I thank the House for the consideration given to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill 2003. When I piloted the previous Central Bank legislation through the House last year there was considerable scepticism on whether this measure would appear. It was promised at the time and it has now been delivered. Great credit is due to the officers in the Department of Finance for the speed and expedition with which they devoted themselves to the preparation of this legislation. It is important to put the consumer protection element in place. That has been done. I am pleased the Bill has been well received in both Houses. A considerable amount of work was done on it in the other House and because of that its consideration in this House was somewhat briefer. The Minister met some of the Opposition concerns in the other House. I thank Senators Phelan and Mansergh and the other Senators who participated in the debate.
Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill 2003: Report and Final Stages.
I thank the Minister of State for bringing the Bill through the House. That its passage has been fairly expeditious should not disguise the fact it is important legislation from a consumer point of view and is vital to the health of financial services, international and domestic, in terms of high standards being maintained. We have a great interest in that both as consumers and as a country that is host to a major financial services centre. I thank the Minister and his officials for helping the Bill on its passage.
I concur with what Senator Mansergh has said. This Bill is noteworthy for its improvements in the consumer protection area, in light of recent issues that have arisen with certain members of the commercial banking sector in Ireland. I welcome its passage. Senator Ross spoke at length about increasing the fines applicable under the legislation but it is a significant step in the right direction.
When is it proposed to sit again?
Next Tuesday at 2.30 p.m.