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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 Jul 2004

Vol. 588 No. 6

Sustainable Communities Bill 2004: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

I wish to share time with my colleague, Deputy Hayes.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Bill introduced by my Green Party colleague, Deputy Sargent. From my early days in Macra na Feirme and farming organisations I have been involved in community activities. In the early 1960s, I was involved as secretary of the Aghabog pilot area development committee at a time when our parish had been devastated by the demise of the flax and linen industry which meant people had to go elsewhere for jobs. With a little financial help and, above all, good leadership from the late Mr. Hugh McKearney as our parish agent or agricultural adviser, the parish recovered and has prospered ever since. Many who had emigrated have since returned with their families.

Sustainable development means people have the right to build their own homes and are encouraged to work in their own areas rather than being forced to migrate to the nearest big town or, as more often happens, to Dublin and other cities causing congestion among other problems.

The Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, stated he was glad to have the opportunity to respond to the Bill and then he went on to rubbish it. I would not mind if he had made a genuine effort. The Green Party introduced the Bill to generate some realistic discussion. It is evident the Government has learnt nothing from last month's European and local elections when people made clear their feeling that in spite of all the strategies made and promises given, things have not been delivered.

All parties in the House supported better local government and structures were put in place with some community involvement. Benchmarking was agreed yet the Government failed to provide the funding for this which resulted in local councils having to use stealth taxes instead of increasing services.

I agree with Deputy Sargent that there is a need to involve local government in sustainable development. However, as one who served in local government for 30 years, unless proper funding and structures are provided as well as means of raising funds, it will not be possible to achieve this.

The Government has done everything to remove power from local government and done nothing to provide the funding it requires. At present, many local authorities do not even have sufficient funding for disabled person's grants, let alone funding for development.

The Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, listed the various strategies, guidelines, tax reliefs and plans put in place by the Government in recent years. The initial urban renewal scheme was beneficial. My county town of Monaghan, among others, benefited from that. However, the more recent tax relief schemes have not worked because of the amount of red tape and the problems associated with that.

Many development groups, especially in rural Ireland, have done great work in conjunction with FÁS, yet the Government has cut back on the availability of personnel for community employment schemes. Such groups did much good work and they enjoyed working and helping their communities. Government cutbacks have resulted in some of these groups ceasing to operate while others operate in a reduced capacity. Much cross-Border funding was invested in the Patrick Kavanagh visitor centre which depends on community work schemes to maintain it. There are many people aged 55 and over who could work in such schemes if the rules were changed. People with disabilities could also work on these schemes.

Recently, somebody came to my office who was forced into employment with an advice group. It was clear that while he is capable of working in a community group, he is not capable of holding down a full-time job but, under the new rules, he is obliged to do so. A major improvement could be brought about if changes were made.

The national spatial strategy was announced with great fanfare. Certain towns were awarded gateway and hub status. An integrated structure was promised to ensure roads and other forms of infrastructure would be put in place. However, when the budget was announced, the national spatial strategy was simply forgotten about. Towns were selected for decentralisation with no reference to the spatial strategy that had been announced only a short time previously. It is difficult to understand how the Government can work in that manner. It is no wonder the public was disenchanted, to put it mildly. The Minister of State, Deputy Parlon, claimed to be delivering for his own area and signs were evident with directions to "Parlon country".

I sorted that out last week.

If the people who received those promises were excited by them, why did they not deliver in votes in the local elections? We must put in place a long-term strategy if we are to have a proper spatial strategy and sustainable development as is sought in the Bill. It should not be a case of, as the Minister of State, Deputy Parlon, made clear, it being his decision to decide the night before the budget what each town should get.

I am delighted my home town of Monaghan is classified as a hub and that there is some progress on the M2 roadway going through the area. Although little progress has been made in regard to broadband, I hope that will come in time. Other towns that did not have hub status were chosen for significant decentralisation. I am not complaining that my area has not benefited from decentralisation, rather I am complaining from the point of view of planning about the decentralisation decisions taken. How can they be justified?

The Minister of State, Deputy Gallagher, referred to the importance of tidy town and tidy village groups. They have been brilliant, have improved the appearance and brought about a new community involvement not only in towns and villages but also, importantly, in housing estates.

Rural housing was announced by the Taoiseach as an issue of major importance. It was then mentioned by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Cullen. The bottom line is that nothing has yet happened. Those who thought they would be guaranteed a rural house no longer have that option. There is no point in talking about these issues. If we do not have sustainable building for single houses in parishes like mine in Aghabog, no sustainable rural development will take place anywhere in the country to provide the football teams, the people for the churches and schools that are already in place, and save us having to build others.

I wish to share time with Deputy Deenihan.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I commend the Green Party on introducing the Bill. When speaking about rural communities, we must ask what has been done for them in the past. In Dublin we can see Luas and other developments around the city. What is happening in rural Ireland? People are leaving in droves. Rural housing is an impossibility. As mentioned earlier, the Taoiseach highlighted rural housing as one of the biggest issues affecting those in rural communities and he was 100% right. However, since then nothing has happened.

The Government's White Paper on Rural Development promised a huge amount but nothing came of it. The White Paper is a shambles when it comes to tackling the problems of rural Ireland. In all counties rural schools are closing down due to dwindling numbers in our rural communities and still the Government sits idly by. This is why I commend the Green Party on introducing this Bill to bring to the attention of the Houses of the Oireachtas the importance of rural communities and the importance of considering where rural communities should be located. As Deputy Batt O'Keeffe knows, the Government has reneged on rural communities.

The Government has run out of colour.

The White Paper on Rural Development is a shambles, as the Government knows from campaigning during the local elections. In many areas of the country the Government parties got their answers. The Government should listen to what is being said in the dying hours of this Dáil session. I challenge the Government to come back in October and face the reality by tabling a motion and allowing time to discuss the flight from rural areas.

As stated in the explanatory memorandum, the Bill takes a bottom up rather than a top down approach. I was involved in a project in a village in north Kerry, Ballylongford, which showed how this could be put into action. Kerry County Council established an integrated services committee that comprised officials from the county council, local elected representatives and the local community. We considered the four aspects mentioned in the Bill. In the area of local environmental protection, already the derelict sites have been cleaned out in the village. On recycling, we introduced bottle banks and bring banks and we are considering a different treatment system using the local environment. On local services and jobs, there is now a chance of an enterprise unit being built in the town. The local authority came together with local people and elected representatives. I believe the Ballylongford project should form a blueprint for other communities across the country.

I say to Deputy Batt O'Keeffe, who is a great defender of Government policy, that communities throughout the country are falling apart. He should knock on the doors in villages in Kerry like Brosna and Knocknagoshel, which are only one third full. While those on the Government benches are all good friends of mine, the Government has no policy on rural Ireland. A White Paper was initiated before we left office in 1997.

The Deputy should conclude.

The last Government introduced a Bill and it had one reading in this House. The Minister read it after which I responded for about five minutes and it was——


No, it was not guillotined, it was forgotten about.

The Deputy should conclude.

While I look forward to listening to what the Government Deputies will say, the Government has failed rural Ireland.

Will Deputy Deenihan not wait for the reply? Deputy O'Keeffe will speak in a moment.

As a good urban Deputy, Deputy Curran would know all about rural Ireland.

I will call to north County Kerry during the summer.

I wish to share time with Deputies Batt O'Keeffe, Andrews and O'Connor, and the Minister of State, Deputy Noel Ahern.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

It will be a very balanced contribution.

It is a pity Deputy Deenihan disappeared so quickly. I listened to his contribution during which he referred to the Ballylongford experience. He had a positive story, which he attributed primarily to the local authority. That project was carried out without the necessity for this Bill, with the legislation that is in place and the will, expertise and policy of the members of that local authority. While we are often critical of what is not done, it is important to note what can be done.

I had to read this Bill twice because when I read it the first time, I did not know what it meant and I had to think about it twice.

We are not superficial.

I want to comment on the Bill in its own right and on sustainable development in more general terms. Having read the Bill, I oppose it. It offers nothing more than the potential to create many talking shops, reports etc. Section 2 of the Bill requires the Government to consult all local authorities; Comhar, the National Sustainable Development Partnership; the interdepartmental steering group on sustainable development indicators; environmental non-governmental organisations; county enterprise boards; SPCs; EU funding agencies; and others. Section 3 refers to the input from local authorities. This seemed like a substantial amount of work, which was fine up to a point.

As elected representatives we have daily dealings with councils and councillors. Section 4 states that local authorities "may implement——

It is a Private Members' Bill. We cannot impose a charge on the State.

The section states that a local authority "may implement the strategy as regards its area and set targets which it will seek to achieve". As Deputy Boyle rightly said, that is weak to say the least.

We cannot make it any stronger.

The House can amend it.

The Deputies will have a chance to reply in due course.

On a point of information——

Section 4 is aspirational and is particularly weak. It is at the discretion of the local authority. What went before it in sections 2 and 3 was weak.

In his contribution, Deputy Sargent recognised that there were a range of global issues that needed to be addressed. If the Deputy is suggesting, as the Bill states, that the arbitrary setting of local targets will be sufficient to address those issues, which a local council may or may not implement, I do not think that is the case.

I never said that.

We on this side support sustainable development but——

Where is the evidence?

——I am unsure if it can be incorporated in a single Bill. Sustainable development would encompass the planning and development Acts, spatial strategy, regional planning guidelines, development plans, local plans, the various urban renewal schemes, other programmes and so on. It is not a single issue and I do not know if anybody on this side of the House or on the Opposition benches can incorporate in legislation what the Deputy is endeavouring to do.

I listened to part of the contribution by Deputy Gogarty last night, in which he stated that many of the planning decisions in the past have now been shown to be unsustainable. He is right. He referred loosely to his constituency and the part where he resides in the Lucan area and that part of west Dublin which is growing rapidly. Major housing developments have been built but now the council is struggling to provide all the other services to make it work. I agree with him on that issue.

Where I fundamentally disagreed with Deputy Gogarty was when we had an opportunity to create a balanced development in Adamstown. Before Deputy Gogarty or I were elected, the lands in Adamstown were zoned residential, so the option facing Deputy Gogarty and me as local councillors at that time, was whether we would do more of what we did wrong in the past or whether we chose a better way forward. The better way was to consider individual planning applications in a strategic manner and in the context of the entirety of the scheme, to carry them out in a phased way and to provide the infrastructure such as roads, schools and public transport.

Why was that not done? The problem is that it was not done.They have no targets.

The point is that we have specific targets for Adamstown, the first of its type in the country. It is exactly what the Deputy asked for. We have very specific targets and it is laid out in specific detail where schools will be built——

Where is the metro?

——and at what stage along the way, and where public transport will be provided along the way to address the deficits which the Deputy so rightly identified. I was disappointed that the members of the Green Party, who subscribe to sustainable development, would not support this initiative when it was a better way of going forward. The Adamstown development was a new way forward supported by every major party except the Green Party. It may not be perfect, there may be individual issues but the options were to go with a strategic development zone or with more of the same. I regret to say that the Green Party would not support a new way forward and that flies in the face of the Bill before us.

I thank the Green Party for introducing this Bill. We now have an opportunity to see the lack of policy that is part and parcel of the Green Party.

What are Deputy Batt O'Keeffe's policies?

I fundamentally agree with the Green Party that at the core of this debate is a significant difference between policy and approach and between taking action which makes a difference in politics and the empty gestures of having a Bill that does nothing and means nothing.

The Deputy should wait until he is in Opposition.

Let us contrast that with what the Minister has done. He has worked to ensure that Ireland has the highest rate of home building in Europe, produced the first ever spatial strategy——

And which has been ignored.

It has been thrown out the window.

The Minister has ensured that local democracy has become much more transparent and accountable than ever before. There has been a dramatic increase in recycling facilities in all local authority areas. This has ensured that we reduce domestic waste production.

The largest amount of waste produced in Europe.

The fight against Sellafield has been taken to the next level, which is a promise brought to fruition. We have done all this in spite of the cynical, opportunistic and fundamentally flawed stance of the Green Party.

The Government has done sweet damn all.

Deputy Batt O'Keeffe should look to the facts.

Let us contrast what the Green Party and the Minister are trying to do. The Green Party has demonstrated again with this Bill that it does not believe that it has a responsibility to set out credible policy options. It does not believe for instance that it must make a reasoned contribution to any debate on this issue. Most of all it does not believe it must make choices. What else would we expect from the Green Party? It is not by accident that the Green Party has become the laughing stock of Europe. Look at the European Green movement. We see the Irish Green Party members waving sunflowers. They continue to refuse to make any constructive contribution to the debate. Sanctimony, double standards and conspiracy theories form part of the core of their approach.

What has this to do with the Bill?

Deputy Boyle is a decent and genuine man. How would the Green Party react if it was found out that one of the investment policies held by a member of the Fianna Fáil Party was the same as that held by Deputy Cuffe? Can one imagine the deputy leader of the Fianna Fáil Party saying what the deputy leader of the Green Party stated, namely, in order to have major economic recession in this country, one would have to stop road development? This is what the deputy leader of the Green Party said.

That is mythical.

I agree with the Green Party that it does not operate to the standards of everybody else. Of course, it does not. Its members are more cynical and opportunistic than those of all the other parties.

What about the tribunals?

That is not surprising because they sit comfortably in a group that contains people who make approaches that undermine our environment and they do not apologise for it. They sit beside Deputy Joe Higgins who I remember saying when he was in jail that he waited until he was sitting snugly in the cell to take time to read anything about waste policy. The Green Party sits with Sinn Féin, a party with a one size fits all approach to issues. Whatever it is, it is against it. It is natural that the Green Party sits comfortably with this. I congratulate the party's Deputies for sharing their opposition to illegal dumping, except it involves substances that we would not know much about.

What about incineration?

Since taking office, the Minister has made waste management a high priority. The policy does not have 40 shades of green. There are 40 shades of green in the Green Party policy, many of them unfortunately sickly shades.

The Minister wants to burn it in the Deputy's constituency.

The end result is a complete mismatch which means nothing to anybody.

Will the Deputy vote against the Minister?

Not even the Green Party itself understands what the policy is for and, unfortunately, the party has joined that green band of people who stand for nothing, mean nothing and are going nowhere.

Not like Fianna Fáil.

With reference to what Deputy Curran was saying, we had a similar problem in Dún Laoghaire with the Green Party's approach to the practice of sustainability, on the one hand, and the theory, on the other, which we have before the House this evening. It is worthwhile having the debate and fair play to the Green Party for introducing Private Members' Bills. However, in practice, the business must be done. There was an example in the centre of Dún Laoghaire of a rezoning application in connection with an 18-hole golf course. In terms of sustainability, it could not have been a better example of where to rezone for housing. There could not have been a more obvious example of sustainability. The Green Party gives lectures about reducing car journeys, ensuring we have schools and infrastructure and all the necessary bells and whistles before we start building houses.

It was not so grand in Dún Laoghaire, in Shankill, Kiltiernan etc.

The Green Party will have the opportunity to speak.

That is quite a different issue to which Deputy Eamon Ryan refers. I only have a short time and the point I am making is this. The Green Party opposed the sustainable development of Dún Laoghaire when it had an opportunity. Deputy Eamon Ryan referred to a single issue. There will never be perfection in decisions taken by a local authority or a Government. We can only do our best. There was an opportunity in Dún Laoghaire to do the necessary rezoning and I am sad to say that the Green Party took the cheap and easy option, the one aimed towards electoral dividends——

That is surprising.

——and opposed the rezoning of that land which is ideal——

Why did Fianna Fáil rezone Kiltiernan and Shankill?

It is all very well for Deputy Eamon Ryan to compare it to something completely different, but that is a fact. The same happened in Adamstown. It happened in Dún Laoghaire. It is all very well coming in here with these specific theories of sustainability, but if the Green Party cannot deliver on the ground, what this demonstrates is towering hypocrisy across the board.

The Deputy is talking about planning in Dún Laoghaire.

Like Deputy Curran, I was somewhat confused as to what this Bill was about. Sometimes we legislate when we do not really need to and when there is enough legislation already. The basic criteria for the adjudication of planning permission is proper planning and sustainable development. That is the single guiding principle to determine a planning application. The term "sustainable development" has been in and out of the courts for the past four years, since the new Planning and Development Act. The guidelines also lay down that it must be proper planning and sustainable development of an area. We already have a strong statutory basis for sustainable development and the courts have constantly told us what the criteria should be, including the phrase, "the common good".

To get back to Dún Laoghaire, there was an opportunity to develop what was an 18-hole golf course and the Green Party claimed a green lung for the borough as though it were the Amazon forest. The plan was to turn it into two public parks, 1,000 housing units, crèches, shops, light industrial development to provide sustainability, and all within the vicinity of quality bus corridors, the DART and schools. The Green Party rejected that opportunity. There is sufficient legislation to ensure sustainable development. All that stands in the way of it is weak decisions by local councillors and a lack of courage, at times, to take the tough decisions. The presence of Comhar, the National Sustainable Development Partnership, along with the county and city development boards provides enough forums already for these issues to be debated. This Private Members' Bill will only add another layer of bureaucracy that is unnecessary at this time.

I am only going to take about four and a half minutes, so I would appreciate if the Green Party would let me give my speech and heckle me on another day. I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to speak on this matter and I compliment Deputy Sargent and his colleagues. I do so because I was listening to the debate last night and most of the Opposition Members who claimed they would vote for the Bill actually opposed it in their speeches. I am trying to be helpful and am aware of Green Party sensitivities in that regard. Like Deputy Curran, I am sorry Deputy Gogarty is not here. I hope the party has given him time off for his honeymoon because he certainly deserves it.

Reference has been made by colleagues to their constituencies. We often talk about Tallaght and sustainable development. When I moved there first, with an employer, in 1969, it was still a village. For many years we talked about Tallaght, as it developed, having the population of a city but still retaining the status of a village. Happily, many years later it is a city in its own right. It has its own town centre, civic headquarters, hospital and all the facilities one might expect in what is the country's third largest population centre. At the end of August the Luas will come to town at last and we will be delighted to use it. I use that as an example, to show where I am coming from as far as these issues are concerned. It is important to support the concept of sustainable development.

Like other colleagues, I remind the House that sustainable development is best described as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development concepts and objectives are not always straightforward either to grasp or communicate and we can easily lose the public support that is essential for achieving practical results, whether in areas of environment, waste, housing or the community.

In the past decade sustainable development has moved from pioneering aspiration to the centre of political debate. That is good and it is true both throughout Europe and here at home. No one questions our continuing need for growth and social progress. More importantly, no one takes the view that these needs override our responsibility to protect the natural environment and the natural resource space of the future. Every morning I leave the house I am able to look up towards the mountains. I can be at the Blessington lakes within a few minutes. I am clear about the need to protect the environment for the good of people living in built-up communities. In that regard, striking the right balance between environmental, economic and social areas of development will be a core concern for us all for many years.

On an issue such as this, there is much to be said. However, I am conscious of the time and I am particularly anxious that the Minister of State, Deputy Noel Ahern, should have the opportunity to say a few words. I look forward to voting on the Bill and wish the Green Party well.

On behalf of the Government and having heard the case put forward by the Green Party in support of its proposal, we remain unconvinced that this Bill would contribute to the promotion of sustainable development at either local or community levels. On reading the Bill, the original impression was that it would achieve nothing. The contributions in the debate have done nothing to change that impression.

My colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gallagher, said that this Bill was bureaucratic and devoid of purpose and would provide no added value to the promotion of sustainable development at any level. There is no legal impediment to sustainable development and this Bill is not necessary despite the supposed case put forward. In addition, a number of comments were made regarding the Government's policy on environmental protection, especially with regard to climate change. I would like to comment briefly on both.

The Green Party may not be aware, but the Environmental Protection Agency published its third state of the environment report a mere two months ago.

We have read it.

Good. I am delighted to hear that. The Deputy should have taken some notice of it.

Perhaps the report is too positive for the Green Party to acknowledge. Its headline conclusion is that Ireland's environment remains of good quality, generally, and represents one of our most essential assets.

That is all right then.

It is an independent endorsement of Government policy.

There are negative aspects to the report too.

I hope the Green Party Members were not in their usual selective mood. I hope they read the right stuff.

It had interesting things to say about acidification, greenhouse gases and eutrophication.

The report endorses the Government's legislation and environmental investment. It states that our approach is effective and that Ireland is keeping pace with the increased needs of environmental protection. The Government believes in progress and sustainable development, which are not mutually exclusive. The proof that we have the balance right is there for all to see in terms of economic growth, jobs, social development and a high quality environment. Life is about getting the balance right. The most recent EPA report on national emissions found that greenhouse gas emissions have decreased for the first time in a decade.

That is because IFI closed down.

The level of emissions in 2002 was 29% higher than the level in 1990, whereas the level in 2001 was 31% higher than the 1990 level.

That is because IFI closed down.

The decrease has resulted from the increased use of renewable energy, improved efficiency in power generation and measures in other sectors as well as some closures. Given the high levels of economic growth over the past decade, it is clear that Ireland has improved the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its economy more than any other EU member state. National emission levels have largely been stabilised for the rest of the decade on the basis of measures that have already been put in place. They will be reduced further as the implementation of the national climate change strategy is intensified.

They have not been reduced.

An important element of the strategy is participation in emissions trading. I am pleased that the Commission today unconditionally approved the Irish national allocation plan. Irish industry has a target level of reduction in emissions between 2005 and 2007 — the run-up to the Kyoto deadline — and a means to achieve the target in the most cost-effective manner. Environmental targets and the protection of competitiveness are balanced by the use of this instrument. Emissions trading for industry and Government purchases of Kyoto credits for the non-emissions trading sector are part of a coherent programme to ensure that Ireland meets its Kyoto target. The other key element is the implementation of domestic reduction strategies, as set out in the Government's national climate change strategy. We will vigorously pursue the implementation of further key elements of the national strategy. The Minister, Deputy Cullen, is bringing forward a review of the strategy to ensure that all cost-effective measures to reduce emissions are implemented.

As Minister of State with responsibility for housing, I wish to speak about the importance of sustainability in the housing sector. My colleague, Deputy Andrews, said that some parties and some politicians are very good at talking about theory but have great difficulties in putting their ideas into practice.

While I thank the Green Party for proposing this Bill, it suffers from a lack of real purpose and the party's Members have failed to convince us during the debate that it has a purpose.

The Minister of State does not want to be convinced.

Perhaps its Members are happy to have given other Deputies the opportunity to discuss and debate this issue.

That was our intention.

The Green Party's failure is an endorsement of the Government's approach to the promotion and pursuit of sustainable development at local and community level.

Self-praise is no praise.

I appreciate and thank the Green Party for bringing forward the Bill, but its Deputies should have thought it out a bit more because we are quite happy with the progress we are making.

I think the word is "smug".

We are quite happy that we have the balance right.

Nobody else thinks so.

These theoretical little bits of Bills do not mean anything.

Ba mhaith liom mo chuid ama a roinnt leis na Teachtaí McManus agus Morgan.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Fáiltím go ginearálta roimh an Bhille um Pobail Inchothaithe 2004. Molaim an Comhaontas Glas as ucht an Bille a thabhairt os comhair na Dála agus deis a thabhairt dúinn an díospóireacht seo a chur ar siúl.

I welcome the Sustainable Communities Bill 2004, generally speaking, and I thank the Green Party for introducing it. One of the problems with the legislation, which is worthy if a little threadbare, is its failure to define precisely what the Green Party means when it refers to sustainable communities. Building sustainable communities involves a significant number of factors and embraces many different issues. We all aspire to be more eco-friendly, we all want the quality of our natural environment to be maintained or improved and we all want more people to play a more active role in local communities. If that is to happen, as some speakers said during the debate, we must give local representatives and the councils and authorities on which they sit more power to make the necessary changes to transform our environment.

During the local government election campaign which concluded some weeks ago, the Labour Party sought to initiate a debate on the purpose and role of local government. We produced an extensive policy document advocating the most radical reform of local government in this country for more than a century. As soon as we took up office in towns, cities and counties throughout Ireland, we began to attempt to put our policies into action. For example, we took part in negotiations and reached agreement on the democratic charter for change in Dublin, which we made a priority before we reached consensus with Fine Gael, the Green Party and a number of other city councillors. The charter speaks of sustainable communities in a different manner to how they have been described by speakers in this debate so far.

The Labour Party was the first party to identify the housing crisis, produce an analysis and policy to solve it, propose affordable housing, propose rights for tenants, argue that there should be a constitutional right to housing and propose controls on the price of building land. Labour Party councillors can be trusted to make decisions in favour of social and affordable housing.

In the charter for change in Dublin we specifically highlighted access to housing as the key to building sustainable communities. It states:

Many young Dubliners cannot afford to buy a home in their own neighbourhood and many have to leave the city to find an affordable home. We will work to improve the quality and affordability of Dublin housing. We will strive to provide more social and affordable homes for those left out of the housing market. We will work to eliminate homelessness and we will establish local structures to prevent homelessness at its source. We will seek to protect those in rented accommodation.

The policies being adopted in Dublin will be pursued in Cork, Galway, Waterford or any other part of the country. If we are to talk about creating sustainable communities, Members of the House must agree that access to adequate and affordable housing is a key issue. The Government has steadfastly refused to act on the price of building land. Private developers continue to hoard land banks which contributes to an escalation in house prices that is almost unmatched anywhere else.

Housing is one of the many issues that need to be addressed. Despite the growth and prosperity that is visible throughout Ireland, a lack of adequate planning has given rise to sprawling development, creating increasingly isolated communities and neighbourhoods and immense and unmanageable traffic jams. This version of Ireland is unrecognisable from the type of society the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government wants to produce, according to its strategy on sustainable development, Making Ireland's Development Sustainable. The priorities emphasised in the strategy document are worthy and cannot be faulted. From seeking to break the link between economic growth and damage to the environment to working for the closure of the Sellafield nuclear plant, a list of honourable and worthwhile targets are set out to marry economic progress with environmental protection.

However, when we review the record of this Government over recent years it is clear that this document is not grounded in reality. Investment in public transport, for example, has been so badly managed that it has created chaos in our towns and cities, especially in Dublin. New transport systems are delivered way over budget and existing ones are badly integrated. Accident and emergency departments are under strain, classrooms are overcrowded and neighbourhoods are inadequately policed. Many housing estates are tortured by anti-social activity. So-called joyriding continues to present a major threat to law-abiding citizens. Elderly people live in fear. Drug abuse is rife. To deal adequately with vandalism, additional resources are required in this area of crime where convictions are most difficult to obtain.

Local stakeholders must be given more of a say in the way their communities function. That is the key to creating more sustainable communities. To achieve that, local councils and authorities must also be overhauled to allow public representatives lead their communities imaginatively.

As such, the aim of the Bill presented by the Green Party is welcome. Giving local authorities the power to draft and implement local sustainable strategies should see the delivery of better services. Protecting the environment, generating a dynamic economy, ensuring nobody suffers poverty and involving as many people as possible in this process are aims to which we should aspire. Introducing legislation to ensure the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government actively promotes better, sustainable communities should be supported. The key to all this, however, must be the empowerment of local government and not just the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

We fully recognise that local government, regardless of how well it is equipped, cannot accomplish everything on its own, but Labour wants councillors to be able to give a lead to determine the real priorities and to be in a strong position to advance the cause of their local communities. The Labour Party wants a new and modern allocation of responsibilities to local authorities, redesigned to meet modern needs. That means setting up regional authorities to deal with issues like health and transport with other more local functions being assigned to local councils.

Ireland has the weakest system of local government in the European Union. At best, we have a system of local administration through which unelected managers make the executive decisions for our cities, towns and counties. We all want to influence what happens to our localities and neighbourhoods. Our vision of a sustainable community, therefore, addresses the following issues.

Labour is the only party to publish a fully costed alternative to the Government's failed anti-environment waste policies. That gives the Labour Party the authority to explain how recycling and composting can become a reality, waste can be treated as a new resource, waste management should remain a public service, private waste operators should be regulated and the reason households with low income or little waste should not pay bin charges. The Labour Party stands for public services. That is the reason we will promote public libraries, develop parks, provide public playgrounds and public recreation facilities.

When a choice must be made in council chambers between public amenity and private development, Labour will always choose the public good. We are also the only party to have published a national document on planning, Visions of Ireland, which integrates spatial strategy with transport, infrastructure and the protection of the environment. We have contributed to town and county development plans based on the principles of good planning and the needs of local communities. These are but a few of the issues we see as informing sustainable communities. Traffic management, poverty and health care are other examples.

The public wants an influence over its local environment, the way neighbourhoods are planned and developed, the amenities that make local communities work, the schools which can teach children, the hospital and local health services, transport and traffic matters, policing and care of the young and the elderly. These are the everyday issues that shape the quality of our lives. Any legislation that allows local communities to have more of a say in shaping their local areas merits the support of all the parties in the House.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Bill and thank the Green Party for tabling it. The concept of sustainability is a relatively new one and is largely seen as relating to protection of the natural environment. I prefer the holistic definition that encompasses social as well as environmental sustainability.

Many speakers in the debate spoke about the need to support disadvantaged communities, and I agree with them. Too many people are suffering from the effects of Government policies that are designed to serve commercial interests rather than the interests of communities. Inequality has now become the hallmark of this Government.

Against that background, setting out a framework to create a community-based response to the environmental challenge, as this Bill does, makes sense, as does making local authorities central to that process. One of the most disturbing features of a dominance for so long of the agenda of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats is the general run-down of local democracy and local services. The position in regard to waste management is a case in point. Powers are being removed from local representatives rather than returned to them and local authorities are becoming less relevant, particularly with the creeping privatisation of services and the loss of local control.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of health care. One only has to look at the record. To develop a good quality, accessible health service it is vital that accountability is guaranteed by law. We have a Government that talks about health reform but all that has changed so far is that local accountability has effectively been dismantled. With the abolition of the health boards we have seen the biggest grab for executive power in the history of local administration.

It is interesting to note that where such an experiment at centralisation was tried elsewhere, as in New Zealand, it failed. That country is now making amends by setting up more health boards than ever before to bring its health service into line with the needs of local communities.

Here we have a Government that talks about decentralisation while planning to centralise health services to an extraordinary and unhealthy degree. The good health of individuals and communities is at the core of sustainability, yet in Ireland we do not have a healthy society. We come top or near the top of too many leagues. Cardiovascular disease and lung diseases are two cases in point. We have the highest death rate from lung diseases in Europe, higher even than the old Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. The cost of treating these diseases is phenomenal. Estimates indicate that respiratory diseases cost Europe nearly €102 billion per year. That is apart from the human cost which is inestimable. Smoking, environmental factors, climate and poverty are all blamed for this high death rate.

Sustainability is the key to much more than simply recycling our waste. It is about creating the kind of environment whereby our population no longer suffers, for example, a level of lung disease that is more than twice the EU average and that ensures health promotion is an essential part of health care.

Raising environmental standards is an important measure but there is a clear class dimension to disease and ill-health that we ignore at our peril. People living in poverty tend to be sicker and die younger than the affluent. When it comes to tackling this health challenge, what is most telling is that factual research shows us that in countries where the gap between rich and poor is small, the overall health of the community is best. That presents us with a challenge that transcends health reform per se.

This is about social and economic change and narrowing the gap that has opened up in society between the wealthy and the poor. Ireland is now one of the most unequal societies in the world and the health of our people is suffering as a consequence.

In tackling this unhealthy state we need to listen to communities and their needs and empower those without power. However, Government policy is directed to exacerbating the problem. This Bill, small as it is, will ameliorate the effects of social and environmental factors that harm rather than heal.

I support this Bill that seeks to promote local sustainable development. Such development has not yet happened in this State. Housing schemes are designed without safe pathways or cycle-ways to schools or even shops and little or no green areas or playgrounds are provided. Development has occurred with no thought for the welfare of communities, much less for sustainable communities. Local authorities are allowed to get away with carelessness when each official should be clued in to what is really needed. There is the mess of waste management. Token bottle banks scattered around communities to create an illusion of action by a Government that pays nothing more than lip service to waste management. On average, only 50% of the waste management plans created five years ago have been achieved.

This will not change until real consultative structures are put in place. The main plank of consultation at local authority level is the strategic policy committee. A majority of Members will have served on these while on local authorities. My experience of the committees is of a chair and officials struggling to simply get through the meeting. Rarely have I seen a strategic policy committee examine an issue critically, let alone set objectives and devise a strategy to achieve them. Yet this is what these key bodies were established to achieve five years ago. They have failed because in the minds of some local authority officials, it is seen as interference by civil society in their domain. These officials are not solely to blame for this elitist attitude as the Government, if it has not encouraged them, has allowed them to develop it. The introduction of the strategic policy committees was a typical move by this Government in bringing forward commendable legislation but simply not implementing it. Again, it has created an illusion of movement.

Though I support the provision for consultation in local areas, it should be broadened. Local fora can be established at a tier below that of local councillors. Though success would depend on the efforts of specific individuals, it would go some way in reinvigorating local communities. An integrated and participatory approach must be built since many communities were turned off the political system by the legacy of local authority corruption in the 1970s and 1980s. The cross-Border element of the Bill is most welcome and essential for local sustainable development.

The bottom line rests with real reform of local government as the current structure cannot deliver the local sustainable strategy referred to in the Bill. Local government needs to be empowered and accountable. If a county manager is wayward, a local authority representative cannot raise the issue. Even Members cannot raise such a matter in the House as the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is not accountable for a county manager's actions. Adequately financed local government is another key element to ensuring sustainable development. Only then will people expect adequate services from their local authorities.

I wish to share my time with Deputies Healy, Gormley, Eamon Ryan and Boyle.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

The search for a sustainable and humane model of development has gathered momentum. This search means attaining economic prosperity, social justice and ecological health with the highest possible quality of life in the best possible environment. This Bill is to be welcomed as it aims to enable local people and communities to achieve such a sustainable community.

Local Agenda 21, the global action plan agreed at the 1992 UN conference on the environment and development stressed the enabling role of local authorities in transforming unsustainable patterns of development and empowering local communities. Toward the close of the last millennium, Ireland has woken up to the challenges inherent in this agenda. Only now have we detected an undercurrent of change driven by EU legislation and the demand for goods and services produced with equity and environmental impact in mind. The response of numerous local authorities to Local Agenda 21 varied. In some cases, they merely engaged in a repackaging of existing environmental responsibilities. To address the most important elements of sustainability, local communities must strive for efficient use of resources, waste minimisation, limitation of pollution to manageable levels, valuing the diversity of nature and local needs to be met locally. Local communities must also strive to ensure that people live without fear of violence and crime or persecution of race, beliefs, gender or sexuality. All sections of the community must be empowered to participate in decision-making processes.

How far has Ireland progressed in achieving these laudable aims? The report card will indicate "a little done, a lot more to do or could do better". The development of a sustainable community would entail the establishment of a core group of enthusiastic volunteers and organisations as a steering committee to help the community and environment. This core group would be open to the public, meeting regularly and forming task forces to develop and implement specific projects. This Bill is the first real attempt to empower local government and its citizens to develop sustainable community strategies.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this Bill. Sustainability covers social and quality of life issues as well as environmental protection. Those very issues have not been properly addressed by the Government. For sustainability to succeed it is important that local services are provided. The Government's proposals for the administrative and hospital levels of the health service are an attempt to take resources, such as accident and emergency, maternity and paediatric services, from local communities. This is also detrimental to their sustainability. Local authority and working class housing estates have been built without proper open areas, playing fields, community centres or Garda protection for local people. Serious incidents of anti-social activity now occur throughout the country. The Government has abandoned many estates and left them without the services of community gardaí.

Regarding rural communities, the trend in recent years has been one of closure of local post offices, Garda stations, banks and co-op branches, along with the decimation by the Government of the local community employment schemes which look after playing fields, parishes, the tidy towns projects and a host of local matters. These issues are important in the sustainability debate. I welcome this Bill as an opening to the discussions.

Sustainability is something we often discuss but rarely if ever define or put into practice. It first came to prominence in Rio de Janeiro and subsequently in Johannesburg where I attended the summit on sustainable development. We all need to define sustainability and put it in perspective. The Bruntland report defined sustainable development as development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising those of future generations. It is about defining quality of life rather than standard of living. This Government may be quite good in terms of maintaining standards of living as we define them but its record on quality of life is not good. We have seen that. Quality of life has deteriorated during this Government's reign.

In the area of holistic and joined-up thinking, the Government is remiss. The Green Party has a "join the dots" campaign to promote joined-up thinking. When it comes to public transport for example it is clear the Government has not got its act together. When we talk of sustainable communities, we are talking of joined-up thinking, of local communities having schools and facilities, and of walking and cycling to school. That is becoming rarer. I recently pointed out in a letter to The Irish Times that there are now more girls being driven to secondary school than cycling there. That is depressing and the situation needs to be tackled quickly.

Local communities do not have any input. This is what agenda 21 was all about. It wanted local communities and representatives to have an input into sustainable communities. This is happening to an increasingly lesser degree. Within my constituency, Terenure has recently drawn up a sustainable plan for the area which includes underground recycling. This is done in Holland and works well there. It means that one can locate recycling banks in the centre of an area without people objecting on the grounds of unsightliness and noise. One can then get a lorry to remove the materials. Dublin City Council's response however is that hiring the lorry is too expensive. That is short-term thinking because, if we do not take such an approach we will not get the level of recycling which we all want. Local community representatives went to Sintra in Portugal to find out how it could be done, so they have expertise developed at local level.

Instead of local government, what we have is local administration. During the period this Government has ruled, an increasing number of powers have been taken from local representatives. There was a time when there were reserved functions in the environment area. They included the making of management plans for air and water quality and waste along with the making of a development plan. All this has been diluted over a period. One can look in particular at the powers taken away with regard to waste. Despite that an increasing number of councillors are opposed to waste incineration and have put forward plans for zero waste, they are not being listened to. Incinerators are being imposed on local communities.

Councillors have an input into the development plan and can make zoning decisions, but in many cases their input is ignored by city managers. I will give a pertinent example in my constituency. As far back as the early 1980s, Dublin Corporation clearly wanted to develop Scully's Field, a green space in the middle of my constituency. In 1998, Dublin City Council in its draft development plan recommended that the land at Scully's Field be rezoned to Z1 status. That would have allowed for residential development. The councillors in the area and all the residents were opposed to this. They objected, and the lands were zoned back to Z9 status. That status is the one which applies to St. Stephen's Green and Merrion Square, green open spaces which are what we require in the city if it is to be fit not only for children to play in but also for adults. It is about quality of life, not about making a quick buck on a five-storey development. Unfortunately this has been ignored.

I have asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to consider this serious problem because it is now quite clear that the Dublin City Council manager has made yet another proposal to build accommodation on the site in question. That is unacceptable. On 11 March 2002 a presentation was made by the campaign committee which received unanimous support from the councillors. It is quite clear that all this has been ignored. If one has a situation in which councillors, local representatives and all the residents of an area are asking that it would be zoned in a certain way and that request is ignored, it means we do not have sustainable development. That is something the Government needs to examine.

If the Fianna Fáil Deputies from the boroughs of Dún Laoghaire and Dublin Mid-West were present I would tend to respond to them. Their discussion of planning issues in those areas is remarkable, but throwing dirt at another party with regard to planning and zoning in those two areas was an interesting tactic to which we might return another day.

I have been trying to think of examples of targets or measurements we could use when looking to assess sustainability on a local level. I prefer the most local means, if possible at parish or street level. That is when targets really hit home. I recall as a child in Dublin seeing in a monthly parish newsletter the amounts being given by the different city parishes to the general diocesan collection. It has a strange effect. One was always measuring one's own parish to see how it was doing in comparison with others. We have seen other targets and measures recently, not all positive or beneficial. We now have an example in our education system whereby we are shown the lists of schools feeding students to the various universities, as if that is an accurate measure. It nevertheless has a major effect. The newspapers would not be giving it such coverage if people were not paying such attention to it, although I fundamentally disagree with that particular measure as a narrow reduction of what education should be.

Regarding local authorities and local council areas, there are a few areas where we can specifically target development and measure how we are doing. Waste management and measurement is a topical issue. We know we will move to this system which will target waste almost down to household level. We will measure the weight and how much is recycled, and use this to work out how much we must pay for waste. While on Dublin City Council I came across a slightly different approach which may provide a solution. Bin lorries, which fill up with the waste of two or three streets, would be weighed before and after filling up. This would make it easy to measure how much waste is coming from each two or three streets. It would also be easy to measure the waste management and recycling in those streets just by carrying out a random sample test.

In this regard, the quality of what goes into the green bins is more important than the quantity, and there is nothing worse than trying to take glass out of paper packing. If we set street by street performance measurement as a target, I am sure, due to our collective spirit to work together to achieve targets, every green bin would be out on the streets and roads at the right time, full of recycled materials. There would be community spirit and a sustainability target behind it. Such a street level example could then be used on a broader basis.

Deputy Gormley referred to school transport. There is a concept known as "safe routes to schools" through which very easy targets can be set, such as to find how many children are walking or cycling to school or where safety problems such as a lack of bus services may occur. It is very easy on a yearly basis to measure these and to aggregate the figures into a collective figure for an area or county.

Targets are possible and they help. They make us concentrate on what exactly is sustainability. It can be difficult to understand because it is a word that has been so abused it is hard to fully appreciate. However, it is not getting easier to appreciate as examples of its abuse become more flagrant.

One example comes from the new regional planning guidelines for the greater Dublin area. Goal five of the guidelines was that we would have sustainable infrastructure corridors, which I initially welcomed. However, the definition of this in the report is: "The organisation of settlements and new economic developments within a system of transport corridors may provide a basic pattern which infrastructure will find a sound basis for long-term planning of economically viable primary infrastructure systems." It is a difficult sentence but having read it perhaps a dozen times, I translate it to mean that if we can plan so that development pays for toll roads, it will be sustainable. It is an economic view only, which is too narrow a definition. We need to move beyond that.

Among the abuses of the definition of sustainability is that the word is commonly used in public discourse to mean it is somehow about sustaining our current level of progress. It is the basis on which the current partnership agreement exists. That definition of the word "sustaining" is not in any way related to the term "sustainability", which, as my colleagues have described, is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.

It is interesting that today has seen the release of the enterprise strategy statement. The Bill seeks to discuss sustainability in its widest sense, economic as well as environmental and in terms of social inclusion and local democracy. The centrepiece of the enterprise strategy statement is for a sustainable economy into the future. We must build upon, foster and generate an indigenous local economy and support locally owned industries. This is something the Green Party has said for many years and has taken abuse from the other side of the House for doing so. Foreign direct investment was and is welcome. However, in the long term, it is not sustainable in a globalised economy when that investment can go to another country in the blink of an eye.

Today's statement is at least an indication of how sustainability should be built into future economic policy. I hope the Government takes this lesson on board because we have many other ideas we would like to share with it. What the Green Party says will eventually be adopted not only by the Government but by other political parties — that has been our history. The philosophy we believe in has already brought about significant changes in public policy and we are proud of that role. We look to presently having the opportunity in government to implement what we believe to be sustainable Government policies.

International definitions of sustainability were agreed at the Rio de Janeiro conference on economic and environmental development in 1992, at which the Government as a signatory promised to set up Local Agenda 21 groups but did precisely nothing. The conference was followed by a similar conference in Johannesburg where such groups were meant to become local groups, yet the Government did precisely nothing. This is because the political culture in this country is top down rather than bottom up.

The nature of the Bill is to introduce a bottom up culture. It seeks to put in place means by which consultation becomes real — not the definition of consultation which has come from the Government and many State agencies, where people are told what will happen before it happens, yet it happens anyway, regardless of what they think or how they can contribute to the process. A sustainable society uses as its resource the people themselves.

The nature of the contribution made by the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Deputy Gallagher, was sad in its emptiness. He talked about infrastructure and tax concessions but made no reference whatsoever to people or local communities. I noted particularly the reference he made to tax incentives which applied to urban development. Deputy Gallagher made his contribution following that of Deputy Cowley, who talked about the need for sustainability in rural communities. Deputy Cowley was right to say that many urban settlements are unsustainable. The existence of urban sprawl creates an environment where people live in impersonal settings that are recipes for social strife. On the other hand, the Government has no policy in regard to the sustainability of rural communities, to make sure that populations are maintained in towns and villages that protect the existing infrastructure and that there are no closures of schools, post offices and Garda stations. In a sense, settlements, whether urban or rural, are critical mass. Despite this, the Government twists and turns and chooses to make its own definition in this area.

The contributions of many Fianna Fáil Members were nothing other than abuse. They did not address the nature of the Bill in any way. I am disappointed that even though two of the members of the Progressive Democrats are present, the Ministers, Deputies McDowell and Tim O'Malley, that party has chosen not to say anything in this debate on sustainability. However, we know that the Progressive Democrats' philosophy is that the needs of society and communities can be met by the market. They argue the alternative is to have those needs met by the State. This is wrong. Neither the State nor the market can define the needs or provide the resources for those needs to be met. Ultimately, it is local communities which will define their needs.

However, a political system and approach that can be adopted exists through legislation such as this. It has been moved in other Parliaments and has been put into practice in other jurisdictions, and we would like to put it in place here. We regard the Bill as a cornerstone of any legislative programme the Green Party would be involved in. The likelihood is that, following the sneers and derision, a time will come when the Progressive Democrats and Governments think the same way because the options will have run out. The emptiness of the Progressive Democrats' approach in regard to the sustainability of future generations will be found wanting, as it already is in terms of the type of society being created, particularly in terms of social inclusion.

Ultimately, after economics, environmental protection and social inclusion, we are talking about the fourth cornerstone of local democracy. It is opportune to introduce this Bill now given that local elections have been held recently. It is worth noting that those elections saw the first increase in turnout in local elections in over 50 years. We believe this is an opportunity to engage with people rather than to continue the top down system of governing that has alienated so many in our society. This Bill, flawed as it is, is a mechanism or vehicle which, if it passed Committee and Remaining Stages, would assist many communities in improving the lives of people where they live.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 49; Níl, 61.

  • Boyle, Dan.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Connolly, Paudge.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Cowley, Jerry.
  • Crawford, Seymour.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • Pattison, Seamus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Upton, Mary.


  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Brady, Martin.
  • Brennan, Seamus.
  • Callanan, Joe.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Carty, John.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Curran, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Tony.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Glennon, Jim.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Keaveney, Cecilia.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kirk, Seamus.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Dea, Willie.
  • O’Donnell, Liz.
  • O’Keeffe, Ned.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Malley, Tim.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Sexton, Mae.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Wright, G.V.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Boyle and Durkan; Níl, Deputies Hanafin and McGuinness.
Question declared lost.