Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill 2002: Committee Stage (Resumed).

This meeting has been convened to resume consideration of Committee Stage of the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Bill 2002. I welcome the Minister for Finance, Deputy McCreevy, and his officials. I suggest that we consider the Bill until 8.30 p.m. at which time we will adjourn. If we have not concluded Committee Stage, a further meeting will be arranged. Is that agreed? Agreed. That meeting will take place after we deal with Committee Stage of the Finance Bill next week.

When considering technical amendments, I suggest that rather than have the Minister read from his speaking notes, we agree to them without debate. Where requested, the Minister will read a speaking note but otherwise there should be no need for him to do so. Is that agreed? Agreed.

SECTION 27.

As amendments Nos. 74, 76, 77 are consequential on amendment No. 71, they may all be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 71:

In page 36, line 44, after "approval" to insert "of so much of the statement as relates to paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (2)”.

These amendments concern the approval of the Minister for Finance of the annual estimates of the income and expenditure of the regulatory authority. Section 33N of the principal Act, as inserted by section 27 of the Bill, requires the regulatory authority to prepare a statement of expected income and expenditure for the year not later than three months before the beginning of each financial year or within an extended period decided by the Minister for Finance. Subsection (1)(b) requires it to submit the estimate to the Minister for approval.

Amendment No. 71 clarifies that the approval of the Minister relates only to the overall funding and expenditure target as set out in subsection (2)(a) and (b). It does not relate to the detail of the expenditure plan which would be implicit if the Minister was also issuing approval under subsection (2)(d) which requires the authority to specify the activities it proposes to undertake during the year. These activities are a matter for the authority.

Amendments Nos. 74, 76 and 77 are consequential and necessary if amendment No. 71 is accepted. They are being made to make it clear that the Minister is approving the statement for the purposes of subsection (1)(b).

I accept the thrust of the amendment, though I continue to object to the omission of separate reporting arrangements for the Registrar of Credit Unions to give the Minister a role in defending their independent role. This is provided for by omitting the reference to the referral to the Minister of matters under paragraph (c) which, as can be seen from the following amendment, he proposes to delete. However, I accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

As amendments Nos. 72 and 98 to 100, inclusive, are related, they may all be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 72:

In page 37, to delete lines 8 to 11.

These amendments concern the reporting arrangements for the Registrar of Credit Unions within the regulatory authority. As published, the Bill provided that the functions of the Registrar of Friendly Societies under the Credit Union Act 1997 would be carried out independently by the Registrar of Credit Unions within the overall framework of the regulatory authority. Members of the interim Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority and the Governor of the Central Bank expressed reservations regarding the reporting arrangements for the Registrar of Credit Unions within the proposed regulatory authority. The level of independence proposed for the registrar appeared to contradict principles of good governance. Separately, the European Central Bank had expressed reservations about the autonomous position of the registrar within the overall structure. In the context of these reservations, I felt obliged to look again at the provisions in relation to the registrar. I am, therefore, proposing a number of amendments which will alter the reporting relationship for the Registrar of Credit Unions to bring the position more fully within the framework of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. Essentially, the reporting relationship for the registrar will be similar to that proposed for the Director of Consumer Affairs. I intend, therefore, to propose an amendment to section 33AA(4) on Report Stage to bring the registrar into line with the provisions set out for the Director of Consumer Affairs as set out in section 33S(7).

I am aware that the Irish League of Credit Unions was concerned about my proposals in this regard and the implications for the regulation of credit unions. I met representatives of the league on 16 December 2002 when I stated that, while I felt I had no option other than to proceed with my proposed amendments, I was prepared to propose an additional amendment in order that the ethos, characteristics and uniqueness of credit unions could be safeguarded in the Bill and that joint discussions would take place on the amendment. It was agreed at the meeting that a delegation from the league would meet officials from my Department to discuss possible wordings for such an amendment.

My officials and the league have arrived at a wording which is with the parliamentary counsel for official drafting. The draft wording has already been circulated to Deputies. It is my intention to introduce this amendment on Report Stage. The amendment expands section 33AA(4) to provide that any directions given to the Registrar of Credit Unions must be in accordance and within the scope of the Credit Union Act 1997, or such other Act or law as may be relevant in respect of any functions or powers the management of which may be delegated to the registrar, and in issuing directions to the Registrar of Credit Unions members of the regulatory authority or the chief executive must have regard to the particular objects and nature of credit unions. The particular objects and nature of credit unions are largely spelled out in section 6 of the Credit Union Act 1997.

I understand the league has issued a statement to credit unions stating that, while it would have preferred the provisions relating to the Registrar of Credit Unions to remain in the Bill, as published, it acknowledges that the amendment to the section recognises the distinct voluntary character and social and economic role of credit unions. It also acknowledges that this has been reinforced by correspondence from the acting secretary to the interim board of the IFSRA and its chief executive designate that they will take into account the unique nature of credit unions when making decisions related to them.

I now turn to the proposed amendments which arise from the changes I propose to make to section 33AA(4). Amendment No. 72 is concerned with the budget of the Registrar of Credit Unions. The Bill provides that separate details of the estimated income and expenditure of the registrar are to be included in the ISFRA's budget. As the registrar will now report to the regulatory authority, this provision is no longer appropriate. Accordingly, amendment No. 72 deletes subsection 2(c) of section 33N.

Amendments Nos. 98 to 100, inclusive, are all concerned with the annual report of the registrar. Amendment No. 98 amends section 33AC to provide that the registrar will submit his or her annual report to the regulatory authority, rather than the Minister. As the reporting relationship for the registrar will be changed under my proposed arrangements from the Minister to the regulatory authority, it is appropriate to change this subsection in order that the registrar submits the annual report to the regulatory authority. This will bring this provision into line with the provisions for the Director of Consumer Affairs.

Amendments Nos. 99 and 100 are consequential on my earlier proposed amendment to section 33AC(1)(b), in which the registrar will now submit his annual report to the regulatory authority instead of the Minister. The effect of amendment No. 99 will be to allow the chief executive, after consulting the regulatory authority, to specify to the registrar the form and content of the annual report.

As the Minister will not receive the report, the provision in section 33AC(3) that the Minister lay the document before both Houses of the Oireachtas is no longer relevant. Amendment No. 100 deletes this provision. The regulatory authority will report on the supervision of credit unions as part of its annual report which will be laid before the Houses.

I reiterate my opposition to these amendments, notwithstanding the Minister's consultation with the credit union movement. His first thoughts on the way in which the credit union movement should be handled were correct. The Irish League of Credit Unions has been put in the impossible position of having to accept half a loaf rather than no loaf. Clearly, the alternative on offer was that the views of the regulator, the Central Bank and other financial interests would take precedence over the need to protect the ethos of the credit union movement.

While I accept the Minister has made some effort to recognise that ethos in his proposed Report Stage amendment, I am not happy that the credit union movement and the registrar, the bulwark for the defence of the independence of the credit union movement, are effectively being pushed under the thumb of the regulatory authority in that all reports have to be filtered through the regulatory authority. It will also be entirely dependent on the budget of the regulatory authority and no longer have recourse to the Minister. This is not the right approach to the issue.

Other Deputies and I have received correspondence from the Irish League of Credit Unions. It is clear it holds to the view that the original drafting was the correct approach to the credit union movement. Its representatives also appeared before the committee and made extremely persuasive arguments. Statements about ethos, which have no binding effect and are not defended by recourse to the Minister or direct reporting, are not sufficient. I am sufficiently realistic at this stage in the hunt to accept that the Minister is not about to change his mind. I oppose the amendments.

Amendment put and declared carried.

I move amendment No. 73:

In page 37, lines 13 and 14, to delete "and those persons propose" and substitute "proposes".

This amendment corrects an error consequential on the change being made by amendment No. 72. The reference to "those persons" in section 33N(2) refers to the persons originally mentioned in subsection (2)(c). After the deletion of paragraph (c) by amendment No. 72, the reference to “those persons” in paragraph (d) is no longer necessary.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 74:

In page 37, line 17, after "approval" to insert "for the purposes of subsection (1)(b)”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 75:

In page 37, line 33, after "consult" to insert "both the Governor and".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 76:

In page 37, line 34, to delete "approving the statement" and substitute "giving approval for the purposes of subsection (1)(b)”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 77:

In page 37, lines 35 and 36, to delete "The Minister may approve the statement" and substitute "In giving approval for the purposes of subsection (1)(b), the Minister may so approve”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 78:

In page 37, line 38, after "Authority" to insert "and shall lay these estimates before the Oireachtas".

This amendment proposes to have the authority lay the estimates before the Houses of the Oireachtas. The Minister is taking the power to approve the statement either without amendment or with such amendment as may be agreed with the regulatory authority. He ought to make provision that these estimates be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas, with his departmental Estimates in order that we are able to see separate provision being made. Perhaps he intends to do this. If not, provision should be made that it be done statutorily.

The regulatory authority will be required to produce an annual estimate of its income and expenditure which will specify, among other matters, the amounts expected to be collected and recovered from the imposition of levies during the financial year and the sources of any other funds expected to be obtained. The statement must be approved by the Minister for Finance.

The Deputy's proposal would require that, following approval by the Minister for Finance, it be laid before the Oireachtas. I have no difficulty with this proposal. Acceptance of the amendment should also go some way towards satisfying the Deputy's earlier concern in relation to the chief executive demonstrating that the levies are necessary for the recovery of costs. However, there is a minor wording issue. The Deputy uses the word "estimates" whereas the subsection uses the word "statement". If the Deputy will withdraw the amendment, I will propose the appropriate amendment on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn

I move amendment No. 79:

In page 37, to delete lines 43 to 47 and substitute the following:

33O.-(1) (a) The Regulatory Authority is required to prepare and provide the Minister with-

(i) an annual report, and

(ii) from time to time, such other reports,

relating to the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers as the Minister may from time to time specify.

(b) As soon as practicable after receiving a copy of the Regulatory Authority’s annual report, the Minister shall arrange for a copy of that report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.”.

Subsection 33O(1), as inserted by section 27 of the Bill, states the regulatory authority must give the Minister for Finance, when he or she requests, reports that relate to the performance of the functions and exercise of the powers of the regulatory authority. This amendment will also require the IFSRA to produce an annual report which it must submit to the Minister for Finance. The annual report will be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 80:

In page 37, line 49, after "provide" to insert "information in".

This amendment clarifies the text of section 330(2) so that the measures outlined in subsection (2) prohibit the provision of information within a report of the regulatory authority as opposed to prohibiting the report itself.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 94 is related to amendment No. 81 and they may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 81:

"33Q.-The Regulatory Authority shall appear before an appropriate committee of the Oireachtas as requested by that committee to report on its strategic plan or other activities.".

This provides that the regulatory authority would appear before the appropriate committee of the Oireachtas as requested by that committee to report on its strategic plan or other activities. Does the Minister make provision elsewhere for the appearance of these bodies before the Oireachtas? It may be that I tabled this amendment rather impulsively before I had fully read the Bill. Perhaps the Minister will tell me if this is already covered.

Yes. The Bill already contains adequate provisions in relation to persons from the Central Bank and IFSRA appearing before the Oireachtas. Section 33AM provides that the following persons can be called before the relevant joint committee of the Oireachtas: the Governor, the chairperson of IFSRA, the chief executive of IFSRA and the consumer director of IFSRA or the registrar of credit unions. The strategic plan of the consumer director must be approved by the chief executive. In addition, the regulatory authority is required to prepare a strategic plan and this is due to be laid before the Oireachtas. IFSRAs strategic plan will make reference to the strategic plan of the consumer director. There is sufficient accountability built in to the provisions of the Bill to allow the consumer director to be examined in regard to the strategic plan. I will not, therefore, be agreeing to the Deputy's amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 82:

In page 39, line 15, after "Minister" to insert "having consulted with the Minister of Cabinet who holds responsibility for consumer affairs".

This deals with the appointment of a consumer director. The section provides that the regulatory authority would appoint a consumer director. It does not specify that there has to be a competition for this post but I presume the Minister intends to ensure there is one. I note in this section the appointment of a consumer director will not take effect until the Minister approves it.

My amendment makes provision for the Minister to consult with the Minister of Cabinet who holds responsibility for consumer affairs before making the appointment. It is important that the consumer director has full confidence that they will be defending the consumer interest. As the Minister knows, this is one of the issues that has been at stake in the long turf war between the Central Bank and the idea of an independent inspector and whether it is appropriate to roll-in consumer protection. There is a genuine concern that the consumer director who will legislatively be under the thumb of the Central Bank will not have sufficient independence. My amendment will ensure that, at least in their appointment, there would be a requirement that the Minister with responsibility for consumer affairs, who is currently the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, would be satisfied that the consumer director is someone with genuine interest in the protection of consumer rights. It is an additional protection and would increase public confidence that the consumer director would not be sucked into the culture of the Central Bank, which has not exactly been pro-consumer in the past.

Almost all Ministers must be concerned with consumers' rights, including the Minister for Finance, who would not approve the appointment of a consumer director whom he believed would not be a full and proper advocate for the financial interests of consumers.

I would have much more confidence if the Minister was giving more independence to the consumer director within the structure of the authority. As I said before, the consumer director is being forced to submit reports via the Central Bank so they will, effectively, be screened. We need to do something to assert the independence of the consumer director and this is one possible way of doing it.

Mr. McCreevy: Once the consumer director is before this committee the Deputy can discuss these issues when the report is being made. We had this debate the last day and I do not accept the Deputy's point.

Will the Minister confirm that there is specific provision that the consumer director will appear from time to time before this committee?

That is important.

The consumer director is one of the people that can be brought before an Oireachtas committee.

Is there provision for a statutory requirement for appearance on an annual basis?

Appearance will follow from a request by the committee.

I am happy enough with that. Other such regulators in different areas of economic life have been less keen to appear before Dáil committees. I hope it is made clear to them that it is an obligation.

Regardless of my view on some of them, they based their decisions on what was the legal position at that time. It was not then specified in law that they had to do so. I know most of them agreed to come in the end but they were within their rights not to do so. In this case it will be specified in the Bill.

In reply to Deputy Conor Lenihan, this is not quibbling on my part about the provisions of the Bill. I heard two most learned presentations on the Bill from Dr. Kinsella who is associated with the Deputy's own party and from an academic from Trinity College whose name I cannot recall. Dr. Kinsella made the point very trenchantly that the Bill combines two entirely different tasks in the one authority - defending the consumer and maintaining the prudential underpinning of the financial institutions. The consumer protector will want low margins and high competition while the regulator will want high margins and low competition because that ensures prudential protection. His paper was very persuasive.

The other report made the valid point that the success of such an operation depends on the Oireachtas being very vigilant in regard to the over-sight of these various agencies. The point was also made that the Oireachtas is not resourced to fulfil the task that is required of it in this regard and the ability of Deputies to do this is very much in question. On the basis of these articles, we need to insert protections for the consumer into the Bill or we may live to regret it. There is a genuine issue here and maybe Deputy Conor Lenihan will be more successful in persuading the Minister than I am.

Perhaps the Minister might look to another direction to square the circle in regard to the matter raised by Deputy Richard Bruton, that is, separate legislation to deal with the appalling lack of research resources available to Deputies. That is possibly the best way to ensure the consumer director performs his or her task appropriately. I would be grateful if the Minister was to make such a provision. I am aware he is a passionate believer in adequately resourcing parliamentarians both in respect of salaries and resources. In all of the committees on which I have served we have encountered problems. This is compounded by the requirement to scrutinise European legislation as well as the duties which will presumably be conferred by this Bill in regard to the consumer director and holding to account the unelected central bankers of this world. It is imperative that we have the resources to do this job. I hope the Minister does not mind digressing into that sphere.

I will digress for a moment. I published the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Bill during the term of the previous Dáil and it progressed to Second Stage in the Dáil for the two weeks that we returned following the general election. Unfortunately, Second Stage was not concluded whereas it was for the Central Bank Bill. Given the pressure of Government business I do not know when it is intended to bring it back to the Dáil. When it is put into effect, hopefully before the end of this year, the matters raised by Deputy Lenihan regarding extra resources can be taken up.

The principal point of that Bill is that there will be a large sum of money given at the start, which will be ringfenced for a three year period. The commission, which will be made up of Oireachtas Members and others, will decide on the allocation of resources to various areas. If Deputies want extra resources for something they will be able to make a decision themselves. They will have to make the decision in light of their overall budgets and they will not be hopping over to the Minister for Finance saying, "You make the decision." That is one particular matter on which Members will have the pleasure of making decisions themselves.

We are very happy with the Minister's decision.

How does the Minister envisage the working out of the baseline? As of now, in terms of support to committee members trying to do work——

We have a figure in the Bill for illustrative purposes which will be amended. A major study was carried out by consultants appointed by the Houses of the Oireachtas to decide on the total figure. That figure will be included in the Bill in the Final Stages.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Bill is setting up the structure which will determine how things will operate in the future and the sooner it passes through the Dáil the better. I do not envisage its passing through the Dáil and Seanad before Easter but I intend that it will have done so by the summer recess.

The end of the dual mandate will mean Oireachtas Members will be depending entirely on the effectiveness of this commission for their perception that they are of any real worth to those who elect them. That will change the type of resourcing that is needed. The emphasis in the previous Deloitte & Touche report was very much in the old mould, reflecting the type of work that Members regarded as their primary role. That will change when the dual mandate is abolished and there will be a need for us all to rethink the way in which we conduct ourselves.

If the Government wants to make the system work after the abolition of the dual mandate it will have to submit heads of Bills to committees such as this so they can examine the issues of principle behind the Bills. It will also have to submit the heads of Bills so some of the power brokerage that occurs in respect of a Bill can relocate itself in the committee rooms rather than behind closed doors in the Minister's Department. That is no reflection on the excellence of the work, but if we are to do a good job as full-time representatives in the Dáil, the Ministers will have to take the Dáil more seriously when reflecting on the type of legislation we need. They will have to follow up unanimous recommendations that come from committees. These are almost universally ignored by Ministers at the moment, which is one of the great frustrations in the new rapporteur system, which the Minister has helped support. They are universally ignored in education, where I have experience.

There is a need for progress in this regard. The Minister for Finance is best placed to drive this process because we have regarded him as the defender of Oireachtas rights. He should get his colleagues to look more seriously at the capacity of the Houses of the Oireachtas to be real players in making decisions of great importance to the future of the country.

We will come back to those questions when we deal with that Bill.

To clarify, the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission Bill has been referred to this committee. When we have dealt with the Finance Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill, we can have all the discussion we like on the matter on Committee Stage.

It did not get through in the two weeks and came back but it got through since.

It got through since. It has been referred to the committee.

Is amendment No. 82 being pressed?

Yes. It is not ideal but something of this nature should be done.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 83:

In page 41, line 17, after "(2)" to insert "and such other matters".

This amendment provides for the responsibilities of the consumer director. Section 33S(1)(a) states that the Director of Consumer Affairs is responsible for managing the performance and exercise of such of the functions and powers of the bank under the enactments and statutory instruments specified in subsection (2) as the other members of the regulatory authority notify to the Director of Consumer Affairs. A list of these enactments and statutory instruments is provided in subsection (2).

The authority members should not be confined in the way that appears to be intended under subsection (2). They should have the capacity to deal with issues concerning consumer protection other than those simply set out in the fairly restrictive list. I do not agree with the level of dependence on the regulatory authority in delegating what seems to be envisaged by the Minister. We should be making strong, independent provisions for the powers of the Director of Consumer Affairs within the system and not awaiting delegation from the authority.

The Director of Consumer Affairs is responsible for managing the performance and exercise of such of the functions and powers of the bank under enactments and statutory instruments that are specified in subsection (2) of the section. The Deputy's proposal includes a general provision to allow for the addition of any other matters that the other members of the regulatory authority notify to her. This is already the subject of amendment No. 89 which I have tabled, which I think the Deputy will find accommodates his proposal adequately.

Is the amendment being pressed?

The Minister may be dealing with the issue adequately.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 84:

In page 41, line 35, to delete "51" and substitute "52".

This is a technical amendment. If Deputy Richard Bruton wants me to read my notes, I will.

It is just a matter of what section the Minister is referring to.

The committee agreed earlier that, unless the Minister is requested to read his speaking notes, we would proceed.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 85:

In page 41, lines 49 and 50, to delete all words from and including "section" in line 49 down to and including "1989" in line 50 and substitute "sections 43B to 43FF of the Insurance Act 1989, and section 61 of that Act".

This amendment updates the list of legislation under which the consumer director is responsible for performing the functions of the bank by the inclusion of sections 43B to 43FF of the Insurance Act, 1989.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments No. 86 and 87 are related and may be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 86:

In page 42, lines 28 to 31, to delete all words from and including "in" where it secondly occurs in line 28 down to and including "Authority" in line 31 and substitute "after consultation with the other members of the Regulatory Authority".

The Bill provides that the consumer director may issue codes of practice, but only in the name of the bank and after those codes or requirements have been approved by the other members of the regulatory authority. This is unduly restrictive on the consumer director in developing codes of conduct in respect of consumer protection. I do not see why they cannot be issued independently. If the regulatory authority has cause for concern it should not be given such an overarching power as is given here, whereby everything must be referred to it. I would prefer to delete this provision and substitute "after consultation with the other members of the Regulatory Authority" so that the obligation will be on the consumer director to consult but not obtain the approval of the authority for codes of practice in respect of financial products, charges etc. These are issues in respect of which the consumer director should have independence. If the authority had some overriding concern it would have the ability under my provision to have its voice heard, but the consumer director would be the arbiter of codes of practice within her sphere of operation.

The Bill provides that the consumer director may issue codes or impose requirements on financial service providers but only in the name of the regulatory authority. The provision as currently drafted says "in the name of the bank" but this is the subject of an amendment by me to include the approval of the other members of the authority.

The Deputy proposes in amendment No. 86 to require the consumer director to be required to consult with the other members. Such codes or requirements will be issued to protect the consumer, and it is important that there be complete agreement from IFSRA, in the name of which they are to be issued. Therefore, I am of the view that the provision as drafted should remain, with the substitution of regulatory authority for bank, and I am not in favour of accepting the Deputy's amendment.

Amendment No. 87 provides that any codes issued or requirements imposed should be in the name of the regulatory authority, rather than in the name of the bank. The intention in the establishment of the regulatory authority is to enable it to carry out the functions being assigned to it in its own name. The consumer director, as a member of that authority, in carrying out functions and exercising powers assigned to him or her under the various enactments and statutory instruments listed in the provisions of the Bill should, therefore, carry them out in the name of the regulatory authority, rather than in name of the bank.

I do not see the consumer director as being separate from IFSRA. I want consumer awareness to be at the heart of financial regulation, not ghettoised in a separate location. It is important that the consumer director be a strong statutorily appointed advocate of consumer interests both on the authority and within the organisation as a whole. I do not, however, see the powers of the authority being divided in the way the Deputy's amendment might imply.

Going back to the submission made by Dr. Kinsella, these are two separate functions that pull a regulatory authority in different directions. The Minister recognised this in our earlier discussions. If the consumer director cannot be bolstered with some independence because the Minister does not want a ghetto, we will subdue her in the wider regulatory demands of the bank and the regulatory authority. This is an issue on which I profoundly disagree with the Minister.

Is the Minister of the view that giving the other members of the authority only a consultative role in the exercise of this power by the consumer director weakens the consumer director's integration within the whole operation? Deputy Richard Bruton seems to be correct here. What is the difference between the consumer director consulting with the other members of the authority rather than having these guidelines for best conduct fully approved? I understand the argument that the regulatory authority and the consumer director have an enhanced authority but I do not understand the difference between consulting with other members of the regulatory authority and how he or she is diminished by having to have the codes of conduct fully approved by the authority members.

We debated the compromise proposal and I am not going to go back over it. The consumer director is a member of the new authority. Amendment No. 87 will delete "bank" and substitute "regulatory authority". It then makes sense.

The consumer director cannot act unilaterally on guidelines. There must be proof of approval from other members.

She acts in the name of the authority.

Can she act unilaterally in terms of guidelines?

What is the Minister for Finance's thinking then about her being allowed to act unilaterally on guidelines?

There have been so many proposals put forward in this whole area that we are going back to the core of the issue. When it was decided to bring the consumer director within the ambit of the new Central Bank of Ireland Financial Services Regulatory Authority, this was the way it was devised as a statutory position.

Effectively we are delegating certain functions to the consumer director. The bank is delegating functions under these Acts. The Minister for Finance is saying that when the consumer director does something modest, like issuing a code of practice about how financial products should be presented, instead of operating within her delegated authority, she will have to go back to get board approval. It will slow the process down. We are always saying we should delegate authority to executive agencies and let them be judged by the success of the operation rather than by day to day oversight. That is Government policy but here is a practical example and we are pointing out that there is no delegated authority and performance monitoring based on results.

The principle behind this Bill and the authority is to bring all the functions under a single regulatory authority. That is where we started, although some might say we should not have started from that position. We wanted a single regulatory authority.

The amendment seeks a light touch rather than having the authority dot every i and cross every t.

There are enough provisions in the Bill to recognise the independence of this individual through reports to the Houses of the Oireachtas or other programmes.

That is the only protection she has.

Let us see how it works.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No 87:

In page 42, line 29, to delete "Bank" and substitute "Regulatory Authority".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 88:

In page 42, line 41, after "powers" to insert "provided that those directions are in writing and refer only to the items referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (4) of this section”.

This is the same principle as in the last amendment. Here the Minister provides that the regulatory authority can make lawful directions to the consumer director. This amendment inserts the provision that the directions must be in writing and refer only to items referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the subsection, namely the orderly and proper function of financial markets and the prudential supervision of providers of financial services.

If we are delegating to the consumer director the management of key functions of the bank, we should not put in this power of direction. The regulatory authority has the normal recourse of accountability of this director and should not take powers to make directions unless they are in writing so they are visible for Members of the Oireachtas and the public to see and unless those directions concern the core functions of the bank, namely the orderly managing of markets and prudential supervision. If the authority is putting its oar into issues that are properly the concern of the consumer director, it should be told that it is not its remit, that it has delegated the function and that the function should be operated independently by the consumer director within that delegated authority.

The consumer director will be accountable to the chief executive and other members of the regulatory authority for the functions she will perform and the powers she will exercise. The McDowell group recommended that there be full accountability to the authority by the Consumer Director and full responsibility on the authority for what was done. Leaving the provision as it stands will ensure this. Subsection (7) on page 42 states the consumer director is required to comply with any lawful direction given, which must then be carried out in accordance with subsection (4). I am satisfied that the intent of Deputy Bruton's amendment is catered for by the existing wording and I regret I am unable to accept the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 89:

In page 42, between lines 45 and 46, to insert the following:

"(9) The Regulatory Authority may require the Consumer Director to assist it in relation to the exercise of any other matter for, or in connection with, or reasonably incidental to functions to be carried out by the Consumer Director.".

The proposed amendment provides flexibility in relation to the functions of the consumer director by providing that the regulatory authority can request the consumer director to assist with functions outside of those specified in subsection (2) of section 33S. This amendment incorporates the changes requested by Deputy Bruton in amendment No. 83.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 90:

In page 43, lines 4 and 5, to delete "Chief Executive" and substitute "Minister".

The issue here is who should be dictating to the consumer director the format of the annual report. I am proposing that it should be the Minister. The Minister is the final arbiter of the inevitable tensions between consumer protection and prudential control in reporting. If conflicts are emerging in the operation of this Bill over time, we should have the opportunity of seeing these reflected in the reports of the consumer director without having those reports pressed by the regulatory authority. The Minister may well say that the consumer director can come in to the Oireachtas, but the director will have been headed off at the pass long before they get to the Oireachtas. If the Minister was to set out the format of reporting he could make sure that in the format he specified, potential conflicts in which consumer interest might lose out to other interests would be included. If the Minister, who is after all answerable to the Oireachtas, had some function in this regard, I would feel more assured that the consumer director's position would be supported and defended.

Under the provisions of the Bill the consumer director will be required to produce an annual report at the end of each financial year. The present proposal is that the report be in a form and deal with matters specified by the chief executive after consulting with the regulatory authorities. The Deputy is proposing that the Minister is a better person to advise what form the report should be in and what it should deal with. Again, I refer the Deputy to what I said about an earlier amendment. The consumer director must be responsible to the chief executive within the authority and this is consistent with the approach I am taking in relation to the annual report of the registrar of credit unions, on which I put forward amendment No. 98.

We are setting up the authority as a separate independent agency and in doing so we must decide carefully on what issues we might need a ministerial power to intervene and on what issues this might simply get in the way. On balance, I do not see a need for me, as the Minister, to have this power.

Is the amendment being pressed?

Yes. It is disappointing that at every turn we are being frustrated, but I will continue manfully.

I agree with the Minister that we should keep the Minister out of this. If the authority is to be independent, let it be so. The principle is the same. We cannot have the Minister being the subject of an appeal from an authority that is supposed to have a degree of independence. It defeats our whole purpose. Accountability should be with the Dáil at the end of day. It is a recipe for disaster if every group feels it can appeal to the Minister on matters such as this.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 91:

In page 43, line 19, to delete "costs" and substitute "cost to consumers".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 92:

In page 43, between lines 29 and 30, to insert the following:

"(e) comparisons against best practice in other comparable countries in relation to the cost of financial services and the range and quality of services offered.”.

I propose that one of the things the consumer director should have responsibility for reporting is comparisons of best practice in other comparable countries in relation to the cost of financial services and the range and quality of services offered. One of the big gaps in consumer information in the financial services area is how we stack up against the rest. I know the principle of caveat emptor always applies; consumers should be superhuman, shopping around and knowing what is available. If a product is available in Finland they are entitled to buy it there. All these rules of the free market are well established. A useful role the consumer director could play, one that the Minister would recognise as being worthwhile, is to make sure the range, quality and cost of financial services are up to the standard of best practice. He or she could undertake comparisons such as these on a regular basis and report on them in the annual report. It would be a great service to consumers and I hope it recommends itself to the Minister.

The provisions in the Bill have set out certain items that should be contained in the consumer director's annual report. The chief executive will be required to specify if any other matters should be included. I do not feel it is appropriate to be so prescriptive about what else should be contained, which should be for the chief executive to decide. While international comparisons might well be a feature of the report in the areas set out in subsections (3)(a) to (d), it would be a matter for the consumer director to decide what comparisons or methods might be used to fulfil his or her obligations under this section. I am unable to accept the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 93:

In page 43, line 31, after "costs" to insert "to consumers".

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 94 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 95 and No. 96 are cognate and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 95:

In page 45, line 44, to delete "other".

These are technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 96:

In page 46, line 2, to delete "other".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 97:

In page 48, lines 31 and 32, to delete all words from and including "within" in line 31 down to and including "year" in line 32 and substitute "not later than the end of September in each year".

The timeframe in which the regulator of credit unions is to prepare an annual report under section 33AC is being extended from two months to within nine months of the end of each financial year. The new wording mirrors that in section 106 of the Credit Union Act 1997, which is where such a report was legislated for before now. The extension in time is due to the fact that the registrar's report produces information based on the returns of credit unions, which would not be available within the two-month timeframe.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 98:

In page 48, line 36, to delete "Minister" and substitute "Regulatory Authority".

Amendment put and declared carried.

I move amendment No. 99:

In page 48, to delete lines 37 to 39 and substitute the following:

"(2) The report must be in such form and deal with such matters as the Chief Executive has, after consulting the Regulatory Authority, notified to the Registrar.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 100:

In page 48, to delete lines 40 to 44.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 101:

In page 51, line 42, after "to" where it firstly occurs to insert "or in respect of".

Subsection (8) of section 33AG, which provides for superannuation schemes for the benefit of officers and employees of the bank and its constituent parts, contains definitions of the terms "retirement" and "superannuation benefit" in so far as section 33AG is concerned. Doubts have been raised as to whether section 33AG covers the payment of superannuation benefits to spouses and children or any legal personal representatives of those covered by the section, namely, governors and former governors, directors and former directors, members and former members of the regulatory authority, and employees and former employees of the bank.

For the avoidance of any doubt in this matter, the amendment provides that the definition of "superannuation benefit" be amended to include the words "or in respect of" immediately after the words "benefit payable to" in the second line of the definition.

People move in and out of the bank from the financial sector. Now that the bank is taking on a regulatory authority, that freedom of movement is not as appropriate as it might have been in the past. Does the Minister envisage restrictions on the freedom with which people can move from poaching to gamekeeping? We have seen this elsewhere - people doing a job turn up using their experience in the interests of others. Should there be a time lapse between their occupying one position and another?

The Deputy referred to directors of the Central Bank being directors of other banking institutions. In my time as Minister for Finance I cannot think of any member of the current board or anyone I have replaced who was ever a member of a bank. I am sure there have been bankers involved with the board of the Central Bank over 50 years but not within ten years. None of the current members have any association with banks.

The Deputy asked about a person moving as an employee of the Central Bank or a Government Department into private business.

The question concerned a person taking on regulatory responsibility.

As far as the board of the Central Bank is concerned, no one has been from banking in the last ten years.

Should we make provision that directors of a regulatory authority cannot occupy positions on the boards of bodies they are regulating?

When a person becomes a member of any of these boards, he must divest himself of any possible conflict. In considering the idea that the person then leaves the board of the regulatory authority, thought has been given to the question of Ministers and Government officials leaving to take up employment in the other sectors. I do not see it becoming a problem in this instance.

I have some sympathy for Deputy Richard Bruton's point. There must be a clearout period. It has been mooted that Secretaries General of Departments should be unable to accept directorships of banks for up to three years. There is a serious point about declarations of interest and potential conflicts of interest. There should be no suggestion that a person who is privy to sensitive information on a regulatory matter or solvency issue in relation to a major bank or institution could enter the private sector and appear as a director of a rival bank with knowledge of sensitive commercial information on a competitor. I am reminded of Franklin D. Roosevelt's comment, when he was criticised over the appointment of Joe Kennedy as the first chairman of the FEC, that it takes a thief to know a thief. I am not opposed to the principle of private sector executives being brought into the bank, but I would worry about what they do after they leave it.

People on the board of the Central Bank under successive Governments would have had available to them very sensitive information that was not even available to the Minister for Finance. They are precluded by law from passing that information to anyone unless it was a matter which demonstrated a systemic risk for all of the banking sector.

Deputy Conor Lenihan is asking about those who work in that environment and then leave. The IFSRA board is far larger than the board of the Central Bank so I do not know how one can guard against that but members are precluded from divulging or using any information they might have. We cannot regulate for human nature.

They are precluded but there is no clearout period.

The suggestion the Deputy is making is that a member of the authority should not for five years become a member of a financial institution. There is no provision for that.

It is a principle at director level.

I understand the point. It also refers to civil servants who have knowledge of certain areas but one must be careful to draw a line where a person uses his knowledge. I know from my own experience practising the evil art of accountancy that when businesses or practices are sold, the buyer can try to ensure that none of the employees join rival businesses. Courts, particularly in Britain, have been very reluctant to be overly restrictive in such operations. We intend to put in place a code of conduct for the general area but it is fraught with difficulty.

The Minister said that directors have to divest themselves of any interests. Where is the provision for that in the Bill?

In the Central Bank Act anyone who has any connections with a financial institution has to move aside. I have told people who wish to be considered for Central Bank board appointments that they must declare their interests with banks and some of them could not be appointed as a result.

Is that being reproduced for the authority?

If a person has an interest, he or she cannot take part in any decision related to that matter. That is stated in page 97 of the Bill.

Is it the case that they have to divest their interests and cannot take part in decision making?

At the moment, if a person wants to become a member of the Central Bank board, they must disclose their interests.

That is disclosure of interests. The Minister said they had to divest themselves of interests.

They do not have to divest themselves. I am not inclined to appoint people with a close interest in any institution.

I do not wish to prolong this discussion now. Should we reflect on Report Stage as to whether there are any issues here?

Yes, we can have a look at that again.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 102:

In page 53, between lines 1 and 2, to insert the following:

"(d) the Registrar of the Appeals Tribunal;”.

This amendment extends to the registrar of the appeals tribunal the immunity from liability of certain acts or omissions that are proven to be not in bad faith, as provided under section 33AJ.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 1 to Amendment No. 103, amendments Nos. 104 to 107, inclusive, and amendments Nos. 152, 168, 172, 204, 233, 235 and No. 240 are related and may be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed.

I move amendment No. 103:

In page 53, to delete lines 42 to 48, in page 54, to delete lines 1 to 51, in page 55, to delete lines 1 to 53, in page 56, to delete lines 1 to 52, in page 57, to delete lines 1 to 53 and in page 58, to delete lines 1 to 39 and substitute the following:

33AK.-(1) (a) This subsection applies to the following persons:

(i) the Governor and every former Governor;

(ii) every Director and every former Director;

(iii) every member, member's deputy appointed under paragraph 4 of Schedule 3, former member and former member's deputy who had been so appointed, of the Regulatory Authority;

(iv) the Chief Executive and every former Chief Executive;

(v) the Consumer Director and every former Consumer Director;

(vi) the Registrar of Credit Unions and every former Registrar of Credit Unions;

(vii) every other officer or employee and every other former officer or employee of the Bank;

(viii) every person who is or was formerly employed as a consultant, auditor or in any other capacity by the Bank or any constituent part of the Bank.

(b) A person to whom this subsection applies shall not disclose confidential information concerning-

(i) the business of any person or body whether corporate or incorporate that has come to the person's knowledge through the person's office or employment with the Bank, or

(ii) any matter arising in connection with the performance of the functions of the Bank or the exercise of its powers,

if such disclosure is prohibited by the Rome Treaty, the ESCB Statute or the Supervisory Directives.

(2) (a) If requested by the Bank, the directors or those charged with the direction of a supervised entity shall, in accordance with paragraph (b), inform the Bank on the extent of any disclosure duly made by or on behalf of them or the entity to any authority, whether within the State or otherwise.

(b) Where a request is made under paragraph (a), the directors or those charged with the direction of a supervised entity shall give to the Bank all the information so requested that is in their possession or under their control, within-

(i) 30 days of receipt of the request, or

(ii) such longer period as the Bank may allow when making the request or subsequently.

(c) In responding to a request for information under this subsection, the directors or those charged with the direction of the supervised entity concerned shall exercise due diligence and shall not, by any act or omission, give or cause to be given to the Bank false or misleading information.

(3) (a) Subject to subsection (1)(b) and paragraph (b), the Bank shall report, as appropriate, to-

(i) the Garda Síochána, or

(ii) the Revenue Commissioners, or

(iii) the Director of Corporate Enforcement, or

(iv) the Competition Authority, or

(v) any other body, whether within the State or otherwise, charged with the detection or investigation of a criminal offence, or

(vi) any other body charged with the detection or investigation of a contravention of-

(I) the Companies Acts 1963 to 2001, or

(II) the Competition Act 2002, or in so far as any commencement order under that Act does not relate to the repeal of provisions of the Competition Acts 1991 and 1996, which would otherwise be subsisting those Acts,

any information relevant to that body that leads the Bank to suspect that-

(A) a criminal offence may have been committed by a supervised entity, or

(B) a supervised entity may have contravened a provision of an Act to which subparagraph (vi) relates.

(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply where the Bank is satisfied that the supervised entity has already reported the information concerned to the relevant body.

(c) Information contained in a report under paragraph (a) may only be used by the body to which it is addressed for the purposes of-

(i) the detection or investigation of a contravention of a provision of an Act to which paragraph (a)(vi) relates, or

(ii) any investigation which may lead to a prosecution for a criminal offence and any prosecution for the alleged offence.

(4) (a) In relation to a supervised entity, where the Bank identifies information——

(i) which it believes is or is likely to be material to an authority concerned with the enforcement of any law, and

(ii) which it believes it is unable, due to the provisions of subsection (1)(b), to disclose to that authority, and

(iii) in respect of which it is not satisfied that the information has been disclosed to that authority by the directors, or those charged with the direction, of the supervised entity,

then, the Bank shall issue to the directors or others duly charged with the direction of the supervised entity a document, to be known as a Disclosure Issue Notice, and the notice shall-

(I) specify the name of the authority concerned, and

(II) identify the information that the Bank has identified as causing it to issue the Disclosure Issue Notice.

(b) The Bank shall advise the authority concerned when a Disclosure Issue Notice is issued.

(c) Where a Disclosure Issue Notice is issued in respect of a company to which section 158 of the Companies Act 1963, applies (which relates to the directors’ report), the directors’ report shall comply with subsection (6A) of that section.

(5) Subject to subsection (1)(b), the Bank may disclose confidential information-

(a) required for the purposes of criminal proceedings, or

(b) with the consent of the person to whom the information relates and, if the information was obtained from another person, that other person, or

(c) where the Bank is or was the agent of a person-made to the person as the person’s agent, or

(d) to an authority in a jurisdiction other than that of the State duly authorised to exercise functions similar to any one or more of the statutory functions of the Bank and which has obligations in respect of non-disclosure of information similar to the obligations imposed on the Bank under this section, or

(e) to any institution of the European Community because of the State’s membership of the Community, or to the European Central Bank for the purpose of complying with the Rome Treaty or the ESCB Statute, or

(f) to an approved stock exchange, within the meaning of the Stock Exchange Act 1995-

(i) in respect of member firms of the exchange for the purpose of monitoring compliance by member firms with stock exchange rules or with conditions or requirements imposed by the Bank, or with both, or

(ii) where the Bank considers it necessary to do so, either for the proper and orderly regulation of stock exchanges and their member firms or for the protection of investors, or for both, or

(g) to a financial futures and options exchange, within the meaning of section 97 of the Central Bank Act 1989, whose rules have been approved by the Bank under Chapter VIII of the Central Bank Act 1989-

(i) for the purpose of monitoring compliance by the members of that exchange with those rules or with conditions or requirements imposed by the Bank, or with both, or

(ii) where the Bank considers it necessary to do so for the proper and orderly regulation of futures and options exchanges and their members, or

(h) to-

(i) an inspector appointed under the Companies Acts 1963 to 2001, or section 57 of the Stock Exchange Act 1995, or

(ii) a Committee appointed under section 65 of the Stock Exchange Act 1995, or

(i) to a body that is a competent authority for the purpose of Council Directive 93/22/EEC of 10 May 1993 or Council Directive 93/6/EEC of 15 March 1993, or

(j) to an approved professional body-

(i) for the purpose of monitoring compliance by investment business firms with rules or with conditions or requirements imposed by the Bank, or

(ii) where the Bank considers it necessary to do so for the proper and orderly regulation of investment business firms, or

(k) to-

(i) a Committee appointed under section 74 of the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995, or

(ii) a person nominated or approved of by a supervisory authority in accordance with section 51(2) of that Act, or

(iii) an inspector appointed by the Court under Part VIII of that Act, or

(l) to a product producer in respect of investment business services or investment advice provided by a restricted activity investment product intermediary who holds an appointment in writing from the producer under section 27 of the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995, or

(m) to an officer of statistics (as defined by section 20 of the Statistics Act 1993) in connection with the collection, compilation, analysis or interpretation of data relating to balance of payments, national accounts or any other financial statistics prepared for those purposes, or

(n) for the purpose of complying with section 57(2) or 57A(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1994, or

(o) to the Comptroller and Auditor General that is required for the performance of that officer’s functions or to a person employed in the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, or

(p) to an auditor to whom section 6H applies, or

(q) to the Minister for the Environment and Local Government in connection with that Minister’s functions under the national housing program with respect to a mortgage lender, or

(r) to the Investor Compensation Company Limited, or to a subsidiary of that company established by the Bank in order to provide administrative services to that company, or

(s) for the purposes of the hearing of an appeal by the Appeals Tribunal, or

(t) for the purpose of complying with a requirement imposed under section 33AM or by or under any other law, or

(u) where the Bank is in receipt of information from an authority in a jurisdiction other than the State duly authorised to exercise functions similar to one or more of the statutory functions of the Bank, made with the permission of that authority, or

(v) to a liquidator, examiner, receiver or any other person or body involved in the liquidation or bankruptcy of a supervised entity in relation to that entity, in accordance with the Supervisory Directives, where applicable, or

(w) to the auditor of a supervised entity in relation to that entity, in accordance with the Supervisory Directives, where applicable, or

(x) to any body established under law for the purposes of overseeing auditors, in accordance with the terms of the Supervisory Directives, where applicable, or

(y) to the Director of Corporate Enforcement for the purpose of any investigation under Part II (as amended) of the Companies Act 1990, or to an officer of the Director for the purposes of the Director’s functions and in accordance with the terms of the Supervisory Directives, where applicable, or

(z) to the Minister in accordance with the terms of the Supervisory Directives in relation to the Minister’s responsibility for legislation on the supervision of supervised entities or to an inspector, appointed by the Minister and acting on the Minister’s behalf, or

(aa) in accordance with Article 25(7) of Council Directive 93/22/EEC of 10 May 1993 on investment services in the securities field, to a body which has the function of providing clearing or settlement services for one of the State’s markets where necessary for the performance of its functions, or

(ab) in accordance with the terms of Council Directive 92/49/EEC of 18 June 1992 in respect of insurance undertakings, to bodies which administer compulsory winding up proceedings or guarantee funds, where necessary for the performance of their functions, or

(ac) in accordance with the terms of Council Directive 92/96/EEC of 10 November 1992 in respect of assurance undertakings, to bodies which administer compulsory winding up proceedings or guarantee funds, where necessary for the performance of their functions, or

(ad) to the Pensions Board that is required for the performance of its functions, or

(ae) in summary or collective form, such that individual persons or bodies cannot be identified, in legal proceedings where a supervised entity has been declared bankrupt or is being compulsorily wound up, but only if the information disclosed does not concern the business of any person or body which, to the knowledge of the Bank, may be, or has been involved in attempts to rescue that supervised entity at any stage, or

(af) if the Bank is satisfied that the disclosure is necessary to protect consumers of relevant financial services or to safeguard the interests of the Bank, or

(ag) if the disclosure arises in relation to-

(i) the operations of the Bank in any financial market, or

(ii) the issue by the Bank or the European Central Bank of legal tender, or

(iii) the pursuit by the Bank of the objectives set out in section 6A of the Central Bank Act 1942, or

(ah) to a Tribunal of Inquiry established under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2002, or

(ai) to the Revenue Commissioners in relation to their functions in a manner such that no supervised entity can be identified, or

(aj) to the Registrar of Friendly Societies that is required for the performance of the Registrar’s functions.

(6) Any person or entity to whom confidential information is provided under subsection (3)(a) or (5) shall comply with the provisions on professional secrecy in the Supervisory Directives in holding and dealing with information provided to them by the Bank.

(7) The Bank may, for the purposes of subsection (5)(d) or otherwise, require from a supervised entity any information for the purposes of the Bank assisting an authority to which that subsection relates, but the Bank may only require such information where the information requested is, in the opinion of the Bank, to assist the authority in the carrying out of its regulatory functions.

(8) A person who-

(a) contravenes subsection (1)(b), or

(b) contravenes paragraph (a) or (c) of subsection (2), or

(c) fails to comply with section 158(6A) of the Companies Act 1963, for the purpose of a Disclosure Issue Notice issued under subsection (4),

commits an offence and is liable-

(i) on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €30,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both, or

(ii) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.

(9) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary provided for by or under any enactment, where in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, or such officer or officers of the Commissioners as they may from time to time designate for this purpose, there is information which may relate to-

(a) the commission of an offence, or

(b) a failure to comply with an obligation,

under the designated enactments or the designated statutory instruments, then the Commissioners or that officer shall disclose the information to the Bank.

(10) In this section-

'approved professional body' has the meaning given by section 55 of the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995;

'product producer' has the meaning given by section 2 of the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995;

'restricted activity investment product intermediary' has the meaning assigned to it by section 26 of the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995;

'Supervisory Directives' means-

(a) Directive 2000/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 March 2000,

(b) Council Directive 93/22/EEC of 10 May 1993,

(c) Council Directive 85/611/EEC of 20 December 1985,

(d) Council Directive 92/49/EEC of 18 June 1992,

(e) Council Directive 92/96/EEC of 10 November 1992;

'supervised entity' means any person or body in relation to which the Bank exercises functions under the designated enactments or the designated statutory instruments.".

Deputies will recall that I gave a commitment to the House in July 2002 in relation to the Ansbacher report to bring forward proposals relating to the constraints upon banking regulators arising from the confidentiality provisions contained in European and national legislation. As I said at the time, I propose to make radical changed to the compliance environment in which supervised entities must operate.

It is not acceptable that financial institutions should deliberately break the law of the land, as some have done in the past. Neither is it acceptable that the State body charged with supervising these institutions should be inhibited from taking action if it discovers breaches of tax or other laws in the course of its supervisory duties. Current legislation in this area is based upon the premise that information can only be shared amongst State authorities in very limited circumstances. It is right that, as a general rule, banking and other supervisory authorities should not abuse their privileged access to confidential information by revealing this information to third parties. This general principle in enshrined in the EU directives governing the supervision of financial institutions throughout the Single Market.

The directives also recognise that this principle may be over-written where there are broader public policy issues involved, specifically, where breaches of the criminal law or of general company law arise or where it is necessary to share information with other supervisory authorities. The present section 33AK, as its title, "Prohibition on disclosing certain information", implies, mainly focuses upon the obligation not to disclose information to third parties. I propose in this amendment to replace section 33AK with an entirely new section entitled "Disclosure of information", in which the emphasis is on the obligation to disclose information to other statutory bodies where there is a suspicion that the law is being broken.

Subsection (3) of the section is the core provision. This provides that the bank must report to the relevant authority, for example, the Garda, the Revenue Commissioners, the Director of Corporate Enforcement or the Director of Consumer Affairs, if it comes across any information that leads the bank to suspect that a criminal offence, under statute or otherwise, or a breach of the Companies Acts 1963 to 2001 or of the Competition Act 2002 has been committed. The bank need not, as a general rule, report if it is satisfied that the institution concerned has reported the information to the relevant authority.

As tax evasion and failure to report money laundering of the proceeds of tax evasion are criminal offences, Deputies will appreciate the significance of this provision in the light of the DIRT and Ansbacher investigations. Subsection (4) comes into play if circumstances arise where the bank comes across information which it believes may be significant for an authority concerned with enforcing law but is prevented from reporting directly to that authority because of the confidentiality provisions laid down in EU law. In such a case, the bank must put both the financial institution and the enforcement authority concerned formally on notice that it has identified information relevant to that authority. The financial institution concerned must disclose the fact as being put on notice by the bank in the director's annual report. Again, the bank is not, as a general rule, obliged to act if it satisfied that the financial institution has disclosed the information directly to the enforcement authority concerned.

The other subsections are complimentary to these two. Subsection (1) lays down the general principle that the bank may not disclose confidential information if EU law prohibits such disclosure. Subsection (6) obliges authorities to whom information is disclosed to treat it as confidential, in accordance with our EU obligations. Subsection (2) gives the bank a general power to require financial institutions, or any other enforcement or supervisory authority, to report to it on the extent of their disclosure. Subsection (7) provides that the bank may require an institution to provide information required by a supervisory body in another country.

Subsection (5) is an illustrative and non-exhaustive list of the circumstances in which the bank may disclose confidential information to other authorities. The subsection encourages the bank to use these gateways without necessarily limiting disclosure to these gateways. The gateways listed are mainly those already contained in our domestic legislation. Subsection (8) lays down penalties for non-compliance either by a financial institution or by employees of the bank.

Subsection (9) provides that the Revenue Commissioners must report to the bank if they come across information to suggest that a financial institution is in breach of its obligations under the enactments the bank is charged with implementing. Amendments Nos. 105 to 107, inclusive, amend section 33AL, which deals with the obligations of office holders and employees of the bank in order to bring it into line with the revised section 33AK. Amendment No. 152 relates to the obligations of the directors of financial institutions to publish the disclosure issue notice referred to in subsection (4) of section 33AK. It inserts a new subsection into section 158 of the Companies Act 1963, which deals with the directors' reports that must be attached to a company's balance sheet. I wish to correct an error in this amendment. The new subsection should be numbered (6)(b) as subsection (6)(a) already exists. A consequential adjustment is necessary to the reference in subsection (4)(c) of the new section 33AK.

Amendment No. 168 separately provides that wherever a financial institution suspects that the customer is engaged in money laundering, it must make a report to the Revenue Commissioners as well as to the Garda. The significance of this amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1994 is that tax evasion is encompassed by our legislation dealing with money laundering. This means the Revenue Commissioners would have early notice of any suspicion that the customer of a financial institution is using the institution's services to evade a tax liability. If a financial institution fails to report suspicious transactions or fails to put in place the necessary measures to detect money laundering, both of which are criminal offences, the bank will be obliged to report any such failure of which it becomes aware to the Garda and to the Revenue Commissioners.

Amendments Nos. 172, 204, 233, 235 and 240 are consequential, technical amendments arising from the decision to impose a uniform set of disclosure obligations on the bank. These changes are radical and are part of a general effort by the Government to improve standards in the corporate sector. The establishment of the office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement was an important step in this effort. The companies amendment Bill that will come before the House shortly will impose new compliance obligations on the directors of companies and their auditors. The present Bill and the provisions of the second Bill that I hope to introduce later this year will help to insure that financial institutions fully comply with our statutory tax and other obligations and that the new regulatory authority within the bank plays its part in ensuring that they do so. I commend these amendments to the committee.

The Minister has not done a bad job in drafting this amendment. One would clearly need to be a bit of an expert in poaching to know exactly whether this is comprehensive, but on the face of it, it looks as though the Minister pretty much covers every avenue. Under subsection (2)(a), the bank has to request the Revenue Commissioners, for example, to reveal any disclosures made to them. I ask whether this request by the bank is the key trigger. If the bank does not so request such information, will the whole section fail to be triggered? Will the bank, in the future, have to issue a standard request form and require people to tick off a whole list of items? Is that the way it is proposed to operate this system?

I do not see any reference to the Director of Consumer Affairs. There are offences listed in relation to misleading advertising and so on, so I wonder how the Director of Consumer Affairs——

The reference in subsection (3)(a)(v) to “any other body” would cover the Director of Consumer Affairs.

By and large it looks very comprehensive. How does the Minister intend it to work in practice? Will the Central Bank effectively create a health check list that financial institutions will have to sign off? This arose in the past. The real problem in the Ansbacher case was even where it was identified and reported up the line, people thought there was a Chinese wall.

There are and there were.

But it did not seem to act within its own competency. That was another problem and a separate matter. On the face of it the Minister has made a fairly good attempt at sealing this off. Will he comment on how he sees it working in practice?

How I see it working in practice is that generally the banks will behave themselves far better in this area than ever before. From my knowledge I think they are so behaving. To say that for ever and a day there will be 101% compliance in this area would be stretching it a bit far. I am certain that due to the issues brought to public attention in recent years banks are making an all out effort to ensure they comply with all of these rules as best they can. As Deputy Bruton pointed out, under the previous legislation, if the Central Bank came across, in dealing with another bank under its remit, matters relating to tax evasion it was specifically precluded by law from telling anyone about it, including the Revenue Commissioners. That is where the difficulty lay. As the Deputy will be aware, both the media and Deputies choose to ignore this fact relating to the Central Bank. I have pointed out the provisions of the previous legislation under which the Central Bank had to operate about 158 times in the last couple of years but it did not make much difference to people if they wanted to attack the Central Bank. As an old friend of mine used to say, "We won't let the facts get in the way of it, we will just attack away". It was an Irish way of doing things. Now if the Central Bank comes across tax evasion it is statutorily obliged to do something about it. That is the opposite to what was done before. Before we changed the definitions somewhat, tax evasion was a money laundering offence since 1994.

From the point of view of the individual bank employees as opposed to an IFSRA regulatory body employee, will this involve the authority passing on to employees clear instructions in relation to their obligations under these sections? I know from my wife who works in the financial services sector that one of the most powerful instruments in relation to money laundering is the requirement on the individual employee of a bank, be they clerical, middle management or at director level, to actually make reports under the Act or face potential criminal sanction of one kind or another. I am anxious to know, at an operational level, in the event of an investigation by the Committee of Public Accounts or one similar to the DIRT inquiry, if there is an obligation at some level on staff who may be aware of this to report it to the authority. This is a huge sanction that is never mentioned as loudly as it should be. Do these sections pass to individual employees in a supervised institution the obligation to report and co-operate with such inquiries? As we saw in relation to NIB there was a systematic skimming of customers' accounts and yet it would appear that people in those banks were aware of this practice. If there are future investigations it is important, in the event of any such activity taking place, that the onus is on the employee who should be clearly instructed by the authority that he has a reporting function in respect of a potential offence that may be committed in the ongoing operation of a bank.

Perhaps we could break this down into three separate headings. First, it is envisaged under this legislation that the authority will regulate the financial institutions and will impose general obligations. The financial institution will then draw up its own internal guidelines as to how this will operate. If the authority comes across matters relating to tax evasion it will be statutorily obliged to do something about it. Second, under the Money Laundering Act 1994, the committee that sits there puts the obligation squarely on bank officials - if I understand it correctly - to report. Third, a Bill is coming down the tracks from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to amend the whistleblowers Act. So far as this Bill is concerned it will allow the Central Bank to act in ways from which it was specifically precluded before.

For the sake of being devil's advocate, are we going too far in putting it up to the Central Bank that it will, effectively, have to run a health check on everything from criminal law to tax law, corporate law and competition law? What we are providing for here is that if requested by the bank, the directors are obliged to disclose. Are we putting an onus on the Central Bank to become a surrogate director of corporate enforcement, director of competition enforcement and revenue commissioner? In giving the bank the power to alert these authorities and expecting them to do so where they find something untoward, we are almost saying to the bank it has an obligation to have this huge health check run on these financial institutions. Obviously the issue may be raised by the financial institutions themselves that these are the checks they have to comply with and now the Central Bank is seeking duplication. In terms of the practical working through of this provision, from the point of view of a compliant financial institution and not imposing excessive compliant costs or raising too high the expectations of what the Central Bank can police, is the Minister happy that he has got the balance right?

One only finds that out after a few years. There is always that temptation when one moves from one extreme to the other and doing some of the things to which Deputy Bruton has referred. This system enables the bank to pass on the information when it finds it. I am advised that separate regulations are coming from the Basel committee regarding financial regulation which will ask banks to assess risks of any kind. One of the risks an authority will have to assess will be the risk of tax evasion. They will have to involve themselves so they know how their individual supervised banks are performing. I never worked in the Central Bank or in that area but I am sure in its regulation of these institutions it will look at the procedures in the institutions and try to assess how this could happen. I do not expect a Central Bank official to stand at the counter of a certain bank in, say, Dunboyne, or Slane. When it came across the information that related to Ansbacher it was not in a position to pass it on to anybody. That has led to many bad vibes about the Central Bank but it was precluded by law from telling anybody, including the Minister.

It seems to me that if we want to make the system work smoothly there will have to be a fair amount of agreement between, in particular, the director of corporate enforcement and the Revenue Commissioners and, to a lesser extent, the Competition Authority. These are people who have the power to do audits themselves. Will we reach a point where there is a one-stop-shop audit? Will protocols be worked out whereby companies are not expected to face the same sort of scrutiny?

There is provision in the Bill to allow the authority to co-operate with all these matters, but Deputy Bruton's point is a moot one. Will all the bodies to which he referred compete with one another to show how great they are in doing all their work? That in itself would create difficulties for the relevant institutions. I can think of at least two State bodies that have been competing for the last number of years to show that one is better than the other in a particular area of activity. Deputy Bruton may have come across them when he was a Minister, although they would not have been within his direct area of competence. The dividing line as to which of them is doing the work and which is getting the credit has nothing to do with this Bill, but the Deputy can work it out. We do not seem to have been any better at solving those demarcation lines than the Government of which he was a member. I hope that is not going to happen.

I am satisfied with what the Minister has done. It seems to close off the loophole. I would like to know how the Minister's proposal for disclosure issue notices will operate in practice. These do not relate to criminal offences such as Revenue failures, but more minor failures of compliance. If someone is found to have inadvertently failed to comply with some aspects of the huge number of bodies the Minister has listed, will they have the opportunity to respond before disclosure notices are issued, with perhaps much adverse publicity, or will people be given a certain number of days to comply if the offence is a minor one? Will a judgment be made as to when the flag is raised to signal the issuance of a disclosure notice, which I presume will be in the public domain? Will there be a level of judgment as to what acts of non-compliance warrant the issuance of a disclosure notice?

The fact that the relevant institution received a disclosure issue notice must be referred to in its annual report. The regulatory authorities will be issuing notices in circumstances where they will be precluded by EU law from divulging the information they have found. They must tell the alleged offending bank, for example, that they are issuing a disclosure information notice. They must also tell the Revenue Commissioners that they have issued such a notice to the bank, but they will not state in the notice what is the alleged offence. This is the way in which we have got around the difficulty of secrecy provisions built into EU directives, rather than the ingenious ways with which some of the legal people have come up. Under article 16 of the old Central Bank legislation, one could not provide this information. The way around it, however, is to tell the bank it has offended and tell the relevant body that bank has offended against it, but not tell them the offence. They then have to go about finding out.

Does the authority tell the auditor that something has been found that is not quite kosher, or who is told?

We can take the example of the Revenue Commissioners, about which we were speaking, or the Director of Consumer Affairs who might not necessarily be in a position to use some other legislation or directive to state the specific alleged offence. One could tell them, however, that an offence had been committed.

Both the body one is supervising and the Director of Consumer Affairs would be told that something is amiss?

Yes, exactly.

But they do not know what it is.

Yes, but the institution itself will have to tell them, and they will have to own up to the particular body.

If the offence is of a minor nature, does the bank have the discretion to allow the body to make its disclosure voluntarily?

Yes, that is all provided for in the Bill. I do not want everything elevated to a mortal sin. With respect, I do not want the Central Bank to operate like the Dáil does, where the Opposition is outraged by everything. If one was to go by the outbursts in the Dáil, one might believe the whole country is in a perpetual state of outrage but the people I meet on the streets of Kildare and Carlow at the weekends are not outraged. Some Deputies would have us believe, however, that there has been a continuous state of public outrage for the past six years. Every morning there is outrage in the newspapers.

Did they only start in the past six years?

On some mornings, I do not know where the newspapers find this outrage. Is there a machine outside the newspaper office window that states: "The people are outraged in Ballydehob", or "The whole country is outraged"? Maybe they are outraged all the time in Portlaoise. Has the Deputy found that to be so?

In 1998, I did.

When Deputies are telephoned by the media they feel obliged to make a statement that they are outraged because their constituents are supposed to be outraged. The following weekend when it dies down, people cannot remember what they were outraged about the previous week, but it keeps a lot of newspapers in business. Has anyone else found this to be the case?

In relation to banks?

We are all outraged.

The notification procedure does not cover minor offences. This arose concerning the DIRT issue and the financial services centre. At one stage, there was a suggestion that the Revenue Commissioners were enforcing a level of documentary compliance in relation to the DIRT obligation.

There was.

In other words, that forms should be filled out in the usual manner. Is that the sort of issue that will necessitate a notification? If it is, I would be opposed to it.

I know about the matter to which the Deputy has referred. It was causing some anxiety at that time but common-sense prevailed all round. That is not the intention in this legislation but where does one draw the line?

Do we draw the line at a failure to provide documentary compliance?

I would like to make a general point. I am not defending the Revenue Commissioners because I am the Minister for Finance; I defended them long before I held that portfolio. In the past 15 years, tax inspectors have operated in a commonsense manner, getting in loads of money that we were not previously able to collect. They have a very efficient system, although I am not going to cover all that ground again. When they did not do certain things by the book, as regards charging everybody interest, some Oireachtas committees became outraged. Officials were brought before committees to be pilloried and mauled. When they returned to their offices they said: "We'll have to enforce this law to the letter because if we are called before the Oireachtas committees or when things are leaked to the newspapers, we are being dealt with like that". Therefore, a commonsense way of doing things cannot apply because public servants may feel that if they do it like that no one will stand up for them when they have to appear before outraged Members of the Oireachtas or outraged representatives of the media.

One of the dangers of this is that what are regarded as minor offences can be elevated to the outraged level of offence. That is a difficulty but the law has to be complied with.

Prior to the physical notification to an institution, is there a clear-out period during which the institution is informed that it has one month to get its act together or face formal notification? Let us be honest, this is the way central banks operate in other jurisdictions.

Yes, the Deputy is absolutely right. The whole section is predicated on that commonsense approach, that the institutions are notified and told to get their houses in order, and if they do so there will be no more about it. That is the general principle underlying this. If they do not, all the consequences follow.

It is assumed but not stated, is that not the point?

It is in amendment No. 103.

It is the same as the appointment of directors in banks. If somebody is not suitable, another candidate is sought rather than vetoing the appointment.

Amendment No. 103 reads, "where the Bank is satisfied that the supervised entity has already reported the information concerned to the relevant body." One is given plenty of time to report one's sins to the relevant body.

That is the criminal offence section.

It is in the next section as well.

Is amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 103, in the name of Deputy Burton, being moved?

I move amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 103:

In the proposed new subsection (5), before paragraph (a), to insert the following:

"(a) to a committee of either or both Houses of the Oireachtas,”.

I move this amendment on behalf of Deputy Burton, although I do not know what it is about.

This amendment has already been discussed with amendment No. 103.

Will the Minister comment on it?

Amendment No. 103 proposes to amend section 33AK by including a new gateway in subsection (5). However, subsection (1) lays down the general principles that the bank may not disclose confidential information if EU law prohibits such disclosure. I am satisfied that the amendment proposed will not be an allowable gateway under EU legislation.

I have some sympathy with the Deputy's amendment in which the underlying intent is obviously to increase accountability. I point out that I have already provided in section 33AM of the Bill for the chief executive officer of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority to attend before the appropriate joint committee of the Oireachtas and provide it with such information, as is requested. I am satisfied that, in practice, this will lead to the chief executive officer being in a position to brief an Oireachtas committee fully, either on a general issue or on one affecting a particular institution.

Does this amendment seek that the Oireachtas become one of the bodies which will be informed of a disclosure notice being issued?

We will list the various bodies to which one is supposed to tell all one's sins. Deputy Burton proposed that a committee of either, or both, Houses of the Oireachtas be included as well. I am told this would not be an allowable gateway under EU legislation.

The Oireachtas, as I understand it, would not have any disclosure requirements. It would only be a case of giving us every disclosure notice made under any provision.

The bank shall report, as appropriate, to the Garda Síochána, the Revenue Commissioners, the Director of Corporate Enforcement or the Competition Authority or to any other body, whether within the State or otherwise, charged with the detection or investigation of a criminal offence.

We do not have the powers to do any of those things.

If carrying out a specific investigation, could the Oireachtas seek information from the Central Bank as to whether a disclosure notice was issued in respect of some non-compliance? Would the Oireachtas have such a power given its power to command papers and so on?

A disclosure of information notice must be published in the report in any event.

The company must disclose it.

A related question arising from Deputy Bruton's comment is whether the Oireachtas has the ability to inquire whether a notification has been issued. For instance, in relation to a specified institution or bank where publication of its annual report has not——

It does not, nor would it be wise.

Amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 103, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 103 agreed to.
Amendment No. 104 not moved.

I move amendment No. 105:

In page 58, to delete lines 43 to 46, and in page 5, to delete lines 1 to 4, and substitute the following:

"(b) as a member, or a member’s deputy appointed under paragraph 4 of Schedule 3, of the Regulatory Authority, or

(c) as Chief Executive or Consumer Director, or

(d) as Registrar of Credit Unions, or

(e) as an other officer or employee of the Bank, or

(f) as a consultant or auditor or in any other capacity by the Bank or any constituent part of the Bank,”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 106:

In page 59, line 5, to delete "prohibition" and substitute "obligation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 107:

In page 59, line 11, to delete "prohibition" and substitute "obligation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 108:

In page 59, line 24, after "to" to insert "do".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 109 not moved.

I move amendment No. 110:

In page 59, line 40, to delete "subsection (1A)" and substitute "subsection (2)(a)”.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 27, as amended, agreed to.
Section 28 agreed to.
SECTION 29.

I move amendment No. 111:

In page 61, line 35, after "called" to insert "Bínse Athcomhairc Seirbhísí Airgeadais or in the English language".

We will consider this amendment and come back to it on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 112:

In page 61, line 46, after "Government" to insert "following a process of public advertisement for the positions, assessment of the candidates based on published criteria of qualification and interviews"

I oppose this amendment.

This amendment proposes a public advertisement for the appeals tribunal. Why does the Minister oppose the idea?

Section 29 provides that the members to be appointed to the Financial Services Appeals Tribunal be appointed by the President on the nomination of the Government. The criteria for eligibility for chairperson and deputy chairperson include the requirement that he or she must be a former judge of the Supreme or High Court or a barrister or solicitor of not less than seven years. A lay member will only be appointed by the President on the nomination of the Government if it is satisfied that he or she has the necessary experience and skills. The members of the appeals tribunal will be appointed only on a part-time basis. In these circumstances, it is neither appropriate nor necessary to carry out public competitions for posts of this sort and I reject the amendment.

Why is eligibility restricted to lawyers and High Court judges? Are there not people with financial skills who are not lawyers?

In general, I accept what the Deputy said. He has family connections, past and present, within the legal profession.

I know it well.

Now we know what he thinks of some of his siblings.

In general, I accept what the Deputy said but this is an appeals tribunal for important matters. We believe it should be headed up by a former judge of the Supreme or High Court and a barrister of not less than seven years and a lay person. The lay person should have particular skills in this area. In general, I would go along with what the Deputy said but not in this area because of its importance.

The Minister might remember that on future occasions.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 113:

In page 64, line 36, to delete "21" and substitute "28".

I wish to give notice of a new amendment I will bring forward on Report Stage. Deputy Burton proposed amendments to include in the Bill the Irish language version of the title of the regulatory authority and the appeals tribunal. I have agreed to introduce on Report Stage appropriate amendments to implement this. The appeals tribunal is referred to as the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal. This is inconsistent with the interpretation section 2, which does not include the word "Irish" in the name. To ensure consistency, I will provide for the tribunal to be so named when I introduce the appropriate amendment inserting the Irish language titles.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 113:

In page 64, line 36, to delete "21" and substitute "28".

This amendment extends the number of days from 21 to 28 within which an appeal can be made against an appealable decision of the regulatory authority under section 57L. As it is provided with 28 days to justify any reason behind its appealable decisions, it makes sense that an appellant should have the same timeframe within which to appeal.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 114:

In page 82, line 36, after "subsection (1)" to insert "the Court may make an order requiring the person concerned to comply with this Act and if the person fails to comply with such order".

Section 29 inserts a new Part VIIA in relation to the Financial Services Appeals Tribunal and section 57AN deals with contempt of the tribunal. The tribunal may refer matters to the High Court under section 57AN(1), page 81 of the Bill, and the court may deal with the matter as if it were a contempt of that court. The court may require an explanation of the Act or omission concerned before deciding if it was a contempt. The amendment proposes that the person be directed by the court to comply with the Act and that only if the person fails to comply, the court may deal with the matter as a contempt of that court. While the original draft appears to offer some level of protection to the person concerned by offering him or her the opportunity to offer a reasonable excuse, I am happy to accept the amendment subject to receiving appropriate legal advice before Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 115:

In page 83, lines 41 and 42, to delete "civil servant" and substitute "an employee of the Bank or a civil servant for the purposes of the Civil Service Regulations Acts 1956 to 1996".

Section 57U in the new Part VIIA is concerned with the allowances and expenses payable to persons who are required to appear to give evidence before the appeals tribunal. Section 57U(1) provides that a person other than a civil servant may claim expenses or allowances set by regulations made under section 57AZ of the principal Act if required to appear or give evidence before the appeals tribunal. This amendment changes the reference to "civil servant" in subsection (1). The term "civil servant" does not cover the staff of the bank in this instance and it would not be appropriate that staff of the authority should receive allowances for appealing and-or giving evidence at an appeals tribunal hearing. The reference to the term "civil servant" is being amended to include civil servants and staff of the bank in the citation of the relevant legislation that defines the term "civil servant".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 29, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 30.

I move amendment No. 116:

In page 86, line 23, to delete "61" and substitute "57AZ".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 117:

In page 87, line 3, after "may", to insert "after consulting the Bank,".

Section 61B in the new Part VIIA provides the Minister for Finance with the power to amend or revoke orders made by him or her under the principal Act. This amendment provides that the Minister consult the bank before amending or revoking an order pursuant to this section. Section 61A provides the Minister with the power to make regulations for the purposes of the principal Act while section 61A(1) allows the Minister to consult the bank before doing so. If the Minister consults with the bank regarding the making of regulations, it makes sense for the bank also to be consulted if the Minister revokes or amends them. For this reason it is proposed to amend section 61B.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 118:

In page 87, line 24, after "regulation" to insert "or order".

This amendment corrects an omission in section 61B where there are several references to the words "regulation" and "order". However, the second use of the word "regulation" in section 61B(2) is not followed by "or order", as it should be. For reasons of consistency, therefore, the words "or order" are being inserted into the text of subsection (2) after the word "regulation".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 30, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 31.

I move amendment No. 119:

In page 87, between lines 37 and 38, to insert the following:

"(g) the Director of Corporate Enforcement;”.

Section 61E provides that the bank and certain specified bodies must consult with each other for the purpose of ensuring the establishment and pursuit of a consistent policy regarding the regulation of financial services. This provision applies to banks, any delegates of the bank, the Pensions Board, the Director of Consumer Affairs, the Competition Authority, the Registrar of Friendly Societies and any person whom the Minister, after first consulting with the person, designated in writing for the purposes of this section. The Director of Corporate Enforcement should also have been part of the list specified in the section. The amendment provides for this.

How many Revenue Commissioner are included under this section? They would be involved in complementary enforcement work.

This section is concerned with the establishment and pursuit of a consistent policy regarding the regulation of financial services. The Revenue Commissioners are not involved in that.

We earlier considered the Central Bank running a checklist of enforcement issues relating to tax compliance, something it is empowered to request.

This section is concerned with the regulation of financial services. The Revenue Commissioners could not be expected to have a role in that.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 31, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 32.

I move amendment No. 120:

In page 88, to delete lines 20 and 21 and substitute the following:

2.-(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a quorum for all meetings of the Board is 7.

(2) Where the Board is considering budgetary, funding or staffing issues relating to the Regulatory Authority, there is no quorum unless, in addition to complying with subparagraph (1), there is present so many members of the Board as ensures that——

(a) if there is an even number of members present, at least half of them are not members of the Regulatory Authority,

(b) if there is an uneven number of members present, the majority of them are not members of the Regulatory Authority.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 121:

In page 88, line 22, to delete "A meeting" and substitute "Subject to subparagraph (3), a meeting".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 122:

In page 88, between lines 38 and 39, to insert the following:

"(3) Where the Board is dealing with-

(a) budgetary or funding issues relating to the Regulatory Authority, or

(b) staffing issues relating to the Bank,

the meeting of the Board must be presided over by the Governor or, where section 22A applies, the Director General of the Bank.".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 138 is similar to amendment No. 123 and both may be considered together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 123:

In page 89, line 34, after "Board" to insert "or the Secretary to the Board who shall advise the next meeting of the Board of the disclosure".

The First Schedule to the principal Act, as inserted by section 32, sets out the provisions applicable to the board of the directors of the bank, such as the calling of meetings, voting, etc. Paragraph 6 of the First Schedule deals with the disclosure of directors' pecuniary interests. If a director has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered, or about to be considered by a meeting of the board, and if the interest appears to raise a conflict in relation to the performance of the director's duties about the matter under consideration, the director shall disclose the interest to the meeting of the board as soon as is possible after the relevant facts have come to his knowledge.

The purpose of amendment No. 123 is to provide that the director concerned does not have to wait for the next meeting of the board before making a disclosure. He can report to the secretary to the board, who shall advise the next meeting of the board of the disclosure. He can do this, for example, if he knows he will be unable to attend the next board meeting. Amendment No. 138 is similar, except that it relates to the members of the regulatory authorities.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 124 and 139 are cognate and both may be considered together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 124:

In page 90, line 31, to delete "subparagraph" and substitute "paragraph".

Amendments Nos. 124 and 139 update references in the First Schedule and the Third Schedule of the principal Act. The current text of paragraph 6(7) of the First Schedule provide that contributions to retirement benefit schemes are exempt from the provisions of the subparagraph. This reference does not make sense, as there are no specific provisions in subparagraph (7) apart from the particular exemption. The reference should be to paragraph 6. Accordingly, amendment No. 124 updates the reference to subparagraph (7) and paragraph 6 to the First Schedule, while amendment No. 139 updates similar references in paragraph 7(7) to the Third Schedule. Both amendments are technical.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 125:

In page 91, column (3), line 4, after "(4)," to insert "18, 23,".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 158 and 257 are related to amendment No. 126 and all may be considered together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 126:

In page 91, to delete lines 6 and 7.

Amendments Nos. 126, 158 and 257 propose to delete from the Bill all references to the Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) Act 1978 because the provisions of this Act are now being subsumed by the bank. The McDowell group recommended that following the transfer from the Registrar of Friendly Societies to the bank of functions in relation to credit unions, a review should take place in relation to the remaining functions of the registrar. That review has not yet been completed. When it has been completed, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment will bring proposals to Government regarding what other functions, if any, should be transferred to the bank.

The provisions of the Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) Act refer to friendly societies that are registered under section 2 of that Act. Pending the outcome of the review, functions relating to these societies are not being transferred to the bank. In this respect amendment No. 158 provides for the deletion of Part 6 from Schedule 1 to the Bill. Part 6 currently sets out amendments to the Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) Act that are consequential on the transfer of authority from the Registrar of Friendly Societies to the bank.

As the bank is not assuming the functions of this Act, the regulatory authority will also not be performing functions of the bank under this Act. In this respect, amendment No. 126 deletes the reference to the Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) Act in Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the principal Act, under which the regulatory authority performs functions of the bank.

In addition, amendment No. 257 deletes paragraph 14 from Schedule 3 of the Bill. Paragraph 14 deals with savings provisions relating to the amendment of the Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) Act 1978.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 127:

In page 91, to delete line 20.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 128:

In page 91, column (3), line 21, to delete "The whole Act" and substitute "Part XIII".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 129:

In page 91, column (3), line 21, to delete lines 38 to 40 and substitute "The whole Act".

This amendment is technical in nature.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 130 was discussed with amendment No. 55.

I move amendment No. 130:

In page 91, to delete lines 41 and 42.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 131:

In page 91, column (1), line 43, to delete "No. 39" and substitute "No. 37".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 132:

In page 92, to delete lines 35 to 38.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 133 is in the name of the Minister. Amendments No. 231 and 268 are cognate. Therefore, we will discuss amendments Nos. 133, 231 and 268 together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 133:

In page 93, column (2), line 21, to delete "Assurance" and substitute "Insurance".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 134 is in the name of the Minister. Amendment No. 249 is related. Therefore, we will discuss amendments Nos. 134 and 249 together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 134:

In page 94, between lines 12 and 13, to insert the following:

"

S.I. No. 221 of 2002

European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2002

The whole instrument

S.I. No. 335 of 2002

European Communities (Cross Border Payments in Euro) Regulations 2002

The whole instrument

".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 135:

In page 94, line 29, to delete "fifth".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 136:

In page 94, line 43, after " "allowances)" to insert "and be subject to such conditions of service"

Paragraph 3 of the proposed new Schedule 3, as inserted by section 32 of the Bill, states that appointed members of the regulatory authority, that is, members appointed to the authority, other than persons who are members by virtue of holding a specified office, are entitled to be paid such remuneration as the Minister determines. This amendment inserting the words, "and be subject to such conditions of service" after the word "allowances", is to provide that the Minister may set the conditions of service of these members. This would be the normal approach to be taken in such circumstances.

Amendment agreed to.

Before we continue, I want to inform the Deputies that, for the avoidance of doubt, I intend introducing an amendment on Report Stage in relation to subparagraph 7(3) of the third schedule.

As Deputies will be aware, I have significantly altered the confidentiality provisions so that they are now precisely aligned with EU requirements and do not provide for a greater degree of confidentiality than the EU requires of us. The amendment I now propose to introduce on Report Stage in relation to paragraph 7 of the third schedule makes it clear that that revised minimal confidentiality requirement applies in the eventuality covered by paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 to the 1942 principal Act, as it does in all other circumstances where the authority releases information.

Section 32 of the Bill inserts, among other things, this new third schedule into the principal Act in order to set out various provisions applicable to the members of the regulatory authority. Paragraph 7 of that Schedule relates to disclosure of members' pecuniary interests when these interests appear to cause a conflict of interest for the member. The paragraph provides that members who have such conflicts will not participate in the relevant deliberations and decisions. Subparagraph 7(3) provides that a record of such disclosures be kept and made available for public inspection.

My amendment will make it clear that the public record to be kept is subject to the requirements of the revised section 33AK regarding disclosure of confidential information, that is, that the public record of such disclosures needs to be in a form consistent with EU law. This is in any case the legal position since EU directives have direct application in Ireland. The amendment is for clarification only and does not alter the substantive position. Its purpose is to establish more clearly how the various provisions should be read consistently together.

Following this amendment, it will be a matter for the secretary to the authority and the authority itself to formulate the record available to the public so that confidential information is not revealed. However, the range of information that is confidential is now strictly limited and I do not envisage that this clarification will in any way dilute the usefulness of the public record which is to be kept. The intention of the subparagraph is that members of the public should be able to establish whether members of the authority have had to absent themselves from agenda items because of pecuniary interests they hold and this amendment does not prevent that.

I ask the Minister to move amendment No. 137.

I move amendment No. 137:

In page 96, line 18, to delete "Board" and substitute "Regulatory Authority".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 138 was discussed with amendment No. 123.

I move amendment No. 138:

In page 96, line 44, after "Authority" to insert "or to the Secretary to the Authority who shall advise the next meeting of the Regulatory Authority of the disclosure".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 139 was discussed with amendment No. 124.

I move amendment No. 139:

In page 97, line 43, to delete "subparagraph" and substitute "paragraph".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 32, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 33 to 36, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 37.
Question proposed: "That section 37 stand part of the Bill."

I received a lengthy technical submission about amendments from some of the representatives of brokers and other such bodies regarding this issue. They have submitted technical amendments regarding some of the provisions of the assurance and insurance legislation and the obligations. There has been no discussion, on Second Stage or anywhere else, of some of the amendments they raised. Has the Minister considered these submitted amendments to which I refer and what is his general view on them?

I signed a letter today, on my return from Brussels, to Deputies Fleming, Bruton and Finneran about this matter. Recently I received representations from Deputies Finneran and Fleming which enclosed submissions in regard to submissions on the Bill made from Diarmuid Kelly, chief executive of PIBA.

The main purpose of the Bill is to transfer existing functions from particular authorities to the proposed new Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland. None of these functions are being changed and, as Committee Stage of the Bill is well under way, unfortunately it was too late for me to take on board the matters which were raised by PIBA, even if it was considered necessary to do so and even if it was considered that the Bill was the appropriate legislation to address these issues.

I appointed the members of the interim regulatory authority when I published the Bill last April. Many of the issues raised by PIBA are matters which can be considered and decided upon outside the scope of the legislative process by the new regulatory authority. For that reason, I sent a copy of the representations of the PIBA submission to Dr. Liam O'Reilly, the chief executive designate of the authority for consideration by the authority. I have asked Dr. O'Reilly to reply directly to the Deputies concerned in that regard.

I would expect to have a further opportunity to look at the financial services legislation later this year and I will, in consultation with the new authority, examine the PIBA submission carefully in that context.

That is the gist of the letter sent.

The Minister stated he can consider it at a later stage. When can he do so?

There will be another financial services Bill - following on from this Bill - which I intend to enact before the end of the year. I hope it will not be as big a tome as this one but I will consider those submissions then.

What is the Minister's general view on these matters? I recognise that he probably has not analysed the submissions.

I have not done so but I will look into these matters before that. From my meetings around the country, particularly before the last encounter we had on 18 May last, I would be aware of disquiet among those members of that body and of its concerns. I will have a look at them in the context of the next Bill, which will be published by the end of this year.

I would appreciate that because it would seem from the documentation received by others members and me, that there was a great deal of thought put into this and obviously there were great concerns in that regard. I was not in a position to evaluate all of that, but I appreciate the fact that it will be considered in the Bill to which the Minister refers.

Question put and agreed to.
FIRST SCHEDULE.

I move amendment No. 140:

In page 105, to delete lines 15 to 20.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 141:

In page 105, to delete lines 21 to 23.

This amendment relates to item 2 of Part I of the First Schedule which is to amend section 2 of the Amendment of Assurance Companies Act 1909. Section 2 deals with the requirements of assurance companies to deposit sums with the Paymaster-General. Subsection (7) of section 2 states that all references to the Paymaster-General in section 2 were to be construed as references to the Accountant General of the Supreme Court. Item 2 transfers responsibility of the Accountant General in section 2 to the bank. However, the deposit requirement should stay with the Accountant General, not the bank. Deposits that could be used in the case of an inability to pay liabilities are correctly deposited with the accountant. For this reason, the amendments to section 2 are being withdrawn and item 2 deleted.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 142, 143, 148, 149, 151, 153, 160, 161, 167, 184, 186 to 190, inclusive, 192 to 198, inclusive, 200, 201, 202, 207 to 213, inclusive, 217, 224 to 227, inclusive, 232, 233, 234, 236 to 239, inclusive, 241, 242 and 248 are related and can be taken together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 142:

In page 106, column (3), lines 24 and 25, to delete "Minister" and substitute "Bank".

These 47 amendments correct technical errors within the First and Second Schedules. The First and Second Schedules amend various enactments and EC regulations consequential on the transfer of authority over this legislation to the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland. This is effective, for the most part, by changing references from "Minister" to "Bank" and by neutralising all relevant pronouns and attributes.

The amendments also include any consequential alterations to punctuation. Due to the sheer volume of legislation affected in this regard, not all references were updated in the existing version of the Bill which is the reason these amendments are now being made.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 143:

In page 106, column (3), line 29, to delete "Minister" and substitute "Bank".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 144:

In page 106, column (3), line 36, to delete "subsections (1) and (2)" and substitute "subsection (1)".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 145:

In page 106, column (3), to delete lines 55 to 58.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 146:

In page 107, between lines 10 and 11, to insert the following:

“1.

Section 2

Delete ’, but no order shall be made by the Minister under this section in relation to Part VI of this Act without the consent of the Minister for Finance’.”

This is also a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 147:

In page 107, column (3), line 31, to delete "subsection (2)" and substitute "subsection (3)".

This is also a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 148:

In page 108, column (3), line 17, to delete "Substitute 'Bank' for 'Minister', wherever occurring." and substitute "In subsection (1), substitute 'Bank' for 'Minister'.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 149:

In page 108, column (3), line 24, to delete "occurring." and substitute the following:

"occurring;

(e) delete ’, with the consent of the Minister,’, wherever occurring.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 150:

In page 109, column (3), to delete lines 23 to 25 and substitute the following:

"(d) substitute the following subsection for subsection (10):

'(10) Whenever a dispute is referred to the Bank for determination under this section, there shall be paid to the Bank such fee as shall be prescribed by regulations under section 33K of the Central Bank Act 1942, and such fee shall be paid by (as the case may require) the industrial assurance company which or the applicant who refers such dispute to the Bank or, where such dispute is referred by the industrial assurance company and the applicant jointly to the Bank by both such company and the applicant in equal parts, and the due payment of such fee shall be a condition precedent to the determination of such dispute by the Bank.';

(e) delete subsection (11).”.

This amendment changes the text of amendment (d) of item 25 of Part II of the First Schedule to the Bill and creates a new amendment (e) in item 25 in order to make the provisions contained therein consistent with other provisions throughout the Bill that relate to the prescription of fees.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 151:

In page 110, between lines 38 and 39, to insert the following:

"41*.Third Schedule, Part IVSubstitute 'Bank' for 'Minister'."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 152:

In page 111, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:

"PART 4

AMENDMENT OF COMPANIES ACT 1963

1.

Section 158

Insert the following subsection after subsection (6):

’(6A) The report referred to in subsection (1) shall contain a copy of any Disclosure Issue Notice issued under section 33AK (inserted by the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2003) during the financial year ending with the relevant balance sheet date.’.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 153:

In page 111, column (3), to delete line 36 and substitute the following:

"(b) substitute ’it’ for ’he’, wherever occurring;

(c) in subsection (2)(a), substitute ’its’ for ’his’.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 154:

In page 112, column (3), line 41, after "Bank", to insert "in the due discharge by the Bank of its functions,".

This amendment brings the wording of the new section 17(1)(a) of the Central Bank Act 1971, as set out in item 2 of Part V of the First Schedule to the Bill, into line with the wording of the original section 17 of that Act.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 155:

In page 113, column (3), line 38, after "business" to insert "or where the person reasonably believes records relating to the business of the holder of a licence or related body are kept".

This amendment brings the wording of the new section 17A(2) of the Central Bank Act 1971, as set out in item 2 of Part V of the First Schedule to the Bill, into line with the wording of the original section 17 of that Act. This amendment will strengthen the power of the bank in relation to access to any records by allowing it access to places where it believes records might be kept.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 156 is in the name of the Minister. Amendment No. 157 is cognate and both may be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 156:

In page 113, column (3), line 46, to delete "prescribed".

Amendments Nos. 156 and 157 bring the wording of the new section 17A(3)(b) and (c) of the Central Bank Act, 1971, as set out in item 2 of Part V of the First Schedule to the Bill, into line with the wording of the original section 17 of that Act. The two references in subsection (3) to "prescribed records" are being changed to "records" in order to allow the bank to inspect all records held by a holder of a licence.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 157:

In page 113, column (3), line 49, to delete "prescribed".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 158:

In page 115, to delete lines 37 to 54, in page 116, to delete lines 1 to 50, in page 117, to delete lines 1 to 62 and in page 118, to delete lines 1 to 28.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 159:

In page 119, column (3), line 51, to delete "issued".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 160:

In page 120, column (3), to delete line 3 and substitute the following:

"(a) In subsections (2B) and (2D), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in subsection (5), delete ’to the Minister’.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 161:

In page 126, to delete line 38.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 162:

In page 127, column (3), line 4, to delete "Minister" and substitute "Minster".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 163:

In page 128, column (2), line 9, to delete "Sections 12 to 21" and substitute "Sections 12, 13, 14(3), 15, 16 and 18 to 21".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 164:

In page 132, line 36, to delete "BANK" and substitute "BANKS".

This is also a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 165:

In page 136, column (3), line 16, to delete "(b)” and substitute “(c)”.

This is also a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 166:

In page 138, to delete lines 22 to 25.

This is also a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 167:

In page 138, column (3), line 32, to delete "Bank" and substitute "Minister for Finance".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 168:

In page 138, between lines 35 and 36, to insert the following:

“3.

Section 57

(a) In subsection (1), insert ’and to the Revenue Commissioners’ after ’Garda Síochána’;

(b) in subsection (2), insert ’and to the Revenue Commissioners’ after ’Garda Síochána’;

(c) in subsection (3), insert ’and to the Revenue Commissioners’ after ’Garda Síochána’.”

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments No. 215, 216 and 218 to 221, inclusive, are related to amendment No.169 and it is proposed to discuss these amendments together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 169:

In page 138, column (3), lines 40 and 41, to delete " 'Central Bank' for 'Minister for Enterprise and Employment' " and substitute " 'Minister for Finance' for 'Minister for Enterprise and Employment' (as construed as a reference to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment by virtue of the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997))".

These amendments all deal with updating the literal use of old titles of the Minister for, and Department of, Enterprise, Trade and Employment, for example, the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Department of Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism.

The use of such terms cannot be used in these cases without qualification because it is no longer a valid reference. This is because each time the title of a Department or Minister is changed, an order is produced that states that the former title of the Department or Minister shall be construed as a reference to the Department or Minister under its new title, which means that literal references to old departmental titles or Ministers, in these cases, are invalid.

To rectify this problem, all literal reference to old ministerial and departmental titles are being followed by a citation of the most recent order that changed the titles to the Minister for and Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. This order is called the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997).

What happens when the functions of a Department are transferred from one Department to another under a new Administration?

They are transferred by order. It is quite a complicated procedure. When old titles are abolished and new Departments are set up with new functions, the shell of the old company is used, so to speak. It is done by Government order.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 170:

In page 139, column (2), line 15, to delete "31" and substitute "30".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 171:

In page 141, to delete lines 5 to 8.

This is a technical amendment. Item 1 of Part XX amends the Long Title of the Investment Intermediaries Act 1995. This amendment is to delete item 1, as the legal advice received from the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel is that it is not the practice in this jurisdiction to amend the existing Long Title of an Act in a subsequent Act.

This legal advice also applies to the Long Title of the Central Bank Act 1942, which is currently being amended by section 3 of the Bill. I propose on Report Stage, therefore, to delete section 3 of the Bill in this regard.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 172:

In page 142, between lines 19 and 20, to insert the following:

"

5*.

Section 49

Delete subsection (2).

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 173:

In page 144, column (3), line 19, to delete "appropriate" and substitute "appropriate.".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 174:

In page 151, column (3), line 17, after "require" to insert "from time to time".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 175:

In page 160, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:

"

27.

Section 105

In subsection (2), substitute ’section 8N’ for ’section 7’.

".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 176 and 177 are cognate and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 176:

In page 164, column (3), line 14, to delete "€6.30" and substitute "€630".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 177:

In page 164, column (3), line 20, to delete "€3.15" and substitute €315".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 178:

In page 167, column (3), line 53, after "charge" to insert "includes a penalty or surcharge interest by whichever name called, being an interest charge imposed in respect of arrears on a credit agreement or a loan, but".

Item 41 of Part 21 amends section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995, which deals with customer charges, etc., by credit institutions that are subject to regulation by the bank. The amendment proposed clarifies that extra interest charges imposed by credit institutions as a penalty in respect of arrears on a credit agreement or loan are penalties rather than interest payments and should be subject to the approval of the bank. Such penalties are, therefore, contained within, and not exempted from, the definition of "charge" in section 149(13) of the Consumer Credit Act 1995.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment Nos. 179, 183, 256, 259, 260, 261, 263 to 267, inclusive, and 269 are related and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 179:

In page 168, column (3), line 6, to delete "item 40” and substitute “item 42”.

These are technical amendments. They update incorrect item numbering within Schedule 2 and Schedule 3 of the Bill as published.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 180:

In page 168, column (3), lines 18 and 19, to delete "institutions".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 181 and 182 are cognate and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 181:

In page 169, column (3), line 13, to delete "a credit institution" and substitute "the holder of an authorisation".

These are technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 182:

In page 169, column (3), lines 34 and 35, to delete "credit institution" and substitute "holder of an authorisation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 183:

In page 171, column (3), line 20, to delete "item 41” and substitute “item 42”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 184:

In page 171, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

"

44*.

Section 150

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Director’;

(b) substitute ’its’ for ’his’, wherever occurring;

(c) substitute ’it’ for ’him’.

".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 185:

In page 171, column (3), line 26, to delete "the".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 186:

In page 173, column (3), to delete lines 45 to 51 and substitute the following:

"(a) Substitute the following subsection for subsection (1):

'(1) The Bank may, subject to the approval of the Minister, prescribe the fee that a person who operates a payment system must pay to the Bank in relation to the operation of the system. Different fees may be prescribed for different classes of operators of payment systems.;

(b) in subsection (2), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’;

(c) in subsection (2), substitute ’it’ for ’he’ or ’she’, wherever occurring;

(d) in subsection (2), substitute ’it’ for ’him’ or ’her’.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 187:

In page 175, between lines 6 and 7, to insert the following:

"

4.

Section 5

(a) In subsection (4), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Registrar’;

(b) in subsection (4), substitute ’it’ for ’he’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 188:

In page 175, column (3), line 17, to delete "it" and substitute "its".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 189:

In page 175, to delete lines 19 and 20 and substitute the following:

"

11*.

Section 13

(a) In subsection (1), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Registrar’, wherever occurring;

(b) in subsection (1), substitute ’it’ for ’him’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 190:

In page 175, column (3), line 23, to delete "subsection (5)" and substitute "subsections (4) and (5)".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 191:

In page 175, column (3), line 32, to delete "occurring." and substitute the following:

"occurring;

(c) in subsection (4), insert under section 182 after regulations.”.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 192:

In page 175, between lines 32 and 33, to insert the following:

"

15*.

Section 32

(a) In subsection (4), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Registrar’;

(b) in subsection (4), substitute ’it’ for ’he’, wherever occurring.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 193:

In page 177, column (3), line 32, after "he " to insert ", wherever occurring".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 194:

In page 178, column (3), to delete lines 20 and 21 and substitute the following:

"(b) substitute ’it’ for ’he’, wherever occurring;

(c) in subsection (2), substitute ’it’ for ’him’.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 195:

In page 179, column (3), line 39, to delete "(3) and (6)" and substitute "(3), (6) and (7)".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 196:

In page 179, column (3), line 53, to delete "it" and substitute "its".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 197:

In page 179, column (3), between lines 53 and 54, to insert the following:

"(d) in subsection (1), substitute ’by notice in writing’ for ’by writing under his hand’;”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 198:

In page 180, column (3), to delete lines 27 to 29 and substitute the following:

"(b) in subsection (3), substitute ’it’ for ’he’;

(c) substitute the following subsection for subsection (4):

'(4) The Bank may not serve a notice under subsection (3) after the end of 3 months from the date on which it received the document to which the notice relates.';

(d) in subsection (5), substitute it for him, wherever occurring.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 199:

In page 181, to delete lines 3 to 5 and substitute the following:

"

72*.

Section 106

Repeal the section

".

This amendment repeals section 106 of the Credit Union Act 1997 because the provisions contained therein are provided for under the new section 33AC of the principal Act.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 200:

In page 183, column (3), line 17, after "he" to insert ", wherever occurring".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 201:

In page 183, column (3), lines 20 and 21, to delete ", wherever occurring".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 202:

In page 185, item 121, to delete line 13, and substitute the following:

"

123*.

Section 187

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Registrar’, wherever occurring;

(b) in subsection (2), delete ’or a person duly authorised by the Minister’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 203:

In page 185, column (2), to delete lines 27 to 29, and substitute "Sections 3 to 8 and 10 to 20".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 204:

In page 186, between lines 36 and 37, to insert the following:

"

4.

Section 48

Repeal the section.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 205:

In page 186, to delete lines 37 to 53 and in page 187, to delete lines 1 to 6, and substitute the following:

"PART 27

Amendment Of Dormant Accounts Act 2001

Item

Provision affected

Amendment

1.

Section 2

In subsection (1), insert the following definition after the definition of ’Board’:

’ “Central Bank” means the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland;’.

2.

Section 6

Substitute the following subsection for subsection (5):

’(5) (a) Summary proceedings for an offence under section 40(2) may be brought and prosecuted by the Minister.

(b) Summary proceedings for an offence under any provision of this Act other than section 40(2) may be brought and prosecuted by the Central Bank.’.

3.

Section 17

In subsection (4)(a)(ii), substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’.

4.

Section 20

In subsection (1), substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring.

5.

Section 21

In the definition of ’inspector’, substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’.

6.

Section 22

(a) In subsection (1), (4) and (5), substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’;

(b) in subsection (2), substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’, where firstly occurring.

7.

Section 23

In subsections (3) and (9), substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’.

8.

Section 24

Substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring.

9.

Section 27

In subsection (1), substitute ’Central Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring.

".

This amendment updates Part 27 of Schedule 1 in two ways. All references to "Bank" in Part 27 have been changed to "Central Bank" because this is the term used throughout the Dormant Accounts Act 2001, which is being amended by Part 27. The entire part has been restated in this regard.

A new item 2 of Part 27 is being included. It deals with prosecution functions under the Act transfers to the bank the power to take summary proceedings for the majority of offences under the Act. Such offences include failure by an institution to notify an account holder of their last known address where a dormant account is held, or publication in the press of the notice prescribed in the Act.

Amendment agreed to.
Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.
SECOND SCHEDULE.

I move amendment No. 206.

In page 187, column (3), line 25, to delete "(Amendment No. 2)" and substitute "(Amendment) (No. 2)".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 207:

In page 187, to delete lines 33 to 37 and substitute the following:

"

2.

Article 4

In sub-article (1), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 208:

In page 188, column (3), line 11, after "his" to insert ", wherever occurring".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 209:

In page 188, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:

"

11.

Article 14

In sub-article (8)(b) (as inserted by Article 4 of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 1991), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 210:

In page 188, between lines 25 and 26, to insert the following:

"

16*.

Article 18A (as inserted by Article 7 of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 1986)

(a) In sub-article (2), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in sub-article (2), substitute ’its’ for ’his’.

"

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 211:

In page 189, to delete line 3 and substitute the following:

"

21*.

Article 22

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in sub-article (4) (as substituted by Article 10(1) of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 1991), substitute ’it’ for ’he’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 212:

In page 189, to delete line 4 and substitute the following:

"

22*.

Article 23

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in sub-article (2)(c), substitute ’it’ for ’he’.

"

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 213:

In page 189, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:

"

26*.

Article 33

In sub-article (3) (as inserted by Article 2(b) of the European (Non-Life Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 1985), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 214:

In page 189, between lines 9 and 10, to insert the following:

"

27*.

Article 34A (as inserted by Article 2(c) of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 1985)

Delete this article.

".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 215:

In page 189, column (3), line 12, after "Commerce " to insert "(as construed as a reference to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment by virtue of the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997))".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 216:

In page 189, column (3), line 16, after "Commerce " to insert "(as construed as a reference to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment by virtue of the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997))".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 217:

In page 192, column (3), line 5, to delete "it" and substitute "its".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 218:

In page 192, column (3), line 13, after "TOURISM " to insert "(as construed as a reference to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment by virtue of the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997))".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 219:

In page 192, column (3), line 16, after "hereby " to insert "(as construed as a reference to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment by virtue of the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997))".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 220:

In page 192, column (3), line 21, after "Tourism " to insert "(as construed as a reference to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment by virtue of the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997))".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 221:

In page 192, column (3), lines 25 and 26, after "Tourism " to insert "(as construed as a reference to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment by virtue of the Enterprise and Employment (Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister) Order 1997 (S.I. No. 305 of 1997))".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 222:

In page 192, to delete lines 27 to 46, in page 193, to delete lines 1 to 49 and in page 194, to delete lines 1 to 10.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 223:

In page 194, item 4, column (3), to delete lines 43 to 50, and in page 195, to delete lines 3 to 11, and substitute the following:

"Revoke the Regulation.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 224:

In page 198, to delete line 10.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 225:

In page 198, column (3), line 20, after "Minister' " to insert ", wherever occurring".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 226:

In page 199, column (3), line 22, after "Minister' " to insert ", wherever occurring".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 227:

In page 199, column (3), line 23, after "Minister' " to insert ", wherever occurring".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 228 to 230, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 228:

In page 199, to delete lines 30 to 33, and substitute the following:

"

1.

Regulation 2

In paragraph (1), substitute the following definition for the definition of ’Bank’:

’ “Bank” means the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland;’

".

These are technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 229:

In page 200, to delete lines 7 to 10, and substitute the following:

"

1.

Regulation 2

In paragraph (1), substitute the following definition for the definition of ’Bank’:

’ “Bank” means the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland;’.

2.

Regulation 19

Revoke the Regulation

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 230:

In page 200, to delete lines 17 to 20, and substitute the following:

"

1.

Regulation 2

In paragraph (1), substitute the following definition for the definition of ’Bank’:

’ “Bank” means the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland;’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 231:

In page 200, line 22, to delete "Assurance" and substitute "Insurance".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 232:

In page 200, item 2, column (3), between lines 26 and 27, to insert the following:

"(a) In sub-article (1), in the definition of ’authorisation’, delete ’by the Minister’;”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 233:

In page 200, to delete line 38 and substitute the following:

"

4.

Article 6

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in sub-article (12) (as inserted by Article 3(b) of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance and Life Assurance) Framework (Amendment) Regulations 1997), substitute ’its’ for ’his’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 234:

In page 201, to delete line 3 and substitute the following:

"

8.

Article 10

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in sub-article (4) (as inserted by Article 3(c) of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance and Life Assurance) Framework (Amendment) Regulations 1997), substitute ’its’ for ’his’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 235:

In page 201, column (3), to delete lines 1 to 31, and substitute the following:

"Revoke the Article.".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 236:

In page 202, column (3), line 45, to delete "him'." and substitute the following:

"him';

(c) in section 2(7)(a) of Annex lll, substitute ’it’ for ’he’.”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 237:

In page 203, to delete lines 7 to 15 and substitute the following:

"

2.

Article 2

(a) In sub-article (1), in the definition of ’authorisation’, delete ’by the Minister’;

(b) in sub-article (1), insert the following definition after the definition of ’authorisation’:

’ “Bank” means the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland;’;

(c) in sub-article (1), in the definition of ’direction’, substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’;

(d) in sub-article (1), substitute the following definition for the definition of ’Minister’;

’ “Minister” (when used without qualification) means the Minister for Finance;’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 238:

In page 203, to delete line 17 and substitute the following:

"

4.

Article 6

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in sub-article (12) (as inserted by Article 4(b) of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance and Life Assurance) Framework (Amendment) Regulations 1997), substitute ’its’ for ’his’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 239:

In page 203, to delete line 21 and substitute the following:

"

8.

Article 10

(a) Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Minister’, wherever occurring;

(b) in sub-article (6) (as inserted by Article 4(c) of the European Communities (Non-Life Insurance and Life Assurance) Framework (Amendment) Regulations 1997), substitute ’its’ for ’his’.

".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 240:

In page 204, column (3), to delete lines 18 to 33, and substitute the following:

"Revoke the Article."

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 241:

In page 204, column (3), line 37, to delete "Minister" and substitute "Bank".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 242:

In page 204, column (3), line 42, to delete "for Finance".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 243:

In page 206, to delete lines 19 to 26.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 245 to 247, inclusive, are cognate on amendment No. 244 and all will be discussed together, by agreement.

I move amendment No. 244:

In page 206, column (2), line 33, to delete "Article" and substitute "Regulation".

These are technical amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 245:

In page 206, column (2), line 38, to delete "Article" and substitute "Regulation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 246:

In page 206, column (2), line 39, to delete "Article" and substitute "Regulation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 247:

In page 207, column (2) line 22, to delete "Article" and substitute "Regulation".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 248:

In page 208, column (3), line 30, to delete "8(3)" and substitute "11".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 249:

In page 208, between lines 31 and 32, to insert the following:

"PART 18*

Amendment of European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 221 of 2002)

Item

Provision affected

Amendment

1.

Regulation 2

In paragraph (1), substitute the following for the definition of ’Bank’:

’ “Bank” means the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland;’.

PART 19*

Amendment of European Communities (Cross Border Payments in Euro) Regulations 2002 (S.I. No. 335 of 2002)

Item

Provision Affected

Amendment

1.

Regulation 2

In paragraph (1), delete the definition of ’Director’ and insert the following:

’ “Bank” means the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland;’.

2.

Regulation 3

(a) In paragraph (1), substitute ’Bank’ for ’Director’;

(b) in paragraph (1), substitute ’it’ for ’he or she’;

(c) in paragraph (2), substitute ’section 8M’ for ’section 7’.

3.

Regulation 5

Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Director’, wherever occurring.

4.

Regulation 7

Substitute ’Bank’ for ’Director’.

".

Amendment agreed to.
Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.
THIRD SCHEDULE.

I move amendment No. 250:

In page 210, line 3, to delete "whom the Minister has purported to appoint" and substitute "whose appointment the Minister has purported to approve".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 251:

In page 211, line 3, to delete "became" and substitute "becomes".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 252:

In page 211, lines 19 and 20, to delete "this paragraph" and substitute "section 27 of this Act”.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 253 and 254 form part of a composite proposal. We will discuss amendments Nos. 253 and 254 together.

I move amendment No. 253:

In page 212, line 11, after "were" to insert "officers and".

Amendment No. 253 clarifies the provision of Schedule 3 that relates to the continuation of employment of the staff of the bank after the commencement of this Act.

Paragraph 9 of Schedule 3 provides for the transition of the staff of the bank, from before to after the commencement of this Act. Subparagraph (1) of paragraph 9 provides that persons who were servants of the bank immediately before the commencement of section 8 of this Act are taken to be employees of the bank after that commencement.

The term servants in this regard does not cover all employees of the bank. For this reason "and officers" is being inserted before "servants" in subparagraph (1) in order to ensure that the transitional arrangements of paragraph 9 apply to all relevant staff of the bank.

Amendment No. 254 deletes subparagraph 2 of paragraph 9 of Schedule 3 because the contents have been included in subparagraph (1) of paragraph (9) after amendment No. 253 has taken effect.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 254:

In page 212, to delete line 14.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 255:

In page 213, line 7, to delete "paragraph 17” and substitute “paragraph 31”.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 256:

In page 214, lines 22, and 23, to delete "item 39” and substitute “item 40”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 257:

In page 214, to delete lines 33 to 42, and in page 215, to delete lines 1 to 8.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 258:

In page 215, line 41, to delete "31" and substitute "30".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 259:

In page 216, line 12, to delete "item 4” and substitute “item 5”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 260:

In page 216, lines 16 and 17, to delete "item 5” and substitute “item 6”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 261:

In page 216, line 47, to delete "items 42 and 43” and substitute “items 43 and 44”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 262:

In page 217, line 7, after "8A" to insert "or 8M".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 263:

In page 217, line 12, to delete "items 11, 12, 17 and 18” and substitute “items 27, 29, 33 and 35”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendments No. 264:

In page 217, line 21, to delete "items 26, 28, 32 and 34” and substitute “items 37 and 40”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 265:

In page 217, line 32, to delete "items 36 and 39” and substitute “items 37 and 40”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 266:

In page 217, line 41, to delete "items 15 and 16” and substitute “items 16 and 17”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 267:

In page 217, line 45, to delete "item 39” and substitute “item 40”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 268:

In page 219, line 31, to delete "item 43” and substitute “item 44”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 269:

In page 219, line 31, to delete "item 43” and substitute “item 44”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 270:

In page 220, after line 15, to insert the following:

"Transitional Reporting Arrangements

32. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act relating to reporting requirements-

(a) for the year preceding the year of commencement of that provision, and

(b) for so much of the year in which that provision is commenced immediately before such commencement, where any reporting requirement contained in an enactment is amended by this Act, then the reporting requirement shall be performed, in respect ofthe years referred to in paragraph (a) and the period to which paragraph (b) relates, by the person who would have performed it if the amendment concerned had not been made.”.

This amendment inserts a new paragraph into Schedule 3 to the Bill - at paragraph 32 - that relates to transitional reporting arrangements. The new paragraph is a transitional provision in relation to the reporting requirements of existing bodies and entities, whose position is being affected by this Bill. When this Act is commenced, which we hope will be during the first half of 2003, the new statutory officers created by the Act would not be in a position to report on activities which took place prior to this commencement.

The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that the institutions which are currently carrying out functions etc. under existing legislation in 2003 and previous years, should report on work that was carried out in 2003 and previous years, after the Act has commenced.

The new provision ensures that the enactment of our Bill does not remove the power or obligation under existing legislation on such persons to produce any such report for 2002 or previous years, or for the part of 2003 that elapses before this Act has commenced.

I wish to inform Deputies that I will make additional amendments on Report Stage to cater for IFSRA's reporting requirement for the remainder of 2003.

I wish to give notice of my intention to table another amendment on Report Stage. The powers and functions of the Director of Consumer Affairs under the Consumer Credit Act 1995 are being transferred to IFSRA. It is proposed that any necessary records will also be transferred. The director is concerned about the provisions of section 150 of that Act which deal with the disclosure by the director of any information concerning the confidential business of the credit institutions. Accordingly, I propose to table an amendment on Report Stage which will clarify the position regarding the transfer of any relevant documents to IFSRA.

Amendment agreed to.
Title agreed to.