Private Security Services Bill 2001: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 29.
In page 16, lines 34 and 35, after "information" to insert:
", including any information necessary to enable him or her to furnish a parliamentary reply".
—(Deputy Deasy).

While I am sympathetic to the concerns about accountability outlined by Deputy Deasy, I am nonetheless reluctant to make specific provision in the legislation for the provision of information to the Minister for the specific purpose of replying to parliamentary questions. Section 16 provides that the authority should give the Minister such information regarding its performance as he or she might require and I am satisfied that is sufficient. It would not be appropriate for the Minister to be answerable to the House for every decision taken by the authority not to grant or renew a licence.

The Bill will establish an independent appeals board to which the authority's decision may be appealed and an appeal to the High Court on a point of law is also foreseen in section 40. However, I have explained as best I can that I sympathise with the issue raised by the Deputy in the context of other Bills as well as this. I am mindful, in rejecting the amendment that, in respect of the non-independent functions of the authority, the Minister of the day should be fully accountable to the House for the manner in which it discharges its functions.

The reason the amendment was tabled was, each time the Legislature establishes an authority or a board, it devolves power to other bodies that are largely unaccountable. Accountability must be preserved and bodies that are created must be answerable to the House. I accept the Minister is precluded in certain circumstances from replying to parliamentary questions on the non-independent functions of these bodies but this is also an issue for the Ceann Comhairle.

The House is repeatedly creating bodies and a number of Ministers use them as an excuse not to reply to parliamentary questions by saying boards and authorities do not come under their remit. The Ceann Comhairle should draft a protocol for replying to these questions because the current position is vague. The Minister referred to section 16 but that could be read any way and it could mean anything. It is at the discretion of the Minister or Department concerned. A protocol must be introduced because the Chamber is becoming weakened and powerless in certain circumstances when Members table genuine parliamentary questions. The Ceann Comhairle has a role in this regard in terms of introducing a protocol that defines, once and for all, what questions can be answered when power is devolved from the House to an authority.

I fully support Deputy Deasy. The Minister acknowledged the importance of the amendment, even though he cannot accept it. He can, under this section, demand from the authority all the information he wants in terms of its performance but he can deny it to the House in reply to parliamentary questions on the ground that it might relate to its independent functions. The Minister can intervene fully in the authority's independence but the House is not prepared to do so. No conditions or restrictions are provided in the section regarding what the Minister can do but he can come up with a reason to deny the provision of reasonable information in reply to parliamentary questions. Such a requirement should be placed on the authority and it would be worthwhile to provide for that under the legislation.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 30:

In page 18, line 6, after "of" to insert "the person or".

Before I advert to the substance of the amendment, I hope Deputies agree it is desirable that we should be expeditious and conclude the debate before 7 p.m.

The Minister should accept all our amendments.

If the Minister accepts all our amendments, we will accept his.

I accept those are the usual terms but, notwithstanding that, this is important legislation and I would appreciate it if Opposition Members accept I will be briefer even than usual.

This is a technical amendment inserting a number of words in the definition of "collected relatives" under section 17, which were inadvertently omitted. The section deals with the disclosure of interests by authority and staff members. Beneficial interests are defined as including beneficial interests of a connected relative. This was an inadvertence that we are trying to remedy.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 31:

In page 18, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:

"(4) The following is inserted in the Third Schedule to the Freedom of Information Act 1997:

Private Security Services Act 2004. Section 18.

".

I wish to ensure the ban on providing information will not interfere with the disclosure of documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1997. The amendment seeks to insert a provision to ensure there would be access to information under the freedom of information legislation. In many ways this is in tandem with Deputy Deasy's amendment. If Members and the public are to access information, mechanisms in the legislation should enable this. It is crazy the way we conduct business in relation to the freedom of information legislation — we have to include a specific section determining the legislation, whereas we should have an enabling principle that all legislation that comes before the Houses of the Oireachtas should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, unless specifically exempted. We have the cart before the horse. I suggest that it should be done in that way which would be in keeping with the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act 1997. A great deal of business would be avoided if the maximum level of information was made available to Members and the public. Each time a Bill comes before the House, we have to specify that it is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1997. It should happen automatically, unless stated otherwise.

If it were suggested that there should be a general amendment to the Freedom of Information Act 1997 to the effect that all bodies should be covered unless exempted by specific legislative enactment or statutory decision made by the Minister, that would be one thing but I am not the Minister in charge of that legislation and cannot pretend that I am. There is a well established and widely understood procedure for designating bodies such as this authority, when it is established for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 1997, which involves the making of regulations by the Minister for Finance, not me. A decision on the application of this Bill will be taken in accordance with normal procedures and I see no reason to depart from present procedures in this case. It will be for the Minister for Finance to decide, having consulted presumably with my Department as to whether the Bill should apply to the authority.

The data in possession of the authority will include data on convictions, character, proceedings pending — supplied by applicants for licences or licensees. Sensitive information will be given to the authority supplied by the Garda Síochána or other authorities in another member state on criminal convictions, character and alleged criminal links. There will also be sensitive information which may have a bearing on State security such as possible paramilitary involvement in the private security industry. It is not as if this is an automatic candidate for complete application of the Freedom of Information Act 1997. One will have to consider carefully if the Act is to apply to the authority, to what extent it should apply and what material should be exempt from it.

Bearing in mind what the Deputy has said, whatever view one takes on the presumption that the Freedom of Information Act 1997 should apply, in this case, I am faced with the situation that it does not apply unless it is applied by a statutory instrument. If it is applied, by reference to a statutory instrument, it will have to take into account that some of the material in the possession of the private security authority almost certainly will not be put in the public domain. Whatever view one takes of the Deputy's argument for a presumption in favour of Freedom of Information Act applicability, in this case, a carefully tailored decision will have to be made exempting what is coverable and what ought not to be. It is not a defensive position that I am taking but I can see that if it is applied by the Minister for Finance, I will be asking him to exempt certain categories of information. That should be done in the ordinary course rather than by way of a blanket decision taken blindly without clear regard to many of the private and personal interests that will be at stake, not to mention the public interest also.

Correct me if I am wrong but the motions stating which legislation will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1997 do not state the categories. Provision is made in the Act to deal with sensitive items and security matters to be withheld. That mechanism is already in place. To finecomb all legislation to see what should be subject to the Act is not the way to proceed either.

For instance, if the Deputy was to object on certain grounds to a security firm or an individual being granted a licence, quite clearly if that objection was to be referred to the Garda Síochána for validation or additional information, it would frustrate the whole operation of his objection if information from the garda supplying the information and the decision taken thereafter was flung out into the public domain to be examined by anyone interested in the matter. If a person is refused a licence under this legislation, and the reasons and basis for that decision are made available in public, it will inhibit proper decision-making in what is a very sensitive area. Without saying that these decisions should be done in total secrecy and without redress and the capacity for somebody adversely affected to seek redress from the courts, I strongly suggest to the Deputy that it would be more desirable that the freedom of information legislation should be applied by regulation and subject to such exemptions as are necessary rather than on a blanket basis and that I would have to retrieve from the wreckage such exceptions as I think are appropriate.

Amendment put and declared lost.

We now proceed to amendment No. 32 in the name of the Minister. Amendments Nos. 34 and 35 are cognate. With the agreement of the House, amendments Nos. 32, 34 and 35 will be discussed together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 32:

In page 19, line 26, after "character" to insert ", financial position".

The intention behind these amendments is to give the authority power to demand additional information on the applicant's financial position when dealing with his or her application for a licence. Provision is already made for the authority to demand such information on an applicant's character and competence. It is envisaged that additional information on an applicant's financial position might, for example, be required where an applicant is a company applying for a private security employer's licence but the company is known or suspected to have financial problems. It is unlikely that the authority would need to use this provision in relation to an individual seeking a licence.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 33:

In page 19, line 29, to delete "affidavit" and substitute "statutory declaration".

This is a drafting amendment in which I am seeking to change the wording. It would be more appropriate for what is required in sworn evidence to be given as a "statutory declaration" rather than an "affidavit". That would be more proper language in the circumstances.

Deputy Costello's amendment seeks to replace the word "affidavit" with "statutory declaration". I remind the Deputy that the term used in the Bill is "by affidavit or otherwise". This wording permits the authority to verify information by affidavit or, where it considers it appropriate, by means of a statutory declaration. An affidavit is sworn in law and must be confined to such fact as the deponent is capable of his or her knowledge to prove and the means of such knowledge. A statutory declaration under the Statutory Declaration Act 1938 is a written statement of facts which the declarer signs and solemnly declares conscientiously, believing it to be true.

On the question of means of knowledge, an affidavit is slightly more restrictive. The result of leaving the Bill as it is will be that the authority will be able to demand affidavit evidence, which is a higher standard of proof, if and when it is appropriate.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 34:

In page 19, line 35, after "character" to insert ", financial position".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 35:

In page 19, line 36, after "character" to insert ", financial position".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 36 and 37 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 36:

In page 19, between lines 42 and 43, to insert the following:

"(2) When deciding whether to grant a licence the Authority shall take into account any information supplied to it under sections 21, 33 and 35.”.

Section 22 deals with the granting or refusal of a licence by the authority. Amendment No. 36 makes explicit what is already implicit in the Bill. In deciding whether to grant a licence the authority shall have regard to the information supplied by the applicant when applying for the licence under section 21, including any supplementary information sought by the authority on an applicant's character or financial position or competence. It shall also have regard to information provided by the Garda under section 33 on foot of a request by the authority. The authority will also consider offences notified by the applicant to the authority under section 35.

Deputy Deasy's amendment No. 37 raises the interesting issue of the eligibility of persons convicted of serious crimes for a licence. The 1997 consultative group recommended that an application to hold a licence should be refused outright by the proposed authority if the applicant had ever been convicted of a range of serious offences, including murder, rape, sexual assault, armed robbery, drug trafficking or any offence carrying a sentence of more than ten years in prison. The group recommended a ten-year gap between the granting of a licence to persons convicted of a range of other offences. The Bill does not incorporate the detailed and prescriptive approach recommended by the consultative group. Instead, it requires the authority to consider each application on its merits.

As I have stated, section 35 provides that an applicant for a licence, or any licensee seeking a renewal, who has been convicted of an offence or against whom proceedings for an offence are pending, must notify the authority of the conviction or the proceedings in a prescribed manner. For its part, the authority may, having considered the applicant's character and competence, grant or refuse a licence if it considers that the applicant is not a fit and proper person to provide a security service. In arriving at its decision, the authority may require verification of information provided by the applicant by affidavit or may require the applicant to supply a certificate provided by a member of the Garda not below the rank of superintendent. Furthermore, the authority may request the Garda Commissioner to provide any information for the due performance of its functions in respect of any applicant for a licence or licensee.

The authority will seek to strike an appropriate balance by operating the licensing system in the public interest and in the best interests of the private security industry itself while recognising an individual's right to earn a living and support himself or herself or provide for dependants. It is relevant in this context that the membership of the authority will include a practising barrister or solicitor of not less than five years' standing and a representative of the Garda not below the rank of assistant commissioner.

I appreciate the Department taking cognisance of my amendment. While the Minister's provision is not as watertight as I would like, it is fine.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 37 not moved.

I move amendment No. 38:

In page 20, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:

"(iii) that the employees of the body are not employed in a manner which complies with relevant employment legislation,".

I propose that in granting a licence cognisance is taken of whether employees of a body are employed in a manner which complies with relevant employment legislation. This is one of the key issues in the context of the private security services industry. People work very long hours for poor wages, both of which are very much tied together. According to a directive of the EU which is now the law of the land, there is a maximum working week of 48 hours. The industry completely abuses the provision. I would like to know how the Minister proposes to ensure that the directive is complied with. The best way is to ensure that the legislation incorporates the relevant provisions.

There is also the question of the minimum wage. There are many involved in an industry which has not been regulated and we have seen evidence in committee of a great many cowboy operators. Many non-nationals have been employed as have people of rather murky character, and many of the latter have held licences. Companies have seemed to disappear overnight and nobody could find out where 20% of companies which had operated had gone from one year to the next.

It is important to ensure that dealings with employees are properly organised and that existing legislative provisions are adhered to. Minimum wages, at least, must be paid and the maximum working week must be enforced. I ask the Minister to accept my amendment.

While there are very few criminal offences relating to an employer's liability arising from the relationship with an employee, a very obvious one involves failure to pay at least the minimum wage. Any case involving such an alleged offence would involve a great deal of argument about what was "on time" and what was "off time". Where such a criminal offence was established, it would be a matter to be taken into account by the authority.

There is a problem with the Deputy's amendment in the context of the civil law objectives of compliance with equality law etc. If a person objected to the authority that an employer was in breach of the civil provisions of the Employment Equality Act, should the authority conduct its own separate investigation or rely on what it is told by others? That is the crucial question. If it is not to rely on its own judgment, should there be a certification mechanism to allow other bodies to indicate whether an employer was compliant with equality or tax law? While such a provision is laudable in principle, it would permit the authority when making a decision to be put in a legal minefield. Having been established to decide issues under the Act, it might be dragged into determining discrimination issues involving, for example, female employees with which it is not equipped to deal.

It is not a function of the Health and Safety Authority to issue certificates of compliance with health and safety legislation. In those circumstances, how could the private security authority satisfy itself that health and safety legislation is being complied with in a particular case? Many private security employees work in the premises of the company's clients rather than in those of the employing company. If employees were asked to work in dangerous or defective premises, should the authority refuse to give a licence to the company on the grounds that it proposed to send its workers into such premises?

The authority will be able to insist on submission of a tax clearance certificate as the collector general issues such certificates. There is no equivalent mechanism on compliance with the broad generality of employment and employee safety legislation. Amendment No. 40 proposes a mechanism that will help to ensure that only bona fide companies will apply to the new authority for licences.

I sympathise with the gravamen of Deputy Costello's amendment. However, if this authority is to function it cannot get mired in arguments about other statutory codes. It is not in a position to inquire into or summon evidence before it to decide the rights and wrongs of the issue, or come to binding conclusions about whether the law means A or B in any particular case.

I understand the complexity of covering the issue adequately. Section 22 states that a licence shall be refused if the applicant is not a fit and proper person to provide a security service. I presume this requires a subjective opinion by the authority. It could look at a broad range of issues that might come to, or be brought to, its attention. In amendment No. 42, the Minister seems to spoil his argument about not getting involved in statutory codes. It states the authority shall "refuse to renew a licence, or at any time suspend a licence for a specified period or revoke it, if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the safety or welfare of any person or persons is or may be at risk". It seems that the Minister is requiring the authority to uphold the health and safety code.

The authority would have to be satisfied by this and not simply have the issue brought to its attention. I do not want it to turn itself into a health and safety authority mark two.

Let us suppose a proposed employer or licensee was not a fit and proper person. I can envisage two outcomes. The first is where it is arguable on the employment record of a company that it was discriminatory by failing to take on three people of a certain nationality or ethnic origin and had taken on three successive people. Determining whether or not discrimination exists is a matter for another tribunal. A competent authority well versed in this law must strike a delicate balance.

If Bloggs security limited said it would have no black employees, the authority could say that it is not a fit and proper person. I do not want to reduce the authority to making decisions that the law has already entrusted to other competent tribunals. This authority is primarily designed to run the security industry. The phrase "fit and proper person" could exclude someone who is manifestly and unarguably in breach of civil law and the authority may take this into account. I do not want the authority to have to deal with arguments about every employment statute from health and safety to equality and non-discrimination when it considers licence applications. It simply could not do this. If the Equality Authority was to decide on a number of occasions that a particular security firm was manifestly in breach of its obligations, I am sure the "fit and proper person" provision could cover this.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 39 not moved.

I move amendment No. 40:

In page 21, after line 43, to insert the following:

"25—The Authority shall refuse to grant an application for a licence or for renewal of a licence-

(a) by or on behalf of a limited liability company, unless the application is accompanied by a certificate of the incorporation of the company, certified by the registrar of companies under section 370(1)(b) of the Companies Act 1963 and dated not earlier than 4 weeks before the date of the application, or

(b) by or on behalf of a person carrying on business under a name that is not that of the beneficial owner of the business, unless the application is accompanied by a copy of a certificate of registration of the person under the Registration of Business Names Act 1963, certified in accordance with section 16(1)(b) of that Act.”.

I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 40:

In line 1 of paragraph (a) of amendment No. 40 to remove the words “limited liability”

The effect of this amendment would be that all companies, whether unlimited or limited, would be covered by the requirement in the section to provide a copy of the certificate incorporation of the company when applying for a licence or renewal of licence. While it may be a technical amendment, there are such things as unlimited companies and it would be a mistake to exempt them from the provisions of this section.

Amendment to amendment agreed to.

Concerns were expressed on Committee Stage about unscrupulous companies, possibly with dubious origins or connections, which are active in the private security area and flout employment law provisions. Concerns were also expressed about such companies disappearing and leaving debts only to reappear under a new guise. This new section seeks to address this problem by requiring companies applying for licences or renewal to supply a certificate of incorporation certified by the registrar of companies under the Companies Acts and dated not less than four weeks before the date of application. Under this, companies will not be able to take an off the shelf company from a solicitor and start off again.

Second, if a person is carrying on a business under a name that is not the name of the beneficial owner of the business, a certified copy of the registration of the person under the Registration of Business Names Act must be submitted to the authority with the application for a licence or renewal. I am confident these provisions will help ensure that only bona fide companies and businesses are granted licences by the authority. Similar requirements were imposed on applicants for intoxicating liquor licences under section 38 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2000. The Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that the provisions have operated as an effective deterrent to phoenix-type licences and applications.

I welcome the amendment. Is a sole trader covered by the requirement that a certificate of incorporation be provided? A sole trader is not a company, limited or otherwise. What is the legal status of this? Many structures that will come into existence will be neither limited nor unlimited companies.

As I understand it, a sole trader who is self-employed is obliged under the registration of business names legislation to identify himself or herself as the proprietor. One cannot simply come up with a name and apply it to the business unless one identifies the beneficial owner.

With regard to a body corporate, one must supply the certificate of incorporation. There is no middle ground between these two categories. Either a company is being carried on by a person or persons who are natural persons or, alternatively, it is being carried on by a person who is a legal person incorporated under statute. If it is the former, the registry of business names covers hiding behind any particular business description and, if it is the latter, one must supply a certificate of incorporation. I do not think there is a chink between these two floor boards between which anything will fall.

If the Minister is satisfied, the language does not appear to convey it. However, I am happy to accept the amendment.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 41 and 65 are related and will be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 41:

In page 22, lines 7 and 8, to delete "to the licensee's knowledge".

Section 25 deals with the authority's power to refuse or grant a renewal of a licence. One of the grounds for not renewing a licence is that false or misleading information was supplied with the original application for the licence, or with the application for renewal. However, the current text refers to the licensee supplying information that was to the licensee's knowledge false or misleading.

I propose to delete the words "to the licensee's knowledge" because it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the authority to prove such knowledge, or lack of it in certain cases. There must be a clear onus on the applicant for a licence or for a renewal to ensure that any information supplied by him to the authority in connection with an application for a new licence or renewal is neither false nor misleading. If it emerges subsequently that false or misleading information was supplied, the authority may refuse to renew the licence or decide to revoke or suspend it for a specified period. In other words, if we simply say it is to the knowledge of the applicant false or misleading, we raise a presumption which the authority would have to overcome before it acted on the knowledge that the material supplied to it was false or misleading.

If it has acted on false or misleading information, it appears thatprima facie it should be entitled not to renew or to revoke, as the case may be, unless the applicant shows to the authority the reason it should not happen. If we went with the original proposal, which requires that the authority demonstrates guilty knowledge on the part of the applicant, it would let the air out of the authority’s tyres and leave it stranded in dealing with the matter. Unless there is a compelling reason to believe something was done deliberately, falsehoods or misleading material would have to be ignored by it. That is not a good idea.

For the same reason, I ask Deputy Costello to withdraw his suggestion that the word "intentionally" be added to section 45. If one says something that is false or misleading, the presumption is that the authority should be able to act on that fact once it is established, without trying to inquire into the psychology, motivation or moral character of the applicant in making such a false or misleading submission.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments No. 42, 84 and 87 are related and will be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 42:

In page 22, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:

"(2)(a) The Authority shall—

(i) refuse to renew a licence, or at any time suspend a licence for a specified period or revoke it, if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the safety or welfare of any person or persons is or may be at risk from the continuance in force of the licence, and

(ii) notify the licensee of its decision.

(b) Section 26 does not apply in relation to a decision under this subsection.”.

Concerns were expressed justifiably during earlier discussions about the behaviour and activities of certain persons engaged in private security activities, including certain door supervisors. A number of cases involving violence or assault have already come before the courts. I am satisfied that an emergency power to prohibit the provision of a security service is, therefore, justified in circumstances where the safety or welfare of the public may be at risk.

I propose to insert a new subsection (2) in section 25, which will, in turn, replace the current provision in section 26(5) in order to give the authority the power to refuse to renew, suspend or revoke a licence if it is satisfied that the safety or welfare of any person may be at risk from its continuance in force. Where the authority invokes this power, the licensee may appeal to the appeal board in the ordinary way. However, because of the risk to the public, I propose that the licensee cannot continue to provide the security service pending the outcome of the appeal. In order to ensure equal treatment between licensees and relevant persons, who are persons holding a licence from a comparable authority in other EU member states, I also propose appropriate amendments to the Third Schedule, which modifies the Bill in its application to such persons.

This is an attempt to deal with what were legitimate concerns raised in regard to what can be done on a fire brigade basis to deal with people who are, on the face of it, a danger to the public in discharging their duties, without coming to a final conclusion as to whether they are guilty of a particular offence.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 43, 58, 66,77 and 86 are related and will be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 43:

In page 23, to delete lines 8 to 22.

In a verbal amendment to amendment No. 66, I propose to update the reference to the new section, the collective citation of the Companies Acts, to take account of the Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Act 2003, which was passed at the end of last year. The collective citation in subsection (3) of the new section should be amended to refer to the Companies Acts 1963 to 2003.

In a verbal amendment to amendment No. 86 I propose to change the line references in the amendment to refer to lines 30 and 31 in page 46 instead of 32 and 33. It is a technical change to ensure the paragraphs of Schedule 3 are in the correct order, and it does not affect the substance of amendment No. 86.

The main amendment in this group of amendments is amendment No. 66, which provides for the insertion of two sections containing horizontal provisions of a somewhat technical nature. The first of the amendments specifies the manner in which the authority shall give notification of its decisions, that is, delivery by registered post or by fax machine. The content is in line with similar provisions in other Acts. The second new section taking effective authority decisions determines the timing of the entry into force of authority decisions.

These new horizontal provisions are designed to provide clarity and certainty in regard to the mode and entry into force of authority decisions. Certain subsections in other sections are rendered redundant or need to be adjusted as a result of these changes. That is the purpose of the other amendments in this grouping.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 45 is an alternative to amendment No. 44. Amendments Nos. 44 and 45 will be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 44:

In page 23, to delete lines 27 to 48 and in page 24, to delete lines 1 to 42 and substitute the following:

"28.—(1) The Authority shall issue an identity card to each individual who is a licensee.

(2) Each such individual—

(a) shall have the identity card in his or her possession when providing the security service authorised by the licence, and

(b) shall, on request, produce it there and then for inspection by any person for whom the licensee is providing a security service under the licence and permit such a person to inspect it.

(3) A member of the Garda Síochána may require an individual who in the member's opinion is providing a security service to produce there and then for inspection by the member the identity card issued to the individual in connection with the grant of a licence authorising the provision of the service.

(4) An individual who produces an identity card in accordance withsubsection (3) shall permit the person to whom it is produced to inspect it.

(5) Where an individual does not comply withsubsection (3) or (4), the member of the Garda Síochána concerned may require the individual to give his or her name and address.

(6) The powers conferred on a member of the Garda Síochána bysubsections (3) and (5) may also be exercised by an inspector.

(7) (a) An individual shall not—

(i) produce for inspection an identity card issued to another individual, or

(ii) with intent to deceive, make or use a document purporting to be an identity card, alter an identity card or use an altered identity card.

(b) An individual who contravenes paragraph(a) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.

(8) A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant—

(a) an individual who refuses to produce the identity card issued to him or her when required to do so under subsection (3) or does not permit the person to whom an identity card is produced under subsection (3) to inspect it,

(b) an individual who—

(i) does not give his or her name and address when required by a person undersubsection (5) to do so, or

(ii) gives a name or address which that person reasonably believes to be false,

or

(c) an individual whom the member, with reasonable cause, suspects of having contravened subsection (7)(a).

(9) An individual who—

(a) contravenes subsection (2)(a) or (4), or

(b) does not comply with a request under subsection (2)(b) or a requirement under subsection (3) or (5),

is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €2,000.

(10) It is a defence in proceedings for an offence undersubsection (2) or (3) for the defendant to prove that he or she had a reasonable excuse for not complying with the subsection concerned.”.

Issues relating to the use of identify cards were discussed at some length in the select committee. I propose a number of changes to strengthen existing provisions. For reasons of clarity, I propose a new text to section 28, which incorporates these changes rather than presenting the changes separately. The changes I propose are as follows. First, the existing provisions whereby a person is given ten days to produce an identity card in a Garda station is being dropped. Second, the penalty for using the identity card of another person is being increased to €3,000, or 12 months imprisonment, or both. The same penalty will apply to a new offence of forging or altering a card using such a forged or altered card. Third, the Garda power of arrest will be extended to cases where a garda, with reasonable cause, suspects that a person providing a security card is using an identity card issued to another person or a forged or altered card. These changes respond to the concerns which were raised on Committee Stage.

With regard to Deputy Deasy's proposal in amendment No. 45 that identity cards be worn by licensees, provision has already been made in section 29 for an alternative, that is, the wearing of identity badges by prescribed categories of licensees which will carry the licence number's holder. I recently had some difficulty at a meeting in University College, Dublin, from which I had to fight my way out in the company of members of the Garda. A number of people present at the meeting with personal experience of the security industry were strongly of the view that they should wear some form of identification on them but should not be subjected to having their name and address blazoned across their chests. They believed that this could be used to intimidate them. That is why it is required to wear a card with a licence number and possess an identity card. More information will be contained on the former with a view to safeguarding employees from unlawful threats and intimidation. At the same time, it ensures that a garda who happens on a scene will be in position to see that not only is the person wearing the requisite external authorisation, but also carrying an internal security counter check and that they are the person to whom the authorisation relates.

The Minister is saying that an individual licensee would have a card that is not publicly visible. However, my amendment proposes that any identity cards should be visible to the members of the public. I do not necessarily want names and addresses on the cards. However, members of the public should be able to view an identification card number.

If Deputy Deasy provided a security service outside a venue, he would be required to have a badge which would have his license number on it. However, it would not identify him or his home address. It would be sufficient for a person to know that he was number 1,308 and make a complaint about him. If a garda comes on the scene, he can ask Deputy Deasy not only to show him what is on his uniform, but also to prove who he is and that there is a correspondence between what is worn and his private identity. All the advice available to me from the security industry states that this is the appropriate way for this measure to work.

Gardaí are obliged to have a number on their epaulettes, such as F108. However, they are not required to put their names and addresses on their uniform lapels. This amendment is to bring about the equivalence of certainty. With regard to the Garda, one knows that no two members will have the number F108. However, this amendment will enable gardaí to establish the identity of the person they are dealing with and ensure that whatever badge is worn corresponds to the individual identity.

An alternative system would be to require all security people to have clear identification on their uniforms showing that they were not merely licensed but also who they were by way of name and address. The advice available to me is that this would expose them to unwarranted threats and interventions, such as their homes or families being threatened. A balance has been struck so that they must carry the relevant material on them while they can be publicly identified by their licence number.

The Minister is saying that all people across all categories will carry whatever is required to establish their identification on them. Will there be a format put in place or is this a matter for the authority to determine? I understand only prescribed categories will have badges affixed. Will these be prescribed by the authority?

For the record, I wish to make clear that the form of both categories will be prescribed by the authority. If one was doing private surveillance, such as a store detective, displaying a big badge on one's lapel would make such an exercise redundant. Store detectives in large firms might not be required to carry a badge on their breast pocket. However, they would be required to be in possession of a card. On the other hand, a bouncer at a pub would be required to carry a badge and a card. A security man in uniform at a factory would also be required to carry the badge and the card. That is a common sense distinction between the two categories. If it was not made, it would make a nonsense of the legislation. It will be made in statutory form.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 45 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 47 and 48 are related to amendment No. 46, therefore, amendments Nos. 46 to 48, inclusive, may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 46:

In page 25, to delete lines 4 to 8 and substitute the following:

"(2) An individual shall not:

(i) wear an identity badge relating to another individual, or

(ii) with intent to deceive, make or use a badge purporting to be an identity badge, alter an identity badge or use an altered identity badge.

(3) An individual who contravenessubsection (1) or (2) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.”.

The wearing of identity badges was also discussed on Committee Stage. I am proposing a new text to replace subsections (2) and (3) which incorporates four changes. First, an individual shall not wear an identity badge relating to another individual. The existing text refers to not possessing such a badge. If a badge is found and is being returned to the owner it should not be an offence. Second, it will now be an offence to forge or alter an identity badge or to use such a badge. Third, the fine is being increased from €2,000 to €3,000 with the additional possibility of imprisonment for up to 12 months or both. Fourth, the offence in subsection 4 will apply to an offence under subsection (1) only.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 47:

In page 25, line 9, to delete "this section" and substitute "subsection (1)”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 48:

In page 25, line 17, to delete "issued to" and substitute "to be worn by".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 49:

In page 25, line 36, to delete "£1,500" and substitute "€2,000".

This is a technical amendment converting a penalty of £1,500 to €2,000.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 50:

In page 26, line 1, after "be" to insert "published on the Internet and".

This amendment relates to the register of licensees and proposes that it should be published on the Internet. Section 32(3) states: "The Register shall be kept at the offices of the Authority and be made available for inspection by any person free of charge during office hours." It is not intended that the register should be in any way a security document that could not be made available. It would be appropriate for the list of all in the private security services business who are registered with the authority to be as accessible to the public as possible, and the Internet would be the obvious mechanism for doing that.

I have some sympathy with this amendment. I am not against the principle of it, but it is unnecessary, because the Electronic Commerce Act 2000 already provides that, if a public body "is required ... or permitted to give information in writing," the body concerned "may give the information in electronic form". However, in this context, the safety of private security personnel and their families must also be taken into account in making the register available. Although it would be reasonable to have the names and addresses of approved security equipment companies on a website, to publicise the names of security guards who might be involved in cash and transit operations or transporting valuable consignments could put the guards' safety and that of their families at risk.

At present, the Bill provides for a register that anyone can consult. That allows somebody to have an eye to whether and why an individual is consulting the register, but if the information was simply available on the Internet and nobody knew who was consulting the register or why they were consulting it, that would raise the odds that somebody would do it for a malign purpose and in complete privacy. The matter should be left to the authority to decide. If it wanted to put the names of companies that supply security services on the Internet, that would be one thing, but if it wanted to put up the names of private individuals who engage in cash and transit protection services that would be another. It is better to have a more flexible approach rather than to require everything to be placed on the Internet and consulted by malign people without our having any possibility of knowing who was scrutinising the register and why. The authority would not refuse to put on the Internet material that should be publicly available without any limitation, but there is a balance to be struck on material that should be made public but should be kept in a form that means that whoever consults it would be known to the registrar and subject to scrutiny. In view of this, I prefer not to accept the amendment.

Section 32(3) states: "The Register shall be kept at the offices of the Authority and be made available for inspection by any person". It does not say that there will be a separate register of everybody who inspects it.

No, I am not suggesting that there would be.

As there would therefore be no way of knowing, the information might as well be on the Internet. Anybody can inspect it and is entitled to do so free of charge.

To make matters worse, section 32(4) states: "A copy of an entry in the Register shall, on request, be issued by the Authority on payment of such fee ... as may be prescribed." It would be available for nothing if it was on the Internet, but under this provision, people will have to go to the authority's offices and pay a fee if they want copies. I would like the Bill to include a provision to the effect that the register should be freely available. The obvious place to publish it would be the Internet unless there was any specific reason for not including every licensee. If every licensee is dealt with properly and is above board, that should not be a problem.

It is a matter of judgment, not a matter of high principle, as far as I am concerned. For instance, the name and address of every member of the Garda Síochána is not available on the Internet. Nor is the name and address of every member of the Defence Forces. In certain circumstances, it is possible for a person to ascertain the identity of an individual garda who they allege assaulted him or her by reference to the garda's shoulder numbers. However, it would not be a good idea to put every guard's address on the Internet in the interests of general openness, transparency and accountability I agree with Deputy Costello on companies that are registered with the authority. There should be no problem with that, but to put the names of individuals on the Internet so that people can consult those names at their leisure would probably achieve few positive results and could achieve significant negative ones. In view of this, I ask Deputy Costello to withdraw the amendment.

We could go the other way and amend the Bill so that the register would not be available in Garda stations.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 51:

In page 26, line 41, after "or" to insert ", subject tosubsection (4),”.

It is a drafting amendment to bring sections 35(1) and (4) into line.

Deputy Costello knows that I accept those drafting amendments that I agree improve the text. However, as section 35(1) clearly sets out the notification requirement, as all prescribed offences must be reported to the authority and as failure to do so would be an offence, amendment No. 51 would not, on this rare occasion, improve the text; it would only add to its complexity.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 52:

In page 27, line 10, to delete "An individual referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (i)” and substitute “A private security employer or an individual referred to in any of the paragraphs”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 53:

In page 27, after line 41, to insert the following:

"(3) In any proceedings for a contravention ofsubsection (1) it is a defence to prove that the person providing the security service produced to the defendant—

(a) if the person is an individual, his or her identity card or licence, or

(b) if not, the person’s licence.”.

Section 37 makes it an offence for a person to employ another person to provide a security service if that other person does not hold a licence to provide the service. The new subsection that I propose in amendment No. 53 introduces a defence for a person who has contravened that provision and is being prosecuted. The defence is that the individual or company who is providing the security service produced an identity card or licence. That is a reasonable provision to protect a private individual, such as a person who is having an alarm installed in a domestic dwelling and who may have inadvertently employed an unlicensed individual or company despite having sought production of an identity card or licence and having had a licence or card produced to him or her. It is a defence for the innocent purchaser or requisitioner of services.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 54 and 55 are alternatives, therefore, amendments Nos. 54 and 55 may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 54:

In page 28, lines 8 to 10, to delete all words from and including "that" in line 8 down to and including "and" where it firstly occurs in line 10.

This amendment proposes the deletion of the words "that the complainant has a personal interest in the subject matter of the complaint". It is difficult to argue the case for them. It is exceedingly hard to demonstrate that there is a personal interest in a complaint and it is required that there be a personal interest for a complaint to be lodged. The Bill seems to be contradictory: to act, the authority must be satisfied that the complainant has a personal interest and that the complaint is made in good faith. I would have thought that "that the complaint is made in good faith" would be sufficient. The requirement for a personal interest seems to be at least tautologous as well as undesirable.

On Committee Stage Deputy Costello asked that I consider removing the requirement in section 38 that the authority should deal with a complaint only if it was satisfied that the complainant had a personal interest in the subject matter of the complaint. I considered his request and asked the Parliamentary Counsel to examine his amendment No. 54. The Parliamentary Counsel proposed amendment No. 55, which would have the same effect. I ask the Deputy to withdraw his amendment and I will propose amendment No. 55 which I am told is to the same effect and in accordance with house style, whatever that is.

That is true; I had not observed the similarity. It is a meeting of minds.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 55:

In page 28, lines 9 and 10, to delete all words from and including "the" where it firstly occurs in line 9 down to and including "that" in line 10.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 56, 57 and 85 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 56:

In page 28, line 14, to delete "complaint, or" and substitute "complaint;".

This amendment permits the authority to take immediate action on foot of a complaint against the licensee if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the safety or welfare of any person may be at risk from the continuing in force of the licence. We discussed a similar revision in section 25. The amendment to Schedule 3 will ensure a licensee and a relevant person, an expatriate licensee, are treated in a similar fashion.

The authority may form an opinion on foot of a complaint that an emergency response is called for. This is now being provided for. The authority may revoke or suspend the licence and the licensee will not be allowed to continue to provide the security service concerned until an appeal against its decision has been completed. Therefore, a person against whom a strongprima facie case has been made that he or she should not be allowed to provide a security service will face having his or her status frozen and his or her licence effectively suspended until a considered decision has been made, on appeal, in the other direction. This is a sensible change to make.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 57:

In page 28, line 33, to delete "decision." and substitute the following:

"decision;

(c) if the Authority is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the safety or welfare of any person or persons is or may be at risk from the continuance in force of the licence, it shall revoke the licence or suspend it for a specified period and notify the complainant and licensee of its decision, and in such a case section 26 does not apply.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 58:

In page 28, to delete lines 34 to 39.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 59:

In page 29, line 3, to delete "shall stand" and substitute "stands".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 60 and 78 to 81, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 60:

In page 29, to delete lines 12 to 15 and substitute the following:

"40.—(1) Within 3 months after the date on which an appeal is determined by the Appeal Board any party to the appeal may appeal to the High Court on any question of law arising from the determination.".

During Committee Stage discussions of the appeal arrangements set out in the Bill it was pointed out with some degree of force that while Schedule 2 provided that the authority would be a party to an appeal to the appeal board, no such provision had been made for licensees in cases in which the appeal was being taken by a complainant whose complaint against the licensee had not been upheld by the authority. A similar problem was encountered in the matter of appeals to the High Court on a point of law.

Having considered the issues raised at that session, I am now proposing the following amendments: first, the right of an appeal to the High Court on a point of law is extended to any party to the appeal; second, a new subparagraph 14.7, providing that the appeal board shall serve notice of its decision on each party to the appeal, is inserted in Schedule 2; third, a new paragraph 18 is inserted in Schedule 2, making specific provision for cases of complaint against licensees under section 38. It also applies the provisions of paragraph 17, which permits the authority to make submissions or observations on an appeal to the appeal board, to licensees and complainants. These changes are an adequate response to the concerns raised on Committee Stage and deal with the subject of Deputy Costello's two amendments to section 40 and Schedule 2.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 61 to 63, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 61:

In page 29, line 37, before "is" to insert "proposes to provide or".

During the discussions on Committee Stage concerns were expressed by Deputies that persons who would not qualify for a licence here because of criminal convictions might be able to obtain by whatever means a licence from a corresponding authority in another member state. Such a circumvention of our standards and procedures would be a serious matter. If a person was knocked out of the process in Ireland and simply appealed to another authority in Europe, he or she might get back in by the back door.

With a view to ensuring this does not happen, I propose to insert two new provisions in Part 6 of the Bill in the form of sections. The first provides that before providing a security service here a relevant person — that is, a person who holds a licence from a corresponding authority — must notify the authority of any criminal convictions or proceedings on their way and supply details of them. A person applying for a licence here on foot of an authorisation by a foreign state must provide the Irish authority with details of convictions or pending proceedings and the type of offences. The authority may then decide on the basis of that information that the relevant person is not a fit and proper person to provide a security service here and may prohibit that person from providing such a service or prohibit the provision of the service for a specified period. A relevant person who contravenes a prohibition decision will be guilty of an offence and subject to a penalty on conviction of a €3,000 fine or 12 months' imprisonment or both.

The second new section provides that the authority may at any time, if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that a relevant person is not or no longer a fit and proper person to provide a security service in the State, prohibit the person from providing a security service or prohibit the provision of the service for a specified period. Amendment No. 63 provides that the authority shall inform the appropriate corresponding authority of any decision taken in respect of a relevant person.

As a result of the Committee Stage amendment, the Department went into deep contemplation on this issue to come up with a solution compatible with European law while being workable. We did not want to create a law in Ireland which would encourage people to go abroad because they were ineligible in Ireland to a member state of the European Union which might not have the knowledge or the means to work out whether they would be suitable to provide this service in Ireland and might, therefore, inadvertently grant them an authorisation which would under European law entitle them to operate here.

This is a defence against people circumventing our protections by engaging in offshore transactions to authorise them to provide services in Ireland. It is a sensible approach and one which will not inhibit freedom of establishment and freedom to trade under European Union law but will give the Irish authorities some protection against those who decide in bad faith to circumvent Irish law by duping a European member state authority into giving them an authorisation which they know would have been refused here.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 62:

In page 30, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

"43.—(1) A relevant person who has been convicted of an offence (other than a prescribed offence), or against whom proceedings for such an offence are pending, under the law of the State or another state shall, before providing a security service in the State, notify the Authority in the prescribed manner of the conviction or proceedings and supply the Authority with prescribed particulars thereof."

(2) Subject tosection 26, on receiving the notification or becoming otherwise aware of the conviction or proceedings the Authority may, if in its opinion the relevant person is not a fit and proper person to provide a security service in the State, prohibit the person from providing such a security service or so prohibit the person for a specified period.

(3) A relevant person who contravenessubsection (1) or who provides a security service in contravention of a prohibition under subsection (2) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.

(4) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section if the court is satisfied that, in the case of a person who has been convicted of an offence, or against whom proceedings for an offence are pending, in a place other than the State, the offence does not correspond with any offence under the law of the State.

(5) This section is without prejudice tosection 35, as modified by paragraph 9 of Schedule 3.

44.—Subject tosection 26, the Authority may at any time, if satisfied on reasonable grounds that a relevant person is not or no longer a fit and proper person to provide a security service in the State, prohibit the person from providing such a security service or so prohibit the person for a specified period.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 63:

In page 30, line 5, to delete "or38” and substitute “, 38, 43 or 44”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 64:

In page 30, line 8, to delete "an".

This is a drafting amendment and uncontroversial.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 65 not moved.

I move amendment No. 66:

In page 31, between lines 22 and 23, to insert the following:

"46.—(1) A notification or notice to be given to a person by the Authority or Appeal Board under this Act shall be given to the person in one of the following ways:

(a) by delivering it to the person;

(b) by leaving it at the address at which the person ordinarily resides or carries on business;

(c) by sending it by prepaid registered post in an envelope addressed to the person at that address;

(d) where the person has given an address for service of notices, by leaving it at the address for such service or sending it by prepaid registered post in an envelope addressed to the person at that address;

(e) where—

(i) the Authority or Appeal Board considers that notice should be given immediately, and

(ii) a fax machine is located at an address mentioned inparagraph (b) or (d),

by sending it by fax to that machine.

(2)(a) When a notification or notice is sent by prepaid registered post, it is deemed to be received by the person on the third working day after the day on which it was so sent.

(b) When sent by fax, it is deemed to be received by the person when the sender’s fax machine generates a message confirming successful transmission of the notice.

(3) For the purposes of this section a company registered under the Companies Acts 1963 to 2001 is deemed to be ordinarily resident at its registered office and every other body corporate or unincorporated body to be so resident at its principal office or place of business.

47.—(1) This section applies to a decision of the Authority—

(a) refusing to renew a licence,

(b) suspending or revoking a licence, or

(c) on a complaint under section 38.

(2) Subject tosubsection (3), a decision of the Authority to which this section applies takes effect on the expiration of the period within which an appeal against it may be brought, unless an appeal is duly brought, in which case the decision stands suspended pending the outcome of the appeal proceedings (including proceedings under section 40).

(3) A decision of the Authority to revoke or suspend a licence, if taken because in its opinion the safety or welfare of any person or persons is or may be at risk from the continuance in force of the licence, takes effect when notification of the decision, stating the grounds on which it was taken, is received or deemed to be received by the licensee.".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 67 to 69, inclusive, and 82 are related and may be discussed together. Amendment No. 68 is an alternative to amendment No. 67.

I move amendment No. 67:

In page 32, to delete lines 16 to 22 and substitute the following:

"(3) For the purposes ofsubsection (2) an application for a licence is to be taken as not to have been determined—

(a) if the applicant has not been notified that the Authority has decided to refuse to grant the licence, or

(b) where the applicant has been so notified, until——

(i) one month has elapsed after the notification and the decision has not been appealed, or

(ii) any appeal against the decision has been finally determined.".

Members will recall that concerns about the transitional provisions were raised during discussions on Committee Stage and I undertook to re-examine them. Arising from this I am proposing a number of changes: first, the text of a revised subsection (3) defining what is meant by the term "not been determined" which appears in subsection (2); second, the new subsection (4), dealing with cases in which the authority has refused to grant a licence and considers that the continued provision of a security service by the applicant poses a risk to the safety or welfare of the public — in such a case the authority may decide that the security service should not be provided pending the outcome of an appeal to the appeal board and may disapply the transitional provisions; third, to remove any incentive to unnecessarily prolong an appeal to the appeal board I am replacing the current wording of paragraph 24 of Schedule 2, entitled Abandoned Appeals, with a new text headed Delayed or Abandoned Appeals. It provides that the appeals board may take action if it considers that proceedings on an appeal are being unnecessarily delayed by the conduct of an applicant. I consider these proposed changes to respond to all the points properly raised on Committee Stage. Deputy Costello's amendment is, therefore, I hope, overtaken by the amendments I propose.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 68 cannot be moved.

Amendment No. 68 not moved.

I move amendment No. 69:

In page 32, after line 22, to insert the following:

"(4) (a) Where the Authority has refused the application, it may, if in its opinion the safety or welfare of any person or persons is or may be at risk from the continued provision of the security service by the applicant, declare that this section shall no longer apply in relation to the applicant and give notice to the applicant of its decision to make the declaration, stating the grounds on which the decision was made.

(b) This section shall cease to apply in relation to the applicant when the applicant receives or is deemed to receive the notice.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 70:

In page 33, to delete lines 24 to 26 and substitute the following:

"(6) At least 40 per cent of the members of an advisory committee shall be men and at least 40 per cent shall be women.".

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 71:

In page 35, to delete lines 18 to 21.

This is a standard provision in legislation of this nature. For example, section 50 of the Employment Equality Act 1998 and section 40 of the Human Rights Commission Act 2000, contain a similar provision in relation to the chief executives of the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission. There is nothing unusual or egregious in that.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment No. 73 is related to amendment No. 72 and both may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 72:

In page 35, line 30, after "Authority" to insert "or such other matters as the Committee may require".

The provision relating to the chief executive's accountability to other Oireachtas committees follows the standard format and I am not disposed to setting it aside in respect of the accountability of the chief executive of the new authority. Deputy Costello's amendment is designed to make the chief executive more accountable to an Oireachtas committee but I believe that the provision in the present Bill follows standard practice and is adequate for the purpose and does not require a special provision to be made for it.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 73:

In page 35, to delete lines 31 to 49 and in page 36, to delete lines 1 to 11.

I oppose the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 74:

In page 38, line 14, after "may" to insert "for stated reasons".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 75:

In page 38, line 15, to delete "stated".

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 76 not moved.

I move amendment No. 77:

In page 40, line 20, after "of" where it firstly occurs to insert "receipt of".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 78:

In page 41, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

"(6) Where the holder of or applicant for a licence is not the appellant, the holder or applicant as the case may be shall be a party to an appeal.".

I oppose the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 79:

In page 41, between lines 3 and 4, to insert the following:

"(7) The Appeal Board shall serve notice of its determination on each party to the appeal.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 80:

In page 42, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

"Appeals against decisions on complaints under section 38

18.—(1) Where an appeal is brought by a licensee or complainant against a decision by the Authority on a complaint against the licensee undersection 38, the complainant or licensee (the ‘other person’) shall be a party to the appeal.

(2) The Appeal Board shall, as soon as practicable after receiving the notice of appeal, send a copy of the notice to the other person.

(3)Paragraph 17 shall apply in relation to the other person as if references in that paragraph to the Authority were references to that person.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 81:

In page 42, after line 49, to insert the following:

"20.—Where documents, information, observations or submissions are received underparagraphs 16 to 19, other than from the applicant for or holder of a licence, a copy thereof shall be transmitted to the applicant or holder concerned who may, within 14 days, submit to the Authority his or her observations or submissions thereon.”.

I oppose the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 82:

In page 43, to delete lines 45 to 47, and in page 44, to delete lines 1 to 6 and substitute the following:

"Delayed or abandoned appeals

24.—(1) Where the Appeal Board is of opinion—

(a) that proceedings on an appeal have been unnecessarily delayed by the conduct of the appellant, or

(b) that an application for a licence, or the renewal of a licence, to which the appeal relates has been abandoned,

it may serve on the appellant a notice stating that it is of that opinion and requiring the appellant, within a period specified in the notice (being not less than 14 or more than 28 days after the date of service of the notice) to make a submission in writing to it as to why the appeal should not be treated as having been withdrawn.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 83:

In page 45, line 5, to delete "(e)” and substitute “(f)”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 84:

In page 45, to delete lines 10 to 17 and substitute the following:

"3.—(a) In section 25(2)—

(i) the reference to a licensee is a reference to a relevant person,

(ii) the reference to the revocation or suspension of a licence is a reference to a prohibition of the relevant person by the Authority from providing a security service in the State or to such a prohibition for a specified period, and

(iii) the reference to the continuance in force of a licence is a reference to the continued provision of such a service.

(b) In section 25(3)—

(i) the reference to a licensee is a reference to a relevant person, and

(ii) the reference to the revocation or suspension of a licence is a reference to a prohibition of the relevant person by the Authority from providing a security service in the State or to such a prohibition for a specified period.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 85:

In page 46, to delete lines 10 to 15 and substitute the following:

"(b) references to the revocation and suspension of a licence are references to the prohibition of the relevant person by the Authority from providing a security service in the State and to such a prohibition for a specified period.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 86:

In page 46, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:

"16.—In section 47—

(a) references to the revocation or suspension of a licence are references to a prohibition, or a prohibition for a specified period, of a relevant person from providing a security service in the State,

(b) the reference to the continuance in force of a licence is a reference to the provision of such a security service, and

(c) the reference to a licensee is a reference to a relevant person.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 87:

In page 46, to delete lines 33 to 36 and substitute the following:

"16.—References inparagraph 14 of Schedule 2 to revoking and suspending a licence are references to prohibiting the relevant person from providing a security service in the State and to so prohibiting the relevant person for a specified period.”.

Amendment agreed to.

We are on Report and Final Stages of this Bill. Why can these Stages not be dealt with in committee? The Government parties always complain about time wasting from the Opposition benches. The guillotine is used. If there are votes on amendments, why can the votes not be rolled over and why must they take place in this Chamber? We spend hours doing this.

Report Stages of Bills are taken in this Chamber.

Why could it not be different?

That is not a matter that can be dealt with now.

The answer to Deputy Deasy's question is that, in principle, the other Members of the House who are not members of the select committee and have not attended it, are entitled to consider the report of the committee and to have their opportunity to comment on it and to make amendments on the basis of that report. In essence, when the three spokespersons are here it is the same procedure being visited again but on the other hand, valuable work has been done between Committee and Report Stages. We have had time to reflect on some of the issues raised on Committee Stage and it has been productive.

Bill, as amended, received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I thank the officials in my Department who have worked hard on the amendments on Report Stage, on the original text of the Bill and on Committee Stage.

I also thank the Minister and his officials. It is a pity it has to take such a long time, three years and two months. I hope the Minister will agree that there has been no obstruction from the Opposition benches in passing worthwhile legislation. I hope that is put on the record.

Former Deputy John Farrelly initiated this legislation more than three years ago. My party supports the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.