Dublin Docklands Development Authority Bill, 1996: Second Stage.

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

Following the broad cross-party welcome for this Bill in the Dáil, I am delighted to be able to bring it before this House today.

The focus of the Bill is on Dublin's docklands, an area which has made an invaluable contribution to the development of Dublin as a port and as a city. In the 18th century, Dublin's working port moved into the docklands area from further west along the Liffey quays, largely because of the need to cater for the increasing size of ocean going vessels. As the area grew in importance, so too did its overall profile within the city.

However, the good fortunes of the docklands were not to last indefinitely. Ironically, the same forces which had led to the area's growth were also instrumental in its decline. The deeper berthage requirements of ever larger ships and the increase in containerisation saw the port move further eastwards along the Liffey. Now, the bulk of the working port is concentrated outside the original docklands area, on the north docks to the east of the East Link Bridge.

Although the principal port activities have moved on, the docklands area left behind retains many features which provide evidence of its hey-day as part of the working port. The area is fortunate in having a number of strong residential communities and it also boasts a network of waterways with significant amenity potential. Its proximity to the city centre adds considerably both to the importance of the area in terms of the wider city, and to the development potential of the area.

On the other hand, the exodus of the port related activities from the area has had significant adverse impacts. There are many obsolete and undesirable uses in the area, as well as vacant sites, all with their obvious adverse implications. The greater mechanisation of port activities has also significantly reduced a traditional source of employment for the docklands communities. Unemployment in the area is estimated to be running at 30 per cent, far ahead of the Dublin city and county rate of 18 per cent.

The aim of the docklands initiative is to harness the collective energies of all those interested in the area in order to secure its regeneration. The engine driving this process will be the special purpose authority to be established under this Bill. It has the potential to secure the vital synergies between the actions of the individual players in the area which would otherwise be lost.

The docklands regeneration initiative was announced in last year's budget. As there has been quite a considerable amount of progress with the initiative since then, I would like to take a few minutes to outline the principal developments. I will then detail the provisions of the Bill.

Immediately after the 1996 budget, a docklands task force representative of the key Departments and semi-State organisations involved was established. The task force was asked to focus on two key issues. First, it was asked to consider what arrangements should be made to prepare a master plan for the docklands area; and, second, it was asked to make recommendations on the appropriate mechanism for the master plan's implementation.

The task force got to work quickly and in little over two months submitted a comprehensive report to Government. The task force concluded that the master plan should be prepared by a team of consultants with the broad range of expertise needed to address the very many serious issues facing the area. It also recommended the establishment of a new authority which would lead the implementation of the master plan and, ultimately, the regeneration of the docklands.

Having considered the report of the task force, the Government accepted these two key recommendations. Since then, the first has been implemented through the appointment of a team of consultants whose work on the preparation of a team the docklands master plan is now well advanced. The Bill we are debating today fulfils the Government's commitment to the implementation of the task force's second recommendation, the establishment of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Of course, the task force report was not the only factor to influence the development of the docklands regeneration initiative. Another significant factor which has come into play is the experience of urban renewal which has been gained since the first urban renewal scheme was introduced over ten years ago.

In the mid-1980s, many areas in our urban centres were suffering from the urban equivalent of heart disease. They were simply unable to fulfil their role as the life force of the urban community. Smaller, leaner satellites in the suburbs were assuming much of that role. Although at that time the word "sustainability" had yet to become fashionable, it was clear that the suburbanisation process which had become established was unsustainable. Continuously increasing suburban development compelled us to provide a whole range of expensive, new infrastructural services which were already available in city and town centres.

The aim of the urban renewal schemes was to reverse this trend by encouraging investment back to the hearts of our urban centres. Under the first scheme introduced in 1986 and its successor which came into operation in 1994, areas designated for urban renewal have seen £1.9 billion of investment to date. The schemes have, therefore, been hugely successful in achieving their principal aims. Indeed, a consultants' study on urban renewal published last December strongly supports this view.

However, the past ten years have shown us that physical renewal alone is not enough to ensure the vitality of our urban centres. There also has to be social renewal where local communities are given a role in determining the way their area is renewed and benefit from that process. There is also a much deeper appreciation now of the importance of architectural and urban design considerations in shaping our urban centres.

The consultants' study on the urban renewal schemes makes extensive recommendations on how these issues can be more fully addressed in the future. These recommendations are currently the subject of a process of public consultation and a conference to draw together the various strands of opinion will be held late next month. Proposals for future policy on urban renewal will be submitted for Government consideration in the following months. While the urban renewal review has yet to conclude, we have already learned from what has emerged to date. Many of the provisions in the Bill before the House today reflect that learning process.

Another important factor which has influenced the docklands regeneration initiative is the experience gained in the Custom House Docks and Temple Bar areas. The docklands area includes the Custom House Docks area, which is home to the now firmly established International Financial Services Centre. The new docklands authority to be established by this Bill will be fortunate in having this catalyst for further development available to it. The centre still has tremendous growth potential in the years ahead.

Much of the success achieved to date in the IFSC is due largely to the efforts of the Custom House Docks Development Authority. Since 1986 the authority has, with the help of the powers given to it under the Urban Renewal Acts, acted as the driving force in turning the Custom House Docks Area around. In the course of the Dáil debate on this Bill, I placed on record my acknowledgement of the authority's considerable achievements. I want to do likewise here in this House today. The 3,500 people now employed in the area will serve as a reminder of the authority's ten successful years, long after it is subsumed into the Dublin Docklands Development Authority to be established under this Bill.

In Temple Bar we have seen the importance of an architectural framework plan. It facilitates the introduction of imaginative, modern architectural styles in a manner which is sympathetic to the existing built environment. The Temple Bar and Custom House Docks models have also highlighted the success which can be achieved when a specially focused body is established to lead a regeneration initiative. At the same time, the size and nature of the docklands clearly illustrate that it would not be well served by a simple replication of either the Temple Bar or Custom House Docks models. Bringing together the wide range of interests in the docklands will be a fundamental requirement for the regeneration voyage we are about to undertake. To successfully complete that voyage, sophisticated structures will be required.

Many influences have been brought to bear in framing this Bill. The influence of the urban renewal experience during the last ten years is evident in the mandate to be granted to the new authority. While the authority will have an important function in improving the area's physical environment, its remit will extend far wider than that, encompassing the sustainable social and economic regeneration of the area.

I earlier referred to the success of the International Financial Services Centre and its potential for future growth. In recognition of the Government's commitment to the IFSC, the authority will have a specific statutory duty to promote the further development of financial services activities in the Custom House Docks Area. While the Custom House Docks Development Authority has, in effect, been exercising a similar function since the IFSC was established in 1987, it does not have an express statutory duty, as such, to promote the centre. The new authority will have such a duty under the provisions of this Bill.

Under the proposals in the Bill, the docklands authority will have a council and an executive board. The council will be responsible for the principle policy making functions of the authority and will be representative of the many organisations with an interest in the area. The authority's executive functions will be exercised by the executive board.

I will now deal with the individual provisions of the Bill in more detail. The Bill has four parts containing a total of 58 sections and there are three Schedules. Part I contains sections 1 to 13. These include the standard technical provisions in relation to the short title, commencement, interpretation, the power to make orders and regulations, repeal of enactments and expenses of the Minister. Provision is also make in section 11 for the indemnification of certain persons connected with the authority in relation to the bona fide performance of their functions. Under section 12, the authority will not be liable for damages because of a failure to perform any of the functions provided for in the Bill. That is a standard provision. Section 13 deals with the prosecution of offences under the Bill and the penalties applying to such offences.

Part II is the most significant part of the Bill and covers sections 14 to 47. Section 14 provides for the establishment of Údarás Forbartha Dugthailte Bhaile Átha Cliath—the Dublin Docklands Development Authority—which will consist of a chairperson, a council and an executive board. Under section 15, the chairperson of the authority will be appointed by the Minister for the Environment, usually for a term of five years.

Section 16 deals with the council, which will consist of the chairperson and 25 ordinary members. While the ordinary members will be formally appointed by the Minister for the Environment, the Bill provides that they will be drawn from the broad range of interests involved in the area. The relevant Departments and semi-State bodies will be represented on the council as will Dublin Corporation, at both elective and official level. There will also be representation for organisations concerned with the social, economic or other development of the area, in addition to community based organisations. The professions concerned with the built environment—town planning, urban design, architecture, conservation and engineering—will also be represented on the council, as will individuals with experience in a range of areas which would be of relevance to the authority's functions.

Section 17 provides for the establishment of the executive board, which will have eight members. Apart from the chairperson, there will be seven ordinary directors who will be appointed by the Minister for the Environment for terms of up to five years.

Section 18 sets out the functions of the authority. Under this section, the authority will be obliged to secure the sustainable social and economic regeneration of the docklands area, the improvement of the physical environment and the continued development of financial services activities in the Custom House Docks area. As I mentioned earlier, the authority's remit will be quite broad reflecting the wide range of factors which have a bearing on the regeneration of an area which covers 1,300 acres and is home to almost 17,000 people. The participation and inclusion of local communities in the regeneration of the area will be vital. As the future of the docklands area will have a major impact on the future of its people, they must have an important role in shaping that future and be in a position to reap the benefits it brings.

The types of activities in which the new authority will be involved will be wide-ranging. For example, it will be able to develop land, carry out environmental improvement works and make provision for infrastructure. It will be able to promote the co-ordination of investment in the area and the development of an appropriate mix of housing. Promoting the provision of employment, education and training opportunities, key issues in the overall socio-economic regeneration of the area, will also be a function of the authority. In addition, provision is made in section 18 for further functions in relation to the regeneration of the docklands area to be assigned to the authority by ministerial order.

Sections 19, 20 and 21 set out the duties and functions of the chairperson, council and executive board. Section 19 provides that the chairperson will be responsible for securing the efficient discharge of the business of the authority. This will be achieved through the chairperson's role in chairing both the council and the executive board. In this role, the chairperson will have a particular responsibility for ensuring that, together, the council and executive board work cohesively and effectively.

Section 20 sets out those functions of the authority which are to be the responsibility of the council. In line with the report of the Dublin Docklands Area Task Force, the council will be responsible for policy-type matters including the preparation of the master plan under section 24 and the submission of planning schemes for approval under section 25. Its functions will also include making certain recommendations to the executive board and to Ministers. Under section 21, the remaining functions of the authority, other than those assigned to the council under section 20, will be the responsibility of the executive board.

Sections 22 and 23 are standard provisions dealing with the meetings and procedures of the council and the executive board. Section 24 provides for the preparation of the master plan for the docklands area. The master plan will be central to the authority's work as it will act as the blueprint for the fulfilment of the general duty imposed on the authority by section 18. Provisions is made for significant public consultation in the course of the master plan's preparation, reflecting the critical importance of bringing all the interests in the area together in support of the plan.

I mentioned earlier that work on the preparation of the master plan, including extensive consultations with all the interests in the area, has been initiated in parallel to the preparation of this Bill. This will ensure that the new authority, once established, will lose no time in getting the docklands initiative formally under way. It will facilitate the authority's early consideration of a range of proposals now being developed by the consultants preparing the master plan who recently published a report setting out their progress to date.

The consultants' work has benefited from the completion of a number of studies on the docklands area commissioned by the Custom House Docks Development Authority. These studies cover the area's socio-economic profile, its land use and building conditions and the important features of its architecture and industrial archaeology, all key factors to be considered in preparing a workable master plan.

Section 25 provides for the making of planning schemes for certain areas, the effect of which is to exempt development complying with the schemes from the requirement to obtain planning permission. A similar power has been available to the Custom House Docks Development Authority in respect of the Custom House Docks area since 1986 and schemes were made in 1987 and 1994. The process of making a planning scheme provides for consultation with Dublin Corporation and requires the authority to have regard to the corporation's development plan.

Sections 29 to 33 deal with the financing requirements of the new authority. The extent of these requirements will be considered by the Government once the master plan, which will include costings and funding options, has been completed. Accordingly, in line with the recommendations of the Dublin Docklands Area Task Force, the Bill makes for a number of funding mechanisms. The extent to which each will be used will be determined in light of the financing element of the master plan and the Government decision in regard to it.

The funding mechanisms which are provided for include Exchequer grants under section 29, borrowings under section 30, some of which may be guaranteed by the Minister for Finance under section 31, and Exchequer advances under section 33. The authority's power to borrow will be subject to a ceiling of £50 million on the amount of borrowings outstanding at any given time. The maximum amount of this which could be sourced from Exchequer advances will be £25 million.

Section 34 will enable the authority to ensure that it has an adequate number of employees to enable it to perform its functions. This power will, of course, be subject to appropriate ministerial consents in regard to numbers, gradings and terms of employment. Under section 56, the existing employees of the Custom House Docks Development Authority will transfer to the new authority on its establishment.

In addition to the Custom House Docks area, the new authority will also be able to make planning schemes in respect of other areas which are specified by order of the Minister for the Environment under section 25(1)(a). It is envisaged that the power to make orders for this purpose would only be used where there are special circumstances which make the planning scheme approach appropriate. Any order made under section 25(1)(a) would have to be approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas before coming into operation.

Section 26 provides for the carrying out of environmental impact assessment (EIA) in connection with planning schemes prepared under section 25. While it is possible at present to include any EIA-type development in a planning scheme, section 25(1)(c) of the Bill will place a restriction on this. In future, the EIA related development which may be included in a planning scheme will be limited to industrial estates, urban development projects and sea water marinas. If any other development to which EIA applies is proposed for an area covered by a planning scheme, it will be subject to the normal requirements of the planning process.

Section 27 provides for the compulsory acquisition by the authority of land other than land owned by statutory bodies which, under section 28, may in certain circumstances be transferred from such bodies to the authority. Similar powers are available to the Custom House Docks Development Authority at present.

Section 41 deals with the disclosure of confidential information by persons associated with the authority, while section 42 prohibits the making of improper communications to such persons. Under section 43, it will be possible for the authority to accept gifts of money, land or other property. However, the authority will be precluded from accepting any gift if the conditions governing its acceptance would conflict with the effective performance of the authority's functions. The authority will be required to publish details of all gifts accepted by it in its annual reports.

Section 44 is a standard provision in relation to accounts and audits. Under section 45, the authority will be required to prepare an annual report on its activities and to provide the Minister for the Environment with such other information relating to the performance of its functions as the or she may request. Under section 46, the Minister for the Environment will be able to give the authority policy directives and directives in respect of financial objectives. This is a balanced provision which allows the Minister to give directives which would apply generally to the authority's performance of its functions, while at the same time being clear that it does not confer any power or control in regard to the authority's exercise of its functions in individual cases.

Section 47 makes provision for the dissolution of the authority by way of order made by the Minister for the Environment. The authority will not have an infinite life but will aim to fully carry out its duties over a period of ten to 15 years. Once the authority has completed its work, section 47 will enable an order to be made to dissolve it and to make the necessary consequential provisions.

Part III of the Bill, covering sections 48 to 57, sets out the transitional provisions which will apply to the subsuming of the Custom House Docks Development Authority into the new authority. Section 48 provides for the transfer of all land and other property from the Custom House Docks Development Authority to the new authority, while section 49 makes a similar provision in respect of rights and liabilities. Section 50 is necessary in order to provide for the continuation in force of a range of contractual and other agreements. Section 51 and 52 make similar provisions in regard to the continuation of pending legal proceedings and the construction of certain references to the Custom House Docks Development Authority. Section 55 provides for the continued admissibility in evidence of documents of the Custom House Docks Development Authority after its dissolution.

Section 53, which provides an exemption from stamp duty in respect of the vesting in the new authority of property or rights transferred under the Bill, is a standard provision where transfers between public bodies are being provided for. Section 54 provides for the preparation of the final accounts of the Custom House Docks Development Authority. Section 56, to which I have referred, provides for the transfer of all the employees of the Custom House Docks Development Authority to the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Under section 57, the Custom House Docks Development Authority will be dissolved on the date to be specified under section 14 as the date on which the new authority will be established. Section 58, the only provision in Part IV of the Bill, provides for a number of technical amendments of sections 4 and 7 of the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, in regard to the making of orders and rates remission schemes under that Act.

The First Schedule of the Bill describes the Dublin docklands area which corresponds to the area outlined at Appendix 1 of the Dublin Docklands Area Task Force report. Under section 4, the Minister for the Environment may make an order adjusting the area. The Second Schedule describes the Custom House Docks area, which corresponds to the area currently defined as such by virtue of the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, and orders made under the Urban Renewal (Amendment) Act, 1987. Section 5 of the Bill makes a similar provision to that in section 2 of the Urban Renewal (Amendment) Act, 1987, under which the area can be extended eastwards as far as the East Wall Road.

The Third Schedule lists the repeals to be made by the Bill. Part III of the Urban Renewal Act, 1986, which provided for the establishment of the Custom House Docks Development Authority, and the entire of the Urban Renewal (Amendment) Act, 1987, are to be repealed.

This is a comprehensive Bill. It is necessarily so because of the need to establish structures which will provide for the widest possible degree of participation in the authority's work. It is also dictated by the need to clearly set out the comprehensive mandate which is being assigned to the authority. The coming months will see the master plan for the area taking shape. I very much look forward to this and, more particularly, to seeing the master plan's proposals being translated into reality. The establishment of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority will be the critical factor in that process.

The regeneration of the docklands area will not only be important for the area but it will be of immense importance for the city of Dublin and for the nation and it will raise the city's ongoing renaissance. A city, like any living organism, requires a healthy beating heart. As a strategic part of the heart of Dublin, a healthy and vibrant docklands area will be of enormous value to the city which has seen many other parts of its central area regenerated in recent years.

I commend the Bill to the House.

It might seem presumptuous of me, a culchie in the capital, to respond to this Bill on behalf of Fianna Fáil. I support the Minister's view that it is vital for any country to have a decent capital city. For many years, Dublin was in decay with some of its most attractive features threatened by the shifting patterns of trade and commerce. Some of its traditional industries and businesses declined and there was social deprivation and chronic unemployment which needed to be remedied.

I was in Government when the first major initiatives were taken by the then Taoiseach, Mr. Haughey, to develop the International Financial Services Centre in the Customs House Docks area. Our present leader, Deputy Bertie Ahern, was a Deputy for that area and he took a keen interest in its social and economic problems. I was briefed by the Minister's predecessor, Mr. Padráig Flynn, who adopted a formidable approach to this project. The International Financial Services Centre is a good example of what can be achieved if the appropriate authority is put in place and given the necessary powers, functions and finances to do its job.

Although I come from the most remote part of the west, I have lived in Dublin for a couple of nights a week for the past 25 years, so I can give a valid assessment of this area. One matter which should be utmost in the mind of the chairman of the new authority is that this development must contribute to the improvement of the local people's living standards and opportunities. Reports on this area show that many young people are leaving to seek alternative opportunities elsewhere. The local community is afraid that in developing this area, we may throw the baby out with the bath water. These people have seen major investments in other parts of the city and they want to ensure that not only will they have a part to play in the preparation of plans and objectives to regenerate the area, but that they and their families will have future opportunities.

This is a huge undertaking. We appreciate the fact that the Minister is prepared to take the initiative to develop this area of the city. He has the support of the Minister for Finance and the Fianna Fáil Party to take whatever measures necessary to ensure the survival of the city and its future development into the next millennium.

I am sure the Minister expects us on this side of the House to criticise one or two aspects of this Bill. I believe—I am not speaking for Fianna Fáil—it is difficult for big boards to achieve anything. I am concerned that the authority will consist of a chairman, a council of 25 members and an executive of eight. I would prefer a small board with a good executive to do the main work and subcommittees could be set up to deal with specific areas. However, if local or vested interests, such as semi-State bodies which have properties in the area, are represented on such a large board, it will not take initiatives and get results but will be racked with indecision and conflict and be less effective than the Minister would like it to be.

In 1959 the Government realised that air traffic through Shannon would increase, so it decided to set up the Shannon Free Airport Development Company. It was and still is a small but effective board of nine members. Its success in the midwest region is an example of how successful a company could be in developing an area, creating jobs and generating economic prosperity.

My second criticism of the proposed authority is that it should take account of the educational requirements of the local people. They should be given the opportunity to play their part in the development which will take place at an accelerated rate. There was a huge development in Money point during the early 1980s which employed approximately 1,500 people. However, a major criticism was that few local people were employed in its constructions and that although they had to suffer disruption to traffic and business for many years while the project was underway, they did not get permanent employment when it was completed. I do not know how the Minister can deal with this. He needs professional help and advice. Perhaps the new authority could provide this, but it needs to be undertaken soon.

It will be important that this legislation sets out the education, training and business development opportunities which will be available to the people living in the area. The majority of these people leave school early and would be less likely to avail of the new opportunities than those from outside.

Urban renewal initiatives have created over £2 billion in investment. These have affected most of the larger towns in Ireland. Almost £20 million has been invested in urban renewal in Ennis. This far exceeds the initial estimates and has regenerated the town. There are almost 1,500 acres involved in the Dublin docklands development so it is important to clearly state the tax incentives and initiatives which will be available under the Bill. These incentives should be targeted at the areas which are most deprived and neglected.

As Minister for the Marine I was able to study some of the opportunities for development which exist in the marine leisure and recreation sector. I am glad that Senator Magner is here as he has a keen, practical interest in maritime affairs. I was pleased that he accepted my offer to assist the Ringaskiddy free port when it was established and he is very aware of the opportunities offered by our inland waterways and canals.

The port of Dublin offers enormous opportunities for marine leisure activities leading to the creation of many jobs. We have neglected our maritime resources and ignored one of our most important natural assets. There has been some development in the port of Dublin; however, the opportunity remains for the development of additional marine leisure facilities. For example, there is no junior sail training facility in the city. Many young people are interested in marine leisure activities, yet there is very little opportunity for them to get any training or expertise, apart from piecemeal vocational education committee courses.

The drive to increase the number of tourists coming to Dublin will have a dramatic effect on the economy of the city. Many new hotels have already opened. This has created some apprehension in the west because there is a fear that the east and Dublin will get the bulk of tourism developments over the next few years. I do not accept this. Most tourists have an enjoyable experience in Dublin and then travel to the west. There should be no conflict between a thriving tourism business in Dublin and the west. Such business creates new jobs, industries, leisure developments and tourism business in the city.

The inner city has had its problems. There has been a lack of training, a shortage of housing and a decrease in the number of families living there. However, these problems can be addressed by proper planning. When I was in South Africa during the elections I visited the new waterfront developments in Cape Town. These are not unlike what is taking place in Dublin port. Cape Town is a thriving seaport which fell into decline due to the changing pattern of the shipping business. However, the city has regenerated its waterfront and created thousands of jobs. This has not resulted in any degree of conflict between the local people and those who moved in. Wealthy people will move into the new docklands environment in Dublin and bring their expensive cars. There will be luxury apartments, as in Temple Bar, selling at £200,000. However, this should not create any conflict if the development is properly managed and creates an equal opportunity for local families to have a stake in their communities.

This area has unique assets, such as important heritage sites which need to be protected. The new authority will face a mammoth task but it can make a meaningful contribution to the overall development of Dublin and the country.

There will be new investment in the area, including new DART facilities. The proposal for the Dublin port tunnel is well advanced. There has been some criticism that adjoining areas such as Pearse Street should be included. I have been briefed that there are other areas adjacent to the site. The Minister might put a buffer zone around the area because some people may feel neglected. That happened in the Custom House Docks area and we have heard criticisms made by local people who did not get jobs there. Although 3,500 people work in the Custom House Docks area, they are all computer or financial service experts. Prospects for young people living in the inner city around the Custom House Docks did not exist. We should look again at the legislation to see if the hi-tech jobs which will be created can be directed at those leaving school who could be trained for these job opportunities.

I wish the Minister well, although I am sorry he will not be in office to see this reach fruition because the election will be held——

I would not hold my breath.

The Minister has the wholehearted support of this side of the House, although we may table amendments on Committee Stage to improve the Bill.

I would say to Senator Daly, who made a typically generous speech, that I do not come from the school which claims credit for everything, whether I did it or not. We openly acknowledge the input of Charles Haughey, Garret FitzGerald and others who were instrumental in getting the International Financial Services Centre up and running. This project, which will take 15 years, will become the property of successive Governments, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The speed with which the Docklands Advisory Board worked took my breath away as I have never served on a board which met at 8 a.m. It was run efficiently by the Secretary of the Department and by an official, Mr. John McCarthy, who did trojan work. I give them credit for their work, which the Minister truly appreciates. Dublin port as we know it began to develop in 1707. This project, as it comes to fruition, will change the face of Dublin forever. Luckily, we are not reinventing the wheel as this has been done in many ports throughout the world. Although it is invidious to copy—I do not believe copying is a form of flattery but a lack of imagination—with our weather and so on, we must do things differently to other countries.

The modern port of Dublin is centuries old and this development will change it forever. The world of commerce is ever changing—nothing stands still in the business world, something which Senator Quinn will quickly tell us. Our indigenous manufacturing industry reduced the amount of produce coming into this country and the use of aircraft and the roll-on/roll-off container ferry did enormous damage to employment in the docklands. Dublin has now become a large container port. In common with all other seaports such as London, Liverpool, Bristol and those in the Baltimore area of the United States, the hustle and bustle has come to an end.

Like those countries, we were left with the problem of deciding what to do with the docklands. How do we regenerate a central part of the city? When the DART goes to Barrow Street, this will be a central location. Like those in other countries, this development will be outstanding. The decline of shipping and cargo brought immense misery, massive unemployment, bad housing and education facilities. Despite the efforts of representatives, this area was abandoned by business and, to some extent, by successive Governments. It did not rate as priority.

As I said, I do not come from the school which takes credit for everything but I was impressed at the speed with which the Minister for the Environment took this project in hand. I took it that the backing of the Minister for Finance, Deputy Quinn, would be automatic because much of this area lies in Dublin South-East. Nonetheless, he occupies a pivotal position when it comes to development and I am sure the Minister for the Environment knows that only too well.

A new opera house has been opened in the Belfast docklands area and a barrier has been built across the River Lagan. That area is being regenerated as we speak. It had the same problem of a long established and defunct gas industry which we have in the basin. It has attempted to deal with that problem, although Dublin Corporation engineers describe it as unsatisfactory. That is a matter of debate which will attract the attention of the authority.

The Bill ensures the existing population in the area has a central role to play. I am not being critical of Temple Bar, which was a wonderfully dynamic development, but it was flawed. Those representing that and other areas in Dublin said there was a feeling that the ordinary folk living there should move on. That was a major mistake. Activity in that area concentrates on public houses and restaurants, which are wonderful, but the over-emphasis on drinking is a little disturbing. Those with large cars and cheque books who paid large amounts of money for property are as welcome as the flowers in May provided the co-exist with those who have lived there since God was a boy. The Bill's remit adequately deals with that potential danger.

Last year's ESRI study highlighted a number of issues. While we should not talk down an area, the facts contained in this report are stark and it is not necessary for me to detail them. We are offering the people of the docklands and of Dublin a dynamic vision of what that area could become and the rewards which would flow from such a development. The remit of the authority refers to statutory duty to education, training, retraining and employment. That process should begin the day the executive comes into being, which did not happen with the International Financial Services Centre. Because it has the data, it should immediately begin to train and retrain. I understand from the ESRI study that a large number of young people will come onto the labour market without the necessary skills and education, certainly in terms vocational education but if action is taken in terms of training and so on, it will provide those living in this area, and indeed, the greater Dublin area, with jobs. One does not have to be from Ringsed to get a job there. I welcome this aspect of the authority's remit.

The master plan will show the types of jobs which will come on stream and the preparation I mentioned is a prerequisite to taking advantage of those industries. This Government had the vision to see the potential of such a vast area. Senator Daly mentioned 1,500 acres, although not all will be developed because much of it contains railway tracks, port facilities and so on. It will transform Dublin from the Custom House to the mouth of the river and will also provide leisure activities in the area.

The potential which was seen by the Minister for the Environment, driven by the Minister for Finance and our colleagues in Government, will pay huge dividends and, as was the case with Government Buildings, everybody will share in the pride of it. The challenge is great because it will have to marry forces that are, in many ways, conflicting. Hopefully, this development will become a model of co-operation.

The Grand Canal and the Royal Canal are treasured assets. They barely escaped becoming major highways. It is now recognised throughout the world that when a city has a waterway it should be protected, enhanced and used for all types of activity. The situation in Ringsend basin is most encouraging. The Irish Nautical Trust and many subsidiary activities there need assistance. The windsurfing school, based on the Naomh Éanna, is also located there. There are the beginnings of the type of projects for which the basin is ideally suited.

I pay tribute to the waterways service which has been given responsibility for the canals. CIE did the country a disservice in the way it treated the canals. In addition, CIE only gave the Office of Public Works control of the water bodies and not the surrounding land. As a result it is almost impossible to gain access to the docks at Spencer Dock because the authority does not own the land. That is stupidity and, although I praised politicians and civil servants earlier, it is also a reflection on them that they allowed this debacle to happen. Obviously no thought was given to the proper development of the Grand and Royal Canals.

Last year I was down on the docks when four boats, which arrived here from Britain on Irish ferries, launched on the Liffey. They entered the basin at Ringsend and the next time I saw one of the boats it was tied up in Enniskillen. The person who owns the boat is retired and intends to stay here for two years. A total of six boats came here last year and many more inquiries have been made since then. One cannot get to Lowtown because the canal is blocked with the number of boats there. If the Ringsend Basin had a properly equipped marina not for the huge yachts of millionaires, although I do not case any aspersions on them, but for the leisure pursuits of ordinary people, it would be ideal. It would allow people to use the canals.

Last week I met two young people who have degrees in marketing. They are buying a passenger boat in England and intend to bring it to Ireland. They have received sanction from the waterways service to put the boat on the Grand Canal and conduct school tours and heritage tours and other functions. Activity on the canals is beginning even before this authority is established. We are already aware of the potential of the canals.

The develops are waiting to see what is in this project for them. The financial incentives that were given to developers in Temple Bar are not appropriate for this development. Land which is adjacent to water carries a premium anyway. Apartments located near waterways are being sold from plans and people are queuing to buy them, just as they are queuing to buy houses in Knocklyon.

Developing the infrastructure of the Grand and Royal Canals will be long and difficult. For the first time in many years jetties have been established on Mespil Road and in Portobello while the plans are ready to construct a safe haven at the Ninth Lock in Clondalkin. I do not accept the term "indian country" which has been used to describe some areas. There are areas of degradation and social difficulty but it is our job to deal with them. We cannot walk away from them and abandon them.

Such areas have been successfully dealt within Birmingham and London. The city of Birmingham has been successfully regenerated and the canals have become the focal point of that development. They are beautiful. They attract a substantial number of tourists and they are a joy to travel on and to look at. Many Irish people are also familiar with Paddington, which suffered serious degradation over many years. Paddington is now called Little Venice. It has a beautifully appointed harbour and, the last time I visited it, there were queues of people waiting for boats to transport them to Camden Lock and its massive market.

We are not re-inventing the wheel with this legislation. However, this will be the most exciting project in our lifetimes. Another improvement for which the Office of Public Works and the waterways service must take credit is the installation of a sea wall which leads from the Liffey into Ringsend Basin. That is a boon for boat owners. Senator Daly will be aware there is not a free harbour space for boats on any part of the Shannon. Most of their owners live in Dublin and, on a Sunday evening, one can be stuck for almost two hours at Kinnegad when travelling from the Shannon to Dublin. The safer and more attractive we make the Grand and Royal Canals, the greater will be the dividend from the investment and the quicker the yield.

British boat owners have to queue for hours to get through locks on canals in Britain. They almost need traffic lights and might as well be on a motorway. When they come here they cannot believe their eyes because the waterways are relatively empty. In the Netherlands, which is the same size as Munster, there are 50,000 boats while there are only 800 boats on the Shannon.

I hope this development will herald a new era in co-operation and that we can bury the Irish love of the split, as Brendan Behan called it. We can argue about the hairs on somebody's jumper and, as somebody was heard to say, if one had a joint ticket and won the lotto, the question would be who gave one the right to buy the ticket. I listened to the debate on Committee Stage of this Bill in the Dáil and to the views of local community representatives. They have a point, but things have moved on a great deal. No executive authority can ignore the people. The people have progressed in terms of education and they are aware of their statutory rights. Nobody will ride roughshod over them.

However, one can object to any development and hold it up for months, even if one has no interest in it. Before the Merchant's Quay project in Cork was to be developed by Robin Power, I met a well known civil engineer and a well known barrister in a pub. They decided, as an exercise, to object to the development. They drew a line from the top of Roches Stores to the Merchant's Quay centre and lodged an objection. The project was never started by Mr. Power because the objection process continued. It was an exercise in obstruction as an intellectual game. That is the type of nonsense that sometimes happens.

This is a most exciting project. Everybody can take ownership of it—political parties and other groups. I do not think the Government will emulate the Tories but we will win the next election. However, I do not think we can look beyound that. I wish the new authority and the council well.

It is a joy to hear all parties welcome the Bill. Senator Magner referred to this as a most exciting project and the Minister talked in terms of a vibrant renaissance and giving a healthy beating heart to the city. There are few items of legislation that attract such terms. However, we should still attempt to improve it.

I am in favour of developing these neglected areas of Dublin. I drive through them frequently and I am aware of the problems and the enormous potential for future developments which exist there. I welcome the Bill as a long overdue step to realising that potential. However, I have some grave reservations about whether the approach in the Bill is right. I doubt the wisdom of adopting the "big bang" approach. About 15 years ago a Mr. Shumacher addressed the IMI on a book he had written on the theme "small is beautiful", an approach which I support. I shudder when I see attempts to solve problems on grandiose scales.

There is a limited scope for offices, factories and shops. However, there is considerable scope for residential development and, above all, for tourism and leisure development. We have seen examples where this has been successful, although I understand Senator Magner's criticism of Temple Bar. If an economic driving force is to be created in the docklands area it will almost certainly revolve around tourism and leisure, building on the coastline and the existing enclosed water areas. However, with the greatest respect to the Custom House Docks Development Authority, it has no expertise or track record in this regard. On the contrary, the original plans for the Custom House Docks involved a a large element of festive shopping, along the lines of the Fenway Hall in Boston, Covent Garden in London, the waterfront in Cape Town, to which Senator Daly referred, and Darling Harbour in Sydney. I get excited about the development of areas which were once run down and which have achieved great success.

The Custom House Docks authority completely failed to deliver that leisure element, although it was successful in the other elements created. It probably does not matter greatly in the Custom House Docks where it would only have been one element among others. However, in the docklands generally creating tourism and leisure attractions will be central.

The Custom House Docks Authority also lacks expertise with regard to small business. It has been very successful in attracting world names but less good at understanding the needs of smaller firms. In general, the potential and benefit of small business has not been realised in the past. We must work hard to ensure that we do so now. One of the largest areas of potential for the docklands would be the creation of small businesses. I believe in the adage horses for courses and the Custom House Docks Development Authority is not the horse for this course, so to speak. In saying that I do not wish to detract from its great achievements to date.

I also doubt whether a master plan is the best way to develop the docklands. We will expect a group of consultants to draw up a specific master plan for the next 15 years—a plan that will solve all the problems and tap all the potential. That is a totalitarian approach. We are being misled by the past. It made sense for the Custom House Docks and Temple Bar to have a master plan because they are small, compact areas which are focused around a single theme. However, the docklands is a different kettle of fish. If ever there was an occasion to learn as we go along and leave the maximum room for experimentation this is it.

We do not need a detailed master plan to decide the future of the docklands but a loose enabling plan which will create a set of favourable conditions within which that future can evolve and thrive. Master plans look very neat when they are first unveiled. However, the reality can often be quite different. I remember being present at the launch of the Custom House Docks plan. Although the area has been successful, it is instructive to look back at the original master plan and compare it to what isin situ. Much of what was planned originally is not there and the overall balance, which was the point of the original plan, is but a memory.

I have serious doubts that the development of the docklands is being tackled in the right manner. That said, I realise that the die is cast in terms of the overall direction. However, we can improve the approach to give it the best possible chance of success. In this regard I will suggest some changes which I hope the Minister will consider before Committee Stage.

With regard to marketing it is vital that the authority wins the confidence of the people in the area. It must be capable of catching the imagination of the local and wider public with its proposals. It will find that difficult with such an unwiedly title as the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. My sympathy went to the Minister who had to repeat the title many times during his speech. The Irish version is worse again. In 1983 I was appointed chairman of what was called An Bord Poist. Nobody could pronounce "poist". The Department then informed us of the name for the new postal authority which we decided was too unwieldy to sell. We sought an alternative and came up with An Post, which worked in Irish and English. We got back to the Department and it felt there would have to be another version in Irish. However, having made our case to the then Minister, Deputy Jim Mitchell, he agreed that An Post would work for every post office and a translation was not needed. I mention that example because I take a certain pride in it.

The Minister should think about the title of the authority. I cannot give him any ingenious suggestions. However, we are not naming an item of legislation but a promotional body which faces a tough task. At the very least the title should be slimmed down.

Furthermore, the membership of the council has not been sufficiently well though out. I accept Senator Daly's point about the awkwardness of it its size. However, there is no representation of tourism interests which should be at the heart of it. There is no representation from Trinity College, yet a prime objective should be to persuade Trinity to use the docklands as its preferred base for campus companies. On the other hand, there is representation from An Board Gáis which is unnecessary because at the moment Bord Gáis happens to be the owner of a very large derelict site where the gasometers used to be. The board should, and in all probability will, sell that site and get out. As a company Bord Gáis has no role in developing the economic potential of the docklands. I am not sure that boards must have representation but they should have something that reflects the future of the docklands rather than its past.

Another point I want to make concerns openness and communicating effectively with the various stakeholders in this exciting project. The provisions for consulting and informing the outside world about what is happening appear to be totally inadequate. They are lifted straight out of what is done with local authority development plans. That is inappropriate. We are not talking about a local authority but about a development and promotional body that is setting out with those objectives. The eventual success of that body will depend on the extent to which it succeeds in bringing people along with it as well as in unlocking the enthusiasm and creativity for the project to which the Minister referred.

The requirements for communication we lay on the authority should fully reflect the information age in which we live. I hope the Minister will accept that I wish to be constructive. The docklands have been neglected for far too long. We owe it to the communities there and to the nation as a whole to provide the best framework for development that we can.

Despite my reservations about the approach we are taking, I wish the Bill well and I hope we can significantly improve it on Committee Stage. I admire the Minister's approach and his enthusiasm. He finished his speech by saying Dublin and the nation have a healthy, vibrant part to play. I support the objective and I am sure the Bill will achieve great success.

It was interesting to listen to Senator Quinn whose views are always very constructive. Varying degrees of progress have been made in the capital over the years. The city has been renewed and I welcome that. The developments in Temple Bar and those carried out by the Custom House Docks Development Authority required something different and the changes envisaged by this Bill require something special. We are giving this area special treatment. Under the terms of the Bill the Custom House Docks Development Authority will be encompassed in the new Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

The last 30 years have seen dramatic changes in Dublin port. Freight vessels have been adapted to ro-ro and lo-lo systems. The live cattle trade, which was once an important part of Dublin's commercial life, has now ended. The introduction of mechanisation and materials lifting facilities has changed the entire aspect of the port. Employment in the surrounding areas has been affected. The old form of berthage has disappeared and port warehousing is a thing of the past. Some port related activities have been transferred to other areas of the city.

Dublin port handles 25 per cent of the nation's external trade and 40 per cent of its value. It is a vibrant place and quite different from the port that existed 30 years ago. The area covered by the provisions of the Bill amounts to approximately 1,300 acres of which 560 acres are on the north side and 740 acres on the south. The south side is quite different from the north side of the port area, in other words, the southside is one and a half times the size of the northside.

Since I know the south side of the city best I would like to say a few words about it. I attended primary and secondary school in Westland Row from 1944 to 1954. The area contained a vibrant community at that time. The docks then employed 2,300 people compared to little over 100 now. The meant processing factory at Grand Canal Street is gone, as are An Bord Gáis and Boland's Bakery. A number of indigenous industries have also disappeared from the area and have been replaced by the IDA units on Pearse Street. One the great tragedies of the area is that it has been ravaged by unemployment over many years following the disappearance of traditional industries. I know families in the area whose fathers and children have not worked for 20 or 30 years because no new industries were found to replace the old ones.

The south side comprises industrial land, some of which is in use at the moment by various plants. They include the ESB power station at Ringsend; Dublin Corporation's sewage plant, which will be extended in the near future with the addition of secondary and tertiary treatment; and the container traffic terminal. Redundant areas surround Sir John Rogerson's Quay, the Hanover Quays and the old Dublin Gas site. The important sites comprising 80 acres between Pearse Street and Ringsend, which contain two huge unused docks known as the basins, have been neglected for years. The area contains numerous empty sites as well as warehouses, factories and CIE's bus depot at Ringsend.

There is a good mix of housing in the area. Some people have referred to poor housing in slums but I remember when we really had slums there. Queen Street has now been demolished and its residents rehoused in good local authority housing in Ringsend. There has been a substantial increase in housing in the City Quay development and on Pearse Street. In addition, there have been private developments in recent times. The sad thing about this area is that in the past people had jobs but poor housing whereas now they have nice housing but no jobs. I do not know which is worse because one can feel the poverty when people have no jobs, even though they may be in a new house.

The future of this site lies in the inner basin and harbour which join up with the Grand Canal. We also have the outer basin which links up with the River Liffey and the open sea. These are two magnificent stretches of water that lie so near to the heart of the city. When I was first elected to Dublin Corporation a constituent had a great interest in developing a marina, but he was 20 or 30 years ahead of his time. He showed me the inner and outer basin area. I was surprised to see the vast tracts of land that lay undeveloped and unused. I wondered if any other civilised city would fail to use such a facility.

The future of this area lies in the development of these two basins. This weekThe Sunday Tribune had an article on proposals by the people seeking the competition for Dublin 2000 to build a marina, hotels, fishing facilities and berthing facilities for ships beside the Dublin Gas lands. This type of development will create jobs locally which is very important.

The Minister paid tribute to the Custom House Docks development. However, a survey would show the very small number of local people employed there. Of the 3,500 employees about ten are local people.

The local labour force have to be trained to take their place in hotels, shipping or other developments there. There is a tradition in shipping in Ringsend. If the local labour force is not trained prior to development, people from outside will take the jobs; this happened in the IDA centre in Pearse Street where local people were not employed because they were not trained for the jobs there. I hope the aim of this measure is to give local employment to an area that has long been ravished by unemployment.

On reading the Bill I was taken aback to find that the planning would be separate from the Dublin Planning Authority. However, I concede that the majority of the lands are owned by semi-State bodies and, in that context, a planning scheme taking into accounts the Dublin development plan would be the best way forward.

I welcome the Bill. The Government now proposes to establish the Dublin Docklands Authority to rejuvenate that area of the city in a way that has never been tried before, to consider collectively the issues affecting local communities— employment, leisure and investment—and to create an integrated plan for the future development of the area. The plan will set out the economic, social and other issues relevant to the regeneration of the Dublin docklands area together with proposals to address these issues. Appropriate areas for detailed development or conservation will be identified. The Government plans to facilitate implementation of the master plan with a range of selective tax reliefs based on its recommendations. The intention of the legislation is to transform the heart of Dublin docklands over the coming 15 years, providing new jobs, homes and amenities for the next generation of Dubliners.

The Minister said:

The participation and inclusion of local communities in the regeneration of the area will be vital. [I fully agree.] As the future of the docklands area will have a major impact on the future of its people, they must have an important role in shaping that future and be in a position to reap the benefits it brings.

That is the most important aspect of the Minister's speech. The local people, who have shown a tremendous interest in the area, will be facilitated under the Bill and will be represented on the board.

Five members of Dublin City Council will also be on the board. They will come from the areas covered by the Dublin Docklands Authority development plan. I represents that area and will play my part in achieving the objectives of the Bill if selected by Dublin Corporation to represent its interests on the new docklands authority.

I am very happy with the positive response this legislation has received from all sides of the House and the very measured, careful contributions made by Senators. It mirrors the reception the Bill received in the Lower House.

There is great potential here and I am very proud to bring this legislation before the House. It is an enabling Bill which can set in train a process of regeneration, renewal and improvement that will transform the heart of the capital city. I am excited by this and I hope that enthusiasm is evident.

Senator Daly and other Members referred to the size of the council. We were anxious to learn from the strengths and mistakes of the past. The councils is to be as inclusive as possible, to include those with good ideas, representatives of the City Council, relevant State agencies, the community and the professions and skills which can be brought to bear on this process of regeneration and renewal. At the same time we wanted a slimmer, efficient executive to carry out the day to day duties. The balance achieved is right. It will meet the needs of those who say that the weakness of the Customs House Docks Development Authority was that it was not sufficiently inclusive. That authority did a remarkable amount of good work but it almost transplanted itself in a community and was deaf to the needs of the community. We need a different model for this much broader remit encompassing 1,300 acres.

All the issues raised by Senator Daly, particularly the need for education and training, will be specifically addressed by the new authority. The interim progress report being prepared identifies those as priority areas.

Senator Magner spoke of the history of Dublin port. I pay tribute to him and his contribution to the task force. We moved speedily on this following the announcement in the 1996 budget to the establishment of a task force, the acceptance of the recommendations by Government, the drafting of legislation and the commissioning of supportive reports. Few such elaborate pieces of legislation have been brought to the point of publication so quickly. This shows the sense of ownership of this project taken by so many people and groups and I am grateful for their input.

I am also grateful to the officials in my Department, led by my Department Secretary. They did a remarkable amount of work and I am delighted to reflect credit on them.

Like Senator Doyle who spoke of the immense potential of the basins of Dublin, Senator Magner has his own vision for the canals and his enthusiasm was imparted to us. It is incredible that so many houses turn their backs on the canals. In other European cities they are seen as the principal feature. We need to refocus and see the waterways as one of the greatest potential assets for the development of a vibrant capital.

Senator Quinn welcomed the Bill but had some reservations, the principal one being the totalitarian and big bang approach. It is the right way to go. The alternative is thelaissez faire approach, hoping that the regeneration will be structured and planned and that there will not be totally unsuitable development alongside good development. That would mean providing incentives and allowing developers take their course. That is not a good way to go. We need a structured approach. If we get it wrong it is wrong for all time so there is no option but to have a very structured master plan ensuring that all the pieces of the jigsaw fit.

Too often in the past, we have seen wonderful areas with potential where one bad planning decision has resulted in unsuitable development which is an eyesore and ruins the character of an area. The notion of a structured master plan, focused by a development authority, might be ambitious but it is the right way to proceed.

Senator Quinn made a number of specific proposals one of which concerned the title, the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. He was concerned that I had to say it so often today. I will reflect on that further but we have got things right in the Bill.

Senator Doyle reminded us of the demise of the traditional structures in industries which characterised and transformed this area in the past. Dublin is changing, as is Ireland, at a remarkable rate. It is important that we do not just hope that the rising tide will raise all boats. Communities that suffered in the past must have their rights factored in to any development and the training necessary to ensure they are employed must be encompassed in it. That is my plan and it will be one of the responsibilities given to the new authority.

I am delighted with the positive support of many Senators to this measure and I look forward to its early enactment in order that we can get on to the truly exciting phase of implementation.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

When is it proposed to take Committee Stage?

Next Wednesday, subject to agreement between the Whips.

Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 5 March 1997.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

When is it proposed to sit again?

Next Wednesday at 10.30 a.m.