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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 16 Nov 2016

Vol. 929 No. 1

Ceisteanna - Questions

National Economic and Social Council

Brendan Howlin


1. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach when he will appoint a new National Economic and Social Council. [33719/16]

Brendan Howlin


2. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach his plans to provide instructions to the National Economic and Social Council; and the detail of the subjects. [33720/16]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 and 2 together.

I last appointed the council in 2011 and the five-year term has expired. At the moment my Department is assessing the arrangements that will work best for a new council. As part of the considerations, the Secretary General of my Department wrote to all the members of the outgoing council on 14 October last, seeking views and suggestions on the future role and work programme of a council in advance of a plenary discussion scheduled for 17 November. The meeting will enable reflection on the work of the council to date, views on the best arrangements for the council and its future work programme in a changing policy landscape.

NESC has offered a valuable combination of economic, social, environmental and institutional perspectives that are necessary for good policy making. The views of the outgoing members will be an important contribution to any new arrangements. The background is that NESC was one of three constituent bodies of the National Economic and Social Development Office established under the NESDO Act 2006. Two of the constituent bodies, namely, the National Economic and Social Forum, NESF, and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance, NCPP, were dissolved in 2010, meaning that the framework of the NESDO is no longer necessary.

The previous Government agreed to dissolve the NESDO and place NESC on a statutory footing. The task in hand. Significant reports from NESC in the past few years include Housing Supply and Land; Driving Public Action for the Common Good; Ireland’s Private Rental Sector, Pathways to Secure Occupancy & Affordable Supply; Homeownership and Rental: What Road is Ireland On?; and Social Housing at the Crossroads: Possibilities for Investment, Provision and Cost Rental.

In addition, NESC provided analytical support to the expert group on the future funding of higher education and assisted in drafting its final report. At the moment, the secretariat is continuing its work on a number of projects such as funding of higher education; follow-up work to its Report on Jobless Households; working with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government on issues relating to housing and the rental sector; and on a range of sustainable development themes, such as experimental approaches to climate change in Irish agriculture, the challenge of delivering compliant low energy buildings in Ireland and beginning research on infrastructure policy formulation and institutions.

I would be interested in getting behind the Taoiseach's reply. The National Economic and Social Council, NESC, is a venerable institution that goes back to the 1970s. It has performed a very useful support to the Taoiseach and the Government of the day in bringing different perspectives together regarding major economic, social and environmental issues that have been faced from time to time. We certainly face an array of formidable economic, social and environmental issues today. I am interested in hearing the Taoiseach's view on the role of NESC.

Since we were in government together over a difficult period, I know there were people advising the Taoiseach at the time who were opposed to the concept of NESC and would not have been adverse to its abolition. There is an important role for NESC and it is a cause of concern to me that the council, which is the overarching governing body of NESC, has been allowed to lapse without any appointment being made. From last February there was one vacancy but, subsequently, the five-year term expired and there is now no governing council. One does not need to be brilliant to figure out that there is no regard for NESC within the current Government and that it does not see a role for NESC into the future. If it did, it would have appointed a board by now.

I am interested in the Taoiseach's personal view. Does he see a role for NESC in bringing together, as it has done in the past, many of our principal social, economic and societal actors to focus on issues of real importance or is he of the view that was expressed by at least one of his former advisers that this was a sort of throwback to a social dialogue that was no longer relevant or needed today?

Deputy Howlin asked me if I saw a role for NESC. The answer to that question is "Yes". NESC has always been a very valuable resource for the Taoiseach of the day and for the public at large because of the reports it produced and the discussions and the dialogue that took place. As Deputy Howlin is well aware from his previous experience, NESC was always a way of dealing with social partnership in one form or another. Things have changed and moved on.

The Secretary General is meeting with the NESC members tomorrow to discuss their views on and analysis of what lies ahead and what might be best in that regard. I support that strongly and look forward to hearing the views of the members as to how best we might proceed from here. I see an important role for NESC. Just because there is no NESC at the moment does not mean there is any sleight of opinion from Government on that. I would like to hear the members' view on their role in the future and make a decision to provide for that in the best way possible. The Secretary General will meet the members tomorrow and I will be having discussions with him.

When does the Taoiseach envisage that he would nominate the new NESC? Has he a timeframe in mind for that? Is he exploring nominations from the constituent groups that made up the council heretofore? Has he opened discussions with any of what might be described as the social partners on forming a new council, and on what date will we know the new council? Bluntly, until there is a council appointed, the NESC is dysfunctional. It would be an indication to me that the Government does not have regard for the role the NESC has played in the past and does not envisage that the NESC has such a role in the future.

If I may, I will just take the time to let them have the meeting tomorrow and discuss the outcome of that. As Deputy Howlin will be aware, business, employers, ICTU, farming and agricultural interests, the community and voluntary sector and the environmental sector are all pillars. Each may nominate a minimum of three and a maximum of four to the council. The legislation also provides for six public servants and up to eight independent members. There was a vacancy which existed at the time the council expired and that was the former secretary of the Irish Farmers Association. I will let them have their meeting, I will talk to the Secretary General and I will come back and advise Deputy Howlin as to the next stage. If I can fix a date, I will be happy to announce it.

Can I allow Deputies Micheál Martin and Adams ask a question?

I commend Deputy Howlin on raising this question because the absence of the council goes to the heart of what is wrong in the country in some respects, namely, the lack of independent thinking. The NESC has done a good job over the years. It has not been willing to play the role of ideological advocacy that some in this House might want it to do but it has helped work to get to some sort of common vision about where we as a society should go on different sectors of the economy. The NESC works best when it focuses on being expert and independent, setting out the realistic challenges and options. Something we are missing at present is enough independent voices in public debate.

The growing crisis in industrial relations speaks to a lack of an overall sense of direction in the country in terms of strategic objectives. There have been all sorts of demands made, left, right and centre. We have the Brexit challenge which still remains the most fundamental single major change in our economic model in 45 years since we joined the European Union with Britain. Britain leaving the EU now is fundamental. I would have thought there was a strong role for the National Economic and Social Council in scenarios such as Brexit, the public pay issue, and the anti-globalisation or protectionist trends that are now emerging in many countries in Europe and the United States. These call for a mid-term review, something which the NESC was always quite engaged in.

It is many years since the NESC prepared a comprehensive medium-term review. Will the Taoiseach ensure the NESC is working as effectively as possible and will he take steps? In his answers to Deputy Howlin he was not quite saying that he will get it going again. I would ask the Taoiseach, if he is doing so, to consider that small to medium-sized companies might usefully fall within the remit of the NESC. There has always been a sense that the particular needs of small and medium-sized enterprises were not adequately catered for by the NESC.

That is the very point. These are two valuable comments from Deputies Howlin and Micheál Martin. I want to see an NESC that is appropriate for the future. I would like to hear their view on whether it would have the same kind of pillars or the same numbers. That is the purpose of the Secretary General meeting them tomorrow.

On the point Deputy Martin makes about small businesses, if one is to have an NESC which will be independent and has the capacity to give objective opinions in a changed situation where we face international pressures for a variety of reasons, having the exact same formula as before in terms of the sectors that were represented may not be entirely appropriate for the future. I will bear that in mind.

An Teachta Howlin raises an important question here. As the Taoiseach acknowledged, the term of the current council has expired some time ago.

However, members have not been appointed or re-appointed and there is a full complement of staff. There is a secretariat, but it has no members and no work plan. What is it doing? The National Economic and Social Development Office, NESDO, is effectively obsolete yet it remains in place as the body responsible to NESC, to which it is supposed to report if it had anything to report. The Taoiseach said that the last Government promised legislation to abolish NESDO, but this matter dates back to when former Deputy Brian Cowen was Taoiseach. The issue of abolishing NESDO and establishing NESC as the remaining statutory body has been on successive Governments' legislative programmes since 2013. Perhaps the Government could give a timeframe for when it will have concluded the deliberations the Taoiseach mentioned. Can the Taoiseach give a date for when legislation to deal with these matters will be debated in the House?

We agreed previously that NESC would be put on a statutory footing and that NESDO would be dispensed with when that happens. That is still the intention. The first issue is what type of NESC we wish to put in place to reflect the changed circumstances and that is the reason for the discussions taking place. Then we can get on with doing that. However, it is not as if there are no opportunities for people to give objective comment. For example, the National Economic Dialogue provides an opportunity for people to have their say, as do the new Labour Employer Economic Forum, which I met, the Climate Change Advisory Council and the Social Inclusion Forum. These are all fora where people have the opportunity to give their views. I will follow through on the meeting tomorrow with the Deputy.

I am grateful for the Taoiseach's reply. There is now a view that this should be reconstituted and I look forward to that happening. I strongly agree with the point made by Deputy Martin. There are very significant issues at present that require a strategic approach. Obviously one of them is the next round of public sector pay. I raise public sector pay as an issue because I believe it must be linked to the quality of public services. One always considers pay, more numbers and additional services as demands on the same pot of money, so we must have a strategic approach to that and NESC has advised usefully on it in the past. Clearly, the Brexit issue requires a strategic sounding board for the Government. The important challenges the country will face could do with the sounding board of expertise which NESC has traditionally provided.

Those are valuable points. Perhaps Deputy Howlin did not hear me but in the meantime there is the National Economic Dialogue, the Labour Employer Economic Forum, the Climate Change Advisory Council and the Social Inclusion Forum. The points the Deputies have made are valid and we will take them into account.

Cyber Security Policy

Micheál Martin


3. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the position regarding IT security in his Department. [33803/16]

My Department depends on its information and communications technology, ICT, systems to perform virtually all of its functions. It is vital, therefore, that those systems are securely managed. To that end my Department has developed security policies and procedures and put in place safeguards to mitigate the threats and risks as far as possible. Policies and procedures cover a wide range of issues, including access to the Internet, e-mail usage, mobile device and remote access arrangements and password and other user authentication requirements.

IT security is taken very seriously in the Department not only in the IT unit, but across the organisation. A new security awareness training programme has recently been piloted and it is planned to roll out this training to all staff in the Department in the coming months.

My Department uses industry leading security products to filter e-mail and web traffic to automatically stop spam, viruses and other malicious agents from infecting the network.

My Department maintains ongoing contact with the computer security incident response team, CSIRT-IE, in the national cyber security centre, which provides regular guidance and advice relating to current Internet security alerts and threats. Prevention and mitigation measures recommended by the CSIRT-IE are reviewed as soon as they are received and, where appropriate in our IT environment, implemented.

The Deputy will appreciate that many IT security measures are quite technical in nature and officials in my Department with the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise provide ongoing appropriate support to me and the staff in the Department in this regard.

I thank the Taoiseach for his comprehensive reply. This is a very serious issue. For some years other member states of the European Union have been subject to ongoing cyber intimidation. In the case of Latvia, a Russian-based attack brought down the country's Internet and paralysed official business. This year, we have seen a serious escalation in the use of cyber intimidation between countries. There was a time, perhaps, when leaks were justified on the basis that they involved whistleblowing or the revelation of hidden illegal activity, but now it appears to be about intimidation. Even Edward Snowden has condemned the approach of publishing anything and everything, including outing people in countries where to be outed might threaten one's life.

It is striking that all of the attacks have been directed against countries with free elections and high levels of personal freedom. It appears that the online crusaders have no interest in tackling authoritarian states, which has been evident over the past 12 months or so. Given that, we cannot expect to be isolated from such developments. The Taoiseach indicated that his Department has a strong awareness of this and that it is using the highest industrial standard to ensure IT security, given how much essential Government business is now done online. I take it that applies across the Government. At European Union level, is the Government sharing and engaging with other member states on experiences with breaches of IT security? Has there been engagement with the United States in this regard? During the recent presidential election there were extraordinary assertions and allegations about, for example, the hacking of Democratic Party headquarters by other countries. I cannot validate or confirm the veracity of who did what but, nonetheless, there appears to have been an unprecedented involvement or engagement by others through the IT networks to undermine people's reputations.

The volume of e-mails between personnel in Democratic Party headquarters that was put into the public domain is quite striking. People were having what they thought were bona fide honest, thinking conversations and every item was subsequently hacked and made available. The act of the revelation, as it were, became secondary to the revelations because the content was considered juicy or interesting enough not to worry about how it had got into the public domain. What was important was the content, despite the fact that, in life, people have conversations in which they think things through. Before such technology ever existed, one might be in a room with three or four other people to talk through an issue with them. One might ask: "Should we do X, Y or Z?" That is an important human process. The degree to which privacy is out the window in that respect is retrograde in my view. However, it shows what can happen. In the context of elections and free democracies, the democracies are the most vulnerable in these scenarios. Authoritarian states can suppress the Internet in the some aspects and can take steps to protect the citadel, so to speak. Democracies are far more vulnerable.

Cyber warfare is now a new part of engagement. It can wreak huge economic damage, as entire systems can be shut down. That happened recently with various services. Without any use of conventional warfare, it can do enormous damage to economic life and the quality of life of many citizens.

Has there been an international engagement by the country, by the Taoiseach's Department or others in government, with the American experience with other democracies in Europe and further afield across the globe? The evolution of it has the potential to do untold damage and hold countries to ransom if it continues at the current pace.

The Deputy has raised an issue that is probably beyond the competence of most people to deal with, unless they are experienced in electronics, IT and security systems. I take the view that anything that is put into the cloud is retrievable. Most governments and companies, when they put their information on the Internet and the cloud find that the problem is how to protect themselves. The Deputy is correct that governments and many major security elements of governments have been attacked. It happens mostly in democracies. There has been evidence of attacks in certain places in Ireland. Regarding security in the Department of the Taoiseach, information is never released in respect of any attacks, given that it would lead to those who conduct such business. There are only two websites that provide information from the Department of the Taoiseach, namely and

The Minister of State, Deputy Dara Murphy, looks after questions on EU data protection regulations and implications for IT security. In my time at European Council meetings there has never been a discussion about governments being attacked, although officials may be in contact with each other. The new general data protection regulation comes into effect on 25 May 2018, with the aims of strengthening citizens' data protection rights, harmonising data protection legislation across the EU and updating the law in line with advances in digital technologies. It brings obligations on public sector data controllers, including in the area of security. The interdepartmental committee on data issues, which his chaired by the Minister of State, Deputy Dara Murphy, is supported by my Department and the Department of Justice and Equality. It is an important part of Government Departments in preparing for the implementation of the new data general regulation.

The computer security incident response team is the operational role of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and it encompasses the State's national governmental computer security incident response team. It seeks international recognition with peers in respect of Government and national CSIRT communities so it can effectively undertake its work on situational awareness and incident response. It focuses initially on the State sector and acts as a national point of contact. The National Cybersecurity Strategy 2015-2017, published in 2015, is a high level policy statement from the Government announcing and acknowledging the challenges with facilitating and enabling the digital economy and strategy.

While I can manage the fundamentals of the iPhone, I could very quickly get lost in many of these fields. There are those who would be able to give so much more information about firewalls and how attacks can be presented. One of those security people told me it is like breaking into a house, in that if a person gets in the front door, the entire house is open. Many companies have to block off each room individually, so if the firewall is breached, there are other security elements in place. This is way beyond my knowledge or understanding. I am a mere citizen with a scope that is appropriate to myself to write and send messages and receive phone calls and so on. I am not an expert in this field, and I admit it.

I commend the Taoiseach's humility and I join him in saying that I am not an expert either. We do not need to know the detail. It is a very big issue. Years ago, when I was the Minister with responsibility for enterprise, McAfee came to Ireland and the McAfee view was that it was protecting against viruses. The managing director told me he thanked God that there were people out there creating viruses, given that he would not be in business otherwise. It was a very striking comment. Most of us would not have a clue about how people penetrate firewalls, and this is one of the great problems with modern technology. People who are interested have the wherewithal, capacity and knowledge. The problem is serious regarding energy systems and the operation of society in that a country could be closed down by a concentrated cyber attack. This is modern warfare. If a person does not like us or a country does not like what we are saying, we could get a wallop without even realising it. This is the sinister dimension. The Taoiseach said it had not been discussed among EU member states. I presume we should be open to international collaboration and discussions on it, given that we could learn from others whose security has been breached.

The Deputy is correct. There must be international collaboration at government level on these matters. Given the Internet of things, the way the car industry has moved and the advances being made here digitally, if a car is stolen, the company can disable it from anywhere around the world. All these changes bring advantages and challenges. We need to apply the same to the aviation industry. The Deputy can understand the necessity of having secure methods of transmitting information and seeing that systems are not attacked; otherwise there could be catastrophic consequences. The point is valid.

Seanad Reform

Brendan Howlin


4. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Taoiseach his plans for reform of Seanad Éireann; and his further plans to ensure proposals are advanced before the next general election. [34743/16]

I take it that the Deputy has in mind the Report of the Working Group on Seanad Reform 2015, chaired by Dr. Maurice Manning. As Deputies will be aware, in the new programme for a partnership Government, the Government stated its intention to reform Seanad Éireann and committed to pursuing implementation of the Manning report. The report was published last year and it is available on my Department's website. I welcomed the report when it was published and indicated that there needed to be a public and political discussion and consultation on it. On 5 May and again on 8 July 2015, statements on the report were made in Seanad Éireann with both the chair of the working group and former Senator Joe O'Toole, a member of the group, in attendance. I also met Opposition party leaders to discuss the report's contents in July 2015.

One of the report's recommendations was the establishment of an implementation group to oversee implementation of the reforms contained in the report. I agreed with a suggestion made in this House some time ago by Deputy Micheál Martin that the group should be based in the Oireachtas and should comprise members of the Dáil and Seanad from all parties and groups, with access to independent expert advice as required. The group should be tasked with advancing the reform process. I wrote to party leaders on 28 September last seeking their agreement to this approach and their intention to participate. Contacts are continuing with parties to finalise nominations with a view to having the group up and running as soon as possible. I gave a commitment to have a debate here in Dáil Éireann on the working group's report. This did not prove possible in the last Dáil but it is still my intention that the debate should take place as soon as possible.

Eighteen months have passed since the publication of the independent working group report, chaired by Dr. Maurice Manning. We could not argue that it has been a political priority for the Taoiseach during the intervening period.

Almost two months have passed since the Taoiseach wrote to each party leader and we responded by nominating Members to serve on the working group on Seanad reform, yet that group has not met. It has not been formed. Two months after the Taoiseach wrote to us and we nominated Members of the House who were accessible, why has the working group not come into existence and started its work? It is almost two months since the Taoiseach informed the Seanad that there would be a debate on the matter in the Dáil. The Taoiseach has also acknowledged that this has not happened either. It is promised again today. In short, two months ago the Taoiseach addressed the Seanad, where he stated that the matter was in hand, that the working group was to be appointed and that there would be a debate in this House. However, it appears that nothing has been done since he made those commitments.

Are we serious about reform of the Seanad or is it simply the view that we will drift into the next election in the same mode as the previous one and that the Seanad will be returned on the same basis? The clear view of the people during the referendum campaign was that the Seanad should be retained, but reformed. That was the view that was argued by every Member of the previous Seanad. In the democratic interest, we need to act on this, but, as a House and as an Oireachtas, we have not treated the issue with the urgency it deserves, particularly in light of the constitutional framework relating to what is a constituent part of the Oireachtas.

I accept responsibility for the delay. I received five replies from Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Deputy Daly and Deputy Eamon Ryan. There were some queries about the numbers to be appointed to represent each group, a matter I hope to finalise today or tomorrow. I must speak to the Leader of the Seanad, Senator Buttimer, and get on with doing it. I regret the delay in making it happen.

If anything meaningful is to be done, the drafting process needs to start soon. This has dragged on for far too long. During the lifetime of the previous Administration, we met and we stated that we supported the idea of a legislative mechanism to ensure a democratic franchise. This did not happen. We are open to the implementation of the Manning report recommendations, although I would have gone further than what is proposed in those recommendations. Nonetheless, they represent a compromise. I would have preferred a full franchise, so that the people could decide, within the existing constitutional framework, who should be their Senators. That said, we, along with the other parties, are prepared to agree to it. We need to create the mechanisms in order that we can agree the drafting of the legislative template required to bring about reform of the Seanad. I believe in the Seanad, which is why I campaigned against its abolition. We need independent voices. We need more voices, not fewer, in public debate. The worst slogan I ever saw in a referendum campaign was that of Fine Gael's "Vote Yes - less politicians". The idea of the fewer the better was a terrible indictment of the political profession. People believe that in Russia and elsewhere but we should not be extolling a view of that nature in a democracy such as ours.

Never mind the quality-----

Some of Deputy Howlin's former colleagues agreed with me privately that it was an appalling poster. It sent out all the wrong signals about what we thought of ourselves. In any event, the point is that we need to get on with this or otherwise, as Deputy Howlin stated, we will end up at the next general election without any change. There is a platform and a set of proposals that would attract broad consensus in this House at least, whatever about the Upper House. We can work on that. Something needs to happen though. Is any public engagement proposed in order to get ideas or feedback from the general public on the future role of the Seanad?

That is a helpful comment. I will get on with it.

Níl an Taoiseach ná an Rialtas dáiríre ar chor ar bith faoi thuairisc Manning ar an Seanad. Tá an tuairisc ag an Rialtas le tamall fada anois ach, mar a dúirt an Taoiseach, ní dhearna an Rialtas rud ar bith faoi. Cad atá sa tuairisc? It states that the current electoral system for the Seanad is elitist. It then offers a range of proposals for the reform of the Seanad, including opening up electoral participation for members of the diaspora who are Irish citizens and Irish citizens in the North. Yesterday, the Taoiseach told us he was not going to proceed with the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention on votes for citizens living outside the State, including those in the North, in presidential elections. There is an explanation for the Taoiseach's dilatoriness in respect of acting on these reforms and it is that he does not believe in the involvement, as of right, of those who live outside this State. Perhaps, also, the fact that the Seanad has voted against the Government on bin charges, CETA, etc., does not suit it. We have nominated Seanadóir Rose Conway-Walsh to the interim implementation body but, unless the Taoiseach said it and I have missed it, we do not know when that body will meet. We do not know - it would be useful to get a commitment in this regard - whether the reforms will be completed before the next general election, whenever that may take place. Will the Taoiseach provide some clarity in terms of the timeframe for the debate on these reforms? When will the implementation body meet? Is the Taoiseach prepared to deal with all of these matters conclusively in this term?

Dúirt mé inné go mb'fhéidir nach mbeadh am againn, mar Theach de chuid an Oireachtais-----

Bhí go leor ama ag an Taoiseach.

An Taoiseach amháin.

Is é a bhí mé ag rá ná go ndúirt mé inné go mb'fhéidir nach mbeadh am againn, mar Theach de chuid an Oireachtais, an reifreann a bheith againn agus an dlí achtaithe roimh an gcéad togchán uachtaránachta eile. Sin a bhí i gceist agam. Tá sé i gceist agam go dtarlóidh sé agus ní hamháin ó thaobh iad siúd atá ar imirce thar lear ach ó thaobh iad siúd atá sa Tuaisceart freisin.

The terms of reference of the implementation body are: to ensure the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report; to liaise as an interim board with draftspersons to ensure that the Seanad (amendment) Bill reflects the spirit and the text of the report; to oversee the process for registration for Seanad election panels following the enactment of the legislation; to receive and to adopt reports from the Clerk to the Seanad on the application of the rules for nominating bodies as required by the Acts of 1947 and 1954, as well as those contained in the draft legislation prepared by the working group; to be responsible for the organisation of the university panel registration and election following the implementation of the 1979 constitutional extension of the university franchise; to oversee the delivery of ballot papers and the receipt and count of the votes; to appoint returning officers to the various panels; and so on.

I undertook, when I was in the Seanad, to meet Senator Norris. I think the meeting is fixed for next week. The Senator is violently opposed to what was recommended in the Manning report and wants a continuation, from his perspective, of the Trinity panel, which has existed for a long time. This is opposed by other Members of the Seanad. There are different views in the Seanad. In deference to Deputies Howlin, Micheál Martin and Adams, I will see to it that this moves along quickly.

In order that the House will have a clear view of how matters will progress from today, will the Taoiseach call on the working group to meet?

Will the Taoiseach give an indication of when that might arise? After that, will it exclusively be the job of the working group to follow through the implementation? What Minister will be assigned? Will it be the Taoiseach? Will his Department do the drafting of the legislation and work with the working group? Will there be a particular assigned senior civil servant to ensure this happens? Does the Taoiseach have any idea when we can expect to see a conclusion to this process?

I will get the implementation group together, if I can, next week. I will speak to the Leader of the Seanad about it. We may have an issue, which I do not object to, in terms of the numbers who might serve on it. The terms of reference are set out for the implementation board, including liaison with draftspersons to draft the necessary legislation.

Will it be the Taoiseach's Department?

I undertook to set up the Manning report. I have gone over to the Seanad to talk about it. I will see that, in so far as that is concerned, I will drive it from the Department of the Taoiseach.

We have two minutes left. I suggest the Taoiseach takes the fourth question, which is Question No. 5. We may not have time for supplementary questions. Is that agreed?

It is less than two minutes. Can we not just move on to priority questions?

Could we leave it?

Do Deputies want to leave it?

I think we should leave it.

Aontaím le sin.

If that is what the House wants. I thank the Taoiseach.