I want to make sure that whether we have two, three or four companies restructured in this Bill, the provincial services will not be second class in the mind of some board whose first priority might be to maintain a service in the city of Dublin only. I have stressed the importance of providing that facility in Dublin because over one million people require transportation in the city in some form or another. The other two million people are spread throughout the country. That does not exclude the responsibilities on a transport authority to provide an adequate service for people in rural areas. I will be fighting for that and I will be against anything in the restructuring of our greatest transportation company that might put any part of that service in jeopardy. I know the Minister has addressed himself to the problem of subsidy with a social content and that above a certain line the service given by CIE is considered to be a social and not an economic one. It is important for all of us as legislators to realise that there is a social content in a lot of transportation. In other countries throughout the world it is so important to give transport to the people that even some Governments give that transportation free to ensure that people can move from one place to another. Infrastructural development in transportation is of vital importance. It is important that CIE and the board of CIE should realise that.
When I talk about the board of CIE I want to pay a special tribute to the worker directors on the board of the company who by their contributions within the board's structure have proven that they are capable and qualified to be members of the board and have had a major development role within the board to ensure that the kind of philosophy I am talking about has filtered through. I would like to see more of that and I would like to get an assurance about various rail lines which I am concerned about. I would like assurances that the defects of the Barrow bridge will be looked after to ensure that the proper rail link from Rosslare Harbour into Waterford and on to Limerick Junction and then to the West will continue. I want to thank CIE for having received me on numerous occasions representing the Oireachtas Members and with many of my colleagues of all parties on that specialised committee. They have put quite a lot of capital investment into the renewal, repair and relaying of much of that line. That was a welcome development for us because we could see at least that they were serious about this cross province line which is so vital to the infrastructure of the country. I am delighted to recognise on the ground a development of a new rail head at Rosslare Harbour which is an indication that we recognise that that is a port of embarkation for many tourists to this country and it is appropriate that we should develop the services there for them.
It is important also that tourists who purchase Euro rail tickets, before they arrive in this country, can have the fullest possible use of those rail tickets in Ireland. At present the ticket cannot be interchanged between trains and buses. It must be used specifically for rail. I hope that tourists who come in with a Euro rail ticket can use it to the fullest and have trains to get them to all parts of Ireland, particularly tourist areas.
The Labour Party in formulating this response to the problem of the reorganisation of our transport, in setting up this committee, talked about the importance we attached to what we considered was an effort in the legislation to meet some of the problems and what we feel may create some more. That is what this House is about to discuss, how we will underline those problems and reconcile them.
There is a stark contrast in the plan also between the accelerated investment in roads and the cutbacks in rail investment. We have had a major road infrastructural development programme. This Government, to their credit, have invested a lot of money, public money and European money, into the development of a proper road infrastructure. We all welcome that. If we are going to have industrial development we must have a proper road structure. It is a cardinal sin however to use road transport where there are railway lines which could be used to carry goods and services and do so cheaper and more efficiently. It is a waste of public money to develop the road network when, in fact, the railway network is there ready to be used if properly designed rolling stock is put on it that will suit commuters and tourists and can also be used by industrialists.
I had the problem — and I brought this to the attention of the board of CIE when I was making a submission about the importance of the rail link I talked about — that Thurles was a central railhead, that goods which were despatched to Tipperary station to be distributed to shopkeepers in Tipperary and other areas, arrived in Tipperary and it had then to be sent by train from Tipperary to Thurles and it had to be forwarded from Thurles by road back to Tipperary for distribution. Somebody had to ask questions about that. That is the kind of distribution that we have had and that is the kind of thing that we want to come to grips with. Those are the kinds of inefficient activities that we want to stop. We want to try to make sure that proper links are available in the network to be able to deal with that type of operation.
Many people transport goods by rail and if they are not transporting them by rail there is something wrong with the service being given for the transportation of goods. It means that we have not the right network or the right stations; it means that we are not doing it correctly because it is the most economical, fastest and most efficient way of doing it. It is cheaper to run an engine on a rail line towing carriages which will carry a hundred times more goods and passengers than to put a bus on the road to carry a fraction of the passengers with a fraction of their luggage. There is no doubt about the economics of it. The rail links are there.
I was talking to some people from Clare before I came up here and mentioned that we were going to discuss this Bill. They asked me to put on the record what a tragedy it was that we ever removed the west Clare rail link, the west Clare railway line, the narrow one, the one that is sung about. Imagine the tourist attraction it would be now. Somebody in their wisdom considered that it was defunct and took up the railway line. If we had it now we could make a fortune on it. In any other part of the world the people who would decide to remove such railway lines would be assassinated.
Other railway lines have also been removed. The major town in my constituency, Clonmel, does not have a rail link to Dublin. People have to go to Limerick Junction or Thurles to catch a train. That is not meeting the demands of the people. That is not a way to transport people from their workplace or where they are living to the main cities. They have to drive 30 or 40 miles one way or another to get to the nearest railway station. These are some of the problems. We had a railway link from Waterford to Tramore. Then we decided to run buses on the roads creating traffic jams with cyclists, pedestrians and motorists while there was a railway line which could transport most of them; but we took it up and left nothing.
All these things need forward planning. I would hope that in the restructuring of CIE and coming to grips with this problem this kind of error will not be made again and that we would sit down and discuss with everybody concerned the best way to achieve a transport policy for this country.
Section 3(c) of the plan also promised cost benefit subsidies for major road schemes to determine priorities. There is no suggestion of using cost benefit analysis for railway investment and for any schemes for railway investment or to determine priorities between road and rail and road or rail. There is no cost benefit analysis proposed to help decide between road investment and rail disinvestment. These are the decisions I am talking about. There is a definite need to link the two costs. If CIE decided to close this railway link from Rosslare to Limerick Junction I as a member of a local authority would now have to find the money somehow by estimates, rates, by demands on central Government to provide the alternative road link that would be then required for the transportation of heavier goods on the roads. I consider that the roads are no place for these big vehicles or juggernauts, these articulated lorries. All these goods should go by rail. That is what the lines are there for. In every other country in the world, in India and places like that which are impoverished in comparison to us, they use all that kind of infrastructure to get people and goods off the main roads. In section 3(2)(iv) of the plan the existing rail network is compared to the total road system. This is evidence of bias in the compilation of the plan. The comparison should be like with like if that was even possible. There is even a more positive aspect in favour of the rail links.
The Labour Party policy committee on transport when they further considered this, concluded that the proposals for public transport contained in the plan were almost unacceptable unless explained and teased out to the fullest extent. These proposals even run counter to the spirit of the intent of our party on transport policy development on many very important issues. They are also contrary to specific party policy.
The plan proposes to begin with what could be considered as in some way, by sleight of hand or by deliberate intent or by accident the introduction of McKinsey under another name, like changing the name from Windscale to Sellafield. You can change the name but it does not make any difference if the end result is the same. We are anxious that the Minister in his response will reassure us on all the fears that we have in this particular area.
Various resolutions which specifically dealt with transportation and were carried at our party conference actually need to be put on the record of the House so that the Minister will realise that I have not just something in my bonnet about this problem but that I have a serious concern which I feel it my duty to express. I feel that the Minister himself could probably benefit from listening to the tone of the background information to us and the way we want to process the legislation.
Following the party conference which I referred to in 1982 we produced at that conference a party programme which is not just individual policies but is an evolving programme which takes on board the existing policy and promotes it, gets it into legislation and moves on to another area. We are quite a democratic party in that respect. Because of that we treat seriously these areas of legislation in which we feel we have an expertise and indeed I think we could say we have a direct link with the trade union movement involved in this area. I would quote from the programme of the Labour Party on transport under the heading "Transport — Radical Policy", section 1(1) which says:
Labour believes that a radical transportation policy is required in order to obtain the following social and economic objectives:
(i) Equal mobility for all citizens.
(ii) Efficient and energy conserving systems.
(iii) Economic and efficient movement of freight.
(iv) Protection of the environment from noise and air pollution.
We will be dealing with the Air Pollution Bill in the near future. There will be many people who will have comments about pollution from nuclear power plants in other countries and in other states over which we have no jurisdiction. We would like to ask them to close down their plants or do other things that we do not have the power to do and within our membership of the Community we will be using whatever influence we have. Here is a way to guard our environment. Particularly since the advent of diesel anything can help to promote the protection of the environment from air pollution, especially diesel air pollution, is something that we have to encourage. Our party programme has stated in its radical transport policy that this is one area to which we should have regard.
Section 11 (2) of the same programme says:
Labour is committed to the provision of a public transportation system as an essential social service. Labour is determined to improve and extend the public transport system within built up and new urban areas, but equally within our rural areas which have seen the decline of an effective public transport system. Labour therefore express their commitment to public transport as an essential social service and in line with this commitment will positively examine
(a) the concept of the flat fare for urban services
(b) the re-organisation of existing routes
(c) the development of the urban rail network.
From that section of our party programme one can realise why I have put on the record of the House our commitment to the whole philosophy of public responsibility for transportation but also our attitude towards the social service it provides and the fact that there should be Government commitment, capital and otherwise, to ensure that this will all fall into place. That is not confined to the urban area of Dublin where a lot of people depend on public transport but rural areas should not be denuded of a transport system and certainly rural people should not be treated as second class citizens.
That is why I have reservations about the number of companies the Minister has in his legislation. If we have one company dealing with the Dublin rail and one for Dublin bus transport and one company dealing with provincial rail and bus transport, as a provincial representative I could find a bias in favour of the city. From an economic point of view it would be difficult to argue against that because the major income will be from the urban areas but as a socialist I would like to think that all transport systems throughout the country would help each other and that there would be an inter-dependence and inter-linking between the two of them and this is where members of the staff come into it. At the moment staff can exchange within the structure of CIE. If they are broken up into different companies and there are redundancies in one company they cannot change to another because they will be separate companies. If that is not the case then let the Minister tell me that it will not happen and that in the setting up of companies he will have an overall transport company, CIE as it is known now, that the others will be subsidiary companies only who will carry out the policy of the parent company and that these will only be at executive level. If that is the case let us tease it out and see if that is how it will work on the ground but certainly the workers in the transport industry at the moment could have no assurance that with this restructured CIE there will be any future in the company for a lot of them. This is one of the areas they have reservations about. It is because of the labour content, the service they give, the service we expect them to give and the cost to the taxpayer of the service—which is good value for money —that the Labour Party want to discuss the implications of this legislation.
Motorways in themselves are important. There is a new motorway outside Naas and the pay-back for that is beyond doubt. Everybody now agrees that the economics of making that motorway were justified and Naas people have proved that they can actually survive being by-passed by giving additional services off the line. Our buses use these motorways, which is important if we are going to have a provincial bus service as well as a provincial rail service. We are opposed to the construction of urban motorways through existing urban environments as was originally proposed for the Dublin region. We oppose those because of the environmental and social impact of providing that type of infrastructural development of motorways within a city like Dublin. It would absolutely ruin the city. I would agree with any type of transport system which would be underground but proposals for any systems overground should be looked at with a very cautious eye because we could spoil the entire city of Dublin by building motorways linking various routes by overhead bridges and otherwise. As members of local authorities we would have to ensure that all the people involved would have concern for pedestrians, cyclists, disabled people and so on. We would be concerned about the traffic congestion which exists at present and we can learn a lot from other cities which have been faced with traffic congestion and have approached the problem in a different manner from what we were proposing.
The Labour Party in their policy document also said that the rural bus services should be improved. We suggested that standard 54 seater bus should be used only on a few high density routes, that we should experiment with low demand routes, post office buses and private operators in rural areas. There is nothing ideological wrong with that. We are talking about a major national transportation service that has to be run by the public service because nobody but the State will run an uneconomic service, uneconomic in terms of whether a route is profitable. I am more concerned with the social aspects of some of the routes and I hope that any new boards which are set up will have regard to the actual social impact of a transport system.
Many cases have been made against McKinsey on widely known views and we would contend that in breaking up CIE into smaller units there would be no overall co-ordination or control. Perhaps the Minister will confirm that the executive board at the top will be the policy formulating board. If that is so, let us discuss it and find out if there will be overall co-ordination or control of the system. We fear there could be a reduction in the railway size or a reduction in the importance of railways or the ability to provide a service by rail. We would fear that rural bus services, insignificant as they are in some cases now, might be decimated and we would also fear that there would be a reduction in access to transport for those who are now at the greatest disadvantage. I have dealt briefly with those in the social welfare category who have the facility of free transport but are now disadvantaged because they cannot get to where the transport is. This is exactly opposite to what my party would stand for in an integrated policy structure of planning and co-ordination of all our public transport services in the most effective and efficient manner. We would like also to advocate an increase in access to comfortable efficient transport for those who are disadvantaged, physically or financially.
I should like to pay tribute to the former chairman of CIE, Dr. Liam St. John Devlin. I crossed swords with him on numerous occasions but I want to pay tribute to his commitment to the whole concept of a transport authority. He had his own views on McKinsey. In fact the existing chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann also has his own views on it and his views are well known. Certainly they are well known to staff members and there is no point in me putting them on the record. If we are to have a dynamic board in CIE we must have a dynamic level of participation by board members. It is very important that the people on the board should be on it because of their commitment to the concept of public transport and for that reason I was able to pay tribute to the worker directors on the board because I know of their commitment to the service. They are elected by their peers, by the men on the buses and trains at all levels who go through a voting procedure to appoint the worker-directors. They can bring to bear at board level the views of the people involved in the industry. Those views should not be lightly turned down or disregarded because they would be the most constructive views that could be given to a board. Our compliments to the previous Minister for Labour who initiated the legislation to ensure that they could be elected to their own board. The whole principle of worker democracy and workers participation is followed through in that regard.
The trade union movement, including the ITGWU and Congress, have also expressed various reservations about this legislation, and we are arranging a process of discussion and dialogue with these people because they have expertise available to them that may not necessarily be available to legislators, and it is through that process that we must try and improve the legislation. I know that the Minister and the parliamentary draftsmen in preparing the legislation had available to them also certain levels of expertise in this area. It is a blending of the two sides and a blending of these expert views put before the Cabinet and the Houses of the Oireachtas which will allow for legislation which we can stand over. My own union have told to me that they are recording certain objections to this Bill. They feel that the Bill is an effort to implement the McKinsey report under another heading. Officials from the ITGWU will be speaking on this legislation and they will be reiterating this and stating their own views. They are opposed to the McKinsey report being implemented in any guise. That viewpoint from the union is well documented. They say that they have consistently opposed many Government plans — not just this Government's plans in respect of CIE over the years as invariably these plans totally neglected the social aspect of the CIE operation both urban and rural and paid no regard whatsoever to the welfare or job security of the workforce in the company.
I have already stated that as my personal view and my union substantiates this view. It is the responsibility of the Minister to reassure the workers in CIE that they do have an element of job security and that in a restructuring situation we will have to ensure within the legislation that their security will be ensured in so far as it is practicable. We had to do that when we were legislating for An Bord Telecom and An Post because the original drafting of the legislation gave no such assurances. It is necessary when making fundamental changes by way of legislation to have regard to the existing workers and also the views expressed by their unions because their unions will be faced with the problem of negotiating for their members when all the legislators have finished and gone. Then it will have to be put into operation on the ground; so, we must overcome the problems as we see them now before we get to that stage so that when the Bill is passed it will reflect those views and will make the operation of the legislation much more beneficial and realistic.
The Transport Union are stressing that the Bill, if enacted as it is, would be to the detriment of the company, its workforce and the community it is charged to serve. These are fairly strong words from a very responsible union and they do not like to make these accusations. They are prepared to back them up by submissions on various sections. I think it would be inappropriate to deal with too many sections on Second Stage; it would be more relevant to Committee Stage. They are objecting to certain sections. They are asking for the repeal of some sections, the withdrawal of some of them and the amendment of some of them. We will be going through that process in this House. They are opposed to the concept of split- ting up the company as it would be clear that any of the proposed three new companies which would be registered under the Companies Acts could be liquidated. The wording of the Bill they say conflicts with the promise of the Minister given to the ICTU deputation at a meeting on 29 October 1985 and confirmed subsequently by letter of 8 November 1985. Again, the union are making the point that to break up CIE into three companies is contrary to the wishes of the unions.
We have sufficient problems with unions at the moment, whether they be teachers' unions or agricultural unions, etc. No Minister should lightly go into an area where he would have a confrontation with the unions especially if the union are prepared to discuss and negotiate with him before he implements legislation or before he finalises it. This is appropriate because CIE is a major employer in this country. There are many people in the company who are represented by very powerful and responsible unions. If there are problems we must sit down and discuss them. We must listen to the unions and try and compromise in some areas and by so doing we will have served all the interests for which we are responsible.
There has been reference to section 14, (2) and (3), which state that consultation and agreement on appointments and terms of conditions etc. would be needed from the unions. They mention that the wording in this Bill conflicts with the Government's letter of 8 November. Again, it is important to read the Minister's statement in respect of this section where he said:
It empowers the board to designate existing employees for employment by a company and it obliges staff so designated to transfer to that company.
So on the one hand it is being made obligatory through legislation and on the other hand it is being left open to negotiation and discussion with the union. It cannot be both ways. It has to be either one way or the other. Up to now the unions have proved that they are capable of negotiating on behalf of their members.
Congress, which is the overall co-ordinating body of the whole trade union movement, issued a press statement recently in which they said that the CIE unions have considered the Government's legislation on the proposed reorganisation of CIE. I will quote from their Press statement of 14 March:
The Unions support the idea of renewal and improvement of CIE services.
That is the first fundamental principle. They agree with and support the idea of a renewal and improvement of the services. They recognise that all is not well: they want to improve it and they are prepared to do so. They think that this Bill is not the best approach and that the proposal to increase Government control over CIE wages and conditions is a recipe for chaos in the industrial relations of the new companies.
That is a problem because one cannot statutorily and legislatively control wages because if one does, one is eliminating the whole concept of the trade union movement which has been built up over many torturous years, from the foundation of the trade union movement in 1910 up to the present, and has given rights to people to negotiate on behalf of their members. If there is a statutory control over that right then we could be heading for trouble. It is important that the flexibility of discussion, agreement or disagreement and the powers presently vested in unions should not be lightly discarded by legislating to make it obligatory. Guidelines can be set down by Governments and it is appropriate that there would be guidelines. There could be guidelines set down by the social partners, the Government and the trade union movement who not only represent the working people of the country but who also voice opinions of behalf of the under-privileged, the social welfare recipients. In many of the national wage agreements between the social partners those under-privileged who had nobody to speak for them found an ally in the trade union movement. So, one can have national wage agreements and one can have agreed national concepts of wage agreements but it is a far cry from statutory control because in that way you could have any Government at any time with a majority in the Houses of the Oireachtas, deciding that they would put a statutory embargo on a particular wage or on the possibility of improving a wage increase. That is one of the reasons the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have reservations.
The unions are disappointed also that the Government, in drafting the Bill, have totally ignored, in their opinion, the views of the CIE workforce, expressed through their unions. In particular, they are critical of the proposal to separate the different sections of CIE into independent organisations under the Companies Act, particularly in the light of the experience of the taxpayer and the workers in Irish Shipping. Divorcing the railways and provincial bus services is not practical, the Congress says, as the services share joint facilities. That is an important point to consider. Existing facilities are shared between different services in the overall transport service. If we suddenly, through the registration of different companies, have a demarcation line between one and another, and set up division lines, we will create some problems. There is no doubt about that. With joint facilities it is very difficult to legislate about who should be responsible for what. At present, we have one body responsible for all. There can be joint sharing without separate accountability, or if there is accountability, it can be justified by the sharing of the facilities.
The Congress feel that this could lead to a costly duplication of services and the eventual deterioration of the service in the provincial community. This is a point that I cannot over-emphasise. Coming from the provinces and the rural part of Ireland, I am afraid of any move that could put the services in the rural part of the country into jeopardy. I will be looking for the strongest possible assurance that whatever we do at the end of the day, we will take into account the fact that people in other parts of the country require a service as well.
Congress go on to say that the unions think that the proposed legislation should be amended in consultation with all parties. I hope that the Labour Party will act as a catalyst in this and that they will arrange that the fullest possible consultation goes on between the unions, the Government and the Houses of the Oireachtas. They feel that if the legislation is suitably amended it could help in improving the services provided by a national transport company.
Those are some of the reservations which I wanted to put on the record of the House on the last occasion. I hope that in so doing I have confirmed to the Minister that there was need for reservations and that because something was agreed at Cabinet level it does not necessarily mean that it could not be open to discussion at the greatest length, and to amendment if that was considered necessary and agreement reached on it. If we followed this road or rail link in this legislation, we could achieve what all of us want to achieve by way of good legislation.
I deliberately will refrain from dealing with the various sections because I am privy to some comments that have been made at the various subcommittees on various sections of the legislation. I will leave those for discussion on the Committee Stage of the Bill because by the time we arrive at the Committee Stage, whenever that is, the Minister will have had the opportunity of having consultations with us in order to tease out proposed amendments or perhaps amendments on which we can agree. Perhaps there will be amendments which he will confirm are not possible. This is the spirit in which I want to approach the legislation. This is the spirit in which I hope the Minister will approach it. I am sure the Minister will recognise the role we have as legislators in formulating our attitude to a Bill and the completion of it and in trying to perfect the legislation. There is no Bill that has ever come before me that was not subject to amendment or improvement.
I will put it another way. There was no Bill ever before me that did not have something imperfect about it, whether it was drafting or an oversight in another House to amend legislation — that has happened — or whether it was the emphasis in the words used by parliamentary draftsmen. No Bill that ever came before us was not capable of discussion and amendment. This Bill is no exception. I would safely say that this Bill is one which could improve by way of amendment. The overall thrust of what the Minister and the Government want to do can be improved by amendments, possibly in this legislation. That would not in any take from the thrust of whatBuilding on Reality was all about and what the whole principle involved in that programme of the Government was all about. I sincerely hope that at the end of the day when all our problems have been aired and responded to by the Minister and agreements have been reached, the legislation which we will send to the Dáil will be legislation that we, in the Seanad, can be proud of.
I want to defend our role in this House to follow that line. If I did not defend that role I would be agreeing with other people that this House should be abolished. I feel that this House has a major role to play. I thank the Minister for initiating the legislation here. By initiating it in the Seanad he will be assured that by the time it gets to another place for another perusal and another look by other legislators it will have benefited to no small extent from having been before us in the first instance. We will be looking at it calmly with a lot of expert advice available to us. We will be looking at it outside of the hurlyburly of the politics and votes of the Dáil. The voting strengths in this House are irrelevant because at any time if we wanted to call a vote on this side of the House on a particular section we could carry it. That is not that way we have ever legislated in this House. We have always listened to the Opposition side, even if they had a smaller number of people there. They have a valuable contribution to make in formulating legislation. Their views are ones we should listen to. There are other minority views in the House. There are views from the Labour Party side of the House and those views are important. Those views can carry with them the power and the influence of the trade union movement with which we have such close links, particularly in the area of transport.
I say that with a degree of pride. My grandfather, in the era of Connolly and Larkin, was a Labour Party councillor. He originated from County Kerry and was, in fact, an employee of the old-structured Great Southern Railways, and I am very proud of that. I have a long personal association with the industry and with the whole transport services in this country. I have an interest in it. I want to make a valuable contribution. I want to arrange any dialogue that is necessary between ourselves and the Minister, or between the Minister and the unions, or any other forum. I have had that kind of link with it in the past. One of the greatest tragedies, in my opinion, that happened in my village of Bansha was the fact that we closed our railway station. It was a very important link between the people there and the nearest towns, and with Dublin, Limerick Junction and Rosslare Harbour. I do not want to see that link being eroded by either legislators or anybody else. I would like to have an input. It was for that reason — although the Minister reprimanded me for it — that I expressed caution and asked the Minister to "stop at a few stations" on the way. There are a lot of mainline stations in this legislation. I am referring to "stations" in the terminology of sections. There are many sections here that we will need to consider very carefully.
We will need to talk about them in order to know if they are valuable or otherwise, and whether they can be deleted or if they must be kept because they are necessary. The Minister was born and reared near the railway terminal at Inchicore. He will know what my interest in it is. I go back very far in it, as I said.
I almost lost one of my family in a major rail disaster — the Buttevant rail disaster. One of my children was the only survivor in the carriage in which most people were killed. That was a trauma. That was something that altered all our lives as it altered the lives of many people in this country. It took the lives of many people. Thankfully the boy survived and is well, but I want to thank the authorities for the sympathy they showed to us in those traumatic moments of a major rail disaster where so many people lost their lives and where I thought my son had lost his life. I want to thank everybody in CIE at the time who were most helpful to us. It is a service that I am very proud of. It is a service that cannot be praised too much.
The people working in the industry are to be looked up to and complimented. They work extraordinary hours, day and night, to provide a service to the community. There are trains and transport on the move day and night during the beet season. They are bringing letters throughout the country. It goes on all the time. Much of the activity happens when the rest of the people, who complain most, are in bed asleep. There are people working on shifts, and even on late night shifts. The people involved in this work should not have a deaf ear turned to them. I would like to think that we would listen carefully to their views. Eventually when the Minister gets the legislation completed, and amended, as it might be, he should feel before it goes to another House, that it is legislation which he is pleased he brought to the Seanad. I hope he feels that it will have improved as a result of bringing it here, following the fullest discussions in this House.