Railway Safety Bill 2001: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

I welcome the provisions in the Bill to establish an independent statutory body, the Railway Safety Commission, with wide-ranging powers of inspection, investigation and enforcement; to require the railway undertaking to put in place a formal safety management system and describe the components of that system in a document called "Safety Case"; and to establish an independent statutory body, the Railway Safety Advisory Commission, or a council comprising representatives of organisations with an interest in rail safety.

In researching this Bill, I discovered that the first CIE general meeting was held in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, on 14 March 1946. The then chairman outlined plans for the future of the railways and the conversion from traditional locomotives to diesel traction engines which would be built at the Inchicore workplace. Work had already commenced on that. In comparing that situation with today, it is clear that things have changed considerably and I am delighted with the establishment of an independent rail safety body in Ireland for the first time.

Ireland's rail network is inextricably linked in history and style to the much more extensive UK network, formerly known as British Rail. Most of today's network was constructed under British rule and the railways have been in existence in some form since the early 19th century. To get a sense of the different scales of the two networks, there are many criteria which it would be useful to compare. For example, the combined UK rail companies have more passenger journeys in one day than Iarnród Éireann has in one year.

The Bill is concerned with rail safety and prompts me to look back at one of the worst Irish train accidents of recent times, in August 1980, when the Cork to Dublin train derailed outside Buttevant, not far from my area, costing the lives of 18 people. The expert bodies that reviewed that accident discovered that the old timber-frame carriage bodies mounted on a steel frame were totally inadequate and were completely destroyed, while the more modern steel-frame carriage bodies survived. An inquiry was held and eight recommendations were made covering various aspects of the accident, many of which have been implemented.

I was in Tralee in 1983 and can remember seeing a train taking off over what is now known as the Thomas McEllistrim Memorial Bridge. Seven people were killed in an accident which happened to a train in that area on 21 August 1983. The train from Tralee was stopped and a train coming from Galway hit its rear. Three people from my area – from Kanturk, Bothar Buí and Ballydesmond – were killed in the accident. I remember it being said that it was a freak occurrence that of seven people killed in the accident, three were from such a small area. The accident shattered confidence in rail safety.

When I checked the provisions of this Bill, my mind was brought back to those two accidents, particularly that of 1983. Safety regulations must be put in place to ensure that such incidents never again occur and that lives are not lost on the railways. Some of the regulations in force go back to the Railway Acts of 1924 and beyond – some date from the time of British rule – and it is sensible to update them.

Railways offer a fantastic service. With the advent of motor transport in the 1950s, there was a suggestion that there was no further use for railways or for the updating of the railway network. Ireland was looking to America and Australia where the railway networks and their profits collapsed. However, the rail network is more important now than ever before. The Arrow services to and from Dublin have quickly come on stream and are needed. In other major cities of the world, railway networks have provided a fantastic service and we should consider that.

Travelling by rail from Dublin to Cork, particularly at busy times such as when football and hurling matches are played, passengers must tolerate poor conditions. People lie in corridors or stand for a three and a half hour journey. I realise that further engines are coming on stream and more are being purchased for the inter-city rail network but that is not before time. We must ensure there is a proper rail network because if that was the case for the whole country, fewer people would travel by road. My area is lucky to have two rail lines, the Cork line and the Kerry line, which give a good service. Other parts of the service have been completely closed down and the re-laying or re-opening of those tracks should be considered. I realise that would cost a lot of money but the situation would be far better in 25 years if that was done.

A lot of money has been invested, including €115 million for 80 new carriages for suburban services in the greater Dublin area. Iarnród Éireann has a total of 187 carriages for inter-city routes and this will be of huge benefit. I am not certain whether Iarnród Éireann will keep its title and remain under the auspices of CIE but it is vital the issue of rail safety is considered. I realise that the splitting up of CIE and increased competition is being considered. However, it is most important to ensure that trains are provided for the comfort of people at a reasonable cost and standard. This should mean that when passengers alight, whether it be at Heuston Station or elsewhere, they should feel they had been on a good journey and that the railways provide an excellent form of transport. Given that the roads are so clogged with traffic, the inter-city rail services have a great potential to provide a countrywide transport service.

I commend the Bill to the House. Some of the legislation in this area was enacted under British rule while the 1924 Act continues to apply. In view of this, it is a good idea to enact further legislation on rail safety.

I wish to share my time with Deputy Harkin.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle

Is that agreed? Agreed.

This is important legislation. Things have gone backwards in the past 100 years. My village of Mulranny has a population of 300 people. One hundred years ago there was a train service to the back of the Mulranny Great Southern Hotel, which was the jewel in the crown of the Great Southern Hotel group. In those Victorian days entire families and their servants would travel to Mulranny by train, which continued its service to Achill and elsewhere. A constituent once told me that on her return train journey from Westport she would deposit her shopping from the train near her home as it slowed down, alight at Mulranny station, collect her bicycle at her house and then proceed to collect her shopping. The train service enabled her to do her shopping in Westport, 17 miles from her house, and return home in time for dinner. Nowadays there is hardly a bus service, never mind a train service.

Railways are needed because of the state of the roads, yet the allocation for rail spending for Connacht this year is a disgrace. While there are train services from Dublin to Galway and Sligo, County Mayo is largely neglected. I would like to see measures in the Bill that will improve this situation.

The Minister for Transport has the capabilities and the potential to do much, but he needs the resources. As a west of Ireland man I hope he will deliver. I commend him on his ongoing efforts to revitalise State industries through the introduction of competition and other appropriate measures. Communities must be involved because the service exists for the public. It is not a question of making or losing money. The station at Mulranny is falling down and the great hotel, which once employed 100 people, lies empty and neglected. Bats fly in and out of it.

The decision to facilitate a private rail freight operator to run the State's rail network is timely because public disapproval of Iarnród Éireann is growing. The decision to introduce GB Rail Freight may pave the way for liberalisation of the entire industry. It is also important to ensure that the freight rail services to Foynes and Waterford ports continue.

In recent weeks there has been much talk about the massive increase in public capital investment that is required to modernise the rail network. It is an important infrastructure that is totally under-utilised. However, I question whether Iarnród Éireann has the ability to oversee this vital programme. If it is not done properly it will never be right. The company's involvement in previous major capital infrastructure projects has not been good. For example, its record on the mini CTC re-signalling project is abysmal. There were cost overruns and alleged corruption involving sweetheart deals. There was no accountability with the result that a deteriorating rail service continued to ignore the plight of the hard pressed public.

It is puzzling that some of the company's expensive rolling stock in Dublin, such as DART and Arrow cars, depreciates while lying idle. They cannot be used because of a lack of capacity on the city's central rail thoroughfares. While regional railways must close for the want of €2 million in funding, some of the €16 million DART trains are not used. The board of Iarnród Éireann must make these hard decisions on behalf of the taxpayers. Perhaps when the rolling stock in Dublin is replaced the old stock will be transferred to the west. We are always the last to be considered and must accept whatever is left over.

The only Government-funded Iarnród Éireann project that has been accepted by the public covers the company's flashy advertisements, which are on the air at peak times on RTE every week. The catch-phrase states: "We are not there yet, but we are getting there." Will the company ever get there? It is a joke at this stage because the Government is forced to preside over the slow strangulation of the country's railway services by this dinosaur of a monopoly company.

As it is currently constituted, Iarnród Éireann will not get anywhere, regardless of how many billions of euro of taxpayers money is directed at it. The railway services constitute a valuable and finite resource. In County Mayo, Iarnród Éireann has spent approximately €30 million over the past couple of years upgrading track between Manulla and Ballina and Manulla and Westport. While it is welcome, it must be asked if the taxpayer is receiving value for money. At present, only six trains per day and two irregular freight trains use the line.

By their nature, railways carry an unusually high fixed capital cost in terms of rolling stock and infrastructure. The structure must be used as much as possible to make it pay. Most of the direct costs involved are time based, that is, traction, labour and so on. The key to running railways efficiently is tied into the intensive utilisation of fixed capital assets. The Ballina branch line is remarkably well patronised considering its inefficient running. At present, a 99 tonne locomotive, which was designed to pull freight trains in excess of 1,500 tonnes, pulls two 45 year old carriages and a steam van, or a total of 200 tonnes, from Ballina to Manulla three times each way to meet the Dublin train. It amounts to one and a half tonnes per passenger at a maximum loading. Five drivers and three guards are employed in the provision of the service. An annual wage bill of €300,000 is required to provide a service of six 30-minute train trips per day. The position of guards on modern trains is obsolete and a maximum of three or four drivers should be sufficient to operate the Ballina service.

It gets worse. Each day the train runs empty to and from Claremorris to turn the engine. That is a total of 106 kilometres a day. It means that revenue is expended on running empty trains for approximately 40,000 kilometres per year. The Iarnród Éireann board speaks of cost-cutting, but this train is travelling 106 kilometres every day and it is empty. How can it pay for itself?

The sensible proposals to better utilise the railway, involving no capital costs and a reduction in day-to-day running costs, have been put to Iarnród Éireann by a consortium of local representative groups, including the Mayo County Development Board, the Moy Valley and south Mayo IRDs and the Ballina, Castlebar and Westport chambers of commerce. However, the proposals have all been shot down.

An article in the Nenagh Guardian stated that the Minister has encouraged the setting up of a working group to steer through the redevelopment of the Nenagh line at a considerable capital cost of approximately €30 million to €100 million. Is the Minister willing to address a Mayo delegation, of which I am a member, regarding the setting up of a Ballina-Castlebar-Westport service at no capital cost? The necessary infrastructure is already in place. It would save the taxpayer money and earn more revenue for Iarnród Éireann. If the proposal of the delegation is not taken on board, a useless service will be allowed to operate indefinitely until Iarnród Éireann, faced with mounting losses, states that it is forced to close the Ballina line because it is not paying for itself. It is no surprise that the line is in the west.

The cost of line maintenance is proportional to the weight of locomotives so the heavy locomotives should be replaced with modern vehicles. The heavy locomotives should be consigned to the transport museum and not be used to transport the poor, wretched, unfortunate people of Mayo up and down a 106 kilometre line. More often than not, the locomotives are empty, which makes no sense.

If Iarnród Éireann refuses to use our valuable rail infrastructure properly, it is about time somebody else did, such as a private investor. I am not saying we should follow the disastrous lead of the UK in this respect, but something must be done to bring about more competitive practices in the rail sector, whether it involves private or community based initiatives. There are many young people with expertise and communities who would be delighted to get involved. Local transport initiatives are being implemented all the time. Why should they not pertain to rail as well?

Will the Minister consider allowing the community in Mayo to help itself by establishing a local rail initiative? I refer in particular to a proposal for rail services between Ballina, Castlebar and Westport.

I am very pleased to speak on the Railway Safety Bill, the primary purpose of which is to establish an independent statutory public body, the Railway Safety Commission, which will have wide-ranging powers and will put in place a formal safety management system. It will also establish an independent, statutory, public body, the Railway Safety Advisory Council. Many welcome the publication of the Bill because the improvement of railway safety is a key concern, particularly if rail travel is to be a genuine alternative to road travel.

One matter that has concerned me greatly in the past year or two is the number of advertisements by Iarnród Éireann, paid for by the taxpayer. They state: "We're not there yet but we're getting there". There seems to be a familiar ring to this slogan, which is like the slogan, "A lot done, more to do". Where the Sligo-Dublin rail link is concerned, the slogan should read: "Little done and lots to do". This applies to both passenger and freight rail traffic.

Last week the NRA spoke directly to those of us who live in the west after having given us a derisory 5% of its allocation. It said, in the simplest possible terms, that when the major projects are completed in the south and east, the west will get the crumbs from the table if there is anything left over. At least the NRA was frank and did not try to fool us. However, Iarnród Éireann is taking the softy-softly approach –"We're not there yet but we're getting there".

I and those who use the Sligo-Dublin rail link can tell Iarnród Éireann that it is not even close to "getting there". It can spend approximately €4,000 on a 30 second slot on RTE or €8,000 on a one minute slot, night after night, telling us what a good service it is providing, yet even Government Deputies have admitted in the House that its service is second rate. One advertisement per night for two months – there are many more than that – costs approximately €250,000, give or take a few thousand euro of taxpayers' money.

There is no proper dining car on the Sligo-Dublin train, yet Iarnród Éireann can spend €250,000 telling us how good things are. We get the carriages which are cast off from other lines, yet we have to sit and listen to the jingle, "We're not there yet but we're getting there." Freight services from Sligo are virtually non-existent although we watch the images of happy children basking in the glow and warmth of the advertiser's message. Sometimes I ask myself if we have lost all sense of reality when advertisements that we pay for try to convince us that fantasy is fact and that images on television represent good service. What happens when the fantasy is replaced by reality and what about the future of rail freight?

This Bill is about railway safety, but that should not be considered in isolation. Railway safety can contribute to road safety by cutting down on traffic. There are too many heavy-goods vehicles on inter-urban routes. However, hardly any rail freight containers have left Sligo in the past month as almost all of them have been transported by road. If rail freight transport shifts to road transport, the Government will end up spending more on road maintenance than it would have cost to encourage goods to be transported by train in the first place.

It is worth noting that tax breaks are available in other countries to promote freight transport by rail. Will the Minister consider giving relief on capital expenditure on the construction of a railway or tramway lines used to transport goods in or out of a building or structure used for the purposes of trade? Relief could also be given on the restoration to active use of a railway or tramway line previously put to such use or the modification of a building or structure to facilitate the transport of goods by rail. Capital allowances could be granted at the rate of 20% per annum for five years and any allowances granted could be clawed back if the railway or tramway line ceased to be used for trade within five years. This would provide a real incentive for companies to become involved in freight transport by rail.

It is critical that freight transport by rail be expanded and that we have a comprehensive service in this respect. Iarnród Éireann has made a lame attempt to brush over the extra 400 trucks that will be on our already-overcrowded road network every day, which will amount to a staggering 146,000 extra trucks every year. This problem cannot be ignored.

The proposal to have a commuter service from Sligo to Ballymote is a visionary project which would see a number of commuter trains running daily on existing lines between the two towns. A feasibility study was carried out and the project is now with Iarnród Éireann. Will the Minister deal favourably with this project and not just pay it lip service by saying it is a good idea, which it is, but run it as a pilot project? Sligo has been designated a gateway in the spatial strategy. A commuter service would enhance Sligo's gateway status in the national spatial strategy and take hundreds of cars off the N4 at peak times, which would improve the environment. I ask the Minister to examine the feasibility of re-opening the Sligo-Limerick line. This important infrastructure is necessary to provide adequate rail services for the west coast beyond a merely radial network which serves Dublin. I do not object to the large investment in rail services for Dublin, but we are in danger of focusing exclusively on what a constituent of mine calls "Pale rail". In the interests of safety and rail travel, I ask the Minister to look at upgrading the Sligo-Dublin line and launching a pilot commuter system from Sligo to Ballymote.

I thank Deputies for their varied and interesting contributions. The Minister for Transport is pleased that the House takes such a keen interest in the safety of our railways, a subject on which he feels very strongly. I will respond to some of the issues raised by Deputies in a moment, but before doing so, I re-iterate the point that this Bill provides a modern regulatory framework for a modern railway transport network which should serve us well for many years to come.

The principal feature of the legislation is the creation of an independent railway safety regulator – the Railway Safety Commission – and its provisions will apply to passenger and freight operations. The Bill does not apply to industrial railways, such as the Bord na Móna network, except in so far as they interface with public roads or other railways. From an occupational safety perspective, industrial railways will continue to be the responsibility of the Health and Safety Authority. The Railway Safety Commission will have a wide-ranging remit to ensure safe operations by railway companies and will be given extensive powers to carry out its functions. These powers will be similar to those available to the Health and Safety Authority with which the Department of Transport is consulting to agree a memorandum of understanding to ensure maximum co-operation.

The commission is to be given the necessary teeth to enforce compliance with the provisions of the Bill through the issue of statutory enforcement notices. The Bill also provides for the prosecution of offences with penalties of up to €500,000. The Minister notes Deputy Naughten's comments and expresses his confidence that the commission and the DPP will not be slow to prosecute under this Bill. The Minister is also open to considering including more offences or increased penalties on Committee Stage. The Minister shares the concerns expressed by Deputies Breen and Dennehy regarding the danger posed to the safety of our railways by vandals, but notes that the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 provides for terms of imprisonment of up to seven years for endangering a railway in this way. If vandalism were to cause a death, a charge of manslaughter, which carries more severe penalties, could be brought.

An important function of the Railway Safety Commission will be the investigation of railway accidents. Discussion is taking place of a draft EU directive proposing that such accident investigations be carried out by a national body independent of the safety regulator. These talks are at an advanced stage and there are varying opinions on the issue. Depending on the outcome of these discussions, the Minister may refer to this issue on Committee Stage. The Bill seeks to provide the new commission with significant investigative powers and to give it discretion regarding which incidents it chooses to examine. Further consideration is being given to the need to require the commission to investigate certain types of incident. Deputy Shortall stated that the Bill makes no provision for representation of employees being interviewed by the commission as part of the investigation of a railway incident. Section 70 of the Bill addresses this issue, but leaves the issue of representation at the discretion of the inspector conducting the investigation.

Several Deputies commented on the safety of level crossings, with Deputy Naughten commenting on a number of specific sites. Iarnród Éireann has carried out significant works on level crossings over the past four years. Since 1999, the company has invested some €64 million of Exchequer funds under the railway safety programme to permanently close or upgrade some 260 high-risk level crossings and a substantial number of low-risk crossings. For Deputy Naughten's information, a compulsory purchase order has been drafted by Iarnród Éireann with regard to Woodfarm to facilitate construction of a bridge to replace the existing level crossing. Pending this work, the views and surface at the level crossing have been improved and Iarnród Éireann has written again to its regular users to remind them of their legal obligation to close the gates after use. The Slieve Corbally crossing was not rated as a high risk by consultants, AD Little. Iarnród Éireann has nevertheless improved the views at the crossing as much as is practicable and extra signs have been erected on the gates. At Kiltoom crossing, colour light signals were installed in 2001 and are working satisfactorily while Iarnród Éireann is looking at the feasibility of replacing the Knockmoylan crossing with a bridge.

Deputy Gilmore expressed concern about landslides and coastal erosion beside railway lines. Substantial investment is ongoing under the railway safety investment programme to protect the railway against natural hazards. Works are complete or ongoing at Malahide, Sorrento, Killiney, Bray Head and between Greystones and Wicklow. larnród Éireann is considering the need for further works.

A number of Deputies commented on the provisions of this Bill regarding random testing for alcohol and drugs. This provision applies only to specified safety-critical staff on the railways. While all staff of railway undertakings have a duty of care not to endanger others by being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, railways will not be required to test all staff under this Bill. Random testing is increasingly being looked to in areas of work where an employee is responsible for lives of others. The Defence Forces recently introduced random testing of all ranks for drugs and have begun taking random samples. The intoxicants provisions of this Bill were carefully drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General to ensure compliance with the Constitution.

The former Attorney General confirmed at the time of publication of this Bill that he was satisfied with the constitutionality of these provisions. The Minister notes Deputy Naughten's comment regarding the independence of personnel taking and analysing samples for intoxicants. Part 9 requires that the analysis body be independent of railway undertakings. The Minister will consider the need for any amendment on Committee Stage. The provisions of this Bill relating to intoxicants apply equally to passenger and freight lines. However, the Minister will consider the intoxicants clause and will bring forward an amendment on Committee Stage.

The Minister notes also Deputy Shortall's comments in regard to the complexity of the language used in section 85 (1) and will consider, in conjunction with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, the need to clarify the text on Committee Stage.

Deputy Crowe expressed concern about fatigue suffered by train drivers. The Minister has been advised by Iarnród Éireann that the new deal for train drivers provides for a maximum rostered day of ten hours and that monitoring arrangements are in place to ensure compliance with this. Deputy Neville mentioned the counselling services available to train drivers following any suicide attempt involving their train. Such counselling services are made available by Iarnród Éireann and according to the company most drivers involved in a suicide event avail of them. Drivers can have as many counselling sessions as they wish.

Several Deputies spoke about access for disabled people to the Iarnród Éireann network. Iarnród Éireann has informed the Minister that it is its policy to include accessibility requirements in the purchase of all new rolling stock. The 80 diesel railcars whose delivery has commenced and which will begin to enter service in the summer, are fully accessible, as will be the 67 inter-city carriages ordered by Iarnród Éireann in December. Similarly, all new station works and major refurbishment of existing stations provide for accessibility in the plans. Many older stations have now been made accessible and more will be adapted this year and in future years. Section 66 (1) will enable the Railway Safety Commission to make regulations in relation to standards, specifications and procedures to be used by railway undertakings to safely facilitate the special requirements of mobility-impaired persons.

Several Deputies spoke about the issue of crowding in railway carriages. The Minister is very aware of this problem and is conscious of the discomfort and inconvenience this causes to passengers. This problem has been largely caused by the significant increase in passenger numbers in recent years.

The problem is being addressed in a number of ways. Investment in new rolling stock has substantially increased passenger capacity on certain routes in recent years and we will see further significant increases from later this year as the new rolling stock I mentioned earlier begins to enter service. In addition, this Bill will require a railway undertaking to identify in its safety case all issues impacting on the safety of its operations. Such issues would include its strategy for managing crowding of trains, particularly at peak periods. The railway undertaking will have to demonstrate to the Railway Safety Commission that its overall safety management system is adequate to ensure the safety of passengers.

Deputy Shortall mentioned the safety audit carried out by consultants IRMS on the mini-CTC lines. In their report the consultants concluded that overall the results of the sample audit gave confidence that Iarnród Éireann is adequately controlling risks on the mini-CTC lines. The consultants' report is available on the Department of Transport website.

Deputy Crowe raised the issue of the balance of representation on the Railway Safety Advisory Council. The Bill provides for at least three railway union representatives and at least four representatives of railway companies, one of which must be a heritage railway. This is an important point. Heritage railways are run by volunteers and enthusiasts and thus worker representation is not an issue for heritage railways.

Deputy Keaveney suggested that the remit of the advisory council could be expanded to include other issues not directly related to railway safety. The Minister feels the proposed advisory council is not the appropriate forum for discussion of such issues and that the dilution of its remit would detract from the council's intended function, that is, to be a forum for consideration of issues relevant to railway safety.

Deputy Ryan expressed concern about how the provisions of this Bill will apply to the Luas system currently under construction. Section 51 of the Transport (Railway Infrastructure) Act 2001 requires that no part of a railway shall be opened for testing and commissioning or passenger or freight traffic, until it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the railway inspectorate of the Department of Transport that the railway and rolling stock are safe and suitable and that the systems and procedures to ensure the safe operation of the railway are appropriate. Prior to this Act, a similar provision had been included in the Transport (Dublin Light Rail) Act 1996.

As part of the safety validation process for Luas, the inspectorate agreed with Luas project managers that the safety validation process for this project would be carried out in accordance with the terms of the Railway Safety Bill. This process has been ongoing since the commencement of Luas works.

Deputy Deenihan asked about the safety case required of a heritage railway. This Bill provides in section 47 that the commission shall have regard to the size and nature of the railway undertaking in considering its safety case. As such, the Minister would expect the safety case for a heritage railway to be less complex than that required of Iarnród Éireann and would strongly urge any heritage railway operator who has not already done so, to discuss their proposed safety case with the railway inspectorate of the Department as soon as possible.

A number of Deputies commented on the punctuality of train services. The Department is in discussions with each of the CIE companies, including Iarnród Éireann, with a view to introducing service level agreements. These are designed to provide greater transparency and accountability with regard to the level and quality of service provided by each of the companies, and as such incorporate targets for both service quantity and quality. These are expected to be in place for the year 2003. The service level agreements will build on a system of performance indicators already introduced by the Department during the past year.

A number of Deputies made suggestions for the restoration of closed railway lines or extension of railway lines to areas not currently served. I note Deputy Harkin's contribution. These and other railway development issues are the subject of a strategic rail review which was recently completed. The main purpose of the review was to establish a strategic policy framework for the future development of the railways in Ireland. The Minister intends to bring the review to Government and to publish its findings. It would be inappropriate to comment on these matters now in advance of the Government having the opportunity to consider the review.

I again emphasise that the new regulatory framework outlined in this Bill, together with the major investment this Government continues to make in our railways, will lay the bedrock for safe railway travel in the future and will provide assurance to the travelling public that safety will continue to be of paramount importance to this Government.

Deputy Harkin referred to the pilot project on the commuter line from Ballymote to Sligo, the Sligo-Limerick line, the Sligo-Dublin line and the west. I assure her that I will bring her views to the Minister's attention.

I thank Members for their constructive contributions to this debate. The Minister looks forward to discussing the Bill in more detail on Committee Stage.

Question put and agreed to.