Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015: Committee Stage

I welcome the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Ann Phelan, to take Committee Stage of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015. Amendments Nos. 1 to 3, inclusive, and 39 form a composite proposal and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

SECTION 1

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 4, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:

“ “low carbon” means an aggregate reduction in CO2 emissions of at least 80 per cent (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 across the electricity generation, built environment, and transport sectors; and in parallel, an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, including forestry, which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production;”.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 3 were submitted by Sinn Féin and are very similar. They seek to set targets rather than aspirations. We had some lengthy exchanges on Second Stage when I outlined the major flaws in the Bill, one of which is the fact that while the Bill is high on rhetoric and aspiration it is very low on setting targets. That makes a mockery of bringing forward a Bill on climate change because the whole point of doing something on climate change is to put in place targets for actions that will reach a conclusion and deliver something. If we do not do that, there is no incentive to design a plan to bring about meaningful reductions.

It is interesting that other amendments tabled by me and Opposition Members that would embody and set targets within an agreed timeframe have been ruled out of order. That is a matter for the Cathaoirleach, but I find it strange. When discussing the need for this Bill and in its report on what it should contain, the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht set out clearly that the State needed to have targeted reductions in line with the international agreements to which the State had signed up.

I read contributions on this issue in the Dáil even before the Government was elected and in other committees which have discussed the issue and much of what I am saying about the need to set targets and the flaws in the Bill is precisely what both Government parties were saying was necessary to bring about a strategic, overarching but realistic and deliverable climate change plan. The Government seems to have turned all that on its head. Who is really driving this - civil servants, officials in the Department, or is the Government in the driving seat at all on this Bill?

The absence of such targets means that the Bill lacks any real power to ensure meaningful steps will be taken to address the issues involved in bringing about a reduction in CO2 emissions across the main economic sectors. Some groups and special interests lobby strongly against setting targets and that might have been part of the influence. It would be interesting if the Minister of State set out in detail why targets were not set and why a Bill was designed that was high on aspiration but very poor and shallow on tangible targets. That is a fundamental criticism of the Bill supported by many organisations outside the Seanad which have campaigned and lobbied for climate change action for many years. They also believe the Bill falls far short of what is necessary. That is the purpose of the amendments.

I agree with Senator David Cullinane. We want this to happen. It has to be quantified in order that we can measure progress. Senator Ivana Bacik introduced a Bill in 2007 on the environment and the last Government introduced one in 2010. There have been many delays in bringing forward this Bill. We should know what the goal is and whether we are making any progress.

I have spent many hours and days in the dungeon at the banking inquiry. It is necessary to motivate public administration with quantified targets and the progress we are making. Many knew what was going wrong in the Irish banking sector but nobody did anything about it. For example, the St. Patrick’s Day massacre occurred but by 29 September nothing had been done and then the banks came looking for €64 billion. We need to galvanise and motivate environment policy to reach goals.

This issue has become more urgent. President Obama is seriously concerned about climate change. The Irish-Canadian Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has said that financing the decarbonisation of the economy is a major opportunity for long-term investors. We want progress to be quantified to attract investors and become less aspirational. We all share the same aspirations and support the Minister of State in this regard, but let us make it such that we will do it and have something positive to report at the Paris conference at the end of November and early December and show that Ireland has moved on from general philosophising about the way the environment is deteriorating and to quantify it, set targets and galvanise the public agencies into doing something about it. The need in Senator David Cullinane’s amendments is overwhelming. We will have to do this some time. Let us make today the starting point. Even then, many would say it is too late.

We have also tabled a similar amendment under section 3 which is included in this group of amendments. I am a little concerned that we might miss our targets, even as far out as 2050.

Just this week, the European Union published an audit of European countries' fuel needs and Ireland has one of the highest levels of imported fossil fuels, at 89%. In the context of this amendment and the Bill in general, what moves is the Government making to reduce that very high dependence? For example, will wind energy generation, a very controversial issue in this country, make much of an impact? It is welcome that today the Government has allocated €3.5 million to a number of pioneers involved in wave energy projects. There are three Irish companies involved, including one in Galway.

I was a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly sub-committee that prepared a paper on wave energy. I believe at the time the Minister of State was a member of that committee and will be familiar with it. I know that it is a long way down the road. When we were taking evidence, the expert witnesses told us we were at the same stage of wave energy development as the Wright brothers when they were trying to get an aeroplane off the ground for the first time. Therefore, it is at that very pioneering level. That was a bit of a shock to the system and somewhat disappointing because I thought that, with the way technology was moving so fast, we would have reached a much higher level of development. However, that is how matters stand. The Government is obviously committed to developing wave energy. Owing to its location, Ireland seems to have the best possible environment for the development of wave energy projects - primarily off our Atlantic coast which I think is the best in the world.

Amendment No. 2 refers to "an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, including forestry, which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production". It is often stressed that the herd numbers in the country and the high levels of CO2 these animals discharge, through a variety of sources, are adding to the high levels of carbon emissions. While I am not an expert in agriculture, am I correct in stating that, with technology and through the mix of foodstuffs, we are having some success in reducing the levels of carbon emissions from the cattle herd? The Minister of State may have a comment to make on that issue because it is certainly a contributory factor.

Further to Senator Sean D. Barrett's point about the need to achieve the targets proposed by the Government, I seem to recall that the targets we set ourselves for 2005 or 2010 under the Kyoto agreement, way back in the day, were reached primarily because of the rapid decline in economic activity rather than any attempt by the Government at the time to reduce it. Now that economic activity is picking up again, is the Minister of State concerned that this may pose a challenge and the Government's ambitious targets might be compromised to a degree? I appreciate that she cannot wave a magic wand on the issue and that we need to consider the long term. In an international context, Ireland is not the worst offender in this regard. That is why we all welcome the proposals made in the Bill.

I just wanted to raise these points in the context of the amendment. I look forward to the Minister of State's reply.

As Members are aware, the word "target" has come into this debate on a number of occasions and there are many targets. For example, the Europe 2020 strategy contains a European target for cutting emissions at a European level and so forth. I do not believe we should enshrine targets in legislation, which is where we should put provisions that are legally binding. While we can all aspire and targets can be very motivating, at the end of the day we have signed up to a number of international treaties that are binding on the country. This legislation has been a long time coming and welcomed by every organisation in the field. It is good legislation which should not be undermined by defining in legislation things that I do not believe can be enshrined in legislation and which are purely targets.

The proposed amendments seek to include, in some fashion, domestic greenhouse gas mitigation targets in the Bill. Amendments Nos. 1 and 2 seek to include a definition of "low-carbon" which has effectively been borrowed from the Government's national policy position on climate action and low-carbon development, as published in April 2014. It goes without saying that I stand over the vision of low-carbon transition outlined in the national policy position document. Further to an amendment introduced on Report Stage in the Dáil, section 32B contains an explicit reference to the need to have regard to the Government's policy on climate change. However, I do not accept that the content of the national policy position should be replicated in statute. This is because Ireland is already subject to legally binding greenhouse gas mitigation targets up to 2020. Negotiations at EU level are ongoing to agree mitigation targets for all member states up to 2030. This process of target setting is likely to continue up to 2050. Accordingly, putting in place our own statutory mitigation target for 2050 now would be likely to cut across and interfere with the European Union's target-setting process. The result would either be that our target would be below that of the European Union, rendering it redundant, or that it would be above the EU target, indicating that it is not a least-cost option, thereby putting Ireland at a competitive disadvantage with our EU neighbours.

Amendment No. 3 calls for the insertion of a mitigation target for 2050 in order to secure an aggregate reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of at least 80% by 2050. As stated, I am opposed to setting a quantitative target for 2050 separate from that to be set for us as part of an EU target setting process. Moreover, I believe a single economy-wide target for the State is quite inappropriate, giving our unique emissions profile. This profile is characterised by a large agriculture sector where mitigation potential is low.

Amendment No. 39 calls for the inclusion of a target of close to 100% decarbonisation of transport, construction and energy sectors and carbon neutrality in agriculture by 2050. This is a grossly unreasonable expectation in respect of any country. If it were taken seriously, it would decimate the economy and society. Although substantive decarbonisation of approximately 80% may be achievable outside the agriculture sector by 2050, the marginal abatement cost of achieving close to 100% decarbonisation by 2050 would be truly enormous, even assuming it would be technically feasible in the light of the state of low-carbon technologies currently available. Accordingly, I cannot support the amendments and call for their withdrawal.

We certainly will not be withdrawing the amendments. In response to the Minister of State' scripted response, targets are set in many areas. We had to set targets for how much waste could be sent to landfill. That obviously led to greater use of recycling and the reusing of waste. Unfortunately, many of those targets were set by the European Union, not by the State. We were dragged, kicking and screaming to take action on some of those issues. However, targets were set and met. A number of local authorities in the State were brought to court for not reaching them and being in breach of European legislation.

It is not fair to say legislation is not a place in which to set targets. It certainly seems to be the norm in Europe. On issues such as energy and climate change, one of the strengths of the European Union is that it tries to set targets to ensure countries live up to their obligations.

If we do not do so, to what do we aspire and what do we mean by a low carbon economy? At least my party has tried to define it. Fianna Fáil has tabled a similar amendment which I should have acknowledged in my earlier contribution and which Senator Sean D. Barrett supported. The Government has not defined what such an economy means. As a result, it will not matter what happens in five years time because it will claim to have achieved its targets. To claim that reaching at least an 80% reduction by 2050 will destroy the economy is scaremongering of the highest order. I am not sure who wrote the speech, but it probably was civil servants. I disagree with the claim and think it is nonsense.

It is impossible-----

Did the Senator say something?

I ask Senator Denis Landy to please allow Senator David Cullinane to continue.

I am sorry, Acting Chairman.

I am nearly finished, but I responded to the Senator.

I do not accept the Minister of State's weak response. She has not addressed the question of why clear targets have not been set but spoke about the national policy which falls short by far. Ireland has a big problem with climate change, but it is not on its own. I accept that Ireland is not as bad as a lot of other European countries and does a lot better than many others, but globally we are failing. As we have not arrested the problem, the position is deteriorating and it will deteriorate even further, unless we get our act together. Many very powerful senior politicians in other areas seem to take climate change more seriously than this state. It is for these reasons that I shall press the amendments to a vote.

It is the Senator's prerogative to decide whether he should accept my policy statement. I draw his attention to the fact that the first national mitigation plan under the Bill will set out the greenhouse gas mitigation policy measures to be implemented in the following five years. Therefore, it would be premature to itemise them at this stage.

In terms of the mix of mitigation policy measures that will be brought into force in the immediate future, sectoral mitigation inputs from both the energy and agriculture sectors will be included in developing the national mitigation plan. They will address issues related to energy mix and progress in achieving efficiencies in the agriculture sectors. As I said, it is up to the Senator to decide whether he should accept my reply, but I can confirm that I do not accept the amendments.

Amendment put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 22.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • D'Arcy, Jim.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.
Tellers: Tá, Senators David Cullinane and Kathryn Reilly; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.
Section 1 agreed to.
Section 2 agreed to.
SECTION 3

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 5, between lines 24 and 25, to insert the following:

"(1) In pursuit of a low-carbon Ireland by 2050, the Government shall endeavour to secure an aggregate reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2)

emissions of at least 80 per cent (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050 across the electricity generation, built environment and transport

sectors and in parallel, an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, including forestry, which does not

compromise capacity for sustainable food production.".

We cannot hear the Chair. The same happened yesterday - I cannot hear a bloody thing.

We are on amendment No. 2 in the name of Senator Diarmuid Wilson to section 3.

It has already been moved.

That is what I said.

What is the Chair's question?

I put no question. Some Senators have said they cannot hear because of the noise in the Chamber. Will those Senators who have no business in the House and who want to chat please remove themselves from the Chamber?

Amendment put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 25.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Mark.
  • Healy Eames, Fidelma.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D'Arcy, Jim.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moran, Mary.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Whelan, John.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Paschal Mooney and Darragh O'Brien; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 5, between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:

"(a) a target of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050,".

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 5, line 35, to delete "have regard to" and substitute "be consistent with".

The purpose of this amendment is to substitute the words "have regard to" with "be consistent with". In a dispute I could "have regard to" what person X says and then ignore it and decide in favour of person Y. Are the words "have regard to" strong enough in the promotion of the goal we all share? The amendment seeks to ensure consistency with the items listed in the Bill, including paragraph (a), the ultimate objective specified in Article 2 of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change done at New York on 9 May 1992 and any mitigation commitment entered into by the European Union in response or otherwise in relation to that objective; paragraph (b) the policy of the Government on climate change; paragraph (c) climate justice; paragraph (d) any existing obligation of the State under the law of the European Union or any international agreement referred to in section 2, and paragraph (e) the most recent national greenhouse gas emissions inventory and projection of future greenhouse gas emissions, prepared by the agency. It seems that one would have to comply with the obligations in paragraph (d) which refers to the law of the European Union.

I do not have legal training, but are the words "have regard to" strong enough? A person could have regard to something but not doing anything about it. It would be a pity if that were to happen. The view of public administration in this country in the context of the banking inquiry was worrying. It appears that there were a lot of people sitting around doing nothing because the crisis was obvious for some years. There appeared to be lethargy in public agencies in seeking to correct the malpractices of the banks. It is for that reason that I am concerned about the use of the phrase "have regard to". If the Minister of State has advice to the effect that it is as strong as "be consistent with", even having it said in the House would be reassuring for people who are concerned.

This amendment seeks to substitute the phrase "have regard to" with "be consistent with", as provided for in section 3(2) which deals with matters that must be considered when the Government approves a national mitigation plan or national adaptation framework. I appreciate the sentiments behind the Senator's amendment, but as the list of items to be considered in section 3(2) may sometimes compete with one another, it may not always be possible to be fully consistent with them simultaneously when approving either national plan. Accordingly, the phrase "have regard to" is the most appropriate to use in that it requires a balancing of considerations rather than strict compliance with each. I am, therefore, unable to accept the amendment.

I thank the Minister of State for her response. Many people would say we should have strict compliance and prioritise the climate change goals over some other considerations. I will withdraw the amendment, but it is important that we comply with the targets set, lest we are faced with the same crisis in the environment sector as occurred in the banking sector, the hearings on which I attended for many days and months. The phrase "constructive ambiguity" was also used at the banking inquiry. I do not like the use of this phrase in the context of the environment either; I would prefer to use the word "quantification". However, I appreciate what the Minister of State had to say.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 5 and 6 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 6, between lines 4 and 5, to insert the following:

"(d) the principle of climate change justice for developing countries and countries vulnerable to climate change,".

I am sure the Minister of State will agree that while climate change impacts on developed countries, it has a profound impact on developing countries, particularly in food and energy production. There are many issues we could discuss. The objective of the amendment is to ensure climate change justice would feature in the Bill such that it would have legislative backup. As I laboured this point on Second Stage, I do not propose to do so again now, but I would welcome the Minister of State's support for the amendment.

The amendments seek the inclusion of a reference to the principles of climate change justice in section 3(2). I am surprised they have been tabled, given that there is already a reference to climate change justice in section 3(2)(c) following an amendment introduced by the Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, on Report Stage in the Dáil. Accordingly, the proposals appear to be redundant. I, therefore, ask the Senator to withdraw them.

We were seeking the inclusion of the reference in this section also. While I appreciate, as stated by the Minister of State, that the Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, has inserted similar wording in other parts of the Bill, I would still like to press the amendment, although not to a vote.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 6 not moved.
Section 3 agreed to.
SECTION 4

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 6, line 11, to delete "18 months" and substitute "6 months".

Section 4, as drafted, reads:

(1) The Minister shall—

(a) not later than 18 months after the passing of this Act, and

(b) not less than once in every period of 5 years,

make, and submit to the Government for approval, a plan, which shall be known as a national low carbon transition and mitigation plan (in this Act referred to as a “national mitigation plan”).

Why delay further?

During the lifetime of the previous Government the former Minister Mr. Gormley introduced a climate change Bill in 2010 and I am informed that Senator Ivana Bacik introduced one in 2007. This is not exactly something we must invent ourselves. Climate change has been around as a subject of research and public policy for a long time and it is time the officials in the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government speeded up and stopped delaying the process by 18 months. It should be ready to go now. The Paris conference will take place in about five or six weeks time and asking for a further delay of 18 months is unreasonable. Again, the torpor that was manifest in the Department of Finance with regard to banking appears to apply here with regard to environmental matters. That is not good enough.

The proposed amendment seeks to shorten the timeframe for the production of the first national mitigation plan from 18 months after enactment of the Bill to just six months. Again, I appreciate there are voices both inside and outside this House which are concerned about the timeframe for the production of the first national mitigation plan, having regard to our pressing mitigation targets up to 2020. The original timeframe in the Bill was set at 24 months after enactment. However, having regard to concerns in this respect, the Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, introduced an amendment on Report Stage in the Dáil to reduce the timeframe to 18 months. I realise a timeframe of 18 months may not be short enough for some. Nonetheless, I consider it is the bare minimum necessary to allow robust mitigation policy measures to be developed and then made subject to strategic environmental assessment and appropriate assessment pursuant to European Union directives, as well as to statutory public consultation procedures. As all Members sometimes are pilloried for not consulting sufficiently, the 18-month timeframe is the minimum. Accordingly, I cannot accept the amendment and, again, call for its withdrawal.

In 2010 Mr. Gormley, in his carbon Budget Statement, stated his Bill would provide "a strong legislative framework [to support the] transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable [economy]." Consequently, there are papers in the Custom House that presumably have been gathering dust for the past five years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2014 left us in no doubt about the precise nature of the challenge. It concluded the evidence of climate change was unequivocal and showed how man-made emissions of greenhouse gases were driving climate change. Consequently, I will press the amendment, albeit not to a division. However, I will try to get across the message from the Parliament to the permanent government that it should get a move on and stop delaying tactics in matters to do with climate change.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 8 is in the name of Senator Sean D. Barrett.

It is probably redundant at this stage, as the Minister of State has replied on the issue of quantification. While I remain a supporter of quantification, there is no point in going through the same debate twice. That is what I was seeking to do and, consequently, with the permission of the Chair, I will not move amendment No. 8

Amendment No. 8 not moved.

I move amendment No. 9:

In page 7, line 39, to delete “to have regard to” and substitute “comply”.

Section 4(7)(a) refers to the need to have regard to existing obligations "under the law of the European Union". I believe we should comply with our existing obligations under the law of the European Union and that is why I tabled the amendment. While I do not wish to call a division on the amendment, I wish to put it to the House that Ireland should comply with the law of the European Union and not have the phrase, "to have regard to", which is not strong enough, particularly when one is dealing with the law.

This is similar to previous amendments. The proposed amendment seeks to replace the phrase "have regard to" with the word "comply" in section 4(7) which deals with matters that must be considered by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Government when performing their functions under section 4. There necessarily are competing considerations when developing and approving a national mitigation plan, all of which cannot be complied with fully at the same time. Accordingly, I believe the phrase "have regard to" constitutes the correct approach which requires a balancing of considerations. Therefore, I cannot accept the amendment and, again, call for its withdrawal.

I, again, thank the Minister of State. If a Member of this House is stopped by a member of An Garda Síochána, he or she is required to comply with speed limits, not just to state he or she had regard to them, saw the sign but just kept on going. A culture of compliance is needed in this area. As I stated, probably prematurely the last time, I will not seek a division on the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 10:

In page 8, line 11, after “measures” to insert “, including the management of soil carbon and the protection and re-wetting of wetlands,”.

The proposed amendment calls for the inclusion of a reference to the management of soil carbon and the protection and re-wetting of wetlands when the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Government perform their functions under section 4. In the first instance, I fully accept that both the management of soil carbon and the protection and re-wetting of wetlands are proven means of maintaining and developing carbon sinks, which are an important option in reducing our overall carbon footprint as a state. As such, these activities fall under the heading of mitigation policy measures. The Bill does not make reference to any particular mitigation policy measure for good reason in that the nature and extent of such measures will change over time and up to 2050, as successive mitigation measures take effect. For this reason, I do not consider it appropriate to single out these particular mitigation policy measures for inclusion in the Bill. Rather, they more properly belong to the content of the iterative national mitigation plans where specific soil carbon and wetland management measures can be specified. For this reason, I cannot accept the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 11:

In page 9, line 1, to delete “laid before Dáil Éireann” and substitute “adopted by resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas”.

I seek to amend section 4(10) which states, "A national mitigation plan shall be laid before Dáil Éireann as soon as may be after it is approved by the Government". As I wish to involve the Seanad, I have proposed the substitution of "both Houses of the Oireachtas". The Seanad has a proud record in this session in terms of the acceptance of amendments and only this morning the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs accepted amendments tabled by Senator Jillian van Turnhout and received a round of applause. This could happen in this area in the future and that is the aspiration. The Seanad has a strong record dating back to the 1920s in being interested in environmental matters and it should be involved in this provision. I do not know whether this was an oversight or whether somebody thought the referendum to abolish this House had been passed, but the Seanad is still playing a notable role in environmental matters. This should be recognised in the Bill.

I agree with the remarks of the previous speaker. I have made reference a number of times to the all-party consensus which appeared to be evident at the environment committee, which is good and positive. On the subject of political reform in the future, I have no doubt that it will again be a topic of conversation for a while, for whatever Government takes office after the next general election, until we all settle into the old ways of doing business.

However, it strikes me that a good way of drafting legislation would be to draw from the reports of committees where there was all-party consensus. If we had done that on this issue, this legislation would be different. I agree with Senator Sean D. Barrett that both the Seanad and the Dáil should sign off on these plans. They should not be simply presented to, or laid before, us. As they are so profound, it is important that we have a proper debate and discuss them. The Oireachtas, the people elected by the people, should be signing off on them. It seemed on Committee Stage that this had all-party consensus but that seems to have dropped away in the meantime, which is a source of regret. I, therefore, support the amendment.

I do not disagree with my colleagues on the other side of the House on this issue. I do not see what harm there would be in laying the plans before the Houses of the Oireachtas, if for no other reason than to keep the issue on the agenda. Senator Sean D. Barrett is quite right when he speaks about the proud history of this House on environmental issues. In particular, we think of the late former Senator Éamon de Buitléar, for example. Other Senators appointed by previous Taoisigh definitely brought an environmental aspect to the House. Current colleagues to do so include Senators Fiach Mac Conghail and Jillian van Turnhout who tabled amendments on another Bill which were accepted this morning. There is a logic to the amendment and I am interested to know why the Minister of State will not agree to the proposal. Too much is laid in the Library of the Houses of the Oireachtas. It should come to this House, if only for noting, perhaps even without debate. There would be a value in it.

We now have pre-legislative scrutiny in Oireachtas committees. This morning the pre-legislative process on the criminal justice (sexual offences) Bill took place at the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality where eight or nine bodies gave their views. I have no doubt that the committee will be influenced by some of the material identified during the course of that process. In other jurisdictions such as Germany this happens all the time. It moves from an Executive-led politics to, at least, coexistence between the Executive and the Parliament. We see the role of the Commission in terms of the European Parliament and the ever-increasing number of checks and balances in the past couple of treaties. There is consensus across the political divide on this issue.

I am filling in today for Senator Cáit Keane, our spokesperson on the environment, who is not in a position to attend. I know that this is an issue that has been brought to her attention by people interested in it. I am interested in hearing why we do not want this to occur and what are the objections.

The proposed amendment calls for the national mitigation plan to be adopted by resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas rather than simply laid before Dáil Éireann after its approval by the Government. I strongly take issue with this proposal as the Government, rightly, should be the sole, approving authority and be held accountable for its approved national mitigation plan. Requiring approval by the Oireachtas as a whole undercuts the role of the Government to the detriment of accountability. It also exposes the adoption of the critically important integrative national mitigation plans to the vagaries of those who may wish to play politics. Surely no one would consider this a desirable outcome. I, therefore, will not be accepting the amendment.

I am flabbergasted by the Minister of State's response, a copy of which should be given to every citizen of the State if that is what the Minister of State believes. She believes only the Government should make decisions, not the Oireachtas. This includes the Minister of State's party colleagues on the back benches. She is saying the Cabinet should make decisions and the Oireachtas does not have any role, that we are not clever enough and that we should not have the ability to hold the Government to account. That is what the Oireachtas is there to do.

The Minister of State's comments are seriously outrageous and I take grave exception to them. I do not know from where they have come, but it is an absolutely outrageous response to what is a reasonable amendment. It shows the disrespect some Ministers have for the Oireachtas and elected representatives and demonstrates that sense of hierarchy that the Government and the Cabinet should make all the decisions and everything should be signed off on by them. So much for the democratic revolution about which the Taoiseach spoke if that is the response of the Minister of State. I cannot not let it go. It is one of the most bizarre and outrageous responses to an amendment I have heard from any Minister in this House.

I echo the observations of Senator David Cullinane. We have a parliamentary democracy and citizens have serious concerns about what is happening to the environment, but we have a serious non-response from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government which does not want to be called to account. I am so proud to be a Member of this Oireachtas. We will leave office shortly and have an election and while we stanched the flow of money out of the banking system, for which huge credit is due to the Government, we have not reformed the permanent government. It will make the same mistakes again in banking and finance and the answer we have just received illustrates how arrogant it has become towards the elected representatives of this Parliament. It will be a task for the next Government to sort it out. This is showing blatant disregard for Senators elected to this House to represent our constituents. We are concerned about something which we know has been sitting in the Department since 2010, but the Department is looking to delay it further. The Department does not want to be responsible to the Oireachtas, which is a shameful approach for any public servant to take towards democracy in this country.

I totally agree with Senators David Cullinane and Sean D. Barrett. The comment the Minister of State read out is outrageous and I do not believe the Minister of State believes it herself. It is something that has been handed to her. I hope she, as a democratically elected Member of the Oireachtas, does not believe it. This House is an important part of the Oireachtas. To say the Government would be afraid this House would play politics with the issue is totally unacceptable. I cannot believe the Minister of State read out that reply in this House. Senator Sean D. Barrett's amendment that the plans would be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas, not just the Dáil, is reasonable.

We are all given to understand that the Cabinet has been reduced to a sub-committee comprising the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. It is quite obvious from the Minister of State's response to the amendment that the Government wants to reduce this House and the Dáil to nothing but talking shops. As a democratically elected member of this part of the Oireachtas, I will not accept that. I urge the Minister of State to rethink what she said in this very proud part of the Oireachtas and to evaluate its consequences.

We can all get caught up in the language used and while I would be in unison with my colleagues, I would not express outrage at the Minister of State. Unfortunately, Ministers are regularly handed scripts. If Ministers had the time to analyse their content, which they do not, the language would probably be quite different.

It is a political issue, but it certainly is not a political football. This House can be proud that when it comes to important issues, we deal with and have robust debates on them, but we certainly do not turn political issues into political footballs.

Amendment put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 23.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Crown, John.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Heffernan, James.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • Mullen, Rónán.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D'Arcy, Jim.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • Sheahan, Tom.
  • Whelan, John.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Sean D. Barrett and Diarmuid Wilson; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.
Section 4 agreed to.
SECTION 5

I move amendment No. 12:

In page 9, line 13, to delete "24 months" and substitute "6 months".

The purpose this amendment is to substitute the timeframe of "6 months" for "24 months". The 24 month timeframe refers to the time that can be taken from the passing of the Bill for the submission to Government of a plan to be known as the national climate change adaptation framework. The question that arises in this respect, as arose in respect of section 4 where the delay involved was 18 months, is why would we not do this now. There is such consensus, concern and an urgency about the environment that further delays do not seem to make any sense. We have known about this problem. There are papers prepared in the Department, as well as plenty of research. We have Nicholas Stern's report and his latest book is entitled, Why Are We Waiting? He is a noted environmentalist of the highest standing and international repute. The purpose of my amendment is to ensure we do this and not delay doing so for another 24 months.

I support the amendment. We can have all the documents and legislation in the world, but we cannot achieve much if we are not serious about tackling climate change and enacting climate change legislation. That is the problem I have with the Bill. I like its spirit, but if proper targets are not written into the legislation, there is no incentive to fulfil the obligations contained in it. The biggest challenge facing the human race is climate change. Every country has to play its part. Sitting on our hands and leaving this adaptation framework gather dust for longer than it should is not good enough. It is a reasonable request that the timeframe of 24 months be reduced to six months and I fully support it.

The proposed amendment seeks to shorten the timeframe for the production of the first statutory national adaptation framework from 24 months after enactment of the Bill to just six months following its enactment. As with the national mitigation plan, I understand the motivation behind the proposed amendment. However, the national adaptation framework will be a very complex document which will prescribe the sectors for which sectoral adaptation plans must be developed. Therefore, considerable preparatory work will be required. The draft framework will be subject to statutory public consultation procedures and, as a consequence, I believe 24 months is the correct timeframe to be allowed for its development. I also note that 24 months is the maximum period. If it were possible to do it sooner, it would be done. Accordingly, I cannot accept the amendment and call for its withdrawal.

I note that page 2 of a recent document entitled, Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers, states:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and the ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow [...] have diminished, and [the] sea level has risen.

It should not come as any surprise to the Department that we want action on this issue. I will press the amendment, but I will not call for a vote on it.

Does Senator Denis Landy wish to speak to the amendment?

Yes. I indicated that I wanted to do so before Senator Sean D. Barrett indicated. I, too, expressed concern about this issue on Second Stage. I listened to the Minister of State's response. This matter has been examined by the Department and we have received a response from it in the form of the reply the Minister of State has given to us. I am hopeful the timeframe involved will not be 24 months. When I raised this issue on Second Stage, the Minister of State, Deputy Gerald Nash, was taking the Bill and he stressed that it was the outside timeframe. I completely accept what both Senators on the other side of the House have said, that we cannot continue to sit on our hands and allow these matters to go on in the way they are. There must be an urgency about this matter. If we get a further indication from the Minister of State that 24 months is the outside timeframe and that we will endeavour to expedite what is provided for in the section as quickly as possible, it will provide some comfort that a period of 24 months may not be required. That will certainly make me happy, although I will not speak for Members on the other side of the House. While I note the amendment is being pressed but not being pushed to a vote, the Minister of State might respond further on this point as it is an important one.

The Minister of State may do so, if she so wishes.

It is important to point out and reiterate that the national adaptation framework will be a complex document that will prescribe the sectors for which sectoral adaptation plans must be developed.

It is also to draw the Senator's attention to the fact that the draft framework will be subject to statutory public consultation procedures and they in themselves have to be adhered to. I note that if it is possible to do so sooner it will be done. I sense the sense of urgency and nobody wants to delay anything any longer than necessary but statutory public consultation procedures have to be adhered to.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Amendment No. 13 is in the name of Senator Sean D. Barrett. Does he wish to move it?

No. We have discussed the role of the Oireachtas. I disagree with what the Minister of State said the last time, but I do not require her to say it repeatedly. Both Houses should be involved, but we have already had that discussion.

Amendment No. 13 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 14 and 15 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 14:

In page 10, line 11, to delete “Dáil Éireann” and substitute “both Houses of the Oireachtas”.

It is the same principle. I believe the Oireachtas should be involved. As we have had the debate and a vote on it, I do not wish to press the two amendments.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 5 agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 not moved.
Section 6 agreed to.
SECTION 7

I move amendment No. 17:

In page 12, line 6, after “relevant” to insert “published”.

The subsection refers to "relevant scientific or technical advice". It is under the heading to the section which reads, "Matters of which account is to be taken, and consultation, for the purposes of sections 5 and 6." It is a matter that, as I said, has wide implications for public administration. We spent many months at the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis and there was evidence that there had been a lot of verbal advice and no records - there seemed to be a tradition of not writing things down. Many of the written records seem to have disappeared. Saying, "I said something to the Minister in a corridor and that was the advice," was a feature of the banking inquiry, I regret to say. We have to take this on board. That is why I want to have published written advice which could be examined by the Comptroller and Auditor General or committees of the Oireachtas. The word in the ear, in the tradition of public administration, has served us very badly, to the tune of having to give banks €64 billion. There has to be a signal that this is the end of it. I want the advice to be subject to scrutiny, written down and available for surveillance by both Houses of the Oireachtas. It is the "Whatever you say, say nothing" approach to policy in Ireland that I am putting under pressure with the amendment. I do not want to have it on a basis of constructive ambiguity but on a firm basis on which we can judge whether the advice was worthwhile and would know who gave it and who takes responsibility for it. We have not been doing this very much in administration.

The proposed amendment seeks to insert the word "published" before the phrase "scientific or technical advice" as one item that must be considered. When the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Government perform their functions in respect of national adaptation frameworks and sectoral adaptation plans, I appreciate that publication is a necessary element of the peer review process of academic articles. However, the phrase "scientific or technical advice" is a somewhat broader concept and includes valuable learning which may not be in the form or yet in the form of published academic articles. It would be restrictive to limit relevant scientific or technical advice only to published articles, not least because the climate change advisory council might proffer such advice to the Minister or the Government outside the concept of formal peer review. This does not necessarily limit its value. Therefore, I cannot accept the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 18:

In page 12, line 15, to delete “may” and substitute “shall”.

The Government "may" consult the advisory council. This is a kind of "shrug your shoulders" concept. What is the point in having an advisory council if the Government will not consult it? That is what it is there for. A view has been expressed in this debate that policy making involves a few people on the inside who do not really have to write anything down - it is a case of "a word in your ear" and so on. In this case, they have discretion as to whether they should listen to the advisory council. These are complicated issues. I have always found that the more ideas there are the better. To give the Government power to have an advisory committee and ignore it is bizarre. It is not open democracy, reform of public administration or participation in the world of ideas, which, as J. M. Keynes said, are far more powerful, whether for good or ill, than vested interests. Why does the Government not want to consult its own advisory council and why does it want the discretion to ignore it? It seems to be a particularly strange way to set up an advisory council. I hope there will be eminent people on it and that we will always be interested in what they have to say and that they will be addressing committees in the Oireachtas and talking to Deputies and Senators. Protecting the environment is the responsibility of all of us. I would like to see a more participatory and less restricted, traditional view, as reflected in the section, as it stands.

I cannot see any reason this amendment should not be accepted by the Minister of State. It seems reasonable that an advisory council being set up by the Government should be consulted. That is what the setting up an advisory council should be about. Section 7(2)(b) provides that the Minister shall consult but the Government does not have to. I do not see where that will get us. I have certain issues with some of the members that will be on the board of the advisory council and appointments to positions in the Environmental Protection Agency. I do not like what this may lead to. It may lead to a clandestine, "behind closed doors" scenario where vested interests will have a greater influence in this sector than people who are concerned about the environment. A lot of people involved are the polluters the legislation is trying to control and they are very influential. They make a lot of money. Before decisions are made, the advisory council, even though it may not be perfect in its constitution, should be consulted if it is supposed to be an advisory council to the Government and not just overlooked.

The amendment proposed by Senator Sean D. Barrett makes eminent sense. Including the word "shall" as opposed to "may" should not a big issue if there is an advisory council in place with the necessary expertise, even if it may vary in opinion.

It is an advisory council and it is there because its members have certain expertise. One cannot help but think that a situation such as this is similar to the sub-committee of the boxing association not putting Mr. Billy Walsh's contract to the board. One has to rely on the expertisem available. Again, the council might not always agree, but I cannot see why a matter could not be referred to it. That said, to be fair to the Minister of State, she may have a perfectly logical explanation for this. As it stands, however, I have to agree with the sentiments of Senators James Heffernan and Sean D. Barrett.

It is worth pointing out that the climate change advisory council is an independent body. The proposed amendment would make it mandatory, rather than optional, for the Government to consult the council when performing its functions with respect to national adaptation frameworks or sectoral adaptation plans. Nobody is going to overlook the council.

By way of background, the climate change advisory council will publish its own annual and periodic review reports and their content will be available to the Government. Moreover, the Government's primary role in respect of national adaptation frameworks and sectoral adaptation plans is one of giving approval. This is an executive function and I do not believe it is appropriate to require the Government to consult anyone or anything else in such executive decision-making. Therefore, I will not be accepting the amendment.

We were assured this body would have parity with the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, with which the Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, quite happily consults. There is dialogue between them, but it does not diminish the very high standing of the Minister in the Oireachtas or the country. That is why we have advisory bodies. The dialogue could be creative and, obviously, the Minister finds that to be the case. I thought it was accepted that the climate change advisory council would have parity of esteem with and the same standing as the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council, with which the relationship works perfectly well.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 7 agreed to.

I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that the debate be adjourned at 5.10 p.m. rather than 5 p.m.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Section 8 agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 19, 21 and 22 form a composite proposal and may be discussed together, by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

SECTION 9

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 12, to delete lines 30 to 35.

I propose to delete the references to the first four members of the advisory council. We must have independence of thought and action. People within the broad bureaucracy seem to act in union. That was a feature of the banking crisis, where they called those who disagreed with them the contrarians and marginalised them. That consensus can be extremely dangerous. The first member of the advisory council is the director general of the EPA. The advisory council may wish to make reflections, good, bad or indifferent, on the EPA. Sustainable Energy Ireland may also have widely differing views on energy policy, given that we regularly have widely differing views on the issue in this House and some of the most stimulating debates we have are on various energy factors. In both cases, why do the insiders automatically have seats on the advisory council? The position is more serious in the case of Teagasc, an agricultural development agency charged with the task of promoting agriculture, which is a major source of pollution. Therefore, that body is compromised. The last body mentioned is the ESRI and the evidence Professor John FitzGerald gave to the banking inquiry illustrates my point. When the Department of Finance did not like what the ESRI was doing, somebody rang to complain and that person was code-named "Nervous Nellie".

The quangos in this case must be independent of the centre and there is no evidence that they are. They are subject to group-think. I would prefer to have genuinely independent people from bodies such as the Royal Irish Academy and the environmental science departments in the universities and not to have four positions reserved for people from the bureaucracy. We may have to correct the bureaucracy to solve the problems of climate change. We need the international expertise of the scientific community and not to confine it to those who are already public sector insiders, some of whom may have conflicts of interest and some of whom are already under the thumb of their parent Departments and have a record of not thinking and certainly not speaking independently. That would be an extremely damaging precedent to set.

The make-up and membership of the advisory council are the main flaws in this legislation. This flies in the face of what the Bill is trying to achieve. There will be an advisory council that basically will be hand-picked by the Government of the day or people who have been appointed to various other bodies by the Government of the day. We will end up with a lot of company men and yes-men who will certainly nod and go along with the words, "Yes, Sir, No, sir, three bags full, Sir". They are in the know and, if one likes, the golden circle. For example, the director general of the EPA comes from a background of representing the incineration industry. She has no qualms about her personal position that she does not see the role of the EPA as protecting the environment, as seen in her statement that she does not see the EPA rushing out to prosecute known polluters. Sustainable Energy Ireland has not exactly covered itself in glory in this area either, having a lot of connections with and conflicts of interest with the wind energy industry lobby organisation. In the case of Teagasc, as Senator Sean D. Barrett pointed out, the agriculture sector is not taking protection of the environment seriously. In addition, the director of the ESRI is going to be looking out for big business.

My problem concerns the communities where known polluters operate, given that potentially they will receive licences in the future. They are being protected and the Bill will move towards protecting them further into the future. If the Government is serious about dealing with climate change and having advisory groups and bodies, having company men and yes-men is not the way to go. We need proper, scientific, evidence-based research that is the most up-to-date on climate change and emissions. We need people who are not there to protect big industry but who have the protection of human and animal health and the environment at their core.

Having these vested interests on the advisory council by way of legislation is the most fundamental flaw in the Bill. It does not inspire confidence in me or the communities with which I have been dealing which have been fighting battles against known polluters in Limerick, especially in the Shannon Estuary area. I support Senator Sean D. Barrett's amendment, as I believe the Minister of State should do.

The proposed amendments call for the complete removal of ex officio members from the climate change advisory council. The council has 11 members and is chaired by Professor John FitzGerald. There is international expertise in Professor Ottmar Edenhofer who has been the chairperson of IPCC working group III. There are five other members who bring a wealth of experience to the group. I am concerned that calling for their removal would rob the advisory council of valuable insights into the realities and practicalities of policy implementation in Ireland. The point about the practicalities is very important. We have renowned international expertise on the panel. We are all in favour of robust mitigation policy measures being developed and implemented in a timely fashion. The role of the advisory council is to provide advice in this regard. It would be strange if the council did not have at its disposal, as full members, experts in policy implementation. The four relevant organisations, the EPA, SEAI, Teagasc and the ESRI, all have great expertise in policy implementation. They also have a wealth of talent and infrastructure behind them to lend assistance to the council when and if required, particularly where relevant research is concerned. Forgoing this support around the main table would do a disservice to the requirements and demands of the low-carbon transition agenda. Moreover, the advisory council has already been established on a non-statutory basis and is already working on its various tasks. Changing its composition now would be problematic and impractical. Accordingly, I cannot accept the amendments.

I am disappointed because I have seen how the EPA operates. It granted a licence to Aughinish Alumina, a known polluter in my area. People's livelihoods have been destroyed. I have seen evidence of questionable practice where people's health has been put severely at risk by that polluter in that area. The Environmental Protection Agency gave it a licence requiring a bond in case of a major catastrophe involving its waste ponds. That section of the licence agreement was subsequently deleted and a licence without any bond was granted. I do not trust the EPA or its director general. I do not have any faith in what the EPA does, while it is still protected by legislative immunity which the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has failed to tackle on a number of occasions.

The Minister now plans to appoint somebody who was appointed from the incineration industry to the advisory body that is supposed to protect people from emissions. It does not stack up and it is wrong that these yes-men, company-men and insiders who have been operating very questionable practices under the Department's watch will now be on an advisory council that tells us what is best for the environment when they have clearly failed communities throughout the country in their obligations in terms of what is good for the environment.

I have made the Minister of State aware of another potential issue coming down the tracks which the Department needs to take seriously. I refer to the proposed gasification unit in my constituency. It will cause serious trouble for the Department, as it is locally already. The Department has been warned of this, but it has failed to take action. I do not trust any of those CEOs or directors general as having better knowledge than people at the coalface or those scientists with publications whom Senator Sean D. Barrett mentioned. Having insiders, yes-men and company-men on the advisory council undermines the advice that will be given to the Government. I am dismayed and we will press the amendment to a vote. The ultimate failure of the legislation is having insiders again calling the shots.

Amendment put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 13; Níl, 24.

  • Barrett, Sean D.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Heffernan, James.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • O'Brien, Mary Ann.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
  • Reilly, Kathryn.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Brennan, Terry.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Comiskey, Michael.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Cummins, Maurice.
  • D'Arcy, Jim.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Gilroy, John.
  • Hayden, Aideen.
  • Henry, Imelda.
  • Higgins, Lorraine.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Landy, Denis.
  • Moloney, Marie.
  • Mulcahy, Tony.
  • Mullins, Michael.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noone, Catherine.
  • O'Donnell, Marie-Louise.
  • O'Keeffe, Susan.
  • O'Neill, Pat.
  • van Turnhout, Jillian.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Sean D. Barrett and James Heffernan; Níl, Senators Paul Coghlan and Aideen Hayden.
Amendment declared lost.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.