Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, 1990: Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Táim cinnte, a Chathaoirligh, go bhfuil eolas ag cuid mhór de Chomhaltaí an Tí seo ar an gcúlra atá taobh thiar den Bhille seo.

Tá suim ag a lán d'ár muintir san iascaireacht. Caitheamh aimsire folláin is ea é a thugann pléisiúr do mhór chuid daoine idir saibhir agus daibhir, idir fir agus mhná, idir óg agus aosta.

Cuireann an iascaireacht slí bheatha ar fáil freisin do dhaoine; dóibh siúd a théann amach chun farraige nó a bhíonn ag plé le líonta sna hinbhir agus ag béal na n-abhann; dóibh siúd a bhíonn ag brath ar chuairteoirí ón iasacht chun slí bheatha a bhaint amach. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil a lán daoine i gContae an Chabháin agus i gContae Mhuineacháin agus áiteanna eile nach iad ag brath go mór ar chuairteoirí ón iasacht chun postanna a chur ar fáil agus airgead a shaothrú.

Táimid go léir ar aon intinn go bhfuil acmhainn nádurtha luachmhar againn. Táimid go léir ar aon intinn go bhfuil gá an t-iascach intíre a fheabhsú agus a fhorbairt ar son leasa ár muintire go léir. Tarlaíonn difríochtaí eadrainn áfach i dtaobh na modhanna inar chóir dúinn tabhairt faoi seo. Níor éirigh faraor le hiarrachtaí a dearnadh roimhse seo. Tá an intinn agamsa tríd an mBile seo córas nua a chur ar fáil a chuirfidh ar chumas gach duine a bhfuil suim aige nó aici i gcúrsaí iascaigh cuidiú le forbairt na hacmhainne trí bheith páirteach i gcomharchumann forbartha.

The importance of putting inland fisheries on a firm financial footing has been accepted by this Government and by the previous Fianna Fáil Government, from 1987 to 1989, of which I was a member. The nature of inland fisheries and the mix of interested parties, from State agencies and local authorities to those who enjoy a pastime, to those for whom it provides a significant part of their income, means that the resource can really only thrive where all concerned co-operate with one another and particularly with the fisheries authorities.

The Government, in spite of many demands on Exchequer spending, have, since the fisheries boards were established in 1980, contributed about £50 million of public funds towards inland fisheries. The problem has been to devise a mechanism through which the interested parties could supplement State funding.

A system of voluntary registration was introduced in 1980 to enable anglers to contribute to the development of inland fisheries. Unfortunately this arrangement did not succeed. In 1987, the last year in which it operated, only about £20,000 was raised in this fashion. My predecessor, Deputy Daly, then revised the angling licensing system to include trout and coarse fishing as well as salmon angling, which had been included in the system for many decades. Opposition to this system caused difficulties in some parts of the State in 1988 and 1989. Sales of angling licences yielded about £0.4 million in each of the two years. This compares with £170,000 raised from salmon angling licences in 1987.

In July 1989 the Programme for Government recognised that the difficulties caused by the angling licensing system needed to be resolved in the context of the funding of inland fisheries development and asked the Minister for the Marine to resolve the problem in that context in consultation with the interested parties.

On coming to office in July 1989, I undertook the process of consultation. Bhí sé leadránach. This involved many meetings and discussions with different people and groups.

While there were many differences between the parties all of them were at pains to emphasise that they were anxious to secure and improve the inland fisheries resource and that they were ready and willing to contribute towards the costs involved. However, many of them had difficulties with the arrangements which were in place. I decided in the circumstances to devise a completely new system. I secured agreement to my proposals in that regard in February 1990 and I am glad to say that fishing was readily available throughout the State in 1990 and has again been available in 1991.

My proposals involve replacing the licence requirement for trout and coarse fish angling through the establishment of fisheries development co-operative societies which will raise and disburse funds for fisheries development. The societies will raise funds through the sale of different categories of share certificates. Those who purchase annual share certificates become members of the societies and may participate in the management thereof. Of course they will also have voting rights for the Regional Fisheries Board. The decision as to whether a share certificate is to be required to fish in any particular area is to be determined by secret ballot by the members of the society in that area. Sixty per cent is the percentage. I have provided that the young, the elderly and the long term unemployed are to be exempt from any such requirement.

I also decided to revise the categories of salmon licences, to re-introduce district licences and to introduce juvenile and one-day licences for salmon angling. The fees to be charged in all instances are very moderate — £12 for a district licence, £8 for a juvenile licence and £3 for a one-day licence.

The fisheries boards continue to be responsible for the management of fisheries and the enforcement of the Fisheries Acts and I hope that the boards and the angling co-ops will co-operate and complement one another's efforts, as far as possible, in the fisheries interest. This Bill is intended to give effect to my proposals.

Foilsíodh an Bille seo ag deireadh mí na Samhna 1990. Thug mé le fios don Dáil le linn na díospóireachta ar an Dara Céim sa Teach sin go raibh mé sásta éisteacht le tuairimí ó lucht iascaireachta agus on bpobal i gcoitinne a chuirfeadh feabhas ar an mBille. Chuir daoine agus grúpaí éagsúla mórán moltaí faoi mo bhráid-sa agus faoi bhráid mo Roinne. Chíor mé na moltaí go cúramach agus mhol mé mórán leasuithe don Dáil dá réir ag Céim an Choiste agus ag Céim na Tuarascála. Táim sásta gur chun feabhais an Bhille (agus an iascaigh) na leasuithe san.

Tá suim agus cion ó dhúchas agamsa ar chursaí comharchumainn, sin ó m'athair agus ó mo sheanathair. Táim cinnte, mar a deir an seanfhocal, gur "ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine". Sin é an fáth gur chinn mé ar chóras a bhí bunaithe ar chomhoibriú a chur ar fáil.

Níor theastaigh uaimse áfach go mbunófaí comharchumainn ina mbeadh an bhéim ar shealúchas agus ar scaireanna. Níor theastaigh uaim go mbeadh cumhacht thar na bearta ag lucht rachmais. Theastaigh uaim go mbeadh cumas ag gach duine an tionchar céanna a bheith aige agus go mbeadh vóta amháin ag gach duine. Theastaigh uaim freisin a chinntiú go n-úsáidfí an t-airgead ar fad le haghaidh feabhais agus forbartha na hiascaireachta agus nach mbeadh aon cheart úinéarachta ag aon duine trí a bhallraíocht sa chumann iascaireachta.

Reachtáilfear na comharchumainn, dá bhrí sin, faoi scáth Aire na Mara in ionad faoi scath Chláraitheora na gCara-Chumann. Aithníonn an socrú seo go bhfuil cás speisialta i gceist anseo.

Tugann an Bille seo deis dúinn go léir comhoibriú le chéile chun leasa an iascaigh. Molaim go láidir í don Seanad.

Cuireann sé áthas ar leith orm go raibh an tAire sásta cuid dá óráid tionscnaimh a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge, mar léirigh sé tábhacht na teanga, a bhaineann go bunúsach le lucht iascaireachta, go háirithe le muintir na iarthair trí chéile thart ar an chósta. Mar gheall air sin cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire agus roimh an tsuim a thaispeánann sé sa teanga agus an Bille tábhachtach seo á phlé againn. Ach is léir ó aitheasc an Aire go raibh deacrachtaí aige. Bhí antrioblóid ann cúpla bliain ó shin, go mórmhór in iarthar na tíre, nuair a thug Aire na Mara reachtaíocht isteach nach raibh sásúil agus nár glacadh leis. Chuir sé sin as go mór do chuile dhuine, don Rialtas agus do lucht iascaireachta ar fud na tíre. Tá aitheanta ag chuile dhuine cé chomh tábhachtach is atá an iascaireacht i saol mhuintir na hÉireann. Tá tábhacht ag baint leis ar go leor bealaí ó aimsir Fhinn Mhic Chumhaill ar aghaidh go dtí an bradán feasa, agus tá an-tóir go deo air mar chaitheamh aimsire, mar a dúirt an tAire ina chuid cainte.

Léirigh muintir na hÉireann sin nuair a bhí an agóid iascaireachta ar bun. Ba léir go raibh an-spéis ag an ngnáthphobal san iascaireacht mar chaitheamh aimsire, ar na haibhneacha, ar na lochanna agus ar an bhfarraige. Tá sé fíorthábhachtach freisin ó thaobh shlí bheatha de, ó thaobh na heacnamaíochta de. In imeacht na mblianta, de réir mar a tháinig fás i gcúrsaí turasóireachta b'fhollas go mbeadh borradh i ndán don iascaireacht, go mbeadh méadú fostaíochta ann, idir obair lánaimseartha agus pháirtaimseartha, rud a thabharfadh a lán airgid isteach. Is maith ann é sin, ach bhí an chontúirt ann, dá leanfadh an scéal an chaoi a raibh sé, nach mbeadh iascaireacht na tíre seo folláin, idir iascaireacht abhann agus locha. Ba léir gur theastaigh athnuachan, réimse nua rialachán chun a chur ar chumas an tionscail iascaireachta an gnó seo, mar shlí bheatha nó mar chaitheamh aimsire, a neartú. Ansin tharla an trioblóid mar níor ghlac lucht iascaireachta leis na socruithe a d'eascair as an reachtaíocht, agus dá bharr sin, b'éigean dúinn dul i mbun ár socruithe féin. Rinneadh go leor dochair, ach ní mian liom dul siar ar an stair sin sa Teach seo inniu.

Bhí mé i láthair ag teacht le chéile inné i gCill Chiaráin i gConamara mar a raibh oscailt oifigiúil ar siúl, dhá leoraí mhóra, refrigerated containers, agus b'ábhar spéise é mar ba é airgead de chuid mhuintir na háite a ba chúis leis an tionscnamh seo, chomh maith le deontais ó Údarás na Gaeltachta, a dhéanfaidh freastal ar ghné eile den iascaireacht, an fheilmeoireacht éisc. Is tionscal é seo a bhí, agus, tá súil agam, a bheidh, á fhorbairt taobh le taobh leis an iascaireacht atá i gceist sa Bhille seo.

Le bliain nó dhó anuas, mar is eol don Aire agus do dhaoine eile anseo, tá go leor dochair déanta don fheilmeoireacht éisc de dheasca an aighnis a bhain leis an iascaireacht slaite, agus rinneadh an oiread sin dochair nach dtaitníonn liom staid fheilmeoireacht éisc na linne seo. Maidir leis an cruinniú inné a raibh mé ag caint air, tháinig na leads áitiúla le chéile le freastal ar ghné áirithe den fheilmeoireacht éisc agus cuireadh ocht bpost ar fáil — iad féin a rinne sin, taobh amuigh de na comhlachtaí móra atá ag plé leis an sórt iascaigh sin.

Nach aisteach an rud é, agus muid ag caint ar na toghcháin áitiúla, go bhfuil iarrthóir de chuid an Rialtais thiar i gConamara in aghaidh fheilmeoireacht éisc a fhorbairt. Mar a dúirt mé leis na daoine a bhí ag an taispeántas úd i gCill Chiaráin, táimid ag caint ar idir 200 agus, in amanna, 400 duine atá fostaithe go díreach mar gheall ar an fheilmeoireacht éisc seo, agus nach dona an rud é, le linn an aighnis anseo faoin iascaireacht slaite nó farraige gur labhair daoine go mioscaiseach le dochar a dhéanamh agus anois caithfimidne iarracht a dhéanamh chun an dochar sin a neodrú, rud nach bhfuil éasca.

Anois tá orm a rá go fírinneach go bhfuil mé glan in aghaidh an Bhille seo. Níl mé in aghaidh an phrionsabail atá ag an Aire, go mbeidh na hiascairí ag obair i gcomhar le chéile, ag cur airgid ar fáil le hinfheistiú san iascaireacht slaite agus locha. Níl mé ina aghaidh sin a gus bheinn in aghaidh an Bhille mar atá sé anseo ach amháin go bhfuil na forálacha faoi scáth na gcomharchumann, mar atá léirithe anseo. Dúirt an tAire ar maidin go bhfuil an-suim aige i, agus dóchas aige as comharchumainn. Glacaim leis sin, agus níl mé ag iarraidh beaguchtach a chur air, ach, os ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine, má táimid ag plé le comharchumann, bíodh sé ina chomharchumann; má táimid ag plé le comhlacht, bíodh sé ina chomhlacht, agus mar an gcéanna i gcás páirnéireachta nó partnership. Ná bíodh Bille Iascaigh ós ár gcomhair anseo inniu atá in ainm a bheith ina Bhille chomharchumainn iascaigh, agus nach bhfuil i bprionsabal ná i ngníomh bainteach leis.

Tá an-díomá orm go bhfuil Bille den chineál seo os ár gcomhair inniu. Ní díomá mar gheall ar na rialacha a d'fhéadfadh bheith ann maidir le hairgead a bhailiú le hinfheistíocht a dhéanamh sa ghnó — níl aon chur in aghaidh sin agam go bunúsach. Tá curtha ina aghaidh go mór agam de bharr mo chuid taithí agus oibre agus mé ag plé le muintir an iarthair agus muintir oileán an iarthair maidir le comharchumainn fhorbartha pobail, nó comharchumainn a bhfuil baint díreach ag an bpobal leo, faoi mar a ba chóir a bheith. Bhí baint agam féin le bunú ceithre cinn de chomharchumainn: Comharchumann Chois Fharraige, Comharchumann na nOileán, mar a raibh mé i mo bhainisteoir; bhí mé ag plé le comharchumann in Inis Oírr an oileáin Árann, agus tá mé ag plé anois le comharchumann i gCois Fharraige faoi láthair. D'éirigh mé as an múinteoireacht scór bliain ó shin leis an obair sin a dhéanamh.

An léargas a bhí agamsa agus an meon a bhí ag Horace Plunkett faoi aidhmeanna comharchumainn, agus gach dar bhain le comharchumainn, níl siad siúd léirithe sa Bhill seo. B'fhearr liom, agus bheadh sé le réasún, dá mbeadh an focal "comharchumann" gan a bheithn luaite anseo ar chor ar bith mar nach bhfuil aidhmeanna chomharchumainn phobail le feiceáil ná rianaithe ann. Nuair a bheimid ag plé an Bhille seo, agus na leasuithe, beidh sé iontach soiléir nach bhfuil aon chomharchumann i gceist anseo ar chor ar bith. Tá sé in ainm a bheith ina chomharchumann. Cuireann sé i gcuimhne domsa go pearsanta an rud a tharla dom tamall de bhlianta ó shin nuair a fuair mé tairiscint ón Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha dul go Lesotho chun comharchumann a bhunú. Rinne mé roinnt fiosruithe agus scrúduithe ar an gceist agus ar an gcineál oibre a bhí le déanamh agam. Dúradh liom go mbeinn ag bunú chomharchumann pobail, an sórt a raibh mé ag plé leo go dtí sin, an pobal a thabhairt le chéile agus a chur ag obair ar mhaithe leo féin, díreach mar a rinne mé i gcás na gcomharchumann a raibh baint mhór agam leo. Ansin dúirt an fear as an Roinn a bhí ag plé na ceiste liom: "Ach is é an rí áitiúil nó an ceannaire áitiúil a bheidh i gceannas ar an gcomharchumann agus is eiseann amháin a dhéanfaidh na rialacha". Cuireann an Bille seo i gcuimhne dom an socrú sin.

Is trua liom é a rá, ach níl an Bille seo bunaithe ar chóras comharchumainn. Tá a fhios agam go raibh deacracht ag an Aire teacht ar réiteach éigin a shásódh chuile thaobh chun go bhféadfaimis dul ar aghaidh. Níl mé in aghaidh an Bhille ach ar aon chúntar amháin, go gceapaim go bhfuil sé fealltach agus gan chiall i gcomhthéacs comharchumainn. Má táimid le rud a chur i ngníomh, nó a thionscnamh, ba chóir go mbeadh an bunús ceart ann agus go mbeadh sé intuigthe gurb é an rud atá i gceist ann ná leas chuile shórt, leas chuile chuid den phobal nuair a chuirtear Bille den chineál seo os ár gcomhair. Níor airigh mé ach an oiread mórán daoine ag cur in aghaidh an Bhille, ó thaobh comharchumann de. Is é an fáth nár airigh muid sin ná nach bhfuil aon tuiscint acu ann. Níl mé a rá go bhfuil tuiscint iomlán agamsa sna comharchumainn nó riar comharchumann ach tá a fhios agam go maith go bhfuil an t-uafás iascairí amuigh ansin atá ag dul a phlé leis seo nach bhfuil, agus nach mbeidh, tuiscint ach in aidhmeanna chomharchumann, nó cén fáth go bhfuil comharchumann ann agus an ionspioráid atá taobh thiar díobh agus ag lucht a mbunaithe, ar nós Horace Plunkett agus a leithéid.

In alt 4 den Bhille deirtear, "The Minister shall by order establish in each fisheries region one or more fisheries co-operative societies". "The Minister" shall establish them. Is é mo thuairim féin air sin uilig go bhfuil an prionsabal sin mícheart, go bhfuil sé bunaithe ar premise atá mícheart ó thús deireadh. Ní hé an tAire, ná Aire ar bith — níl mé ag caint go speisialta faoin Aire atá os ár gcomhair anseo — a bhunaíonn ná a dhéanann comharchumann a thionscnamh. Is gluaiseacht phobail comharchumann, agus tagann an ghluaiseacht sin ón phobal féin. Tagann daoine le chéile agus ag cruinniú amháin a bhíonn acu déanann siad suas a n-intinn go gcuirfidh siad comharchumann ar bun. Ní chuireann siad fios ar an easpag nó ar an sagart paróiste nó ar an Aire nó ar an gCounty Manager nó ar dhuine ar bith eile le comharchumann a bhunú. Siad féin amháin a chuireann ar bun é. Nuair a léigh mé an Bille seo cuireadh díomá orm. Tá prionsabal agus spiorad an Chomharchumannachais tréigthe ar fad ag an Aire. Má tá cumhacht ag an Aire nó ag duine ar bith comharchumann a bhunú é féin, ní comharchumann a thuilleadh é. Tabhair ainm ar bith eile air ach ná tabhair comharchumann air. Ní hé sin an bhrí atá le comharchumann. Ní hé sin an bealach a cuireadh aon chomharchumann ar bun sa tír seo. Tá mé den tuairim anois go bhfuil an tríú cineál córas comharchumainn bunaithe ag an Aire, comharchumann a bhaineann le Roinn na Mara, comharchumann atá scartha amach go huile is go hiomlán ó aidhmeanna an chomharchumannachais. Tá sé scartha amach ó Chláraitheoir na gCuideachtaí agus ó Chláraitheoir na gCuideachtaí Carthanachta. Níl sé ag feidhmiú faoi aon cheann de na rialacha a bhaineann leo sin, nó níl sé le bheith cláraithe leo.

Níl aon chás speisialta i gceist nuair atáimid ag caint faoi bhunú chomharchumainn. Tá an prionsabal ann nó níl sé ann. Táimid ag dul de réir prionsabail sean-bhunaithe agus sean-réimnithe nó nílimid. Mura bhfuilimid sásta glacadh le prionsabail chomharchumainn ní cóir go mbeadh sé luaite sa Bhille seo a bheag nóa mhór, sa chomhthéacs ina bhfuil sé ráite ag an Aire. Tá na céadta agus na céadta comharchumann ann agus tá siad uilig cláraithe leis an Register of Friendly Societies faoi Acht 1896. Tá na rialacha agus na dlíthe ann agus táimid istigh fúthu sin nó nílimid. De réir cosúlachta, sa chás áirithe seo tá an tAire ag tógáil air féin comharchumainn de shaghas eile ar fad a bhunú anseo in Éirinn. Sna blianta atá amach romhainn beimid ag tagairt do chomharchumainn an Aire Wilson — cinn speisialta dá chuid féin atá bunaithe aige le cabhair ó chóras na gcomharchumann chun teacht as fadhb. Níl sé sin ag teacht le réasún, le nósmhaireacht nó le spiorad na gcomharchumann go mbeadh comharchumainn mar seo os ar gcomhair. Ní féidir liom glacadh leis nach féidir leo a bheidh cláraithe ar nós comharchumainn ar bith eile atá sa tír. Cén dallamullóg atá á dhéanamh againn le hiascairí na tíre seo — a rá leo go bhfuil comharchumainn acu agus a fhios againn nach bhfuil a leithéid acu a bheag nó a mhór mar níl na comharchumainn nó an tAcht seo ag teacht le haidhmeanna chomharchumainn. Ceapann daoine eile go bhfuil ach tá mise ag insint — agus an plé atá agam le comharchumainn pobail le 30 bliana — nach bhfuil cosúlacht ar bith san Acht seo leis na comharchumainn sin. Níl intinn comharchumainn san Acht. Is díluacháil agus dímheasúil na gcomharchumann atá ann dá bharr. Ar chuala duine riamh faoi chomharchumann go bhféadfadh duine teacht agus a rá: "Cuirfidh mé deireadh leis an gcomharchumann seo." Deir sé anseo é —"The Minister may by order revoke or amend an order under this section." Is féidir leis an Aire deireadh a chur leis. Ní hé sin an chaoi a chuirtear deireadh le comharchumann. Tá structúir ann ach tá an tAire ag iarraidh cuid de structúir chomharchumainn a chur i dtoll a chéile anseo agus ag an am céanna níl sé ag tabhairt aon aitheantas do aidhmeanna an chomharchumainn.

Rud eile a deir an tAire ná go mbeidh na comharchumainn bunaithe ar bhonn carthanachta, is é sin nach mbeidh aon bhrabach nó aon airgead á dhéanamh ag na comharchumainn seo a bheidh aige — ocht cinn nó deich gcinn timpeall na tíre. Níl aon rud agamsa i bprionsabal in aghaidh eagraíocht carthanachta, ach bíodh siad mar eagraiochtaí carthanachta agus bíodh siad cláraithe de réir dlí mar eagraíochtaí atá ar an saol go carthanúil agus nach bhfuil airgead nó brabach le déanamh acu. Bíodh sé le feiceáil go soiléir sna rialacha. Ní féidir leis an Aire an dá thrá a fhreastal. Ceann de na bunrialacha atá ag comharchumann ar bith ná go gcaithfidh sé a bheith ag déanamh brabaigh, go gcaithfidh sé a bheith ag íoc a chuid costais. Mura ndéanann comharchumann brabach ní comharchumann é mar titfidh sé as a chéile. Ní gá, dála an scéil, nuair a deirimse "brabach", go roinnfí an brabach sin amach idir na scairshealbhóirí, D'fhéadfaí an t-airgead a infheistiú thar n-ais ach caithfear a thaispeáint go bhfuil sé ag déanamh brabaigh ar bhealach éigin.

An rud is mó atá agam in aghaidh an Bhille seo ná Alt 5. Deireann sé: "The Minister may make rules for the regulation of societies". Sin, dar liomsa, an buille is mó agus is uafásaí go bhféadfaí a bhualadh in aghaidh chomharchumainn. Is é sin, gur féidir le hAire, nó Bainisteoir Chontae, nó múinteóir scoile is cuma cé hé, a rá go ndéanfadh sé rialacha. Deir an Bille chomh maith: "And such rules shall constitute the rules of each society from its establishment". Céard tá ar bun ar chor ar bith anseo? Níor chuala mé riamh faoi aon chomharchumann go raibh an chumhacht sin ag fear amháin, go bhféadfadh sé rialacha a leagadh síos agus a rá, "Bhell, seo iad na rialacha. Mura bhfuil sibh sásta leo ní ghlacfar libh".

Deirtear gurb é córas na gcomharchumann an córas is daonlathaí mar nach mbíonn ach vóta amháin ag gach ball, is cuma cé mhéad airgid atá aige ann. Tá an riail sin coiméadtha ag an Aire sa reachtaíocht seo. Ní ghlacaim, áfach leis an mBille seo nuair a deir sé go mbeidh cumhacht ag duine amháin rialacha a cheapadh do chomharchumann agus níos meassa fós, rialacha a athrú. Deir rialacha comharchumainn nach féidir na rialacha sin a athrú gan cead "two thirds of those present at a general meeting". Thabharfadh an Bille seo cead don Aire rialacha a athrú nuair ba mhian leis é gan dul chuig cruinniú ar bith. Tá an tAire lasmuigh de chóras na gcomharchumann.

Níl an córas a leagtar síos sa Bhille seo daonlathach agus is masla é do chomharchumainn na tíre. Ní hiad na rialacha a chuireann ar chumas an Aire airgead a bhailiú do chomharchumainn nó dó fhéin, atá i gceist agam ach rialacha a thagann trasna ar fhealsúnacht bhunaidh na gcomharchumann. Ní fheictear domsa go bhfuil de chumhacht ag Aire comharchumann a bhunadh nó ní comharchumann sa chiall traidisiúnta atá i gceist sa Bhille seo.

Tá ailt an Bhille lán de rialacha a chairtheann drochmheas ar chomharchumainn. Deir sé in alt 4 —"the Minister may appoint not more than two persons to be members of the management committee of a society in addition to the elected members". Conas a fhéadfadh duine taobh amuigh den chomharchumann beirt a ainmniú ar an gcoiste sin, nó beirt a chaitheamh amach agus beirt eile a thabhairt isteach? Táim ag tabhairt dúshlán an Aire leabhar rialacha a thaispeáint dom a thugann cumhacht do dhuine nach ball de chomharchumann é, daoine a ainmniú ar bhord bainistíochta comharchumainn.

Glacfaidh mé leis an dúshlán sin.

Caithfidh go bhfuil dhá chineál comharchumainn sa tír seo, ceann acu i gContae an Chabháin nár chuala mé trácht air riamh, agus an ceann againne i gCois Fharraige.

Bhí sé ann sular thosnaigh sibh san iarthar.

Má bhí sé ann, ní deas an comharchumann é má bhí cead ag duine príomháideach baill a ainmniú ar an gcoiste bainistíochta. Ná bíodh breall ar an Aire; ní raibh an comharchumann sin ag feidhmiú mar chomharchumann. Iarraim ar an Aire breathnú ar leabhar Horace Plunkett agus a thaispéaint dom cá háit a deir sé go bhfuil cead ag duine nach ball den chomharchumann é baill a ainmniú ar bhord bainistíochta comharchumainn.

Tá an tÁire anois i dteideal rialacha a cheapadh do chomharchumainn agus iarrtar orainn glacadh leis an mBille gan a fhios againn na rialacha a mbeidh siad ag feidhmiú fúthu. Deirtear ann go bhfuil cumhacht ag an Aire na hiontaobhaithe a ainmniú ar an gcéad lá; ní mar sin a reachtáiltear comharchumann agus tugaim dúshlán an Aire arís ocáid a luadh liom nuair a déanadh amhlaidh cheana. Ní iontaobhaithe nó coiste bainistíochta ann féin atá i gceist ach freagarthacht a thugtar do dhaoine a thagann aníos tríd an ballraíocht agus a thoghann an lucht bainistríochta.

Is é an locht is mó a airím sa Bhille seo ná go mbeidh an comharchumann faoi scáth agus faoi chumhacht Aire na Mara anois agus amach anseo. Níor chuala ná níor léigh mé trácht riamh an chomharchumann a bhí faoi smacht duine seachtarach.

Tá sé ráite in alt 10 go mbeidh scair le n-íoc ar £12 in aghaidh na blianta agus go bhfaighfear teastas bliantúil air sin: "an annual certificate for which the fee shall be £12". That is the share certificate. Téann a leithéid de riail glan in aghaidh sprid an chomharchumannachais. Is ag cruinniú daonlathach den chomharchumann a leagtar síos luach na scaireanna, is cuma an £1 amháin nó £100 a luach; glactar taréis votáil le lucht na scaire. Taréis an scair a íoc bíonn duine ina bhall den chomharchumann sin go deo faoi na rialacha cuí. Faoi alt 10, tá an tAire ag sá rialacha dá chuid féin isteach a fhágann gur ballraíocht bhliantúil atá i gceist in ionad ballraíocht saoil. D'fhéadfaí an riail sin a athrú i gceann bliana eile.

Nuair a léigh mé rialacha an chomharchumainn atá leagtha amach sa Bhille seo, don chéad uair, mheas mé go raibh dul amú orm féin. Dúirt mé liom féin gur Bille iascaigh a bhí ann, ach tharraing an tAire eireaball isteach ann chun praiseach a dhéanamh de chomharchumainn na tíre seo. Táim cinnte gur ghlac sé comhairle i dtaobh comharchumainn má chuir sé an téarma "co-operative society" isteach sa Bhille seo, ach ní heol dom aon chomhairleoir comharchumainn a thabharfadh tacaíocht don bheartaíocht ata anseo maidir le rialacha. Chuirfeadh sé ionadh orm má thug aon chomhairleoir le fios do lucht réitigh an Bhille go bhféadfaí a leithéid a dhéanamh.

Tá córas nua comharchumainn bunaithe ag an Aire. Tá saothar Horace Plunkett agus bunaitheoirí eile na gluaiseachta ligthe i ndearmad agus droim láimhe tugtha leis. Níl baint dá laghad ag an gcóras nua leis na comharchumainn atá bunaithe cheana féin; tá siad anois faoi chúram an Aire agus a státseirbhísigh agus is dona an íomhá agus an polasaí é. Táim ag déanamh mo dhíchill chun athrú a chur ar an mBille ionas go mbainfear amach na focail "co-operative society" nuair nach bhfuil áird tugtha ar a rialacha siúd. Ná bíodh an tAire ag iarraidh an dá thrá a fhreastal chun pobal iascaigh na tíre a thabhairt leis ach ag gabháil cumhacht chuige fhéin chun na comharchumainn a reachtáil. Tá gá leis an mBille seo ó thaobh airgid agus infheistithe de ach táim i gcoinne reacht ar bith a thugann céim síos do chomharchumainn. Tugaim dúshlán duine ar bith a léiriú domsa nach bhfuil sprid agus aidhmeanna na gluaiseachta caite i leataobh ag an Aire.

Tá cúnamh de dhíth ar na comharchumainn agus ar na hiascairí agus tá gá le infheistú ó iascairí agus ón stát. Tá scéal amháin agam agus scéal eile ag an Aire, ach gheofar amach an agamsa nó ag an Aire atá an ceart sa cheist seo.

Beidh mé ag caint as Béarla ar an ábhar seo. I will speak a few words in English on this very important new legislation. My first obligation is to welcome the Minister and to compliment him on having settled a difficult argument that went on for a long time. He applied all his diplomatic qualities and skills to settle something which was nasty and costly for the nation.

My part of the country was not seriously affected by the rod licence dispute that lasted for nearly two years. Nevertheless, I am aware of the immeasurably bad publicity caused for the country. Sections of our media passed on tape and copy all over Europe with devastating consequences. The Minister achieved a major success for all of us interested in fisheries, in the tourist industry and in the value of the fishing industry to the State. The Minister is to be complimented and ordinary men and women in the street recognise the skills the Minister applied in bringing about a settlement of a very difficult matter. We had only to look at our television screens to realise the gravity of the problem; certain people would not settle and even after settlement was achieved they continued to cause hassle for and to threaten those coming to fish in this country.

I differ substantially from the last speaker regarding the provision of the Bill where it says "the Minister may make and adopt different methods." Perhaps I am wrong and perhaps the parliamentary draftsman who uses the word "may" instead of "shall" or "will" but there must be no lack of clarity about the making of regulations under the legislation. I see difficulties arising from any lack of clarity especially after listening to Senator O Foighil who does not believe the Minister should be involved in co-operatives at all. He believes the State should fund the co-operative societies and allow them to run themselves. Anybody with even a remote interest knows how unwise that would be in view of our experience with fisheries between 1980 to 1989. This would certainly be a recipe for disaster for our fisheries and I strongly urge the Minister to ensure that in the final draft of regulations no lack of clarity exists.

I do not believe the Bill is strong enough in all areas. Before I continue, I would want compliment Minister's predecessor, Deputy Brendan Daly, who took more abuse than any Irish Minister before him during 1988 and 1989. It was totally unjustified and came from people who were not as concerned about the fishing industry as they were about fuelling an anti-Government of-the-day campaign. Deputy Daly took more unfair abuse than any Minister should have to take. He did a trojan job during an uncomfortable period. No Minister or public representative should be abused in the way Brendan Daly was. Those who abused him lost the battle when they directed their abuse to the Minister personally. Those are my strongly held views.

On the positive side, we welcome the measure of agreement that has been achieved by the Minister and we would like to encourage him. We must recognise that if the State has invested £50 million in fisheries, the Minister and the Government have an obligation to set down some ground rules for this industry and I say that with experience.

I come from an area in County Donegal which shares in the management of a very important river, the Foyle. The Minister does not have direct responsibility there. A commission exists with which the Minister has difficulties in dealing and can only deal with them in consultation with an administration outside the State, in Belfast. I know at first hand how difficult it is and how everything that has happened — lack of respect for law, the burning of vehicles, the wearing of masks — has cost the industry dear at the end of the day. I have tried repeatedly — four times a year — with the present Minister and with his predecessor to devise rules and regulations for the management of the Foyle Fishery Commission. I know how important it is to set down clear and concise regulations and I have no doubt that the Minister, Deputy Wilson, has the experience and maturity to implement proper legislation that would avoid some of the pitfalls experienced with the River Foyle.

I would not like to see the Minister having to deal with the kind of problems we in County Donegal have to deal with continually during the fishing season. The end-result is that the fishing industry and the fish have been destroyed and nobody gains at the end of the day. This is not an issue for County Mayo or for other parts of this country but an important national issue and I welcome the harmony of the new approach and I hope sincerely that it will work.

The word "election" in relation to members of the management committee of a co-operative society means election in accordance with the rules of the society. I urge the Minister to make sure that those rules are fair so that no bullyboy tactics can be applied in the election of members and that we will not finish up with a group of people who are feared by everybody else in the fishing business.

Section 5 (2) (f) provides for the establishment and management of a development fund for the receipts of payments to the society and the disbursement of moneys from the fund, including provision for payments to the appropriate regional board to promote the purposes of the society. I ask the Minister to insist that the returns and accounts of the society be audited annually. I would also ask the Minister to obtain the accounts — not when they are three years out of date, as happens in my problem area on the River Foyle — to relate them to the period they apply to. The Minister should stipulate a period within which the accounts and reports of the fishing industry will be submitted to him and it should be within six months. That is not unreasonable because the nation will expect him to keep the management of the new regulations under control. It is right and proper that the Minister should be involved here. I disagree with Senator Ó Foighil in this regard. Nobody is more fitted than the Minister of the day to take overall responsibility.

The charge of £12 set down for the annual certificate, £5 for a 21 day certificate and £3 for a three day certificate are nominal charges only. The charge of £5 for a 21 day certificate to fish is less than the price of a video tape. Those are very reasonable charges when one considers State investment in pollution control, harbours, piers and overall development and the ongoing funding necessary by the taxpayer. Those charges are necessary if one is to have any control at all. To quarrel and to differ about those amounts is frivolous and does not constitute a worthwhile contribution.

Section 12 (6) states that "a private water keeper appointed under section 294 of the Principal Act shall have no function under this section." I suggest to the Minister — this is not an amendment proposal — that the water keeper must never have been involved in or convicted of an offence under the fisheries regulations. That is the way to win respect for the industry.

There is a great future for this very important industry and we have not yet been able to assess its full value. This country is only starting to develop its potential for tourism; trout, salmon and coarse fishing and sea angling are areas which will have to be developed in an organised manner if we are to exploit fully one of the most important amenities we have to offer foreign visitors. Inland areas — around Counties Cavan and Monaghan — as the Minister knows, have great tourist potential if fisheries are developed.

The only one.

We would claim that we have additional facilities in County Donegal.

I concede that.

However, we recognise that this is an amenity to be preserved and it must be seen to be preserved. It must be financed but ground rules are necessary. The Minister has skilfully taken this important industry off a dangerous disastrous course. He has done a tremendous job. I compliment him and encourage him to keep going and not be deflected by sectional interests that will come to the surface during the course of the debate. There is a silent majority who expect the Minister to bring in legislation and regulations that will allow this industry to develop to the full and make a valuable contribution to the tourism industry and the future economy of this country.

I welcome the opportunity to address myself to the Fisheries (Amendment) Bill which is before us today and I welcome the presence of the Minister. I would like to start, paradoxically, by complimenting the Minister to a degree because we seem to be reaching some type of conclusion to this issue. It looks as though the issue will legislatively, in one sense or another, though without unanimity, be resolved. I appreciate that the Minister, in a difficult area, has done his best over the last 18 months to reconcile conflicting interests. Having said that, there is enormous scope for critical comment in relation to this entire business.

Legislation was enacted in December 1987 which, when it went on the Statute Book, was among the most controversial Acts ever enacted since the State was founded. That is a fact of life. It was a complete fiasco in so far as angling in this country is concerned. I know a lot about it because I live in Westport and I am involved with people who fish for pleasure and people who have an interest in tourism in relation to fishing at Lough Mask and Lough Corrib. I know what the effect was of the previously ill-judged legislation. I saw towns like Ballinrobe decimated. Towns which were dependent on this magnificent natural resource were simply cleaned out. Guesthouses were empty. Restaurants were deserted. There was no work on the boats. It was a traumatic time. Those of us whose function it is to critically analyse public affairs and not gratuitously pat Ministers on the back, have enormous scope for criticism.

The first comment that should be made in relation to a Second Stage debate on this issue is that there has been appalling State mismanagement of our affairs if it has taken from December 1987 to June 1991 to bring a legislative conclusion to this issue. That is not far off four years. Estimates of the loss of tourist revenue amount to about £20 million. The 1988 and 1989 seasons were lost. It was stated by the Minister in March 1990 that he intended to scrap the rod licence but it was December 1990 before an amending Bill was introduced in the Oireachtas. If it takes from December 1987 until June 1991 to bring some sense of reality to our public affairs that must smack of gross mismanagement in the public sector. No commercial organisation could survive the bankruptcy, receiverships, etc., that would occur. This has been an unsatisfactory state of affairs.

Reading the Second Stage debate in the Dáil last December, Deputies were of the opinion that what we are apparently now at the point of enacting was going to be enacted last December but that was another false hope. It did not happen last December so we are back in the middle of the next fishing season, in the middle of June 1991 apparently on the point of enacting legislation. That is the background to this traumatic and highly unsatisfactory issue.

I can see what the Minister is trying to achieve. I sympathise with him to an extent because he is dealing with a very difficult emotive issue. He has been dealing with an issue that had got out of hand when handled by his predecessors. He was not directly accountable at that time. The Minister co-ordinated the various interests and so on. It is a technical Bill that will be enacted. Having said that, there is scope for considerable dissatisfaction with theraison d'être of the Bill. The Minister is herding groups into what are described as co-operatives. Various interests will be represented in these co-operatives — simple anglers will be represented; tourist industry interests will be represented; the Minister will be represented — and these interests must get together and make decisions about the approach in their region to management and so on.

We like to regard ourselves as being a free people in an independent State. We like to talk when we meet our European colleagues of the great freedom of the waterways in Ireland, the freshness of vision and mind. We like to think that we are an individualistic country which can get way from all the trappings of bureaucracy which must exist in the larger States. In our tourism brochures we advertise the freedom to roam and do as you please. There is a huge philosophical issue here. Regardless of whether one agreed or disagreed with it there was massive antagonism in late 1987 and early 1988 towards what the Government were enacting. It stemmed from the individual's view of his personal rights in this area. He felt that his freedom was being trespassed on. He was looking at other issues such as fish farming and possible encroachment by fish farmers into the lakes and the smolt sector. He saw himself being regulated by a Minister or a Department or by fishing organisations. Instinctively he rebelled against it. Having said that, I can see technically what the Minister had to do and what he did. Legislation has been drafted and we have the concept of co-operatives. We are talking about the 60 per cent majority and all that goes with it.

Fishermen are not like footballers. Footballers join an organisation and they are into team sports, the GAA or rugby or soccer. Fishermen are different. Fishermen are the individuals who go out and dream on a lake with a rod and line. Huge numbers of them do not want to be herded into what are being described by the Minister as co-operatives. It is against their instinct. It might seem to be quasidemocratic to have a 60 per cent majority but suppose it is a 60 per cent majority and a 40 per cent minority, it means that 40 per cent of the people in that co-operative are against what is required to be implemented. That is massive opposition.

Lobbying and seeking majorities to get issues through meetings is alien to the principles of the simple fisherman who is in his spare time wants to take out his rod and line and fish. For a soft kill, the Bill moves in the wrong direction. I could see it being enacted in West Germany or possibly Britain but in our little country with ourraison d'être and our sense of freedom it is alien to much of what we stand for.

I appreciate that the waterways require funding. You cannot have your pleasure without paying for it and it is not unreasonable that fishermen and tourist interests earning revenue from fishing should put something back into the system. With all the re-structuring that is going on at present in the European Community in relation to economic and monetary union and the re-drafting of the Common Agricultural Policy regulations and all that goes with it, we have in recent times reviewed the structured funds within the European Community. Fundamentally what has been happening is that sectors which had been getting huge subsidies up to now, such as the farming sector, will get less because of the rationalisation policies. With the development of free trade and monetary union, more wealth will be created in the centre and less wealth will be created on the periphery of the European Community. In that context, the European Community introduced a Structural Fund. What this is all about is an attempt to build up structures which will make certain that underprivileged communities, through commercial and fiscal rationalisation, will be able to draw on funds specifically set aside for peripheral regions, and under privileged regions.

One of the big complaints many of us in the west have since we joined the European Community is that there has been an irrational input of European Community funds into this country. Theoretically we have the Common Agricultural Policy but the funds went largely to the rich dairying areas where there were big cow numbers, big crops of grain and huge acres of tillage.Per capita an infinitesimal amount of funds went to farmers in west Mayo, west Galway, west Donegal and west Clare. This led to the development of the Structural Fund to ensure that European funds were directed into less privileged regions. There was a great deal of dissatisfaction in the west regarding the way the regional fund was dispensed. All of Ireland was declared a relevant region and we saw Government Departments accountable to Ministers deciding on the disbursement of the funds which were not Irish funds but European Community funds. We argued that proportionately these regional funds for the peripheral regions were not reaching the periphery in our country. If you look at regional policy in the European Community and the designation of areas which were eligible, Ireland, with the exception of Portugual and possibly Greece, was the only place where the entire country was designated. Northern Ireland was designated in the case of Britain. In the case of France only overseas areas, such as Corsica, were designated. In the case of Italy only some provinces in the south were designated. In the context of our country, the west was not designated.

There was dissatisfaction within the European Community at the administration of the fund by the Irish Government and in the development of the Structural Fund, the European Community began to insist that the Irish Government consult directly with regional groups so that people in the European Community could see funds going directly into the peripheral regions where they believed they should go. If this Government took a serious look at European Community funding they would see that there is scope to negotiate funds for peripheral regions. Given that in the trout fishing sector the biggest lakes in the country are in the west where Senator Ó Cuív and myself live — Lough Mask and Lough Corrib — there is immense scope for the Minister to negotiate funds from Europe for this. There is scope for funding from the European Community if we take the concept of region seriously and regard these areas in the west as being among one of the poorer regions in this country which is worthy of special subvention.

The co-operative idea has been dwelt upon by Senator Ó Foighil. He has been involved in co-operatives as a working executive for a number of years. What is described as a co-op in this Bill pales into insignificance when compared with co-operatives as they have been known to work in this country. This is quite a different situation. Co-operatives run their own affairs. We are talking about the very strong possibility of control by the Minister and the Department and regulations being made by the Minister capable of terminating ordinary membership and having fees established at a certain level with the qualification that the Minister may alter them. Fishing instead of being a simple pastime is becoming a very complicated business which has to be run on very strong bureaucratic lines.

As regards the right of the society to rescind decisions and decisions being changed at the end of five years, the Minister is technically correct. It is not correct, as some Opposition spokesmen have been saying, to state that it cannot be changed. The Minister points out that apparently it can be changed at the end of each five years. That is splitting hairs. A society or a co-operative reach decisions and should not be put into a cleft stick where those decisions are nonnegotiable for five years. Five years is a very long time during which many changes may take place. People could decide that they made a mistake at a previous meeting. Attitudes of various interests may advise them that they should change.

There are problems in relation to the phrase "people ordinarily resident in Ireland". That is a highly unacceptable definition. I would much prefer to see a definition using the phrase "citizens of Ireland". I live in west Mayo and in my relatively short lifetime the population there has dropped from about 140,000 to about 90,000. We have a huge migrant population in west Mayo from Achill, Belmullet, the Westport area and from the lakes region. With the best will in the world, many of these people go abroad with the intention of making a little pile and coming back. But life being what it is, many of them get sucked into very difficult situations and some may not come back for 30 years. They live in a flat in Camden Town and may be living there for 30 years but they dream all the time of County Mayo. Their thread all through life is a desire to at least retire in the west, in their own county, town, village or townland. In many cases, these people may not have returned for 30 years.

If one must be ordinarily resident in Ireland the fellow from up around Cong who has been living for 30 years in London cannot be described as ordinarily resident in Ireland. He is one of those who does not fit in under the Bill. That is most unfortunate. Having regard to the poverty in the part of the country we are talking about, the endemic emigration and the desire of these people to come back, I find that a highly unsatisfactory definition which I ask the Minister during this late stage in Seanad Éireann to look at.

I welcome the Minister and commend him for the way he resolved a very difficult situation. I agree with what Senator McGowan said earlier that the issue is much wider than angling in Mayo or Galway, on Lough Corrib or Lough Mask. I know the Minister worked extremely hard from the time he came to office to resolve what was an intractable situation. He is to be commended for the efforts he made to reach a settlement and the way he consulted with all the parties involved. I welcome this legislation. I would welcome any legislation that would contribute to getting rid of the legacy of bitterness which still exists from the rod licence dispute.

I put on the record of the House my congratulations to the Minister for Energy, Deputy Molloy, for the way he personally contributed towards resolving the dispute in the west. I regret, as a practising angler who has been going to Oughterard for more than 20 years and to Waterville for more than 20 years, that it has left such a legacy of bitterness in that part of the country. People whom I admire, respect and know to be reasonable people became very unreasonable in relation to this matter. I am aware that the rift which was caused by the rod licence dispute has left a lot of bitterness.

It is a matter of regret that at an angling competition on Lough Corrib this year just before Easter, an employee of the Western Fisheries Board was refused entry to a boat to go out and fish in that competition. That gentleman was only doing his job. He did it well and I do not see why someone who just did his job and got on with his business should be victimised in this way. It is about time people who felt strongly about it should put it behind them and get on with developing the resource on their doorstep which people from all over the world have enjoyed and I hope will continue to enjoy. My appeal to them is to take this legislation at face value, go forward and develop the resource. I am sure the Minister will co-operate with them in doing that.

I must declare my interest. As a very small boy I fished on the River Liffey. From there I fished on Lough Ennell for several years. I went down one fine evening and put on oar in the water and I could not see the oar because the water was green. I went from there to Lough Sheelin and I fished there for a few years and the same thing happened.

They are both back.

I noticed the Minister's picture in the newspaper yesterday and what I noticed particularly about it was that I could see the rocks in the water behind him. I would also say to the Minister that I met a very prominent person in the agricultural business in his constituency many years ago before the pollution of Lough Sheelin became a serious problem. He told me at lunch that if he was given five years he would have Lough Sheelin reclaimed, by which he meant he would put enough slurry into it that it would become dry land. That was an appalling thing for anybody to say.

I know who it was, too.

Greed overcome judgment in certain parts of the country. What appalls me, and it is not because I am an angler, is that here is a resource which has been with us since the ice age and one generation in its greed can decide that resource is expendable. There are no economic grounds under any circumstances in which that type of attitude can be tolerated. It is not good enough for people to say somebody entered my property at 3 o'clock in the morning and opened a valve on a slurry tank and it went into Lough Sheelin or wherever. There should not be a valve there in the first place that can allow that to happen. I know the Minister is aware of that. I commend the people in that area for the efforts that have been made to restore the lake. I know there are angling interests there who have worked increasingly in the face of huge adversity over a good number of years to restore the resource to its pristine state.

On my angling odyssey from Lough Ennell to Lough Sheelin, I then arrived at Lough Corrib. That was temporarily interrupted by the rod licence dispute. We commend the efforts that the Bishop made. We had what was called the angling safe period where we had a temporary respite but unfortunately his inititative floundered. What concerns me about Lough Corrib is that because of the dispute and because of the absence of management of that water — any area of water as large as that one must be managed — trout fishing seems to be declining and there are reports of roach being a serious problem there. Hopefully they can be kept out of Lough Mask although, as Senators know, the two are connected by underground streams. Pike are coming back and the resource, as a trout fishery, seems to be declining.

There was one very worrying report in a letter inThe Irish Times— I know on the Order of Business this morning reservations were expressed about items in newspapers and whether they should be raised in the House or not — in which it ws stated that lice were found on a two and a half pound trout in Lough Corrib. We all know what happened to the sea trout fisheries in the west and it would be a very serious matter if the lice infestation which is affecting the sea trout stocks were to go on to brown trout stocks in Lough Corrib and Lough Mask. I hope that will not happen. Perhaps it is an isolated incident. I hope it is.

I am sure the Minister will take on board the voluntary effort which angling clubs have made over many years to maintain their waterways, stock them, put up stiles and fences and keep pathways open. I am the chairman of my local angling club, the North Kildare Anglers, and I know the effort that the club have put in over a long period to maintain the Liffey as a premier trout fishery. It has been quite difficult in an area where there is industrialisation — for which we are thankful — to prevent pollution. Only through the vigilance of people at local level have some of the more serious incidents been avoided. Where they did occur they were brought to public attention, with the result that they did not recur.

I know from his speech that the Minister is aware that anglers as a body have no problems whatsoever about paying for their sport. The difficulty was in relation to a licence for a rod, particularly on the so-called crown waters in the west. The cost is not the issue; it is the principle of a licence which is the issue and I am sure the Minister is aware of that; he has more or less said so in his speech.

What we must consider is the value of this resource to the country. This morning on radio we heard talk about job creation and how tourism could create jobs. I agree with that. It is central to our economic development. We are all very anxious to have extra jobs created. But I am aware, from personal experience, of what angling can contribute to the economy. I can recall, before the situation in the North became very serious, going to Waterville where there were people from England who spent four and six weeks in the hotels there, who hired gillies, fished every day and left a great deal of money in a village on the west coast that needed money.

That is why I say to the Minister that this problem of the sea trout fisheries in the west must be a top priority. We have the sea trout action group, whose report I have read, and it does not seem to be able to establish definitively what is the cause of the decline in the sea trout stocks in the west. Surely science in this day and age should be able to give us the answer and provide us with the solution. I appeal to the Minister to devote whatever resources he can, financially and personnel-wise, from his Department to get to the bottom of this problem. I know from fishing Lough Inagh the recorded catch there in the mid-eighties was something of the order of 2,500 sea trout per annum. That is my recollection. In 1989 the figure was down to 20. That is a catastrophic collapse in sea trout stocks. If you go from Galway, as I have, through the Casla system to Screeb, to Gowla, Ballinahinch, on up to Kylemore, into Delphi, the same situation applies. The amount of money that can be drawn into that area through the development and protection of the resource is extraordinary and it will provide sustainable jobs. There is a very serious onus on the State to act to preserve the fisheries that exist in that part of the country where there is very little other economic activity available to the people.

The problem of poaching exists in both fresh water and at sea. If you read the Western Region Fisheries Board reports over the years and look at the number of nets seized in the Corrib and Mask it is quite extraordinary. Most people have a perception that there are large boats trawling at sea and taking the salmon coming in. That is true, but there are also people who are taking stocks from the fresh water. Even in Lough Sheelin we had the situation where they were coming down from Northern Ireland and poaching the trout. That is something we also need to attend to in the interests of the management of the resource and in the interests of the economic welfare of the country.

There are several points that arise from the Bill which I would like to address and which the Minister can reply to later. The Minister said that the fisheries boards continue to be responsible for the management of fisheries and the enforcement of the Fisheries Acts and the Minister expressed the hope that the boards and the angling co-ops will co-operate and complement one another's efforts. I share that hope.

I am unclear about the present role of the fisheries boards and how that will fit in with the co-ops, because one section in the Bill relates to patrolling waters. It says that the co-ops may request the board to provide the patrols, and so on. The nature of the relationship between some of the anglers and angling clubs in certain parts of the country and the fisheries boards is so poor that I wonder will they avail of that opportunity to ask the boards to do the patrolling for them.

Another question which relates to that and arises from it is where angling clubs, as in the case of North Kildare Anglers, have their own water keepers who have warrants, what is their status? Do they continue to have a regulatory status and a water keeping status? Is that status preserved? That concerns me somewhat. What is the status of life members of the Inland Fisheries Trust who were given rights under the establishment of the fisheries boards to have votes and so? Do they have any particular status under the Bill and do they continue to have — as I assume they do — rights in relation to the elections to fisheries boards?

In relation to the value of the resource which we have spoken about already and the need to preserve it, there is an apocryphal story — it is a very old story and it is probably known to some Members — which relates to Ballinahinch Fishery in Connemara which is a very famous fishery. An American come to stay there and he fished every day for a week and at the end of the week he caught one salmon. The gillie was very excited about this and the salmon was brought into the hall and put on display. The American said: "Do you realise that that here salmon has cost me $700?" The gillie replied: "It is good you did not get two of them". Unfortunately, we are getting to the point where salmon is becoming a more and more expensive commodity because there seem to be fewer and fewer of them.

An Seanadóir Ó Foighil raised the matter of the co-ops. Seanadóir Ó Foighil seems to come from the High Church end of the spectrum in relation to the co-operative movement. He seems to consider himself to be the guardian of the soul of the co-operative movement. I do not see anything improper in the State co-operating with people. This is quite an appropriate way of dealing with matters and I have no reservations about that aspect of the Bill. I suggest to an Seanadóir Ó Foighil that he readThe Life of Horace Plunkett by a former Member of this House. He will find that Mr. Plunkett was very pragmatic in his approach to how co-operatives should be run. I fail to see how it can be improper for the State to form a relationship between itself and local initiative. If funding is coming from the State obviously the Minister is entitled to have some input into how the money is spent. I do not have any problem with that in relation to his ability to appoint two persons.

Corporate membership under section 7 of the Bill causes me some concern. It reads:

A person nominated by a corporate member of a society under section 8 of this Act shall on the grant to him of an annual share certificate for any year be an ordinary member of the society for that year.

That is fair enough, but could it happen that a hotel or some other commercial interest within a locality could put so much money in that they would be in a position to dominate——

I am glad to hear the Minister say that. I am sure he can reaffirm that in his reply to Second Stage. I know it is something about which the National Association of Rod Anglers had certain reservations and I know they have met the Minister.

Under section 8 an angling club or other body may become a corporate member so what is the "other body"? Is it a hotel, a guesthouse or what is it? I welcome the amendment made in the other House to section 8 (3) in relation to "the outlay of the body concerned on fisheries development work of public benefit" because originally I think it was just "public benefit" that was in there and it would not be desirable to spend money on things which were not related to fishery development. I am glad the Minister has included that in the amended version of the Bill.

Another thing concerns me a little as a landowner. I have land which bounds the River Liffey. As a landowner do I have rights to continue to fish that water, or do I have to, if the co-op deems it, buy a share certificate to fish my own water?

I have already mentioned that some of the co-ops might not request assistance from the fisheries board under section 12 but I suppose as time goes by maybe that reservation will diminish. I have also mentioned the question of the status of club water keepers and the status of the life members of the trust.

To conclude, I repeat my entreaty to the Minister to make sure that the State does invest in this resource. Aontaím leis an tAire nuair a dúirt sé go bhfuil acmhainn nádúrtha luachmhar againn. Certainly that is the case. My entreaty is to the Minister and to the Government to ensure that funds are devoted to this shrinking natural resource which we have to protect and which is of immense national value. There are people who come to fish in Oughterard, to fish in Waterville, who fly into Shannon Airport, hire a car and stay for a month. As they have the money it does not matter a lot to them whether they go to Alaska, New Zealand or Scotland; they will go if the sport is there, have no doubt about it, they will go where the sport is. It is our responsibility to provide both them and ourselves with the type of sport that can bring economic development, but even if it were never to bring economic development the resource which we have must be protected, must be left for the next generation to go, as Senator Staunton said, to sit on the lakes and just think and fish. That is all we want. I hope the legislation will allow us to progress in that direction and I hope the apprehension I have about the future of the angling resource in this country will prove to be an unfounded apprehension.

Is lá iontach mór domsa an lá seo. Tá tábhacht faoi leith ag baint leis an mBille seo domsa mar, ar ndóigh, tá cónaí ormsa ar bhruach Loch Coiribe, an áit a raibh an cur in aghaidh ba láidre, agus an t-aighneas ba ghéire maidir leis an gceadúnas iascaigh a bhí tugtha isteach i 1987. Cuireann sé díomá orm, tar éis an méid cainte a bhí déanta, nach bhfuil, is cosúil, ach beirt chainteoirí ón bhFreasúra, agus cuireann sé iontas orm chomh maith mar, le blianta beaga anuas, bhí an-chur síos á dhéanamh ar an tábhacht agus ar an éagóir a bhí déanta ar na hiascairí. Séard a tharla ná gur cuireadh Bille síos sa Dáil agus sa Seanad i 1987 agus ag an am sin níor thuig mórán daoine go raibh brí, b'fhéidir, nach raibh sa Bhille á baint as an mBille agus go oraibh faitíos ar dhaoine faoin toradh fadtéarmach a d'fhéadfadh a bheith ar a leithéidí seo de reachtaíocht. Mar dhuine ón gcathair a chuaigh chun cónaithe cois Coiribe, níor thuig mise tábhacht an locha sin don phobal áitiúil, go ndeachaigh mé a chónaí san áit.

Agus mé i mo ghasúr, is dócha gur cheangail mé iascaireacht le daoine a raibh airgead acu, le daoine a bhí go maith as agus, go bunúsach, b'fhéidir, le seandream a raibh plé acu lena leithéidí. Bhí an-iontas orm nuair a chuaigh mé go Corr na Móna go bhfuair mé amach an dúil a bhí ag gnáthmhuintir na háite, feirmeoirí beaga, gnáthmhuintir na háite, san iascaireacht, agus an pháirt lárnach a imríonn an loch agus saol an locha i saol an phobail sin. Dáiríre, is faoi sin a bhí an t-aighneas. Ba é an faitíos a bhí ar na daoine sin nach raibh anseo ach céadchéim, faitíos, b'fhéidir, nach raibh bunús leis, ach faitíos ag an am céanna a bhí dáiríre ann, a chráigh an pobal sin go láidir. Téann an faitíos sin siar i bhfad. Is cosúil, sa chéad seo caite, go raibh aighneas mór le muintir Ashford Castle faoi na cearta céanna agus gur cuireadh ag an am seo iarracht ar bun gnáthphobal na háite a chur den loch. Mhúscail an chaint seo faoi cheadúnas iascaigh an faitíos seo arís.

Bhí mé ag léamh leabhair ag an Nollaig, a scríobhadh i 1941, agus bhí an-chur síos ar cheantar Chonga, Chorr na Móna agus ar an cheantar sin cois Coiribe. Rinneadh cur síos ar athrú a tháinig sa chéad seo caite nuair a cuireadh balla trasna ar sheanbhóthar a bhí ag dul trí thalamh an chaisleáin. Bhí raic agus ruaille buaille ann. Sa leabhar, rinneadh tagairt gur dhúirt duine ag an am go mb'aisteach an rud é go mbeadh an oiread sin ruaille buaille ann mar gheall ar chosán agus nach raibh leath an oiread raice maidir lel cúrsaí an drochshaoil a bhí ag na daoine ag an am sin, ó thaobh chúrsaí eacnamaíochta de. Ach b'fhéidir gur léiriú é sin ar cé chomh domhain agus a théann seantraidisiún, seansaoirse, seanchearta i bhfeidhm ina leithéid de cheantar. Is dócha, an t-aon bhealach a bhféadfaí cur síos ar na cearta seo agus ar thábhacht na gcearta seo do dhaoine nach bhfuil eolas acu ar an gceantar ná a rá go mbeadh sé mar a chéile agus a rá le muintir Bhaile Átha Cliath go mb'fhéidir go gcuirfí srian agus cosc ar dhaoine dul isteach i bPáirc an Fhionn Uisce.

Bhí faitíos eile ann ag an am. Tar éis go raibh sé ráite san Acht go bhféadfadh duine ar bith ceadúnas a cheannach agus go gcreidim féin nach raibh tada eile i gceist ann, bhí an-fhaitíos i gcroíthe na ndaoine go dtiocfadh an t-am go gcuirfí srian ar líon na gceadúnas a eiseofaí. Seo pointe nár tuigeadh. Bhí faitíos ar ghnáthmhuintir na háite, dá gcuirfí an srian sin orthu, gurbh iad gnáthmhuintir na háite, an dream, b'fhéidir, nach néiríonn leo dul ag iascaireacht ach ag deireadh seachtaine, nó b'fhéidir ceathair nó cúig d'uaire sa bhliain, gurbh iad siúd a bheadh thíos leis an srian sin, agus gurbh iad lucht an airgid, an dream, a deirtear, atá ag déanamh economic contribution, a bheadh in ann na ceadúnais seo a fháil. Ar ndóigh, sin ceart bunúsach nach gcaillfeadh muintir an cheantair sin ar ór na cruinne.

Bítear ag caint go minic ar quality of life agus, do cheantar cois locha, sin rud bunúsach, ceart saor a bheith acu dul chun locha. Rud eile ar mhaith liom béim a chur air, is é sin, ní faoi airgead a bhí an chonspóid mar, mar dhuine atá in a chónaí san áit sin agus atá ag brath ar phobal na háite sin ó chuaigh mé ann 17 mbliana ó shin le haghaidh airgid i gcomhair an chomharchumainn a bhfuil mise ag plé leis a chur chun cinn, is féidir liomsa a rá nach bhfuil dream in Éirinn níos gnaíúla ná iad nuair a thagann sé chuig cúrsaí airgid. Níl dream ar bith le 17 mbliana a bhí níos réidhe le lámh a chur ina bpócaí le hairgead a chur ar fáil do chuile chineál forbartha ina gceantar féin, agus sin rud nach féidir le mórán pobal a rá agus, mar a deir mé, ní faoi chúrsaí airgid a bhí an chonspóid.

Tá an-áthas ormsa go bhfuil an Bille seo faoinár mbráid mar cuireann sé deireadh le haighneas a scoilt pobail óna chéile, chuile dhuine in aghaidh an cheadúnais ach daoine ar mhalairt tuairime faoi cén chaoi ab fhearr cur ina aghaidh. Rud amháin suntasach faoi ná go raibh daoine in aghaidh an cheadúnais, is cuma cén cúlra polaitíochta a bhí acu. Bhí aighneas, troid agus drochamhras i bpobal nach raibh drochamhras eatarthu cheana. Creidim gur baineadh leas nó aimhleas polaitíochta ag dreamanna áirithe as an gconspóid; dreamanna a bhí breá sásta nuair a cuireadh an Bille tríd an Dáil an chéad uair, ach ansin a chonaic a leas polaitíochta féin sa scéal.

Mar dhuine a bhí in a chónaí sa phobal, duine a bhí go dionghbháilte in aghaidh an cheadúnais, chonaic mé an faitíos agus an scanradh a bhí sé ag cur ar dhaoine; chonaic mé contúirtí fadtéarmacha ag baint leis agus dúirt mé sin go príobháideach agus go poiblí. Rinne mé mo dhícheall i gcaitheamh an ama sin uilig an t-aighneas a laghdú. Rinne mé iarracht nach dtitfeadh comharsana amach lena chéile. Rinne mé iarracht an tsíocháin a chur ar bun inár gceantar féin, agus is aisteach an rud é ach táthar ann a déarfadh nach sa Teach seo a bheinn murach an t-aighneas sin. Bíodh sin mar atá, ach aon pháirt a bhí agamsa leis is ag iarraidh na créachtaí a bhí ann i measc an phobail a chneasú a bhí mé, rud a bhfuil mé bródúil as. Sílim gur imir mé páirt bheag, ó thaobh an phobail de, chun an t-aighneas seo a réiteach, agus bhí mé ag iarraidh, nuair a bhí sé réitithe, an dochar a bhí déanta leis na pobail seo a chur ó mhaith, na pobail sin a thabhairt le chéile arís. Bhí sé seo an-tábhachtach do na daoine atá ina gcónaí ar an loch agus ina gcónaí sna pobail sin, agus is mé an t-aon pholaiteoir i gContae na Gaillimhe, agus an t-aon pholaiteoir sa Seanad go bhfuil sé de phribhléid agam cónaí i gceann de an pobail seo cois locha.

Ba mhaith liom moladh faoi leith a thabhairt don Aire. Tá go leor leor daoine ag iarraidh creidiúint a fháil as an rud seo ach tá an-mholadh ag dul don Aire as an mBille atá os ár gcomhair inniu. Tá dhá rud suntasacha faoin mBille seo, samhlaíocht agus foighne. Thaispeáin an tAire samhlaíocht iontach nuair a chum sé struchtúr as an nua, nach bhfuil a chomhshamhlú ann in áit ar bith eile. Chuir sé an-iontas orm an Seanadóir Ó Foighil a chloisteáil ag tabhairt amach faoi structúr an gcomharchumann. Is minic mise ag rá, agus níor chuala mé é ag easaontú leis, go bhfuil struchtúr na gcomharchumann, mar tá sé leagtha síos sa ghnáthbhealach, thar a bheith lochtach. Is cuimhneach liomsa dul go dtí an tAire — níl a fhios agam an cuimhneach leis féin é — agus a rá go raibh rud déanta aige, ní amháin don iascaireacht anseo ach do structhtúr na gcomharchumann san fhadtéarma amach anseo. Dúirt mé leis ag an am go raibh coincheap nua anseo, is é sin an bhallraíocht bhliantúil maidir le cúrsaí vótála, agus tá tábhacht áirithe ag baint leis sin, mar sa ghnáthchomharchumann is ceann de na fadhbanna a d'éirigh maidir le ballraíocht ná, má thóg duine ballraíocht amach na blianta ó shin, fiú mura raibh páirt ná lámh acu sa chomharchumann sin le deich mbliana nó le 40 de bhlianta bhí vóta aige i gcónaí agus bhí an bhallraíocht slán acu riamh.

B'shin laige amháin maidir leis na comharchumainn ar dhá bhealach. D'fhág sé sin vóta ag dream nach raibh ag plé leis an gcomharchuman, rud a bhí ag cur in aghaidh na comhairíochta. Agus an dara rud, chinntigh sé nach raibh aon bhunús caipitil ag comharchumann mar nach raibh brabach ar bith ann chun na scaireanna a bhí agat sa chomharchumann a mhéadú, seachas, b'fhéidir, díbhinn bheag, ach i go leor chomharchumainn tuaithe ní bhíonn díbhinn féin i gceist mar an díbhinn a íoctar ná maitheas an phobail. Mar sin, is coincheap é seo go bhfuil an-fháilte agam roimhe. Glacaim leis, os rud é go bhfuil an coincheap nua, go gcaithfidh an tAire an chumhacht a choinneáil, ní aige féin go pearsanta, ach ag an Aireacht, na rialacha a leagan síos. Ach tá sé taispeáinte, agus tá sé intuigthe anois nach bhfuil éinne ag dul a thógáil rialacha isteach i gcomharchumann ar bith anois den chineál sin nach bhfuil pléite go mion ag an Aire leis na daoine atá ag plé leis an ghné seo den saol sula dtógtar isteach iad.

Mar sin, níl faitíos ar bith orm roimhe seo. Cuireann sé an-iontas agus an-imní orm an Freasúra a chloisteáil arís agus arís eile ag rá go bhfuil faitíos orthu cumhacht a thabhairt d'Airí. Ag deireadh an lae nach iad na hAirí atá tofa ag an bpobal? Nach bhfuil na hAirí freagrach don Oireachtas, agus an pharlaimint freagrach don phobal. Má dhéanann Airí agus Rialtais rudaí nach bhfuil glactha leo ag an bpobal, nach ag an bpobal a bheidh an chumhacht na hAirí a bhriseadh. Dá bhrí sin, níl fadhb ar bith agam leis an bhforáil sin. Maidir le foighne, sílim gur thaispeáin an tAire foighne iontach agus é ag plé leis an bhfadhb seo. Bhí air nuair a thosaigh sé ag plé leis féachaint leis an imní a bhí ar dhaoine, an drochamhras a bhí orthu, tar éis conspóide fada, a bhriseadh síos. Bhí casaoid ann ar ball gur thóg sé an fad seo an fhadhb seo a réitach, ach, nárbh fhearr moill a dhéanamh seachas gníomh tobann a dhéanamh agus go mbeimis thíos leis agus go mbeadh aighneas eile ann. Tá seanfhocal ann, tá a fhios agam an leagan Béarla de agus tá mé cinnte go bhfuil an leagan Laidine ag an Aire, hasten slowly.

Festina lente.

Sin é go díreach, a mhíníonn, b'fhéidir, an dearcadh agus an cur chuige an bhí ag an Aire don Bhille seo. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuilimid taréis píosa fada de bhóthar a shiúl ó chuir an tAire síos leofa agus ó chinn an Rialtas rud nach ndéantar go minic a dhéanamh, is é sin leasú a chur ar Acht a tugadh isteach i 1987 mar gur tuigeadh nach bhféadfaí é a fheidhmiú le dea-thoil, agus nuair nach féidir Bille a fheidhmiú le dea-thoil ní féidir é a fheidhmiú ar chor ar bith.

Ba mhaith liom tagairt faoi leith a dhéanamh do dhá leasú atá curtha ar an Acht ó cuireadh faoi bhráid na Dála an chéad uair é. Tháinig go leor iascairí chugamsa le pointí éagsúla ach ar an dá phointe is mó a rinneadar, bhí an pointe maidir leis an fhíneáil a bhí i gceist agus an chontúirt a bhí ann go bhféadfaí an scairchaipiteal nó an scair a chaithfí a íoc go bliantúil a mhéadú gan teora. Molaim an tAire as dhá leasú a dhéanamh. Ar an gcéad dul síos tá sé ráite aige sa Bhille, "The Minister may from time to time, by order, with the consent of the majority of the society", is é an abairt sin, "with the consent of the majority of the society", an chosaint bhunúsach a bhí ó na hiascairí, cosaint a chuireann ar neamhní faitíos millteanach a bhí orthu nach raibh sa rud maidir leis an gceadúnas ach tús, ó thaobh chúrsaí airgid, agus go dtiocfadh arduithe as cuimse leis an scairchaipiteal thar na blianta.

An dara rud a raibh faitíos orthu faoi, agus an dara pointe a rinneadar — agus sílim go raibh bunús leis — ná go raibh san Acht bunaidh agus san Acht a foilsíodh, foráil maidir le fíneáil £1,000. Dúradh ag an am go raibh sé seo as comhthéacs leis an gcineál coire a bheadh déanta ag duine dul ag iascaireacht gan cheadúnas. Dúradh ag an am nach gcuirfí an fhíneáil sin ar dhuine as goid a dhéanamh. Creidim go raibh bunús leis an chur in aghaidh seo agus tá an-áthas ormsa go bhfuil an rud áirithe sin bainte as an mBille ag an Aire agus gurb é atá ann anois ná deich n-oiread an ceadúnas ar cheart a bheith íoctha ag an duine. Ceapaim go mbeidh glactha ag daoine leis i gcoitinne, agus go bhfeicfear gur dlí réasúnta atá ann agus go bhfuil na leasuithe seo réasúnta.

Sitting suspended at 1 p.m. and resumed at 2 p.m.

Ar dtús, is mian liom mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis na Seanadóirí a ghlac páirt sa díospóireacht seo ar an mBille maidir le feabhsú agus forbairt na hiascaireachta intíre. Thosaigh an Seanadóir Ó Foighil sa díospóireacht ag caint ar na deacrachtaí atá ann, go mórmhór in iarthar na tíre, mar gheall ar an Acht a cuireadh ar leabhar, mar a déarfá, i 1987. Aontaím leis an Seanadóir go bhfuil tábhacht faoi leith ag baint leis an iascaireacht san iarthar agus go raibh sé sin fíor annalód freisin, go háirithe ó thaobh an bhradáin de, mar a dúirt sé. Luaigh sé an bradán feasa agus Fionn Mac Cumhaill, sórt naoimh ab ea Fionn Mac Cumhaill, ó mo thaobhsa de, mar bhí mé ag guí chuig Fionn Mac Cumhaill a fhad agus a bhí an choimhlint agus an t-aighneas seo ar siúl. Ach tá súil agam gur thug sé cúnamh dom mar thug duine éigin cúnamh dom, ar aon chaoi. Chuir sé béim freisin ar an tábhacht a bhí leis an iascaireacht ó thaobh na turasóireachta de agus dúirt sé go raibh cuid mhór daoine ar brath ar an iascaireacht maidir leis an turasóireacht. Is féidir liomsa a admháil, agus tá sé seo ráite agam cheana féin, nach bhfuil aon rud eile againne i mo chontae féin agus i gcontae Mhuineacháin ach an iascaireacht, garbhiascaireacht, chun na turasóirí a mhealladh isteach.

Luaigh an Seanadóir feirmeoireacht éisc agus dúirt sé go raibh daoine anois mar iarrthóirí sa toghchán ag cur in aghaidh na feirmeoireachta éisc. Aontaím leis gur tionscal tábhachtach é, go mbíonn poist le fáil ag daoine ón fheirmeoireacht éisc in áiteanna iargúlta, áiteanna nach mbeadh aon tionscal eile bunaithe iontu. Dá bhrí sin tá mise go diongbháilte ar son an tionscail sin agus tá tacaíocht an Rialtais taobh thiar den tionscal sin. Dúirt an Seanadóir freisin go raibh sé féin agus daoine eile san iarthar ag iarraidh an polasaí sin a neodrú, ach chuir sé iontas orm nár ghlac an Seanadóir leis an mBille seo. Dúirt sé go raibh sé i bhfábhar na fealsúnachta a bhí taobh thiar de ach nach raibh sé sásta leis an gcruth a bhí ar na comharchumainn, go háirithe sa Bhille seo. Bhí sé ag caint ar an Phluincéadach, bunaitheoir an chomharchumannachais sa tír seo. Ní raibh sé ina aonar. Caithfidh mé a rá leis, agus leis an Seanad, go raibh Cabhánach ansin, Tom Finlay, a bhí chomh tábhachtach le Horace Plunkett agus gur ó Tom Finlay agus a leithéid a fuaireamar ár bhfealsúnacht i leith an chomharchumannachais. B'iontach ar fad an dul amú a bhí ar an Seanadóir nuair a dúirt sé gur tugadh cuireadh dó ón Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha dul go dtí Lesotho chun comharchumann a bhunú ansin. Dúirt an Roinn leis freisin, a deir sé, gurbh é an rí áitiúil a dhéanfadh na rialacha. Anois, nuair nach féidir leis an Seanadóir Ó Foighil idirdhealú a dhéanamh idir rí nach raibh freagrach d'éinne, agus Bille ón Oireachtas, Bille a múnlaíodh ag an hionadaithe a toghadh go daonlathach don Dáil go díreach agus go hindíreach don Seanad, ní dóigh liom go bhfuil tuiscint cheart aige ar an chomharchumannachas ar chor ar bith. Comhoibriú, síocháin, forbairt, sin an chiall atá le comharchumannachas. Leas na hiascaireachta atá i gceist anseo, leas na turasóireachta, mar a dúradh i rith na díospóireachta, agus leas na tíre, agus níl mise anseo le haon rud a dhéanamh ach an scéim a mholadh agus a chur tríd an Seanad agus tríd an Oireachtas.

Maidir leis na daoine a luaigh an Seanadóir Ó Foighil, na daoine a bheidh agamsa ar an gcoiste nuair atáimid ag cur túis leis an chomharchumann, ní bheidh siadsan, na trustees, ann ach fad is atá bunsraith an chomharchumannachais á leagan síos againn. Níl mé ach ag cur túis leis an obair agus ní dóigh liom gur thuig an Seanadóir é sin. Beidh coiste ann, coiste daonlathach chun cúrsaí an chomharchumainn a rialú. Chuir an Seanadóir béim freisin ar bhrabach. Anois, caithfidh mise, a Chathaoirligh, a chur in iúl dó go bhfuil brabach ann nach brabach airgid é, rud a thuig an Pluincéadach, AE agus Tom Finlay. De réir dealraimh ní thuigeann an Seanadóir é sin agus, mura dtuigeann, deirim arís nach bhfuil tuiscint cheart aige ar fhealsúnacht an chomharchumannachais, agus, go háirithe sa chás seo, go bhfuil brabach ann nach brabach airgid é.

Luaigh sé freisin nach mbeadh ach beirt ar an gcoiste á ainmniú agamsa. Tá, agus tá geallúint tugtha agam airgead an phobail a chur ar fáil do na comharchumainn. Tá an cead agam, mar a dúirt an Seanadóir McGowan, nó ba chóir go mbeadh sé mar dhualgas orm, féachaint chuige go mbeadh an coiste sin ábalta an t-airgead a chaitheamh mar is cóir, mar is airgead an phobail atá i gceist. Mar a dúirt mé cheana féin, ní bheidh na trustees ann ach an fad a bheidh an comharchumann á bhunú. Luaigh an Seanadóir dlúth agus inneach. Deirimse leis, mar atá ráite agam cheana féin, dlúth agus inneach comharchumainn, comhoibriú forbairt agus neamhspleáchas, agus tá dlúth agus inneach sa Bhille seo, mar tá an comhoibriú, an fhorbairt, an neamhspleáchas i gceist, agus tá mé mortasach as sin. Ní dóigh liom gur chóir bheith ag cur béime ar £12 don teastas. Chosnódh cúpla pionta an méid sin airgid an lá atá inniu ann.

Senator McGowan referred to a nasty and costly situation that had developed. I do not want to emphasise that. I know that tapes and copies of documents were sent to Europe and that they did untold damage to the tourism industry. I was Minister for Tourism at that time and I am carrying the traumata. I agree totally with Senator McGowan when he complimented my predecessor, Minister Brendan Daly. The Senator was right when he said that no Minister should have been subjected to the personal abuse that Minister Daly was at that time.

The measure of agreement was welcomed by Senator McGowan. I do not want to say anything in this House, nor do I want anyone else to say anything in this House, that would start up the virulent antipathies that existed over a couple of years. I was shocked when I read through that file. There is a dark side to our character which surfaces on occasion and it is best to try to develop peaceful means and to keep that dark side firmly suppressed.

Senator McGowan mentioned — and I have already mentioned it — that £50 million of Government money has been spent on the development of inland fishieries. In that context Senator McGowan emphasised how important it was to have ground rules for development. He gave some instances of the Foyle and difficulties that exist there because in some instances there may be lack of specific rules. He hoped that the rules would see to it that no bullyboys could exercise any restraint on people in the development of inland fisheries.

The Senator also made another very important point, one that all of us who come up against the annual reports of semi-State bodies and other bodies that have to report to the Oireachtas are familiar with. It is that it is important that up to date audited accounts are presented and presented in time. I took note of that suggestion by Senator McGowan. He indicated that the State had spent the £50 million and that it also has continuing costs with regard to pollution control and that he regarded complaints about the amount of the contribution as frivolous.

Senator McGowan said he would not be surprised if we had opposition from vested interests. I must say, taking it all in all, received a positive response from people involved. I have had very little serious criticism or serious opposition.

Senator Staunton, having gone through the Act of 1987, which he called a fiasco, in particular having spoken about the disastrous effects that the dispute had on towns such as Ballinrobe, in restaurants and hotels, the gillies, boatmen, etc., complained about the length of time it took to bring it to this stage. It was a long haul, but it was not time that was wasted, because during that time the most careful and the most punctillious consultation of interests right across the board took place. I personally met people week after week, day after day, in order to reach a quintessential agreement on some Bill to help the development of inland fisheries.

I reject Senator Staunton's suggestion that there was gross mismanagement with regard to the original Bill or the development and evolution of this Bill. He said no private company could escape liquidation if they took that long. I think that if some private companies took as much care about it as we did they would not run into trouble. The Senator said he had a philosophical problem with regard to the structures. He said that people who fished wanted to go on a lake and did not want to be hidebound by organisations or belonging to organisations and so on. I admit that there is great appeal in that idyllic dream of the lake, peace and solitude and so on, but the fisherman needs an occasional bite, just to wake him up out that dream and if he does not get the occasional bite he will not be back on the lake so that the can somnolently cast the fly into the water. If there is no development, there will be no bite; and that is precisely what we are about. We are trying to bring about a situation of development where there will be plenty of brown trout and salmon taking the bait on the lakes and rivers of Ireland, not to mention the down market coarse fishing in my part of the country as well.

The Senator mentioned the EC Structural Funds. He indicated generally that he was dissatisfied with the deployment of regional funds, particularly with regard to the west. With regard to EC funds, there is scope for the use of funds in fishery development. The position at the moment is that the European Structural Funds, as laid down by the Commission, are made available only for the development of tourist angling. The money has to be specifically geared to tourist angling, not for the development of angling facilities or inland fisheries in general. A total of £1.2 million, a substantial sum, has been made available for angling tourism as part of the operational programme for tourism. This is being administered by Bord Fáilte. I would like to be administering it myself. Anytime I would get £1.2 million from anybody I would feel myself in a position to administer. Of this, £550,000 has been allocated to date — £196,000 to the western board for 17 projects and £338,000 to the Shannon board for 15 projects.

Senator Staunton also mentioned that the period of five years between decisions for the requirement of a share certificate for fishing was too long a period before you could rescind it. Originally I had in the Bill a facility to have another vote within the quinquennium if they so thought necessary. The various angling associations persuaded me to leave it out as they claimed it would be an unnecessary complication.

In regard to people "ordinarily resident in Ireland," the Senator wanted to have "citizens of Ireland" instead. My big problem there was to defeat partitionism because there was an attempt made to have the membership confined to the Twenty six counties of the Republic of Ireland. I deliberately chose the words that are in the Bill to cover the rest of my native province of Ulster, of which I am very proud.

I was delighted to discover that Senator Dardis was an angler himself. He spoke with a knowledge that comes from being accustomed to the lakes. He welcomed the legislation and indicated that there was still — now, this is true and it is something that worries me, and all public representatives, whether in the Seanad or the Dáil, and anyone of influence in the area should address himself to this problem — some bitterness in some of the areas where the dispute was at its sharpest. He referred to an employee of the Western Fisheries Board who was refused admission to a competition. I decry that also, and all Members of this House who are interested should use their influence to the maximum to ensure that co-operation and peace and unity for the purpose of development prevail where this bitterness exists.

Senator Dardis took us on a sad Cook's tour of Ennell, Sheelin and on to Corrib — difficulties in Ennel and Sheelin connected with pollution. He shocked me — I think I know the individual concerned — by indicating that someone had said he would solve the problem by filling in the whole of Lough Sheelin with slurry and making dry land out of it. I am glad to agree totally with Senator Dardis that there is no economic justification whatsoever for that kind of thinking in our society. It is a source of great pride to me that Lough Sheelin is being rehabilitated, that the waters are clear and that there are sizeable fish coming from it. The scientists have indicated that there is only 25 per cent of the stock of fish that should be there. But the fish being caught are substantial in size, which means that some of them were able to develop the rat wit to survive under three of four inches of slurry for a number of years. That teaches us something about the strength of nature when up against it. We could not say that they would survive forever, but a trout that was pulled out at 13 lbs. in weight must have been around when the food on the surface of the lake was not so good.

Senator Dardis mentioned pollution in connection with Ennell and Sheelin, the dispute in connection with Lough Corrib and problems of roach and pike. I did not know anything about a report of lice on brown trout in Lough Corrib. I hope he is right in saying that it was one particular incident or that the person may have been mistaken. There is a serious problem, as this House is aware, with regard to sea trout in the west.

I am glad to endorse what Senator Dardis said about the clubs. He said that the voluntary effort of clubs should be appreciated. I spent a great deal of time during those months of negotiation and discussion and listening to what people had to say to try to reach some kind of decision where the efforts of clubs could be appreciated in the most realistic fashion. I have incorporated that in this legislation. I know it will be appreciated by the clubs and has been generally acceptable to them where they do work for the benefit and improvement of fishery facilities in their particular area.

With regard to the problem of sea trout, I have already part-funded research into this problem. Scientists are not able to come to a conclusion as of now. Perhaps I had a deeper and a more touching belief in science before I went into this Department than I have now. I know the scientists are carrying out very urgent and very important research but there are whole vast areas, even at European level, where fish scientists have not yet reached the preliminary stage in their own particular areas of science. The research that is being carried out at present and is being part-funded by my Department into the cause of the decline of sea trout is very important. These weeks we are taking a very important initiative with regard to sea trout on their way to the sea. We are catching them and holding them to make sure — the scientists think it might be the last year — that we have stock and in the meantime continue the research into the fairly serious cause of the decline. There have been seminars, inputs from scientists and indications that there have been drops of 30 per cent or 40 per cent in numbers in areas which have no problem with regard to any other kind of development, such as aquaculture.

Sustainable jobs are important and are there by way of tourism and also by way of aquaculture, which was mentioned by an Seanadóir Ó Foighil. In regard to poaching, I am not veryau fait with poaching, I am glad to say, but our officers will be taking action, as they did in the area the Senator also mentioned in my own area where people were coming down from the Six Counties to poach.

The Senator said he was unclear about where the boards and the co-ops interface. I stated in my initial speech exactly what the role of the boards is and they know well what their role is because it is incorporated in legislation. There is no change whatsoever in their role in fishery development. When called upon, under the new legislation circumstances, by the board of the co-op they can take some action, but that is only in addition to their clearly defined role in the legislation in regard to fishery development.

A question was raised about private water keepers. I will come back to that later. Private water keepers are water keepers appointed by a private citizen to do the work of protecting rivers. They are not officially recognised in this Bill.

Club water keepers under warrant.

The private water keepers I refer to are under warrant as well. I will come back to that. I have carefully considered the rights of Inland Fishery Trust members. The House knows that the Inland Fishery Trust people who became life members during the period of that trust had certain rights. I am looking at that matter and before I finish in the Seanad I will be able to do something for them. I had already discussed this with my officials before this Stage began.

Senator Dardis indicated that he thought Senator Ó Foighil was a High Church co-op man and I am inclined to agree with him. Someone did say of High Church one time that it was only high in the sense that game got high at times but I know that that is not what Senator Dardis meant when he was referring to Senator Ó Foighil. No big input from the big wallet is envisaged in my legislation and I am glad to assure the Senator of that. Another body or hotel or guest-house entrepreneur may make a contribution and he will find that cooperatives will not refuse it but no matter how big it is, it will not give voting rights accordingly; there will be one vote for each person althoughbona fides members may make any contribution they wish to the development of fisheries.

Senator Dardis posed a question, which is a constitutional one, about fishing from his own field. I wish I owned land along the Liffey. I would say that the Irish Constitution would guarantee the right. The Government will invest and there is a promise of investment in the agreement reached before the production of this Bill.

There are visitors and so on who are prepared to spend a lot of money on fishing and they are important from the point of view of the economy, but our native anglers are equally important and the Government as always are aware of the importance of investment which will bring a return and in this area I think everybody is convinced that a return is available. With regard to water keepers who can have a function in the application of the requirement to fish, the only people concerned will be authorised officers of the regional board and these officers will act only on the basis of a request from the management committee of the co-operative. Private water keepers will have no function in this regard but will keep their existing powers in relation to enforcement of other provisions of the Fisheries Acts. That should make that clear.

Labhair an Seanadóir Ó Cuív le heolas, bhí sean taithí aige ar an gceantar maguaird mar go bhfuil sé ina chónaí cois Coiribe, áit a raibh an chuid is mó den aighneas nuair a bhí sé ar bun. Léirigh an Seanadóir go raibh faitíos gan bhunús ar dhaoine i leith Acht 1987, agus uaireanta gníomhaíonn daoine faoi fhaitíos cé nach bhfuil bunús leis. Nocht sé an tuairim dúinn nár thuig sé i gcónaí cé chomh tábhachtach is a bhí cearta iascaireachta ar Loch na Coiribe don ghnáthdhuine san iarthar agus cé chomh lárnach agus a bhí sé dá saol. Cheap an Seanadóir gurbh iad lucht an tsaibhris amháin a bhíodh ag iascaireacht. D'athraigh sé a intinn nuair a chuaigh sé chun conaí cois Coiribe agus thuig sé go raibh cúis stairúil le tábhacht an locha sa mhéad is gur dearnadh iarracht san aois dheiridh, na gnáthdhaoine a thiomáint den loch. Bhí an eachtra seo sáite go doimhin i gcuimhne na ndaoine agus ba é ba chúis lena bhfaitíos míchuíosach.

Bhí faitíos ar dhaoine freisin go laghdófaí líon na gceadúnas agus gurbh iad na gnáthdhaoine a bheadh thíos leis agus ní lucht rachmais; bhí siad thar a bheith dáirire ina n-éileamh go mbeadh cead acu dul ar an loch faoi mar a bhí ag a sinsir.

Ní cúrsaí airgid a bhí i gceist san aighneas mar a dúradh liom go minic agus is daoine flaíthiúla groíúla iad muintir an iarthair. Cháin an Seanadóir na daoine a bhain aimhleas as an aighneas agus a tharraing ar an dtuairim go raibh a leas polaitíochta féin ag brath ar socrú an aighnis. Ghlac poláiteoirí páirt ann ar a son féin agus ní ar son an Achta. Molaim an Seanadóir as ucht a iarracht chun síochán a bhunadh san áit agus chun srian a chur le náimhdeachas.

Thagair an Seanadóir Ó Cuív don coincheap nua atá sa Bhille seo agus nár thaitin leis an Seanadóir Ó Foighil. Dúirt sé, agus is eol dom é ó mo thaithí féin, go bhfuil fadhbanna ag baint le scaireanna sna comharchumainn mar atá faoi láthair i gCill na Seanrátha i gContae an Chabháin, áit ar cheannaigh daoine scaireanna i bhfad ó shin agus anois nach bhfuil bá acu ná aon bhaint le feirmeoireacht. Ní chuireann siad aon suim — ach suim airgid — i gcúrsaí an chomharchumainn ach tá vóta acu ann go fóill. Tá súil agam go n-éireoidh go geal le héinne a bhaineann usáid as an gcoincheap seo atá sa Bhille.

Ní bheidh riail ar bith ann gan é a phlé le hiascairí agus leis an bpobal. Tá Airí freagarthach don phobal, mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Cuív.

Mhol an Seanadóir mo chuid foighne; ní duine foighneach mé de ghnáth ach bhí gá le foighne sa chás seo. Tá scéal anchasta laistiar den Bhille seo agus sin í an chúis go raibh sé chomh fada sin ag teacht chuig Tithe an Oireachtais.

Chuir an Seanadóir fáilte roimh dhá leasú a rinneadh sa Dáil. Admhaím go raibh na fíneálacha ró-throm agus bhí gá le bac an chur le méadú ar chostas na scaireanna. Gan cead na gcomharchumann ní féidir liom praghas na scaireanna a árdú.

Tá mé buíoch de na Seanadóirí a ghlac páirt sa díospóireacht agus tá súil agam go ngníomhóidh siad ar son na síochána in iarthar na tíre agus go mbeidh said ábalta tacaíocht a thabhairt do na comharchumainn a rachaidh chun sochar iascaireacht intíre na tíre seo.

I am grateful to Senators who took part in the debate and who took the trouble to prepare their contributions carefully and I appeal to them in their own areas to work steadfastly and with all their undoubted influence to see that the inland fishery is developed in the future in a peaceful and proper manner for the benefit of our own fishermen, for visitors and for the benefit of our economy.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 19 June 1991.