of corruption.
I draw Members' attention to the wording of section 2 which refers to "corruptly accepting, soliciting or agreeing to accept, or promising to confer an advantage or a reward". This is a wide-ranging outline of what was intended by those who submitted the Bill. Unfortunately, however, it is at variance with the definition of corruption in section 1. In that section, corruption is defined as being "a situation where an advantage is accepted and conferred". Do the advocates of the Bill not realise that this difference in definition flaws its intent? If they listened to the Minister's contribution they can be under no illusion. I ask that they wait until he submits the Bill he is currently preparing to put before the House. I am confident that his Bill will address every matter contained in the proposals before us and I am sure he will take a number of those proposals on board. I ask the Opposition to consider not pressing this matter to a vote, to accept the Minister's side of the argument and await the introduction of his Bill in the autumn.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss the proposal put forward by Deputy Flanagan to amend the prevention of corruption Acts. During the debate last evening, many Members referred to corruption in respect of planning matters. It is relevant that the Flood tribunal is currently dealing with some of the issues and another tribunal is dealing with different issues.
Regarding corruption in relation to planning laws and planning permission, the allegations made about section 4 motions are unfair to the majority of councillors and councils. It does not follow that every local authority is corrupt because allegations, the subject of a tribunal, were made about certain issues, particularly in the Dublin area. There was criticism of section 4 motions passed by my county council in 1975 when I was elected to it. At the time it was almost impossible to build a house in Connemara or west Galway and it was necessary to pass a number of section 4 motions in relation to dwelling houses for the local people of the area. Many parties, including mine, believe it is necessary to ensure as many farm families as possible remain in rural areas and I make no apologies for putting forward that proposal at local authority level.
Planning in County Galway was the subject of the current affairs programme, "7 Days", in 1980. It examined a number of section 4 motions in relation to dwelling houses and corruption was not found to have taken place. The debate revealed that one of the main issues in planning, and it is still an issue today, is the lack of staff in local authorities to deal with planning matters. I support the call for more staff for local authorities made by Deputy McCormack last night. Lack of staff will not give rise to corruption but it causes delays in arriving at decisions on planning matters.
We have set up a tribunal to inquire into planning matters and another to inquire into other matters and we should await their findings. I notice that a motion on membership of An Bord Pleanála is included on tomorrow's Order Paper. An Bord Pleanála has been criticised, not without justification, for delays in decisions on planning matters. It requires extra staff to deal with the large number of appeal applications submitted to it.
The question of a section 4 planning regulation is a thing of the past, but that is not to say that councillors should not use whatever section of the planning law is necessary in dealing with local issues. I refer particularly to issues such as the location of ESB pylons, which was the subject of a planning motion in Cork, motions on landfill sites, which will be a major issue in the future, or the location of mobile phone masts, which is another major issue throughout the country. Councillors will support those sections of the planning law to try to prevent the location of something the local community do not want and I do not see how councillors could be blamed for that.
I will support any measures to improve the law on corruption and its implementation. A council of Europe Agreement was debated last week and the Council of Europe is concerned mainly with human rights, justice, concern for minorities, discrimination and, above all, democracy. The Minister told us he is preparing a prevention of corruption (amendment) Bill, which will enable Ireland to become a party to three important international agreements on corruption.
It is important to expand the scope of the Bill to cover categories of persons not covered by it at present, for example, members of the Dáil and Seanad. I commend Deputy Flanagan on that section of the Bill. Section 4 is interesting and creates a new offence of the abuse of public position. It appears the offence is based on dishonesty rather than corruption but it is something we would all support. I hope the Minister will consider that section in a favourable light.
Section 5 creates a new offence of the abuse of public office – that subject deserves attention. The Minister raised a question about the term "public official" and the definition of who is a public official. As well as local authority staff, would it cover civil servants and politicians? When one of the tribunals was examining planning issues, it interviewed a number of people who could be described as public officials, but I do not believe there is a specific definition of who is a public official.
I welcome the section on penalties. If we are serious about tackling corruption, which I am sure all Members are, we must provide in legislation for the imposition of adequate penalties. Some reform on the law on corruption has been introduced. I refer to the Ethics in Public Office Act, 1995. Perhaps that Act could be improved and it might have been improved when we debated that legislation.
Deputy Broughan suggested that parties should not fundraise and that resources should be made available by way of providing decent salaries for public representatives funded by the taxpayer. I agree with much of what he said, but it is regret table he did not initiate that when his party was in Government. I often wondered why the threshold in relation to donations to political parties was pitched rather high at £4,000. That is a matter we could consider when the Minster introduces his Bill on this area. The small scale fundraising activities in which political parties engage, whether race nights, golf classics or whatever, are very small compared to the donations made directly to parties' headquarters.
We need proposals to improve the Prevention of Corruption Acts. I hope the Minister will respond positively when he has an opportunity to introduce his Bill and that he will take on board some of the issues raised in Deputy Flanagan's Bill. We must make improvements in our law to meet our international obligations and commitments. The Minister has already brought forward the terms of a Council of Europe agreement against corruption and we now need to improve the law.
The question must be raised as to whether the proposals in Deputy Flanagan's Bill will improve the law. The Minister believed they would not and that they may weaken existing law. I hope the legislation promised by the Minister will be introduced shortly and that we will have an opportunity at that time to debate it and put it on the Statute Book as quickly as possible.
I wish to share my time with Deputies Coveney, Crawford, Donal Carey, Boylan and Ulick Burke.
That is agreed.
I compliment Deputy Flanagan on introducing this Bill. He has spent many hours preparing it and I am disappointed that the Minister did not accept it. When Fine Gael was in Government with the Labour Party and Democratic Left in the rainbow coalition, Deputy O'Donoghue was the Roy Keane of Fianna Fáil. There was not a week when he did not have a Private Members' Bill before the House. He was the expert on Private Members' Bills. On some occasions when the rainbow coalition was in Government and it considered legislation was necessary, it accepted his Bills. If ever legislation was necessary, this legislation is necessary. That is why I compliment Deputy Flanagan for bringing this Bill before the Dáil. The country is awash with tribunals. I listened to what the public had to say while canvassing in the recent local elections. One knows a Fianna Fáil house because the first words the occupants say are "you are all at it". Fine Gael supporters will ask, "what are you doing about corruption and the people taking money?". Fine Gael, and Deputy Flanagan, responded to that cry by introducing this Bill. I am disappointed the Taoiseach and the Minister, who was the Roy Keane of Fianna Fáil when in Opposition and the best man I ever met for introducing Private Members' Bills, will not accept this Bill. Any amendments the Government felt were necessary could have been tabled for Committee Stage. It should have accepted the Bill in principle.
Those who approach public representatives and officials who work for county councils and the State have an unfair advantage. While there is not a great deal of corruption, it occurs among public representatives and officials. The media seem to concentrate on public representatives. I wish some public officials, including county managers and planning officers, would have to go before the people, not as often as public representatives – perhaps every ten years – to retain their jobs. They would have to give reasons why they granted planning permission to builders who could be making major contributions to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Nobody makes a contribution of £50,000, £100,000 or £150,000 if they do not get a kickback. I am not in that league and have not met many builders like that.
I hold clinics in Westport, and throughout the county of Mayo, and those who visit them are usually looking for £5 or £10 and in some cases their rights from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs which is taking every penny it can from the small farmers and people living on housing estates. The Minister introduced legislation earlier this year to give officials from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs powers to stop people's cars to search their boots to check if they were carrying tools or hatchets and were going to work or to claim social welfare. Yet, there are many bank accounts containing money from unknown sources. Those responsible do not seem to appear before the courts half as quickly as the poor person on social welfare.
There is one law for the rich and another for the poor. The rich look after the rich and the poor have nobody to look after them. That is why so many people did not vote in the recent elections. It was not because they did not like the candidates or that they were too lazy but because they feel politicians, in the Oireachtas and on county councils, are only looking after the rich. Perhaps the political parties learned a lesson from the election of Dana. That is why so many voted for Dana, Marian Harkin and other independent candidates.
I compliment Deputy Flanagan on introducing this Bill. I want to see the Minister, the Roy Keane of Fianna Fáil, introduce proper legislation quickly. We have made an effort and it is now up to him to do the same. If he is as good as he was when in Opposition, I hope he will be true to his word before the House rises for the summer recess.
I congratulate Deputy Flanagan on introducing this Bill. The greatest challenge facing the body politic is that of building trust between the public and those who represent it. It is ironic that at a time of prosperity when there is a huge feelgood factor as regards our economy, many people are disillusioned by their legislators, which is clearly shown by the fact they are not voting in large numbers.
Although consecutive Governments have contributed to the successful growth of our economy, there is, more than ever, a widespread cynicism of politicians and politics. The link between big business and politics and corruption and public life is a source of a huge amount of anger for so many people. Perhaps even more humiliating for us is the fact that corruption and politics seem to be the butt of every second joke in conversation in pubs.
We are the legislators for this country and if we are to be trusted and taken seriously, we need to introduce legislation to tackle and stamp out corruption of all kinds, particularly in public life. Fine Gael is leading the way by introducing a Bill which would ensure the threat of prosecution would be a strong deterrent against corruption in commercial and public life.
As was said last night, this Bill is the first since 1916 to deal with corruption. That legislation was enacted in a completely different era and is completely outdated. This Bill is timely and comes before the House against a backdrop of expensive and revealing tribunals examining that which this Bill seeks to stamp out. It comes at a time when many genuinely believe the law for the rich and influential is different from the law for those who are not.
So many people in the past six months have asked me if those who are discovered to be corrupt will be punished after the tribunals or if legislation is in place to ensure that corruption will be punishable by law. Fine Gael is responding to this by introducing a Bill to deal with those who should not be in public life or business because of their dishonesty. That is why it was so frustrating to hear the Minister reject this Bill last night. I accept that perhaps other parties may wish to alter certain aspects of this legislation but surely this would be possible on Committee Stage.
This Bill creates new offences not dealt with in present legislation. For the first time, bribery is defined under statute, in response to the requirement for a modern definition. Abuse by a public official of his or her duty is defined and clarified. Payment of secret commissions and kickbacks are also outlined and dealt with in this legislation.
I often wonder what those in their late teens and early twenties – those who have started reading newspapers in the past year or 18 months – think of politicians. They have read articles about tribunals, dishonesty, the link between big business and public servants and calls for something to be done about corruption. It is no wonder they are voting in such small numbers at election time. Fine Gael has responded with a sensible, well thought out Bill and I ask the House to accept it.
I thank my colleagues for sharing their time. Deputy Flanagan has introduced this Bill at an opportune time. In the recent elec tions many thousands, in all constituencies, did not vote because of cynicism towards politics and what they are being led to believe is happening everywhere. Deputy Flanagan's efforts to amend corruption legislation are welcome. The Minister's refusal to accept the Bill is questionable, given he demanded a great deal when in Opposition and promised zero tolerance. It was clear when canvassing in the recent elections that there is a great deal of fear in rural areas. As you know, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, in Ballybay some filling stations have been robbed two or three times, despite the owners taking security precautions. Others have been robbed in broad daylight by people wearing balaclavas. When they see people at national level getting away with what they regard as crimes, they believe crime is acceptable.
The Flood tribunal will make some information public. However, it unfortunately gives credence to the belief that corruption is widespread. Corruption is not widespread throughout public life. By international standards, Ireland is not perceived as a corrupt country.
For those reasons, it is important this Bill has been brought forward. It is the first dealing with corruption since 1916. It deals with bribery, secret commissions, payola and the misuse of information for personal gain.
It is clear that corruption encourages criminal activity, undermines confidence in democracy, wastes public resources, distorts trade and fosters a black economy. Corruption retards economic development, debases standards and, ultimately, undermines confidence in the democratic system. There is a large degree of public cynicism regarding the operation of business and public life.
Despite the many tribunals established over the past ten years, our corruption laws have become obsolete, outdated and even irrelevant. This Bill, introduced by Deputy Flanagan, ensures that the law and the threat of prosecution can now represent a very strong deterrent against corruption in business and public life. Against this background of growing public concern and cynicism about business and public life, with continuous scandals and allegations of malpractice throughout society, the Bill is both appropriate and timely.
Deputy Kitt spoke at length about the problems with planning and the need to give An Bord Pleanála extra staff. I agree with him, but that is not an answer to this problem. An application for a private house, which was intended to be built 12 or 15 months ago, was eventually brought before An Bord Pleanála and a decision was deferred for eight months. It is impossible to explain this to people who had hoped to be in their new home by now.
Farmers who make genuine mistakes in filling our very complicated forms may be banned from payment for two years. However, we learn in the national media that senior personnel in this country were exempt from tax on millions of pounds, through special dispensations. Someone has already asked if any of these people will be punished or will pay for their activities.
Deputy Flanagan's Bill is timely. I am extremely disappointed it has not been accepted. If it needs to be amended, it is possible to amend it. When we were in Government we accepted Opposition Bills, utilised them, amended them and brought them forward. Some of those Bills are being used against major criminals.
Criminal activity of this nature is not widespread among Members of this House, senior civil servants, planners or any other group in the State. However, if the steps proposed in this Bill were taken, such activities would soon be reduced to nought, to the zero tolerance which the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform has often talked about but has failed to deliver.
I join other speakers in congratulating and complimenting Deputy Flanagan on bringing forward this Bill in Private Members' time. He has done an excellent job in drafting it, with limited advice and help. I am sure he put a great deal of time and effort into it and that his legal qualifications were a major influence in his drafting of the Bill.
I agree with the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, that both sides of the House are at one in their desire to stamp out fraud. However, I disagree with him when he says he cannot accept the Bill and when he asks Fine Gael not to push for a vote tonight. He is wrong in that and has made a major tactical mistake. He should accept the Bill on its merits. Any Bill which comes through this House, whether it is introduced by the Government or the Opposition, is subject to amendments when wiser counsel prevails in this Chamber. That is the purpose of this Chamber and of debate. The Minister said he will introduce a stronger and better Bill in the autumn. It is a weakness of this Government that it is inclined to put issues such as this on the back burner. That is not good enough. People want us to deal with this issue now. Candidates in the recent local elections received that message, among others, when they spoke to constituents on their doorsteps and asked them about problems and issues. For that reason, we must compliment Deputy Flanagan.
There is a perception that this country is awash with fraud. Nothing could be further from the truth. The work of the tribunals must be followed through to the end. However, they are receiving a great deal of publicity because the high profile politicians involved, who were once very senior Members of this House, acted in a corrupt manner and tarnished the good name of this House. I am intensely annoyed by the propaganda which says "They are all the same". That is an insult to me and all other current Members of this House because we are not all the same, we do not deal in such business and we have no part in such carry-on. I am insulted when that statement is made to me and I do not accept it. I want the tribunals to complete their work and the people concerned to be punished because they have done serious damage, not only to this House but to the good name of this country.
As a public representative for 25 years this month, dealing with the local authorities in my constituency of Cavan-Monaghan, and, in a broader plane, dealing with people in the public area on behalf of constituents, such as banks, solicitors, investors, insurance brokers and so on, I have only found honest, decent, hard working, genuine people who were only too willing to help me and the people I brought to them. People should not be afraid there is a conman around every corner, ready to take their money. Such people exist but I am amazed people cannot see these fraudsters coming. They are very easy to recognise in many cases – they have broad pinstriped suits, flowery ties and soft hands – and people should beware of them. I advise people to deal locally with the people they know, and then they need have no fear. I am amazed by the number of high profile, otherwise astute, people in this country who had the ability to amass vast amounts of money but who handed it to fraudsters to invest. They did not ask them what they were doing with their money or what it was yielding. I cannot understand that.
Ordinary members of the public should have no fear that the country is awash with people who are prepared to defraud them, but they should be careful. The purpose of this Bill is to protect the innocent, ordinary people, whom it is our duty to protect, and to ensure that these con artists and fraudsters, whatever profession they are in, are dealt with effectively, so that others who might think of going down the same road will be deterred by fear of the punishment that was meted to out to those who were caught red-handed.
Another issue is the practice of treating ordinary people as criminals, which annoys me intensely. Deputy Ring mentioned the area of social welfare, where social welfare officials almost count the cups on the dressers of ordinary, poor people who are trying to rear a large family on a small income. That is not good enough. It is time we moved away from that and treated these people as human beings.
Another section of the community whose members are deemed to be criminals is the farming community. I am outraged by that. When honest, decent, hard working people make an application for the various headage payments and grants that are part of their income, if one digit or letter is wrong in the ear marking or digital number of the animal for which they apply, they are deemed to have made a false application and are penalised. The farming community did not want this as part of its income, all it wanted was fair prices, but Brussels decided there would have to be supplementary payments to compensate for falling prices. It is outrageous, scandalous and an insult to hard-working decent people that somebody hidden away in an office can decide that they have made a false declaration when they D506–D5
have made a genuine mistake under difficult circumstances. Applications are deemed to be fraudulent and the penalty is that payments are withheld for two years. I do not accept that this is right.
That is why there is a perception that there is one law for the poor and another for the rich and why many disillusioned people did not bother to vote at the last local election. That is not good for democracy. We are on the slippery slope of dividing our people between rich and those who do not have so much. We must make sure that does not happen and people must be assured that everybody will be treated equally before the law. I commend Deputy Flanagan. He is obviously listening to what people are saying and has moved in time. I hope, even at this late hour, the Government will have a rethink, accept this Bill, produce amendments and let us debate them.
I thank my colleagues for sharing their time. I congratulate Deputy Flanagan on bringing this Bill before the House.
At the European and local elections we saw for ourselves the apathy and scorn of the electorate towards politicians and politics and sectors in society who are prospering at the expense of the poor. I have served for two years in this House, and if we were to analyse the use of time here within that period, scarcely a week has passed during which we have not spent an enormous portion of our time discussing tribunals, inquiries or individuals, and trying to track down who said what about one scandal or another. When the history of the twentieth century is written, this part of the century will be shown as a period in which the culture was one of rampant sharp practice in business and in politics. That is the culture of our time. When we analyse who was involved, we will find out that big business, the banks and individuals made enormous amounts of money in a very short time and that money was not earned in the way ordinary workers have to earn their money. Allied Irish Banks had 53,000 bogus accounts and failed to pay the tax due on them. The officials there have still not identified the people responsible. They are passing the buck. Some have retired, and some have gone to ground and cannot be traced.
The first tribunal was the beef tribunal, the Goodman tribunal. None of the higher executives of that company were tracked down. We had to go down to the assembly line, to the packers, and they were made the scapegoats. No white-collar individual who has cheated and who has been shown to have been fraudulent in business has ever been sent to gaol while the person who lifts some item of little value from a shop is brought through the courts and sent to gaol, rightly, but where is the justice in that? I hope this Bill will in some way redress the imbalance in the justice system.
The Department of Agriculture and Food singles out people who have made a genuine mis take and labels them fraudulent. Like many other public representatives in the House, I make representations. I sat in Agriculture House on three occasions before three senior officers making representation on a legitimate application under the rural environment protection scheme. The senior officer there told me I was a cowboy for aiding and abetting a fraudulent claim. I very much resented that. I walked out disappointed. At a later date that same senior officer of the Department of Agriculture and Food was publicly named as someone who had made a fraudulent claim to Europe on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Food. That individual is still in office and will remain so. I hope I will get the opportunity of meeting him some day again when I can point the finger at him and ask him who is the cowboy now.
If we think legislation will quickly resolve white-collar fraud and crime we are wrong. The one real effort in this respect was the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau. I congratulate the former Minister for Justice, Deputy Owen, on that initiative. It is the only limb of Government which seems to be effective in tracking down and bringing to justice some of the real fraudsters. I hope its work will continue and that the necessary resources will be provided by this and successive Governments so that, whether they are here or in some haven abroad, those people will be tracked down. It is regrettable that so much money is being spent on tribunals and inquiries. What does it achieve? We will know the facts but there will not be redress.
I hope the Minister will reconsider his position with regard to this legislation and accept it in good faith as a partial remedy for some our ills.
I and the Government agree with the sentiments of this debate. The law on corruption needs reform. All sides of the House agree on that and, as a consequence, the right proposals for reform would get support from all sides of this House. The origin of the proposals is not the issue. Nobody outside this House really cares whether a Bill to reform the law on corruption originates with the Opposition or with the Government. What they care about is simply that any necessary reform should be implemented as soon as possible.
It is important to mention the points made by the Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, yesterday in explaining his concerns about the Bill. As he pointed out, the Bill borrowed concepts from the provisional report of the UK Law Commission in circumstances where the commission in its final report recommended against those provisions. The Bill also draws inspiration from Australian legislation which is even older than most Irish law on corruption – and this in circumstances where the Opposition, with some justification, criticises Irish law as outdated. In addition, the Bill seeks to implement two recommendations from an Australian report.
I accept that we can learn from the laws and experiences of other countries, just as other countries can sometimes learn from Irish initiatives. There is a great deal of international interest, for example, in the Criminal Assets Bureau and the Proceeds of Crime Act. We have to be careful, however, in transplanting into Irish law provisions enacted in other countries because these provisions will have been enacted in a different legal environment and in unique circumstances. In Australian law the offence of bribery is confined to public officials and secret commission offences, proposed in this Bill, were as a consequence enacted to deal with bribery in the private sector. In contrast, Irish law on corruption does apply to the private sector.
We have to look not only at offences provided for in other countries but also at the context in which they were provided for. The same point applies to proposals for reform in other countries. We can learn from such proposals and we should not be slow to copy good ideas, but we have to do this in an Irish context, taking existing Irish law and circumstances into account.
The Bill also gives rise to a large number of drafting difficulties. Purely technical drafting difficulties could be overcome, albeit with amendments on a considerable scale, but many of the difficulties reflect the more fundamental underlying difficulties surrounding the Bill which have been referred to in this debate by the Minister.
As the House knows, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform clarified earlier this year that he is preparing legislation in this area. A speaker earlier referred to Fine Gael leading the way on this. Most Members of the House know that the Minister had a useful exchange of views with the Committee on Finance and the Public Service earlier this year and many positive suggestions were made. The House will also be aware that the parliamentary draftsman is preparing the text of the Bill which the Minister discussed with the committee.
We need to reform the law on corruption for many reasons, particularly to enable the State to become a party to three international agreements on corruption while significantly strengthening domestic law. It will be important from Deputy Flanagan's point of view that the Minister is considering if further measures should be included in the legislation. The views expressed in this debate and the objectives of the Bill before us will be borne in mind.
All sides of the House understand the process – we have all introduced Bills from Opposition. Much hard work is put into them and it is not easy. The Minister clearly outlined his concerns last night, the difficulties he had with the Bill and that his proposals for legislation have been outlined to the committee.
Ideas and proposals such as those put forward in the course of this debate are always welcome. The Minister will listen to suggestions for improvement no matter which side they come from. I am sure the proposals will provide a basis for this House to agree in detail what it already agrees in principle – that there should be proper reform of the law on corruption.
(Mayo): Last week there was brief debate in this House on a Council of Europe resolution adopted to enable Ireland to participate in an international accord to supervise and monitor corruption legislation in the member states. We had a nerve signing that instrument. To set ourselves up as arbiters of what functions well and what does not, as monitors or supervisors of the performance of other countries, given the abysmal track record in this State, takes some neck.
Look at the measure before the House this evening. As Deputy Flanagan pointed out, we are talking about amending legislation which goes back to 1916, preceding the establishment of this State. This is an area which has been ignored for 80 years and where there has been promise after promise but no action.
Look at the Minister's promise last night. Legislation was again envisaged. That has been reiterated by the Minister of State tonight; the draftsman is looking at it. At the same time, in the list of Government legislation published three weeks ago, the three promised Bills are relegated to legislative 'also rans'. There is the Criminal Justice (Fraud Offences) Bill – number 10 on the C list. We are told that publication will not be expected before the end of 1999. The Prevention of Corruption Bill, the one to which the Minister alluded and on foot of which he is shooting down this legislation, is not expected to be published until late 1999. We were told that the proceeds of crime Bill may be published, if we are lucky, by mid-1999. It is now mid-1999 and there is not a word about it. We are now told that it will be published in late 1999.
A headline dated 24 March 1998, attributed to Deputy O'Donoghue, stated that accountants and solicitors would be obliged to report suspicions. That was 16 months ago. In the article he tells us about the precise legislation he now promises to have on the Statute Book by the end of the year. He was going to have it on the Statute Book within a matter of weeks when the article was written 16 months ago. It is a case of "live horse and you'll get grass".
This Government is not serious about dealing with white collar crime and corruption. It is not serious about the well intentioned legislation which comes from the Opposition. That does not apply to all Ministers but Deputy O'Donoghue stands out as being singularly unwilling. I tabled a Bill to provide for the attachment of earnings – the Enforcement of Court Orders Bill. One quarter of the prison population – 2,500 people – end up in Irish jails every year because they do not pay fines, discharge their civil debts or are in contempt of court. There is a huge cost involved in collecting them, delivering them and releasing them. It makes a farce of the prison system as well as leading to chronic overcrowding. I introduced a simple measure which would have enabled the fine to be deducted at source. In all these cases sentences were non-custodial, a fine was looked upon as the appropriate penalty and a custodial sentence only came into play in the case of default. The Minister turned that down because he was coming before the House with his own legislation. Five months later there is no sign of it.
Deputy Neville introduced the Registration of Sexual Offenders Bill. We have been told time and again that there will be a register of sex offenders. Exactly 13 months ago the Minister was presented with the report of an expert discussion group which he had commissioned to look at the law on sex offenders. It made recommendations about what should be done, the first of which was that there should be a register. We are still waiting for one 13 months later. The Minister had neither the magnanimity or good grace to accept the solid legislation introduced by Deputy Neville.
The Minister refused to accept the humane legislation introduced by Deputy McManus which dealt with asylum seekers. The late Deputy Upton introduced a Bill which would give effect to much of what the Minister has published by way of legislation to date. The late Deputy's legislation was entitled the Licensed Premises (Opening Hours) Bill. It gave effect to most of the recommendations of the group presided over by Deputy Flanagan but again the Minister turned down this legislation. Contrast that for example with the receptiveness of other Ministers. For example, the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, Deputy Woods, recently accepted the Activity Centres (Young Person's Water Safety) Bill from Deputy Finucane. The Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Kitt, accepted the Whistleblower's Protection Bill from Deputy Rabbitte. The ticket touts Bill tabled by Deputy Naughten was rightly accepted by the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Deputy McDaid.
This legislation sets out to plug a manifest vacuum in our laws on corruption in terms of bribery, unwarranted and secret commissions and payola. It is not perfect by any manner or means but it is a solid basis on which to build. The Minister has blown it out of the water and turned it down on the basis that he will bring his legislation forward, he hopes, before the end of the year.
From the point of view of our attitude to white collar crime and the type of situation Deputy Flanagan is trying to address, we have a culture of our own. Not only do we not deal comprehensively, forcefully and effectively with the perpetrators of such crimes, we reward them. Look at the situation, for example, in relation to Goodman which involved multi-million pound fraud and the Irish and European taxpayers. He was chosen to lead the beef and, indeed, food industry in this country. The man was disgraced and we had to introduce special legislation to keep the show on the road and to salvage the beef industry. He is a man who in any other jurisdiction would have been dealt with by way of a firm court sentence. Yet he is now back in command of his empire and, as Deputy Flanagan said, only two junior officers in the Rathkeale plant paid the ultimate price and were sent behind prison bars.
Patrick Gallagher of the Gallagher bank was jailed in the North of Ireland but not in the South. The DPP wrung his hands in agony and frustration because we do not have a test Act similar to that in the North. AIB which ripped off its customers and was responsible for the manipulation of DIRT thereby allowing 53,000 account holders to walk free from their liabilities in respect of DIRT, is allowed to return record profits again this year. NIB ripped off its customers by charging them charges over and above the norm and not notifying them. It is also guilty of manifest abuse in the use and abuse of illegal offshore accounts and yet it is still trading and there is not a word about it. There is also the laxity of our fraud laws whereby more than 40,000 companies were enabled to evade responsibility to the Revenue Commissioners. Some £20 billion was laundered through our banks and financial institutions, much of it by the Russian Mafia.
There is, for some reason or another, a culture of acceptance of white collar crime and when it comes to dealing with it, we are distinctly lax. It is very much the brown envelope, the kick backs, the backhanders and the grease the palm attitude. It is and has been taken for granted. At a time when we are trying to clamp down on abuse in many areas, we have shown a singular incompetence and unwillingness to deal with this area. That is the reason I was appalled at the dismissive, discourteous and curt attitude of the Minister to Deputy Flanagan's measure.
It is a measure into which a considerable amount of forethought has gone and one which is designed to deal with the glaring vacuum in our legislative requirements. It is a measure which is built on a model which operates very successfully in another jurisdiction and is one which could be refined and perfected with an nth of the amount of time the draftspeople would be given to draft the Minister's perfect legislation which will arrive in good time.
No legislation is perfect and tomorrow we will deal with an 11 page amendment to the Immigration (No. 2) Bill from none other than the Minister. The main reason the Bill has been held up is because of indecision on the Minister's part. We had a series of kick starts, amendments, counter amendments, withdrawal of sections and finally the parachuting in of a huge new tranche of amendments which, effectively, redraft, redesign and reorientate the Bill. Yet this is the Minister who is not prepared to accept in good faith a legislative measure drafted with considerable speed and expertise at a huge trouble and designed to deal with a manifest area which is not being dealt with at present. The Minister does not have the good grace to accept it and allow us to do what we will do to his legislation, the Immigration (No. 2) Bill, tomorrow. It is a bad night in the fight against corruption.
I thank Deputies from all sides who contributed to the debate which was informative and constructive. I regret the contribution of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and that he announced straight away that he would not give the Bill a second reading. I find the reasons put forward by the Minister less than convincing. The contrast between what the Minister said last night and what a number of his party Deputies said this evening is somewhat significant in so far as all the Government backbenchers who spoke welcomed, if not every section, most sections. Any difficulties in which the Minister finds himself with the Bill could and would have been addressed if it had been referred to an all-party committee for further consideration. I thank the Labour Party for supporting the measure, and Deputy Ferris for his most constructive and positive contribution last night.
I am pleased this debate did not see any high moral ground grandstanding. In this regard, it is significant that we moved this Bill after and not before or during the recent election campaign. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform takes serious issue with the definitions proposed and he had a problem with section 2 dealing with bribery. His objections, however, go no further than that the offence of bribery was not enshrined in British law following its consideration by a 1997 discussion document of the Law Commission of the United Kingdom. Because of the rejection by the Minister of the new proposals, we will continue not to have a statutory definition of bribery incorporating procuring a breach of duty by deception or by threats of intimidation. Similarly, there will not be a law banning the practice of the payment and receipt of secret commissions or outlining the practice of kickbacks and payola.
I condemn the fact the Minister did not signal his intention to legislate in this area in spite of his rejection yesterday of our measure. He appeared to reject any notion in the shift in the burden of proof on to the defendant as contained in section 6. Without a presumption of corruption, once it is established that a payment of money or money's worth has been made, corruption would and always will be extremely difficult to prove. On the other hand, if there is an innocent explanation, the persons involved in the grant of and the reception of the gift should have little or no difficulty in offering such explanation on the basis of the facts involved. Many reports and commissions on legislative proposals in other jurisdictions examined this matter and remain satisfied that the presumption of corruption is in the public interest and does not result in an injustice.
It is a pity this Bill was not referred to an appropriate committee of the House where the definitions could be firmed up and appropriate amendments made. It is a lost opportunity. I would have welcomed the input not only of the Minister, but of other Members in such an all-party forum. I know the Minister had discussions with the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service on reforming the anti-corruption code and is preparing amendments to broaden the scope of the ethics in Government Acts to include TDs, Senators and MEPs. Alongside this I understand a new public office commission is being considered, although I am surprised that there was no reference to this last night. I am also surprised that there was no mention of the promised Bill on standards in public office, about which there has been so little debate of late. Moreover, I would have thought that if the Government was serious about the issue all strands could be drawn together under the Committee on Finance and the Public Service or the Committee on Justice, Equality and Women's Right and a Bill produced for enactment. Regrettably this is not the case. It seems that new initiatives on the part of Government are only considered and mentioned by way of hasty and defensive reaction once the spotlight is shining. Tribunals of inquiry, investigations and allegations of malpractice have had little or no effect or impact.
I am pleased that I initiated debate on these important issues. I regret very much that the Minister has not chosen to give the Bill a second reading and I look forward to a vote on it. I urge Independent Members and the Fianna Fáil Members who spoke in favour of the Bill to allow it a second reading and go for consideration to an all-party committee of the House.
Barnes, Monica.Barrett, Seán.Bell, Michael.Belton, Louis.Boylan, Andrew.Bradford, Paul.Broughan, Thomas.Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).Bruton, Richard.Burke, Liam.Burke, Ulick.Carey, Donal.Clune, Deirdre.Connaughton, Paul.Cosgrave, Michael.Coveney, Simon.Crawford, Seymour.Currie, Austin.D'Arcy, Michael.Deasy, Austin.Deenihan, Jimmy.Dukes, Alan.Durkan, Bernard.Farrelly, John.Ferris, Michael.Finucane, Michael.Flanagan, Charles.Gilmore, Éamon.
Hayes, Brian.Higgins, Jim.Higgins, Joe.Hogan, Philip.Howlin, Brendan.McCormack, Pádraic.McGahon, Brendan.McGinley, Dinny.McGrath, Paul.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Olivia.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Jan.Penrose, William.Rabbitte, Pat.Reynolds, Gerard.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Seán.Sargent, Trevor.Shatter, Alan.Sheehan, Patrick.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Yates, Ivan.
Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Noel.Andrews, David.Blaney, Harry.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Matt.Brennan, Séamus.Briscoe, Ben.Byrne, Hugh.Callely, Ivor.Carey, Pat.Collins, Michael.Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.Coughlan, Mary.Cowen, Brian.Cullen, Martin.Davern, Noel.
de Valera, Síle.Dennehy, John.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Fleming, Seán.Flood, Chris.Foley, Denis.Fox, Mildred.Gildea, Thomas.Hanafin, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Healy-Rae, Jackie.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kenneally, Brendan.Killeen, Tony. Kirk, Séamus.
Kitt, Michael.Lawlor, Liam.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.Martin, Micheál.McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, James.McGuinness, John.Moffatt, Thomas.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Dea, Willie.O'Donoghue, John.O'Flynn, Noel.
O'Hanlon, Rory.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Kennedy, Michael.O'Malley, Desmond.O'Rourke, Mary.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Wade, Eddie.Wallace, Dan.Wallace, Mary.Walsh, Joe.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.