Business of Sub-Committee.

No. 7 concerns any other business. Members should note that the first annual report on the operation of the European Scrutiny Act 2002, covering the period 10 October 2002 to 31 December 2003, was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas following yesterday's meeting of the Joint Committee on European Affairs. It is proposed that the next meeting take place on 4 November at 9.30 a.m. Is that agreed? Agreed.

That concludes the business of the meeting and it is probably my last meeting as Chairman. I want to express my appreciation to members for their dedication of the work of the sub-committee, which does not get much coverage, but which is an important part of the scrutiny process of legislation. It is an important part of our work as legislators. We have built up a system that has become accepted. Departments such as the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Department of Finance have recently sent us documents voluntarily, which shows there is a spirit in the Departments which indicates that they know that they have to account to the Oireachtas. We have set something up which though it is a dry process, is also an important one.

I also appreciate the contribution the staff have made; our special adviser, our new clerk and various other staff on the committee. It has been a pleasure to chair this committee and it has been a good process. I wish it continued success and I hope that we do not shorten the process as 45 minutes is not much time to spend. It gives us a key role in deciding what the Oireachtas does and does not scrutinise. It is a very important function and I hope it will continue to be exercised.

On my behalf, I want to extend my thanks to the Chairman for his single-minded dedication to ensuring that this committee has begun to make its mark. It is in no small measure due to his determination. I also join with the Chairman in extending my thanks to the very dedicated staff. It is rather dry matter to be dealing with, yet very important. It is beginning to take effect and our work is beginning to be noticed.

I concur with Deputy Carey's words of good wishes to the Chairman and thanks to the committee. I agree that it has to continue. It is a good source of information for all of us in advance of what is coming from Europe. The Chairman will now have first-hand knowledge of that. I again wish the Chairman the best of luck.

The sub-committee adjourned at 9.55 a.m. until 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, 4 November 2004.