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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 19 May 1999

Vol. 159 No. 10

Road Transport Bill, 1998: Committee Stage. SECTION 1.

Amendment No. 1 is a Government amendment. Amendments Nos. 2, 4 and 7 are related. Amendments Nos. 1 2, 4 and 7 may be discussed together by agreement.

Government amendment No. 1:
1. In page 3, between lines 16 and 17, to inserted the following new definition:
"‘Community licence' means a Community licence for the international carriage of passengers by road for hire or reward (within the meaning of Article 3a (inserted by Council Regulation (EC) No. 11/98 of 11 December 1997f7>(1)) of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 684/92 of 16 March 1992f7>(2));".

From 11 June 1999 all operators carrying on international passenger transport operations must hold a Community licence issued in accordance with the requirements of Council Regulation (EC) No. 11/98 of 11 December 1997, amending Regulation (EEC) No. 684/92 on common rules for the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus. In accordance with the Council regulation, the new Community licence will replace the existing international road passenger transport operators licence, IRPTOL, granted by the Minister under the European Communities Road Passenger Transport Regulations, 1991. The IRPTOL is valid for both national and international operations. Many holders of IRPTOLs do not operate international services at all but confine their operations to the national market. The existing international operator's licence will therefore remain valid for those operators who will not be carrying out international operations after 11 June 1999. As existing international licences expire, they will be replaced by the new Community licence which will also be valid for national operations.

Amendment No. 1 provides a definition of Community licence in section 1 of the Bill. This is required as the Bill refers to Community licence in a number of sections. Amendment No. 4 is an amendment to section 5, which prohibits the operation of a vehicle under road passenger and road freight licences unless a transport disc has been issued in respect of the vehicle. Amendment No. 3 extends this prohibition to the operation of a vehicle under a Community licence issued by the Minister. Under this amendment, vehicles operated under a road freight licence, road passenger licence or a Community licence must have a transport disc in respect of each vehicle in such operation. On amendment No. 5—

We are dealing with amendments Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 7.

I have dealt with amendments Nos. 1 and 4. I ought to have dealt with amendment No. 2 and I will do that now. A Chathaoirligh, thank you for pointing that out.

On amendment No. 2, section 4 of the Bill provides that transport discs shall be issued to holders of existing road freight and passenger licences in respect of each vehicle on the licence. Transport discs will be required by the holders of the new community licence for each vehicle to be used in international operations.

On amendment No. 7, section 12 provides for offences in relation to the alteration of licensing documents. The amendment includes a community licence in the definition of licensing documents for the purposes of this section.

Mr. Ryan

I took a quick look at the Minister's speech and I wonder what flash of enlightenment since last week produced these amendments. There was no suggestion that the Bill was so lacking as to require many Government amendments. I am intrigued as to where they came from. There was no reference to any such omission in the Minister's speech last week.

That is a fair question. The word "enlightenment" used by the Senator is very pertinent given the short time. Most of these amendments are technical amendments which were brought to our attention by draftspeople. On the four amendments to which I have referred, that is amendments Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 7, which refer to the Community licence, a policy decision was taken very recently to replace the old IRPTOL with the Community licence. That is the reason that terminology was not used. It is considered prudent and essential to do that now. It was a pertinent question from the Senator.

Mr. Ryan

Obviously I do not have the least objection to the amendments, nor have I any intention of keeping the House on this for very long. I am very glad that a certain party never got its way and abolished this House. Otherwise the Government would have had a big problem.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Ryan

This Bill is missing a reference on how much people have to pay for all this paper work. Let me make clear that I am not saying what perhaps the Minister expects. Road traffic hauliers get away with murder. They do not pay half enough. They are subsidised by the State because the roads on which they travel are paid for by the taxpayer. They use and wear them out disproportionately and they make a considerable environmental impact. What will be the levels of payment? Has the Minister's Department thought about the level at which road haulage operators pay the economic cost of using the roads? Road transport is a major cause of environmental destruction and the destruction of roads, particularly in urban areas but also in rural areas. It is a disproportionate road user in terms of weight and I would like to know whether any studies have been carried out in the Minister's Department to assess the real cost of road transport.

Senator Fitzgerald talked about the free parking they award themselves in housing estates. If they had to pay for commercially provided parking they would have to charge more. The consequence of all this and the reason I am interested is as follows. If they had to pay the real cost of using roads, including the use of housing estates etc., for parking, the charges they would have to pay would be considerably higher and there would be genuine competition between road haulage and alternatives, such as the railways. However, as long as they are implicitly subsidised by the State they will always appear to be cheaper than railways.

The Senator has articulated that view previously. I disagree with him. He raised good points, which I endorse, about environmental impact, such as the damage caused to our roads and parking in estates which causes inconvenience and hazard. This legislation deals with these negative aspects. The Bill provides that hauliers applying for licences must have their own headquarters, including parking facilities. The legislation will not be able to police or enforce that; it will be a matter for the local authorities under by-laws. However, it gives a lead which was not there to date. I am sure the Senator will be pleased about that.

Much of the damage to our roads is caused by overweight vehicles and overloading. That is addressed for the first time in this legislation. The Bill in its entirety will deal with most of the Senator's concerns.

We are an island, exporting nation and we must get our goods efficiently, effectively and safely to our ports in the interests of our growing economy. The road haulage sector is very important in this regard. While we want it to be orderly and in compliance with the law, we must support it to ensure that it is built into a much more efficient industry.

The Senator raised the matter of charges. There is an inconsistency in the fees charged for licences for hauliers and bus operators. Hauliers pay £55 plus £75 per vehicle for a national licence or £55 plus £180 per vehicle for an international licence while bus operators pay a flat fee of £80 irrespective of the fleet size. Both licences are issued on the basis of common criteria and require the same effort and resources on the part of the Department.

Operators in the road haulage business and in the private bus sector, which this legislation covers, pay substantial amounts to the Exchequer in the context of VAT on fuel, excise duties, VAT on spare parts and on the maintenance of vehicles. A haulage company's accounts would indicate that the section of their overheads pertaining to payments to the State is quite substantial.

Mr. Ryan

In the issuing of licences like these, is there is any prior provision made to ensure that the vehicles concerned are safe? Separate provisions are made by the Department of the Environment but is there any integration between Departments to ensure that vehicles are safe, meet environmental standards and are not pumping out large quantities of smoke? This is not necessarily exclusive to private hauliers – Bus Éireann has a dubious reputation on this matter as well. Are questions asked before a licence is issued or will there be? Have these vehicles a properly recorded maintenance record and what are their levels of emissions? The simplest way to deal with all these matters is to state that a vehicle cannot be licensed for road haulage if it is either unsafe or not meeting environmental standards.

Safety, environmental standards and emissions are important issues particularly in the context of our commitments in the Kyoto agreement. We all aspire to ensuring that emissions of CO2 are reduced. We have to achieve this as we have signed an internationally binding agreement to do so or it will cost the Exchequer dearly. The safety issues raised by the Deputy come under road traffic legislation as distinct from road transport legislation. Therefore the on-going enforcement is covered by legislation under the remit of the Department of the Environment. Vehicles, however, must be taxed and insured and pass annual roadworthiness tests.

Mr. Ryan

The Minister is saying that it is possible to get a licence for an unsafe vehicle and it is somebody's else's business to prove afterwards that it is unsafe. It seems nonsensical that a certificate is not required in advance from the appropriate agency stating that it is a safe vehicle which meets the prescribed emission standards. What standards should be met is a separate issue. There is a continuing dispute between Austria and the EU about heavy goods vehicles crossing Austria. They take a dim view of the damage done to their roads by these vehicles as they are quite enlightened about environmental issues. They will either make people pay the real cost or they will not let them cross Austria. The Austrian economy is not collapsing as a result of this – quite the opposite – and it has not caused any great problems for their transport costs. The issue here is simple. The State has a role in all sorts of areas. That is why I am in this particular party.

The central role of the State is to develop an economy. However, one of the mistakes that has been made in western society for the past 40 years was the degree to which implicit subsidies were allowed and made invisible where explicit subsidies like the one for public transport is much debated. There are implicit subsidies throughout transport – for example, allowing hauliers to use housing estates free. We should allow hauliers to negotiate with residents and agree to pay so much to the residents' association for the right to use some of their space. An interesting debate would develop if hauliers were allowed park at a housing estate after they had paid a sum of money to the residents in that area to enable them to develop their estate.

With regard to efficiency, hauliers would prefer to have just one stop. It should be obligatory for them to have a certificate that verifies the road-worthiness of their vehicles and that they are meeting emission regulations.

Is there a provision to investigate the character or previous history of an applicant? Can a person with a criminal record apply for a community licence? Can a person who is or has been under investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau apply for and receive a licence? The establishment of that body is one of our most successful innovations.

I wish to add to Senator Ryan's point about the issuing of discs and the regulations imposed by the Department of the Environment and Local Government regarding dangerous or overloaded vehicles, etc. Would the Minister of State consider setting up a points system for hauliers? Could a person who overloaded their vehicle, exceeded emission regulations or had a truck that did not meet a DOE test on a number of occasions be awarded points and on reaching a certain level have their disc revoked? This measure would have a greater impact than fining a haulier £20 in court under the Department of the Environment and Local Government regulations.

Senator Ryan inquired about a roadworthiness test. It is part of the requirements and must be substantiated on an annual basis.

We are making progress with the road haulage sector. We have extremely efficient businessmen running haulage companies. Individual drivers and haulage operators are competent, responsible and doing an excellent job.

A certificate of competence must accompany a licence application. To qualify for a certificate of competence a person must be of good repute and be able to prove it. They must be of appropriate financial standing and be professionally competent. Anyone of ill repute will not qualify for a certificate. People can avail of courses on entering the business to help them acquire the necessary knowledge and expertise.

Can a disc be revoked if someone has been penalised for continuously breaking the Department of the Environment and Local Government's regulations regarding emissions, dangerous loads, etc? The revoking of a disc would be a greater penalty than the normal penalty imposed under the Department's regulations. If a person is brought to court for excessive emissions they might incur a £20 fine but continue to break the regulations because it is cheaper to continue doing so than replace the truck. If a points system was in operation an individual could lose his disc after a number of offences. This measure would have a greater impact than the current penalty imposed by the Department.

Breaches of traffic regulations come under road traffic legislation. We are all endeavouring to improve the enforcement of the legislation. The big stick referred to by the Senator already exists. It is contained in the qualifying criterion for a certificate of competence that a haulier or applicant must be of good repute. This provision is carefully monitored and can be used as a penalty.

I referred to the revoking of licences rather than the issuing of a person's first licence. A person may be held in high regard by their community but they may decide to import illegal immigrants because it is highly profitable. What can we do in that case after they have been issued with a disc? Would it be possible to impose penalties on them? Can their disc be revoked for the reasons outlined by Senator Ryan? Revoking people's licences would be a better penalising method than what is already contained in the Department's regulations.

The ultimate penalty is to put someone out of business and that can be done by refusing to give them a licence. In order to do that you need a good reason. A person can be refused a licence because they do not meet the qualifying criterion of good repute. A person who has been involved in bad practices as outlined by the Senator will not qualify for a licence. The structures are in place and will be applied.

Mr. Ryan

I am a member of the sub-committee on sustainable development which is under the remit of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment and Local Government. The committee will be discussing with the Department the way road transport policy impacts on our commitment to a more sustainable future. I hope to pursue this matter in another forum and in greater detail.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
Government amendment No. 2:
In page 5, lines 33 to 40, to delete subsection (1) and substitute the following:
"(1)Subject to this section, the Minister shall, on application, issue to the holder of–
(a)a road freight carrier's licence,
(b)a road passenger transport operator's licence, or
(c)a Community licence,
a transport disc in respect of each vehicle to be operated under the licence.".
Amendment agreed to.
Government amendment No. 3:
In page 5, subsection 2(b), line 46, to delete "of this Act".

In section 4(2)(b) the words "of this Act" are superfluous and are being deleted. This is a minor technical amendment which was suggested by the parliamentary draftsman.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
Government amendment No. 4:
In page 6, subsection (1)(a), line 28, to delete "after the coming into operation" and substitute ", or a Community licence issued, after the commencement".
Amendment agreed to.
Government amendment No. 5:
In page 7, subsection (5), line 9, to delete "of this section".

In section 5(5) the words "of this section" are superfluous and are being deleted. This is a minor technical amendment which was suggested by the parliamentary draftsman.

Mr. Ryan

I am confused by what the parliamentary draftsman notices and what he considers important and unimportant. I have been a Member for almost 20 years and I am still confused by what is left in, what is left out and the fuzzy language that may be considered acceptable.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Ryan

This section relates to the offence of using a transport disc on a vehicle other than the one for which it is appropriate. I have not tabled an amendment on this matter, but the maximum fine on summary conviction of £500 seems on the lenient side. One can be fined that amount for possession of a single bottle of poitín – I know this by reputation rather than experience, in case anybody asks. It is a low penalty for people involved in commercial operations. I know the Minister will say that the parliamentary draftsman or the Attorney General suggested this was an appropriate penalty, but it is a very low maximum penalty.

As the Senator said, this section relates to transport discs issued in respect of one vehicle being used on another. We are aware that this happens from time to time, not only on heavy vehicles but also on smaller private vehicles. I suggest the fine of £500 is not an insubstantial amount. However, the ultimate penalty hovers over these people. This legislation and other measures are exhorting such people to become more professional. We are talking here about their livelihoods. There are certain criteria which must be met in order to have a licence reissued. The ultimate penalty exists for an individual who breaches the legislation – he may be deemed not to be of good repute, his licence may not be reissued and he may be put out of business. That very potent measure is available at all times.

Mr. Ryan

Let us not getting carried away with the potential possibility of having one's licence withdrawn. Every publican lives with that possibility. Nevertheless, it took an enormous effort on the part of the State to have the licence withdrawn from a pub in Cork, my home city, which was known to be a major centre of drug dealing and to have been purchased by the proceeds of drug dealing. I accept the possibility of a licence being withdrawn exists, but there might be a question about the will to do so. The smallness of the penalty in this case suggests that it is seen as an offence which rates about three on a scale of one to ten.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 7 to 10, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 11 stand part of the Bill."

I wish to restate some of the concerns I expressed on Second Stage. I warmly welcome the essential provisions in the Bill to ensure that disc applicants have adequate parking spaces and operating premises. I do not want to dilute the significance of those two elements in the Bill. However, the Minister of State has said again today that it is not possible under this Bill to prohibit parking in private residential estates. I appeal to him to speak to his colleagues on this matter because the local authorities are having great difficulties in enacting by-laws in this regard.

Legislation should be enacted, with regulations if necessary, to rid our residential communities of the menace of people operating their business from residential premises, with the revving of engines early in the morning, oil leaks, diesel spillages and so on. This is an unwarranted and unfair menace to residential communities and I appeal to the Minister of State to speak with the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, to see whether their Departments can work jointly on legislation in this regard.

Mr. Ryan

Senator Fitzgerald said most of what I wanted to say. In three years from the enactment of this section, everyone with a road freight carrier's licence must have adequate parking spaces and operating premises. I hope the Minister of State will tell us that he proposes to enact this section very quickly, because sometimes it takes a long time to bring legislation into force. It would mean that if any one of the fleet of vehicles owned by a road haulage carrier was away from the base there would be empty spaces at the base. Therefore, the vehicles parked in housing estates would represent empty parking spaces somewhere else.

It ought to be possible, with a little nudging from Government, for road hauliers to make known to other road hauliers when there are empty spaces on their premises. There could be a mutually convenient arrangement, where empty spaces in Cork would be used by road hauliers operating out of Dublin. If they are parked away from base, there are, by definition, empty spaces at the base. If they are parked in the housing estates to which Senator Fitzgerald referred – unless they are local hauliers abusing the local community and who will be dealt with under this section – there are empty spaces in Cork or Galway, for example. This could be done on a commercial basis if they so wished. However, it would be no harm if the Department nudged them in the direction of a mutual arrangement whereby they used each other's spaces.

This would be helped enormously by introducing the sort of by-laws which, apparently, Dublin Corporation has been prevented from introducing, because it would force them to look for spaces. They would find that the most obvious place to park would be the empty spaces left by their competitors who were elsewhere. That does not sound like something they would want to do, but if they have to pay a great deal of money or if they are prohibited from parking elsewhere, they will have to look for parking spaces. There will, ultimately, be a space for every single vehicle with a road haulage licence in the country. Non-national carriers are a separate issue which we might discuss later.

Senators Liam Fitzgerald and Ryan touched on an issue I wanted to raise. Senator Ryan's idea of a large parking area with vacancies due to vehicles moving around the country is very good. It would benefit the freight carriers themselves because it would provide them with security, which is one of their concerns. They often leave vehicles in housing estates because they feel they can keep an eye on them – at least, that is what they say but it is possibly more to do with comfort and ease in getting to their vehicles.

The point raised by Senator Liam Fitzgerald is very dear to my heart because recently an individual in my area decided to use a farmhouse for this purpose. He claimed he had a certain amount of agricultural business, in that he transported some agricultural goods, which exempted him from the legislation enacted by the Department of the Environment and Local Government. It is almost impossible to move him out. People are woken at 5 a.m. by engines being revved and lights are left on all night for security purposes. I join with Senator Liam Fitzgerald in asking the Minister of State to impose a regulation, whereby such vehicles must be parked in non-residential areas.

I thank Senator Liam Fitzgerald for his warm welcome for this measure, which was welcomed by colleagues in both Houses. I was pleased to ensure it was included in the legislation. Its objective is two-fold. First, it is an effort to ensure vehicles operating under licences issued have adequate parking space. What has happened until now is that a small number of operators or licensees have merely had accommodation addresses, such as a solicitor's office, which created difficulties with regard to enforcement, for example, for enforcing officers to inspect tachograph charts.

The measure will certainly help address the complaints we have all heard as public representatives in our constituencies about large vehicles being parked in housing estates and the hazards posed, especially for small children. This provision cannot compulsorily require the owner or driver of a vehicle to park it at the premises. Rather, the legislation ensures parking facilities are provided. If they were not provided and the driver did not have what I call a headquarters, by way of office and parking facilities, inevitably he would park the vehicle outside the door of his house. The measure is a huge improvement in that regard.

Enforcement of this issue is best achieved by local authority by-laws. Since Senators have requested it, as the next step we will engage in dialogue with the Minister for the Environment and Local Government and his Department with a view to it taking advantage of what we are introducing in the legislation. This would reduce the level of bad practice. Perhaps it can be more effectively tackled by that Department.

Question put and agreed to.
Government amendment No. 6:
In page 9, subsection (3), line 34, to delete
"For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2) of" and substitute "In".
Amendment agreed to.
Government amendment No. 7:
In page 9, between lines 37 and 38, to insert the following paragraph:
"(c)a Community licence,".
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 12, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Ryan

Senator Liam Fitzgerald is very agreeable this morning. I was barely out of my seat before he had agreed the section.

I am always agreeable.

Mr. Ryan

I know and I did not imply otherwise. Why is the penalty in this section for altering a licensing document £1,500 when the penalty for inappropriately affixing a transport disc is £500 in section 6? I do not blame the Minister of State if he does not know. Is there a logic to this? I do not believe there is.

We are endeavouring in this section to combat the forgery of licences and Community authorisations. Obviously such a breach is deemed a more serious offence. Section 12(1) provides that a person who alters or permits the alteration of a licensing document or who engages in the carriage of goods or passengers while in possession of an altered licensing document will be guilty of an offence and will be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500. I suspect the rationale here is that the offence has been deemed to be one of forgery and is, therefore, more serious.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendments Nos. 8 and 10 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

Government amendment No. 8:
In page 10, subsection (1)(b), line 9, to delete "omnibus" and to substitute "road".

With regard to amendments Nos. 8 and 10, the word "omnibus" has a specific meaning in the Road Traffic Acts which, if applied to the Bill, would probably have the effect of excluding non-scheduled road passenger services, such as coach tours and excursions. These are among the types of services at which the legislation is aimed. The amendments will ensure all road passenger operations are encompassed by sections 13 and 16. The definition of "omnibus" in the Road Traffic Act, 1961, is the following:

"omnibus" means a large public service vehicle which is for the time being used on a definite route for the carriage of passengers who are carried at separate fares and are picked up and set down along such route whether on request or at fixed stopping places.

Obviously, that would confine and limit the Bill and that is why the word "omnibus" is being changed.

Amendment agreed to.
Government amendment No. 9:
In page 10, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following subsection:
"(3) Where a person–
(a)when his or her name is required of him or her under subsection (1), refuses or fails to give his or her name and address or gives a name or address which is false or misleading, or
(b)having an address outside the State, when required under subsection (1) to give an address in the State, gives an address which is false or misleading,
such person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500.".
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 13, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Ryan

I understand fully the logic of the section, but I am a little concerned about one aspect which may be due to a lack of information. This provision applies only to breaches of the principal Act as amended by the Bill. What happens in cases of breaches of the Road Traffic Acts, especially breaches of speed limit regu lations, by persons with an address outside the State who cannot give an address in the State? What happens in cases of breaches of the Road Traffic Acts as distinct from the Road Transport Acts? One of the major public concerns about heavy goods vehicles is breaches of speed limits, both on main roads and in urban areas.

That is an excellent point. This is one of the most important provisions in the legislation because it deals with out of State hauliers who thumb their noses at the laws of the land and especially at the haulage sector. As Senator Ryan said, the provision should also extend to road traffic legislation. It is the function of the Department of the Environment and Local Government to deal with road traffic legislation. It was consulted as to whether it would be disposed to widen the scope of this section as the Senator asked to cover road traffic offences by heavy goods vehicles. The response from that Department was that next year there will be a road traffic Bill and it would be more appropriate to consider such a provision in the context of its preparation of that Bill. I already indicated to that Department to proceed in that way. The Senator has independently exhorted the same thing. Perhaps that will materialise.

Mr. Ryan

I undertake to raise it at the Joint Committee on Environment and Local Government also.

No doubt the Senator will.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 14 and 15 agreed to.
Government amendment No. 10:
In page 11, subsection (1)(b), line 32, to delete "omnibus" and substitute "road".
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 16, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Ryan

Is the Minister satisfied that subsection (6)(a), which states that a payment pursuant to a notice under this section may be made in the currency of the State, is consistent with the single currency? Is it that the euro will become the currency of the State or what? I was surprised that the single currency is not mentioned in the Bill given that it will be the only currency which will apply within the EU within two years. I am probably giving the Minister the answer by referring to the use of the words “the currency of the State” in the Bill but I am not sure that it is the appropriate terminology.

My bank statements, which are usually in glaring red, are laid out in dual monetary terms.

Mr. Ryan

The overdraft looks bigger in euros also.

Exactly. Section 16(6)(b)(ii) makes reference to “such other currency as may be prescribed”. Therefore, the question is covered.

Mr. Ryan

To leave it as a possibility or to state "such other currency as may be prescribed" is a peculiar way to deal with what will be the only currency in the State within two years. I suspect that the parliamentary draftsman forgot about it but I will not pursue that too far. I would not dream of suggesting that the Minister forgot it.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 17 to 20, inclusive, agreed to.
Government amendment No. 11:
In page 15, before section 21, to insert the following new section:
21.–Section 9 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998, is hereby amended by–
(a)the substitution for subsection (1) of the following subsection:
‘(1)Where a member of the Garda Síochána alleges to a person that the member suspects that such person has committed or is committing an offence resulting from a contravention of this Act or regulations made under section 17 in connection with the operation on a public road of transport equipment, the member may require of such person his or her name and address, and if such person gives an address outside the State, the member may require the person to give to the member an address within the State, which is satisfactory to the member, for the service of any summons, and may, if such person–
(a)fails to give his or her name and address,
(b)gives a name or address which the member has reasonable grounds for believing is false or misleading, or
(c)having an address outside the State, fails to give an address within the State or gives such an address which the member has reason to doubt is satisfactory for the service of a summons,
arrest such a person without warrant.',
(b)in subsection (2), the substitution for ‘subsection (1)(b)' of ‘subsection (1)', and
(c)the insertion after subsection (2) of the following subsection:
‘(3)Where a person–
(a)when his or her name is required of him or her under subsection (1), refuses or fails to give his or her name and address or gives a name or address which is false or misleading, or
(b)having an address outside the State, when required under subsection (1) to give an address in the State, gives an address which is false or misleading,
such person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £500.'.".
This amendment adds a new section, which amends section 9 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998, in line with the provision of section 13 of the Bill. Both section 13 and section 9 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998, contain provisions for ensuring prosecutions where offences are committed in connection with the carriage of merchandise, passengers or dangerous goods by road. The provisions of section 13 are more comprehensive than those of section 9 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998. The intention of the amendment is to bring the more comprehensive provisions herein into section 9 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998.
Acceptance of the amendment will result in a consequential amendment to section 24, which perhaps we can deal with on Report Stage.

Mr. Ryan

This is a welcome amendment. I take it that, among other things, it would be consistent with section 13 in terms of ensuring that we can deal with people from outside the State who might be in breach of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998, with the same powers of arrest where a garda deems it appropriate. It would be peculiar if we did not do that in this area because it is obviously an area where there would be great concern. I would be concerned at the idea that hauliers would bring goods, which are classified as dangerous goods under the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Act, 1998, into the State on car ferries. The Minister ought to look at the question of notifying ferry operators about persons convicted under this provision who operate from outside the State. It should not be possible for people to come in, be convicted here for doing something which could have put at risk the safety of a car ferry and not have that information communicated to ferry operators so that such persons would not be allowed to use the ferries again. The ferry operators are perfectly entitled to refuse transportation to people on such grounds. It would be no harm to have a procedure for notifying them when offences like this are committed.

There could be merit in that sugges tion. I will have it looked at to see if there is a provision by which such a flow of information could be put in place.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 21, as amended, agreed to.
Section 22 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 23 stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Ryan

Is the Minister able to give me an approximate timescale within which he hopes to have all the sections of the Bill in force? Will it be six days, six weeks, six months or six years or one day, one week or one month?

I have given many commitments in this regard. There are certain sections which the Department will be able to implement virtually immediately. The Senator can be assured that I am anxious to put in place all the provisions as expeditiously as is humanly possible.

Mr. Ryan

The Bill has considerable implications for the industry. I hope the Minister will not leave too much to special pleading from the corporate welfare lobby which may delay the implementation of provisions, particularly those which relate to premises, etc.

I gave my word that I would bring the Bill before the Houses before the end of last year and it was published on Christmas Eve. I just kept my word on that aspect of it. I am committed to the implementation of these measures.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 24 agreed to.
Government amendment No. 12:
In page 16, line 5, to delete "27,".
Amendment agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.