A Senator may speak only once on Report Stage except the proposer of an amendment who may reply to the discussion on the amendment. Each amendment must be seconded. Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 are related and both may be taken together. Is that agreed? Agreed.
Local Government (Planning and Development) Bill, 1998: Report and Final Stages.
I move amendment No. 1:
In page 11, line 21, after "that" where it firstly occurs to insert ", to the extent that the works affect development which was lawfully carried out,".
I second the amendment.
We had a good discussion on this earlier. We both wish to achieve the same aim. I outlined previously that Senator Gallagher's amendment is an improvement on the original while my amendment is an improvement on his. It is the best we can do to try to meet what both of us desire. I ask the Senator to withdraw his amendment and accept mine.
Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 are related and both may be taken together. Is that agreed? Agreed.
These are both technical amendments. They arise as a result of my accepting amendment No. 22 in the name of Senator Gallagher, deleting the reference to Church and educational property. Amendment No. 4 reads: "In page 14, line 25, to delete "caretaker," and substitute "caretaker.".
I thank the Minister for introducing this important Bill to the House. It had a very good phlé. The Minister was very accommodating with a number of amendments. The legislation is a collaboration between him and the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, which is a good development as it brings together the interests of both parties. I have no doubt the Bill will be welcomed by the local authorities. I am sure they will exercise their powers under it in the interests of preserving our heritage for the future.
I concur with the views expressed by Senator Walsh. I compliment the Minister on introducing the Bill and on the openness with which he discussed the aspects about which we were concerned, thereby allaying some of our fears. I look forward to the other legislation which will go hand in hand with this to ensure that the Bill will have force in the future.
Despite our disagreement on procedure I made clear in my conclusion to Second Stage that I had no difficulty with anything the Minister, his officials or the officials of this House have done with regard to the Bill. I thank the Minister for engaging with the House in a genuine and thorough manner. The Bill will be presented to the Dáil in a better condition than when it was presented to this House. That is the spirit in which we should engage in debate in these Houses. Not every Minster agrees to debate and consider points made and take them on board and we appreciate it all the more when a Minister enters into debate in that fashion.
I welcome the opportunity we will have to debate the legislation being prepared by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Deputy de Valera. I also wish the Minister and his officials and the officials in the Office of the Attorney General every speed in preparing and presenting the wide-ranging and more fundamental reform of the planning and development laws we discussed today. From our debate he will see that we have a great interest in having the opportunity to consider that legislation as quickly as possible. We hope to have a constructive engagement with him on that legislation also. I wish him well with this Bill in the other House.
This is very useful legislation. It was skilfully conducted through the House by the Minister and his advisers. It was a good, co-operative effort. There was a little glitch about one amendment where we would have liked extra time. This is not the Minister's problem, nor is it the problem of the officials of the House. However, it is something we on this side of the House will watch in future to ensure this confusion does not recur. I do not believe there was malice involved, rather there was an element of confusion. It was a pity because we could have perhaps done a little more. Nevertheless, this is a very important and useful Bill, well presented and well argued.
Occasionally the Seanad is described as a talking shop. That is part of its function and I make no apology for it. I sometimes travel a little widely and make excursions into some of the byways. However, from the Minister's intelligent and thoughtful response it was clear we were teasing out areas in preparation for other legislation. He was able to put on the record information about forthcoming legislation and other methods whereby the problems and concerns raised could be addressed. Even when amendments were not accepted the substance was prop erly addressed and we did a good day's work on this legislation. It also important that the Bill came to this House. It is a recognition of the values of this House and the kind of work this House can do. I look forward to further legislation of this nature being initiated in the Seanad.
I thank each Senator who participated in the debate this morning and afternoon for their courtesy and their additions and improvements to the Bill. It was not an accident that the Bill came to this House first. There was a view that it would probably get greater consideration in its initial stages and we would be able to fine tune it. That is exactly what happened. A number of amendments were put forward, debate was generated and there were very positive contributions. I thank Senators and the officials of the House. I also thank my own officials for their back up and support.
When is it proposed to sit again?
At 2.30 p.m. next Wednesday.