I thank the Minister and his staff for their efforts to acquiesce to some of what was proposed in various amendments on Committee Stage and here again today. I acknowledge the various commitments the Minister has made further to representations from us all. I expect many of those will be addressed on Committee Stage in the Seanad. While we do not agree with the Minister's sentiments regarding the meat of the Bill in the sense that we do not believe the reform he is talking about will effect the sort of change he would like the public to believe will happen, we appreciate and recognise his bona fides in that regard while fundamentally disagreeing with much of what is contained in the Bill.
I reiterate my disappointment that many of the amendments on this Stage were deemed not suitable to be discussed. For example, I had proposed an amendment whereby a regulator would be appointed to oversee how the local government system works, the way it contributes to the State and how it can be adjudicated to be delivering on the ground, especially when we consider the amount of funding that supposedly is to be made available to it by virtue of the property tax, the onerous responsibility that will be on Irish Water to maintain what we believe to be an unbroken system heretofore, the costs associated with the setting up of that body, and the sort of funding that has been allocated to it, not necessarily from the property tax fund but from the central government fund, which was inclusive of the motor tax collected heretofore.
During the course of the debate the Minister said there would be a review after one year by the relevant committee to consider the effectiveness or otherwise of the local authority system further to this Bill having been enacted. I believe that would be better represented with the appointment of a regulator's office, which would report to the Government and to the Dáil on the deliverance on the part of local government as against the commitments made by Government, and specifically this Minister. That is for another day but I would hope the Ceann Comhairle might make available to myself and others the reasons he believes many of those amendments involved a potential cost to the State. A potential saving to the State would have been the appointment of a regulator in that area to ascertain a cost benefit analysis, value for money, etc., which in the long run would be more beneficial. The Ceann Comhairle's office might make available to us more detailed information as to why many of those amendments were adjudicated to have involved a potential cost to the State. It is an open-ended type explanation that requires further clarification for my own sake and the sake of many others here who in the future may be faced with the same dilemma and might have consideration for the Ceann Comhairle's views on these matters in terms of the type of amendments we propose.
I pay tribute again to the Minister and his staff for their efforts in acquiescing, as far as they could, to many of the proposed amendments that were made in good faith by Members on this side of the House. However, I do not agree with the thrust of the Bill and will not be supporting its passage.