Credit Union Bill 2012: From the Seanad

The Dáil went into committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

Seanad amendment No. 1 is grouped with Seanad amendments Nos. 163 to 165, inclusive, and with Seanad amendments Nos. 175 to 179, inclusive.

Seanad amendment No. 1:
Section 1: In page 5, subsection (1), line 28, after “Union” to insert “and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators”.

This grouping deals with a change to the Short Title of the Bill and with the inclusion of an area that we now intend to implement.

A number of amendments were made to section 1 on Committee Stage in the Seanad. These amendments and the related Schedules are designed to provide for measures which will allow the Central Bank of Ireland greater capacity to co-operate with its counterparts in other countries. Specifically, these amendments, where enacted, permit the Central Bank to sign the International Organization of Securities Commissions', IOSCO's, multilateral memorandum of understanding, MMOU, by the end of this year. In light of the pressing end of year timeline for signing the MMOU, it has been necessary to make these amendments as part of the Bill.

The purpose of the MMOU is to allow the Central Bank to co-operate and share information with other regulators, including other securities commissions around the world, in accordance with international best practice. The provisions being inserted into this Bill are currently part of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011. Colleagues will be aware that Bill is slowly wending its way through the Houses of the Oireachtas. To cut to the chase, we are including the area contained in that Bill in this Bill because of the timeline by which we must sign the MMOU- by the end of the year. If we had to wait until the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill, which is due for Committee Stage in January 2013, we would miss the end of year deadline for signing the MMOU.

The IOSCO organisation is an international group of regulators, of which the Central Bank is a member on behalf of this country. One of its key functions is to control and provide information to different members on international fraud. The Central Bank of Ireland, as regulator and a member of IOSCO, requested the Government to allow it sign the memorandum and this is the reason we are bringing in section 4. Lest colleagues are concerned this might be some kind of movement two minutes from midnight, that is not the case. The case is we were asked to do this and are bringing it forward from the Bill that is currently only approaching Committee Stage.

These amendments were made in the Seanad and the changes envisaged include enacting section 53 of the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill so that the Central Bank may use its powers on behalf of overseas regulators; enhancing and consolidating authorised officer provisions; and provisions for guarding the Central Bank confidentiality regime. Given that these amendments are not related to credit unions, it was also necessary to amend the Short and Long Titles of the Bill to accommodate them. I would like to emphasise that the expeditious passage of the Credit Union Bill through the House is necessary to allow the €250 million to be contributed to the credit union fund by the end of this year, as there is no scope in the 2013 figures for this to be done after the end of this year. This money is essential for the restructuring process to get under way.

These amendments deal with a number of new sections we wish to include to deal with allowing Ireland to extend its membership of IOSCO. I believe the Central Bank would highlight some of the important benefits of membership if it had an opportunity to do so. In the circumstance where there is international fraud or an allegation of fraud through securities, for example, it should be open to member states of the organisation to pass information freely to other member states. Having this memorandum in place will have benefits for Ireland, as a signatory to the agreement, in terms of governance and international regulation. I commend this group of amendments to the House.

I thank the Minister of State for his comments on the amendments. I would like to ask an overarching question about the spirit of the Committee Stage debate on the Bill. We need to go through a lot of detail in interpreting the Bill, as amended by these 179 amendments. The fundamental question I would like to ask relates to whether the Bill, as amended, makes it clear that the current Central Bank legislation that relates explicitly to credit unions-----

(Interruptions).

I cannot hear the Deputy.

That is not my mobile phone.

My mobile phone has been turned off.

I think there are some technical problems.

My essential question relates to the application to credit unions of the existing body of Central Bank legislation. Is it made clear in the broad thrust of the amendments being introduced that only those elements of the Central Bank legislation that have related to credit unions up to now will apply as we move forward? Will the Minister of State assure the House that the Central Bank legislation will not apply to credit unions in a way that it has not applied to them before now, as an unintended consequence of the amendments?

Deputy Michael McGrath's question relates to one of our key concerns about the Bill. We are at the final stage of the debate on it. I want to commend the Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, for the way he has engaged with the Opposition on the legislation from the start. I also commend the Minister of State, Deputy Brian Hayes, who was involved in part of the discussion on Committee Stage. It is fair to say that at all stages of the legislative process the Minister listened to the concerns of the Opposition about the effect the legislation might have on the credit union movement and all parts of the sector, especially smaller credit unions. I am glad that he introduced amendments in the Seanad after listening to us. Almost 180 amendments are being presented in the House today. It is clear that Sinn Féin would have liked further changes to be made to the Bill and we continue to have concerns about some aspects of it. We will stay in touch with the credit union movement at national and local level and I hope we will not have to return to the issue, but we will do so, if necessary. I am satisfied with the engagement that has happened. It is an example of the true engagement we should have when we are dealing with legislation. I do not want to hark back to what happened earlier other than to say that was not the way to deal with legislation. In fairness to the Minister, he commended me and other Members of the House for introducing practical suggestions. It is clear from the many amendments before the House that our concerns were listened to and I hope we will continue to see that spirit in 2013. I welcome that engagement. I do not have a concern about the group of amendments before the House.

I want to say the same. This has been a model exercise in how the Oireachtas should work. Organisations representing the credit union movement made their views known about the Bill initially proposed by the Government. Representatives of various parties listened to those concerns and brought them to the attention of the Government which took action to change the Bill as a result. That is how democracy should work. I would be interested to hear detailed explanations of some of the formulations proposed by the Government, as there may be some issues that we would still like to raise. In general, the Government has engaged genuinely with the Opposition on this matter and listened to the concerns of the credit union movement. The Bill has been improved substantially as a result. Like Deputy Pearse Doherty, I cannot help wishing the Government had engaged with the public and the Opposition on other matters, some of which we discussed earlier today and in the last week, in the same way. If it had done so, it would have enhanced the credibility of the House and politics generally to a great degree. I hope the manner in which the Bill has been approached will be the manner in which the Government will approach other Bills in the future.

This group of amendments will give the Central Bank the authority to sign the memorandum of understanding. When this issue was brought to our attention during the Seanad debate which I attended, the fundamental question I asked related to when this was brought to our attention. I appreciate the constructive remarks the Deputies have made. This is important because a watchlist of countries that have not signed the memorandum of understanding will be circulated by the International Organization of Securities Commissions by the end of the year. We did not want this country to be highlighted for not having signed the memorandum of understanding when other countries had done so. This net issue was part of the original Central Bank Bill which would have been passed. That is why we have brought it forward. I should have sent a note to my colleagues on the other side of the House when this issue was brought to the attention of the Seanad. I should apologise to the House for this, as it was my responsibility. I note the Deputies' comments that they have no difficulty with the signing of the memorandum of understanding. It is important for this country not be on some kind of blacklist of non-signatory countries as we move into next year. I appreciate the Deputies' remarks in that regard.

The Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, who ostensibly dealt with the Bill on Second and Committee Stages before I became involved gave a commitment in advance of Report Stage that he would respond in the Seanad to a range of amendments the Members opposite had introduced and teased out at the select committee. He was true to his word in considering these amendments which we have tried to reflect as far as we can in the body of amendments being introduced today. The reason it is imperative for this legislation to get over the line before the end of the year relates to the provision of half of the €250 million required for the restructuring of the credit union movement. The rest of the money will be put up through levies within the organisation. That is why it is important for this work to be done by the end of the year. We had a very fruitful discussion in the Seanad with the Members of that House about many of the ideas championed by my colleagues on the other side of this House. As we go through the amendments, I hope the Deputies in question will see how their ideas are being put into law as a result of the changes made in the Seanad.

Deputy Michael McGrath asked a specific question about the definition, with which amendment No. 5 deals. The Minister gave a commitment to amend this legislation to make it clear that only the legislation that already applied to credit unions would be covered by this definition. That will be highlighted when we reach the amendment in question. This will have an effect on what happens in the future. When we reach that amendment, the Deputies will see that the Minister's bona fides are well in tune.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

As Seanad amendments Nos. 2, 3 and 157 are related, they may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 2:
Section 1: In page 5, subsection (2), line 30, to delete “sections 37 and 48(2)” and substitute the following:
“sections 36, 37, 48(2) and 57(2), Part 5 and Schedules 2 to 5”.

Given that these provisions amend the Central Bank Reform Act 2010, it was also necessary to update the citation of the Central Bank Acts. The amendments provide for such an update. This simple change needs to be made as a result of the change made in amendment No. 1. This grouping is consequential on the first grouping having been passed.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 3:
Section 1: In page 5, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following subsection:
“(3) The Central Bank Acts 1942 to 2011, sections 36, 37, 48(2) and 57(2), Part 5 (in so far as it amends any of those Acts), and Schedules 2 and 3 (in so far as they amend any of those Acts) may be cited together as the Central Bank Acts 1942 to 2012.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.

As Seanad amendments Nos. 4 and 48 are related, they may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 4:
Section 4: In page 6, between lines 10 and 11, to insert the following subsections:
“(2) Notwithstanding anything in the rules of a credit union, the board of directors may, by resolution passed during the transitional period, make such amendments of the rules of the credit union as may be consequential on the provisions of this Act.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), the transitional period is the period of one year from the commencement of this section.
(4) Notwithstanding anything in section 14(4) of the Principal Act, after the expiry of one year from the commencement of this section, the Bank shall not be required to register any amendment of a credit union’s rules unless such consequential amendments of the registered rules as are mentioned in subsection (2) either—
(a) have been made before the Bank receives the amendment; or
(b) are to be effected by the amendment.”.

A number of amendments were made to section 4 on Committee Stage in the Seanad. These amendments mirror subsections (6) to (8) of section 14 of the Credit Union Act 1997 and provide for changes to the rules of credit unions consequential on the provisions of the Bill.

Amendment No. 4 clarifies that during the first year following the commencement of this section, the rules of the credit union may be amended by a resolution of the board of directors rather than by the members of the credit union where such changes are necessary to comply with the provisions of the Bill. Amendment No. 48 provides for a reduction in the number of board members from 15 to 11 by amendment to the rules of the credit union.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 5:
Section 6: In page 7, line 31, after “legislation’ ” to insert the following:
“, where applicable to credit unions acting under any authorisation from the Bank provided for by law,”.

This arises from the proceedings on Committee Stage in the Seanad. I brought forward an amendment on Committee Stage to address concerns relating to the definition of financial services legislation. During Report Stage in Dáil Éireann and Second Stage in this House I indicated that I would bring forward an amendment to clarify that it is only legislation that already applies to credit unions that would be covered by this definition. The amendment made on Committee Stage in the Seanad provides the clarification sought. I know this was an issue raised by colleagues opposite at all stages when the Bill was being discussed here.

The amendment provides that the financial services legislation definition only relates to provisions applicable to credit unions acting under any authorisation from the Central Bank as provided for by law. Such authorisation may include acting as an investment intermediary under the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995. The amendment clarifies any misunderstanding that the definition somehow applies a corpus of "banking" legislation to credit unions inappropriately. I again clarify that this definition does not apply financial services provisions to credit unions anew, nor could it be used for that purpose. The perception, that this definition turns on to credit unions a range of new legislative provisions from the wider financial sector, is mistaken.

As the Minister of State said, this is an issue that exercised me, my party and the credit union movement as well as many other Opposition Deputies on Committee Stage. I want to put on record that this is a sensible amendment which is appropriate and deals with the fear that the entire suite of financial services legislation, or a part of it that would not be appropriate, could be applied to the credit union movement. I welcome the Minister of State's amendment.

I very much welcome this amendment, which is very much in the spirit of the suggestions made by all sides of the Opposition and which were fully acknowledged by the Government both on Committee Stage and Report Stage. This satisfies the concerns raised by the credit union movement. I welcome the amendment and commend the Government.

That is very generous. We should bottle that.

Take it while it lasts.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 6:
Section 6: In page 8, lines 23 and 24, to delete all words from and including “or” in line 23 down to and including “secretary,” in line 24 and substitute the following:
“, the secretary or any other member of the board of directors,”.

This is a technical amendment which clarifies that the secretary is a member of the board, unlike, for example, the position of a company secretary.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

We move to Seanad amendment No. 7. Seanad amendments Nos. 10, 15, 17, 20, 21, 24, 26, 27, 30 and 32 are related. The amendments may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 7:
Section 7: In page 9, line 37, to delete "appropriate and".

A number of amendments were made on Committee Stage in the Seanad in order to set out the principles of regulation making power in these sections by clarifying that the Central Bank may only make regulations in respect of these sections where they are necessary to protect members' savings. These sections provide for borrowings, savings, blending and investments.

Amendment No. 20 sets out the basis on which credit unions may borrow money and links it to the purposes of the credit union's objects as set out in section 8 of the Credit Union Act 1997. These include the creation of sources of credit for the mutual benefit of members, the use and control of members' savings for their mutual benefit and the improvement of the well-being and spirit of the members community.

Amendments Nos. 24 and 26 provide that the bank may only make regulations that are necessary in respect of credit union lending practices, reporting loans to the credit union and the holding of provisions for loans or categories of loans.

Amendment No. 30 inserts a test of necessity in respect of the power of the Central Bank to make regulations under this section. This provision states that the Central Bank may make regulations prescribing the investments that a credit union may invest in, including any other matter the bank considers necessary in the circumstances.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

We move to Seanad amendment No. 8. Seanad amendment Nos. 9 and 11 to 14, inclusive, are related. The amendments may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 8:
Section 7: In page 9, between lines 40 and 41, to insert the following:
"(2) The conditions imposed by the Bank under subsection (1) may include requiring a credit union--
(a) to notify the Bank of any events of such significance that could materially affect the credit union including any change to the strategic plan of the credit union;
(b) to operate a more limited business model agreed with the Bank;
(c) to cause to be undertaken an independent review of the credit union's business within 12 months in order to ensure that the credit union is complying with all legal and regulatory requirements.".

A number of amendments were also made on Committee Stage in the Seanad to provide for some of the types of conditions the bank may impose on the registration of credit unions under subsection (1). These include a condition that the credit union must notify the bank of significant events, a condition to operate a more limited business as agreed with the bank and a condition to undertake a review of the credit union's business within 12 months of registration to ensure it is compliant with all requirements. Conditions such as these must be necessary to protect the savings of credit union members. Conditions may need to be imposed in the formative years of a new credit union, as it may be required to build up the requirement risk management and compliance controls within the credit union.

This amendment also provides that only these conditions that are necessary may be imposed as a condition of registration. Any condition imposed may be capable of being appealed by the credit union to the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal. These conditions may only be imposed on new registrations, and there have been very few of these in recent years. Further amendments are consequential on this amendment.

This applies into the future in respect of new credit unions. Clear powers are given to the Central Bank as a means of ensuring that people's savings, shares and deposits are well maintained.

With regard to the independent review which the Central Bank may require to be conducted in respect of a credit union, who is it envisaged would carry out such an independent review, what would be a competent body to do so and who would pay for it?

The credit unions themselves would be asked that. They could, in certain circumstances, ask an accountancy firm or some consultancy to produce a report outside of the credit union. However, the first request would come from the bank to the credit union and it would be a matter for the credit union to then furnish the bank with the requisite information.

Seanad amendment No. 13:

Section 7: In page 10, line 29, to delete “subsection (3)(b)” and substitute “subsection (4)(b)”.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 9:
Section 7: In page 9, line 41, to delete “(2) Any of the” and substitute “(3) Any of the”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 10:
Section 7: In page 9, line 43, to delete “appropriate and”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 11:
Section 7: In page 10, line 3, to delete “(3) Whenever the Bank” and substitute “(4) Whenever the Bank”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 12:
Section 7: In page 10, line 26, to delete “(4) Before deciding to” and substitute “(5) Before deciding to”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 14:
Section 7: In page 10, line 43, to delete “and (2)” and substitute “to (3)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 15:
Section 8: In page 11, line 9, to delete "The Bank may" and substitute the following:
"For the adequate protection of the savings of members of credit unions the Bank may".
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 16, 22, 23 and 25 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 16:
Section 8: In page 11, line 11, after "savings" to insert the following:
"(expressed as a monetary amount or as a percentage of some monetary amount or determinable monetary amount)".

A number of minor technical amendments were made to section 8 which allow the regulations to set limits in the form of a monetary amount as well as a percentage. This section gives effect to recommendation 10.3.27 of the report of the Commission on Credit Unions. It repeals section 27 of the principal Act and replaces it with a provision allowing credit unions to raise funds by issuing shares to members or by accepting deposits. The Central Bank may make regulations in regard to setting limits on the amount of savings or category of savings a member can hold, the ratio of deposits to shares the credit union may hold and any other requirement or limit on the bank consistent with that.

Amendments Nos. 23 and 25 are minor technical amendments which allow the regulations to set limits in the form of a monetary amount as well as a percentage.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 17:
Section 8: In page 11, line 17, to delete "appropriate" and substitute "necessary".
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 18, 19 and 118 to 120, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 18:
Section 9: In page 11, line 26, to delete ""27A.—In addition to" and substitute ""27A. —(1) In addition to".

Seanad amendments Nos. 18 and 19 involve a redraft of the Bill as published. Following further consideration of the Bill, it was felt that the provisions under section 29, which propose to insert a new section 84A into the 1997 Act, would be more suitable under section 9. The latter deals with the policies, procedures and practices a credit union must have in place to ensure it is compliant with requirements imposed on it. For example, the Central Bank may make regulations imposing liquidity requirements on credit unions under section 30 of the Bill. At present, credit unions have a minimum liquidity requirement of 20%. The amendment allows the Central Bank to make regulations prescribing the operational practices, policies and procedures to be adopted by the credit unions more generally. These may include requiring credit unions to adopt monitoring procedures to ensure the 20% liquidity requirement is complied with. Regulations may also require credit unions to ensure people involved in monitoring liquidity have an understanding of the calculation of liquidity and maturity mismatches. These regulations may also deal with reporting requirements, including arrangements for reporting breaches to the board of directors of the Central Bank. A number of consequential amendments following on from amendment No. 18 were also made in the Seanad.

Amendment No. 19 gives the Central Bank and the registrar of credit unions broad regulatory powers. I am not objecting to that, because it is the purpose of the Bill. However, I have made the argument consistently as the legislation progressed through this House that a memorandum of understanding between the credit union movement and the Central Bank would strengthen the Bill and would be helpful in terms of identifying what each should expect of the other. I have lost the debate on that point and do not intend to re-engage in it now. However, I will make a last-ditch appeal to the Minister, Deputy Michael Noonan, to consider, after the Bill has passed, the merits of having a memorandum of understanding between the credit union movement and the Central Bank. The Minister has made positive soundings in this regard.

To echo Deputy Pearse Doherty's point, the credit union representatives to whom I spoke said they would find it very helpful if the requirements and obligations they must meet were set down in a simple and readily understandable way. The Bill has been much improved since its introduction and we have already had this particular discussion. Nevertheless, I urge the Minister to consider what is a reasonable request by the credit union sector.

I understand the Minister, Deputy Noonan, has discussed this issue with the Deputies. A consultation protocol was established two weeks ago. The Minister's view is that were he to include provision in the Bill for what the Deputies are proposing, that might tie the hand of the regulator and be too prescriptive. The Oireachtas gives the regulator powers on the basis that he or she will operate them in accordance with the independence of the office. The Minister has made clear that he has an open mind on the issue. As I said, the consultation process is now established and we will glean something from that. However, the Minister is not proposing at this stage to formalise it in the way the Deputy has suggested. We do not wish to cut across the very important work of the regulator in this matter or to tie his or her hands. I hope common sense and judgment will prevail in dealings between the Central Bank, the regulator and the credit unions, which will ensure there is no need to impose prescriptions on the regulator. A memorandum of understanding is a more formal way of specifying what we all want to see, namely, a proper protocol for dealing with these matters. We will keep a watching brief on the situation.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 19:
Section 9: In page 11, line 33, to delete "legislation."." and substitute the following:
"legislation.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Bank may make regulations prescribing—
(a) certain oversight, policies, procedures, processes, practices, systems, controls, skills, expertise and reporting arrangements which the credit union is required to maintain where the Bank considers this is appropriate in the interest of protecting members’ savings or otherwise appropriate to ensure compliance with the requirements imposed under financial services legislation;
(b) requirements in relation to the oversight, policies, procedures, processes, practices, systems, controls, skills, expertise and reporting arrangements required to be maintained under this section."
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 20:
Section 10: In page 11, line 36, to delete "A credit union may" and substitute the following:
"For the purpose of its objects as referred to in section 6 a credit union may".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 21:
Section 10: In page 11, line 38, to delete "The" and substitute the following:
"For the adequate protection of the savings of members of credit unions, the".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 22:
Section 10: In page 11, line 45, after "money" to insert the following:
"(expressed as a monetary amount or as a percentage of some monetary amount or determinable monetary amount)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 23:
Section 11: In page 12, line 38, after "amount" to insert the following:
"(whether expressed as a monetary amount or as a percentage of some monetary amount or determinable monetary amount)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 24:
Section 11: In page 13, line 27, after "relates" to insert the following:
"and for the adequate protection of the savings of members of credit unions".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 25:
Section 11: In page 13, line 32, after "the" where it secondly occurs to insert "total, including percentage,".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 26:
Section 11: In page 13, line 43, to delete "The Bank may" and substitute the following:
"For the adequate protection of the savings of members of credit unions the Bank may".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 27:
Section 11: In page 13, line 44, to delete "appropriate" and substitute "necessary".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 28:
Section 11: In page 14, subsection (2), between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:
"(a) there is a subsisting approval given by the Bank under subsection (2) of section 35 of the Principal Act in respect of the limits set out in that subsection,".

An amendment was made to section 11 on Committee Stage in the Seanad to provide for a transitional arrangement whereby an approval by the Central Bank under the existing section 35(2) of the Credit Union Act 1997 in respect of longer-term lending by a credit union would continue to have effect upon commencement of this section. The amendment simply clarifies the existing position in order to put it beyond doubt.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 29:
Section 12: In page 15, line 13, to delete "subsection (5)" and substitute "subsection (6)".

This amendment was made on Committee Stage in the Seanad. It is a minor amendment to rectify an incorrect cross-reference in the text.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 30:
Section 12: In page 15, line 22, after "subsection (2)" to insert the following:
"and having regard to the need to avoid undue risk to members’ savings".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 31:
Section 12: In page 15, line 25, after "investments" to insert the following:
", including, where appropriate, any investment project of a public nature".

This is another of the Opposition amendments that was debated with the Minister, Deputy Noonan, at the select committee.

Amendment No. 31, made in the Seanad, follows on from the discussion on Committee and Report Stages in this House where the Minister committed to examining this section in order to allow a credit union to invest in public projects. This amendment arose out of discussion with the Office of the Attorney General on the issue, and makes clear that the power of the Central Bank to make regulations relating to investments includes scope for making regulations in respect of investments in public projects. The Minister remains open to credit unions coming forward at an early stage to outline their proposals in respect of such investments. A further amendment to this section was made in the Seanad. What the Minister has done in the amendment we asked the Seanad to agree - as it did - is effectively to include public projects for the purposes of allowing the Central Bank to make regulations. I know that was a key concern of Members opposite.

Again, I commend the Government on this amendment. It is one of the most important moves to acknowledge explicitly in the Bill a very positive suggestion made by the credit unions. In these rather bleak times when we often argue with one another about what not to do, and desperately look around for positive suggestions about what we might do, this is a positive, forward-looking and imaginative proposal by the credit unions that can benefit everybody. Not only is it important to include it in the Bill but I urge the credit unions, as did the Minister of State, to come forward with their proposals so that we can look at them and thereby take this suggestion seriously. It seems as if some of the desperately needed investment funds we would all like to see made available to invest in employment-rich and socially valuable projects are being offered to us by an organisation whose members have the best interests of this country at heart. It is a very positive move and I hope we not only include it in the Bill but also that we take up this suggestion and seek to develop it.

I thank the Minister of State for responding positively to the request to put this amendment in the Bill, as tabled by me on Committee and Report Stages. I would have preferred a more explicit statement on State-guaranteed public projects but I recognise the wording presented by the Minister of State does not prohibit this, so I find it acceptable.

As the Bill passes into law, I acknowledge the Minister of State's comment that he is open to meeting the credit union movement. It is now up to the movement to step up to the mark. It has been seeking this amendment and therefore it should come forward with proposals. It is equally important that the Department of Finance should co-ordinate a position that can be proposed to the credit union movement. This would state the kind of investments envisaged, would point out that the credit unions had wanted the measure and note that it has been enshrined into law in terms as clear as day. It can ask them what their proposals are, ranging from small, medium and large packages. These may be the concern of the Department with responsibility for housing or the Department of Education and Skills, which can put them together with the co-ordination of the Department of Finance. It is a two-way street. I welcome this move.

I concur with the sentiments of previous speakers. This amendment is to be welcomed. It is satisfactory and gives explicit recognition to the possibility of credit unions investing in projects of a public nature, which is something they will welcome. I share Deputy Doherty's view that this option should now be explored fully by credit unions.

I hear what all the Deputies are saying. There is an opportunity here to do something imaginative. Although this section is all about ensuring that credit unions use their investments with judgment and common sense, there must be a recognition that where public projects arise that could have a mutual benefit for credit union members in communities known to credit unions, it makes sense to invest in them, having regard to any potential risks. The way we approached this in the amendment was to give power to the Central Bank to bring forward the regulations. This seemed to get over the legal hurdle that had been present up to the point when we had our discussions with the Office of the Attorney General. There is nothing to stop the Department of Finance, with other Departments, as Deputy Doherty suggested, bringing forward ideas and proposals or a scheme of ideas, in tandem with the regulations the Central Bank will make. This is positive because it is about delivering for an entire community. Such a community also looks to the future as to where its investments can best lie and how community benefit can best be obtained. They are the people who know best, and that can be tempered by a standard form of regulation which the Central Bank can stand over. I believe we are all in agreement on that.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 32:
Section 12: In page 15, lines 38 and 39, to delete “appropriate” and substitute “necessary”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 33:
Section 15: In page 19, to delete lines 1 to 5 and substitute the following:
“(6) The board of directors of a credit union shall be elected—
(a) where the organisation meeting occurs after the commencement of this provision (as amended by section 15 of the Credit Union Act 2012), by secret ballot at the organisation meeting and, subject to subsection (15) and section 57, subsequent vacancies on the board of directors shall be filled by secret ballot at an annual general meeting, and
(b) in any other case, by secret ballot at the annual general meeting first occurring after the commencement of this provision (as amended by section 15 of the Credit Union Act 2012) or, if earlier than that annual general meeting, at a special general meeting called for the purpose of such ballot and, subject to subsection (15) and section 57, subsequent vacancies on the board of directors shall be filled by secret ballot at an annual general meeting.”.

Amendment No. 33, made in the Seanad, makes provision for the election of the board of directors at the first annual general meeting or special general meeting called after the organisation meeting of a new credit union. This amendment was necessary to ensure consistency between the ways the board oversight and the board of directors are elected. It provides a transitional arrangement for the election of the board of directors at the first agm or sgm, following the commencement of the section. This was necessary given the decrease in the maximum number of directors that may be appointed to the board under this Bill - a reduction from a maximum of 15 to a maximum of 11, which was well debated on all sides.

On Committee Stage in the Seanad I noted there were incorrect cross references in these amendments and stated I would bring forward amendments on Report Stage to rectify these inconsistencies. They should refer to section 53(15), not to section 53(16). These amendments were made on Report Stage in the Seanad and the correct cross references have now been included in subsection (6).

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 34, 37, 38, 40, 42 to 46, inclusive, 51 to 54, inclusive, 65, 73, 91, 93, 115 to 117, inclusive, 168 and 169 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 34:
Section 15: In page 19, lines 11 and 12, to delete ", (13) and (14)" and substitute "and (12)".

I refer to amendment No. 34. An amendment was made on Committee Stage in the Seanad to remove subsections (12) and (13) of section 15 as these will be provided for in a new fitness and probity regime which will be rolled out for credit unions on a phased basis, as recommended by the Commission on Credit Unions. Further amendments were also made to amend the cross references caused by the deletion of subsections (12) and (13) by amendment No. 37.

Amendment No. 51 amended paragraph (f) in section 17(1). This section previously provided that a person performing management functions in a credit union must have particular knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications, competence and probity to carry out these duties effectively. This was deleted by an amendment in the Seanad as it would be covered separately under the fitness and probity regime which will be rolled out for credit unions over time. In effect, we are removing the fitness and probity references because they are surplus to requirements given that they will be rolled out over time. The application of fitness and probity requirements was agreed by the Commission on Credit Unions and will apply, depending on the nature of the scale and the complexity of the credit union concerned.

Amendment No. 52 deleted paragraph (p), as it referred to requirements set out in subsections (12) and (13) of section 53. As these subsections were being deleted, paragraph (p) is now invalid. Amendments Nos. 53 and 54 also make the consequential cross references arising from the deletion of paragraph (p).

Amendment No. 73 deleted paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (5) of subsection 63A, as inserted by section 21 of the Bill.

When appointing a person as manager, it is necessary to ensure that the person appointed complies with all legal requirements. The list of requirements that a manager must fulfil has been deleted as these standards will also be set out under the fitness and probity requirements which will apply to credit unions in line with the recommendation of the Commission on Credit Unions. These measures will be rolled out to credit unions over time and they will take account of the size and scale of credit unions. This amendment ensures that the person appointed as manager will comply with all legal requirements, including those prescribed by the Central Bank. Further amendments were made on Committee Stage in the Seanad in order to correct the cross references arising from the deletion of section 53(12) and (13), as inserted by section 15 of the Bill.

I am not at all happy with amendments Nos. 35 and 95 for two reasons. The first of these reasons relates to the general exclusion which prevents voluntary assistants in credit unions from serving on the boards of those credit unions. We have been around the houses in respect of this matter on a number of occasions and I will not repeat the arguments put forward previously. This is the one major area within the legislation with which the Minister for Finance has not dealt generously.

I apologise for interrupting but I believe the Deputy is referring to amendments in the next group.

I am sorry for that.

This group of amendments relate to the fitness and probity requirements.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 35 is grouped with Seanad amendments Nos. 36, 95 to 111, inclusive, 113 and 174.

Seanad amendment No. 35:
Section 15: In page 19, to delete lines 25 to 30 and substitute the following:
"(a) an employee or voluntary assistant of the credit union or an employee of any other credit union;
(b) a member of the board oversight committee of the credit union;".

This group contains the amendments about which Deputy Doherty is concerned. A number of amendments were made on Committee Stage in the Seanad which relate to eligibility for membership of boards of directors and which arose as a result of constructive debates with Deputies and Senators in both Houses in recent weeks. The effect of these amendments will be to reduce the exclusions that would apply to members of boards. There was a great deal of discussion in respect of this matter on Committee Stage and Report Stage in the Dáil and the Minister, Deputy Noonan, gave a guarantee to the effect that he would introduce amendments. These are the amendments before the House. I accept that not everyone will be satisfied with them but we have gone as far as possible.

Amendment No. 35 allows volunteers from a credit union, as well as a member of the board oversight committee of such a credit union, to serve on the board of another credit union. That is the first substantial change and it means that if a person is a volunteer with one credit union, he or she can serve on the board of another. That was the first exclusion we overturned.

Amendment No. 36 removes the prohibition under which family members of volunteers on credit unions may not become directors. This was the second exclusion, under which, if a person was a volunteer in a credit union, he or she was excluded from serving on the board. The Minister stated that he would introduce an amendment in this regard and he has done so. This amendment also removes the express exclusion of members who have been in arrears on their repayments for more than 90 days. Instead, it provides that credit union rules should deal with the eligibility of such members.

Amendment No. 174 follows on from amendment No. 36 and provides that the rules of a credit union must set out how it will deal with a member of the board of directors or board oversight committee who is in arrears of more than 90 days, up to and including suspension or removal of that member.

Amendments Nos. 95 to 111, inclusive, and 113 relate to exclusions from the board oversight committee. There was much constructive debate in the Dáil and Seanad in respect of the eligibility for membership of board oversight committees. A number of amendments were proposed in respect of section 53(10) in the context of changes to the exclusions from boards of directors. These amendments were proposed in order to ensure consistency between boards and board oversight committees. Their effect will be to reduce the number of exclusions that would have applied in respect of membership of board oversight committees.

Amendment No. 95 allows volunteers from other credit unions to be on the board oversight committee of a credit union. This matter arose on foot of Committee Stage proceedings in the Dáil. Amendment No. 106 removes the prohibition on family members of the credit union becoming members of the board oversight committee. Amendment No. 96 allows a director of another credit union to become a board oversight committee member. Amendment No. 108 clarifies that a member of the board oversight committee of the credit union cannot also sit on the board of directors of the same credit union. Amendment No. 104 makes a change to the exclusion of auditors from the board oversight committee. This exclusion will now include a person employed or engaged by that auditor and is designed to guard against any conflict of interest in the context of a person having worked in other credit unions or possessing information about what is occurring in another credit union. Amendment No. 109 deletes section 76N(4)(q) in line with the changes for exclusion from board membership. Amendment No. 110 ensures that where a committee member falls under any exclusion provisions, he or she should resign from the committee.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge the fact that this section has been changed to a substantial degree. There is no doubt about that. Consequently, many of the concerns that were voiced have been met. However, there is an issue outstanding in respect of the voluntary aspect. I will not rehash the debates in which we have engaged on this matter. We will monitor what occurs and if difficulties arise, we will return to this matter either in the form of a Topical Issue debate or on Private Members' business. I encourage the Minister of State and the Department to monitor this provision in order to gauge its effect. I understand what the Minister and Minister of State have been saying during the debates on the Bill in the context of ensuring that we have the best governance. However, we must also ensure that the latter does not impact in a negative way on the sector and, in particular, on smaller credit unions.

The second matter about which I am concerned relates to the exclusion of a staff member of a credit union from serving on the board of another credit union. There was a way to do this in the context of the conflict of interest provisions. Again, I will not revisit the debate on this matter. What I will say is that those who are voluntary assistants within credit unions or who serve on boards of directors may obtain employment in other credit unions as a result of the experience they have gained. The Bill will have the unintended consequence of forcing such people into making a choice between their job and their position on the board of directors. Such individuals or their parents may have been involved in the founding of the credit union in question and they will not be placed in a nice position. Cases of this nature may be few and far between but we should not put anyone in the position to which I refer. I accept, however, that it is too late to tweak the provision but perhaps we can revisit the matter in the future.

I strongly support the other amendments that have been put forward in this regard. I refer, in particular, to amendment No. 36, which relates to circumstances in which a person is in arrears and will be excluded from the board of directors as a result. As I pointed out on Committee Stage, such members should be forced to resign with immediate effect. It is very important that this will now be the case. I thank the Minister of State for bringing forward this amendment.

This is the only part of the Bill to which I am strongly opposed. Amendment No. 35 is actually better then the provision contained in the Bill, but it does not go far enough. That is why I wish to place on record the fact that I remain opposed to the relevant exclusions. I ask the Minister of State to monitor the position with regard to voluntary assistants and to give particular consideration to the provision under which a person will be asked to choose between his or her job and his or her membership of the board of directors.

My final point relates to amendment No. 124, which is in a later group. That amendment is relevant to the matter under discussion because it deals with the exemption clause I suggested on Committee Stage and in respect of which I tabled an amendment on Report Stage. The Minister for Finance signalled that he was open to such a clause.

Amendment No. 124 deals with that issue to a certain degree.

The length of service.

It allows for the Central Bank asking the credit union to appoint an additional person and the term limits are waived.

Yes, if they can find someone.

It deals with the term limits issue in one way. I will discuss this matter further when we come to that group of amendments. However, it does not deal with the issue of a voluntary worker or a person working for another credit union. The issue of term limits could also apply in this instance. I suggest a waiver if the Minister of State is not willing to remove it altogether. Amendment No. 124 could have been expanded to include dealing with the prohibition on serving as a director in the case of voluntary assistants and staff of another credit union. It would be solely at the discretion of and with the permission of the Central Bank. This might be another way by which we could have addressed the issue. I suggest we return to it at a later stage.

I welcome the amendments which represent progress and improve the Bill. I welcome, in particular, the amendment dealing with directors who find themselves in arrears. An amendment was necessary in this case. The restrictions are unnecessarily onerous, particularly when it comes to volunteers. It is often the case that the members of a board of directors are mature in years with time on their hands. It could be argued that working voluntarily for the credit union every week enhances their role as board members and gives such individuals a greater understanding of the operation of the credit union. This restriction is unnecessary, but it remains to be seen how it will work in practice.

I agree with others that the Bill has been improved substantially by meeting some of the concerns expressed. I echo the points made about the removal of the exclusion on persons in arrears. However, the democratic principle of credit unions may be somewhat undermined - the right of members to make these decisions and judgments about the people they wish to serve on the board. I welcome the improvements, but the Minister of State should keep an ear to concerns or problems that may arise as a result of the exclusions which continue to be provided for in the Bill.

I agree with colleagues that the amendments have improved the section substantially by doing away with the more ridiculous exclusions. However, there is a fundamental distinction between a volunteer and an employee or a director. The credit union is a unique organisation which has given so much to the country. We need to arrive at the correct balance. The next group of amendments deals with the term limit - 12 years out of 15. I made the point yesterday on Report Stage in the Seanad that it was only when the Bill was passed by both Houses and became law that all these sections would apply. For example, a person may have served for 30 years, but he or she will only be appointed as a director next year. The Bill will be another transition for the credit union movement and it is certain this issue will be considered again in the next few years. I understand the point made by Deputy Pearse Doherty. The next group of amendments provides that the Central Bank is empowered to put to one side the exclusion if a credit union cannot find people because of the term limit. The Deputy has argued that the same should apply to volunteer and employees. I understand the logic of his argument. When this new regime and the transition period begin, we may need to look at any problems with the exclusion of volunteers. Beginning with the report of the commission, there has been an argument that this distinction is needed to ensure potential conflicts of interest are minimised and that the best governance system will be in place for all credit unions.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 36:
Section 15: In page 20, to delete lines 16 to 28 and substitute the following:
“(m) a person who is a spouse or civil partner, parent, sibling or child of a director, board oversight committee member or employee of that credit union.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 37:
Section 15: In page 20, to delete lines 32 to 49 and in page 21, to delete line 1.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 38:
Section 15: In page 21, line 2, to delete “(14) A member of” and substitute “(12) A member of”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 39, 41, 64, 66, 112 and 124 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 39:
Section 15: In page 21, line 4, to delete “9 years” and substitute “12 years”.

I tabled a number of amendments on Committee Stage in the Seanad to increase the term limits of members of the board of directors. This arose from discussion with colleagues opposite on Committee and Report Stages in this House. On Report Stage the Minister for Finance had stated he intended to bring forward an amendment, following consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, to change the term limits to 12 years in aggregate in a 15 year period. This commitment is now reflected by the amendments made in the Seanad which strike an appropriate balance between promoting board rotation and protecting the volunteer ethos of credit unions. Seanad amendment No. 66 is consequential on this amendment to increase the term limits from nine to 12 years. Seanad amendment No. 64 increases the maximum consecutive term for the chairman from three years to four. The term of office of the chairman is for a period of one year. Currently, a chairman is not permitted to serve more than three consecutive terms in that post. The Minister agreed on Committee Stage to increase the maximum consecutive term for the chairman from three years to four. This will ensure continuity in the board. However, it will also be one of the responsibilities of the nomination committee to ensure board continuity. Seanad amendment No. 124 permits the Central Bank to appoint a director, even where that person may have exceeded the limit. This is the point made by Deputy Pearse Doherty when speaking on the previous group of amendments. The bank can give a credit union the power to appoint someone, even if that person is beyond the term limit.

In the course of the debate on Committee Stage and again in the Seanad a discussion ensued on a waiving of the term limits in exceptional circumstances. The Minister undertook to examine this proposal. The issue to be addressed is whether the term limits could result in a credit union being unable to attract enough suitable directors. The Bill already provides that the Central Bank can require a credit union to nominate additional directors where the board is lacking in skills or expertise. The director so nominated must be approved by the Central Bank. The Bill has been amended in order that the time served as an additional director in these circumstances is not reckoned for the purposes of the term limit. This means a director who has already served his or her 12 years in a15 year period could still be appointed to the board, but only in these exceptional circumstances, if there is a deficiency in expertise and agreed to by the Central Bank. This addresses the concern raised without undermining the core principle of the Bill on term limits.

This is reasonable. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, made the point a number of times that he wanted to retain the principle of rotation. He has given some ground on the issue of the term limit moving from nine years to 12.

Who knows where any of us will be in January 2025? There will be a number of Governments between now and then and this issue can be kept under review. I am satisfied with the amendments and thank the Government therefor.

That is a sobering thought. Where will we be in 2025?

On the board of a credit union.

This is a considerable improvement in recognition of the concern raised by the credit unions.

Given the Minister of State has provided for exceptional circumstances, I hope that, if everybody is being reasonable, the concerns expressed by the credit unions will be addressed adequately. However, I never really received a satisfactory answer to one question, bearing in mind the importance ascribed to the principle of rotation and the imposition of term limits. If term limits are considered so important for credit unions, why are they not imposed on banks, for example? Why does the Government attach so much importance to term lmits for credit union directors? Why do we not have a problem in this regard and with certain other conditions that applied to staff who served in our banks over the years? Will the Minister of State explain this?

I do not support term limits. The credit union movement is a democratic movement. In the same way that this institution, a democratic one, does not have term limits, credit unions should not have any either. The issue is dealt with and we lost the debate but I welcome the fact that the Minister of State has extended the term limits. I welcome the exclusion, waiver or whatever the Minister of State wants to call it that I suggested on Committee Stage and furnished on Report Stage. It is basically encompassed in amendment No. 124, which deals with the term limits. The provision is not as strong as I would have liked. It refers to an additional director. I am not sure about this because I obviously have not been on the board of directors of a credit union.

Consider the circumstances if we add up the exclusions that exist in terms of voluntary assistance, employees of other credit unions and account for the real and necessary requirements we place on directors of credit unions to be fit for purpose and have knowledge and experience. In a small credit union, one could limit the pool; therefore, this is a question of additional directors and not about circumstances where a credit union cannot fill its complement. Scope is provided to allow that to happen. I hope the procedure will not be cumbersome. Under section 90, the review must be carried out by the Central Bank. One must go to the credit union nomination committee to suggest a director one feels would be fit for purpose. The bank must agree that and then the director is appointed for the period up to the next AGM. After an AGM, the procedure could take nine months, after which the director may only be in office for three months before leaving. The provision is really to ensure that the board does not lose experience and will have the necessary experience to carry out its functions properly. I am a little bit concerned but perhaps my concern is ill founded. The Central Bank will obviously have to work out the procedure. I want to ensure the process is not cumbersome.

The legislation does address my concerns in regard to the points on directors. We could have given full discretion to the Central Bank in respect of a voluntary member of staff or a member of staff from another credit union. I can understand the conflict that the Minister of State talked about in regard to a staff member of one credit union being a director of another, and the need for one to be fully aware of the books and all the various projects. If the section encompassed this, it would be up to the Central Bank to determine whether the employee of a given credit union would have a conflict of interest if he or she were a director of another. The amendment would be very safe. We cannot do anything about this at this stage but we could and should have examined it. Perhaps we will do so.

We all share the common goal of ensuring that credit unions have the requisite number of staff with suitable qualifications and skills required to do the job they are being asked to do. Deputy Doherty made a fair point in asking whether we are now accepting a pretty cumbersome set of circumstances whereby, if a credit union found it did not have the correct range of skills required on its board, it would make an application to the Central Bank, which would decide on the position, after which a name would come forward that the bank would have to sanction. If this applies, it is because the credit union makes the application to the Central Bank on the basis that it feels it does not have the requisite number of people to serve the purpose in question because of a lack of skills or expertise. This gives the credit union the power to make the first move. However, Deputy Doherty's point is important in that it is a question of what happens next. This issue is one that the Central Bank needs to be mindful of in circumstances where it is trying to expedite an application on behalf of the credit union. Certainly, any help that the Department of Finance can bring to bear on the bank to speed up the process and putting in place a code of practice in this regard would make sense.

On the remarks made by Deputy Boyd Barrett, there have been many investigations into banking but we have not had a commission yet. What we have attempted to do is put the legislative requirements in place to deal with the issues concerning credit unions. Without wishing to reopen cans of worms, I am pretty happy that the Government has addressed virtually all the issues concerning the directors who were in place in the various credit institutions, whether we own them or not, and that the institutions have a new governance system in place with new staff who will, I hope, recover the banks on behalf of us all.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 40:
Section 15: In page 21, line 7, to delete "(15) For directors of" and substitute "(13) For directors of".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 41:
Section 15: In page 21, line 10, to delete "9 year" and substitute "12 year".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 42:
Section 15: In page 21, line 11, to delete "subsection (14)" and substitute "subsection (12)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 43:
Section 15: In page 21, line 13, to delete "(16) Directors of a" and substitute "(14) Directors of a".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 44:
Section 15: In page 21, line 18, to delete "(17) Subject to the" and substitute "(15) Subject to the".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 45:
Section 15: In page 21, line 23, to delete "(18) A director appointed" and substitute "(16) A director appointed".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 46:
Section 15: In page 21, line 23, to delete "subsection (17)" and substitute "subsection (15)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 47 and 49 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 47:
Section 15: In page 21, to delete lines 28 to 31 and substitute the following:
"(17) Where all the directors of a credit union intend to resign on the same date, the secretary shall give written notice of the directors’ intention to the Bank and the board oversight committee."

A further minor technical amendment was made on Committee Stage in the Seanad to clarify that the secretary must inform the Central Bank that all directors intend to resign on the same day. Amendment No. 49 was made on Committee Stage in the Seanad to remove unnecessary wording in section 16. The secretary is a board member and, as such, is entitled to attend board meetings.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 48:
Section 15: In page 21, subsection (2), lines 33 and 34, to delete all words from and including "to" where it secondly occurs in line 33 down to and including "to" where it secondly occurs in line 33 down to and including "subsection (1)" in line 34 and substitute the following:
"to a reduction in the number of board of directors in compliance with that Act".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 49:
Section 16: In page 22, lines 1 and 2, to delete "shall be entitled to attend and".
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 50, 56 to 60, inclusive, 62, 63, 67 to 72, inclusive, 84, 86, 88 and 89 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 50:
Section 17: In page 23, line 26, after "manager" to insert ", risk management officer and compliance officer".

Amendment No. 50 was made to include the appointment of the risk management officer and compliance officer as one of the functions of the board.

The current wording provides for these appointments as functions of the manager. However, they are more appropriate to the board. The substantive change to the Bill before it was amended was that they related to the manager's functions, but we considered that they were more appropriate to the board. The deletion of subsections (4) and (5) is consequential on the acceptance of this amendment. These matters will be provided for in subsection (1)(e).

Amendment No. 51 was discussed with amendment No. 39 to section 15, while amendment No. 52 was discussed with amendment 34 to the same section. The amendment deletes the famous paragraph (p) as it refers to the requirements set out in subsections (12) and (13) of section 53. As these subsections are being deleted, the famous paragraph (p) is no longer required. A number of consequential amendments arising from the changes made to the functions of the board of directors in amendment No. 50 are also made.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 51:
Section 17: In page 23, to delete lines 29 to 36 and substitute the following:
"(f) ensuring that there is an effective management team in place;".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 52:
Section 17: In page 25, to delete lines 16 to 18.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 53:
Section 17: In page 25, line 19, to delete “(q) the recommendation to” and substitute “(p) the recommendation to".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 54:
Section 17: In page 25, line 21, to delete "(r) ensuring the accounts" and substitute "(q) ensuring the accounts".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 55:
Section 17: In page 25, to delete lines 23 and 24 and substitute the following:
"(r) reporting to the members of the credit union at the annual general meeting, including nominating a member of the board to present the annual accounts at the annual general meeting;
(s) reviewing and considering any update of financial statements provided to the board by the manager under section 63A(4)(c).".

Amendment No. 55 allows the board to nominate a director to present the accounts to members at the AGM. This role was previously performed by the treasurer; however, as the position of treasurer is being removed, the amendment will maintain the reporting roles, but it will do so in a different way. It also provides that it is the role of the board to consider any update on financial statements provided for it by the manager and mirrors the provisions in section 63A(4)(c). The other amendments are minor technical amendments required to correct cross-references consequential on the amendments proposed.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 56:
Section 17: In page 25, to delete lines 35 to 42.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 57:
Section 17: In page 26, line 1, to delete "(6) The board of" and substitute "(4) The board of".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 58:
Section 17: In page 26, line 5, to delete "(7) The review carried" and substitute "(5) The review carried".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 59:
Section 17: In page 26, line 6, to delete "subsection (6)" and substitute "subsection (4)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 60:
Section 17: In page 26, line 7, to delete "(8) In respect of" and substitute "(6) In respect of".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 61:
Section 17: In page 26, line 10, to delete "either".

The amendment deletes the word "either" from the sentence concerned as its inclusion is a typographical error.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 62:
Section 17: In page 26, line 14, to delete "(9) Where the board" and substitute "(7) Where the board".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 63:
Section 17: In page 26, line 17, to delete "(10) The board shall" and substitute "(8) The board shall".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 64:
Section 18: In page 27, line 26, to delete "3 consecutive terms" and substitute "4 consecutive terms".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 65:
Section 20: In page 30, lines 24 and 25, to delete "in respect of section 53(17)" and substitute "for the purposes of section 53(15)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 66:
Section 20: In page 32, line 22, to delete "9 years" and substitute "12 years".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 67:
Section 21: In page 33, to delete lines 26 to 28.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 68:
Section 21: In page 33, line 29, to delete "(e) appointing or causing" and substitute "(d) appointing or causing".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 69:
Section 21: In page 33, line 34, to delete "(f) preparing or causing" and substitute "(e) preparing or causing".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 70:
Section 21: In page 33, line 37, to delete "(g) implementing the proper" and substitute "(f) implementing the proper".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 71:
Section 21: In page 33, line 39, to delete "(h) ensure that all" and substitute "(g) ensure that all".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 72:
Section 21: In page 33, line 41, to delete "(i) such other matters" and substitute "(h) such other matters".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 73:
Section 21: In page 33, to delete lines 43 to 48 and in page 34, to delete lines 1 to 14 and substitute the following:
"(5) In appointing a person as manager of a credit union, its board of directors shall ensure that the person complies with all legal requirements (including requirements which the Bank may prescribe) to be appointed."
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 74:
Section 23: In page 35, to delete lines 8 to 46 and in page 36, to delete lines 1 to 8 and substitute the following:
“ “66.—(1) If the board oversight committee of a credit union considers that a member of the board of directors has taken any action or decision which, in the opinion of the committee, given in writing to the director concerned, is not in accordance with the requirements of this Part, then, after consulting the Bank, the committee may either—
(a) suspend, with immediate effect, the director by a unanimous vote of all the members of the committee taken at a meeting of the committee called for the purpose of considering the director’s suspension, or
(b) convene a special general meeting of the credit union to consider whether to remove the director in the light of the action or decision taken by that director, but no steps shall be taken under this subsection without the director concerned being given an opportunity to be heard by the members of the board oversight committee.
(2) Where a director of a credit union has been suspended by the board oversight committee in accordance with subsection (1), the board oversight committee shall, within 7 days of that suspension, convene a special general meeting—
(a) for the purpose of reviewing the suspension, and
(b) to consider whether to remove the director having regard to the action or decision taken by that director.
(3) Where the board oversight committee convenes a special general meeting for the purposes of this section the credit union may, by resolution of a majority of the members present and voting at that special general meeting—
(a) ratify the suspension of the director concerned and remove that director from office,
(b) rescind the suspension of that director, or
(c) remove that director from office,
but no director shall be so removed from office without being given an opportunity to be heard by the members present at the meeting.
(4) The secretary of the credit union shall, not less than 21 days before the date of the special general meeting at which it is proposed to move a resolution referred to in subsection (3), give written notice of that meeting to the director concerned.
(5) Where notice is given of an intended resolution to remove a director under this section and the director concerned makes in relation to it representations (not exceeding a reasonable length) in writing to the credit union and requests their notification to the members of the credit union then, unless the representations are received by it too late for it to do so, the credit union shall, subject to subsection (7)—
(a) in any notice of the resolution given to members of the credit union, state the fact of the representations having been made, and
(b) send a copy of the representations to every member of the credit union to whom notice of the meeting is sent.
(6) Subject to subsection (7), and whether or not copies of any representations made by it have been sent as mentioned in subsection (5), the director concerned may require that, without prejudice to his or her right to be heard orally, the representations made by him or her shall be read out at the special general meeting.
(7) Subsections (5) and (6) shall not apply if, on the application either of the credit union or of any person who claims to be aggrieved, the Bank is satisfied that compliance with the subsections would diminish substantially public confidence in the credit union or that the rights conferred by those sections are being, or are likely to be, abused in order to secure needless publicity for defamatory matter.
(8) Where a director of a credit union is removed from office at a special general meeting pursuant to this section, the vacancy caused by the removal shall be filled in such manner as may be determined by the meeting.".".

The amendment sets out new provisions concerning the suspension and removal of directors of the board oversight committee. Issues arose during the debate in the Dáil about the procedure for the suspension and removal of directors, particularly in relation to the directors concerned being provided with written notification of the board oversight committee's reasons for taking action under this section. The Minister, on both Committee and Report Stages in this House, indicated his willingness to look again at these provisions and the amendment reflects the changes necessary in order to address the concerns raised by colleagues in the House. The amendment brings the procedure for the removal of a director at a special general meeting convened under this section into line with that for the removal of a director from office by members of a credit union which is set out in section 56 of the 1997 Act, thereby ensuring greater procedural consistency from one Act to the next. Under this section, the board oversight committee can suspend a director where it considers that a member has taken an action or decision which is not in accordance with Part IV of the 1997 Act.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett proposed an amendment on Committee Stage in the Dáil which was accepted by the Minister and provides that the board oversight committee is required to give written notice to the director setting out the reasons for its decisions before suspending the director or convening a special general meeting of the credit union to consider whether to remove the director. Where a director is suspended by the board oversight committee under this section, the suspension takes effect immediately and if that director does not resign within seven days of being suspended, the committee shall convene a special general meeting to review the suspension and consider whether to remove the director. At a special general meeting convened in accordance with this section the members may ratify the suspension, rescind it or remove the director from office. The amendment provides, in a similar manner to section 56 of the 1997 Act, that a director is entitled to written notice of a special general meeting to be held under this section not less than 21 days in advance of the meeting. The amendment also sets out the procedure for the director in question to make written representations in advance of a special general meeting and that the director has the right to be heard orally at such a meeting. The Minister is confident that the amendment addresses the concerns raised by Deputies in this House.

I thank the Minister of State for accepting the amendment. It is regrettable that the constituent who raised the issue with me is not in the Visitors Gallery, as he has been here to follow some of the proceedings on the Bill. I will not say this has been a labour of love for him, but it has been an issue he has been pursuing for many years. He has specifically sought to have the word "written" inserted in the Bill. The amendment allows for a clear and transparent record to be given of the reasons provided by the board oversight committee for suspending a director of the board. It spells out the steps for proceeding with such a suspension and how the person proposed to be suspended can state his or her case. This is a good amendment and I commend the Government for taking it on board.

A person raised a related issue which probably does not come under the Bill. That person believes there is not an adequate procedure in place for individuals to make a case to the regulator where there is a dispute over the rights and wrongs of a suspension and that there is a need for the Central Bank to ensure there will be a fair procedure in place all the way up the line to allow individuals to appeal a decision in a case if they are unhappy at any stage of the process. That there is now a requirement for reasons to be given in writing will at least ensure a level of transparency about decisions that might be made in this regard.

I welcome the amendment. I am sorry the individual in question is not here to see a little bit of his idea being enshrined in law. I am sure he will be very pleased, however, and that it will have the desired effect.

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. Natural justice requires that people would receive this notification in writing. The point the Deputy highlighted comes from a genuine case where someone felt there had been some unfairness. The fact this is now incorporated in the law puts a standard there for all credit unions to follow. I congratulate the Deputy on doing that.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 75:
Section 24: In page 36, line 43, after “Bank” to insert the following:
“including regulations setting out the form and content of that statement”.

This amendment clarifies that the requirement which the bank may prescribe under section 66(C)(1) of the 1997 Act relate to the form and content of the compliant statement to be provided to credit unions.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 76 to 83, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 76:
Section 25: In page 37, between lines 43 and 44, to insert the following:
“(ii) where the officer is the secretary, in writing to the board of directors and served on the chair,”.

Seanad amendment No. 76 ensures the secretary acts at all times in a manner free from conflict. Where a potential conflict is identified between his or her own interests and the interests of the credit union, the secretary must declare the nature of his or her interest in writing to the board and service notice of that conflict on the chair.

The other amendments are minor technical amendments and are consequential to amendment No. 76.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 77:
Section 25: In page 37, line 44, to delete “(ii) where that officer” and substitute “(iii) where that officer”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 78:
Section 25: In page 37, line 47, to delete “(iii) where that officer” and substitute “(iv) where that officer”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 79:
Section 25: In page 37, line 48, after “secretary,” to insert “or”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 80:
Section 25: In page 38, to delete lines 1 and 2.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 81:
Section 25: In page 38, line 40, to delete “paragraph (i) or (ii)” and substitute “paragraph (i), (ii) or (iii)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 82:
Section 25: In page 38, line 45, after “or” to insert the following:
“where the director concerned is the secretary, in accordance with paragraph (ii) of that subsection, or”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 83:
Section 25: In page 38, line 47, to delete “paragraph (ii)” and substitute “paragraph (iii)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 84:
Section 26: In page 41, lines 15 to 17, to delete all words from and including “The” in line 15 down to and including “union,” in line 17 and substitute “The board of directors of a credit union shall”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 85 and 87 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 85:
Section 26: In page 41, line 19, to delete “authority, resources and experience” and substitute “authority and resources”.

Seanad amendments Nos. 85 and 87 delete references to the risk management officer or compliance officer having the necessary experience to manage the functions of their role. This does not need to be provided for here as these standards will be set out under the fitness and probity regime which was agreed with the Commission on Credit Unions. These measures will be rolled out in credit unions over time and will take account of the size and scale of the credit unions.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 86:
Section 26: In page 42, lines 17 to 19, to delete all words from and including “The” in line 17 down to and including “union,” in line 19 and substitute “The board of directors of a credit union shall”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 87:
Section 26: In page 42, line 21, to delete “authority, resources and experience” and substitute “authority and resources”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 88:
Section 26: In page 50, line 27, to delete “section 55(10)” and substitute “section 55(8)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 89:
Section 26: In page 50, line 39, to delete “section 55(10)” and substitute “section 55(8)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 90, 92, 94 and 114 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 90:
Section 27: In page 51, line 26, to delete “section 76O” and substitute “section 76N”.

These are technical amendments.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 91:
Section 27: In page 51, lines 44 and 45, to delete “section 76S(4)” and substitute “section 76R(4)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 92:
Section 27: In page 52, line 6, after “earlier” to insert “than that annual general meeting”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 93:
Section 27: In page 52, line 8, to delete “section 76S(4)” and substitute “section 76R(4)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 94:
Section 27: In page 52, line 20, to delete “subsection (4) or (5)” and substitute “subsection (4), (5) or (6)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 95:
Section 27: In page 52, to delete lines 35 to 38 and substitute the following:
“(a) an employee or voluntary assistant of the credit union or an employee of any other credit union;”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 96:
Section 27: In page 52, to delete lines 41 and 42.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 97:
Section 27: In page 52, line 43, to delete “(d) an employee of” and substitute “(c) an employee of”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 98:
Section 27: In page 52, line 48, to delete “(e) a public servant” and substitute “(d) a public servant”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 99:
Section 27: In page 53, line 3, to delete “(f) a member of” and substitute “(e) a member of”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 100:
Section 27: In page 53, line 5, to delete “(g) an officer (within” and substitute “(f) an officer (within”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 101:
Section 27: In page 53, line 10, to delete “(h) Financial Services Ombudsman” and substitute “(g) Financial Services Ombudsman”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 102:
Section 27: In page 53, line 15, to delete “(i) a member of” and substitute “(h) a member of”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 103:
Section 27: In page 53, line 18, to delete “(j) the chief executive” and substitute “(i) the chief executive”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 104:
Section 27: In page 53, to delete line 24 and substitute the following:
“(j) the auditor of the credit union or a person employed or engaged by that auditor;”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 105:
Section 27: In page 53, line 25, to delete “(l) a solicitor or” and substitute “(k) a solicitor or”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 106:
Section 27: In page 53, to delete lines 29 to 36 and substitute the following:
“(l) a person who is a spouse or civil partner, cohabitant, parent or child, of a director, board oversight committee member or employee of that credit union;”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 107:
Section 27: In page 53, to delete line 37 and substitute the following:
“(m) a body corporate;”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 108:
Section 27: In page 53, to delete line 38 and substitute the following:
“(n) a person who is not of full age;
(o) a director of the credit union.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 109:
Section 27: In page 53, to delete lines 39 to 46.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 110:
Section 27: In page 53, between lines 46 and 47, to insert the following:
“(5) A person shall resign from being a member of the board oversight committee of a credit union if and when he or she becomes a person to whom any of the provisions of subsection (4) relates.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 111:
Section 27: In page 53, line 47, to delete “(5) A board oversight” and substitute “(6) A board oversight”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 112:
Section 27: In page 53, line 50, to delete “9 years” and substitute “12 years”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 113:
Section 27: In page 54, line 3, to delete “(6) The board oversight” and substitute “(7) The board oversight ”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 114:
Section 27: In page 54, to delete lines 35 to 41 and substitute the following:
“(6) The board oversight committee may notify the Bank of any concern it has, that the board of directors has not complied with any of the requirements set out in this Part or Part IV, or regulations made thereunder, following a unanimous vote at a meeting of the committee called for the purpose of considering such a notification.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 115:
Section 27: In page 55, to delete lines 34 to 50 and in page 56, to delete lines 1 to 8.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 116:
Section 27: In page 56, line 9, to delete “76R.—(1) Subject to” and substitute “76Q.—(1) Subject to”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 117:
Section 27: In page 57, line 5, to delete “76S.—(1) A register of” and substitute “76R.—(1) A register of”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 118:
Section 29: In page 58, to delete lines 22 to 35.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 119:
Section 29: In page 58, line 36, to delete “84B.—(1) In making regulations” and substitute “ “84A.—(1) In making regulations”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 120:
Section 29: In page 59, to delete lines 14 to 20, to delete all words from and including “credit” in line 14 down to and including “commenced.”.” in line 20 and substitute “credit union.”.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 121 to 123, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 121:
In page 59, to delete lines 24 to 26 and substitute the following:
“ ‘liquid assets’ means the assets held by a credit union to enable it to meet its obligations as they arise;”.

Seanad amendment No. 121 provides a more specific definition of “liquid assets”. Seanad amendment No. 122 clarifies the definition of “maturity mismatch”. Seanad amendment No. 123 ensures the proportion of liquid assets to be kept by a credit union will take account of the nature, scale and complexity of a credit union, ensuring that a one-size-fits-all approach is not taken and that the composition and maturity of a credit union’s assets and liabilities is also taken into consideration.

This is line with the commission's recommendations on a tiered regulatory approach. This was in the Bill as published but was mistakenly removed from the Bill as amended on Committee Stage in the Dáil. These amendments clarify the issue and, as I noted in the other House yesterday, make it clear that the tiered approach will not compromise small credit unions or those which have a different range of depositors. That is what these three amendments are for.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 122:
Section 30: In page 59, to delete lines 27 to 34 and substitute the following:
“ ‘maturity mismatch’ means the ongoing or possible future divergence between a credit union’s assets and liabilities because non liquid assets of the credit union have not or, at the appropriate time, will not have matured;”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 123:
Section 30: In page 59, line 43, after “arise.” to insert the following:
“The proportion of assets kept in liquid form shall take into account the nature, scale and complexity of the credit union, and the composition and maturity of its assets and liabilities.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 124:
Section 31: In page 61, line 35, to delete “section 53.”.” and substitute the following:
“section 53.
(5) Any period of appointment under this section shall not be reckoned for the purposes of calculating the number of years that a person has served in aggregate for the purpose of section 53(12) or section 76N(5).”.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 125:
Section 34: In page 62, line 34, after “Part IV” to insert “(other than sections 27B, 27G and 27H)”.

Seanad amendment No. 125 clarifies that sections 27B, 27G and 27H of the Central Bank Act 1997 continue to apply to the credit union auditor. These sections relate to the duties of auditors to provide reports to the Central Bank. Section 27B already makes reference to section 122 of the Credit Union Act 1997. It relates to auditor management and statutory duty declarations. I emphasise that this amendment does not apply any new provisions to credit union auditors but simply reflects provisions which already applied.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 126:
Section 39: In page 63, to delete line 32 and substitute the following:
“ “ReBo” means the Credit Union Restructuring Board;
“stabilisation support” has the meaning given by section 62.”.

An amendment to section 39 was made on Committee Stage in the Seanad to provide for the inclusion of a definition of stabilisation support in section 39. It refers to the definition of stabilisation support which already appears in section 62 of the published Bill.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 127 and 128 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 127:
Section 44: In page 65, lines 25 to 36, to delete subsection (2) and substitute the following:
“(2) Subject to this Part, ReBo may do anything which it considers necessary or expedient to enable it to perform its functions including making arrangements with any other person or body for the use by it of premises or equipment belonging to that person or other body or for the use by ReBo of the services of officers or servants of that person or other body.”.

Amendment No. 127 was made on Committee Stage in the Seanad. It consolidates the provisions relating to the power of the Credit Union Restructuring Board, ReBo, power to carry our certain functions. The power to appoint staff is provided for in section 54. The power to organise meetings is also set out in section 50. As a result unnecessary references to this section and to the powers were removed by the amendment.

Seanad amendment No. 128 deletes section 44(3), which is not required because section 44(2) already provides that ReBo may do anything it considers necessary or expedient to enable it to perform its functions. We are clearing up these tasks with the amendments.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 128:
Section 44: In page 65, lines 37 to 45, to delete subsection (3).
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 129, 146, 151 and 152 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 129:
Section 45: In page 66, subsection (5)(a), line 37, to delete “funding” and substitute “financial support”.

These are technical amendments made on Committee Stage in the Seanad to provide for consistency in the references to what we refer to as "financial support" to be provided from the credit union fund under Part 3 and Part 4 of the Bill. The definition of "financial support" may take the form of a payment, loan, guarantee, an exchange of assets or any other type of financial accommodation or assistance. This is consistent with the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 and the Central Bank and Credit Institutions (Resolution) Act 2009. The amendments were made for the purposes of consistency.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 130:
Section 47: In page 67, lines 39 to 41, to delete subsection (4) and substitute the following:
“(4) The ReBo levy received from each credit union shall be paid into the Credit Union Fund.”.

I brought forward an amendment on Committee Stage in the Seanad to provide that the ReBo levy to be paid by credit unions will be paid into the credit union fund rather than paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer. The expenses incurred by ReBo will be paid out of the credit union fund and, therefore, it is appropriate that the levy received to recoup those expenses should be paid into the credit union fund.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 131:
Section 49: In page 68, to delete lines 14 to 18.

I brought forward an amendment on Report Stage in the Seanad to delete section 49 because the expenses of ReBo are to be paid out of the credit union fund. Section 49 is no longer required as a consequence and, therefore, I do not propose to include this section in the Bill.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 132 and 134 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 132:
Section 51: In page 69, subsection (1)(a), line 25, to delete “the Board of that Board” and substitute “that Board”.

These are straightforward. Amendments Nos. 132 and 134 were made on Committee Stage in the Seanad to correct typographical errors.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 133:
Section 51: In page 69, subsection (1)(f), line 32, after “of” to insert “an auditor,”.

Seanad amendment No. 133 provides that employees of auditors engaged by ReBo are subject to the non-disclosure of information provisions in this section. The amendment ensures consistency in the application of the non-disclosure provisions which the Bill currently applies to employees of agents, consultants and advisers appointed by ReBo.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 134:
Section 51: In page 70, subsection (4), line 10, to delete “the credit” and substitute “credit”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 135 and 136 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 135:
Section 54: In page 71, subsection (1), lines 32 and 33, to delete all words from and including “given” in line 32 down to and including “Reform” in line 33.

Seanad amendment No. 135 made on Committee Stage in the Seanad removes the requirement for the Minister for Finance to obtain the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform before approving the appointment of staff by ReBo. The staff of ReBo will be paid out of the credit union fund and, as a result, the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to their appointment is no longer required. ReBo can, therefore, with the approval of the Minister for Finance, appoint such staff and at such grades as it may determine.

Amendment No. 136 made in the Seanad makes the provisions relating to the appointment of the staff of ReBo consistent with those of the appointment of the chief executive of ReBo. Section 54 now mirrors the provisions concerning the appointment of the chief executive set out in section 53. Section 54(2)(a) restates section 54(2) as published following Committee Stage in the Dáil and provides that the terms of appointment of the staff of ReBo may be determined by the Minister for Finance with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform subject to the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004. Section 54(2)(b) as provided for in the amendment made in the Seanad sets out an alternative means of determining the terms of appointment of ReBo staff. These terms may be determined by the board of ReBo subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance with consent from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 136:
Section 54: In page 71, lines 38 to 43, to delete subsection (2) and substitute the following:
“(2) An appointment under this section shall either—
(a) be on such terms (including terms as to remuneration, duration of term and allowances for expenses) as the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, determine and be subject to the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004, or
(b) be on such other terms (including terms as to remuneration, duration of term and allowances for expenses) as may be determined by the Board of ReBo and approved by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 137:
Section 55: In page 71, subsection (1), line 44, to delete “with the agreement" and substitute "under the direction".

This amendment provides that the board of ReBo may direct the chief executive to undertake certain functions relating to the accounts of ReBo. This amendment reflects that the board of ReBo and not the chief executive is responsible for keeping the accounts of ReBo and submitting those accounts to the Comptroller and Auditor General. Therefore, it is appropriate for the chief executive to act under the direction of the board of ReBo rather than with the agreement of the board.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 138 and 170 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

Seanad amendment No. 138:
Section 57: In page 73, lines 6 to 9, to delete subsection (1) and substitute the following:
"(1) Disclosure by a credit union to ReBo of information or records does not contravene any duty of confidentiality to which the credit union is subject.
(2) A credit union may disclose to ReBo personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003.".

This amendment splits section 57(1) into two subsections to provide clarity on the effect of disclosure of information by ReBo on any duty of confidentiality or on any obligation under the Data Protection Acts. Section 57(1), as amended in the Seanad, provides that a credit union which discloses information to ReBo does not breach any applicable duty of confidentiality. The new section 57(2), created by that amendment, sets out that a credit union may disclose to ReBo personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Acts. This amendment ensures that there is a legal gateway between credit unions and ReBo for the disclosure of information.

Amendment No. 170 inserts a new paragraph (h) into section 71(2) of the 1997 Act, which will allow officers of a credit union to disclose confidential information to ReBo and facilitates the sharing of information between the credit unions and ReBo. ReBo will protect the confidentiality of the information shared under section 51 of this Bill.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 139:
Section 58: In page 73, subsection (2), lines 19 to 21, to delete paragraphs (a) and (b) and substitute the following:
"(a) to provide a source of financial support for the restructuring of credit unions under this Part,
(b) to provide stabilisation support in accordance with Part 4,
(c) to meet the expenses of ReBo in discharging its functions under this Act,
(d) to provide for the costs referred to in section 61(2), and
(e) to provide for the expenses referred to in section 69.”.

Amendment No. 139 adds a number of purposes of the credit union fund to those already listed in section 50(2). This amendment sets out that discharging the expenses of ReBo, the cost of collecting levies due under the Act and the expenses of the bank in exercising its functions are purposes of the credit union fund.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 140, 141 and 143 to 145, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

Seanad amendment No. 140:
Section 58: In page 73, subsection (5), line 34, to delete “restructuring purposes” and substitute “the purposes of restructuring under this Part”.

Amendment No. 140 is a technical amendment which improves the consistency of terminology in this Part of the Bill by removing the references to "restructuring purposes" and replacing them with "the purposes of restructuring under this Part". Amendment No. 141 removes the obligation on the Minister to obtain the bank's approval of an amalgamation or transfer of engagement under section 131(6)(a) of the 1997 Act before providing financial support for the purposes of restructuring. This amendment sets out that the provision of such support may be conditional on the bank giving its approval under this section rather than requiring that approval before the support is provided. This will permit the bank to consider the conditions proposed to be attached by the Minister to the provision of support and the bank can decide accordingly whether to grant approval.

Amendment No. 143 is a technical amendment which updates the cross references to other sections of the Bill dealing with the provisions of restructuring and stabilisation support. Amendment No. 144 clarifies that the support referred to in section 58(7) is stabilisation support. Amendment No. 145 clarifies that the conditions referred to in section 58(4) are those attached by the Minister under section 58(6) to the provision of stabilisation support.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 141:
Section 58: In page 73, subsection (5), lines 34 to 36, to delete all words from and including "The" in line 34 down to and including "Act." in line 36 and substitute the following:
"The provision of financial support by the Minister may be conditional on the Bank confirming the amalgamation or transfer under section 131(6)(a) of the Principal Act.".
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 142 and 161 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

Seanad amendment No. 142:
Section 58: In page 73, lines 37 to 40, to delete subsection (6) and substitute the following:
“(6) Where requested by the Bank under section 66(4), the Minister may provide stabilisation support from the Credit Union Fund on such terms and conditions as the Minister considers appropriate. The provision of stabilisation support by the Minister shall be conditional on the Bank approving the provision of stabilisation support under section 66(5).”.

This amendment provides that the Minister may provide stabilisation support to a credit union from the credit union fund where requested to do so by the bank. The provision for the Minister to attach terms and conditions to any support provided is retained in this amendment. Those conditions are primarily intended to relate to the recoupment of funds provided as financial support under this Act. Amendment No. 161 clarifies that the bank may request the Minister to provide stabilisation support in accordance with section 58(6).

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 143:
Section 58: In page 73, subsection (7), line 41, to delete "subsection (6)" and substitute "subsections (5) and (6)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 144:
Section 58: In page 73, subsection (7), line 43, after "the" where it firstly occurs to insert "stabilisation".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 145:
Section 58: In page 73, subsection (7), line 44, after "but" to insert "conditions under subsection (6)".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 146:
Section 58: In page 74, subsection (9), line 4, after "of" to insert "financial".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 147:
Section 58: In page 74, lines 7 to 9, to delete subsection (10).

On Committee Stage in the Seanad I brought forward an amendment to delete section 58(10). I also brought forward an amendment to section 60 of the Bill which provides the Minister with the power to make regulations prescribing the rate of contribution by credit unions to the credit union fund for the purposes of the provision of stabilisation support under section 58(6). Stabilisation support will be made available out of funds raised through this levy. Therefore, section 58(10) is no longer required and was deleted by this amendment.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 148:
Section 59: In page 74, subsection (1)(a), line 12, after "accounts" to insert "of receipts and payments".

Amendment No. 148 makes a minor amendment to the terminology used in section 59(1)(a) and provides for the keeping of "accounts of receipts and payments of the credit union fund" rather than "all proper and usual accounts".

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 149 and 153 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

Seanad amendment No. 149:
Section 60: In page 74, subsection (2), line 40, to delete “support” and substitute “support,”.

Amendment No. 149 corrects a typographical error. Amendment No. 153 deletes unnecessary wording relating to section 61. Section 61 is a discretionary provision and, therefore, it is not appropriate to provide for an obligation to comply with that provision.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 150:
Section 60: In page 74, between lines 41 and 42, to insert the following subsection:
"(3) The Minister shall make regulations prescribing the rate of contribution, or a method of calculating the rate of contribution, to the Credit Union Fund by a credit union under this section for the purpose of providing funding for the provision of stabilisation support under section 58(6).".

Amendment No. 150 sets out the Minister's powers to make regulations prescribing the rate of contributions or method of calculating the rate of contribution to the credit union fund by credit unions in order to provide the credit union fund with sufficient funds for the provision of stabilisation support. Section 60(2) already provided that the Minister may make regulations prescribing the contribution to be made by credit unions to the credit union fund in order to recoup the cost of financial support provided for the purposes of restructuring. This amendment provides a similar power in relation to stabilisation support to be provided from the credit union fund. This gives effect to recommendation 8.5.8 of the commission report, which recommended that the necessary financing of the credit union fund for the purposes of stabilisation should be sourced from the credit union sector.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 151:
Section 60: In page 74, subsection (3)(a), lines 46 and 47, to delete “carrying out restructuring activities” and substitute the following:
“providing financial support for the restructuring of credit unions”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 152:
Section 60: In page 75, subsection (4)(c), line 16, to delete “funding” and substitute “financial support”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 153:
Section 60: In page 75, subsection (6), lines 26 and 27, to delete all words from and including “be” in line 26 down to and including “and” in line 27.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 154:
Section 62: In page 76, to delete lines 2 to 9 and substitute the following:
“ “stabilisation support” means financial support provided under this Act by the Minister from the Credit Union Fund to a credit union for the purpose of restoring and facilitating the maintenance of that credit union’s reserve requirement, and such support by the Minister may include the provision of technical and financial advice and the provision of financial support to the credit union concerned.”.

Amendment No. 154, which is in the definitions section of the Bill, was moved on Committee Stage in the Seanad. It changes the definition of "stabilisation support" to clarify that such support may include funding unrelated to the reserve requirements. Such funding may be used to update the systems and controls of the credit union and may also include the provision of financial and technical advice to the credit union. This was a recommendation of the Commission on Credit Unions as set out in paragraph 8.5.6 of the report.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 155 and 156 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 155:
Section 66: In page 76, lines 37 to 46, to delete subsection (2) and substitute the following:
“(2) Until the commencement of an order under section 43(1), stabilisation support shall not be approved by the Bank for a credit union under subsection (1) unless the Credit Union Restructuring Board has recommended that the credit union be considered by the Bank for stabilisation support.”.

Amendments Nos. 155 and 156 were also made on Committee Stage in the Seanad. Amendment No. 155 amends subsection (2) by deleting the existing paragraph (b) which states that the Bank may only approve stabilisation support caused by a short-term, non-recurring event. Instead, amendment No. 156 sets out when ReBo may recommend to the Bank that a credit union should be stabilised. During the period of restructuring, a credit union may not be assessed for stabilisation support unless ReBo makes a recommendation to the Bank that the credit union should be stabilised. A credit union must not be part of the restructuring proposal or must have reserves greater than 7.5% before ReBo can make that recommendation. This will ensure that the restructuring process and the stabilisation process are aligned.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 156:
Section 66: In page 76, after line 46, to insert the following subsection:
“(3) The Credit Union Restructuring Board may only make a recommendation to the Bank in relation to an individual credit union for the purposes of subsection (1) if:
(a) the credit union is not party to a restructuring proposal approved or being considered for approval as part of a restructuring plan under section 45 (5)(a), and
(b) the credit union satisfies the requirements of subsection (1)(a)(i).”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 157:
Section 66: In page 77, subsection (3)(a), lines 8 and 9, to delete “Central Bank Acts 1942 to 2011” and substitute “Central Bank Acts 1942 to 2012”.

Amendment No. 157 updates the citation of the Central Bank Acts, which are amended by Part 5 of this Bill.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 158 and 159 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 158:
Section 66: In page 77, subsection (3)(c), line 19, to delete “support” and substitute “such stabilisation support”.

These are two minor technical amendments that were made to this section in the Seanad. Amendment No. 158 clarifies that the support referred to in paragraph (c) is stabilisation support as opposed to restructuring support, while amendment No. 159 changes the reference from "this Part" to "this Act" as stabilisation support is to be provided by the Minister under Part 3 rather than Part 4.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 159:
Section 66: In page 77, subsection (3)(c), line 20, to delete “this Part;” and substitute “this Act;”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 160:
Section 66: In page 77, subsection (3)(g), line 33, to delete “functions.” and substitute the following:
“functions;
(h) such terms and conditions as the Minister considers appropriate to attach to the stabilisation support.”.

Amendment No. 160 clarifies that the bank must have regard to the terms and conditions that the Minister considers appropriate to attach to the decision to provide stabilisation support when making a decision on the approval of stabilisation support to a credit union. A previous amendment gave the Minister the right and the power to attach terms and conditions and this is simply ensuring that the Bank will make sure these terms and conditions will apply. These terms and conditions will deal with issues such as recoupment, which may affect the Central Bank's assessment of viability.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 161:
Section 66: In page 77, subsection (4), line 35, after “may” to insert the following:
“request the provision of stabilisation support by the Minister under section 58(6)* and may”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 162:
Section 67: In page 78, to delete lines 18 to 24.

I brought forward an amendment in the Seanad to delete section 67, which provided that the cost of stabilisation support and any other support, financial or otherwise, required as a condition of stabilisation support shall be met from the credit union fund. Any moneys recouped from a credit union in respect of support provided would be paid into the fund. This section was removed, as subsection (2) is covered by section 58(6) and 58(2) and is covered also by section 58(9).

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 163:
New Section: In page 80, before the Schedule, to insert the following new section:
MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS RELATING TO CENTRAL BANK ACTS 1942 TO 2011
70.—(1) Section 33AK of the Central Bank Act 1942 is amended—
(a) by substituting “subsection (1A)” for “subsection (1)(b)” in each place,
and
(b) in subsection (3) by substituting the following for paragraph (b):
“(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply—
(i) where the Bank is satisfied that the supervised entity has already reported the information concerned to the relevant body, or
(ii) where the information concerned has come into the possession of, or to the knowledge of the Bank, from an authority, in a jurisdiction other than that of the State, duly authorised to exercise functions similar to any one or more of the statutory functions of the Bank.”.
(2) Schedule 2 to the Central Bank Act 1942 is amended in Part 1 by substituting the following for item 38:
”.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 164:
New Section: In page 80, before the Schedule, to insert the following new section:
71.—The Central Bank Reform Act 2010 is amended—
(a) in section 3 by inserting the following definitions:
" ‘authorised officer’ means a person appointed by the Bank under Part 5 to be an authorised officer;
‘financial services legislation’ means—
and
(b) by inserting the following after section 53:
OVERSEAS REGULATORS
54.—(1) In this section ‘overseas regulator’ means an authority in a jurisdiction other than that of the State duly authorised to perform functions similar to any one or more of the statutory functions of the Bank.
(2) At the request of an overseas regulator to do so in relation to any matter, the Bank may –
(a) require information on the matter about which the Bank has required or could require the provision of information or the production of documents under any provision of financial services legislation, or
(b) authorise one or more than one authorised officer to exercise any of his or her powers for the purposes of investigating the matter.
(3) In deciding whether or not to exercise any of its powers under subsection (2), the Bank may take into account in particular:
(4) The Bank may decide that it will not exercise any of its powers under subsection (2) unless the overseas regulator undertakes to make such contribution towards the cost of such exercise as the Bank considers appropriate.
(5) Subsections (3) and (4) do not apply if the Bank considers that the exercise of its power is necessary to comply with any obligation created or arising by or under the Treaties governing the European Union.
(6) If the Bank authorises an authorised officer for the purposes of subsection (2)(b), the Bank may direct the authorised officer to permit a representative of the overseas regulator to attend, and take part in, any interview conducted for the purposes of the investigation of the matter concerned.
(7) A direction under subsection (6) is not to be given unless the Bank is satisfied that any information obtained by an overseas regulator as a result of the interview will be subject to obligations of non-disclosure of information similar to those imposed on the Bank in section 33AK of the Act of 1942.
(8) A person shall not be required for the purposes of the exercise of any power under this section to answer any question tending to incriminate the person.
Authorised Officers
55.—(1) In this Part –
‘agent’, in relation to a person to whom this Part applies, includes a past as well as a present agent and includes the person’s banker, accountant, solicitor, auditor and financial or other adviser, whether or not a person to whom this Part applies;
‘authorisation’ means an authorisation, licence or any other permission required to carry on business as a regulated financial service provider granted by the Bank pursuant to any provision of financial services legislation, and includes registration;
‘customer’, in relation to a regulated financial service provider, means–
(a) any person to whom the regulated financial service provider provides or offers financial services, or
(b) any person who requests the provision of financial services from the regulated financial service provider,
and includes a potential customer and a former customer;
‘person to whom this Part applies’ shall be read in accordance with section 56;
‘prescribed contravention’ has the same meaning as in section 33AN of the Act of 1942;
‘premises’ includes vessel, aircraft, vehicle and any other means of transport, as well as land and a building and any other fixed or moveable structure;
‘regulated market’ has the same meaning as in Regulation 3 of the European Communities (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No 60 of 2007);
‘related undertaking’, in relation to a person (‘the first-mentioned person’), means—
(a) if the first-mentioned person is a company, another company that is related within the meaning of section 140(5) of the Companies Act 1990,
(b) a partnership of which the first-mentioned person is a member,
(c) if the businesses of the first-mentioned person and another person have been so carried on that the separate business of each of them, or a substantial part thereof, is not readily identifiable, that other person,
(d) if the decision as to how and by whom the businesses of the first-mentioned person and another person shall be managed can be made either by the same person or by the same group of persons acting in concert, that other person,
(e) a person who performs a specific and limited purpose by or in connection with the business of the first-mentioned person, or
(f) if provision is required to be made for the first-mentioned person and another person in any consolidated accounts compiled in accordance with Seventh Council Directive 83/349/EEC of 13 June 1983 OJ L 193, 18.7.1983, p.1, that other person.
(2) References in this Part to a regulated financial service provider, or a related undertaking, shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be read as including a person who was a regulated financial service provider, or a related undertaking, at the relevant time.
56.—(1) The following are persons to whom this Part applies (including persons outside the State):
(a) a regulated financial service provider;
(b) a person who has applied for an authorisation but whose application has not been determined;
(c) a person whom the Bank reasonably believes is or was a regulated financial service provider, or is or was acting as or claiming or holding himself or herself out to be a regulated financial service provider;
(d) a person who is or was, or whom the Bank reasonably believes, is or was, without an authorisation, providing a financial service in respect of which an authorisation is required;
(e) a related undertaking of any of the persons referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d);
(f) any other person whom the Bank reasonably believes may possess information about a person referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e);
(g) any person whom the Bank reasonably believes may possess information about a financial product or investment admitted to trading or which is to be admitted to trading under the rules and systems of a regulated market.
(2) The duty imposed by this Part to produce or provide any information, extends to-
(a) a person who is in relation to a person to whom this Part applies –
and
(b) a person who –
57.—(1) For the purposes of obtaining any information necessary for the performance by the Bank of its functions under financial services legislation relating to the proper and effective regulation of financial service providers, the Bank may appoint any of its officers or employees or other suitably qualified persons to be authorised officers and to exercise any of the powers conferred by this Part.
(2) The Bank may revoke any appointment made by it under subsection (1).
(3) An appointment or revocation under this section shall be in writing.
(4) A person's appointment by the Bank as an authorised officer ceases on the earlier of –
(5) In this section ‘suitably qualified person’ means any person (other than an officer or employee of the Bank) who, in the opinion of the Bank, has the qualifications and experience necessary to exercise the powers conferred on an authorised officer by this Part.
58.—Every authorised officer appointed by the Bank shall be furnished with a warrant of his or her appointment, and when exercising a power conferred by this Part shall produce such warrant or a copy of it, together with a form of personal identification, for inspection if requested to do so by a person affected by the exercise of the power.
59.—(1) Subject to subsection (2), an authorised officer may at all reasonable times enter any premises–
(2) An authorised officer shall not enter a dwelling, otherwise than –
(b) pursuant to a warrant under section 61.
60—(1) An authorised officer may do any one or more of the following:
(2) Where records are not in legible form, an authorised officer, in the exercise of any of his or her powers under this Part, may—
(3) Where the Bank or an authorised officer proposes to retain, pursuant to this section, any records taken by the authorised officer under subsection (1) for a period longer than 14 days after the date on which the records are taken, the Bank or the authorised officer shall, before the end of that period of 14 days, or such longer period with the consent of the person hereafter mentioned, furnish, on request, a copy of the records to the person who it appears to the Bank or the authorised officer, but for the exercise of the powers under this section, is entitled to possession of it.
(4) A person to whom this Part applies shall give to an authorised officer such assistance as the authorised officer may reasonably require and make available to the authorised officer such reasonable facilities as are necessary for the authorised officer to exercise his or her powers under this Part including such facilities for inspecting and taking copies of any records as the authorised officer reasonably requires.
(5) Subject to any warrant issued section 61, an authorised officer may be accompanied, and assisted in the exercise of the officer’s powers under this Part, by such other authorised officers, members of the Garda Síochána or other persons as the authorised officer reasonably considers appropriate.
61.—(1) Without prejudice to the powers conferred on an authorised officer by or under any other provision of this Part, if a judge of the District Court is satisfied on the sworn information of the authorised officer that there are reasonable grounds for believing that records are to be found on, at or in any premises, the judge may issue a warrant authorising an authorised officer accompanied by such other authorised officers or members or the Garda Síochána as may be necessary, at any time or times, within the period of validity of the warrant, on production, if so requested, of the warrant—
(2) The period of validity of a warrant shall be 28 days from its date of issue.
(3) An application for a warrant under this section shall be made to a judge of the District Court in the district court district in which the premises concerned are situate.
62.—(1) An authorised officer may attend any meeting relating to the business of a regulated financial service provider if the authorised officer considers that it is necessary to attend in order to assist the Bank in the performance of any of its functions under financial services legislation.
(2) The attendance of an authorised officer pursuant to subsection (1) at a meeting referred to in that subsection does not in any circumstances limit the powers of the authorised officer or of the Bank.
63.—Nothing in this Part shall operate to confer any right to production of, or access to, any record subject to legal professional privilege.
64.—(1) The disclosure or production of any record or other information by a person under this Part shall not be treated, for any purpose, as a breach of any restriction under any enactment or rule of law on disclosure or production by the person or any other person on whose behalf the record or other information is disclosed or produced.
(2) Where a person from whom production of a record is required under this Part claims a lien on the record, the production of it shall be without prejudice to the lien.
65.— (1) If any person to whom this Part applies fails or refuses to comply with a requirement under this Part the authorised officer may certify the failure or refusal under his or her hand to the High Court.
(2) When an authorised officer certifies a failure or refusal referred to in subsection (1) to the High Court, the High Court may inquire into the case and may make such order (including interim or interlocutory orders) or direction as the High Court thinks fit, after hearing -
66.—(1) A person commits an offence if he or she —
(2) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable –
(3) A person does not commit an offence of failing to comply with a requirement referred to in subsection (1)(b) unless, when the requirement was made, the person was warned that a failure to comply is an offence.
(4) If a person refuses to answer a question asked of him or her or to comply with any other requirement made, under this Part, on the grounds that the answer or compliance with the requirement might tend to incriminate the person and the person is informed of his or her obligation to answer the question or to comply with the requirement, the person shall not refuse to answer the question or to comply with the requirement but the answer given or information provided on that occasion shall not be admissible as evidence in criminal proceedings against the person other than proceedings against him or her under this section.”.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 165:
New Section: In page 80, before the Schedule, to insert the following new section:
72.—(1) The Acts specified in Part 1 of Schedule 2 are amended to the extent specified in that Part.
(2) The statutory instruments specified in Part 2 of Schedule 2 are amended to the extent specified in that Part.
(3) The Central Bank Acts 1942 to 2011 specified in Parts 1 to 3 of Schedule 3 are amended to the extent specified in each such Part.
(4) The Acts specified in Parts 1 to 8 of Schedule 4 are amended to the extent specified in each such Part.
(5) The statutory instruments specified in Parts 1 to 7 of Schedule 5 are amended to the extent specified in each such Part.
(6) A person who was an authorised officer, by whatever name called, appointed under the provisions of any enactment repealed or revoked by this Act immediately
before the coming into operation of the repeal or revocation concerned is taken to have been appointed under Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010.
(7) Anything done by a person who was an authorised officer, by whatever name called, appointed under the provisions of any enactment repealed or revoked by this
Act immediately before the coming into operation of the repeal or revocation concerned shall be treated after the coming into operation of the repeal or revocation as done under Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 by an authorised officer appointed under Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010.
(8) Any information gathered, or any other thing done, under the provisions of any enactment repealed or revoked by this Act is to be treated after the coming into
operation of the repeal or revocation as if done under any provision of Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 under which it could have been done had the
provision been in force at the time in question.”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendments Nos. 166 and 172 are related and may be discussed together.

Seanad amendment No. 166:
Schedule: In page 83, item 22, lines 13 and 14, to delete “section 37C” and substitute “sections 37C and 37D”.

Amendment No. 166 is a minor amendment made on Committee Stage in the Seanad which inserts a reference to section 37D of the Credit Union Act of 1997, which sets out the information to be included in the credit agreement notice to the credit union members. This item in the Schedule is required to ensure that there is consistency between the 1997 Act and the European Communities (Consumer Credit Agreements) Regulations 2010, which apply to credit unions. Amendment No. 172 clarifies that the supervisory authority referred to in item 100 is the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority.

Seanad amendment agreed to.

Seanad amendment No. 167:
Schedule: In page 84, item 37, to delete lines 22 to 26 and substitute the following:
“(b) which are being prescribed for the purposes of this section as being services of a description that appears to the Bank to be of mutual benefit to its members,”.

Under the previous wording of item 37, the Central Bank could exempt certain additional services which involved "no undue risk" to the credit union. Amendment No. 167 removes the reference to "undue risk" in respect of additional services that the Bank may exempt from the application requirements under section 47 of the Credit Union Act 1997. It was felt that this wording was too restrictive and could have limited the instances where the Bank could exempt certain services from additional requirements provided in that section. Following the amendment made in the Seanad, the Bank may exempt such services which would be for the mutual benefit of its members.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 168:
Schedule: In page 85, item 44, line 19, to delete “section 53(17)” and substitute “section 53(15)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 169:
Schedule: In page 85, item 46, line 31, to delete “section 53(19)” and substitute “section 53(17)”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 170:
Schedule: In page 86, between lines 53 and 54 to insert the following:
"

59

Section 71(2)

Substitute for paragraph (g):

“(g) which is made to the Bank for the purposes of its functions in relation to credit unions; or

(h) which is made to the Credit Union Restructuring Board for the purposes of its functions under the Credit Union Act 2012.”.

".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 171:
Schedule: In page 88, between lines 37 and 38 to insert the following:
"

80

Section 87(2)(c)

Substitute:

“(c) that, since the registration of the credit union, the factors taken into account in granting registration have so changed that, if the society were now applying for registration, it would be refused; or

(d) that the credit union has failed to comply with any terms and conditions imposed by the Bank under section 66(5) of the Credit Union Act2012 relating to the provision of stabilisation support under this Act.”.

".

Amendment 171 made in the Seanad inserts a new paragraph (d) into section 87(2) of the 1997 Act which allows the Central Bank to impose a regulatory direction on a credit union under section 87 where that credit union fails to comply with the terms and conditions of any stabilisation support given to the credit union under this Bill. This is necessary to ensure that conditions imposed in return for financial support to keep the credit union afloat are enforceable. These could be called the troika conditions. This direction will be appealable to the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal under section 52 of the 1997 Act.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 172:
Schedule: In page 90, item 100, line 43, to delete “Supervisory Authority” and substitute “Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority”.
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 173:
Schedule: In page 93, between lines 16 and 17 to insert the following:
"

134

Section 182(1)(k)

Delete.

135

section 182(1)(m)

Delete.

".

This amendment removes the ministerial regulation-making powers that existed under section 182 of the 1997 Act, as these powers conflict with the bank's regulation-making powers under the Bill and are more appropriate for the Central Bank. These relate to the registration procedures and operations of credit unions.

Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 174:
Schedule: In page 93, between lines 45 and 46, to insert the following:
"

140

First Schedule

Insert after paragraph 13:

"14. Provision for dealing with directors and members of the board oversight committee who are more than 90 consecutive days in arrears under a debt obligation to the credit union up to and including the suspension or removal from the board of such directors.".

".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 175:
New Schedules: In page 93, after line 49, to insert the following new Schedule:
"SCHEDULE 2
AMENDMENTS TO CERTAIN ACTS AND STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS
PART 1
AMENDMENTS TO CERTAIN ACTS

Item

(1)

Number and year

(2)

Short title

(3)

Extent of repeal

(4)

1

No. 24 of 1971

Central Bank Act 1971

Section 17A

2

No. 3 of 1989

Insurance Act 1989

Sections 59 and 60

3

No. 17 of 1989

Building Societies Act 1989

Section 41

4

No. 21 of 1989

Trustee Savings Banks Act 1989

Section 24A

5

No. 24 of 1994

Investment Limited Partnerships Act 1994

Section 25(2)

6

No. 11 of 1995

Investment Intermediaries Act 1995

Sections 9(3), 64 and 65

7

No. 8 of 1997

Central Bank Act 1997

Sections 36G, 36H, 36I, 75 and 76

8

No. 47 of 2001

Asset Covered Securities Act 2001

Section 70

PART 2
AMENDMENTS TO CERTAIN STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS

Item

(1)

Number and year

(2)

Citation

(3)

Extent of revocation

(4)

1

S.I. No. 13 of 2005

European Communities (Insurance Mediation) Regulations 2005

Regulations 28, 29, 30 and 31

2

S.I. No. 380 of 2006

European Communities (Reinsurance) Regulations 2006

Regulations 72, 73, 74 and 75

3

S.I. No. 60 of 2007

European Communities (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2007

Regulations 163, 164 and 165

4

S.I. No. 383 of 2009

European Communities (Payment Services) Regulations 2009

Regulations 99, 100, 101, 102 and 110

5

S.I. No. 183 of 2010

European Communities (Cross Border Payments) Regulations 2010

Regulations 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12

6

S.I. No. 183 of 2011

European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011

Regulations 62, 63, 64, 65 and 72

".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 176:
New Schedules: In page 93, after line 49, to insert the following new Schedule:
“SCHEDULE 3
AMENDMENTS OF CENTRAL BANK ACTS
PART 1
AMENDMENTS OF CENTRAL BANK ACT 1971

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Section 2(1)

In paragraph (d) of the definition of “related body” delete “section 17A” and substitute “Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010”.

2

Section 58(1)

Delete “17A,”.

PART 2
AMENDMENTS OF CENTRAL BANK ACT 1997

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Section 28

(a) Substitute the following for the definition of “authorisation”:

“ ‘authorisation’ means an authorisation under this Part authorising a person to carry on a regulated business;”.

(b) Delete the definition of “inspector”.

(c) In the definition of “retail credit firm”—

(i) substitute “paragraph (e)” for “paragraph (g)”, and

(ii) substitute “section 2(1)” for “section 3”.

2

Section 32A(5)(b)

After “officer” insert “appointed under “Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010”.

".
Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 177:
New Schedules: In page 93, after line 49, to insert the following new Schedule:
“SCHEDULE 4
AMENDMENTS OF CERTAIN OTHER ACTS
PART 1
AMENDMENTS OF BUILDING SOCIETIES ACT 1989

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Section 119(1)(a)

(a) In subparagraph (v) substitute “section 41A” for “sections 41 or 41A”.

(b) Delete subparagraph (vii).

PART 2
AMENDMENT OF TRUSTEE SAVINGS BANKS ACT 1989

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Section 62(1)

Delete “24A,”.

PART 3
AMENDMENT OF INVESTMENT LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS ACT 1994

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Section 25(4)

In paragraph (a) delete the definition of “appropriate person”.

PART 4
AMENDMENTS OF CONSUMER CREDIT ACT 1995
PART 5
AMENDMENTS OF INVESTMENT INTERMEDIARIES ACT 1995
PART 6
AMENDMENTS OF CREDIT UNION ACT 1997
PART 7
AMENDMENTS OF INVESTOR COMPENSATION ACT 1998
PART 8
AMENDMENT OF ASSET COVERED SECURITIES ACT 2001
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Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 178:
New Schedules: In page 93, after line 49, to insert the following new Schedule:

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Regulation 25

In paragraph (1) substitute “competent authority (other than the Bank)” for “competent authority”.

2

Regulation 26

In paragraph (1) substitute “competent authority (other than the Bank)” for “competent authority”.

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Regulation 3(1)

Delete the definition of “authorised officer”.

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Regulation 3(1)

Delete the definition of “authorised officer”.

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Regulation 3(1)

Substitute the following for the definition of “authorised officer”:

“ ‘authorised officer’ means an authorised officer appointed under Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010”.

2

Regulation 6(7)

Substitute “Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010” for “Regulation 164”.

3

Regulation 14(1)

In subparagraph (b) insert “appointed under Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010” after “authorised officer”.

4

Regulation 147(1)(g)(ii)

Substitute “Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010” for “Regulation 164”.

5

Regulation 174(1)

Delete “an authorised officer or”.

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Regulation 3(1)

Substitute the following for the definition of “authorised officer”:

“ ‘authorised officer’ means an authorised officer appointed under Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010;”.

2

Regulation 9

(a) Substitute the following for paragraph (5):

“(5) If, in a particular case, the Bank wishes to verify information concerning an insurer or reinsurer located in another Member State and the insurer or reinsurer is an associate of an insurer or reinsurer that both holds an authorisation issued by the Bank and is subject to supplementary supervision, the Bank shall request the competent authority of that other Member State to have that verification carried out by that authority or an officer appointed by it.”.

(b) In paragraph (7) insert “under Part 5 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010” after “authorised officer”.

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Regulation 20

Substitute the following for Regulation 20:

“20. (1) Section 18 of the Central Bank Act 1971 (No. 24 of 1971) applies to and in relation to a credit institution that is subject to consolidated supervision by the Bank as if—

(a) references in that section to a holder of a licence under that Act were references to the credit institution, and

(b) references in that section to a related body of a holder of such a licence were references to an associated enterprise of the credit institution.

(2) Section 41A of the Building Societies Act 1989 (No. 17 of 1989) applies to and in relation to a building society that is subject to consolidated supervision by the Bank as if references in that section to a related body of a building society were references to an associated body of the building society.

(3) Section 25 of the Trustee Savings Bank Act 1989 (No. 21 of 1989) applies to and in relation to a credit institution that is subject to consolidated supervision by the Bank as if references in that section to a trustee savings bank were references to the credit institution.”.

Item

(1)

Provision affected

(2)

Amendment

(3)

1

Regulation 2(1)

Delete the definitions of “relevant records” and “search warrant”.

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Seanad amendment agreed to.
Seanad amendment No. 179:
Title: In page 5, lines 21 to 24, to delete all words from and including "TO" in line 21 down to and including "MATTERS" in line 24 and substitute the following:
"TO PROVIDE FOR MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS RELATING TO CREDIT UNIONS; TO AMEND THE CENTRAL BANK ACTS 1942 TO 2011, TO PROVIDE FOR CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE CENTRAL BANK OF IRELAND AND OVERSEAS REGULATORS AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF AUTHORISED OFFICERS BY THE CENTRAL BANK OF IRELAND; AND TO PROVIDE FOR MATTERS RELATED TO THE FOREGOING".
Seanad amendment agreed to.

Agreement to Seanad amendments will be reported to the House and a message will be sent to Seanad Éireann acquainting it accordingly.

I thank the Deputies opposite for the constructive role they played at all Stages of this legislation. I hope the Bill, which passes this House today and will now go to the President, ensures the great Irish credit union movement, which is a standard-bearer of volunteerism and financial support, will continue to flourish in the years ahead. The Bill is consistent with the report of the commission in setting out new standards and a roadmap for the development of the movement. I also thank the officials of the Department of Finance who have worked day and night to ensure this Bill could be passed by the end of the year.

Seanad amendments reported.
Sitting suspended at 5.15 p.m. and resumed at 5.30 p.m.