Grangegorman Development Agency Bill 2004: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Tá an áthas orm teacht os comhair an Tí inniu leis an Bhille tábhachtach seo. Seo é an chéad uair bheith ag tabhairt reachtaíocht ós comhar na Dála mar Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta agus tuigim go bhfuil seo an-thábachtach ar fad domsa agus dar ndóigh don Taoiseach.

I am particularly pleased to bring the Grangegorman Development Agency Bill before the House. It is a particular privilege for me that this is my first piece of legislation to introduce before the House as Minister for Education and Science. I have a personal interest in this legislation, having spent six years actively involved in the Dublin Institute of Technology, having been chairman of the Dublin College of Catering for some years and on the boards of two of the other colleges, as well as on the governing authority of the Dublin Institute of Technology. I recognise as much as anyone else in this House the contribution which that institute has made and continues to make to education not just in the city of Dublin but to Ireland as a whole. It is the largest education provider in the State. It is a significant institute of education but its activities are scattered across a number of different campuses throughout the city. The Bill is, therefore, an important steppingstone in terms of the development of a new education and health campus for the Dublin Institute of Technology. I know all Members of the House, the education sector and the wider community in Grangegorman will welcome it.

In December 1999 the Government decided that the Department of Education and Science would purchase 65 acres of the 73 acre Grangegorman site from the Eastern Regional Health Authority and that the new Dublin Institute of Technology community campus would be housed there. In May 2001 the Taoiseach, who has taken a personal interest in this development, established an interdepartmental working group with a view to examining the project and reporting back to Cabinet with its recommendations. In July 2001 the group appointed consultants to carry out a strategic review of the issues associated with the development of the Grangegorman site on its behalf.

The consultancy report was delivered in November 2001. The strategic conclusions and recommendations it contained included that the Grangegorman site is a unique and valuable public asset and should be developed in an integrated and sustainable manner; that an integrated site plan should be prepared with a view to securing outline planning permission; that the health care and educational requirements could be developed on a phased basis; that the affordability of the project should be determined at the outset and, therefore, the Government should determine the broad budgetary parameters for a phase one development; and that a Grangegorman development company should be established to project manage the development and determine the type of procurement to be employed. In April 2002 the Government decided that a statutory Grangegorman development agency would be established to commence work on an integrated urban design and land use framework plan for the Grangegorman site and to manage the development of the site as agent for the Eastern Regional Health Authority, the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Departments involved.

In light of its size and location — a 73 acre site virtually in the heart of the city, located within walking distance of the capital's main street — the Grangegorman site is a unique and valuable public asset of strategic importance to Dublin city as a whole and must be developed in an integrated and sustainable manner. Due to the fact that it is located in a densely populated residential area, development of the site will require great sensitivity. The Bill before the House provides for setting up the Grangegorman development agency to undertake the development of the site as a location for education, health and other purposes.

In examining the possible uses of this strategic site, the Government took account not only of the needs of DIT but of the need to regenerate this underdeveloped area of Dublin city. The Government is conscious that the integration of the proposed development with the existing community would produce benefits beyond the actual Grangegorman site.

DIT can trace its origins to 1887 and the foundation of technical education in Ireland. The institute was created in 1992, subsuming a number of higher education institutions previously administered under the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee. During the past ten years the organisation has gone through an active process of invention, moulding individual site-bound institutions into a single academic body. The strength of these structures was recognised in 1998 with the award of independent degree granting powers, up to and including doctorates.

DIT offers a combination of academic, professional, applied and technological education, from apprentice-based training, through certificate, diploma and degree courses to postgraduate masters and doctoral students. Outside of direct school intake, DIT has an extensive range of continuing and professional development courses in a variety of formats, catering in large part to mature students. The range, from apprentice up, and the variety of courses has meant that DIT has been particularly successful at attracting students from all strata of society.

The applied and technological bases of many programmes means DIT courses are firmly rooted in many key areas of the economy, providing educated graduates and a unique level of expertise. This has fostered a close interaction with industry in specific disciplines. Industry-specific research centres and active innovation and incubation activities strengthen these industrial links. Growth of research activities in targeted niche areas of expertise has allowed DlT to compete successfully for funding under various Government programmes and on the wider EU stage.

Currently, DIT is spread over 39 buildings on 30 sites throughout Dublin. Most Deputies will be familiar with the institute's Bolton Street, Kevin Street and Aungier Street premises. However, a considerable number of smaller rented spaces are also in use. The cost of rent alone amounts to €4.15 million per annum. There are clearly serious operational inefficiencies in seeking to manage and operate a major institution such as DIT over such a wide variety of locations. These not only militate severely against operational effectiveness but have adverse cost implications in a wide variety of areas, namely, security, porterage, heating, lighting, administration, registration, records, support services, dining arrangements, library, intercommunication, etc. The institute currently has seven libraries, eight admissions offices, seven examination offices and ten canteens. A major benefit of consolidation would be a significant increase in the quality and scope of operational service that could be offered on campus within existing budgetary parameters.

The limited space available to the institute is compounded by the current condition of some of its premises. The institute's Bolton Street and Kevin Street facilities require refurbishment and modernisation. The cost of this work alone is estimated at €100 million.

The poor quality of much of the existing DIT building stock and overall infrastructure has hampered the institute in responding to national manpower needs. The number of students entering higher education in Ireland grew substantially in the past decade. Between 1994 and 2002 student numbers in higher education increased from 90,000 to 127,000. During this period, the institute experienced record numbers of applications and has consistently remained in one of the top three positions in respect of overall applications. Space restrictions imposed on the institute have meant that it has not been in a position to fully respond to this demand. The current educational and research provision of the institute is, as stated earlier, delivered from 30 locations across the greater Dublin area. The institute currently occupies a total site area of approximately 11 acres. No other comparable higher education institution in the State has such a restricted and fragmented site area.

Of greatest significance for DIT is the level of educational efficiency and effectiveness that can be achieved, through consolidation of its many sites on a single campus, in terms of the development and delivery of its programmes, fostering of cross-disciplinary programmes in line with emerging trends, developing multidisciplinary research and having the physical capacity to build on its research initiatives. Furthermore, the existence of a single campus setting will enhance its presence and expand its alliances with industry in a variety of areas — consultancy, training, research — and overall through the creation of a learning environment. Achieving efficiency and effectiveness in these areas is critical for DIT in seeking to meet the challenges of an increasingly competitive higher education environment.

A range of reports — including the Report of the Task Force on the Physical Sciences, published by Forfás in 2002, the Science Technology and Innovation Advisory Council, published in 1995, the Report of the Review Committee on lost Secondary Education and Training Places, published in 1999, and the Technology Foresight Ireland Report prepared by the Irish Council for Science and Technology Innovation — all emphasise the strategic nature of science and technology to the Irish economy. It is a mainstay of Government policy and critical to the economic sustainability of the country. For more than a century, the faculties of science, engineering and the built environment have played a key role providing graduates in mathematics, computer sciences, physics, chemistry, engineering, technology, architecture and biology to underpin the science and technology sectors within the economy. In the past 30 years, economic development has been strongly based on encouraging inward investment of high technology companies with major success. The most recent re-orientation towards high cost, high value added industries in the science and technology sectors will make further demands on higher education to deliver the quality of graduate to meet these challenges.

DIT's commitment to this strategy is reflected in the fact that 45% of the degree programmes on offer through the institute are science and technology-based.

The move to Grangegorman will provide the basic research infrastructure, allowing the institute to optimise the resources available and to maximise their exploitation. As the equipment and resources for research, particularly in science and technology, becomes increasingly expensive, the opportunities to share equipment across multidisciplinary teams will be greatly facilitated on a single site. Opportunities for new and emerging activities will be greatly increased and a more efficient use of space and facilities can be implemented as groups and activities expand and contract over time. The institute has identified strategic areas for growth and explicit provision for growth has been made on the new campus. The DIT has traditionally supplied top class graduates to the tourism industry, which continues to expand and is of major importance to the State. DIT will also expand in this area.

The Grangegorman campus will bring together and cluster research activity within the institute in a highly visible and coherent manner. The increase in prominence of research and its associated infrastructure as a central activity of a third level institution is one of the greatest changes to occur in third level education. The opportunity to design a new campus offers a unique opportunity for research facilities to be designed as an integral part of the core campus, rather than tacked on to the periphery as is the cash with older institutions. The DIT strategic brief for the new campus strongly articulates that research should be a clear and visible up-front activity to signal its centrality to the mission of the institute, strengthen the links between research and the core undergraduate courses and encourage undergraduate students to continue to postgraduate research.

Government policy has identified research, underpinning the move to a knowledge-based economy, as one of the key strategies for future economic growth and development. This is supported at EU level by the agreement to increase research spending from a little more than 2% to 3% of GDP. Programmes such as the programme for research in third level institutions, the Science Foundation of Ireland and other initiatives such as those outlined in the Forfás annual report, 2002 Review and 2003 Outlook, underline the Government's commitment to achieving these goals. The ultimate requirement is for a ready supply and up-skilling of graduate and post graduate knowledge workers.

The need to acquire this expertise has been recognised in publications such as Baseline assessment of the public research system in Ireland in the areas of Biotechnology and ICT and by the award of major funding from the PRTLI and SFI programmes. DIT has received four major awards amounting to more than €8 million under SFI. These research activities are complemented by 29 full-time and 12 part-time taught postgraduate programmes, of which five are new programmes to be introduced in 2003. Progress in research has been severely hampered by a lack of space and suitable infrastructure. The distributed nature of the institute has militated against the pooling of resources, and the exploitation of new and emerging cross-disciplinary fields of study.

Some of the work is "blue skies" in nature whilst much of it is applied and is conducted with and-or for industry. The following examples give an insight into the research and innovation activities currently taking place at DIT and hint at some of the exciting opportunities that are coming down the line; geospatial data research team, vision sciences research group and digital media centre.

The Bill makes provision for an agency to provide a cohesive planning and implementation framework for the Grangegorman site. The functions of the agency are detailed and appropriate to its task because of the nature, importance and the size of the project. Part 2 provides that the primary function of the agency will be to promote the Grangegorman site as a location for education, health and other facilities and to co-ordinate the development or redevelopment of the site. This part also enables the agency to enter arrangements to exploit research, development or consultancy work undertaken by or on behalf of the agency.

The present estimated cost of developing the DIT campus is approximately €900 million. However, this is a preliminary estimate. The cost will depend on start dates, phasing and the type of procurement to be used. The agency will be required to prepare full costings as part of the development master plan and to decide on the best form of procurement in consultation with the National Development Finance Agency.

It was originally envisaged that the DIT campus would be developed on a phased basis. While it was anticipated that the initial phase would be financed through my Department with Exchequer funds, the agency will now examine the most advantageous funding options available in consultation with the National Development Finance Agency. The NDFA is responsible for providing advice to State authorities on financing of priority infrastructure projects and providing consultancy services across the range of technical expertise necessary to undertake such projects.

The development of the Grangegorman site as a campus for DIT is underpinned by the sale or development of existing DIT premises to finance future stages of development. This part of the Bill, therefore, makes provision for the vesting of these premises in the agency, together with other land and property vacated by the Eastern Regional Health Authority or its successor agency. The DIT-owned properties will be signed over to the agency, as they become available. The agency will then dispose of the property. The income generated will be used to fund the project together with other resources. I have mentioned a number of the buildings located in the heart of Dublin city, with which Members will be familiar, and everybody will accept they are valuable.

The agency will be the sole authority for developing the site. The agency will be required to engage in the planning process and decide on the appropriate procurement strategy to achieve this. The legislation requires the agency to arrange an appropriate communication strategy and consult stakeholders and relevant interested third parties such as Dublin City Council, CIE and Dublin Bus because of the complexity and sensitivity of the development.

The area surrounding the site is primarily residential. The development of the site must, therefore, be approached with sensitivity. The Bill incorporates provision for extensive consultation with all interested parties for this reason. These include local residents and health care staff and patients located on or near the site, the academic and student bodies of Dublin Institute of Technology, the Eastern Regional Health Authority, the Northern Area Health Board, and the Ministers for Education and Science and Health and Children. The local residents, in particular, need to be fully included in all the consultations and developments that are taking place. It is a strategically important site but I am conscious that the wishes and needs of the residents should be taken on board.

The Bill provides, on completion of the construction phase, for the vesting of those lands and premises to be occupied by DIT, the health authority or other educational body into the ownership of the respective authority, institute or other body. Section 9 allows for additional functions to be conferred on the agency by the Minister for Education and Science with the consent of the Minister for Finance. Section 10 provides that the Minister for Education and Science may issue general directives to the agency on policy regarding the agency's assigned functions.

Grangegorman is a unique site and is of strategic importance in the context of Dublin as a whole. Dublin City Council will be involved with the planning and development of the site from the outset. Section 11, therefore, provides that the agency will be responsible for drawing up a strategic development plan for the site, with a focus on the provision of adequate public transport access. The plan, which will be a necessary condition of seeking and obtaining planning permission, should incorporate community use and access and be informed by a high quality urban design perspective. The plan must set out the objectives for the development including the needs of the Minister for Education and Science, the Minister for Health and Children, Dublin Institute of Technology, the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Northern Area Health Board. In addition, the plan must take account of the needs of the local community and the city.

Given the nature of the proposed development and the likely impact on the locality, the agency, in drawing up the plan must have regard to the Dublin city development plan and the views of statutory bodies such as Dublin Bus and other interested parties. The Bill, therefore, provides that the draft plan must be made available to these bodies, local residents and other interested parties. The agency will be required to consider submissions made by them and, where appropriate, amend the plan.

Section 13 makes provision for the making of grants to the agency by the Minister for Education and Science or any other Minister, subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance. Section 14 is an enabling provision to provide the agency with the power to raise loans to a limit of €100 million, subject to the approval of the Ministers for Education and Science and Finance. Section 15 provides guarantees by the Minister for Finance for these loans. This is a standard provision which gives the Minister for Finance power to guarantee borrowings of the agency.

In deciding on the make-up of the agency, the Government was cognisant of the need to provide a direct input from the parties most interested in the development of Grangegorman and the need to drive the development forward. In limiting the board of the agency to 11 members, the Government has sought to balance the requirement to represent the principal stakeholders. The Bill provides for the appointment of 11 members to the agency, including the chairman. These will include two members to be nominated by the Minister for Health and Children, including one from either the Eastern Regional Health Authority or the Northern Area Health Board or their successor authorities; one member nominated by the Dublin Institute of Technology; one member nominated by the Dublin City Manager and the remainder nominated by the Minister for Education and Science. The term of office of the chairman and each ordinary member shall be three years.

Section 20 of the Bill requires the agency to form a consultative group consisting of stakeholders in the project and will include local residents in the Grangegorman neighbourhood, health care service providers and patients, Dublin City Council, Dublin Institute of Technology staff and students, the Eastern Regional Health Authority, the Northern Area Health Board, certain other Ministers and such statutory bodies which the Minister deems relevant. The agency is required to develop a communications strategy and is required to hold as many meetings as required to maintain the communications strategy.

Sections 21 to 38, inclusive, deal with the chief executive officer and staff of the agency and cover such matters as superannuation, code of conduct, declaration of interests and reports by the agency to the Minister. Section 39 of the Bill deals with the dissolution of the agency.

Sections 40 and 41 amend the definition of agency in the Planning and Development Act 2000 to include the Grangegorman Development Agency and the Schedule to the National Development Finance Agency Act 2002 to include the Grangegorman Development Agency. The thinking underpinning the location of the largest education provider in the State on this site is its effect on the surrounding area. In general this area requires redevelopment. The location of DIT in the locality will greatly enhance not just the educational facilities in the area but will contribute significantly to both cultural and social life. Furthermore, it is envisaged that new sports and recreational facilities will be available to local residents.

The Grangegorman development is a catalyst for development and rejuvenation of a large tract of the city landscape. Experience indicates that this type of development can speed the process of regeneration and in the process create a vibrant community for all concerned. The city council of Philadelphia in the United States estimate that the move by the University of Philadelphia to a brownstone city development stimulated regeneration in the inner city. Initial indications are that the development of DCU and the institute of technology in Tallaght have contributed positively to local development. The uptake of third level education in Tallaght has increased significantly since the institute opened.

The provision of third level education in such areas has a positive impact on participation in education and in economic development. The north inner city currently experiences Ireland's lowest rate of participation in higher education. The campus will further co-ordinate the contribution that the institute can make to improving participation rates in higher education. At present the institute has formal links with 30 inner city primary schools and has a range of initiatives targeting enhanced participation. The DIT has 30 full-time staff working in community projects such as interaction with primary schools and study groups in secondary schools. For instance, the institute participated in a programme to introduce technology into socially disadvantaged areas. With Dublin City Council and Hewlett Packard the institute has set up computer centres in nine flats complexes in the city. The institute also runs a special programme for 250 economically disadvantaged students. The consolidation of these services on the Grangegorman site will allow for greater focus in this area of community participation and will give greater dynamic to the community outreach programme.

In its strategy document, Dublin, a City of Possibilities, Dublin City Council recognises the important contribution of third level institutions to the development of the city under the banner of A Learning City. The Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011 designates Grangegorman a framework development area and a strategic objective of the city.

Approximately 10% of the Grangegorman site is intended for development of health care facilities for the Eastern Regional Health Authority. It is intended to refocus and reorient St. Brendan's Hospital campus. This will include a move from institutional to more appropriate community settings and a move from regional to local focus in health care provision, including a move from acute care to rehabilitation. This will include the provision of a more appropriate environment for those availing of the facilities. In addition, the creation of a joint education and health campus will provide opportunities to create synergies in developing appropriate model of care and development in specialist areas such as optometry, clinical-hospital measurement, dietetics and nutrition, social care, early childhood studies and health services management. It is also anticipated that the on-site co-operation between education and health care providers will lead to the development of tailored courses.

The Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Northern Area Health Board are responsible for the planning of health facilities in this locality. Currently it is anticipated that the health development on the site will include residential and day care for intellectually impaired and young physically impaired people, residential and day care for the elderly and dementia sufferers.

The siting of all the DIT at this north inner city location will make a significant contribution to the redevelopment of this part of the city. This role will extend to education and training, underpinning economic activity within the surrounding area, enhancing access opportunities, extending cultural facilities, provision of recreational and sporting facilities, rebuilding and developing large areas of dereliction and creating direct and indirect employment opportunities. To this end the institute is working in close co-operation with my Department, Dublin City Council, representative groups, development associations and agencies, Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Regional Health Authority and Northern Area Health Board.

This proposal for the setting up of the agency will lead to a very exciting development on the Grangegorman site, a development which will create a new centre of excellence and expertise for the DIT. The institute will be enabled to draw all its component parts together and build on its history of achievement over the past 120 or 130 years. The centre will allow for student participation because they will have a single site which will provide a sense of identity that has perhaps been lost. The siting of the institute will benefit the local community and enable it to avail of the sporting, social and recreational facilities with the education facilities which will be provided for local people. It will also provide an impetus to Dublin city for the regeneration of the whole area.

I hope Deputies will agree with me regarding the very positive benefits of this Bill for the long-term development of that area.

I thank Deputy Enright for sharing her time with me. I welcome the general thrust of this Bill. I have one question about the Bill. The Grangegorman site is on the north side of the city and the Guinness site and CIE site are on the south side. I wonder why housing is not incorporated into those sites, given the need for housing in the city. Housing can exist side by side with commerce and it can certainly exist side by side with institutions. I ask the Minister to consider that proposition.

I was very impressed with the documents, Dublin 2020 and Our Vision for the Future of the City, by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. The documents set out its strategic thinking on the future of the city. When I was Lord Mayor of Dublin, I found myself in trouble when I tried to give some leadership in strategic thinking by setting up the Dublin International Sports Council, founding the Dublin Impac literary awards, setting up a Lord Mayor's commission on housing and another on crime, under Judge Moriarty. We were trying to be strategic at that time. Many good developments are being carried out in the city such as the IFSC and the digital hub. However, there is no strategic leadership at city or county level giving Dublin the type of profile it requires. On the other side of the coin, this House was treated discourteously when what was termed decentralisation was added on to the end of the Minister's speech as if it was of no relevance. The Minister then added the words, "We need to take steps against the Dublin mindset". That is the issue I want to address.

I am sick and tired listening to people talking negatively about Dublin as if it is a terrible place. Dublin is not a terrible place. It has improved greatly over the years, and I accept this Bill will add to that, but there is too much disjointed work going on in the development of Dublin. It is too easy for people to say it is a terrible place, that one cannot drive in Dublin and so on. We constantly hear people who have that attitude to Dublin. That attitude, and I say this sensitively, is added to by the fact that there are people representing Dublin who have secondary loyalties to areas outside Dublin. Between 30% and 40% of public representatives in Dublin are not native Dubliners. That is not a major issue. Much of the population of Dublin is not native but I expect people who are elected to constituencies in Dublin to speak for Dublin.

The essence of my point is that nobody is speaking for Dublin. The Minister is speaking for the Grangegorman site. Somebody else is speaking for another site. There is no strategic leadership for Dublin. The Minister referred in her contribution to the Dublin City Council document. The Dublin Chamber of Commerce has the document. A good deal of thinking has gone into the sort of leadership and game plan we need for Dublin but we need something along the lines of what they have in London. Ken Livingstone did not become an alternative focus to 10 Downing Street. He has not even overshadowed the Lord Mayor of London in the City because the City has a different priority but in the greater London area he has been able to give some leadership on strategic issues. Even the police work hand in glove with his administration.

While I welcome the Bill and want to see this site developed, I hope the Minister will take on board my comments about housing. I want her to take back to Cabinet, from one of those people elected as a councillor, a Deputy and now an MEP for Dublin, and a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, my concerns that nobody is giving political leadership, strategically, for Dublin.

I ask the Minister to consider this one point. I am aware Dublin Chamber of Commerce is seeking a mayor and an authority for the whole of the greater Dublin area, and I see some sense in that, but could we start by having the Lord Mayor of Dublin city directly elected so that people might get used to having a figurehead who does not change every year but at least gives some political and strategic leadership for the city? We need somebody who will stand up for the city because I do not see too many people in Cabinet or those who have secondary loyalties elsewhere standing up for Dublin when negative comments are made about it. I ask the Minister to take that point back to the Cabinet so that the strategic thinking the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Dublin City Council, Fine Gael and I want to see come about can be given to the sort of leadership required. I generally welcome the Bill and I thank Deputy Enright for her time.

I welcome the fact that this Bill has come before the House. It was published during the summer and a commitment was given then to proceed with it as soon as possible. I thank the Minister for honouring that commitment.

This is important legislation and I welcome the opportunity to speak on it. This legislation should signal a new beginning for the Dublin Institute of Technology, incorporating facilities that will boost the capabilities of the Eastern Regional Health Authority. It should also offer a considerable impetus for development to the Dublin north inner city area in which Grangegorman is located.

As it stands, the Dublin Institute of Technology is Ireland's largest educational institution. With 20,500 students, 10,000 of whom are full-time, DIT has 85 full-time and 200 part-time educational programmes. A total of 4,000 people graduate each year with a qualification from DIT.

The recent OECD review of third level education policy in Ireland has reaffirmed the importance of third level education here. Our universities and institutes of technology have played a key role in Ireland's economic achievements and broader social development. This role was accelerated in the 1990s, and the third level educational sector is frequently spoken of, sometimes in a "tokenistic" way but also in a more important and serious way, as being the guardian of Ireland's future economic security. This is an onerous responsibility but one the sector must be equipped and funded to meet if it is to become more than a token and if it is to play such an important part in our collective future.

We should recognise the considerable contribution the Dublin Institute of Technology is making to the third level infrastructure and achievement not only of Dublin but of the country as a whole. This considerable contribution, however, has been beset by substantial difficulties that are related to the current restraints under which DIT operates. It is difficult to fully develop and realise one's potential when the constraints one deals with on a day to day basis are often to do with practical and physical infrastructural problems.

As it stands, the DIT is located in 30 locations around the city, in 39 buildings, many of which are unsuitable for the demands of a 21st century educational establishment. Furthermore, these buildings require substantial improvement works. The lack of a central and inclusive campus has without doubt impacted in a less than positive way upon DIT and the large student body at the institute.

In purely monetary terms, it is estimated that it would cost up to €200 million to bring the buildings that are in use at DIT up to a modern standard. Health and safety works are required at many locations, with the faculty of science alone requiring an investment of €50 million to meet basic standards. Spending large amounts on refurbishment of unsuitable buildings is not a cost-effective way of dealing with this problem when the alternative is to spend similar amounts on purpose-built, superior and far more suitable educational accommodation. It is clear, therefore, that the upkeep and rental costs of a large number of buildings at different locations around the city makes little sense.

Furthermore, very few of the buildings currently in use at DIT are purpose-built for educational use. From the outset they were lacking in suitability to some extent or other, and it is good common sense to centralise the functions of DIT at one location, utilising the best available design to achieve the best possible educational and social results.

The role of education in our society is fundamental, and the contribution that education at all levels has made to our society cannot be under estimated. Education is a lifelong process that benefits the individual and society in equal measure but we must recognise the importance of education in terms of our continued economic development and reward, and the importance of achieving high results. The recent OECD report I referred to earlier recognises that Irish third level educational institutes do not compete nationally with each other but internationally, and the provision of a modern building complex at Grangegorman will provide DIT with the best possible platform upon which to grow and develop for the future.

In addition, a campus that meets 21st century requirements can be an attractive destination for research and development finance, both nationally and internationally. This is a unique and possibly last opportunity for Dublin to develop a large-scale third level campus in the city within our lifetime. That is an important point to bear in mind and is the reason it is important we get this right.

We should also note that a large amount of the costs of developing the educational facilities at Grangegorman can be met by liquidating the current asset properties held by DIT. The sale of major buildings, such as those held at locations like Aungier Street and Bolton Street, could release up to €350 million, while savings on rental income could approximate €4.3 million per annum. Taking these savings into account, and factoring in private and commercially generated funding, DIT estimates that 76% of the total cost of developing the educational facilities at Grangegorman can be met without any burden to the Exchequer. In monetary terms, 76% of costs equals €652 million. There is a good opportunity to get value for money out of this legislation.

The Grangegorman development will also incorporate upgraded facilities for the Eastern Regional Health Authority. The opportunities posed by the incorporation of key educational and health facilities on the one site are considerable. Already, DIT, the ERHA and the Northern Area Health Board have a joint working group and are exploring further how to build greater levels of integration in the new facilities.

DIT already has a significant provision in health and health related programmes such as clinical and hospital measurement, forensic science, pharmaceutical technology, early child care studies, nutrition, environmental risk management and other similar areas. A number of DIT courses, such as optometry and clinical measurement, rely on direct patient involvement and are dependent on a broad patient base. The Grangegorman development offers the opportunity to integrate courses of this type with direct patient access on the same site, which could be of much benefit to the DIT student and on-site patient. It will be a novel development in the third level sector.

This type of synergy and developmental innovation could be considerably expanded beyond the courses that are currently offered at DIT. When the Grangegorman development is progressed, integrated research centres could be established. These centres, concentrating on issues such as nutrition, obesity, disability, care for older people, parenting and child care, could jointly draw on the experience and expertise available at both DIT and the ERHA. Furthermore, promoting an integrated development at Grangegorman could lead to cost savings through a reduction in the duplication of services. Many of the facilities DIT will have to provide at the Grangegorman development could also be of interest to the ERHA and the NAHB. The health authorities should also have access to science laboratories, design workshops and library and training facilities. This could supplement or replace such a requirement within the health authorities, thereby saving a duplication of resources.

However, I have concerns about the composition of the Grangegorman Development Agency as outlined in the legislation. Under section 16, it is stipulated that the agency shall have 11 members. Section 16(6) provides that the ordinary members of the agency shall include one person nominated by the president of the Dublin Institute of Technology and one person nominated by the city manager of Dublin City Council, in addition to two persons nominated by the Minister for Health and Children. I am concerned at the weighting of members in the agency. Of a total of 11 members, only one will be from DIT. Given that the development of the educational facilities at the Grangegorman site is projected to cost €850 million, more than 90% of the total site development costs, the agency representation given to DIT is deeply inadequate. I will table amendments on this aspect of the legislation on Committee Stage and I ask the Minister to reconsider the provision.

The Grangegorman Development Agency Bill should signal the start of a bright future for DIT in the 21st century. However, we should not be blind to the considerable funding difficulties that will continue to face DIT and all other institutes of technology and universities in the State. The recent OECD report on third level education policy noted that Ireland's investment in the education system is lower than the OECD average. In public expenditure, it ranks only 25th out of 30 OECD countries. Between 1995 and 2000 public expenditure declined from 4.7% to 4.1%. Worryingly, expenditure per student in tertiary education in Ireland is below the OECD average, with Ireland ranked 14th out of 26 countries. Irish expenditure on research and development as a proportion of gross domestic product is well below EU and OECD averages.

We can congratulate DIT on offering 45% of its degree programmes in the science and technology sector but we need to do more. We must ensure consistency in third level funding, particularly in the PRTLI programme, and find innovative ways for our third level institutions to access private funding in addition to, not instead of, what is already available to them from the Exchequer.

The proportion of mature students entering higher education is also extremely low and great disparities exist in the third level participation of students from families of different socio-economic backgrounds. This is particularly relevant to the area in which the Grangegorman site is located, Dublin inner city. The DIT has some good and innovative programmes to address this. However, more could be done. More could also be done by the Department. I hope the development of this site will be an opportunity to offer more to people from these backgrounds.

Trends in the third level sector all point to the increased importance of promoting enterprise, fostering research in our universities and institutes of technology and facilitating co-operation between third level institutions. The third level sector must be enabled to respond innovatively to change and to be strategic in planning for the future. Providing our educational institutions with the facilities they require to meet the considerable challenges that are signalled in the OECD report will be critical for their future success.

I welcome the fact that the reaction of the communities in Dublin's north inner city to this development has been so positive. I spoke to my Fine Gael colleague, Councillor Paschal Donohue, about this Bill and he confirms the positive reaction of people in the locality. They see this as a unique opportunity for them to participate and to see their area rejuvenated. I agree with the Minister that consultation is a key concern for local communities. Maintaining a good communication strategy between the development agency and the people in the area is important, as is the issue of the multi-use model for the facility that will eventually be located in Grangegorman and ensuring that local people can avail of and use the facilities.

Of particular importance is the fact that DIT will at last be able to offer students on-campus accommodation. This is a vital facility for a third level institution, particularly one located in the capital city, in view of the pressures that already exist on accommodation. This is something that has to happen in third level institutions. A college that completely closes down overnight cannot offer the full third level experience that other institutions can. The best comparison that can be made is between DIT and Trinity College. Trinity College is another city based third level institution and at present it can accommodate 1,800 students. The students are not all in the heart of the city. They live in other areas but they are in residential student accommodation. The DIT cannot offer any such accommodation at present, but it hopes to be able to develop 2,000 campus accommodation places.

I also welcome the integration of residential and day care facilities not only for the young but also for the elderly and the intellectually impaired. Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the new public private partnership built school in Dunmanway in west Cork. The principal pointed out that there is a special needs unit within the school, as the Minister is probably aware. One or two of the more troublesome students in the mainstream school go to the special needs unit at lunch time and spend a great deal of time working with the students with special needs. They have obviously found their niche. Perhaps school work is not for them but they have found something at which they are good. The fact that such facilities will be on the campus and that there will be integration for the intellectually impaired and the elderly will be a unique opportunity for students and it should be warmly welcomed.

The DIT will have, on a single site, students' social, cultural, recreational, sporting and pitch facilities. That is almost as important a part of third level education as the courses students choose. It is something we should consider for primary, post-primary and third level sectors to ensure it becomes a way of life and not just an optional extra. Unless such facilities are available and easy to reach, people will not use them.

I welcome the proposed development at Grangegorman. It will be essential for the continued success of the Dublin Institute of Technology.

I welcome this Bill. It is probably a benefit for the Minister that the first Bill she brings to the House is one we wholeheartedly support.

Long may it last.

The Bill is long awaited. I and my colleagues, Deputy Burton and Deputy Costello, in whose constituency the development is located, have been asking the Taoiseach about it on the Order of Business for a long time. I am glad it has been published and that it is being debated on Second Stage today.

Grangegorman will provide an appropriate campus for the Dublin Institute of Technology, which is the largest educational institution in the country. It is currently located in 39 different buildings around the capital city. The development will also provide services for the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the Northern Area Health Board. While it awaits the development on the 73 acre site the Dublin Institute of Technology is paying approximately €4.1 million per annum in rent, and many of its students and staff are working in inadequate, overcrowded conditions. When the members of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science had an opportunity to visit the site recently, it was explained to us how bad the conditions are in some of the buildings. There are also health and safety concerns.

It would cost more for DIT to stay in the various sites around the city than to develop the new site because of the need to update so many of the buildings it currently uses.

It will obviously be a win-win situation for everybody if this site is developed as soon as possible. Despite the extraordinary difficulties caused by operating in such inadequate and widely scattered buildings, the Dublin Institute of Technology has managed to develop an excellent reputation and to deliver a wide variety of educational opportunities to more than 20,000 students, some part-time, some full-time, and ranging in age from seven to 70. The seven year olds are some of the music students and the 70 year olds are a considerable number of mature and older students, many of them part-time, which DIT facilitates.

This is one of the good points about DIT. It is a unique institution which provides and responds to a wide variety of needs in our economy and society, particularly in the city of Dublin although the students come from many locations. I speak as a parent of a former student of DIT. My daughter studied human nutrition and dietetics at DIT, so I have personal experience of the college.

I was concerned by the Minister's reference to financing and I raise this issue in the context of the need to proceed as quickly as possible with this development and the importance for DIT in particular of getting onto the campus as quickly as possible. The Minister referred to the institute developing on a phased basis. This is accepted by DIT, which will move gradually and gradually sell valuable premises to help finance the project. The Minister stated:

While it was anticipated that the initial phase would be financed through my Department with Exchequer funds, the agency will now examine the most advantageous funding options available in consultation with the National Development Finance Agency.

I do not have any objections per se to the NDFA being involved and think it important the agency is involved in such a major project. However, I am concerned with the possibility that public private partnership funding and not Exchequer funding might be the funding mechanism considered. Given the current problems in regard to the Cork School of Music in particular and the difficulties Jarvis plc has encountered, we do not want this project delayed. I am not happy with the PPP model. While I am not sure PPP is the intention, I am concerned with this aspect of the proposal and ask the Minister to respond on this question.

Exchequer funds are appropriate in this situation, particularly as more than 70% of the funding will come from DIT itself in terms of off-loading valuable buildings and other contributions it will be able to access through its contacts with industry, etc. The Exchequer should invest an appropriate amount, particularly as it will save on the cost of updating the existing buildings. I am concerned that the raising of this matter by Minister could delay the project. It is essential it is not delayed because DIT needs an appropriate campus. It is also in the interest of the surrounding community that the campus is developed as quickly as possible as there are obviously significant advantages for the local community.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the founding of UCD and, in that context, it is interesting we are discussing a new campus in the heart of Dublin. Deputy Enright referred to Trinity College and the Minister referred to DCU. While all the educational institutions in our capital city are complementary, this institution has the capacity to bring about much synergy, a concept referred to often by the new DIT director, Professor Brian Norton, when we visited the campus. This synergy would operate across the different disciplines in DIT but would also operate in regard to the health authority and the local community, both business and residential. It is a landmark day in the history of Dublin in that while we are celebrating UCD's 150th anniversary, we are also in the process of setting up a new campus close to the inner city.

The statistics with regard to the participation of those from disadvantaged communities in Dublin are quite stark in comparison to other parts of the country and other parts of Dublin. There is high participation at third level from some of the more affluent areas of Dublin and the national average is over 50%, whereas the participation rate for Dublin's inner city is approximately 19%. Therefore, it is important that this development attracts more students from its surrounding area to participate in third level education. The flexible approach of DIT should encourage this as study there does not have to be full-time at undergraduate level. Other options are available, including night courses and working with industry to upskill workers.

The college has great potential with regard to the surrounding community and it is important this is recognised and developed. In saying this, I acknowledge the achievements of DIT on the issue of access. It has what are known as DIT-community links, including the lifelong educational access programme through which 250 disadvantaged students receive ongoing support, the Dublin inner city schools computerisation programme, the pathways through education programme which provides intervention for 12 to 15 year olds, the St. Joseph's wind band in Ballymun, supervised study in various DIT sites and the digital community programme. These are examples of what DIT is already doing in this area but there is significant scope for development with regard to the surrounding community.

There is also scope for development in regard to interacting with the business community and with the development of new commercial opportunities and research and development, to which Deputy Enright referred in detail. The DIT made a submission on the industrial and commercial aspect to Dublin City Council in the context of the development plan. It referred to three innovation hubs and a range of proposals in regard to working with the community in the context of, for example, knowledge-based companies, information and communications technology — ICT, library facilities, meeting facilities, campus facilities and other areas such as restaurants, shops, etc., common social space and regular events dedicated to facilitating networking between students and industrialists. All this is very positive. In the wider context of the OECD recommendations on research and development and interaction with industry, DIT has much experience but also much potential.

Section 11 refers to the development of commercial activities. I presume this means the kind of issue to which I have just referred, where there is interaction between DIT and surrounding business and industry. Will the Minister clarify that it does not mean selling off parts of the site for separate industrial or commercial development or, in other words, that it is not about providing cheap sites to those who wish to develop commercial businesses? I hope this would not be the case and that industrial and commercial development would be integrated development, connected to the progress being made in DIT and to what is of advantage to the local community.

When we visited the college, one of the issues raised was in regard to apprenticeship education, a matter about which I feel strongly. Apprenticeship education has not been developed and given the value it should have been given. The building industry is important to our economy. We need plumbers, mechanics, painters and bricklayers as much as we need IT workers. That sector is not given priority. For example, to become an apprentice, one needs sponsorship from a company to get through college. In some ways there are benefits to this but it also makes it difficult to get into an apprenticeship. I welcome the value the Dublin Institute of Technology gives to apprenticeship education as it has 3,500 enrolled per annum. This area needs more focus in national priority. These students should not be seen as some second class group in comparison to those doing other courses identified as important to the economy.

The part-time courses provided by the Dublin Institute of Technology in Cathal Brugha Street for the catering industry are important. Their evening courses, including ones on cake-icing, give many opportunities to catering industry workers to upskill. The interaction, referred to by the Minister for Education and Science and Deputy Enright between the health and education sectors, is provided for on the Grangegorman site and in the Dublin Institute of Technology courses such as dietetics, nutrition and optometry. The Dublin Institute of Technology discussed the shortage of optometrists with the health boards to provide the opportunity for both to directly interact on the site. This will also provide real spin-offs for both the health authorities and the educational institution. Upskilling of workers is important but it can be difficult for workers to get the opportunities to do so while at work. It is important for the Dublin Institute of Technology to work with industry in providing such opportunities.

The often mentioned Lisbon agenda has identified the need for 300,000 extra skilled workers by 2015. This type of flexibility will be important in providing for the economy. It is also important to provide for society, which is why health-related courses are important. Child care and music are two fields that the Dublin Institute of Technology has addressed. There are problems regarding the teaching of music in various places, most notably the Waterford Institute of Technology. There is a need for the Minister to review the teaching of music and its importance. Teaching arrangements for it are haphazard and the Dublin Institute of Technology had problems in the area too.

One of the disappointing aspects of the OECD report on education is that it focused on the economy without addressing our broader expectations of how third level institutions can cater for society's needs, whether through providing doctors, nurses, optometrists or child care workers. It is important that in emphasising the needs of the economy these workers are included. Great emphasis is placed on research and development and industry. One positive aspect of the Dublin Institute of Technology is that it crosses these needs. Professor Kathleen Lynch pointed out that the OECD report ignored its brief to address societal as well as industrial needs. I am concerned that the proposals for interaction between third level institutions and industry should be on the basis of independent thought. There is a need for third level institutions to foster that and good teaching. They should not be beholden to the industrial sector.

The directors of third level institutions pointed out that if they receive funding from the industrial sector, they may lose public funding. They must be given the assurance that this will not be the case. The Dublin Institute of Technology model is an organic one where it works closely and interactively with industry. I do not want to see a model where big corporations fund a particular school in a university or institute of technology and, therefore, expect the research carried out there to be good to them. In some models, particularly in the US, the research is sometimes more for the corporation than independent thought. Independent thought is what is needed from our universities. It is apt on this day of UCD's anniversary to remember Cardinal Newman's The Idea of a University. The original concepts of a university and an institute of technology must be retained. While I acknowledge interaction with industry is important and it benefits the institutions and the economy as a whole, we must ensure that the baby is not thrown out with the bath water.

I am also concerned at suggestions of going down the private route for some of our universities. With annual fees of $40,000 for Harvard and Yale universities, Ireland cannot go down that road. We have a proud record in education at all levels and we must keep our European identity in that regard. There are plenty of models in Europe of successful educational systems at all levels, funded by public money. Last year's third level cutbacks of approximately 10% hurt the sector. The OECD report implies that this funding will have to come from the private sector. It also suggests the introduction of tuition fees to which the Labour Party is emphatically opposed. The Government claims it is not on the agenda for its lifetime. However, it is important that all educational sectors are properly funded. In our expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP, Ireland is below the OECD and the EU average. We should not be talking of robbing the third level sector to provide for others. While money is needed for pre-school, primary and second level education, it is important that it is also provided for the third level sector.

Investment in education has been a catalyst for the growth of what is described as the Celtic tiger. The former Ministers for Education, Mr. Donogh O'Malley and Ms Niamh Bhreathnach, introduced free access to second and third level respectively during more difficult economic times. We are reaping the benefits of their decisions and statistics show an increased participation in third level education. However, penny-pinching must be avoided when the State is wealthy with the resources to provide for education. I hope the Minister's aim will be to fight for a greater education budget right across the board rather than taking from once sector to provide for another.

I support Deputy Enright on the issue of representation and section 16 and I will table amendments on it. The staff in the Dublin Institute of Technology need representation on the agency. The Minister received a letter from the Teachers Union of Ireland suggesting that under social partnership, representation for the Dublin Institute of Technology staff should be included in the agency. I support the union in pointing out there is already provision in the Dublin Institute of Technology Act for staff representation. The local community also needs to be consulted. I accept the Bill provides for consultation with the local community. We have received correspondence from representatives of the local community suggesting amendments to promote greater local participation in the agency's operation. I do not know if the Minister received such correspondence but there needs to be discussion as to whether the provisions of the Bill adequately provide for local community participation. I urge her to look at this specific point.

It is important to expedite the legislation through the Houses without moving too fast. The Bill requires proper scrutiny on all Stages in this House and in the Seanad. However, there should be no undue delay. I hope the various Stages will be scheduled through the Houses of the Oireachtas in a timely fashion. It is most important for DIT that it has the opportunity to move to its new campus as quickly as possible. We will see great benefits, not just for DIT but for the surrounding area.

When the Joint Committee on Education and Science visited the site, Deputy Gogarty expressed concern about transportation. Other issues of concern are, access to sporting facilities for the local community, which I understand is included, and the general interaction of the local community with the campus. I support what Deputy Enright said about on-campus facilities and on-site student accommodation. It is important that there is interaction in that regard between the students and the local community. Sometimes there can be animosity between students and local communities if things are not managed properly and the local community does not consider it has some ownership of and access to what is available on campus. It is important to get that right, otherwise it will be to the detriment of both the local community and the student population.

I support the proposals we received from the Dublin Institute of Technology when we visited the site and those contained in the Bill. I am pleased to support the legislation. We will table some amendments but they will not be major ones. They are mainly concerned with the composition of the agency. I hope we will be able to move as speedily as possible to establish this very exciting campus in an important part of Dublin city for the benefit of Dublin and the nation as a whole. DIT has been a unique institution and has the capacity to be even more pro-active in future.

I have been reminded it is the 150th anniversary of the founding of UCD. Given that all the education spokespersons are present in the House, it is appropriate that we would congratulate UCD on 150 years of education here, and the contribution that its learning and its graduates continue to make not only to Irish society but to the world. We are very proud of it on its 150th anniversary. It is a wonderful celebration for the university. Newman's idea of a university has developed and grown during that time.

I understand double congratulations are in order. To embarrass Deputy Enright, I believe she has got engaged. Coincidentally, I got engaged 20 years ago today and I hope she is as happy as we were.

I join in the congratulations to UCD and Deputy Enright.

I also wish to share in the good wishes to both UCD and Deputy Enright. As someone who got married earlier this year, I know that marriage can be a happy state and I wish Deputy Enright all the best.

I wish to share time with Deputies Crowe and Gregory.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Given that the Technical Group has to split its time, I will not go into a long preamble about the nature of the Bill, the size of the campus, the number of students attending it, etc. This has already been outlined most eloquently by the Minister, Deputy Enright and to a lesser extent, Deputy O'Sullivan.

I may be slightly tongue in cheek in saying to the Minister that in footballing terms she has been given an away fixture against one of the footballing minnows. This is a Bill for which the Minister is likely to get widespread support from all sides of the House. Any criticism in the form of Committee Stage amendments will be tabled purely to try to enhance the legislation and not for any party political purposes. The Minister is eminently capable of being Minister for Education and Science and she will receive more flak at a later stage, so if I am not giving her any flak now she should be prepared for it later on.

The honeymoon will be over.

No one would deny the Bill is a hugely positive development for education. Bringing the disparate elements of DIT to one campus can only be a positive thing. I am a former journalism student of the College of Commerce, Rathmines, which is now DIT Aungier Street. I must admit it was a bit of a kip, which is a view I am sure DIT students in other locations would share. While the facilities often left much to be desired, that is not to infer any criticism of the excellent teaching ability of staff or the quality of student life. A great opportunity is presented to students going to the new campus and I wish them well in it.

Specific amendments will be tabled on Committee Stage. Section 8 deals with the functions of the agency. These include the establishment of a planning scheme, the need to consult regarding public transport and the communications strategy. I hope there is a way to include in the legislation that the planning scheme should incorporate some element of a carrot and stick approach to public transportation. As Deputy O'Sullivan stated, when the Joint Committee on Education and Science visited the proposed campus, I compared it to the plan for Adamstown in Lucan where it is intended to construct a town the size of Drogheda adjacent to the fastest growing town in Ireland. It is not an island and neither will this campus be an island. It will not be totally self-sufficient and will need to integrate properly with the existing community.

Transportation links to Grangegorman will need to be provided in addition to an enhanced local service. In the case of Adamstown, while An Bord Pleanála did its best to put checks and balances into the plan I would argue that its details are still very loose. There is no guarantee that four-tracking of the railway will be provided on time, whereas a developer can proceed with X number of houses. The situations are slightly different but I find the comparisons helpful. If conditions were drawn up at the outset as part of a planning scheme it would put pressure on agencies such as Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann to come up with the goods. They would rise to the occasion if they were seen to be a cause of delaying the project because the proper links had not been put in place. If one is to wait for the links to come it is usually demand-driven and while a half-full campus still needs public transport the agencies might say there is no economic demand, and that the campus needs to be full which may take years after it is opened. I propose that conditions should be laid down regarding the scale and timescale of the development and these should be tied up with public transport. That would be a risky approach but it would be very welcome.

If the Government has the willpower, it will push the transportation bodies to provide them beside the development.

When I see the word "consultation" I almost have a hernia because when I was a councillor, consultation meant telling local residents what the council was going to do then going ahead and doing it anyway. While residents' groups can have a "not in my back yard" attitude, they can often make valuable and worthwhile contributions and should not be overlooked. I welcome the reference to a communications strategy in section 8 but that must be a two-way process and any valid input from residents' groups must be taken on board and be seen to be taken on board. It should not be a matter of making a promise or taking the residents' points on board without letting them know how the project moves from A to Z. They must be involved at every step of the procedure and the meetings outlined in other parts of the proposed legislation should be frequent, especially for residents' groups.

In my proposed preamble to section 8 I included some of the strategic plan but I am concerned about Deputy O'Sullivan's reference to commercial activities. I presume this refers to the incubator businesses in which the Dublin Institute of Technology is already involved. I am also concerned about private commercial interests getting involved unless this is expressly to facilitate the academic research conducted on the campus. In the US, for example, there are developments that are closely tied to a commercial entity.

Partialism is another concern. This occurs in multinational companies that set up research and development facilities here which are part of facilities in India, the Far East and the United States. One can never gain a competency and have one's expertise developed and nurtured in an Irish context. One is simply part of the company rather than contributing to something wider. According to the OECD report, we are significantly lacking in indigenous research and development, for example, in the prime area of renewable energy. We have a strategic interest in ensuring we can cater for energy supplies rather than depending totally on oil which is becoming scarce and will increase in price. However, this is not the time to discuss that.

I am concerned about membership of the agency in section 16. The Dublin Institute of Technology must have more than one representative on the board. Otherwise, the entities brought together will have no validity and it will be more a commercial development than a college. Even for the optics ensuring more representation by increasing the number of members or changing the membership would validate it and inspire faith in the educational institutions that the Dublin Institute of Technology is a key stakeholder in the process. The same applies to the two nominees of the Minister for Health and Children. It is not specified from where they should come. That is at the discretion of the Minister. In terms of the operation already at Grangegorman, St. Brendan's Hospital, the contribution made by the staff and the expertise already in place should be represented and that should be specified among the 11 or more members. The same applies to a resident representing the wider area. He or she should be on a board of possibly 14 members to legitimise the sense of stakeholdership. Too often very good legislation and plans go awry because of lack of communication.

While I have no major problems about this proposal as long as it achieves a sustainable integrated campus that will involve the community and benefit our academic research and the health care system, for example in optometry, I ask that the consultation process be more transparent than the one we have already seen.

I welcome this Bill. The Minister's speech was very helpful in that many people do not understand how this site and the project will develop. The detail in the Minister's speech will help quell some of the concerns in the community. People in the area are concerned about the impact the development on such a large site will have on their lives and the community. Most of those to whom I have spoken want this to proceed. I accept the Minister's point that 39 buildings on 30 sites is not economical. Many of those attending courses in those buildings would say there is a sense of family in them and some people fear that by moving to a larger site they would lose some of that personal contact. However, it is the way forward and everyone who looks at the proposal would accept that is the case if the investment is in place.

Deputy Gogarty mentioned transport for 20,000 students travelling to the site. One major concern referred to in the Bill is that transport must be up to standard. The transport in the area is inadequate but there is a railway line nearby which could possibly be developed for this purpose. The Minister says it is only walking distance from the main street but for those attending the various buildings around the city, transport in Dublin is difficult and it would not be as accessible as the Minister outlines. All her arguments for amalgamating the Dublin Institute of Technology make sense but accessibility is central. Many students will travel to the college.

Deputy Gay Mitchell talked about housing. We all accept there is a housing crisis in Dublin. There should be on-site student accommodation. In my area the Institute of Technology Tallaght is in phase seven which involves possibly building accommodation on the site. This creates serious difficulty for students and is one of the main topics people raise. It does not seem to be included on this site but a campus of this size needs this facility. Deputy Enright talked about on-site facilities but part of those must be accommodation. Just because the campus is in Dublin does not mean there is no housing crisis. Accommodation must be part of that campus.

The Minister talked of selling off the sites. The institutes of technology do not enjoy a level playing field.

Debate adjourned.
Sitting suspended at 1.30 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.