Broadcasting Bill 2008: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 99:
In page 121, line 25, after "licence" to insert the following:
"and at all times practicable that RTÉ use the maximum power levels as sanctioned by the ITU and licensed by ComReg in the case of an LF broadcast transmitter serving the island of Ireland and or Irish communities abroad".
— (Senator Joe O'Toole)

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Power, back to the House and I wish to respond to the points he made. I intend to state, as succinctly as possible, that under section 114 of the Bill, there is a commitment, as far as practicable, to the whole community on the island of Ireland. The object of RTE is to establish, maintain and operate a national television and sound broadcasting service, which should be made available "in so far as it is reasonably practicable, to the whole community on the island of Ireland". I stress this point because the Minister of State and his officials are receiving briefings in which they are being told one cannot broadcast outside the jurisdiction. While that may be the case, I am reading from the Bill under discussion at present. Members are considering legislation that requires RTE to broadcast to the whole community on the island of Ireland. I make this point because in addition to Great Britain, I also refer to Northern Ireland and to northern County Donegal, which has great difficulties in this regard.

I doubly stress that under this legislation, this requirement pertains to the whole community on the island of Ireland. It does not refer to the State or to this jurisdiction, but to the island of Ireland. Someone should remind RTE of this when it claims it has no authority. I do not care what authority one has, because this is the requirement under the legislation. The broadcasters in Algeria know how to deal with it.

In addition, according to section 114(1)(f) of the Bill, another object is:

to establish, maintain and operate a television broadcasting service and a sound broadcasting service which shall ... be made available, in so far as RTÉ considers reasonably practicable, to Irish communities outside the island of Ireland.

These are the requirements and, as the Minister of State is aware, this is a considered position. It would be reasonably practicable for RTE to increase its output to 500 kW from the Summerhill transmitter, at a cost €100,000 per year. That would be the cost, if this issue pertains to money. Perhaps it is about something else. I feel so strongly about this matter because one should insist that RTE do this. Obviously, its definition of "practicable" differs from mine. Moreover, in so far as I have discussed this with other Members of the Oireachtas, it also differs from what they would consider to be practicable.

Another issue to which I wish to advert in this respect is that RTE continues to state it has not reduced its broadcasting output from the Summerhill mast. It is true that it has not reduced its output since it took back the mast from Radio Tara. However, Radio Tara was broadcasting at twice the output. RTE has indicated clearly and proven that the twin 250 kW broadcasting transmitter being used by Radio Tara was not of the best quality. I agree with it in this respect. However, I disagree with its decision to replace it with a 250 kW transmitter. I disagree with its position that, because it would cost €100,000 per year to extend its present range, it is not prepared to do so. Moreover, while I stand to be corrected and will consider the evidence, I disagree with RTE when it states that increasing the output would not increase significantly the coverage or the reach of the long wave transmitter. I believe this to be untrue because I am familiar with what was available previously.

As an aside, since this debate was adjourned at 5 p.m., my office has received three calls from different emigrant groups, two in the United Kingdom and another in Ireland, who were listening to the debate on the webcast and who rang to thank me for my comments on their behalf. I do not know who these people are. I simply make the point that it is interesting because RTE is trying to state that on a number of occasions when the service was unavailable and was not being broadcast, no one noticed the difference. Can one imagine that people are listening to this debate? I certainly did not alert them to it and have never spoken to those groups previously. I am aware that GAA groups have a keen interest in this subject.

This constitutes real politics. Those who live in the dosshouses of north London or who lack a pension in other parts of the United Kingdom do not carry great political clout. The people who wish to listen to "Céilí House" or to Donncha O'Dulaing on a Saturday night are not the most important people in the world. Moreover, the GAA community in Britain, who no longer can vote in Ireland, can be disregarded easily. Thankfully, Irish politicians have never taken that line. Across all parties, they have been prepared to speak for and defend such people. It is in this regard that an issue of great significance has arisen. It also is tied into the legislation and RTE's requirements to broadcast beyond the island of Ireland and throughout the entire island of Ireland. Clearly, neither point of view has permeated into the deeper recesses of RTE, which continues to raise the issue of jurisdiction. However, this legislation does not refer to jurisdiction. It refers to the island of Ireland and to the Irish community living outside the island of Ireland. Therefore, there are requirements and responsibilities that go with that. They will not go away lightly and Members will insist that they be noted and acted on.

In this regard, while I accept the Minister of State's good offices on the matter and he should not take this personally, I disagree with his point that such issues should not be included in legislation. This is the only way one can at least interpret what would be reasonably practicable. Obviously, my view differs from that which obtains in RTE. Therefore, I must insist that Members take this as far as possible. I have put on record issues in this regard and the Minister of State has stated he would investigate them further. He should ask his officials to get to the bottom of this information in order that Members are in possession of all the relevant information and have a basis on which to make a decision. At present, the only decision I want is to have a transmitter broadcasting at 500 kW from Summerhill on the long wave. I want that running at 500kW for 24 hours a day. I want us then to negotiate an increase in the 500kW allowed under the 1975 agreement, from which we get our licence to do this.

The terms of the Good Friday Agreement provide for shadow legislation in both jurisdictions, so it would be useful to enter into an agreement with the BBC to have a single broadcasting unit across the two islands. People from both islands could receive all output from both stations. That would certainly be in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

I thank the Senator for his contribution, but I must point out that there is no single transmission system that can meet the needs of all Irish listeners in Britain. There are always constraints that apply to cross-Border and free-to-air terrestrial broadcasting. These limits may arise from technical considerations as well as from international regulatory agreements that we have signed. That is why it is necessary to look to other forms of distribution, such as satellite and the Internet, in which RTE has developed significant services in recent years. Freesat will mark another stage of progress in this area.

Some of the documentation referred to earlier in the debate raises a number of questions, but I am not in a position to clarify them yet. However, I will endeavour to do so as soon as possible and I will get back to the Senator on them. I am not in a position to accept the amendment as proposed.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 24.

  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • McFadden, Nicky.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • O’Toole, Joe.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Prendergast, Phil.
  • Regan, Eugene.

Níl

  • Butler, Larry.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Corrigan, Maria.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • de Búrca, Déirdre.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Feeney, Geraldine.
  • Glynn, Camillus.
  • Hanafin, John.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McDonald, Lisa.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Brien, Francis.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ormonde, Ann.
  • Phelan, Kieran.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Joe O’Toole and John Paul Phelan; Níl, Senators Déirdre de Búrca and Diarmuid Wilson.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendments Nos. 100 to 102, inclusive, not moved.

Amendment No. 103 is a Government amendment, which has been already discussed with amendment No. 1.

Government amendment No. 103:
In page 124, line 40, to delete "the Oireachtas has" and substitute "those Houses have".
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 104 and 105 not moved.

Amendment No. 106 is a Government amendment, which has been already discussed with amendment No. 80.

Government amendment No. 106:
In page 125, line 47, after "works" to insert the following:
"including, as far as practicable, film and cinema works in the Irish language".
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 107 not moved.

Amendment No. 108 in the names of Senators John Paul Phelan and Paul Bradford, has been already discussed with amendment No. 60.

I move amendment No. 108:

In page 133, lines 7 and 8, to delete "shall be not more than 4 years" and substitute "shall not be more than 7 years".

I formally second amendment No. 108.

Question put: "That the words and figures proposed to be deleted stand."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 24; Níl, 15.

  • Butler, Larry.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Corrigan, Maria.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • de Búrca, Déirdre.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Feeney, Geraldine.
  • Glynn, Camillus.
  • Hanafin, John.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McDonald, Lisa.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Brien, Francis.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ormonde, Ann.
  • Phelan, Kieran.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • McFadden, Nicky.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • O’Toole, Joe.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Prendergast, Phil.
  • Regan, Eugene.
Tellers: Tá, Senators de Búrca and Wilson; Níl, Senators Cummins and John Paul Phelan.
Question declared carried.
Amendment declared lost.
Government amendment No. 109:
In page 140, line 40, to delete "licences" and substitute "sets".
Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 110:

In page 144, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:

"(c) No person shall be sent to jail as a consequence of any conviction for non-possession of a TV licence. However, an order for attachment of earnings may be made by the court in order to discharge such an obligation.”.

This amendment concerns the extraordinary situation that exists currently where people can end up in prison for not paying their television licences. The idea that this is still happening is incomprehensible.

A Senator

Hear, hear.

In tabling this amendment I want to ensure that no person shall be sent to jail as a consequence of any conviction for non-possession of a TV licence.

We should have a long discussion on TV licences, although not now — Members can relax — because I do not know how this is done. I would like to know from the Minister how much we are paying for all the very entertaining advertisements about people calling to the door to check if people have a TV licence and to frighten the rest of us. Who checks if the chaps in Portlaoise Prison with the plasma screens in their cells have a licence?

A Senator

The State.

Senator O'Toole, without interruption.

Can people go into the prison and check the position in that regard? People with no money are ending up in prison because they cannot afford to pay for the licence. I wonder if the inmates in prison with plasma screens have licences. That is a fair question and I would like to know the answer to it because the situation is ridiculous.

Other countries have more sensible ways of collecting TV licence fees. There is an audiovisual tax in parts of France and other initiatives in other countries. Spending millions of euro every year in advertising and thousands of euro to keep people in prison for not paying their TV licences and then employing huge numbers of people to check and collect makes no sense. Payment should be made directly either through an additional tax which people can opt out of or a million other ways. It is unethical, immoral, uncivilised and unacceptable that people can end up in prison for not having a TV licence.

I am not sure if we are still required to have a radio licence or if that went some time in the past like the need for a dog licence.

One still needs to have a dog licence.

I am sure the Minister will make me aware of that. This system is a nonsense. The Minister should accept this amendment. It makes no difference to him. There are better ways of dealing with the matter. In the other House this morning the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform said that approximately a dozen people were in prison for not paying fines. I do not know how many of those fines referred to TV licences but that kind of situation recurs time and again for people who owe money. It is unacceptable. We should move on, take ourselves out of the dark ages and be a bit more civilised, modern and responsible. I ask the Minister of State to accept the amendment.

I second the amendment. Senator O'Toole is probably barking up the wrong tree because the dog licence is still in being. I fully support Senator O'Toole's comments on this issue. Sending somebody to prison for non-payment of a television licence is ludicrous. If somebody was sentenced to just one day in prison I suggest it would cost a great deal more to keep that person in prison than the cost of a television licence. It is ludicrous.

On the question of advertising, it is probably costing more in advertising than the revenue we are getting in from television licences because the advertisements appears to be on every few minutes on radio and television. We must have a more humane system in place because sending people to prison for not paying their television licence belongs to a darker era. We should consider an attachment of earnings, as suggested in the amendment.

I hope the Minister of State will accept this amendment. It is nonsensical to have votes on amendments as sensible as the one before the House this evening. I ask the Minister of State to respond accordingly.

Cuirimse go huile agus go hiomlán leis an méid atá ráite ag an Seanadóir Ó Tuathail chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an moladh seo, nár cóir d'aon duine a bheith caite isteach sa phriosún toisc nach bhfuil ceadúnas teilifíse acu. Tréaslaím leis an Seanadóir Norris agus an Seanadóir Ó Tuathail as an leasú sin a mholadh.

It is remarkable that it could be possible for somebody to be sent to prison for non-possession of a TV licence. I do not fully hold with what I believe Senator O'Toole is saying in so far as he is critiquing the system around which the licence is required and pursued. I am coming at this from a point of view of best practice in our criminal justice system. It is clear that we need alternatives to custodial sentences for non-violent offenders across the board. We hear much about the way in which our prison system has become a school for criminals, particularly at a time when younger offenders are incarcerated in the same place as older offenders. We have had debates about that and will have further debates about that issue.

We must take a more enlightened approach to our criminal justice policy and what Senators Norris and O'Toole have done indirectly is to shine a light on one aspect of that. Do we really want people who did not have a television licence, some of whom may be younger people, to be exposed to the prison system and the brutality and potential corruption that involves, in so far as many people who go to prison are exposed to it, and come out in some cases in a worse position that when they went in?

It is time we engaged in fresh thinking about our criminal justice system and alternatives to custodial sentences for non-violent offences, particularly on something as relatively trivial as non-possession of a TV licence. It is farcical that it could be possible to be sent to prison for that in this day and age. On that basis I urge the Minister, as Senators Cummins and O'Toole have done, to consider accepting this amendment in the light of the common sense that it involves.

We had a good debate on this issue on Committee Stage. I fully subscribe to the spirit of the amendment but it is essential that there are deterrents for people who do not pay their bills. Many people choose to spend their money on other less necessary expenditure rather than commitments they have to the State. It is important deterrents are in place. The Minister gave a good and fair response on the last occasion in that it is an issue that has a broader remit than just TV licences and that it is under review in respect of the Fines Bill. I would have thought that is a more logical place for the issue to be dealt with but I would support the spirit of the amendment because putting people in prison for non-payment of relatively small amounts of money is, even from an economic point of view, foolhardy. Presuming the Minister will respond in similar fashion to his response on the previous day, what he is suggesting is eminently sensible and on that basis we should support it. I look forward to the expeditious preparation of the Fines Bill to allow the matter be dealt with in that legislation.

I agree with Senator Walsh. The idea of sending somebody to prison for non-payment of a television licence is foolhardy. If we as legislators were to bring in legislation that could allow that to happen we would be fools. What Senators O'Toole and Norris propose in their amendment is sensible because nobody in this Chamber, including the Minister of State, wants to see people being sent to prison for non-payment of TV licences.

In his opening remarks Senator O'Toole referred to the comments made by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on RTE radio about the number of people in prison currently for non-payment of fines. He referred to seven as being seven too many. Why are we introducing legislation today that allows for people to be imprisoned for non-payment of fines or for not having a television licence? If the Bill is passed — I presume it will be voted on — it will be fools who will support it and will include it in the legislation.

Did Senator Cummins second this amendment?

I wish to clarify that we discussed this matter in some detail last week. We are not introducing legislation to put people in prison. It is a rather complex matter and people may belittle it if they have a mind to.

If one conducted an opinion poll among the Irish people, I believe most of them would not be in favour of imprisoning people for non-payment of a television licence. Approximately 1.5% of the prison population at any one time are in prison for failing to adhere to a court decision. This is usually a last resort and is not to be encouraged. If we are all in agreement that one must have a licence, it follows then that there must be some incentive for people to purchase a licence. There must be some punishment for those who refuse to purchase one. It is accepted that the provision will present a certain difficulty for some people but the Bill introduces a system to make it easier for people to pay for a licence. In cases where a person does not possess a licence, we are giving them plenty of time to make amends.

The amendment as tabled is really a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. This matter can be more adequately dealt with within the Fines Bill which will come before the House in the near future. We have discussed this matter with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and we are happy that the matter will be dealt with adequately within that Bill.

I refer the House to section 142(1) of the Bill which states:

(1) Subject to the exceptions mentioned below, a person shall not keep or have in his or her possession anywhere in the territory of the State a television set save in so far as such keeping or possession is authorised by a television licence for the time being in force.

I will repeat my question. Have the inmates of Portlaoise Prison a licence for each of their plasma screens? I note the televisions were returned to them recently by the authorities. Do they have licences for those sets? It is a reasonable question and I want to know whether they are being treated in some exceptional manner that does not apply to ordinary people. I think I am entitled to an answer to that question and then we can move on from there.

The prisoners would not be the owners of the sets. All that is required is one licence to cover all sets and the same applies in any other building with a multiple of sets.

These are their own sets; they do not belong to the prison authorities and that is my point.

If one has a television——

A person shall not keep or have in his possession a television set, save in so far as such keeping is authorised by a television licence.

We have heard all the excuses and none of them works.

I am not giving any excuses. We will contact the prison authorities tomorrow to obtain the information the Senator has requested.

I thank the Minister of State.

Is the amendment being pressed?

I feel in all honesty I must press the amendment.

Amendment put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 14; Níl, 24.

  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Coffey, Paudie.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • McFadden, Nicky.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • O’Toole, Joe.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Prendergast, Phil.

Níl

  • Butler, Larry.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Carty, John.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Corrigan, Maria.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • de Búrca, Déirdre.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Feeney, Geraldine.
  • Glynn, Camillus.
  • Hanafin, John.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McDonald, Lisa.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O’Brien, Francis.
  • O’Donovan, Denis.
  • O’Malley, Fiona.
  • O’Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ormonde, Ann.
  • Phelan, Kieran.
  • Walsh, Jim.
  • White, Mary M.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Maurice Cummins and Joe O’Toole; Níl, Senators Déirdre de Búrca and Diarmuid Wilson.
Amendment declared lost.

Before moving to the next amendment, I wish to welcome to the Distinguished Visitors Gallery, a former Member of the House, Margaret Cox.

Government amendment No. 111 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 111:
In page 160, after line 44, to insert the following:
"(2) Section 2 of the Act of 1926 is amended—
(a) in the definition of “the appropriate authority” (inserted by section 4(2) of the Communications Regulation (Amendment) Act 2007) by deleting paragraph (a), and
(b) in the definition of “broadcast matter” by substituting “or the Broadcasting Act 2008 and also includes images” for “or the Broadcasting Authority Act, 1960, and also includes images” (inserted by section 34(c) of the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960).”.
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 112 has already been been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 112:
In page 161, to delete lines 1 to 9 and substitute the following:
"(2) Section 3 of the Act of 1926 is amended by substituting for subsection (3) (inserted by section 12(1)(a) of the Act of 1988) the following:
"(3) A person who keeps, has in his or her possession, installs, maintains, works or uses any apparatus (other than a television set) in contravention of this section commits an offence and is liable—
(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000, or
(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €250,000.”.”.
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 113 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 113:
In page 161, between lines 34 and 35, to insert the following:
"(8) Section 12(1) of the Act of 1926 is amended by substituting "or under theBroadcasting Act 2008” for “or under the Broadcasting Authority Act, 1960” (inserted by section 34(e) of the Broadcasting Authority Act 1960).”.
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 114 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 114:
In page 162, between lines 16 and 17, to insert the following:
"(a) in subsection (1), by substituting for paragraph (a) the following:
"(a) without reasonable cause or excuse, fails to comply with a requirement of an order under section 5,”,”.
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 115 has been already discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 115:
In page 165, lines 4 and 5, to delete the text in the third column and to substitute the following:
"

Subsections (1A) and (1B) of section 5 and subsection (3) (save in so far as it is already repealed bys. 14(1) of No. 34 of 1996) ofsection 6

".
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 116 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 116:
In page 165, between lines 5 and 6, to insert the following:
"

No. 4 of 1956

Wireless Telegraph Act 1956

The whole Act

".
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 117 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 117:
In page 165, line 6, in the third column after "Act" to insert the following:
"(other than Part II of the Third Schedule)".
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 118 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 118:
In page 165, line 14, third column, after "4,", to insert the following:
"9(1), (2) and (4)".
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 119 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 119:
In page 165, line 27, in the third column, to delete "11" and substitute the following:
"11, 18".
Amendment agreed to.

Government amendment No. 120 has already been discussed with amendment No. 58.

Government amendment No. 120:
In page 165, after line 45, to insert the following:
"

No. 22 of 2007

Communications Regulation (Amendment) Act 2007

Paragraph (b) in the third column at item 4 in the first column of Part 1 of Schedule 1

".
Amendment agreed to.
Bill, as amended, received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

It has been a very——

——comprehensive Bill and the House has spent quite a few days considering it. All sides have engaged strongly in the debate during which many amendments were tabled. I wish to compliment the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, and the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Power. The Minister of State took Committee Stage and was extremely accommodating in taking on board amendments that he felt would improve the Bill. The House should thank him for that. As a consequence, he will bring a better Bill before the Dáil. Hopefully, it will receive as constructive a passage there as it did in this House.

I concur with Senator Walsh in thanking the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, and the Minister of State, Deputy Seán Power, who took on board many of the Opposition's suggestions. A number of Government amendments took into account the gist of what the Opposition was trying to do in some areas. Obviously there are a couple of areas with which Fine Gael is not very happy, but there will be a chance for those discussions in another place. It has been a long day. I watched the debate on Committee Stage which took three days, and today's Report Stage lasted several hours. I thank the Minister of State and his officials who have been here all day also.

Ba mhaith liom cur leis an méid atá ráite agus buíochas a ghabháil leis na hAirí, go háirithe an Teachta Seán Power a bhí ag déileáil leis na leasuithe. Glacadh le cuid acu, ina measc cuid a chur mé fhéin síos, agus gabhaim buíochas leis ar son sin. Ní raibh muid ábalta achan moladh a ghlacadh ach sin mar a tharlaíonn. Chuir na Seanadóirí uilig agus na hAirí cuid mhór ama isteach ar an mBille seo. I note that since I have been in the Seanad, the longest sitting was just last week when we were dealing with this Bill. It is indicative of the number of amendments, the toing and froing, and the passion that Senators brought to the discussion. I contend it is a better Bill going to the Dáil.

I thank the Senators for their contributions this evening and, indeed, during the debate on the Bill. As I said earlier, there is no such thing as perfect legislation. We were always keen to try to improve the Bill and where we thought amendments were coming forward that would improve it, we took them on board.

No party has a monopoly on wisdom. It is always as important to listen as it is to speak. In fairness to the Members on all sides, they dealt with it constructively. There were many good points made and we are happy we could take them on board. It will be reflected in the Bill. We are bringing a better Bill before the Dáil and I thank the Members here for making that possible.

Question put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to sit again?

Ag 10.30 a.m. amárach.