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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 5 Jun 1986

Vol. 113 No. 4

Road Transport Bill, 1985 [ Seanad Bill amended by the Dáil ]: Report and Final Stages.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be received for Final Consideration."

During the debate on the Road Transport Bill in this House Senators put considerable emphasis on the need for better enforcement of the laws relating to road transport vehicles in the areas of insurance, excess weights, speeding and other serious offences. Senators will recall that this particular area featured very largely in the debate. It was emphasised that under the new regime being introduced for road transport there would be enforcement of the laws as passed by the legislators. In the meantime the Government agreed to proposals by the Minister for Communications for the establishment of a multi-purpose inspectorate in his Department with powers to undertake enforcement of a range of legislative measures relating to the haulage industry and to bus transport.

On a point of order, we do not seem to have a copy of the speech.

I will try to amend that situation.

On a point of order is it normal that a Report Stage speech should be given to the House?

On a point of order, this is a Report Stage speech on amendments which were made in the Dáil. It is very important that we should have a copy of the speech. It is very seldom that we have such an occasion.

As I understand it it is not normal that a copy is given out but as a matter of courtesy we will try to get a copy for the Senator.

Could I have one copy, please?

There was a grey area in the past in the matter of the enforcement of the laws in this matter. The Bill was amended by Dáil Éireann to include provisions for enforcement in accordance with the Government decision and also to provide for appeals against a decision to refuse to grant a carrier's licence or a proposal to revoke or suspend a licence. It is the intention that enforcement teams comprising gardaí and multi-purpose inspectors operating at roadside checkpoints will be the principal means of enforcement. Technical experts from other Departments, for example, Department of Labour inspectors in relation to the carriage of dangerous substances, will also be able to participate in the enforcement teams. Liaison with other Departments will form an integral part of the enforcement programme.

Senators will note that the enforcement provisions apply to carriage of passengers in buses as well as to carriage of goods. Inspectors of the Department already enforce the EC regulations on the tachograph and drivers hours which apply also to buses. The laws relating to the licensing of road passenger transport, the Road Transport Act, 1932 and the EC regulations governing admission to the profession of road passenger transport operator are also administered by the Minister for Communications. It is only logical that the transport officers should have enforcement powers as regards transport of passengers in buses as well as in regard to road freight transport. It will eliminate unnecessary duplication which might arise. Amendments Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 relate to the enforcement measures. Amendment No. 1 inserts a definition for "transport officer" in section 1 of the Bill. The appointment and powers of transport officers are covered by amendments Nos. 3 and 4.

Amendment No. 3, section 15 of the Bill as passed by Dáil Éireann, provides the power to appoint transport officers. They are to be given warrants of appointment which must be produced on request to any person in relation to whom a transport officer exercises a power under the Bill.

Amendment No. 4, section 16 of Bill, defines the powers of transport officers and makes it an offence to obstruct such officers in the carrying out of their duties. The transport officers will have power to carry out inspections of vehicles and records to ensure compliance with the provisions of:

(a) Road Transport legislation (illegal haulage);

(b) relevant EEC Regulation e.g. Tachograph Regulations and regulations governing admission to the occupation of road transport operator;

(c) legislation in the area of responsibility of other Ministers relating to road haulage vehicles and buses — (vehicle weights, vehicle markings, lights, wipers, etc.) subject to such legislation being specified by order made by the Minister after consultation with the Minister responsible for such legislation.

Amendment No. 5, section 17 of Bill, empowers the Minister to take summary proceedings for offences detected by transport officers in the course of inspections under section 16. This is only for minor offences. We are thinking in this particular area of fines in the region of £20 or so. The major offences would not be subject to on-the-spot fines.

Amendment No. 6, section 18 of Bill empowers the Minister to make orders specifying the legislation, additional to road transport legislation, administered by him and specified in section 17 (a) and (b) in relation to which the transport officers may exercise their powers and under which the Minister may bring prosecutions for summary offences. It provides that the making of any such order will be subject to consultation with the Minister responsible for such legislation and with the Commissioner of the Garda.

Amendment No. 2, section 6 of Bill, gives an applicant who has been refused a carrier's licence or the holder of a licence which the Minister proposes to revoke or suspend a right to appeal against any such decision initially to the Minister himself and if that is not successful to the District Court. It has been felt that as very wide powers are being given to the Minister, under section 5, in regard to suspension/revocation of licences, there should be some avenue of appeal for aggrieved persons. I accepted the principle of an appeal procedure and this amendment provides it. It will also apply in case of refusal of an application for a licence. It was strongly stressed in the Dáil and also here in the Seanad that there should be some avenue of appeal for a person who was aggrieved or felt aggrieved. An amendment was put down by the Opposition in the Dáil for the High Court but on consideration of all of these matters we decided that the District Court would be a more useful avenue, perhaps a cheaper avenue, more available, more accessible and would probably in the long run be the one most desired by people who might possibly consider that they might at some stage come in front of the court, in this respect. It covers both revocation and suspension and also the refusal of an application for a licence. It is wide-ranging and there is an avenue of appeal for the person who would feel aggrieved. As far as an appeal further on than the District Court is concerned, only on matters of law can it go past the District Court.

Section 8 of the Bill as passed by Seanad Éireann was deleted on Committee Stage in Dáil Éireann because the technical amendment of section 5 of the Road Transport Act, 1978, which it was to have effected has already been made by section 29 of the Dublin Transport Authority Bill, 1985, which is at present before Seanad Éireann. This is really a technical matter. It could be amended or deleted. It could be amended in either of the Bills going through. The Dublin Transport Authority Bill was the first one to go through the Dáil and consequently it was not necessary to have the particular amendment in this Bill, therefore the deletion.

Amendment No. 7 is to the Long Title: The original Long Title related only to amendment of the Road Transport Bill, 1933. The new sections in the Bill confer powers for the enforcement of and the prosecution of offences under laws administered by other Ministers. The Long Title had to be amended to provide for these powers.

I would remind Members that they may speak only once on this.

The return to the Seanad of this Bill bears out the broad consensus in all political parties concerning the implications of this Bill on its introduction here to the Seanad. Most of the things that have been said by Members of both sides of the House have more or less been justified in the fact that the Minister has returned to the House with amendments. There have been over the last week for example press statements concerning certain sections of this Bill. There are many sections of the community who are dealing in this business and who are rather frightened.

I welcome the change in the attitude of the Minister in the appeal to the court where a licence has been refused. I welcome the move to allow an appeal allowed further than to the Minister. With regard to the dictatorial attitude that was adopted in the first instance, at least relief is given in that. That is a major point that was made throughout the debate on road freight and road transport. That is a welcome decision because there are people who believed for numerous reasons that they were on the wrong side of decisions made by the Minister.

There was a certain hope that in this Transport Bill we could, rather than slipping in the regulations concerning the omnibus transport section of it, have had legislation to deal with bussing, private bussing, omnibussing, express bussing or whatever technical name is given to it. Its service to this country today is of such importance that I felt it should have been given a separate entity with certain regulations applying for it. I am sorry the Minister did not take the opportunity to tackle this legal problem because it is not a physical problem. It seems to be operating well in the countryside and in the cities. From the legalistic point of view the services are not to the satisfaction of those operating them. We read propaganda daily by opposite sides in this field of the alleged breaking of the law, the non-payment of PRSI, cheap labour and all the other criticisms that have been made of it which are not true.

Those services could not operate with the efficiency which they are operating if such nonsense was being tolerated within the work itself. The Minister lost an opportunity here by not consolidating in this Bill certain rules, regulations and criteria for the operation of such services which are there and working satisfactorily. City people can see for themselves every Friday evening and indeed daily around the city the wonderful service that is being given by those people at a very reasonable cost. It may be tied up with the CIE reorganisation legislation coming through the House which seems to have run into very muddy waters as between the Fine Gael and Labour members of the Government. I have an idea what the problems are but by not doing something here and by not being able to do something in CIE, the whole thing has fallen down again. I read an article in last Friday's Irish Independent which concerns section 14 of this Bill relating to the increase in penalties. Subsection (1) states:

(a) Every person who carries merchandise in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under the section and shall be liable——

(i) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,000, or

(ii) on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding £5,000.

Subsection (2) states: The following subsection is hereby substituted for subsection (2) of section 32 of the Principal Act. I want the Minister to confirm once and for all if it is true what was implied in the Irish Independent article of last Friday that in relation to any of those express services to this city from rural parts or vice versa or of the private bus companies operating throughout the country the penalties for the illegality of hauling passengers apply to anybody who is allegedly hauling illegal passengers. I want that question finalised today once and for all. I do not believe that it does. I feel that the old penalties under the original Act are still not removed in any other section of this Bill.

I feel that the penalties are very excessive. I know that £1,000 and £5,000 are easily found figures but the tenacity and competition within business do not allow for people to have so much fluid cash. The Minister is giving an indication to the judicial system that this is the maximum penalty they are demanding. I cannot agree with this figure. It is far more important for us to know if those penalties apply to the people engaged in the express bus business, on daily routes throughout the country, bringing passengers at very competitive prices. Would the Minister also confirm if there is any illegality in that passenger service, will the penalties under the old Act apply or will the new ones apply? If that is finalised it will at least clarify that position.

As regards the other amendments, they all speak for themselves. I believe it is long past the time when legislation should have been introduced to legalise once and for all that express bus service business and the private bus service business operating throughout many counties around the country in many areas where our public transport CIE are incapable or unable to put into operation services themselves. It is not appropriate that certain things are allowed to happen and other obvious things are not allowed to happen. The competition today speaks for itself. The value for money offered by those people to workers going to work rurally, as we know justifies recognition by this Government or by any Government. I can safely state now that it will be Fianna Fáil policy in the future to regularise the situation so that those people can operate properly and not be hiding behind certain methods used to enable them to work within the law. They are quite open and frank. They are providing unique and fine services. I want the Minister to clarify for me today clearly if section 14, the penalties section, applies to those services. The impression given by the Irish Independent of last Friday certainly is a wrong one. I hope the Minister can clarify it today.

We are rather busy here in a confused state in this House in that there are several Bills before us. We have the Road Transport Bill, the city services Bill and the reorganisation of CIE Bill. After giving detailed time to all those Bills I feel that we have missed out on many opportunities whereby services could be rendered and where proper regulation could be brought in so that we could have a very fine service as a result of all three Bills. Perhaps we could adjust the CIE Bill to put proper regulation into it. Obviously, the Bill was unsatisfactory in the first instance. It has been returned to us amended. It still is not very satisfactory when wrong interpretations can be taken from it. The powers granted and the excess penalties included in it far outweigh the reality of the situation in the market-place today. As regards section 14 and as regards other amendments that have been put in, I feel very strongly about them. I await the clarification of the Minister before we make a decision.

Senator Killilea seems to be disappointed in relation to certain transport proposals recently. On the other hand, we have had a tremendous amount of progress on longstanding areas of reform in the transport and communications area such as the need to face the internal problems of CIE and put them on new competitive lines, together with the Bill we will be discussing in a few moments on Committee Stage, the Dublin Transport Authority Bill, which has been sought very much in the Dublin area over the last ten or 15 years. It is tremendous to see such a comprehensive Bill dealing with that area and also dealing with so many other areas of traffic management that have become crucial to running the private and public transport system in this city and county.

In relation to this matter of the amendments to the Road Transport Bill, as Senator Killilea has outlined, we had the opportunity of discussing this Bill in considerable detail on another Stage. I welcome the amendments. The amendments include the appointment of transport officers, as explained in the speech the Minister made this morning, gardaí and multi-purpose inspectors who will be around the country looking at the way in which vehicles and passenger buses responsible for the transport of goods are operating. It is important that these particular officers be organised in the manner in which these amendments suggest and that they be very much alive to the importance of following up on vehicle weights, vehicle markings, lights and wipers, the whole standard of vehicles responsible for the transportation of people and goods throughout the State. I would like to know if these transport officers will have a role in relation to CIE and their own operation. Will they be excluded to the area of monitoring private buses and, of course, vehicles in the freight area, or will they have the wider role in relation to controlling the way in which CIE run their own fleet? I should like to have some clarification on that when the opportunity arises.

I do not propose to go over the remainder of the Bill which we have already discussed. I will confine my comments purely to the amendments proposed by the Minister. They can be divided into two sections. One deals with the appointment of a new group of officers called transport officers. The Minister has devoted a considerable portion of his introductory remarks this morning to the consideration of the necessity for that proposal. I do not like any proposal which gives additional powers to people to stop transport because the plethora of regulations at the moment which anybody utilising transport has to conform to and the number of documents, licences and other pieces of paper that he or she must have available at the request of the members of the Garda Síochána and now at the request of transport officers, are, indeed, bewildering in their variety. Therefore, I am not very enthusiastic about the creation of the transport officers. If the Minister considers they are necessary, I am certainly not going to stand in the way. It is only fair to say that I think there is one very positive introduction by the Minister where he proposes, before section 15 to introduce a new section, subsection (2) of which states:

Every transport officer shall be furnished with a warrant of his appointment as a transport officer and, when exercising any power conferred by section 16 of this Act, shall, if requested by any person affected, produce the warrant to that person.

That is an excellent idea. It is right and proper that the warrant should be available and should be capable of inspection before the very considerable powers which are given to the transport officer are exercised by him or her. The second point to which I should like to refer concerns the other amendment which I consider to be quite inappropriate. It deals with the question of appeals. It was common cause of concern in this House and I am glad that the Minister has recognised it in response to representations in this House and the other House that appeals were a good thing. We all agree with the concept that appeals are good and that it should not be open only to the Minister to make a decision with regard to a matter as important as a merchandising licence in the road transport area. That is right and proper and the Minister is to be congratulated on it.

The Minister and the House will recognise that it is proposed that the appeal procedure should operate in two areas, one, in the area where a person makes an original application and is refused or is dissatisfied with the outcome; the other, where the person is for some reason or other being punished by the Minister and the licence is being revoked. They are two totally different situations. I should like to remind the House that the original application for a merchandise licence is dealt with by section 2 of the Bill as now before us. It lays out the criteria which the Minister is to consider in determining whether an application would succeed. Section 2 of the Bill substitutes for subsection (1) of section 11 of the Principal Act and states that every applicant shall state whether he previously had a licence, the registration number of the vehicle, the vehicle plate issuing station at which the applicant proposes to operate from and, lastly:

...every application shall contain such information as will satisfy the Minister that the applicant complies with the requirements as to good repute, sound financial standing and professional competence...

They appear to be the three external criteria, the three judgmental things which the Minister will have to consider in deciding whether to give a merchandising licence to somebody. He will obviously have to see whether the person already has a licence, whether he has a vehicle with the right registration number and all what I would call their factual things. But there are three judgmental things which he will have to do. He will have to decide whether a person has a good reputation, whether they have a sound financial standing and whether they have professional competence.

I recognise that that is the game and that is the way it has to be played. I recognise that the Minister is in a position to make those judgments. The reason we were in favour of the new procedures is that the Minister would not always make the right decision. He might make a flawed decision for some reason or other. He has to make three decisions on good reputation, sound financial standing and professional competence. If the Minister decides in a particular case not to grant a licence and that licence is appealed to an appeal officer, then apparently, that appeal procedure will have to adopt the same criteria, will have to examine the application on the same basis as the Minister originally examined it and see whether the Minister made a good decision.

The appeal tribunal which we have decided to insert is the District Court. How is a district justice in a position to judge? He might be in a unique position to judge whether a person has a good reputation or not. He is hardly competent to judge there and then at a hearing whether the person has sound financial standing on the basis of information presumably presented during the course of an appeal hearing in the District Court which, the courts being what they are, will be ten minute jobs. Thirdly, he certainly is in no position to judge the professional competence of the person making the application. How could a district justice make those decisions? I am in favour of an appeal procedure. I want an appeal procedure. I agree with Senator Killilea that we asked for an appeal procedure.

I understand that in the other House the High Court was the forum proposed by the Opposition. I think there might be something in that, that it would be a better forum, even though it would be more expensive. It would be a better forum than the District Court. Also it would suffer from the same problem. How is a judge, who has no experience in these matters, to judge the professional competence of somebody in the area of road transport? We have experience in this court of appeal procedures — the planning appeal board is an example. We have had our problems with the planning appeal board.

Hear, hear.

We have had our problems with them. Having said that, we would have had more problems in my opinion — not if it was left to the Minister because that was the old system, but in comparison with the situation as to what it would be if it was left to a district justice. How would a district justice be able to judge a planning decision? Similarly, how could a district justice with a busy list, which includes everything from returning people for trial for the most hideous of offences to road traffic offences to civil processes, find the time and educate himself with the expertise necessary in order to make a decision as to the professional competence of the applicant for a merchandising licence? The situation is daft.

I have great respect for district justices. They are the jewel in the crown of the legal system in this country for the amount of work they get through on a very fair basis. But with the best will in the world they certainly have no expertise in the area of road transport and of professional competence for a merchandising licence. The only thing a district justice may be able to pick up is the person who has been refused the licence. I am speaking now of a person who has been refused a licence, not the person who has got into trouble, where the person has been refused a licence for personal reasons, reasons of personal spite with the Minister. I am not suggesting that that would be something which would happen often but it is obviously something we must guard against. The district justice would be quite competent to pick up that kind of vibration, shall we say. As to be able to pick up a judgment which the Minister would make with regard to a person's professional competence, is in my opinion, not realistic. When the Minister decides, because somebody is not professionally competent or because they do not have a good reputation or because they are not sound financially, he makes that fine judgment on the basis of presumably the person's application and the information which has been given to them. How in the name of goodness is a district justice to arrive at a sensible decision on these matters of judgment about which he is uniquely incompetent to express an opinion.

I think Minister I do not like setting up new quangos. I do not like setting up new appeal procedures. For goodness sake to have an appeal procedure based on the District Court is in my opinion to make a laugh of the appeal procedure because one of two things will happen, either an individual district justice will adopt the attitude that he is going to refuse everything that a Minister refuses or he is going to under no circumstances refuse anybody. We find that the whole process will become devalued as a result of this inadequate appeal procedure. Either the appeal procedure will be completely restrictive or, alternatively, it will leave the matter so open that the Minister will lose total control of ensuring that only people of good reputation, sound financial standing and professional competence are granted a mechandising licence under the provisions of the Act.

It may well be that the District Court with its skill in judging people's reputation might be better able to fulfil the function of assessing whether or not the decision of the Minister to revoke a licence is a proper one. That may be more within the actual area of competence of a District Court. But at the same time presumably from time to time the Minister will for reasons that the applicant no longer has a sound financial standing or that the professional competence has been shown to be not capable of implementation, will also make a decision to revoke a licence. In those circumstances the doubts which I have expressed earlier with regard to the suitability of the District Court as a forum for adjudicating on these matters must also apply to the question of the revocation or appeals in respect of revocation of licence.

We can take it that every decision to revoke a licence will go on appeal. That is the way these things happen. Nobody will be satisfied that the Minister said I am going to revoke the licence. You will have a situation where the District Courts and not a particular district justice but scattered all over the country District Courts are going to have to make these decisions. I congratulate the Minister on deciding to have an appeals procedure. I cannot congratulate him on the forum that he has picked. It is not as good a forum as was suggested by the Opposition in the other House. Even that forum in my opinion was quite unsuitable as well. If recognising that there always remains a residual power to apply to the High Court on a point of law — and that must, of course, always remain — recognising that, I think that an appeal procedure which would be external to the Minister, that is very important and independent of the Minister but at the same time would not be a legal adjudication. Legal forums do not, in my opinion, possess a competence to make a decision in an area like this when you are dealing with the question of professional competence or of good reputation or of sound financial standing. That is not the scene they are into and to expect a District Court justice to make such a decision is, in my opinion, imposing on him a responsibility to which he will respond in one of two ways, either by withdrawing the appeal procedure and rejecting everything or alternatively, allowing all the appeals.

I think it would be very hard and difficult for him during the course of the amount of time he is likely to have available to make the kind of judgmental decision which the Minister will make as a result of having received so much professional advice and help before he makes that decision. None of that professional advice will be available to the District Court except in an adversarial fashion. In those circumstances I would request the Minister would give some further consideration, not to the question of the appeal, but to the question of the forum in which it is proposed to grant the jurisdiction to hear the appeal procedure about which we are all unanimous.

When Senator Killilea referred to the number of Bills that the Minister for Communications has before this House and the Dáil at the moment, I naturally assumed that he was about to pay a very well deserved tribute and compliment to the Minister on the vigorous manner in which he had tackled the problems which lay there for many years without any activity or were growing in dimension, but I was surprised when I found otherwise that it was a rather critical note that Senator Killilea was sounding rather than a complimentary note.

I was saying that one aspect of it should have been taken and it was not.

We will accept that but I thought the Senator might——

Thank you very much Minister.

I was expecting that the Senator would——

Thank you very much Minister.

I thought that the Senator would preface it at least and——


——compliments to the Minister on his vigour in this area.

The Minister does not know the Senator.

As regards the very substantive point being made by Senator Killilea concerning the penalties, I can assure him that they have nothing to do with the buses. As far as the penalties for illegal bus operations are concerned they are governed by the Act of 1932 and the maximum penalties in that area are £50 and a further fine of £5 for every day during which the offence continues. These ones deal solely with the haulage issue which is the substance of this Bill in the main. There is a penalty which is the maximum on summary conviction allowed in the District Court of a £1,000 but, in fact, previously we had a penalty of £250 for a first offence for illegal haulage and a second or subsequent penalty of £500 and these exist since 1978. Considering the disastrous inflationary situation we had for many of the years in the intervening period, I think the rise to £1,000 is not unreasonable.

As regards the Road Transport Act, 1932 which deals with the licensing of road passenger transport operation a review of that Act is, in fact, in progress and an amending Bill will be introduced as soon as possible.

The EC have expressed concern about the number of accidents involving coaches. I think all of us have been horrified by some of these accidents which we have read about and have specifically asked member states to increase inspection of buses under the Tachograph Drivers Hours Regulation. A new enforcement organisation is being established and as the Minister already enforces the tachograph regulation in regard to buses, it was logical to include buses in the enforcement provision of this Act. I can confirm for Senator Killilea that as far as offences in regard to buses are concerned this does not impinge in any way.

Senator O'Leary has been aggrieved about the system of appeal that we have introduced. It is a very good thing to have an appeal from the Minister so it is a question of where do we go from there. Everything was considered, including the High Court. We considered a whole variety of things but we finally came down in favour of the District Court for a variety of reasons some of which I outlined at the beginning. While Senator O'Leary was complimentary to district justices on their wisdom and knowledge of the law on the one hand, on the other hand, the whole import of his contribution would be seen by the district justices themselves, I am sure when they read it, as critical of their overall abilities——

The Minister must not have been listening at all to what I said.

——when, in fact, he would not consider that they are a useful or a good forum from which to appeal for an aggrieved person in this respect. As far as good repute is concerned, I do not think there is any great difficulty there. As the Senator said, there might be no better person to have a knowledge of a good repute or otherwise but, generally speaking, this good repute governs the area covered by the Bill and as far as offences might be concerned under this legislation or previous legislation, these are matters that could be taken into account.

As far as financial standing is concerned, that is a very simple matter. To qualify under financial standing a person has to have a truck registered in his name or a letter from a bank or a financial institution indicating that he is of good financial standing. Overall, I do not think that there are going to be great difficulties there.

Where competence is concerned, we must rely on examination. It is a question of whether the man passed the examination or not or was he wrongly done by where the examination was concerned. There is an examination as such which people undergo, so I do not think there are going to be great difficulties in that area. No matter what area of appeal we have, there could be objections. Indeed, Senator O'Leary himself referred to the costs that could arise in the High Court where the aggrieved haulier or potential haulier would be surrounded with very expensive lawyers, senior counsel, junior counsel and, naturally, this would arise in the High Court as each person was seeking to make his case to the best possible advantage. Large expenses would be involved and this would involve travel also. Remember we may be dealing with a man who may only have one truck. He may be very small in this area and we may not be dealing with the very big companies. I think that the District Court is a very suitable area as far as appeals are concerned and I think it will work satisfactorily in that respect.

I would rather a District Court justice than a board picked by Deputy Jim Mitchell personally.

Whatever is the particular area of appeal, there will be objections.

He will never be able to cancel any licence because every district justice will give a very last chance.

With regard to the district justice who operates in the area with which I am familiar, there is no question of that. The district justices will, according to the regulations and the laws under which he is operating, give a very balanced judgment, tempered, of course, with mercy as he does on all occasions. We have considered all aspects and, indeed, the aspect which Senator O'Leary has brought up and we do not foresee any difficulties in that area.

This is a Seanad Bill and I have no doubt that the Senators will say all the better for it. I would also point out that I had the privilege of introducing this Bill myself and four other Bills and all of them have been introduced in the Seanad. For a Bill of this nature, which needs a lot of teasing out, it is very good approach, and likewise for the Archives Bill and the Canals Bill. The contributions made by the Senators earlier were very constructive. The Bill, as amended, is a better Bill and it meets at least the more important points raised in this House. Obviously, it does not satisfy everyone entirely but I do not know of any Bill that has ever gone through the Houses of the Oireachtas which would fully meet that criterion.

I am confident that the new enforcement measures will supplement the independent enforcement activities of the Garda. Regarding transport officers the reason for the development of this area is the widespread demand that existed that, when we had new legislation, this new legislation should be enforced and that we should not have a repeat of what everyone knows happened in the past. We intend to enforce the law vigorously and we believe it will have the desired result of achieving a satisfactory level of compliance with the relevant laws as far as road freight and bus transport operators are concerned. I thank the Seanad for the manner in which they initially received the Bill and now on this occasion as it returns from the Dáil.

Question put and agreed to.
Question, "That the Bill do now pass," put and agreed to.