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Wednesday, 12 Jul 2000

Vol. 3 No. 18

Report of Select Committee.

The Clerk of the committee will send the following message to the Clerk of the Dáil:

The Select Committee has completed its consideration of the Cement (Repeal of Enactments) Bill, 1999.

Is the report agreed? Agreed.

Report agreed to.

Ordered to report to the Dáil accordingly.

I thank those who participated on the Bill, the Minister and his officials, Mr. Murphy and Mr. O'Molloy.

I take this opportunity, before we consider the next item, to pay tribute to Deputy Owen, the Fine Gael spokesperson on this committee since its commencement and an old friend of mine.

The Clontarf connection.

I was delighted to have worked so closely with her and the committee benefited from her knowledge and expertise. Her leaving is a sad loss to the committee. However, we wish her well in her new role on the front bench in, I understand, this managerial foursome.

And quality of life.

On behalf of the committee, I wish you well. I thank our good friend from Ballymote, Deputy Perry, for his tremendous effort and involvement in the committee and his great knowledge of enterprise and small business. I put on record our appreciation of his contribution. We will miss you, particularly on our trips. We had good craic and there are still two Russian ladies on a corridor in some hotel looking for him.

The last time I saw them I thought they were going off with you.

We wish both Deputies well in their new appointments and thank them for their contributions to the committee. I welcome the new appointments to the committee, in particular Deputy Creed who I understand played an important role on this committee in the past. We wish Deputy Naughten well in his appointment to the front bench. We hope he will find this committee helpful and productive for his work as a member of the front bench holding the brief of enterprise and small business. We look forward to working with him. If he is in need of assistance he will find the committee most co-operative. We have dealt with a vast amount of work in the collective manner in which we do our business. We try to get consensus on issues and accommodate members' requests.

The committee worked extremely well. We dealt with many issues of concern to the grocery trade, for example, the groceries order, the size of supermarkets and so on. They were very beneficial particularly as regards job creation in small companies. I found it a very educational committee and thoroughly enjoyed my three years' membership. I learned a great deal and it was a marvellous foundation for my brief as spokesperson on small businesses. The committee has been very effective in acting as a watchdog dealing with the big consortiums and ensuring fairness. I compliment the Chairman on his concern for small companies and business. He has done an outstanding job as Chairman and has been very effective.

I would not like to say anything behind the Chairman's back that I would not say to his face. I, too, pay tribute to him and this committee. Some of the issues we have dealt with have not been fully recognised. I have no doubt but that capping the size of hypermarkets was a direct result of this committee's all party political input. The groceries order is still in existence as a result of pressure from this committee. I have no doubt Tesco and others have changed their work practices as a result of our political input. Our major work on the copyright legislation will be seen in 100 years as a crucial part of our proceedings. I wish the committee well with the next copyright Bill.

I thank the Chairman for his kind words. I look forward to working with him and the committee over the coming months. Hopefully it will be in existence for the next few months.

Two more years.

I am delighted by the Chair's offer of assistance because, as the committee well knows, with two colleagues leaving I have big shoes to fill. I look forward to working with the committee in furthering its objectives and the whole area of enterprise and small business.