I have a number of questions for the Minister of State on the Schedule. In considering the Bill it is interesting to note that most of the material with the biggest impact is contained in the Schedule. I understand this is the nature of such legislation. However, I have a few questions that I wish to put to the Minister of State, to which I would appreciate a response.
The first pertains to section 1 of the Schedule on its entry into force which outlines that the framework agreement can only come into force following its ratification by at least five euro area member states, accounting for at least two thirds of the total guarantee commitments set out in the Bill. Does the Minister of State know the current status of the ratification process? Have enough countries ratified the agreement to enable it to come into force?
My next question pertains to section 4(6) of the Schedule which refers to the framework agreement's funding strategy. The Bill gives the organisation running the fund the ability to delegate responsibility for its operation to "one or more debt management agencies of euro-area member states or other such agencies or institutions" approved by the guarantors. This goes to a point Senator Hanafin has made many times in the House and on which he touched earlier. I am interested in hearing whether the debt management agencies will be publicly run ones, such as, for example, the National Treasury Management Agency here and its equivalent agencies across Europe, or if it would include private organisations such as banks which would then have an opportunity to make a profit out of the operation of the fund?
My next question relates to the latter part of the Bill.