Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016: Committee Stage (Resumed)

NEW SECTIONS
Debate resumed on amendment No. 42:
In page 53, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:
“Exemption from fees for submissions and observations by councillors on planning applications
24. Section 246 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 is amended by inserting the following new subsection after subsection (1):
“(1A) Regulations under subsection (1) shall not apply to the making of a submission or observation to a planning authority, respecting an application for permission referred to in paragraph (a) of that subsection, where the person by whom the submission or observation is made is an elected member of the planning authority concerned.”.”.
- (Senator Kevin Humphreys)

I will try to keep this as tight as possible. There has been a lot of discussion on the amendment. The essence of this amendment is to give the elected members a zero rating in that they would pay no charge for making an observation or submission on planning applications. Not all submissions are negative, but sometimes people associate them with objections. I have written in favour of applications and set out clearly the benefits. Councillors are at the coalface in communities and all of them want to see inward investment in their area. That is important. As part of the Mahon tribunal deliberations it was clearly said that we need an open and transparent planning process. We do not want a situation where councillors find they have to be in back rooms talking to officials. That is not appropriate or right. I do not suggest it happens now but it happened in the past. We want an open and transparent system where councillors can go on the record in their council chambers and discuss planning applications. It is an absurdity to think that elected members of councils have to pay a fee to make a submission.

I speak from personal experience. I constantly had to dip my hand in my pocket and pay. That is not on. I know councillors from other parties do it. It is not because I came under any pressure to do so, but I felt it was important to make a submission. I made one only last week in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and I paid my €20. I put at the very end of it that I was doing this because I had to have some sort of standing in the event that I would wish to appeal the decision and would then have to go to the board. I do not think it is right and proper that councillors should have to pay the fee. I would like to hear the considered view of the Minister of State. I know he is very sympathetic and supportive of it.

It had been my view that the measure should be embedded in the primary legislation. I did not want it to be done by regulation because I did not want the situation changing or being watered down due to a change in personnel. At the time, I emphasised that I thought it was important to specify the inclusion of local electoral areas, LEAs, as there was a direct link. I accept that some people do not necessarily agree with that but I saw a direct link between the right to be able to make a submission on a planning application and a councillor who had a clear mandate from the community to represent it. It might be more helpful for me to hear what the Minister of State has to say because I know he has reflected on it since we were last in the Chamber. He has had discussions with his officials to which I am not privy, as is right and proper, so I would like to hear what he will come up with before we proceed.

I remind Members that we are discussing amendments Nos. 42 and 43 together.

The issue of public representatives having the right to make a submission is an important one. The word "submission" is important. It is not an objection. The person could be in support of the planning application or he or she could think it needs to be amended or, in some cases, that there should be a dramatic change to the planning permission. That core function is very important for public representatives, whether one is a Deputy, Senator or councillor, and it is something we need to promote. Councillors feel under pressure in some regards to make a submission. That is one thing of which we should be aware. The other important point is that the financial implications of making submissions are quite onerous on a member of a local authority in particular if one is charged €20 every time one makes an observation on a planning application. That is one issue we must examine.

I raised the issue with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, and the Minister of State, Deputy English, and there is scope for something to be done for councillors and public representatives so that, when they want to use their democratic mandate, they will have the opportunity to do so without it impinging on them financially. It is one of those issues we need to examine, but there are two aspects to it. I do not want a situation to arise where councillors feel obligated to make a submission because the fee is gone. The other side of the coin is those who want to make a submission. I have made many submissions in my day that such people should not be penalised financially for so doing. This is one of the issues we must examine. I am broadly in support of the amendment because, on average, most councillors want to use that power but it does not make sense for them financially to do so.

I was approached by Senator Boyhan to countersign amendment No. 43. Based on his experience as a councillor and the argument he put to me, it would be a shame if there were to be a barrier preventing councillors from having an opportunity to lodge a submission on behalf of their constituents.

I speak to amendment No. 43, which is similar to amendment No. 42 that was tabled by my Labour Party colleagues. It aims to correct the Government's attempt to impose a cost on every single representative observation made by councillors in their core work of representing their constituents. The cost proposed would make representations by councillors on behalf of the people they are elected to represent prohibitively expensive.

The organisation of such representations through councillors is of benefit to all involved. It means that elected representatives hear the views of their constituents, provide some coherence to the submissions made, and organise the submissions for those receiving them in the local authority. It could serve to increase the awareness of councillors on local issues and improve their ability to represent their areas.

What comes to mind is the very active councillor who has great expertise in the area. In my area of Waterford, which has 32 council representatives, some of them have been there for years and they have developed great expertise. I would hate to think that because one councillor had that expertise and experience, he or she would be at a financial loss due to supporting their constituents and their active participation in the process. This modest amendment covers only representations made in regard to a councillor's local electoral area, not the entire area of the local authority. We were conscious of tabling an amendment that would not add to the already serious amount of work councillors have to do.

I am a little surprised that such an amendment is necessary. The Government has said that it will take care of this by ministerial order. I believe there is no need because we are about to take care of it quickly and easily, and certainly with a vote on this amendment. I look forward to hearing what the Minister of State has to say but this is an area about which we feel very strongly. Hopefully my co-signer Senator Victor Boyhan and I will receive satisfaction from the Minister of State. If this is not the case we will probably move it to a vote. I will, however, let Senator Boyhan have the honour of calling that.

Fianna Fáil will support this amendment today. Like previous speakers, I also was a councillor. I am aware that councillors are always asked to make submissions or observations on planning applications. It is all about transparency. This is a really good amendment and we in Fianna Fáil will support it.

I welcome the debate on the amendments. It is very important. There is certainly no doubt that the zero rating is important. I do not believe it should be done by regulation; it should be done by primary legislation because Ministers, and viewpoints, can change.

As a councillor I was involved in many development plans. Councillors need to show leadership in this regard and not follow. I drove the issues of height and density in the Dublin city development plan, from Clarehall to Ballyfermot to Ballymun. As a councillor, I felt ownership of the development plan. This is where I disagree with amendment No. 43. Its context is of a local electoral area but councillors see themselves as councillors for their county and city. This is how they view it and they want to act in a sense of leadership. When they sit down to work out the strategic development plan for a city councillors want to uphold the plan itself. It is not just about how it will affect me in Ringsend or Sandymount, but also about how the plan affects the development of Ballymun, Cabra or Ballyfermot.

When there were controversial planning permissions, there was many a Sunday I came across councillors out walking the relevant ground. They were not representatives in the area but they went out and walked the ground because a vote was coming up in the council chamber on the development plan and they wanted to clearly understand the proposal. I have seen many councillors defending the decisions they made in their strategic responsibilities in the context of the development plan by making submissions to Dublin City Council to protect the very development plan they worked on, as a reserve function, hand in glove with the officials. It is important that councillors should have the power without an additional cost to defend the decisions they have made in relation to the development plan. This is a key necessity in a democracy.

If I make a decision as a councillor, I have the right to defend the decision in an observation or a submission at the planning application level and at An Bord Pleanála level; if I am not to be counted for at the planning application stage, then I cannot take it to An Bord Pleanála. An oral hearing was held at An Bord Pleanála two weeks ago on the strategic development zone, SDZ, in Poolbeg west. I saw many local councillors, and not so local councillors, queuing up to pay the €50 fee so they could make an oral submission. They felt very aggrieved that on 18 May last year they sat and developed the strategic development zone, which then appears to become undermined at An Bord Pleanála level. These councillors want to be proactive and attend the hearing, but they had to pay €50 to make the submission to defend the decision they had made in the council chamber. This happened because the receiver was appealing the SDZ and was going for higher density and a reduction in social and affordable housing. The councillors felt very aggrieved. They spent the money on the fees and I believe An Bord Pleanála picked up some €250 over two days from councillors and Deputies in this regard.

I feel very strongly about this matter. I disagree with my two colleagues because I do not believe it is just a local issue. A development plan is in the ownership of the council that passes it, which is every single councillor who is involved. Senator Boyhan is correct that although councillors can be against a development, there are many times when a councillor makes an observation or a submission in support of a development because they see it as a key element for developing the city or the county. They must be free to do this without an additional cost. This applies especially to the circular letter from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government that said live planning permissions cannot be discussed at council or area committee level. This nearly drives councillors to be behind the door in trying to protect the development plans, in which the councillors have a reserve function in passing at council level. That circular is a retrograde step in forcing that discussion out of the council chamber. It had been open and transparent. Councillors discussed these plans in an open forum with most of these debates broadcast live with webcams onto the Internet. The debate was on the record and this is now gone from the record. Councillors do not have that avenue.

I believe the Minister of State will say that he will deal with this matter by regulation, but at this stage I will put the amendment that is in my name to a vote because it strengthens local democracy.

Can the Minister make an order on whether these amendments are necessary and, if this is the case, will the Minister consider making such an order? These are really interesting, creative and positive initiatives. We hear about all the work carried out by councillors with their grasp of local community issues and their expertise and interest. I support the intentions of both amendments, but personally I would be more inclined to see such a privilege given to local councillors in their local electoral areas. While taking into account the recognition of the role of councillors, it is a privilege and therefore I would be more inclined to support amendment No. 43.

Aside from this matter, councillors are stretched to the limit in the work they do and financially. One of the positive knock-on effects of this idea, to which Senator Humphreys referred, is an increase in the number of submissions and observations that are positive about planning applications. This process is not just about negative responses. The amendments recognise that submissions and observations are a key part of the work done by councillors, and this should be encouraged. The transparency of public submissions is also important. The best planning has a political input that is transparent and will be on the public record. This is consistent with Sinn Féin's calls for transparency in this legislation.

I wish to be clear so there is no ambiguity about my appeal to the Minister of State. I am aware that the Minister of State is supportive, and I know that the officials are supportive. The Minister of State has indicated that he may do this through regulation. We are not that far apart. I have lobbied strongly, as have the Independent Senators and Senators from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. We have not been idle in the past few days. I am confident we will succeed in a vote here today. I do not want to divide the House but I will if it is necessary. This is the Minister of State's call, not mine. I am absolutely confident that we will succeed if we call a vote now on amendment No. 43. I believe it is important. I would not like to see a group of Fine Gael councillors or Senators left out because I believe that they too are committed. The Minister of State will know this from his own contacts in local government.

I want to see this measure in primary legislation. I have been advised that there is nothing to prevent the Minister of State from agreeing to allow this to be in primary legislation. It is important. I am happy to support the two amendments but I believe that amendment No. 43, which is in my name and Senator Grace O'Sullivan's name, is very reasonable. It is not what we had initially thought - we were going to go a bit further - but we thought this amendment was reasonable having discussed it with the Minister of State, his officials, county managers and councillors. It is also in light of the letter sent by the Minister of State's officials to the councils about councillors not discussing planning applications. I have no difficulty with that but in some councils they never discussed planning applications. They were passing comment on planning applications but it was done in an open and transparent way.

It was done on the record of the local authority chambers, the proceedings of many of which are webcast. In the interest of openness and transparency, local authority members should have the right to make a written, not verbal, submission to the planning authority. It is the proper thing to do.

I hope the Minister of State will not force us to call a vote, that common sense will prevail and that we will all go out of here as winners, all fulfilling our case, all aiding, assisting and supporting local democracy and supporting those who are elected to represent local communities.

I thank the Senators for having me back in the House. We will try to get this Bill near the end of its passage today, if possible.

On this space, Senator Boyhan and I have a lot of common ground and we do not need to force a vote. I certainly would not want to force the Senator to vote. It is not in my nature to make anyone vote. We will try to find a compromise if we can. As the Senator will be aware, we have been trying to work on that over the past couple of weeks. There has been much engagement around this as well. We are on Committee Stage, we have yet to get to Report Stage and I see no reason the Senator would need to go that route. Of course, that is entirely up to him, but I would never force anybody, certainly not the Senator who is much bigger and stronger than I am, into a vote.

I consider amendments Nos. 42 and 43 a little unnecessary. As we already discussed this year, we have made provision, in section 10(a) of the Bill, for the waiving or reduction of fees to the making of submissions or observations by elected members in planning applications. It is important that they do that. We all recognise the right of councillors to make such submissions and that they would not be charged. We have expressed that already. The wording in section 10(a) of the Bill will explicitly give effect to one of the recommendations of the Mahon tribunal. Accordingly, it should not be changed.

We still disagree on whether it should be in regulation or in legislation. We would be strongly of the view that it is better done in regulation. Senator Boyhan is of the view that it should be in legislation and we have been debating that. To be clear, in case there is any doubt about this, we all are at one that it is not necessary to have a fee. I am happy to restate clearly for the record that we agree on the zero rate. It has been said previously but I wanted to say it again because this Bill has gone on for so long that people are forgetting where we are with the discussion.

The section 10 provision is essentially an enabling power for the Minister to make regulations under section 33 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, to provide for the payment by a councillor of a reduced fee or no fee rather than the current €20 fee for making submissions or observations on planning applications. In this regard, it should be noted that all planning-related fees applied by the planning authorities are provided for in regulations and are not in primary legislation. That is the space in which we have been doing this. Senator Boyhan is asking that we would change that, for this particular bit, to primary legislation. I do not believe it is necessary. The Senator does. He made a strong case for it. We can still tease it out a little further before we get to Report Stage. There is no need to divide on it today. I am still not sure why Senator Boyhan thinks it must be in primary legislation but I am happy to engage with him further in that space and we will try to work it out.

Furthermore, I indicated in response to remarks by Senator Lombard on Second Stage that my Department is currently reviewing generally the planning fees, which have not been changed since 1998. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the issue of the rate of fee to be applied in respect of the making of submissions or observations by elected members on planning applications should be considered and provided for in the context of the regulatory review of planning fees, which is currently being undertaken. There is a process to do this and that is what we are trying to do. We have been clear at different stages of debate here that we intended to do that and to move to the zero rate as well. However, I am open to the notion of applying a zero fee in respect of written submissions and observations on planning applications by elected members but this might be more appropriately limited to elected members from the municipal district or local area committee representing the area to which the planning application relates, as more or less suggested by Senators Boyhan and Grace O'Sullivan in amendment No. 43.

Senator Kevin Humphreys, previously and again today, made a strong case for why it should not be restricted to applications in the municipal area the elected member is from. The Senator is probably correct in what he states about councillors owning the development plan. That is the argument and the Senator made a strong argument on that as well. We can look to see if we can reach some compromise on that. We felt that having it completely open to a county councillor across the board might be too wide but I buy in to the Senator's argument that it is his development as a councillor and he wants to be able to defend it, respect it and ensure it is judged correctly as well. We can look at that in the next week or two and try to come to some agreement with the Senator.

The perspective of city councils and county councils is probably quite different. I ask Senator Humphreys not to nod his head and let me finish first. Maybe we can find agreement here of how we deal with that. The geographical area of a county council compared to that of a city council can be massive. The Senator made a good case and I am prepared to tease it out with him a little further. The Senator need not force it today. I would like us to reach agreement on this. It is better if we all agree when it comes to planning matters. By all means, it is up to the Senators. It is agreed we will have Report Stage in a couple weeks when we could tease it out a little further.

In amendments Nos. 42 and 43, the Senators want the same as a zero rate. We agree on that. It is only a matter of agreeing whether it is in regulation or how far it stretches. We could continue the debate because even among the Senators, who get on well as colleagues, there is a bit of a disagreement on that as well.

No, we are united.

On the municipal area, the Senators are not united. I do not want to divide and conquer. That is not what I am about.

United we stand, divided we fall.

The Senators are divided. There is a disagreement and I would rather that we could find a way in which we all agree on this. The issue is whether a councillor would have the right to a zero fee right throughout a local authority area or only in the municipal area. That is the space we are down to. There is disagreement on that. Senator Humphreys made a good case on that and I am willing to look at it a bit more and tease it through further with him. I want to draw the distinction that maybe it is different between cities or large urban areas and counties. We can tease out over the next week whether we agree on that as well. The approach represents a reasonable balance by giving appropriate recognition to the role of elected members in representing the interests of their local area's electorate.

I am sure the Senators would agree that the compromise, clarification or concession - call it what one likes - of the zero rate fee is a positive for elected members who want to be able to do their good work but we might have to consider whether we need to attach conditions to this so that any such arrangement is not abused and does not result in members of the public trying to circumvent the normal process of paying his or her €20 fee to make an observation. I spoke about this previously. I do not wish to see councillors, who, as Senator Grace O'Sullivan stated, have a busy workload as it is, pushed too far because they will then be used to make submissions, either positive or negative, to planning applications by the public which they would not normally make but because councillors do not charge. I do not want them feeling, as a councillor stated to me previously, under more pressure to do that if there is no fee. I accept that is not what the Senators want. I am merely stating we must ensure that we do not walk into a space we do not want to be in. We will clarify whether we need conditions around that. Everyone is in agreement here that the fee would not apply.

As I set out earlier, the setting of the planning fees is more legally correctly provided for in regulations and I would therefore propose to address this issue in regulations rather than in primary legislation. I accept the Senators will not agree on that. I would ask them to give a little more thought to that because that is the space in which it has been and where it belongs with the overall planning fees. It is not only the local authorities for which we set fees and that is why that is there. We still propose to have them in regulations.

We have a week or two until Report Stage. I am happy to engage further with the Senators. Let us see if we can get agreement on that as well. At this stage, I would ask the Senator to withdraw the amendment because we agree on the zero rate and it is merely a matter of working out whether it be in regulation or primary legislation. It is the Senator's choice. I can only make the case to the Senators.

There are a few reserve functions for councillors. They have a reserve function in relation to the estimates or the budget and to the sale of land and property. They also have a reserve function in relation to the development plan.

Observations on planning are normally made on the development plan. I do not think I have ever made an observation on planning unless it was in some way related to the development plan.

The Minister of State stated that the councillors would be put under additional work. The primary role of a councillor, under those three functions, is the development plan and to ensure there is proper planning, whether in the county, city or wherever. The development plan should be a primary function of councillors. For starters, I do not think councillors come under pressure. That relates to old times where there was a few bob for planning permission given. The standard and quality of councillors shows leadership. They know exactly what needs to be developed and are quite confident and capable of saying: "No, I believe in the development plan that I voted on and I want to see it developed."

I note amendment No. 43 makes reference to the local area, but the local area has a greater impact in the development of a county or city. If one is running a metro line from Swords to Sandyford, the implications of density all along that line affect the financial viability of that line and it is nonsense to say one would exclude a councillor from the north side of the city from making a submission on density and height. I do not accept that.

Regulation can be changed and that is why I will press the matter of it being put in primary legislation to a vote here today.

I accept the Minister of State's credibility and record but he may not be in office next year or in five or ten years' time. If this measure goes into primary legislation, it will have to come before both Houses to change it. Therefore, I intend to press my amendment.

I want to be very clear on this. In an earlier response to the Senator, I said he made a very strong case, therefore, we are close on this.

The Senators' amendments Nos. 42 and 43 are different. Senator Humphreys's amendment does not relate to primary legislation, rather it covers the whole area. Amendment No. 43 relates to primary legislation and covers a smaller area, a municipal area. The Senators are not at one with their amendments. Rather than split the views of Members around the House, we have a week or two before-----

Yes. I do no mind.

It does not bother me either. This is a planning Bill and to get it right I would rather we were all on the one page with this. We have time before Report Stage to find a way by which we can agree on this. That is all I am saying. By all means the Senator can press his amendment to a vote, but his amendment relates to regulations, not legislation. That is his recommendation just in case he wants to check it. I am happy for us to take out the amendments and the Senator can press them if he wants, but I would rather we use the time wisely, which we did during the past month, to reach a compromise on this position in the next few weeks. Senator Humphreys made a very strong case here tonight as to the reason it should be for the whole electoral area with respect to the development plan. It makes a great deal of sense. I am very close to agreeing with him. That is what I am trying to say to him.

I know the Minister of State is close to agreeing this, but he will not always be in office and I will not always be here.

I will be here for this week to finish this.

And I will be here for another few days.

The Senator can give it a fair bash.

If I got this one over the line I might be here a little longer.

It would do the Senator no harm to do that.

I am sure that is not the reason Senator Boyhan is doing that.

I know some of the 950 councillors in all parties.

Many of them I would say.

I do not know them all-----

They know you, Victor.

-----but many of them are in your party.

I remind Members to address their remarks through the Chair.

They are expecting us to deliver. The Minister of State has this opportunity. The power is in his hands, it is not in the hands of those in the public service, no disrespect to them, nor is it in the power of the mandarins down in the Custom House. It is within the gift of the Minister of State on behalf of the Government. He has the responsibility. Let us make a decision here today that we will put this into primary legislation and that it will not be removed until it comes back into both Houses of the Oireachtas to be removed. It is a good case. Councillors throughout the country are listening to these proceedings. They are interested, they are watching and they expect this. In light of the circular that was issued to them advising them they could not even discuss planning applications, that did not help the Minister of State's cause. He should do this. I respect him and I like him, as do the councillors. I am going to call a vote on my amendment because it is the right thing to do and I am confident we will be successful.

We are dealing with amendment No. 42 first.

Senator Boyhan can call a vote. I am not forcing him to do that or not to do that.

In respect of their two amendments, the two Senators have engaged a great deal on this issue. We have made a great deal of progress and we have achieved what I believe councillors want, which is a zero rate. We have all agreed on that now. From my hearing of it, the councillors were not necessarily dictating whether it was by way of regulation or legislation. I am happy to engage with the Senators more on that, but their amendments are not in line with each other. I am not sure what they want to do about that. That is up to them.

We know. We will vote on both.

Amendment No. 42 is in the name of Senators Humphreys and Ó Ríordáin.

May I make an observation?

The Senator can. It will not even cost him €20.

It is 20 years since planning fees were changed. We are all agreeing on this change now.

I assume Senator Boyhan's main objective is to get a positive outcome for councillors.

In the legislation.

It may be possible that the route to get that definitive outcome for councillors is through regulation rather than legislation. I would hate for us to compromise by putting a measure to a vote that the Minister of State has committed to considering by way of regulation. The Senator has got his result. It may be possible that he might compromise, in some shape or form, on pushing a measure to a vote that, ultimately will be, and should be, dealt with by way of legislation. Perhaps there could be a partnership model in place in keeping with the spirit of the new politics, whereby the Senator would allow the Minister of State to give an undertaking to examine the regulation. I put forward that common-sense approach.

We have been saying that for weeks.

That is unfair. We have not been saying that for weeks. We established this last week. We discussed this. The Senator made a very good case, as did Senator Humphreys and others. We agreed then that it needed more clarification in this House and that we would go to a zero rate. I discussed that with the Senator. Let us be fair about this.

No. In other previous discussions, I had said, as did the Minister, Deputy Murphy, that we would go to this, but that it needed more clarity. Let us be very clear on this. We agreed before the end of Committee Stage we would clarify that we wanted to go to a zero rate. We are doing that. We will have Report Stage. I suggest, for the final time, that the Senator does not call a vote on this today. He can call a vote on the same issue on Report Stage, on the same amendment if he wants. He can do it on whatever Stage he prefers. All I am saying is that, in my view, it is unnecessary to do that. If the Senator wants to do it for whatever reasons, he can go ahead and do it, but we have Report Stage next week and we can tease it out then.

Another issue to be teased out relates to the areas on which we would agree. We will all, hopefully, be enacting this planning Bill and I would like us to get agreement on it. However, by all means, it is up to the Senators to decide on this.

We appreciate that.

Is amendment No. 42 in the names of Senator Humphreys and Ó Ríordáin being pressed?

The Senator has a seconder, or was it seconded already.

This was brought forward from the last day when I was not in the Chair. I want to make sure that I have all the i's dotted and the t's crossed.

It is in the regulations.

I am going to put the question: "That the new section be there inserted".

Amendment put.
The Committee divided by electronic means.

Under Standing Order 62(3)(b) I request that the division be taken again other than by electronic means.

Amendment again put:
The Committee divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 17.

  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Boyhan, Victor.
  • Clifford-Lee, Lorraine.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Craughwell, Gerard P.
  • Dolan, John.
  • Horkan, Gerry.
  • Humphreys, Kevin.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Nash, Gerald.
  • Norris, David.
  • O'Sullivan, Ned.
  • Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
  • Ó Donnghaile, Niall.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Warfield, Fintan.
  • Wilson, Diarmuid.

Níl

  • Burke, Paddy.
  • Butler, Ray.
  • Buttimer, Jerry.
  • Byrne, Maria.
  • Coghlan, Paul.
  • Conway, Martin.
  • Lawless, Billy.
  • Lombard, Tim.
  • McFadden, Gabrielle.
  • Mulherin, Michelle.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Mahony, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Grace.
  • Ó Céidigh, Pádraig.
  • Reilly, James.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ruane, Lynn.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Victor Boyhan and Kevin Humphreys; Níl, Senators Gabrielle McFadden and John O'Mahony.
Amendment declared carried.

I move amendment No. 43:

In page 53, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:

“Amendment of section 246 of Principal Act

24. Section 246 of the Principal Act is amended—

(a) in subsection (1) by substituting the following paragraph for paragraph (b):

“(b) the payment to planning authorities of prescribed fees in relation to the making of submissions or observations respecting applications for permission referred to in paragraph (a), with the exception of local authority members who are exempt from all fees in relation to the making of submissions or observations respecting applications for permission referred to in paragraph (a), insofar as it concerns applications made within the local authority members’ local electoral area.”.”.

Amendment put.

As no tellers have been provided on the Níl side the division cannot proceed. I must declare the question carried.

Amendment agreed to.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.