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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 14 May 2009

Vol. 682 No. 4

Industrial Development Bill 2008 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages.

Amendments Nos. 1 to 7, inclusive, are cognate and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 4, line 13, to delete "inserted" and substitute "as substituted".

These are basically drafting amendments. I know the Minister of State, if given some leeway, would be eager to accept them in some form. Our job is to tighten up the Bill, which is an important one, providing for the transfer of shares held by Shannon Free Airport Development Company to Enterprise Ireland and to amend the Industrial Development Acts of 1986 and 1993. My party has been very supportive of the Bill, as have all parties in the House. In that context, I want to ensure there are no technical omissions or deficiencies in the Bill and to strengthen it, where possible, given its importance and its place, going back to SFADCo, in the regional development of the country, which has worked well.

I can anticipate that the Minister of State will have received legal advice from a higher quarter than myself to indicate that the amendments are not necessary and unwarranted in the circumstances. In that event, I do not have the pretensions to be a parliamentary draftsperson. However, I have a motive for bringing forward the amendments, which I believe are parallel with provisions in similar legislation in which I have been involved. I ask the Minister of State to consider the amendments, although I anticipate I will get a short rebuff.

First and foremost, if I were to take legal advice from anyone, I assure the Deputy that on an ongoing basis I would take it from a solicitor from the midlands. However, when we are dealing with legislation, we must consider the advice of the Parliamentary Counsel. We have considered this issue and I was requested on Committee Stage to try to accommodate it in as far as was practicable. I received the following advice, which will bring clarity to the issue.

The convention is that where an enactment refers to a provision that has been substituted by another enactment, that provision is referred to as having been inserted by the latter enactment. The purpose of referring to a later enactment is to enable the reader to ascertain the latest version of the provision. The use of the word "substituted" does not add anything in terms of substantive information and does not accord with drafting practices. I hope that brings clarity as to the reasons I would like to accept the amendments but cannot do so.

This is different from the position that obtains in the case of the wording of substantive sections where the words "inserting" and "substitution" are used depending on what the substantive amendment is actually doing. Unfortunately, due to the advice I have received and outlined to the House, I cannot accept the amendments.

I anticipated that nuanced reply of the Minister of State. I am sure he is extremely happy in that regard. I accept the point made and understand the thrust of it. In that context, I am willing to bow the knee to the superior draftspersons involved as I understand what they are doing. I thought my amendment would reinforce the Bill but, in any event, I will withdraw all amendments and allow the Bill to proceed as the Minister of State indicated.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 2 to 7, inclusive, not moved.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I thank the Deputies on all sides of the House and the Senators in the other Chamber who have made a practical input into this Bill. I note that some amendments were accepted on Committee Stage. It is a technical Bill but there is an element of urgency to it in the context of transferring shares and property. I record my appreciation to all the Deputies who contributed in the House.

Question put and agreed to.

As this is considered to be a Dáil-initiated Bill, in accordance with Article 22(2) it will be sent to the Seanad.