Business of Joint Committee

The draft minutes of the meeting of 13 July have been circulated. They have been amended by the insertion, at the end of point 5, of the sentence: "It was also agreed that the report would be launched on Tuesday, 20 July 2010." Are the minutes, as amended, agreed to? Agreed.

The next item is correspondence. No. 939 is a letter from Deputy Chris Andrews. It is a request to invite the Dublin city housing manager to appear before the committee to discuss the empty social housing units in the Dublin City Council area. I propose that we immediately send the letter to Dublin City Council asking for a detailed response, on receipt of which we will consider whether we should invite representatives from the council to come before us. Is that agreed? Agreed.

The next item relates to the severe flooding in November 2009 and is a submission from Springfield residents' association, Clonlara, County Clare. County councillors from County Clare have requested that consideration be given to the residents' submission. We will take on board all of the submissions made in our report.

The next item is an invitation to attend an inter-parliamentary meeting on electoral procedures governing elections to the European Parliament and the citizens' initiative. I do not know whether anybody is interested in attending.

Deputy Bannon is interested. The meeting is due to be held on 30 September. Can we get a costing for a maximum of one member from the Government side and one from the Opposition side to attend? We will get a costing and see whether it will be approved up the line. We do not have approval for those matters in the budget, but we will make a request for a maximum of two members to attend.

The next item relates to a decision of the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny which we just need to note. Is that agreed? Agreed.

The next item is a request from Elaine Farrell of the IFA to make a presentation to the committee on the review of the nitrates action plan. We met representatives of the IFA at a presentation in Dublin recently and many of us have met its representatives at county level, but this is another request. The closing date for the making of submissions to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is this Friday and the IFA has made its submission directly to the Department. However, the Government will send its proposals for review to the European Commission in the first week of September.

It is important that we meet the representatives of the IFA.

What do members think?

I support the request. We will need to meet them no later than the end of August.

Who? The IFA and——

The officials from the Department.

Yes. If the Department is submitting a review of the nitrates directive, it would be no harm for those officials to hear our views. It is being done jointly with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, but, technically, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is the lead Department. It is primarily to do with water quality. When will we do it — next week or at the end of August? What do members think?

What about Wednesday of next week?

Will we do it next week? I would be afraid to leave it until the end of August in case members are scattered. Shall we say next Wednesday?

That is the week of the Galway races.

The Deputy should send his apologies. He need not worry about the nitrates directive that week. Will we say next Wednesday?

Perhaps we could accommodate Deputy McCormack by having the meeting on Tuesday.

The races are on all week.

We could have the meeting in Galway.

Shall we say Wednesday afternoon at about 2 p.m.? Is that agreed? Agreed.

We will note the Deputy's apologies. We are inviting representatives of the IFA and senior officials in the Department who are familiar with the process. If one individual is not available, we will ask for the next most senior person to attend. If a person is on holidays, somebody else can fill in for him or her.

As we are inviting representatives of the IFA, it may also be appropriate to inform the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association that a meeting is taking place, as we might be meeting its representatives at some point. Perhaps it is not appropriate; if so, well and good.

The request has been made by only one body.

We have received a request from the IFA.

We will probably receive a request the week after from the ICMSA or some other farming body.

It will be a similar issue. What do members think? The last thing we would want is a row the following morning about why we had not invited the ICMSA.

We might as well bring in the representatives and deal with——

We will inform the organisation and give its representatives an opportunity to attend without saying they must do so. We will give them the opportunity and they can choose whether they should take it.

That would be all right.

We will certainly start with the IFA because it made its request first.

On Tuesday of next week.

No, Wednesday. Will we agree to meet on Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss the nitrates directive with representatives of the IFA and the ICMSA and departmental officials?

All right.

The next item isEurope’s World newsletter which we will note. There is a letter from Al McDonnell with a request that the committee hear a formal presentation by Mayo County Council objecting to the proposed designation of a special area of conservation for wild birds in County Mayo. I propose that we seek a detailed information note from the Department with a view to inviting a delegation to meet us in September.

I second that proposal.

We will ask for a detailed note from the Department because I do not know what it is all about. The next item is a resolution passed by Mayo County Council on the same subject. We have received one communication from county councillors and another from the county secretary.

The next item is an invitation from the Belgian Parliament to attend a meeting of chairmen of environment committees on 3 and 4 October. Will we agree that I or a person representing me will attend? Agreed.

The last item is an e-mail from Brian Montaut of Architects' Alliance with a submission regarding the registration of architects——

We had better listen to this.

——as a follow-up to previous committee discussions on the matter. Shall we note this correspondence?

There is a Bill before the House.

I have a Bill before the House on the matter. I have written to the Government Chief Whip asking that he allocate time to discuss it because I know the Opposition's Private Members' time is too valuable to its members.

I suppose we could facilitate the Deputy. We will see how he votes on it.

We had this group in before; therefore, there is no point in rehashing the same discussion.

Get it done before the election.

And do not be tut-tutting.

The last time the group came before us there was a follow-up action; there was supposed to be communication with the Department. Perhaps we could be updated on the matter.

We will ask the Department to apprise us of the outcome. I do not think it was included in the legislation.

With regard to the travel proposal, can we agree——

(Interruptions).

There is an estimate of the cost of attending a seminar on waste management regulations, tyres and waste tyres, the prohibition of waste disposal by burning, obligations on farmers and insurance issues to be held in the Kingsvalley Hotel. I am not sure where it is located. I think it might be in Waterford or is it in Galway?

It is in Galway.

Where is it located?

The cost of attendance is €812 and Senator Glynn has indicated his interest in attending. There are two costings to allow one person from each side to attend. The matter is to be cleared up the line by whoever clears the budget. From our point of view, we are satisfied with the costings. We will direct the clerk to make the arrangements.

The clerk normally attends.

It will be the clerk or somebody on his behalf, depending on circumstances.

Where is the Kingsvalley Hotel?

A Member

Just outside Cairo.

The Deputy will be able to find it so.

The main item on the agenda next week will be the review of the nitrates directive, with presentations to be made by the IFA, the ICMSA and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It will probably be our last meeting before the break.

The joint committee adjourned at 2.30 p.m. until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 July 2010.