Finance Bill 2010: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 19:
In page 62, between lines 10 and 11, to insert the following:
"38.—The Minister shall within one month from the passing of this Act prepare and lay before Dáil Éireann a report on Sharia Compliant Finance and on the resolution mechanism to be undertaken in the event of disputes or misunderstandings of same.".
—(Deputy Pat Rabbitte).

We will resume on amendment No. 19. I call on the Minister.

I understand my officials have circulated an information note on Islamic finance to members of the Select Committee on Finance and the Public Service.

On the question of a dispute resolution mechanism, the legislation was framed to encompass various transactions but it must be understood that when it is enacted it will apply to any transaction coming within its terms, irrespective of whether it has been entered into by a member of the Muslim community or the transaction is in fact Sharia compliant. The question of a separate dispute resolution mechanism does not arise in this context. Disputes about the tax treatment to be applied to a particular transaction are governed by the taxing legislation and if one of the parties to a specified transaction considers that the wrong tax treatment has been applied, that party can appeal to the appeal commissioners, from there to the High Court and exhaust the usual statutory remedies that apply. No separate appeals mechanism is required here.

If a question arose about Sharia finance in the course of such a case, it would not be an issue of law but an issue of fact because foreign law is a matter of fact to be proved in any case. It is not a question of Irish law. It would be determined as an issue of fact in so far as there is a dispute of fact, and the law that would apply would be our taxing statute.

I thank the Minister for getting his officials to supply us with the briefing document on Sharia finance. The document is useful in so far as it goes but the introduction of Sharia law into Ireland would be rather like if we were to reintroduce the Brehon law code to Ireland. It is another legal code with a social and legal framework of understanding and once Sharia law is established, we must be guided broadly by the inspiration, structures and strictures of what Sharia law means.

In introducing such a concept into Irish law, I accept that the Minister essentially wants to facilitate people in the financial services centre who want to compete on a worldwide basis for global mobile finance which relates to financial entities, sovereign wealth funds and so on and which may be grounded in Sharia law. That is fine, but if we are introducing such concepts into Irish law they are deserving of debate and of a wider explanation to the public.

As I said on Second and Committee Stages, I have the honour, along with the Minister, of representing a significant number of people living in Dublin West, whether from the Bosnian community or from other communities, who are Muslim. Many of them would like to be able to buy a house using Sharia law finance without the principle of interest or usury being involved but this is about financial transactions in the International Financial Services Centre. In introducing a measure like this into Irish law, it is foolish not to arrange to have some kind of public debate on the different elements of the law. The International Financial Services Centre is not helped by an image that it exists in a vacuum which is separate from other Irish law, including Irish tax law. We want a financial services centre that is productive, attractive and so on but I do not understand the reason the Minister for Finance and the Department of Finance are consistently afraid of debating in detail the implications of changes in law, including the introduction of something like Sharia law into Irish tax law.

As somebody who has some experience of Sharia law, I am aware that Sharia law has many implications, as the Minister may be aware, in particular for women. I do not know whether the Minister's officials have given consideration to that but there are also extremely important dispute resolution mechanisms when issues, difficulties and disagreements arise in regard to Sharia law contracts. All I am saying to the Minister is that consideration should be given to that aspect.

The Minister's response is predictable, which is that while the tax law in the Finance Bill provides for Sharia law, a dispute resolution mechanism is not required because dispute resolution will be subject to the Irish courts. That is fine but in the long term it is likely to be unrealistic. The Minister may hold to his view that the ordinary Irish courts, under the structures and traditions of Irish civil law, are sufficient. I suggest to the Minister that they may not be and his advisers and officials should have given consideration to that.

We have law faculties in most universities and institutes of technology. We have a fair number of law lecturers who are Muslims from different parts of the world. I recommend to the Minister that his Department should host a seminar. If he wants to have a development of understanding about this concept being introduced in Irish law, the way to do that is to debate it in public and not introduce it as some arrangement which is exclusively for people in the International Financial Services Centre. That is to make it almost a novelty and a type of hidden element in Irish law. That is not sensible. We would be much better debating the pros and cons of it. Like all legal systems, it has advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, for people who are of the Muslim faith, because its approach to law is underpinned in the Koran, it is particularly attractive and important to them but if it is being brought into Irish law, its pros and cons should be identified, including a dispute resolution mechanism.

The Minister for Finance is exceptionally lucky in that he has never been a member of a small political party in the Oireachtas. I wonder whether his generosity would stretch to issuing, to me, one more copy of the Sharia law note.

He might be worried about what Deputy Morgan would do with it.

The Deputy is not on the Committee for Finance and the Public Service.

Unfortunately, that is what I mean by being in a small political party.

The members of the Committee on Finance and the Public Service received the note.

I know that and that is why I am depending on the Minister's generosity in this instance.

The Deputy can be assured of it in this instance.

I thank the Minister.

Could the Minister answer one question——

I would like to answer the questions raised by Deputy Burton. She is labouring under a fundamental misapprehension in that we are not making Sharia law the law in Ireland in this legislation. We are talking about Sharia financial transactions. The governing law is Irish law and the dispute resolution mechanism is Irish law. We are not conceding ground to some foreign tribunal or religious tribunal about a final determination about the implications of these transactions in Irish law. An Irish court seized of this matter will apply the law as enacted by the Oireachtas, not Sharia law. If an issue arises in regard to the latter, it must be proven as it applies to financial transactions. It must be proven as a matter of evidence before the court and the court must have the residual power of public policy if the particular transaction infringed public policy.

It is difficult to see, in regard to a financial transaction primarily concerned with the morality of lending, how an issue will arise in regard to public policy in the State. Clearly, if questions arose relating to gender equality, for example, an issue might arise. I do not envisage it arising. It is, therefore, important that the House understand we are not legislating for the express enactment of Sharia law in Ireland. This legislation facilitates transactions that are structured in a Sharia-compliant way. Our law facilitates transactions that are facilitated in a US-banking-law-friendly way. It is only common sense for us to do the same in regard to Sharia financial transactions in our financial arrangements as an incentive to attract investment into the country and not to automatically bar and double-bar the door of investment to that group that believes in structuring its financial arrangements in the Sharia way. There is no abdication of the powers of the Irish Legislature in dealing with this matter along those lines.

A separate matter was raised by Deputy Burton. She stated, rightly, that what has been done to date will apply in the context of the attraction of investment in the IFSC. I have discussed this matter with many of my Islamic constituents. Quite a few of them are quite content with the arrangements they are in a position to enter into with various Irish financial institutions, or at least as satisfied as any of us can be with such institutions these days. They have a preference for the arrangements they choose and do not feel conscientiously constrained. Some, however, do feel conscientiously constrained and it is important to address their concerns. From a tax perspective, the groundwork has been laid for the introduction of such products in that part of the payments made by a person paying a mortgage may be treated as interest for tax purposes. However, further changes are required to stamp duty legislation to enable the purchase of a property pursuant to a Sharia-compliant mortgage to come fully within current tax arrangements. It is anticipated that such measures will be included in a future finance Bill.

As far as I am aware, no country has introduced a full measure of provisions immediately. In this regard, the introduction of tax measures consistent with Sharia financial transactions should be seen as a gradual process. There are regulatory issues that would require finalisation in that particular context. I hope that is of assistance to the Deputy, along with the information note.

With regard to people of the Muslim faith living in Ireland, will the Minister confirm there are two particular areas of difficulty? One concerns the purchase of a mortgage and the structuring of the deal in order to avoid interest, which is not allowed according to the Koran. What is the position on two people who enter into a venture such as a restaurant when an investor comes along? The structure of Sharia law is such that certain rules must be followed regarding taking an interest in the venture, the sharing of profits or interest on a loan that is put into the venture, which under the Koran must be avoided. I am asking a perfectly reasonable question on a matter that many of my constituents and those of the Minister regard as important in their approach to commerce.

All I am suggesting to the Minister is that, perhaps through the many colleges and universities in Ireland, his Department consider sponsoring some debate on this issue. We are all talking about people being integrated and being able to live in Ireland in a way that reflects their religious beliefs. However, it is not entirely adequate to talk of bringing in Sharia-complaint finance simply for the IFSC and then ignoring the complexities of the issue, including dispute-resolution mechanisms.

I accept that and am glad the Deputy has identified those two issues. They happen to be the two issues under examination in my Department. There was a business conference on these matters that included both Islamic and other business interests. They examined the proposals in the Bill and gave them a broad welcome.

Deputy Burton's idea of convening a conference to examine the Sharia-specific issues that affect individual consumer and commercial transactions is useful and I will take it up. I reassure the House that these matters are under consideration. As my speaking note made clear, there are complexities associated with stamp duty and the allocation of mortgage interest relief if there is an interest-free mortgage. These issues must be worked through and we will do so. The conference is a very good idea in that context.

I cannot speak for the Islamic faith but believe the degree of Koranic literalism is clearly far greater than that of Biblical literalism nowadays. The fact remains that there are substantial numbers of Muslims who have accommodated themselves to existing banking transactions and are content therewith. There are some, however, who have conscientious difficulties and it is important that we accommodate their concerns. The conference is a good idea in that context.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 20 and 21 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 20:

In page 73, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:

"(g) in section 291A(1)(h) by inserting “, but this paragraph does not relate to a licence within the meaning of section 2 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008” after “intended”,”.

I understood we dealt with this amendment on Committee Stage. Section 41 of the Bill makes a number of amendments to the new scheme of tax relief for expenditure on intangible assets introduced in the Finance Act 2009. The amendments enhance the scheme's effectiveness in supporting the knowledge economy. Under the scheme, relief in the form of capital allowances against trading income is given on capital expenditure incurred by companies——

I am coming to that. It has come to my attention that relief is being sought under the scheme in respect of expenditure which the scheme was not designed in the first place to encompass. The issue concerns the availability of tax relief under the scheme for expenditure incurred on the provision of an excise liquor licence.

Since a new liquor licence can only be obtained through the courts by extinguishing another licence, a considerable amount of the expenditure incurred in acquiring a new licence relates to the extinguishing of an old one and obtaining the consent of the holder of that licence. It has been argued that this expenditure and other related costs arising on the acquisition of a new licence represent capital expenditure on the provision of a specified intangible asset. In other words, a liquor licence is an intangible licence and therefore falls within this particular relieving provision. The purpose of the amendment is to put beyond doubt that this cannot happen.

As the Minister introduced this amendment in regard to——

To clarify, I flagged this issue on Committee Stage.

Yes, it relates to issuing licences for the sale of alcohol. That is probably appropriate following our discussion on Sharia law. The Ceann Comhairle has advised me that my amendment No. 37, which relates to licensing of products sold in head shops, is out of order. Deputy Bruton has a similar though less detailed proposal in amendment No. 38; I do not know whether his amendment was ruled out of order. What I propose in amendment No. 37 is an early and rapid remedy in regard to the various substances for sale in head shops which have given rise to so much concern throughout the State. The Minister should give consideration to using the powers of the licensing laws, which he holds as Minister for Finance, to licensing those types of outlets. That is one way of seeking to control the dangerous substances sold in some of them. Deputy Bruton's amendment is similar.

I refer to these proposals in the context of the Minister's amendment No. 20, with which I have no difficulty, because it deals with the issue of licensing a particular product, namely, alcohol. Why would the Minister not agree to addressing, in the same manner, the substances for sale in head shops? All sorts of outlets where substances that could harm people if used inappropriately, such as alcohol and medicines, are subject to licence, but the Minister seems to have rejected out of hand the notion of licensing head shops.

The restriction on intoxicating liquor licences is being introduced because of concerns that there might be a false equation of an intoxicating liquor licence as a form of intellectual property which would qualify for a tax relief. I assume, subject to the ruling of the Chair, that my amendment is in order because it relates to a tax relieving provisions.

In regard to head shops, the Government made a decision at the Cabinet meeting of 2 March to begin a notification process under the appropriate European Commission directives of our intention to make a declaration order under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, as amended, declaring these substances, products and preparations to be controlled drugs for the purposes of that legislation. We have initiated the essential discussions that must take place with the European Commission before we can introduce the necessary restriction. We are optimistic about the discussions in which we are obliged to participate before we can proceed to prohibition.

I have responsibility for the licensing of bookmakers' offices, as we know from previous discussions, but I do not have responsibility for the intoxicating liquor code, which rests with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

The Minister has some role in setting the licence fee.

I have a function in that. We are taking steps to deal with the products sold in so-called head shops. In addition, the declaration order under the 1977 Act will include some substances that have legitimate uses as medicines but which can be subject to misuse, as well as certain narcotic and psychotropic substances which Ireland is obliged to bring under control to comply with the relevant United Nations conventions. As soon as the necessary consents issue from Europe, these prohibitions will be put in place by the Minister for Health and Children. In any event, without criticising the proposal, I am not sure the licensing route is the appropriate route to take in this type of premises. Instead, we must close them down and outlaw the substances they sell.

Has the Minister an indication of the timeframe for the introduction of such regulations? There is an active concern among the public about these operations. The reason we and others suggested a licensing approach is that it has the advantage of immediacy and there is no issue in regard to State aid or unfair competition rules. Much depends on how quickly the Minister for Health and Children believes she can get the necessary powers.

The Minister is quite optimistic about the speed with which the relevant determinations will be obtained. It is the case that we need to prohibit these entities rather than simply license them. Nevertheless, I can appreciate the spirit in which the Deputies' proposals were put forward.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 21:

In page 74, to delete lines 12 and 13 and substitute the following:

"(2) (a) Paragraphs (a) to (f) and (g) to (i) of subsection (1) apply to expenditure incurred by a company after 4 February 2010.

(b) Paragraph (g) of subsection (1) has effect as respects any allowance to be made for an accounting period commencing on or after 1 January 2010.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 22:

In page 77, between lines 33 and 34, to insert the following:

"(e) by inserting the following after subsection (12):

"(13) The provisions of this section shall apply to a sole trader in the same manner as they apply to a company.".".

This proposal was discussed in committee in the context of the concession introduced by the Minister last year whereby companies that are establishing would get a refund of tax as an incentive to support their start-up. At a time when enterprise is scarce and many people have lost their jobs and are considering establishing businesses, we propose that a similar concession be granted to sole traders. Some 70% of employments with fewer than 50 employees are sole traders and there are significant numbers of people in this category. While Ireland has a comparatively good record in the establishment of new businesses, the recent trends have been downwards and the new enterprise establishment is slipping.

The Minister was unwilling to accept this proposal in committee because of the open ended potential cost and the fact that the concession for sole traders could be at 41% whereas in the case of companies it is confined to 12.5%. However, it seems to me that he could design a concession ring-fenced to sole traders starting up which would be a significant boost to those who are now being forced by necessity to go down that route, which for many people is daunting and expensive. Some concession towards that would be desirable.

We discussed this proposal at length on Committee Stage. Will the Minister indicate what he would expect the cost to taxpayers to be if this concession were available to sole traders at the marginal rate as well as at the lower rate to limited companies? The majority of people who set up in business do so as sole traders rather than limited companies. I understand the Minister's emphasis on control in terms of limited companies, getting high-tech companies establishing as limited companies and so on. However, there is a worry that this could force sole traders to establish limited companies to avail of the relief. In the majority of cases, smaller companies pay little or no tax in the first few years. The danger will be that we will have limited companies making losses and forced to take salaries out to meet day-to-day living expenses. They will gain very little from setting up as limited companies rather then sole traders, and that could jeopardise the financial viability of their businesses. A majority of businesses take, in the main, about five years to establish. The first three years are critical, invariably from the point of view of cashflow. The small amount of tax they may have to pay might be the difference between surviving and not surviving. They are already under pressure in terms of getting money from the banks.

The Minister should take the comments of Deputy Bruton on board and come up with a hybrid form of what he is providing for a limited company. I can see the merit, in terms of structures for companies with a high worth which are entering high-tech areas, many of which will be established as limited companies. However, we are in a recession and if the Minister wants to encourage people to become self-employed, the majority will set up as sole traders. It is a pragmatic and reasonable suggestion for the Minister to take on board. He could introduce a form for the sole trader at the standard rate or a lower rate. There should be some form of equity vis-à-vis the limited company. I would like to hear the Minister’s thoughts.

The intention behind this amendment is that the exemption from corporation tax provided by section 486(c) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 in respect of the income and gains of new start-up companies should be extended to sole traders. Deputies opposite acknowledge that I do not want to go over ground which has already been covered. The rationale was to encourage those who are unemployed to set up as self-employed sole traders. I am not convinced about this amendment because the inevitable pressure will emerge as to why a person setting up in salaried employment cannot avail of a similar relief. The incentive is aimed at stimulating new activities, which I appreciate, but the operation and impact of the incentive is better targeted, monitored and controlled by confining it to companies and leaves it less open to unintended manipulation.

My opposition to the amendment is not primarily on cost grounds. It remains the case that the incentive, in its current form, is more cost-effective in terms of value for the Exchequer's revenue forgone than would be the case if it were extended to income tax liabilities. Resources are scarce and we need to invest them in areas where we believe we will get the best return. The logic of the proposal to provide tax relief to individual taxpayers who are start-up sole traders could be extended in order to provide a similar tax exemption to individual first-time employees. The trend in all of our tax arrangements in the past 20 years has been to try to equalise the position of the self-employed and those in employment, and this proposal points in that direction, namely, that I should provide a similar tax exemption to individual first-time employees. I would like to be able to do that, but I am not in a position to do so. We have scarce resources.

The Opposition referred to the different rates of tax during the debate, which creates a multiple of costs in terms of the impact of the proposed relief. A further important point can be made for maintaining the provision of the relief through the corporate tax system. Any additional funds or savings arising through the relief and retained in the company's structure can be used to reinvest in the business, which is the intention behind the incentive. If, on the other hand, additional funds or savings are paid out by the company for the benefit of directors or shareholders they will be subject to income tax in the normal way.

There is a safeguard, in terms of the use of the savings generated, as intended by the incentive. It would not be available if one extended the liabilities of a sole trader or a non-corporate entity. In contrast to the position for start-up companies, there will be no tax charge to be paid as a result of drawing funds out of the business in a non-corporate context. There are various grant aid and other supports available to persons setting up a new business, through the county enterprise boards and Enterprise Ireland. I will not discuss the entire scheme and the different channels in place. Suffice to say, there is already substantial public investment in incentives for those who do not have companies but wish to start up businesses. The form of the relief, as it stands, is a valuable protection for the taxpayer, in so far as moneys generated as a result of the relief have to be re-invested in the enterprise or are subject to taxation.

The Minister referred to consistency between the PAYE system and the self-employed. There are two elements to this. A person who is a PAYE worker received a tax credit of €1,830, which is the same amount as the personal tax credit which a person who is self-employed does not get, which does not detract from a person who enters a PAYE job; the employer and not the employee takes the risk. If a person establishes himself or herself as self-employed, he or she is taking a huge risk. The Minister is missing the essence of the amendment. He referred to the cost to the taxpayer. The overall cost to the taxpayer of a person who in unemployed is €20,000 per year, a fact which is recognised and accepted.

I know of clients who set up limited companies when they could not afford to do so. They should set up a limited company if they are paying tax, which they normally pay at the marginal rate. People will be forced to establish limited companies in order to avail of the relief. Such companies will make a loss. The people concerned will be forced to take a salary in order to pay for general living expenses to look after themselves and their families. It is fine if a limited company is making profits and there is a PAYE return to the Exchequer.

I am worried people will set up limited companies and by doing so will threaten the viability of their companies. Why not allow people to set up as a sole trader in the initial period, if that is the correct route, and introduce a reduced form of the relief for limited companies? We need to provide some incentive to encourage people to set up as self-employed. The Minister is missing the essence of the point. The majority of people who are self-employed establish themselves as sole traders.

If they speak to any professional, they are advised to set up as a sole trader initially. They will be advised that if they establish a limited company they will face the difficulty of being the director of such a company. If the company becomes insolvent such people face major legal consequences. There are filing requirements and auditors fees. The Minister could allow the provision to be granted for one or two years. There should be some incentive to encourage people to set up as self-employed and get people off the dole queues.

This measure will encourage people to set up as self-employed by way of a limited company. If we studied the issue in a year's time, we would find many people have not become self-employed because they found the consequences of setting up a limited company are prohibitive in the short term. Every person who leaves the live register is saving the taxpayer €20,000. The Minister has overlooked that point; he might address it.

I support this amendment. In the real world when somebody is starting out in business it is a very traumatic time. We should encourage such people to do it properly, as Deputy O'Donnell said, even if the measure was limited to a certain number of years. One has to be in the position of having started a business and moved from a level of security in order to understand the natural fear which is involved, especially if one has a family. Anything which makes it easier for people is good, which is what this country badly needs. We need to encourage people at this time in our history. It would take people out of the black economy and make them register properly as a sole trader. They will get something for a couple of years. This is the sort of spirit which is needed.

To say that people set up limited companies is fine, but every penny one has when one is starting out is like gold dust. The Minister should try to set up a limited company in this country and see all the bureaucracy, regulation and red tape which is involved. If one is in the financial services industry, one is a small trader. There are all sorts of bureaucracy. If we want to encourage people, little things like those suggested by Deputy Bruton are very important. We should give people encouragement for a year or two, in order that when they are established, feel confident and take on one or two employees, they can then form a company. As Deputy O'Donnell said, they will then have their accountant advising them. At that stage, it would be more beneficial for them to enter into this whole area of forming a company. The initial years are the important ones in giving people the confidence to get out there and to start to do things properly. For them to have any assistance we can give them would be well worthwhile.

We saw a leaked version of this document on innovation. It makes the valid point that we need to have a cultural shift in the way we think about enterprise in this country. I am not pretending this is a perfectly designed relief, far from it, but it is one that was recommended by the Commission on Taxation.

We need to see something coming from Government on how to create this new culture of enterprise because many professional and skilled people are losing jobs and the likelihood is that most of them will emigrate. Some will go into the black economy and take the nixer route that is well known but one that ultimately undermines the effective operation of an economy. They are facing into trying to start up businesses in a credit-starved environment and, as that report points out, they are in a situation where bankruptcy and the failure of business is regarded as so awful that one cannot get credit again for 12 years after a business failure.

I am not pretending all the answers are encapsulated here but we need a new attitude to establishing businesses and getting them off the ground, and to supporting people who are willing to take a chance. I do not see any evidence of that, other than in regard to the back to work allowance, which was extended this year and which was the only gesture towards the establishment of new business.

I can understand some of the arguments the Minister is making and, if I was on his side of the House, I am sure I would be focused on how revenue could leak away in unintended ways. However, we have to step back from the usual Revenue view of every relief to see how we can create a culture that is supportive of enterprise at a time when we vitally need skilled and trained people in this country to have a go. In Silicon Valley, they say a person has to have failed three times to be worth taking a risk on. We certainly do not support that type of attitude to enterprise, innovation and having a go.

I would imagine the Minister will explain that while he will not support the amendment, he will try to come up with a much more targeted incentive aimed at key sectors which he feels can contribute to growth and can pick up skills we might otherwise lose to the State. While I am not fully optimistic that will be his response, I will not detain the House on this matter as we have had a good ventilation of the issues. However, we will have to come back to this agenda, if not to this amendment.

I agree with Deputy Bruton that we may well have to return to this subject. I am not sure, by the way, that if a person fails three times there would be an extraordinary tax liability as the person might have quite an amount of losses to carry forward.

That said, the issue is really the untargeted character of the proposed relief. The distinction between the contract of service and the contract for services is of course fundamental in the whole income tax code in so far as the individual natural person is concerned. This is why the Revenue authorities are far more comfortable administering a relief with a corporate garb, which I can understand. There may be a case for examining whether there is an intermediate category of persons in particular areas. However, it will have to be very carefully ring-fenced because the introduction of this on a generalised basis could be very difficult.

There is the seed capital scheme as well as the back to work allowance, so there are a number of schemes in operation. As Deputies keep reminding me, we have to work out what these reliefs cost as they are expenditures. It is not just a case of "Would you not feel sorry for a fellow, give him a few bob and leave him go". We have learned they are a cost to the Exchequer. I find it extraordinary that we spent so much of our time in committee denouncing what happened in regard to tax reliefs in various directions and we then turn around and look for new sets of tax reliefs. The lesson to be drawn about tax reliefs is that we must measure their value, which is why I have put in place a new procedure with the Government so people must stand over them in the Estimates process. Governments will have to take responsibility for these because they are expenditures.

The Minister has to consider the savings.

I absolutely agree.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 23:

In page 83, line 6, to delete "subsection" and substitute "section".

This is a technical amendment which I commend to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 24, 25 and 28 are related and may be discussed together. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 24:

In page 91, between lines 35 and 36, to insert the following:

"(b) in subsection (1)(a) in the definition of “group expenditure on research and development” by inserting the following after subparagraphs (i) and (ii):

"(iii) expenditure (in this section referred to as ‘relevant expenditure') on research and development incurred by a company which is a member of a group in developing intellectual property within the meaning of section 291A that is transferred to a company incorporated in the State that complies with section 495 shall not be included in group expenditure on Research and Development in relation to that group. The relevant expenditure will be treated as a separate Research and Development activity distinct from all other R&D activities carried on by the group for the purposes of this section.",".

This is the targeted type of measure towards which the Minister is likely to be more sympathetic. It was designed by Senator Paschal Donohoe and I am sure the Minister will get a fuller presentation of its merits from the Senator when the Minister goes to the Seanad to hear its recommendations.

Essentially, Senator Donohoe is suggesting that there are ideas which could allow spin-off companies to be established and this measure is a tax incentive designed to encourage such spin-offs. I know the Senator has made a significant study of the knowledge economy opportunities that are available to us. This was designed specifically to focus on opportunities that might otherwise go a-begging or be developed elsewhere.

An amendment of this nature is worth considering because, while we lean over backwards to produce legislation that will facilitate financial services establishments to set up business here, and more power to them, this was designed to focus on whether within our own pool of talent we can see spin-offs that would generate economic activity from good ideas that have been developed within companies but which might not be core to a company's activity. It would encourage the launch of these as business opportunities.

Of course, the Minister will say there is the risk of revenue loss, which no doubt there is. However, this is genuinely targeted at new business start-ups. I know a more jaundiced eye is examining patent relief at present and perhaps the recycling of some of the patent relief money into ideas like this could bring about a better spin-off for the country in terms of high value start-ups that have a chance of developing into the future.

I ask the Minister to consider this amendment sympathetically. He will go to the Seanad and then come back to this House and, if he is not persuaded by my arguments, which have been cobbled together, I am sure Senator Donohoe will bring to bear new logic on this matter. The Minister may return to this House saying "Now, I see it. It was just not explained very well in the Lower House".

It has been very well explained in this House. I spoke at length on this in committee and, while outlining some of the difficulties, I said it was an issue I would like to examine further. I am not prepared to accept the amendment this year because of the difficulties associated with introducing such a fundamental change into the tax code, and it is not entirely clear where the amendment would fit into our existing arrangements.

I made a number of arguments in this regard on Committee Stage and I do not want to rehearse them all. The fundamental argument is that while we provide incentives for R&D activities undertaken, we do not incentivise any resulting spin-off commercial activity. A decision to do that at this stage would have far-reaching effects. The new scheme of capital allowances for the acquisition or provision of intangible assets was introduced in the 2009 Act, as Deputies are aware. When a company acquires intellectual property for development and commercialisation, it can claim capital allowances and the scheme, in conjunction with the current corporation tax rate and the research and development credit, encourages investment in research and development and the commercial exploitation of intellectual property. Where there is this added incentive for commercialisation, especially where the company which undertook the research and development is not itself equipped to commercialise the research and development — this is what arises here — the proposed amendment is a very significant change and has knock-on implications for capital gains tax. It could be argued that an incentive of this nature would encourage companies to dispose of intellectual property, IP, arising from their research and development activities and make a once-off windfall gain rather than take the commercial risk of exploiting the benefit of the intellectual property. If the IP is disposed of, there is no guarantee it will be commercialised and result in economic benefits and employment in the economy. Where the tax system encourages the acquisition of IP, as is the purpose behind the current scheme, it is more likely that the company availing of the incentive will be geared towards exploiting the commercial potential of the patent.

I reiterated much of this information on Committee Stage but it may be some comfort to Deputy Bruton's proposal. As I said on Committee Stage, the proposal is worthy of more thought and I will ask my Department to consider it further in the context of the range of incentives available to encourage and support innovation and the knowledge economy.

I was not party to the discussion on Committee Stage. It seems there is a question over at least some of our research and development spending and that its commercialisation is the issue. We have very highly trained academics who, forever and a day, would engage in blue sky research and so on. However, I do not know of any report — it may well have been done — that has attempted to quantify the extent of commercialisation of that work. Does the Minister have any sympathy for the central proposition here, which seems to be to move it on to that area rather than simply giving reliefs for companies to invest in research and development?

I indicated in my reply, which was a change from Committee Stage, that I am prepared to examine it sympathetically. It is a very far-reaching change in the context of the current tax code and certainly could not be introduced at this stage of the Finance Bill without further reflection.

I thank the Minister for his considered reply. I share Deputy Rabbitte's view. We are committed to a big science and technology spend each year and none of us in this House is competent to judge the value of much of that work. It is done on faith and both the Minister and Members will be urged to sustain and enhance that spend in future years as part of a commitment to the knowledge economy.

The other issue raised by Deputy Rabbitte is central in terms of how effective we are in using it. I note Enterprise Ireland has launched what it terms "competence centres", which are designed to try to get better application of research coming from universities. While this amendment may not be perfectly designed and could be improved, it could dove-tail with other initiatives of that nature to try to ensure that the spend in which we are engaged and the ideas generated in Ireland are commercialised. I, therefore, welcome the Minister's commitment to at least have his officials look further at this proposal. The world has changed and we are going to have to look to ourselves and ideas generated here as a source of enterprise and a knowledge base for the future. We must re-equip ourselves.

Our tax code has been rather lazily designed around trying to attract other people's ideas or, unfortunately, supporting property and we need to think afresh about how we as a country can make a living in the future. Sadly, we became diverted onto a disastrous path in recent years and we have to find a road back to a more genuine base of enterprise that can sell abroad. We perhaps are not the best equipped to understand the choices that have to be made, but we have to start learning pretty quickly and familiarise ourselves with this territory and how we can exploit it for the future of our country.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 25 not moved.

I move amendment No. 26:

In page 95, to delete lines 18 to 23 and substitute the following:

"242A.—(1) In this section ‘relevant territory' has the meaning assigned to it in section 172A.".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 27:

In page 96, line 26, to delete "246A" and substitute "242A".

This is a technical drafting amendment to rectify an incorrect cross-reference.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 28 not moved.

Amendment No. 29 in the name of an tAire. Amendment No. 30 is consequential on amendment No. 29 and they may be discussed together. Recommittal is necessary in respect of this amendment as it does not arise out of committee proceedings.

Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 29.

I move amendment No. 29:

In page 99, lines 23 to 28, to delete all words from and including "and" in line 23 down to and including "State,"," in line 28 and substitute the following:

", the Friends of the National Collections of Ireland, a local authority or a joint body within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Local Government Act 2001 and any university in the State,",".

This is a technical amendment. I propose to take both amendments together. The amendments correct a drafting error in section 59 of the Bill as amended on Committee Stage. That section amended section 611 of the 1997 Act which granted relief from capital gains tax to disposals to the State, charities and public bodies. Disposals to such bodies generally do not give rise to a liability to capital gains tax.

Amendment agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment.

I move amendment No. 30:

In page 99, lines 30 and 31, to delete all words from and including "subparagraphs" in line 30 down to and including "subsection (1)," in line 31 and substitute "paragraph (a)(iii) of subsection (1),”.

Amendment agreed to.

With regard to amendment No. 31, the Minister has already included the thrust of this amendment in the Bill as amended. We discussed it on Committee Stage and in that context I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 31 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 32 to 34, inclusive, and amendment No. 36 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 32:

In page 103, to delete line 36.

I am temporarily stumped as to the reason for this amendment.

It is about cement and combined heating and power.

The application of the carbon tax was raised by a number of interests, even though they were in the ETS, the trading scheme. It has been represented by a number of these interests that this is a form of double taxation and that they are already paying under the ETS. If I recall, the Minister's line on Committee Stage was that he was obliged by an EU decision to apply a minimum rate of tax because, otherwise, it would be regarded as a State aid. This has been disputed by the sectors involved and the Minister may be in a better position to shed light on the situation. State aid rules require him to levy this additional tax because if we did not introduce a carbon tax, as many of competitors are not, these companies would be in the ETS code and would not be asked to make this contribution. It is contradictory for the Commission to argue that if a member state introduces a carbon tax, it must impose an extra charge that would be anti-competitive for Irish industry in categories competing with other industries in the same category operating in other member states.

I wonder about the validity of the argument made on Committee Stage. We must be conscious of knock-on effects. If we can content ourselves with the trading system, we should do so.

Amendment No. 33 is concerned with combined heat and power installations. Such producers are competing against State bodies such as the ESB that are exempt from the tax, whereas those from the private sector who are installing combined heat and power facilities, which are highly energy efficient with low carbon outputs, feel they are being discriminated against. In the interests of equity and energy efficiency, parity should apply.

These amendments raise complex and difficult issues and I will address amendment No. 33 first.

I previously indicated the only exemptions from the carbon tax are for those companies within the EU emissions trading scheme, where a carbon pricing mechanism is already in place. I did not offer any exemptions for sectors outside the ETS. For combined heat and power technology, the amendment addresses that. Combined heat and power used outside the ETS will not be exempt from the carbon charge.

The Government acknowledges, however, the environmental benefit that can accrue from the use of high efficiency CHP technology. The Finance (No. 2) Act 2008 provided that expenditure on CHP technology is allowable under the scheme of accelerated capital allowances. That scheme allows companies to claim 100% tax capital allowances on expenditure on certain energy efficient equipment in the year of purchase. It is not, therefore, appropriate to put in place a further tax subsidy.

We must ensure the carbon tax has a broad base and I do not want to undermine that principle. The long-term impact of the carbon tax will be to incentivise energy efficient processes such as combined heat and power. The intention of the legislation is that where it is used outside the ETS scheme it will not be exempt. That is the general principle I have applied in that context.

Deputy Bruton's amendment No. 32 raises more complex issues. It is concerned with a full exemption for the mineralogical processes, including the burning of coal for the production of cement, from the carbon charge in the case of gas and coal. The cement industry in Ireland relies by and large on coal on an intensive basis for generation of the product. The Bill provides that a full exemption will apply to ETS installations in the powergen sector but ETS installations in other sectors will be required to comply with an EU minimum rate. It is far lower than the rate of carbon tax, around 2%. In practice, no additional charge arises in the case of mineral oils as the existing mineral oil tax rates satisfy the EU minimum rates and these companies within the ETS continue to pay those minimum rates.

Implications arise, however, in the case of gas and coal. These products have not been taxed or, in the case of coal, have effectively not been taxed up to this point. There are difficult issues about the relationship between the ETS scheme and any domestic taxing statute. The carbon tax, therefore, brings gas and coal into the tax net for the first time and, consequently, the Bill provides for the application of the EU minimum rate. The EU minimum rate in the case of gas is about a sixth of the carbon tax rate, about €0.54 per megawatt hour. While the introduction of carbon tax on coal and other solid fuels remains subject to a commencement order, when coal becomes the subject to the carbon tax, the rate will apply to ETS installations at €4.18 per tonne, a ninth of the full rate. That is the provision in the Bill.

Since Deputy Bruton raised the question, I engaged with the cement industry and discussed its difficulties. It worked hard to generate exemptions within the EU scheme for coal in this context and has undertaken to share its legal advice with me and I will be reflecting on that before the consideration of this matter by Seanad Éireann. It is not an easy matter. If it was in any sense uncompetitive, it would require the industry to refund the State the sum involved in the event a breach was identified. There is a legal risk here that must be evaluated.

I welcome the Minister's willingness to examine this further. The exemption under which the powergen sector operates could also apply to the cement industry in certain cases. It is a question of consistency with the energy taxation directive. Just as the powergen sector could fulfil the requirements, the argument is that the cement industry could do the same. I do not know the legal niceties of the case so I can only trust the Minister's efforts will find a relief if one can be obtained.

The Minister referred to ETS installations only. Combined heat and power installations save approximately 25% of the energy required to generate electricity in a conventional power station because they are on the host site and many of industries using them are in the export market. The Minister is proposing the granting of an advantage to a competitor, namely the ESB but there must be a level playing field. If the Minister provided an exemption for combined heat and power, it would be in line with the established precedent in other member states. These are companies using combined heat and power to reduce emissions but the Minister is giving an advantage to a semi-State organisation over small producers who are providing employment.

As Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security, I see a total contradiction here. The whole purpose of the ETS scheme was to try to do away with carbon emissions. Anything that would promote alternative sources of energy should be encouraged in Europe and through our tax code. The whole question of the use of coal to generate power is causing us untold problems as we face fines from Europe because of the energy production sector. We are way above our targets in terms of fossil fuel use for energy production. Innovations like geothermal power are receiving very little encouragement and legislation for new types of power generation is lagging. Surely our tax system should encourage the transfer to new forms of power generation such as wind and wave energy. It is extraordinary that one can derive a greater tax advantage by generating power from coal, which is one of the main sources of CO2 emissions.

We have provided tax exemptions for many of the new technologies which are coming to the market. In this instance, however, we are discussing a tax which is of necessity general in its application. The longer the debate continues, the greater my fear that a series of exemptions will be made for special interests. The carbon tax is of general application and the number of exemptions has been cut to the bare minimum. The emissions trading scheme is a parallel measure for the electricity sector. It does not apply to the heating sector and that is the issue. We have done our best to accommodate the various interests concerned and I cannot see a way of supporting the proposals made by Deputy O'Donnell.

The carbon tax was designed to encourage people away from CO2 emitting fuels. If something is beneficial, it should receive more encouragement than something that causes CO2 emissions.

The more exemptions one provides, the smaller the discouragement available.

It is the other way around. Perhaps the Minister needs to come before the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security to discuss the issues.

I withdraw amendment No. 32 in the hope that the Minister will be able to introduce something at a later stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 33:

In page 105, line 43, after "electricity" to insert the following:

"including the generation of electricity from high efficiency combined heat and power as defined in the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006".

Amendment put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 34 not moved.

Recommittal is necessary in respect of amendment No. 35 as it does not arise out of committee proceedings.

Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 35.

I move amendment No. 35:

In page 107, line 36, to delete "a taxable person within the meaning of" and substitute "an accountable person for the purposes of".

This is a technical amendment required to correct a drafting error.

Amendment agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment.
Amendment No. 36 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 37 and 38 are out of order.

Amendments Nos. 37 and 38 not moved.

I move amendment No. 39:

In page 139, line 15, to delete "Minister" and substitute "Minister for Finance".

This amendment is required to correct a drafting error. Section 91 introduced a long amendment to Part 2 of the Finance Act 2001 arising from the implementation of a new EU directive on general arrangements for excisable products which takes effect from April fool's day this year. The primary purpose of the directive is to provide a legal basis for the new computerised excise movement control system.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 40:

In page 153, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:

"104. —The provisions of section 134(15) of the Finance Act 1992 shall be suspended pending a review to be carried out by the Minister on the impact section 134(15) will have on the car rental industry.".

We discussed this amendment briefly on Committee Stage and I hoped the Minister would introduce an amendment to deal with the problems which are being encountered by the car rental industry. It has been hit by a number of challenges in addition to the recession and the difficulty of getting finance. The recently introduced scrappage scheme makes ex-rental cars almost impossible to sell because the resale value has diminished, changes to the VRT and road tax rates have made cars with automatic transmission less economical and the VRT rebate enjoyed by the industry since 1992 has been withdrawn. Interestingly, the latter rebate was introduced to increase the supply of cars to the rental industry. The combination of these factors has fundamentally changed the relationship between finance houses, car dealers and rental companies.

The supply of cars to the industry has decreased dramatically. It was almost impossible to get a car last year largely because of financing but companies face additional tax problems this year. Between 10,000 and 12,000 cars will be available this year, compared to 27,000 two years ago. As an estimated 20,000 cars will be needed, we will at best have one half of the required fleet. This is an urgent matter because if cars are not ordered soon they will not be available for the summer season. Car hire prices are already twice or more those of comparable countries such as Scotland and elsewhere in Europe.

Approximately one third of all visitors to Ireland, and 45% of Americans, hire cars. If cars are not available people will not visit because they will have no way of travelling around the country. The Minister may be aware that Bus Éireann has just announced a further reduction in its bus services. This is an important issue not only for the car rental industry but also the entire tourism sector. People are anxious that something would be done as a matter of urgency.

This a serious issue for the car hire industry and the tourism sector. The Minister will be aware of the significant rental operations located in various business parks in our constituency. It now costs far more to hire a car in Ireland than in France and most other European countries. The supply of cars has diminished at a time when dealers would like to sell vehicles. The current structure is driving prices up to unsustainable levels, with major implications for tourism outside the Dublin region because most people who arrive in Dublin or Shannon want to hire cars to tour the country.

One of the Minister's predecessors, Deputy Quinn, introduced a number of initiatives during the time of the rainbow coalition Government to resolve the bottleneck in the Irish car hire business. The Minister can take his officials' advice on the appropriate mechanisms that can be implemented to address this issue but it has to be addressed. We need to re-invent tourism in Ireland in the context of our changed financial circumstances. Attaining value for money in car hire is one of the things people booking long or short stay holidays seek especially through the Internet, which vast numbers of tourism customers use for on-line bookings. We are not scoring in this regard because car hire is prohibitively expensive in Ireland at present.

I support this amendment although I was surprised that amendments Nos. 40 and 41 were not grouped. The whole issue of short-term car hire is very significant outside Dublin, especially in my area of the mid-west and Limerick because of people coming in through Shannon Airport.

I refer in particular to the scrappage scheme. The Minister is probably well aware that as it stands, the car fleet is of the order of 13,000, while the optimum level required is probably 26,000 or 27,000 cars. In Germany at present, the scrappage scheme applies to short-term fleet hire cars. I tabled a very straightforward amendment such that the scrappage scheme would apply to all normal category A cars or vehicles as well as 2010 registered vehicles that have been let on short-term hire for a maximum period of up to six months. This would allow car dealers to purchase a fleet of cars and let them out to those who wish to hire out cars and the cars would then be available for the summer season.

The Minister should recall there are six new hotels in the Limerick area. The owners of any bed and breakfast in the region will say foreign tourists invariably hire a car. There is a mobility factor at play. There is a concern in this regard because when people go on-line to book a holiday, one of the things they look to do is book a car for hire. If cars are not available, these people will simply decide to go to other countries because they decide on where to go only one week before travelling. They no longer book in advance. When a person seeks car hire it will, invariably, be done by one's partner or wife, but the person will look to where he or she can hire a car. If such a person cannot hire a car in Ireland they will not come here. What is required is a very simple mechanism to allow cars registered in 2010 to qualify.

The Minister should remember that for every car registered the Government will receive VRT; the Exchequer will get money. If a car is bought in, the Government will get VRT.

The Deputy is referring to second hand cars.

No, not when they are bought new.

When a car is bought new it qualifies for scrappage.

No. These firms are buying new cars straight from the manufacturers. I am referring to fleet hire cars, there is no trade-in.

These are leased cars.

They are cars leased by rental companies. They are bought by the garage and let to fleet rental companies. Effectively, these firms will let out the car over the summer season and then return it to the garage which will put it on the forecourt for sale. Those cars will be competing with new cars and they will not take the risk that they will be unable to sell the cars. There is a function to the amendment and it is about helping the tourism industry. The Minister should remember that the discussion of fleet hire cars is effectively about exports and about money coming into the county.

My understanding is this policy is in place in Germany and we compete with Germany for tourists. Everyone books holidays on-line now and car hire is a key feature of that process. The Minister should take the amendments on board. We are discussing how to boost the tourism industry. The theme of tonight is that we must think outside the box and be cognisant of entrepreneurial culture. We must consider the tourism industry and consider the net effects not only the particular once-off effects. We must consider the cumulative effects in terms of ensuring hotels are full. PAYE, VAT and corporation tax comes to the Exchequer from hotels and there is a cumulative effect. I call for a positive response from the Minister as the debate reaches its conclusion and for him to consider taking on board another amendment.

As Deputy Burton pointed out there was an initiative in the early 1990s in section 134 of the Finance Act 1992. It provided a relief on VRT for cars used to service short-term self drive contracts. Part of the difficulty was it had a very unhappy history. Arising from Revenue audits, there was strong evidence that the sector was manipulating contracts to ensure cars used for the provision of services not originally envisaged under the scheme nonetheless benefited from the VRT relief available. Operators applied this scheme to cars for use outside the tourism area, including the enabling of corporate clients to provide a pool of cars to visiting executives or their own staff and allowing VRT free driving by Irish citizens who hired rather than owned a car, while their neighbours who own cars had to pay VRT.

Attempts were made to tighten up the scheme in the Finance Act 2008 to try to limit such abuses. However, the sector raised objections and concerns. The scheme, especially following amendment, necessarily imposes a considerable administrative burden on individual firms and the Revenue to ensure that the VRT refund conditions are satisfied and that the scheme is not abused. A number of meetings were held between the sector and the Revenue. It is complained that the scheme, if operated correctly, is complex to administer. It is argued that it not only restricts normal competitiveness between firms but that it limits the potential to grow the car rental market outside the tourism sector to other long-term rentals. Some operators made the point they would have to effectively maintain two separate vehicle fleets, one for hire to tourists and another for the domestic market, to continue to qualify for the relief on cars actually used in the provision of cars to tourists as the scheme intended. This would be uneconomical and unworkable in practice. Given that the scheme was prone to abuse and that it imposed a considerable necessary administrative burden on both the operators and the Revenue to ensure the conditions for the VRT refund are being satisfied, a decision to phase out the scheme was taken and that was done in the Finance (No. 2) Act 2008. This allowed the retention of the previous repayment provision for 2009 with the relief being phased out over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. It must be recognised that the sector can, compared to previously, make considerable savings on VRT liabilities by switching more of the rental fleet to lower CO2 emitting vehicles. The price of new cars has reduced and with the July 2008 rebalancing of the VRT system, the average VRT paid on new cars reduced by more than 30% between the first half of 2008 and 2009.

The abolition of the scheme will remove existing restrictions and allow operators to develop their business models based on the domestic rental market. While some firms in the sector may resist the phasing out of this scheme, other operators indicated they would prefer the abolition of the scheme rather than having its use restricted, as a consequence of which, some business models would qualify under the scheme while others would not. In the meantime, there is no evidence of any significance change in the use of the scheme that prompted the decision to phase it out and I see no argument for further assessment.

The wider issues in respect of the tourism industry are a matter for the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism. If we wish to pay a specific subsidy to provide cars for the tourist and visitation industries then it is something we will have to decide on, but the practicalities of implementing such a measure through a tax based solution are very difficult and that has been the consistent experience since 1992.

Notwithstanding the difficulties there may have been in the operation of the scheme and the failure to regulate it, it is not fair to punish those who are legitimately using a scheme which was specifically introduced to increase the supply of rental cars. This is not the year to remove it.

It was removed last year.

This is not the time given that the industry is on it knees. I have been informed that if one has not actually booked a car for Ireland one will not get one for the remainder of this summer if this scheme goes ahead. The matter is that serious.

A scrappage scheme was allowed in Germany for fleet cars on short-term car hire. This is something already in operation among our competitors in mainland Europe. Why not allow parity and consistency and facilitate tourists who come here? We are supposed to be an export nation and what the Minister is putting in place provides an impediment to that.

I gave a very detailed reply on the very substantial problems this poses in terms of administration and in terms of providing equality for all those who participate in the business of car hire arrangements. I outlined the practical difficulties that arise.

Clearly, there is a difficulty. It is a difficulty which Government must address collectively. One cannot simply use the tax system all of the time to provide untargeted imprecise subsidies to particular sectors when a more targeted subsidy would achieve the same result at a far lower cost.

The Minister did not introduce one.

Will that be looked at?

As it is now 10.30 p.m., in accordance with an order of the Dáil of this day I am required to put the following question: "That the amendments set down by the Minister for Finance and not disposed of, including those in respect of which recommittal would in the normal course be required, are hereby made to the Bill, Fourth Stage is hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed."

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 71.

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Ahern, Noel.
  • Andrews, Barry.
  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Ardagh, Seán.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Blaney, Niall.
  • Brady, Áine.
  • Brady, Cyprian.
  • Brady, Johnny.
  • Browne, John.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Carey, Pat.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Conlon, Margaret.
  • Connick, Seán.
  • Coughlan, Mary.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cregan, John.
  • Cuffe, Ciarán.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Devins, Jimmy.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Fitzpatrick, Michael.
  • Fleming, Seán.
  • Flynn, Beverley.
  • Gogarty, Paul.
  • Gormley, John.
  • Grealish, Noel.
  • Hanafin, Mary.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy-Rae, Jackie.
  • Hoctor, Máire.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kelly, Peter.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kennedy, Michael.
  • Killeen, Tony.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Conor.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Mansergh, Martin.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • Moloney, John.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Mulcahy, Michael.
  • Nolan, M. J.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
  • O’Brien, Darragh.
  • O’Connor, Charlie.
  • O’Donoghue, John.
  • O’Flynn, Noel.
  • O’Hanlon, Rory.
  • O’Rourke, Mary.
  • O’Sullivan, Christy.
  • Power, Peter.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sargent, Trevor.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Wallace, Mary.
  • White, Mary Alexandra.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Allen, Bernard.
  • Bannon, James.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Behan, Joe.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Ulick.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Clune, Deirdre.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coonan, Noel J.
  • Costello, Joe.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Creighton, Lucinda.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • English, Damien.
  • Enright, Olwyn.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Flanagan, Terence.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Hayes, Brian.
  • Hayes, Tom.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Phil.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lynch, Ciarán.
  • Lynch, Kathleen.
  • McCormack, Pádraic.
  • McEntee, Shane.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McManus, Liz.
  • Mitchell, Olivia.
  • Morgan, Arthur.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Neville, Dan.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O’Donnell, Kieran.
  • O’Dowd, Fergus.
  • O’Keeffe, Jim.
  • O’Mahony, John.
  • O’Shea, Brian.
  • O’Sullivan, Jan.
  • O’Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Perry, John.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Sheehan, P. J.
  • Sherlock, Seán.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Timmins, Billy.
  • Tuffy, Joanna.
  • Upton, Mary.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Wall, Jack.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Pat Carey and John Cregan; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.
Question declared carried.

The Bill, which is a certified money Bill, will now be sent to the Seanad.