National Monuments (Amendment) Bill 2004: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
In page 3, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:
"2.—Nothing in this Act shall cause the State to derogate from its responsibility to preserve, protect and maintain to the highest possible standards the heritage of the State including its national monuments.".
—(Deputy Morgan).

This Minister will not be short of work because, even if he loses his portfolio in the proposed reshuffle in September, as many of us expect he will, he will easily find a position on the big screen. Gregory Peck or John Wayne would not get a look in with the Minister's performance today. He stood here with a straight face and as much as told us that black was white.

He would not do a John Wayne on the job anyway.

This Minister brought in a Bill to allow for the destruction of the national monuments and heritage of this country and for half an hour waffled and filibustered his way through one amendment to this legislation.

He would definitely do more than John Wayne.

He could have amended section 14 which was all that was needed. However, he chose not to and brought in a Trojan horse as a result of which the resurfacing of a boreen could cause a national monument to be bulldozed out of the way. The Minister knows well that is the effect this Bill will have. His bluffing and codding do not work. The only reason the Minister can do as he does is because the people are disconnected from the political system as a result of the decades of misrepresentation and corruption that have gone on among people such as the Minister.

The Deputy is right. We allowed Sinn Féin to fill that gap but we will take that job back from it.

Otherwise the Minister would not have got away with what he or other Ministers are doing. I have been a Member of the House long enough to work out whether the Minister is running with this on his own account or whether he is merely a front man for his former Progressive Democrats colleagues. Either way, it does not matter. The fact is that the Minister has brought this scandalous legislation to the House. Our heritage does not belong to us. We are only minding it to pass it on.

Whatever I might be accused of, it is not that I am sentimentally and seriously wrong.

Our responsibility is to mind our heritage and pass it on. However, that is not what the Minister has done. Through this legislation he is ensuring that whoever comes along will the largest machine can bulldoze away our heritage.

It is unfortunate that we have not managed to complete debate on even one amendment in the measly hour allocated to us for debate on this Stage, one half hour of which was taken up by the Minister's filibustering. We should move some regulations to control wayward Ministers to ensure Opposition Deputies get some opportunity to contribute positively to debates.

The Deputy has exceeded his two minutes. He should conclude.

It does not seem to matter anyhow, because the Government side does not listen to us.

The Minister made a long speech of justification with regard to the south-eastern motorway and Carrickmines. I note he has proposed amendment No. 39, which we will not reach in the time allowed for this debate, which proposes that section 51B of the Roads Act of 1993 shall not apply in respect of the south-eastern route. Will the Minister explain in his reply what that amendment is about?

I wish to point out to the Chair and the House that this amendment does not arise from Committee Stage proceedings. I do not recall getting any notification from the Minister that he would introduce a Report Stage amendment to section 8. Certainly, no amendment in these terms to section 8 was considered on Committee Stage. I submit that amendment No. 39 cannot simply be passed here——

We are dealing with amendment No. 1 now.

I know this but I am referring to amendment No. 39 which refers to the south-eastern motorway, about which the Minister spoke at great length and without interruption. Amendment No. 39 did not arise from Committee Stage and I submit that it must be recommitted to Committee Stage because it does not properly arise.

I would also like to draw attention to a second amendment in the Minister's name, amendment No. 35, which purports to amend the new procedures applying when a road scheme is referred back to An Bord Pleanála. Under amendment No. 35, which is also new, An Bord Pleanála will now be required to confine itself to considering the directions of the Minister and the proposed change to the approved road development. Here again on Report Stage we have a new amendment which changes the content of the Bill on the Minister's direction. That particular amendment was not submitted on Committee Stage and should not be permitted to pass on Report Stage without being recommitted.

We might as well abandon any attempt to address any of the amendments to this Bill in the two remaining minutes of debate. The farce of what has taken place here for the past hour is unbelievable. It is incredible that the Minister would talk about his ability to listen to people and not bulldoze them into action. His track record has left a doubt in everybody's mind, including the minds of Opposition members, about his intentions in this case. His actions on electronic voting, a motion on which will be discussed later, prove he will not listen to or take advice from anybody. What has happened during the past hour brings this House into disrepute. We would be better off——

Every Member opposite made a Second Stage speech.

——if we had our tea, abandoned the debate and let the Minister carry on in whatever way he likes. Unfortunately, he was successful in his attempt to bury any chance of reasonable debate on this amendment. There is no point in my speaking to it at this stage because the amendments we tabled will not be reached. The Minister has succeeded in frustrating the purpose of this Report Stage debate. This debate is a farce. It is a good job——

The Deputy spoke for half an hour and then he blames me.

——that there is nobody in the Visitors' Gallery or in the press gallery to hear us.

The Deputy must conclude.

What is going on in this House——

We must conclude now and I ask the Deputy to resume his seat. The 60 minutes allocated for this debate has expired.

The opinions of all the new councils we have elected will be dismissed. It is a scandal.

As the time permitted for this debate has expired I am required to put the following question in accordance with an order of the Dáil of this day: "That the amendments set down by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and not disposed of are hereby made to the Bill, that Fourth Stage is hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed."

The Dáil divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 48.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Browne, John.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Curran, John.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Pat The Cope.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, James.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Keeffe, Batt.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • Parlon, Tom.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wilkinson, Ollie.
  • Wright, G. V.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Higgins, Joe.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Padraic.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Murphy, Gerard.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Hanafin and Kelleher; Níl, Deputies Durkan and Broughan.
Question declared carried.