Priority Questions

Merger of Cultural Institutions

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

1. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the further discussions he has had with affected staff on the amalgamation of the National Library and the National Archives; the costs saved; the progress made to date on the amalgamation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42241/12]

The Government announced a series of rationalisation measures in the public service reform plan published on 17 November 2011. A number of the measures announced related to certain national cultural institutions, funded from my Department's Vote group, and these are currently being progressed as required under the reform plan. These measures included a decision to merge the National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library, while maintaining separate identities. In this regard, my Department has engaged in ongoing consultations with each of the relevant institutions seeking their views on how best to progress this decision by Government. My Department has already engaged with union and staff representatives on progressing this merger and will continue to do so over the coming period, as implementation of the Government decision is advanced. In addition, I have met the chairs of the various institutions involved. Indeed, meetings have also taken place with a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties. There has also been extensive debate in both Houses of the Oireachtas.

In July last, I forwarded a report to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform setting out the progress made to date and the proposed way forward in respect of the implementation of the Government decisions on the rationalisation of the relevant national cultural institutions, including the decision to merge the National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library, while maintaining separate identities. I am advised that the material submitted by me to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is being assimilated and I anticipate that it will be submitted to Government for its consideration in due course.

Regarding costs, I refer the Deputy to the priorities set out in the programme for Government for the rationalisation of State agencies, which provide that such rationalisation must be cost effective and lead to a more transparent, accountable and efficient public service. It is not possible at this stage to outline projected savings for each body to be rationalised. In progressing implementation of the rationalisation agenda, my Department has been mindful of the critical need to deliver savings, as well as opportunities for efficiencies and more effective service delivery.

I am glad to be joining the team in this area and replacing my colleague, Deputy Troy. I look forward to a positive engagement with the Minister and his team and parties on all sides of the House. The Fianna Fáil Party set out its stall during Private Members' business some time ago. The Minister is well aware of the opposition of the Fianna Fáil Party to the amalgamation of the cultural institutes and the reasons for the opposition. We understand and accept that, across all Departments, there must be rationalisation and we support the idea of shared services and improved and integrated procurement processes. We deplore the fact that a cost-benefit analysis has not been carried out in this instance. We are all united in support for the initiative next year, The Gathering, and we realise how important cultural institutions are to the success of that initiative. People who come to this country will be anxious to avail of the services of the well-established institutions. The institutions are opposed to the initiative. I accept the Minister's bona fides in this matter but the institutions are opposed to the emasculation of their role and the consumers of the product are opposed. Who is driving this and what motivated the Government to take this approach to the cultural institutions? It is opposed by many luminaries and the Government has decided on this approach without any cost-benefit analysis.

I welcome Deputy Ó Fearghaíl and I look forward to positive engagement with him. On the basis of his record, I am confident we will have that engagement, as I had with his predecessor. I am aware of the Fianna Fáil Party's position on the proposal, as I am aware of the Fianna Fáil proposal in 2008, when it was in government, for exactly the rationalisation we are looking at. This is part of better Government and whereas nothing has been announced, when it is announced people will accept it as part of the Government's programme for better governance, better decision-making and more streamlined Government. I am optimistic about the reaction of the cultural institutions to the proposals when they are eventually published by the Government following the Government decision. The proposal for the cultural institutions and other State agencies will be presented to Government by the Minister in the near future.

The Minister appropriately makes reference to what the previous Fianna Fáil Government appeared to be about. In June 2010, the then Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, said that the Government intended to introduce a draft Bill. The initial draft was circulated to the National Archives, the National Library and the chairman of the Irish Manuscripts Commission for observations. No firm commitment was made to do any more than that. Even if it were, to do as the Minister proposes is not in the interests of the institutions. At the eleventh hour, I call on the Minister to desist. He should realise that the experts in the field, apart from the Minister, are not ad idem and that a more sophisticated approach, involving procurement, shared services and so on, is the approach that should be adopted.

We have used up the time allocated for the question and we must move on to the next question. Jumping faults and time faults are not allowed.

Cultural Policy

Sandra McLellan

Question:

2. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the efforts he has made to address the fact that Dublin is suffering loss of competitive position against other major European city competitors due to lack of coordination of marketing efforts; the engagement he has with various stakeholders; his plans to establish a statistical data base to track the number of theatres, galleries, libraries, museums, venues, festivals and cultural spaces in Dublin as per the World Cities Culture Report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42256/12]

The World Cities Culture Report 2012, to which the Deputy refers, examines the cultural offering of 12 of the world’s greatest cities, selected by the application of a set of objective criteria such as economic wealth and population figures, and all of which differ significantly from Dublin in terms of size, scale and population. However, a number of the key messages emanating from the report resonate strongly with Dublin as our capital city, having regard to the unique role that the cultural and creative industries of any city must play to ensure the endurance, development and evolution of that city.

A crucial part of the current and future repositioning of the economy is the leveraging of Ireland's cultural and creative resources as part of the development of a robust economic base, in part rooted in the cultural and creative industries. Dublin, as our capital city, is a key stakeholder in this process.

Cultural tourism is now a key element of Ireland’s tourism industry, with culture cited by the majority of visitors to Ireland as a key motivator in choosing Ireland. Our national cultural institutions are essential building blocks of the cultural identity and creativity of Ireland and the future success of the knowledge economy. In 2011, I am proud to say there were over 3.6 million visitors to the national cultural institutions and other cultural venues supported by my Department.

Among the three working groups operated by the Council of National Cultural Institutions, CNCI, its marketing group organises the joint marketing of the institutions. In recent years, this has consisted primarily of advertising via the various media outlets on offer and the redesign and upgrade of the CNCI website. This year the group also organised a specific Internet advertising campaign aimed at attracting overflow visitors from the London Olympics to Ireland and a shared stand for all of the national cultural institutions at the Ploughing Championships in Wexford, which I am happy to report attracted significant interest. The group also hopes to broaden promotion beyond the typical advertising media in the coming years.

Culture Night is an initiative strongly supported by my Department since its inception. The event has grown from a relatively small-scale cultural event in 2006 to the significant national cultural event it now is, with more than 300,000 people visiting museums, galleries, historic houses, artists’ studios and cultural centres throughout the country in 2011. Early indications are that the 2012 figures for this event will match, if not exceed, this.

Additional information not given on the floor of the House.

My Department also funded the development of the Culturefox application for smartphones and it is widely used by arts organisations and tourists alike. There are numerous other events and projects to which my Department provides funding and support, all of which play a key role in promoting Dublin in all its forms. These include the Dublin Theatre Festival, projects celebrating Dublin's selection as the 2012 City of Science and the many projects which recognise and celebrate the 2010 designation of Dublin as an UNESCO City of Literature.

I thank the Minister for his reply. However, does he not see a contradiction in supporting the development of Dublin as a key tourist destination while his Department conjures up plans to restructure the capital's key cultural institutions and incorporate them in the Department, not to mention slashing funding to the Arts Council and to the arts in general? Does the Minister accept the strategic importance of Dublin as a tourist location, that increased tourism numbers to Dublin could have a beneficial effect on the rest of the country and that to develop tourism in Dublin to its full potential would require an emphasis on event-based marketing for Dublin and other cities? Would the Minister agree with that?

Dublin is, certainly, vibrant at present and this is driven by our cultural institutions. I suggest the Deputy walk along Kildare Street and see the large numbers going into the National Museum and the National Library. If she ventures beyond Kildare Street, she will see that our cultural institutions are thriving at present. I am sure some of the young people who are in the Visitors Gallery have been to the National Museum and National Library during the visit to Dublin. Our cultural institutions are thriving. I want to strengthen our cultural institutions, make them more accessible and market them more effectively. That is what I will be doing while I am in my present position. Some 3.6 million of our tourists come to Ireland for the cultural experience.

I agree with the Deputy that it is important we promote culture as our unique selling point. What makes us different from anyone else is our music, song, dance and the various aspects of our culture. I take on board what the Deputy says. We can learn from the World Cities Culture report, although it does not refer to Dublin, as such. There has been a major drive to promote our cultural institutions. Deputy Ó Fearghaíl referred to The Gathering. Cultural institutions are playing a major role in The Gathering, which will take place next year.

I remind the Minister that culture extends beyond Kildare Street.

I am a Deputy from Kerry, the periphery of the country. We are doing well out of culture and we sell it well in Kerry.

However, more than a million tourists visited the National Museum last year and there will be more visitors this year. Whatever we are doing to support and promote our cultural institutions must be working, to some extent.

Hare Coursing

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

3. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if, in view of the report from the Ranger on the coursing meeting at Kilflynn, County Kerry, during last season stating that the very wet weather made it difficult for the hares to run and resulted in twelve hares being caught, he will make it a condition of the licence that no coursing should take place in wet weather when ground conditions are heavy and soggy thus making it difficult, if not impossible, for the hares to run from the greyhounds and that the Ranger will have the power to ensure that coursing will not take place in those conditions. [42239/12]

The control of live hare coursing, including the operation of individual coursing meetings and managing the use of hares for that activity, is carried out under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Hare coursing is administered by the Irish Coursing Club, which is a body set up under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958. The regulation of hare coursing facilitates the control of coursing and reduces the attraction of illegal, unregulated coursing activity.

I have a responsibility under national and EU wildlife law to ensure the conservation of the populations of certain species, including the hare. In this regard, the Wildlife Acts control the hunting of certain mammals by the use of open seasons. Hares may only be hunted during each open season from 26 September to 28 February of the following year, including by coursing at regulated coursing meetings.

Under the terms of the Wildlife Acts, a licence is needed by the Irish Coursing Club, covering its affiliated coursing clubs, to capture or tag hares. I have issued licences to the Irish Coursing Club allowing its affiliated coursing clubs to net and tag hares for the purpose of hare coursing for the 2012-2013 season. These licences currently have a total of 26 conditions attached to them. These are reviewed regularly and are updated where considered necessary. Conditions of the licences cover a range of items, including providing data on hare captures and releases; having a veterinary surgeon in attendance at a coursing meeting; not coursing hares more than once per day; not coursing sick or injured hares; and having adequate escapes for hares during coursing.

In practical terms, weather can obviously have an effect on such events and in very bad weather the Irish Coursing Club may call off a coursing meeting. I am aware that it has done so in the past. While I am satisfied that, in general, the licensing system operates well, I will consider the suggestion of the Deputy for the next hare coursing season in light of the concerns raised by her.

There is something positive in the Minister's reply. He promises to consider my proposal. To leave the matter to a coursing club to decide whether a meeting should go ahead is like asking a turkey to vote for Christmas.

The Minister has told me that he once proposed the muzzling of greyhounds. I know he has some concern for animal welfare. I want to see, at the least, a level playing field so that hares have a reasonable chance of escaping. The Minister knows where I stand on hare coursing. I would like to see it banned altogether. Failing that, I would like to see hares being given some chance to escape. Weather conditions can make that practically impossible. At the coursing meeting to which I referred in the question, weather conditions made it difficult for hares to run, 12 of them were caught and some had to be put down. It is important this condition be attached to the granting of a coursing licence and I am glad the Minister is considering it. If weather conditions are bad, there is also a danger that greyhounds will be injured. It is vital this condition be attached to the licence.

I can have a further conversation with Deputy O'Sullivan on this issue. We have had conversations in the past on issues she has raised with me.

Approximately 95% of hares captured at coursing meetings are returned to the wild. We have a thriving hare population in the country. Where there is coursing, there will be a thriving hare population. Without hares there is no coursing, so it is in the interests of coursing clubs to maintain a high standard of hare husbandry.

The report to which the Deputy referred was prepared in my Department which supervises hare husbandry and habitats. We take this issue very seriously. Recently, a wildlife ranger, on his own initiative, gave coursing clubs in north Kerry a talk about hare husbandry. We are putting a major emphasis on hare husbandry and care of the hare. If coursing is to survive the coursing clubs must respect the hare, look after hares as much as possible and protect the hare habitats in order that they continue to breed. A hare count taken in early 2006 showed there were 233,000 hares in the country, while in early 2007 there were 535,000. The hare population is increasing.

The best thing for the hare's welfare is that it is not subjected to the barbaric practice of coursing. While 95% of them escape, they escape in order to be brought back the next day for the next coursing event, whenever that occurs. There are issues in that regard but we will take them up with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the context of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

Bille um Choimisiún Thithe an Oireachtais

Michael P. Kitt

Question:

4. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Michael P. Kitt den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta cén fáth nár fhoilsigh sé an leagan deireanach den Chaighdeán Oifigiúil a d'ullmhaigh coiste a chuir an Rialtas deiridh ar bun; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [42242/12]

Mar is eol don Teachta, foilsíodh an Bille um Choimisiún Thithe an Oireachtais (Leasú) 2012 an mhí seo caite. Táthar ag súil go gcuirfear tús leis an mBille sa Seanad Dé Céadaoin seo chugainn, 10 Deireadh Fómhair. Tugtar feidhm reachtúil faoin mBille do Choimisiún Thithe an Oireachtais d'aistriú Ionstraimí Reachtúla chomh maith le hAchtanna Oireachtais, agus d'fhoilsiú agus d'athbhreithniú tréimhsiúil an Chaighdeáin Oifigiúil.

Déantar foráil leis an mBille chun athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar an gCaighdeán Oifigiúil uair amháin gach seacht mbliana ar a laghad. Ceanglaítear leis an mBille ar Choimisiún Thithe an Oireachtais dul i gcomhairle faoi athbhreithniú dá leithéid leis an Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, leis an Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna, leis an Aire Dlí agus Cirt agus Comhionannais, le páirtithe eile a bhfuil spéis acu ann agus leis an bpobal i gcoitinne. Faoin mBille, is féidir le Coimisiún Thithe an Oireachtais saineolaithe seachtracha a cheapadh chun coiste le linn athbhreithniú ar an gCaighdeán Oifigiúil.

I gcomhthéacs an Bhille, tá torthaí an athbhreithnithe ar an gCaighdeán Oifigiúil, a rinne Coiste Stiúrtha faoi choimirce mo Roinnse i 2010-2011, seolta chuig Tithe an Oireachtais ag mo Roinn, le breithniú go cuí i gcomhthéacs an chéad athbhreithnithe eile ar an gCaighdeán Oifigiúil. Ba mhaith liom glacadh leis an deis seo chun mo bhuíochas a ghabháil le baill an Choiste Stiúrtha sin as ucht a ndúthrachta.

Fáiltím roimh an chaighdeán oifigiúil. Ach, i litir a fuair mé ón Ollamh Dónal P. Ó Baoill, deir sé nach bhfuil trácht nó oiread is tagairt amháin féin do ghramadach na Gaeilge nó do chaighdeán oifigiúil do scríobh na Gaeilge. Chaith an coiste suas le cúig mhí déag, idir 2010 agus 2011, ag obair ar an gcaighdeán. Deir baill an choiste nach bhfuair siad aon tuairisc ón lá a chríochnaigh siad a gcuid oibre go dtí go bhfaca siad an leagan athbhreithnithe de chaighdeán oifigiúil na Gaeilge ag deireadh Mí Iúil.

Cén fáth nár foilsíodh torthaí na hoibre a rinne an coiste stiúrtha, mar a bhí beartaithe? An raibh difríocht idir moltaí an choiste agus an chaighdeán oifigiúil?

Tuigtear dom go bhfuil leagan nua-shonraithe den chaighdeán oifigiúil foilsithe ag Rannóg an Aistriúcháin i dTithe an Oireachtais. Mar atá ráite agam cheana féin, tá torthaí an athbhreithnithe ar an gcaighdeán oifigiúil a rinne an coiste stiúrtha faoi choimirce mo Roinne-se, ar thagair an Teachta dó, curtha faoi bhráid Thithe an Oireachtais le tógáil san áireamh ag an chéad athbhreithniú eile a bheifear á dhéanamh ar an gcaighdeán oifigiúil. Cé go bhfuil an caighdeán oifigiúil ansin ó 1958, is é seo an chéad athbhreithniú a foilsíodh ar an gcaighdeán oifigiúil ó shin i leith.

Dá bhrí sin, níl obair an choiste stiúrtha caillte. Beidh moltaí an choiste stiúrtha agus an obair a rinne sé i gcaitheamh an tréimhse sin le tógáil san áireamh sa chéad athbhreithniú eile ar an gcaighdeán oifigiúil. Níl sé caillte. Tá sé ansin.

Faoin mBille úr, beidh an reachtaireacht, na hionstraimí, na hAchtanna agus an caighdeán oifigiúil faoi bhráid Rannóg an Aistriúcháin. Beidh sé go léir faoin díon amháin. Go dtí seo, bhíomar ag déileáil le dhá dhream a bhí ag baint le caighdeán. Thoiligh an Rialtas gur chóir go mbeadh sé seo faoi dhream amháin. Ach sin ráite, beidh an obair an-fhiúntach agus tábhachtach atá déanta againn agus an chéad athbhreithniú eile ar an chaighdeán oifigiúil á dhéanamh taobh istigh de sheacht mbliana, de réir an Bhille a bheas ag teacht isteach ins an Seanad an tseachtain seo chugainn.

Ní bhfuair mé freagra ar cén fáth nár foilsíodh obair an choiste. Mar a dúirt an tAire Stáit, ní bheidh athbhreithniú á dhéanamh ar an gcaighdeán go ceann seacht mbliana eile.

Tá a lán daoine buartha mar gheall ar an reachtaíocht seo, a bheas á phlé sa Seanad an tseachtain seo chugainn. Níor déanadh aon teagmháil nó comhairle leis an gcoiste ó Mhí Iúil 2011. Cén fáth nach raibh teagmháil ann? Cén fáth nár foilsíodh tuairisc an choiste? An aontaíonn an tAire Stáit gur cheart an t-eolas seo a chur ar fáil don phobal?

Beidh an t-athbhreithniú á dhéanamh tar éis seacht mbliana, ar a mhéid. Ní féidir leis a bheith níos faide. B'fhéidir go bhféadfaí é a dhéanamh taobh istigh de sin, i gceann dhá bhliain, trí bliana nó ceithre bliana. Ní féidir leis dul níos faide ná seacht mbliana. Sin an rud atá beartaithe ins an reachtaíocht a bheas ag dul tríd an Seanad agus an Dáil. Beidh athbhreithniú á dhéanamh gach seacht mbliana, ar a laghad.

Ní bheidh an t-eolas caillte. Tá an t-eolas seolta anois ó mo Roinn-se go dtí Rannóg an Aistriúcháin. Tá sé ansin agus beidh deis againn breathnú air agus é a úsáid ins an chéad athbhreithniú eile a bheifear á dhéanamh ar an gcaighdeán oifigiúil.

Ba mhaith liom buíochas, ar mo shon féin, ar son mo Roinne agus ar son phobal na Gaeilge, a ghabháil leis na saineolaithe a chuir a gcuid ama, a gcuid léinn agus a gcuid cáilíochtaí acadúla ar fáil fá choinne an corpus tábhachtach seo a chur ar fáil, nach bhfuil caillte agus a mbeimid ábalta úsáid a bhaint as ins na blianta amach romhainn in aon athbhreithniú a bheifear a dhéanamh.

Turbary Rights

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

5. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason that he did not propose or seek a phased transition period for the implementation with the EU Commission of the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association report in view of (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42240/12]

The motion relating to raised bog special areas of conservation, SAC, agreed unanimously by Dáil Éireann on 7 March this year, called on the Government to “engage actively with the European Commission to seek a resolution within the terms of the Habitats Directive, and to prepare and submit a National Raised Bog Restoration Plan to the Commission as a matter of urgency”. This is exactly what the Government did. In April, I secured agreement from Commissioner Potonik to the drafting of a national raised bog SAC management plan, which could unlock the flexibility that is available within the terms of the habitats directive where relocation is not possible. A document outlining the approach to this plan is available on my Department’s website at www.npws.ie. The motion agreed by the Dáil did not call for a continuation of turf cutting to be allowed while such a plan was being drafted. The Government's position was absolutely clear on this point, as set out in my speech on the motion.

Three weeks later, and a week before I met Commissioner Potonik, Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan handed me a submission, which he also forwarded to the Commission, which sought a continuation of cutting on the majority of raised bog SAC sites over a number of years. Such proposals were clearly outside both the terms of the Dáil motion and of the habitats directive. The Turf Cutters and Contractors Association, TCCA, would have been aware from its own discussions here and in Brussels that such a continuation could not have been sanctioned by the Commission or by the Government.

In response to questions posed in the European Parliament in July, Commissioner Potonik made the following reply: “The Commission can confirm that it received a submission from the Turf Cutters and Contractors Association in early 2012. Continued peat extraction on Ireland's 53 raised bog sites of community importance, while a national management plan is being prepared, would be contrary to the provisions of the applicable EU legislation.” The Commissioner went on to state: “The Commission did not give TCCA, or any other party, reason to believe that such continued extraction was possible. Moreover, the Commission does not believe that the Irish authorities have the legal discretion to agree to it either."

There is no need for people to break the law. The vast majority of turf cutters have refrained from cutting and are now engaging with my Department in pursuing alternative arrangements. The objectives of the Dáil motion are being achieved by the Government and turf cutters working together, within the law. However, the TCCA has suspended engagement with the Government and the Peatlands Council. This is regrettable as it would be easier and quicker to realise the objectives of the Dáil motion, through finding solutions for each site and finalising the national plan, with all parties at the table. The TCCA might find that such an approach would better serve its members’ interests. I appeal to the TCCA to return to the table to continue the discussion.

There is a problem with the Minister's response on a number of counts, not least the fact that most turf cutters have cut their plots over the past year and the Minister is well aware the problem is continuing because of the Government's inaction. The motion we passed unanimously in the Chamber took on board and incorporated the very detailed work carried out by the TCCA on developing alternative sites. Immediately after that motion was passed, members of the Peatlands Council contacted representatives of the TCCA and asked them to identify on a phased basis how those propositions could be developed over a three year period. Those representatives came up with the plan that could make it a reality in that time. The Minister went to Brussels without their knowledge, along with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, and did not bat for the objective discussed in this Dáil, the plan outlined by them. The turf cutters know from people who were at the meeting that the Minister did not put forward the proposition as discussed in the Dáil over three hours. It is all very well to quote the European Commission statement from July, but when the Minister was there in April he did not put forward the proposal mandated by this Chamber. All of the issues identified in March are still unresolved and will not be sorted out unless the Minister engages with those involved. He had the opportunity to implement the proposal but walked away from it.

It is simply not true the majority of turf cutters continue to break the law. We received 2,400 applications for compensation or relocation or for the supply of turf. To date, 1,461 payments have been made, 58 deliveries have been made and there is general compliance across the country. I thank many Deputies in this House for encouraging their neighbours to comply with the law. I recognise that and sincerely thank those who have complied with the law and prevent the levying of huge fines on the country.

I represented this Parliament exactly as was set out in the motion passed here. I do not have time to read out the motion but it was clear from Mr. Justice Quirke's remarks at the forum that we would go to Europe to look for permission to draw up a national plan for 53 raised bogs, with the possibility of cutting turf in a small number of these bogs where relocation was not possible. That is exactly what I did.

The first I heard of the plan the Deputy referred to was in Rindoon in Roscommon, when Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan handed me a proposal that he subsequently e-mailed to the Commission and which the Commission refers to in its reply in the European Parliament. That is the process. I was never aware of that plan until it was handed to me. If anything, in the past 16 months I have been totally up front with the turf cutters, contractors and everyone concerned with the entire challenge for the country. I have met hundreds of people and will continue to meet people. It is not too late. I want to engage with the TCCA, as I did at the beginning, so my door is still open to the association and I would like it to engage.

Do I have a supplementary question in response to that reply?

Everyone else gets a supplementary question.

The Deputy had a question in response to the Minister's response.

I have the right to come back for a minute and the Minister then comes back for one minute.

No, for priority questions, the rules are different. That was not an oral question; it was a priority question. The rules are now changing for the oral questions.

So I have fewer rights because it was a priority question?

No, there are four minutes in total available for the exchange of questions.

There are other questions relating to bogs coming up that will allow the Deputy the opportunity to ask further questions.