Will the Chair tell me what the status of section 12 is before we proceed to deal with amendment No. 4?
Dublin Transport Authority Bill, 1985: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage.
What does the Deputy mean?
I indicated that I was opposed in toto to section 12. What is the status of that section now?
We are on amendment No. 4 and, consequently, we have gone beyond section 12.
We are on page 17 of the Bill according to my amendment. There was a little problem on the last day. I did not divide the House on section 12 and when we were taking the global acceptance of the Committee Stage I said that I did not want to divide the House as Private Members' Business was coming up. As far as I can recall, the Minister made a very generous kind of gesture with regard to amendments that were suggested for Committee Stage and the status of his amendments as of then, that he was not precluding discussion.
We discussed that on the last day.
We did, but we did not have a division on it. I was frothing at the mouth for a division.
I understand that the item on which we were about to divide was amendment No. 4.
My point is that I was opposed to the whole of section 12 for the reasons I gave the House, that it was arrogating to the Minister powers that were not necessary in the Bill.
We are well beyond that.
Is the Chair telling me that section 12 is invulnerable as of now?
The Deputy is concluding on amendment No. 4.
What does the Chair mean by "concluding"?
The Deputy has already moved the amendment and it has been fully debated.
I can see that the Chair is going to be very severe.
It may be that the Deputy is being very awkward.
Once more I should like to read into the record of the House the first lines of the amendment which are:
In page 17, to delete lines 5 to 15 and substitute the following:
"28.—Notwithstanding any provision contained in any existing legislation, CIE shall operate public transport services within the Authority's administrative area, to such an extent, in such a manner, and at such fare levels as the Authority may from time to time determine.
That substantive amendment is in keeping with the philosophy I have been trying to promote since we started the debate on the Bill. The essence of the amendment is that the new Dublin Transport Authority would be one which had real powers. That has been my belief all the time. The substance of the Bill I wanted to see, and which I would have welcomed, was one which provided for a plan elaborated in the way I mentioned on the last occasion and in course of the Second Stage debate. Arising out of that, budgetary and financial powers were necessary for the Dublin Transport Authority.
From the way the debate developed I gathered from the Fine Gael and Labour benches, in the persons of Deputies Richard Bruton and Taylor, that that type of Authority would find favour with them also. I said that I was not challenging the provisions in the Bill which give real powers in certain areas which are not, in my opinion, the nucleus of the problem with regard to Dublin transport.
In the lines of the amendment I have quoted we have the proposal that the Authority would really direct transport in its own area of competence, the Dublin area. In so doing it would in fact be using CIE as an agent. Since the debate on the Bill commenced the new proposals for CIE were announced with some modification. What has been announced could have been worked into my idea about the Dublin Transport Authority. What is happening is that a new Dublin city services company are being set up. There is no strict tie in to the Dublin Transport Authority so that even if the DTA advise, admonish, instruct or give this counsel to the Minister, or CIE, there is not anything in the Bill of sufficient strength to enable the Authority to see to it that CIE carry out instructions in the area.
One ray of hope emerged in an earlier section when it was indicated that, perhaps, such provisions as the traffic and budgetary plans at some future date might, under a section of the Bill, be brought into effect by the Minister. I admit that it is a suggestion of a major change but it is the only ray of hope I can see in it. I reiterate that I foresaw an optimistic future for Dublin city services. My whole idea was, as my committee advised my party, that we would have a Dublin city services company as stage one of a reorganisation of CIE but a company who would be independent and not merely a company with an umbrella in the form of CIE. I visualised that that company would act as the agent of the Dublin Transport Authority which would be budgeted properly and strengthened by the provisions of this Bill and which with the improvements for which this Bill provides in terms of traffic management and so on and with imaginative leadership and marketing could develop a transport system which would not merely pay its way but eventually make a profit.
I reiterate, too, that the Dublin Transport Authority, if given the proper strength, could make arrangements for the deployment of public transport in our capital city and, if necessary, could make regulations and rules regarding the restriction of private transport in the city. This combination of imaginative leadership, good marketing, good service and improved traffic flow and with a Dublin Transport Authority that would have the proper statutory muscle would mean that we could look forward to a very effective and profit making Dublin city services transport system.
I appreciate that I am a voice crying in the wilderness at this stage. I have tested parts of what I have outlined by way of a vote and I am not so Quixotic as to believe that I can do anything other than stress the importance I attach and that my party attach to the view of the Dublin Transport Authority that I have been outlining.
- Allen, Bernard.
- Barnes, Monica.
- Barry, Peter.
- Begley, Michael.
- Bell, Michael.
- Bermingham, Joe.
- Bruton, John.
- Bruton, Richard.
- Carey, Donal.
- Collins, Edward.
- Conlon, John F.
- Connaughton, Paul.
- Coogan, Fintan.
- Cosgrave, Liam T.
- Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
- Coveney, Hugh.
- Creed, Donal.
- Crotty, Kieran.
- Crowley, Frank.
- D'Arcy, Michael.
- Deasy, Martin Austin.
- Desmond, Barry.
- Donnellan, John.
- Dowling, Dick.
- Doyle, Avril.
- Doyle, Joe.
- Dukes, Alan.
- Durkan, Bernard J.
- Enright, Thomas W.
- Farrelly, John V.
- Fennell, Nuala.
- Glenn, Alice.
- Griffin, Brendan.
- Hegarty, Paddy.
- Keating, Michael.
- Kelly, John.
- Kenny, Enda.
- L'Estrange, Gerry.
- McGahon, Brendan.
- McGinley, Dinny.
- McLoughlin, Frank.
- Manning, Maurice.
- Mitchell, Gay.
- Mitchell, Jim.
- Molony, David.
- Naughten, Liam.
- Nealon, Ted.
- O'Brien, Fergus.
- O'Brien, Willie.
- O'Keeffe, Jim.
- O'Leary, Michael.
- O'Sullivan, Toddy.
- O'Toole, Paddy.
- Owen, Nora.
- Pattison, Séamus.
- Prendergast, Frank.
- Quinn, Ruairí.
- Ryan, John.
- Shatter, Alan.
- Sheehan, Patrick Joseph.
- Skelly, Liam.
- Spring, Dick.
- Taylor, Mervyn.
- Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.
- Timmins, Godfrey.
- Yates, Ivan.
- Ahern, Bertie.
- Aylward, Liam.
- Brady, Vincent.
- Brennan, Mattie.
- Brennan, Paudge.
- Brennan, Séamus.
- Browne, John.
- Burke, Raphael P.
- Calleary, Seán.
- Collins, Gerard.
- Conaghan, Hugh.
- Coughlan, Cathal Seán.
- Cowen, Brian.
- Daly, Brendan.
- Doherty, Seán.
- Fahey, Francis.
- Fahey, Jackie.
- Faulkner, Pádraig.
- Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
- Flynn, Pádraig.
- Foley, Denis.
- Gallagher, Denis.
- Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
- Hilliard, Colm.
- Reynolds, Albert.
- Wallace, Dan.
- Walsh, Joe.
- Hyland, Liam.
- Kirk, Séamus.
- Kitt, Michael.
- Lenihan, Brian.
- Leonard, Jimmy.
- Leonard, Tom.
- Leyden, Terry.
- Lyons, Denis.
- McCarthy, Seán.
- McCreevy, Charlie.
- McEllistrim, Tom.
- Morley, P.J.
- Moynihan, Donal.
- Nolan, M.J.
- Noonan, Michael J.
- (Limerick West).
- O'Dea, William.
- O'Hanlon, Rory.
- O'Keeffe, Edmond.
- O'Leary, John.
- Ormonde, Donal.
- O'Rourke, Mary.
- Power, Paddy.
- Walsh, Seán.
- Wilson, John P.
- Woods, Michael.
I move amendment No. 4a:
In page 19, line 27, after "or previous experience" to insert "or income tax reference number and details of any benefit or assistance in payment to the applicant under the Social Welfare Acts at the time of the application".
This amendment incorporates Committee Stage amendment No. 18 sponsored by Deputies Mac Giolla and De Rossa. Its purpose is to prevent distortion of competition through income tax evasion or abuse of the social welfare system. Information obtained by the Garda Commissioner or the Dublin Transport Authority from applicants for licences about their income tax reference number or social welfare payments, including a nil return, would, therefore, be checked with the Revenue and Social Welfare authorities.
I am in agreement with this amendment. Perhaps talk about the extent of this abuse has given a false impression but, in so far as it is an amendment set down to remedy that abuse, or any potential abuse in the future, I support it.
I move amendment No. 4b.:
In page 20, to delete lines 39 to 43 and insert the following:
"(9) A person who contravenes a by-law under this section shall be guilty of an offence and, in any such case involving a vehicle, as may be prescribed in a by-law under this section or prescribed in regulations to which subsection (12) applies, where that person is not the owner of that vehicle the owner shall also be guilty of an offence.".
The purpose of this amendment is to make clear in what circumstances the owner of a vehicle who is not the driver of the vehicle involved in the contravention of a by-law made under section 31 of the Bill would also be guilty of the offence as well as the driver of the vehicle. Those circumstances would be specified in by-laws of the Authority under this section or specified in existing regulations made by the Minister for the Environment under section 82 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, and continued in force by subsection (12) of section 31 of the Bill. Under those regulations — Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, 1963 (S.I. No. 191) (as amended) the owner of the vehicle as well as the driver would be guilty of an offence in any of the following five circumstances, a vehicle is used as a public service vehicle without the necessary licence (Article 5); a vehicle is used as a public hire vehicle without the necessary licence (Article 6); a public hire vehicle is used without the necessary taximeter (Article 7); a public service vehicle is used without the necessary vehicle plate (Article 13) and a large public service vehicle — a bus — is used without the necessary conductor or controlled powered entrance-exit door — Article 14. The purpose of this amendment is to clarify the legal position.
I gather that the amendment is down because subsection (9) was found to be inadequate. The word "also" is interesting. In other words, the person using the vehicle is guilty but this amendment purports to make the owner guilty also. In cases arising from transport legislation, very often courts allocate responsibility and I should like the Minister to indicate how he sees the responsibility percentage-wise resting.
The Deputy asked how I would apportion blame between the driver and owner. This is not a matter for me nor do I have any statistics relevant to the matter.
Does the alternative to the conductor in the words that the Minister read cover the new one-person buses?
Yes, the regulations as they stand refer only to buses which require a conductor.
Is that defined in the section that talks about ingress and egress doors?
It is specified in the regulations and the Garda Commissioner decides whether it is safe to dispense with a conductor.
I move amendment No. 4c:
In page 25, lines 1 and 2, to delete "section 32 or section 89 or 90" and substitute "section 90".
This is simply a drafting amendment. It corrects the reference to the statutory provision under which by-laws or temporary rules are made in relation to the parking of vehicles on public roads. The correct reference is section 90 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961.
This section provides for deleting section 32 or section 89 or 90.
Section 90 will be substituted.
Amendments 4d, 4e and 4f are consequential on amendment No. 4d and may be taken together by agreement.
I move amendment No. 4d:
In page 29, between lines 37 and 38, to insert the following:
41.—(1) The Authority, with the consent of the Minister for the Environment, may make by-laws, either generally or for particular cases, in relation to the regulation and control of access to and egress from construction sites within its functional area by vehicles or particular classes of vehicles.
(2) By-laws under this section may in particular relate to all or any of the following matters:
(a) the regulation of the times or days during which access to and egress from construction sites by vehicles or particular classes of vehicles may be permitted,
(b) the number of vehicles that may be allowed access to and egress from construction sites at any particular time, or
(c) the requirements to ensure that vehicles or any particular classes of vehicles are cleaned before leaving any construction site.
(3) A person who contravenes a by-law under this section shall be guilty of an offence.
(4) This section shall not apply to the carrying out of repairs, maintenance or any other works to, above or under, a public road or to the construction of a new road.".
This amendment contains enabling powers for the better control of vehicles serving construction sites in the functional area of the Dublin Transport Authority and supplements the amendment by making it an offence to contravene any by-law which the Authority may make under the new section with the consent of the Minister for the Environment. The maximum penalty for that offence will, by virtue of the consequential amendment now proposed to section 52 (2) of the Bill, be as follows: £150 for the first offence, £350 for the second offence or subsequent offence outside 12 months and £350 and/or three months' imprisonment for the third or subsequent offence within 12 months. Subsection (4) is necessary in order to avoid duplication of section 40 and safeguards new roads works.
The amendment has been proposed in order to reduce the severe disruption to road traffic which can be caused by vehicles serving construction sites, especially in heavily trafficked areas of Dublin. It is accepted, of course, that detailed controls on vehicle arrival and departure times at construction sites could cause some difficulty for the building industry and staff and it is therefore proposed to have discussions with the building industry and staff representatives to see how disruption of traffic can be minimised. The Dublin Transportation Task Force will be arranging those discussions at an early date in order to make progress on this matter.
Amendment No. 4e is consequential on the amendment inserting the new section 41 to provide for better control over vehicles serving construction sites in the functional area of the Dublin Transport Authority. The effect of this amendment is to bring by-laws made by the Authority under the new section 41 within the procedures to be followed for all by-laws of the Authority requiring the consent of the Minister for the Environment.
In relation to amendment No. 4f the purpose is to apply the penalties specified in section 52 (2) of the Bill to contraventions of any by-laws made by the Dublin Transport Authority under the new section 41 for the better control of vehicles serving construction sites in its functional area. The maximum penalties specified in section 52 (2) of the Bill are £150 for the first offence, £350 for a second or subsequent offence outside 12 months and £350 and/or imprisonment for a third or subsequent offence within 12 months. Those penalties apply also to any contravention of the Authority's by-laws under other sections of the Bill, namely, section 31 which deals with the licensing of public service vehicles and section 36 which deals with the licensing of public car parks.
This is an important amendment. The House knows by now from various pieces of legislation which have come before it that I have an instinctive dislike for a carte blanche in legislation with regard to ministerial powers or the operation of by-laws. In the event of the Authority making these by-laws, I am sure that the by-laws are covered by the provisions we have already talked about and will come at least into the view of the Oireachtas after they have been made.
The purpose of this drafting is to enable regulations to be drafted if the Minister, after consultation with the industry, is satisfied that such regulations would not be disruptive of the industry. We do not want to insert powers which could be very disruptive of the industry, so we are providing enabling powers which will allow the Minister to discuss with the industry the disruption of traffic by construction activity and to see how without disrupting the building industry we could improve the situation and minimise disruption of traffic.
I see the need for it and I approve of the Minister's approach. The only point is that, if the Minister consults with the industry and the industry does not agree, in the end he must make a decision. His decision having been made, there is still a possibility of the thing coming under the eye of the Oireachtas afterwards to make sure there is no unnecessary infringement of the rights of the people involved. I appreciate what the Minister has said about the purposes and I also appreciate the necessity for such by-laws. Reference was made on a number of occasions to traffic management — the fact that all factories open at the same time, all schools open at the same time and all shops open at the same time.
It has been said that this is not conducive to the best management of traffic in an ancient capital city like Dublin with its constricted thoroughfares. The thrust of the Minister's amendment is to so organise such traffic on construction sites that the minimum amount of traffic interruption will take place if regulations are made with regard to the time of day when access and egress are permitted.
Another important point not merely in Dublin but everywhere is the cleanliness of vehicles. Many accidents are due to skids on roads where clay carrying trucks have dropped part of their load on the road surface. This causes accidents, particularly in soft or damp weather.
With regard to the fines, I am always a little reluctant about jail sentences but, if somebody is there for the third time, I will restrict charity on this occasion.
I move amendment No. 4e:
In page 31, lines 8 and 9, to delete "36 or 40" and substitute "36, 40 or 41*".
I move amendment No. 4f:
In page 32, line 33, to delete "or 36" and substitute ",36 or 41*".
Amendment No. 5 has already been debated with amendment No. 1a on Committee Stage.
I move amendment No. 5:
In page 34, to delete lines 23 to 26 and substitute the following:
"(b) elected as a member of either House of the Oireachtas or of the Assembly of the European Communities, or".
Amendment No. 6 was also discussed with amendment No. 1a on Committee Stage.
I move amendment No. 6:
In page 34, line 31, before "coopted" to insert "elected to or".
I should like to thank Deputies, especially Deputy Wilson, for their very constructive contributions to this debate. Deputy Wilson and I had a fairly fundamental difference on this Bill because he wanted to go for what I would see as a heavier type of Dublin Transport Authority. I believe the Dublin Transport Authority which is now being authorised by the House will be a leaner, fitter, much less bureaucratic and much more effective Authority than that suggested by Deputy Wilson. This Authority have a major role to play, not only in the transport affairs of our city for decades to come but also because of the effects of transport on other things it will have a major influence on other aspects of life in the city. I believe that influence will all be beneficial. Much needs to be done about co-ordinating transport matters in this city. It is amazing that transport in general has survived as well as it has in the absence of a co-ordinating body.
In Dublin we have four local authorities who separately consider their roads programmes. They do it in total isolation from considerations of bus and rail investments. They do it in isolation from traffic enforcement and traffic management, which are divided not only between agencies on the ground in Dublin city and county but between Government Departments. The Department of Communications have an obvious role not only in regard to Dublin road and rail services but in the area of road freight and port activities and the Department of the Environment have responsibility for road traffic law, vehicle fitness, etc. The Department of Justice and the Garda Síochána have roles in respect of traffic law enforcement.
This Authority will co-ordinate all those things. It will order priorities and clear the Dublin streets of unnecessary traffic jams. It will keep the city moving. The House had done a very good job in getting this Bill through and, when the Bill has passed through the other House — I hope it will not take too long — we will begin to see the work of this Authority.
All of this has been going on for the past few years. The Dublin Transportation Task Force, without statutory authority, has been doing a lot of commendable work and I wish to thank and congratulate the task force. For instance, it initiated the idea of bus lanes to great advantage. It promoted many new traffic management arrangements which have helped. I thank the House and in particular Deputy Wilson for his contribution.
Ba mhaith liom ar dtús buíochas a ghlachadh leis an Aire as ucht an méid adúirt sé mar gheall ar an obair atá déanta ag an Teach in rith na díospóireachta seo. I said that we might do something about Iompras Bhaile Atha Cliath. I was not the first to call attention to it — I refer to the Short Title. I would have used "Údarás Iompair Bhaile Átha Cliath". Whether it is Iompras Bhaile Átha Cliath or Údarás Iompair Bhaile Átha Cliath, I should like both Houses of the Oireachtas to indicate that we are still committed to the use of Irish terminology in the names of our semi-State bodies. Córas Iompair Éireann was objected to originally on the ground that we would not be able to get used to it, and so on, but we did. It was a quite euphonious title, as Údáras Iompair Bhaile Átha Cliath would have been. The tendency nowadays is to use initials, and we will find it hard to get a suitable grouping of initials from either of the terms that will catch on. For example, I was a little disappointed that DART did not have an Irish title. "Mearlíne" was suggested — fast line — which would have been easy enough to get over.
While appreciating what the Minister said, I still reject the idea that what I was proposing would be heavily bureaucratic. It is very important to have this Bill, weak though I regard it, on the Statute Book. I know that the recession, the closure of factories and so on, has taken some of the pressure off Dublin transport before 8 o'clock in the morning and after 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon. The new bridges have helped greatly to get traffic moving fast. We are not legislating for a permanent recession. I know the pressure will come on again and it was advocating the kind of Act I wanted to see on the Statute Book. I go fully along with the Minister in what he said, and indeed that is what provided the impetus originally for the Bill. In the ten months I was in the Department I was anxious to get the legislation to the parliamentary draftsman, and I succeeded in doing so within ten months.
There will be four local authorities involved in the new regime. There will have to be planning for roads without taking buses into account and planning for buses without taking rail into account. The Dublin Transport Consultative Commission pointed out how much they had to do to make a simple little by-law about traffic. That is what was damning all attempts to control traffic in the city. Transport, as the economists say, is one-eighth of the costing in our community and consequently moving traffic fast through Dublin, apart from a social activity, is a very important economic activity.
I would have liked to have all those people who have an input in Dublin traffic taken by the scruff of the neck and told: "We are working to a single plan. This is the way you will do it, whether you like it or not". That applied to the Department of the Environment, CIE, the people working with buses and those on the rails. In my time the Department of the Environment were bête noire, because they fought against this legislation. When the present Tánaiste became Minister in that Department the view of the Department of the Environment prevailed over that of the Department of Transport.
That is all water under the bridges already there. In the minute I have left I endorse the remarks of the Minister about the task force which arose from suggestions made from the TCC. The TCC went in without statutory backing and achieved a great deal. The urgency we saw about putting this Bill on the Statute Book was what we were doing without statutory powers.
Ba mhaith liom arís mo bhuíochas a ghabháil leis an Aire faoin méid a dúirt sé. Tá brón orm nach bhfuil Bille níos láidre, níos fearr agus níos éifeachtaí againn tar éis na díospóireachta. Sé mo guí ná go mbeidh na cumhachtaí atá ag an Udarás atá ag teacht as an Bhille seo ag dul i bhfeabhas agus go mbeidh ár gcúrsaí iompair ag dul i bhfeabhas san phríomh chathair.