Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 25 May 1989

Vol. 390 No. 6

University of Limerick Bill, 1989: Committee Stage.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, line 3, to delete "business, professional, cultural" and substitute "educational, business, professional, trade union, cultural".

My reason for moving this amendment is that I am unhappy with the entire wording in terms of its drafting. I will deal with the section in general later. There is a fundamental problem in the objective of this paragraph having an unspecified relationship with the functions which follow. In moving this amendment, it is perhaps the least unsatisfactory way out of listing the objectives. In that sense it is very appropriate to put the word "educational" first and then if you want to retain the words "business, professional" and so on that is fine. In the spirit of corporatism and tripartism which is now prevailing in this country, the words "trade union" should also be included.

I anticipate that in the case of a number of the amendments the Minister will say she has gone as far as she can go at this stage while she may not close her mind to the idea of moving further in the future. This is one amendment the Minister should be in a position to accept at this stage. There is nothing offensive in it and there are implications that require consideration. I will briefly explain what is involved here.

This section provides that the role of the two new universities is the pursuit of learning and the advancement of knowledge. It then goes on to say how they are to do those things. One of the ways is by co-operation with various outside bodies. The Bill prescribes that they should co-operate with business and professional bodies and so on, and Deputy Higgins and I seek to add educational bodies and trade unions. The case for cooperating with other educational bodies seems to be obvious.

In relation to the trade unions, they are already playing a valuable role in third level education. For example, there are a number of Chairs in the colleges which are now wholly or partly funded by the trade unions. It would seem that, given the very close links that these universities have had with the world of industry and its work in the past, it would be entirely proper that the co-operation should extend to that area as well.

I thank both Deputies for the amendment and their contributions on it. I am glad to tell the House I have no difficulty whatsoever in accepting it and in extending the bodies with which the new universities would collaborate to include educational and trade union bodies. Accordingly, I accept the amendment proposed by the two Deputies.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 3, line 43, to delete "Ard Oideachas" and substitute "Ard-Oideachas".

This is self-evident. It is perhaps only a drafting error. Quite frankly, the use of the word "Ard" separated from the word "Oideachas"— without a hyphen — has an alternative instruction other than the combined "Ard-Oideachas". It is suggested simply for drafting elegance.

I accept that the purpose of the amendment is to correct a textual inaccuracy in the Bill. It is not of our making, I would add.

Naturally. Perish the thought that that would happen.

I feel however that it would be preferable to delete the words "Um Ard Oideachas" as section 1 (1) of the 1980 Act states that An tÚdarás means An tÚdarás Um Ard Oideachas. Would the Deputy accept that?

I understand the Minister will bring in her own amendment on Report Stage to delete Um Ard Oideachas.

That is acceptable.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That section 3, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

I wish to ask one question and to seek reassurance which I think the Minister will be in a position to give. Subsection (2) deals with the conferring of degrees and provides that degrees can be conferred either on students of the universities or of such other colleges as will be approved.

As the colleges would see fit.

That has caused some anxiety within the NCEA and in circles close to it. I would like the Minister to take the opportunity of reassuring people on this. My understanding of what is envisaged is that there would be no bar to the sort of relationship that, say, Trinity has with some of the DIT colleges and some of the teacher training colleges. I would like the Minister to confirm that.

I welcome the Deputy's intervention. The merit of the Committee Stage is that we can have a comprehensive debate and points can be cleared up. There has been a degree of unease within the NCEA at what they saw as a deletion of their duties. As the Deputy knows, any university — and we have looked into this very carefully — is enabled and empowered to seek linkages with other colleges and to confer degrees. What we envisage here is no more and no less than, as the Deputy said, the relationship between Trinity and DIT in Dublin.

I am concerned that everything be done to ensure the status of these institutions. In no way should they be differentiated from or their status diminished vis-à-vis other universities in this State. In the 1908 Act establishing the National University of Ireland the key clause about the powers of the university was: “The university shall have powers” to do certain things. The first was to establish faculties in all such departments of knowledge as the university might from time to time be able to equip and maintain in such a manner as would encourage original research, promote scholarship and spread learning throughout the land. The language is antique and perhaps orotund in the last phrase, but the crucial element in a university is encouraging research and promoting scholarship. It is not a training institution, and I am afraid that in section 3 we have fallen into bad times. There is no mention of research in the subheads. It is, of course, mentioned in the pursuit of learning and advancement of knowledge at the beginning through teaching research and so on. When you come to the functions, to provide courses of study and instruction in such fields as the governing body may deem appropriate, there is a marked contrast between the NUI's position and that of the two new universities.

I am not proposing amendments because we cannot get involved in that at this late stage. However, I urge the Minister when she is creating the equivalent of a charter for these new universities to give to them the same status, the same role in the encouragement of research and promotion of scholarship as the NUI has, and not by the wording of their terms of reference in some way narrow them down to the mere business of giving courses of study and instruction as if they were some kind of glorified technical school. The wording is unfortunate. Perhaps a lack of imagination somewhere in the Department is at fault. The Minister could do worse than look back to some of the inspiration that lay behind the 1908 Act and at least in due course, when she comes to bringing in new legislation in this respect and others, put the universities on a par with the NUI and, of course, with Dublin University.

One of the powers of the NUI is to institute professorships, and lectureships and any offices required by the university and to appoint and remove holders and so on, to appoint and remove presidents, professors and lecturers to the constituent colleges. The power of the university to institute professorships and appoint people to them is crucial. It is not a university if it does not have that power. We are giving these bodies the name of universities; we are not giving them the powers essential to a university. I know and understand why and I am not blaming the Minister. It is important to get this through now, but they must be put on a par with other universities and given the power to institute their own offices, subject to the control of this House, because the statutes of the NUI instituting professorships and lectureships have to be approved by this House. I am not objecting to that, but the power to institute them and the power to appoint must be clearly in the hands of the university itself. I urge, when we come to the final legislation, that reference be made to the 1908 Act. It is not perfect. I am sure it needs to be amended and there will be proposals to the NUI Senate for amendments to it in due course, but I hope we will not be amending away the good parts that give it the status of a genuine university with worldwide acceptance. That is what we want for these two new universities.

I agree with Deputy FitzGerald. This section is crucial. Those of us who say we are in favour of university status want it to be full university status. If that is so the questions mentioned here are very important.

Let me deal with the drafting point first. The opening paragraph says that "the university shall have the following functions," and then it lists them. Deputy FitzGerald has suggested the listing of the fields is narrow. There should be at least a saving general clause to enable the university as a community of learning to establish its own realms of learning. That would have helped.

There is a problem in relation to the governing body. Here again I am worried about the role of the academic council in coming to the conclusion, for example, that there is some matter it should want to move. Then, how in the name of goodness does the last part of the section fit? It provides that "The Minister may on the recommendation of the Governing Body after consultation with an tÚdarás Um Bórd Oideachas by order assign to the Institute such additional functions as the Minister thinks fit." That is a very serious limitation. It is limited twice over. It is limited four fold. It is limited in relation to the range of matters specified and in relation to the governing body. It is limited in terms of ministerial approval. Then there is this notion about these autonomous — and after today rightly very confident — university institutions that a Minister of the day may add a function. It is not an answer to say no Minister will add something without the greatest consultation and all the rest of it. If you have confidence in the institutions you let them off in exactly the same way as the basic Acts of the universities.

I agree with Deputy FitzGerald that our contribution to this debate establishes a basis of co-operation. We want the best of the NUI and much more to be available to these universities. The basic universities have provided something that is often forgotten by people who put in a list that is narrow and narrowly technological. There is no technology without science and no science without a basic knowledge. Basic knowledge has been provided by the NUI for a very long time, and I am thankful that today is one of the rare days that I did not hear the university sector, so-called, being criticised because it is traditional, which meant it provided the very bedrock knowledge which produced the scientists who produced the engineers who produced the applied knowledge and are modernising this economy. That point is too often forgotten.

Is áthas liom mo chuid smaointe a nochtadh ar an mBille iontach tábhachtach seo agus an deis a bheith agam, agus mé ag deileál le halt 3, mo chomhghairdeas a ghabháil leis le an Aire agus leis an Dr. Ed Walsh agus an Dr. Danny O'Hare.

We have had here a certain indulgence into our connection, remote or immediate, with the two great universities here proposed. As a founder-governor of NIHE Glasnevin and a constant admirer of NIHE, Limerick, I join in the joy. I know of the limitations imposed on me in respect of being in order here in this House, accordingly I must be careful that I do not stray at all from what is proposed in section 3. All I wish to express is my absolute confidence in the respective authorities that education will not be demeaned by equating it with a new form of capitalism, that what is regarded as relevant education will not be equated with something as a result of which one must earn a living.

If we had more time I would make the point, referring to this section, that you could argue that the more irrelevant education is in the round the more beneficial it might be. It is not a question of the preparation of a continuing line of people who as a result of their having savoured this great experience will now obtain for themselves what is commonly called a job. Naturally, one must be very conscious that as a result of their educational pursuits they will have a special contribution to make, one facet of which will be the discharge of professional duties which will help them contribute to the lifestyle and the betterment of the people around them and whose money causes them to have such education.

In short, on this section and in deference to what has been expressed by An Teachta Micheál O Higín and Deputy Garret FitzGerald faoí seo, I would like to sound a word of warning. The whole raison d'être of education must not be lost in the perpetual challenges to make it productive of technology which can lead to the accumulation of wealth. We should retain as far as possible that concept of education which is as old as the hills and which is most beneficial. If there is any form of education which is perpetually relevant, it is to be found in the humanities.

From the knowledge I have of the authorities in the respective colleges I know they will hold dear the regard in their universities for that which is forever education, as against that which might in some transient or ephemeral form qualify for such a wonderful title.

I thank Deputies for their interest and their response to this section. Many of us here are humanities graduates of the NUI and we are ad idem with what has been said. Because of the breadth of disciplines within the existing NIHEs the commission did not see it as appropriate that they should be called technological universities. They thought the title should be much broader, as befitted the work and research being carried out within those institutions. That was one of the points in their recommendations. To narrow the title down to “technological” would have been completely wrong in view of the scope and comprehensive nature of the disciplines within the colleges.

Deputy FitzGerald quoted the 1908 Act, including the words "spread learning throughout the land". He thought the language might seem flowery or archaic, but it is not. The function of universities is to spread learning throughout the land and to other lands as well.

Regarding the appointment of staff, the control of staff resting with the Minister relates only to numbers and grades, not to individuals. That would be abhorrent and not at all acceptable. Section 4 (1) (b) of the 1980 Act still stands and provides that the institutions may engage in research in such fields as the governing body would deem appropriate. The NIHEs have a very proud record in this respect.

The Minister did not reply on the issue of the academic council. She referred to the international review body who recommended that the academic council should be a parallel body. There is the issue as to whether it has derived authority from the governing body and whether it is an academic council in the proper sense. Will the Minister give an assurance that the academic council will be generally reflective of the academic workers within the institution?

There are further amendments dealing with that.

The Minister says her power is limited to numbers and grades, but that is precisely the matter which should be in the competence of the university. Of course if it institutes posts it may require approval, or under the NUI system the approval of this House. The initiative must be a matter for the universities. Of course there must be financial controls but the Minister might be more encouraging about the future autonomy of these bodies and putting them on a par with the existing universities.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2a:

In page 3, before section 4, to insert the following new section:

"4.—Section 5 of the Act of 1980 is hereby amended—

(a) in subsection (4), by the deletion of the words ‘the Government on the recommendation of';

(b) in paragraph (a) of subsection (4)—

(i) by the deletion of ‘nine' and the substitution therefor of ‘four', and

(ii) by the deletion of ‘on the recommendation of' and the substitution therefor of ‘by'; and

(c) in paragraph (b) of subsection (4), by the deletion of ‘three' and the substitution therefor of ‘eight'.".

This amendment encapsulates two different concepts and I would have been happier if they had been kept separate. I do not want to tie the Minister down by linking the two. The separate concepts are that the role of the Government and the Minister should be confined to the direct appointments being made on the recommendation of the Minister and that the other appointments, whether by way of election or nomination by bodies, should be made directly. The practical difference is small. It would appear that the Minister would have to accept the appointments resulting from elections and nominations by certain bodies.

If this university is to have the full acceptance of institutions elsewhere it is very important that the Government's role should not appear to be greater than it is. There is nothing to be gained by interposing the Minister and the Government between the bodies which elect and nominate and the actual legal implementation. It is in the old Act for reasons which I never understood. The deletions proposed in my amendment would produce a wording which would have the same practical effect as that in the original Act, but from the point of view of anybody concerned about the role of the Government in this institution the position would become very much better. It would provide that there would be 23 members and that the first members would be appointed by the Government on the recommendation of the Minister. After the expiration of the term of office of the first members of the governing body, the 23 ordinary members of that body would be appointed in the following manner: nine of them would be appointed by the Minister in accordance with the provisions of the section. Three would be chosen by the academic staff. The Minister and the Government are taken out of the other appointments. The Minister has no role. If three people are elected by the academic staff the Minister has not the power to nominate them. What is the point of including the Minister and giving an impression of Government interference which does not exist?

The two small changes I am suggesting to eliminate a few words would solve the whole problem. I would ask the Minister to take a look at this. Her officials may devise a more elegant way but this seems the simplest way to achieve the objective of creating a body which will be reasonably similar to other universities, where the Minister has power to appoint some members and the others are chosen by other means.

A separate point which has been incorporated into a single amendment, which was not my original intention, is designed to modify the relative proportions nominated by the Minister and elected by the academic staff. The proportions as proposed are totally out of line with what one would expect in any university. In the NUI Senate there are four members nominated by the Government, one of whom shall be a woman — there were far-sighted legislators in 1908. Then there are nominations coming from a number of sources, from graduates and from the academic council, of whom a certain minimum must be members of the academic staff. The result is that in the NUI Senate there are no nominations by any outside body other than the Minister, thus giving the university clear autonomy. In this case the vast bulk of the nominations come from the Minister or outside bodies. It should be looked at again.

We should not treat universities as if they must be under such tutelage that outside bodies must nominate so many members. This does not happen in the NUI. Even in Queen's University, Belfast, in 1908 there were only two provisions for outside nominations by some curious bodies I never heard of before. I suppose they must still exist for the purpose of nominating. In the National University there were none. I know we cannot go into this since the Minister is not changing the whole structure. The one change she could make, as clear evidence of a will to demonstrate the autonomy of this body, her confidence in the academic staff and in its capacity to contribute to its own running, would be to modify the number of membership so the number she appointed would be the same as in the NUI. Why does she need more control of these universities or more involvement in the NUI and of the academic staff. Three out of 23 appointments is ludicrous; it would be ludicrous even in a second level institution and if they were governors of a school or something one would do better than that. I am only raising it to eight — I think the figure should be greater — because I do not want to suggest to the Minister that she should reduce her appointments to lower than the figure in the NUI which is a reasonable figure of four, and that the residue of those then are transferred over to the academic staff. What emerges from that is not satisfactory. It is not the kind of governing body a university should have, but we cannot do better than that today. It is no good trying to play around with the thing any more than that. This is a very small change. If the Minister could bring herself to make it she would at least demonstrate to the two institutions concerned that she has the confidence and trust in them which the Government have in the NUI.

I do not think the Minister has similar appointments in Dublin University but that is a more antique body; at least she would put these universities on a par with the NUI. I would suggest these two separate points. They are incorporated in one amendment. I am quite prepared to accept it if the Minister takes them separately. If she is of a mind to accept one and not the other then on Report Stage a bit of redrafting would achieve that but I would hope she would accept both of them as a demonstration of her concern to give these bodies the kind of status they should have, a status equivalent to that of the NUI and Dublin University.

I am sorry I cannot agree entirely with Deputy FitzGerald on this, tempora mutanter. What would have been relevant at the beginning of the century might not necessarily be relevant now in circumstances where the complete funding of university education comes from the taxpayer and I do not see why we should continue to speak of a university having to be autonomous, even immune from normal regulations that might apply. The great thing about an education if one has it, is that one uses conversation for revelation and not concealment. I say what I believe, and while it might have been appropriate years ago that Governments and nobody else were allowed trespass into the domain of third level education, I do not think they should fear any such trespass because in so far as they are changed with responsibility and accountability in respect of the vast sums that are spent, I do not see at all why we should make any apologies for having the Minister of the day have the power that is envisaged here. For my part

I would be reluctant to agree that there should be any movement back towards the time when universities were funded in their entirety almost from private moneys and could obviously do what the people funding them wanted. I am in favour of what is proposed here in the section rather than the amendment.

That is the most depressing speech I have hard here in this House for a long time.

Perhaps we should clear up a matter. At the outset I said that this legislation was of a minimalist nature. Each of the official spokespersons who responded accepted that point with varying degrees of regret but all in the knowledge that what we wanted to do was to give university status to the two current NIHEs. That was accepted in a spirit of co-operation. Each speaker then expressed the view that this would lead to a wider debate on the NUI and the changes thereto and on the wider subject of third level education. We are now confusing the two issues, with respect to Deputy FitzGerald. In regard to the legislation which set up the NIHEs the governing bodies are remaining in those offices until 1992 having been set up in 1987 for a span of five years. I do not intend to interfere with that process. In 1992 their tenure of office as governing bodies ends and at that point and in the light of events or other legislation and debates which will have occurred between now and then it will be right and proper to view the body in charge of the then Dublin City University and University of Limerick to see what changes should be made. I accept the spirit of what Deputy FitzGerald said and the philosophy behind what he is putting forward but because of the limited nature of the legislation and because we intend to deal with it in that way, to wander into changing the make up of the governing body would go against the spirit of the legislation we have put forward today.

I accept that the governing bodies are there until 1992. My amendment does not refer to the initial appointments. What I am suggesting is that these minimal changes would have the effect of demonstrating to the universities and to those looking in from outside that there is a gesture there that would be helpful to them in establishing themselves between now and 1992. If the Minister agrees with the general thrust of what I am saying I would hope that she could, on Report Stage, accept them. If they are in the right direction, what is the harm of putting them in? The benefit is obvious.

I support Dr. FitzGerald, I will leave it at that.

Is the amendment withdrawn?

In the hope of the Minister doing something on Report Stage, I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 3, between lines 47 and 48, to insert the following subsection:

"(2) Any President appointed after the term of office of the President who holds office at the time of coming into operation of this Act shall be appointed for a fixed term of office to be decided by the Governing Body from time to time.".

This is in line with progressive practices in colleges elsewhere.

I support the amendment on the basis that it would bring the two new universities into line with all the other universities in the State. The headship of the universities and of all of the other colleges is for a specified time span. It seems to me undesirable that the headship of a university could be a life peerage.

That would be extremely important. Things have moved in that direction in recent times and it is important again that we take the opportunity to come in line with the other universities.

The proposed amendment and the support given to it reflects the position adopted voluntarily by some institutions in making presidential appointments for a fixed period. Section 9(2) of the 1980 Act leaves the governing bodies free to do this if they so wish. I prefer to leave this matter to their discretion. As the legislation goes on sometimes people want me to be interventionist and sometimes not according as the mood strikes them. I would prefer to leave this matter to the discretion of the governing bodies leaving them free to order their affairs. There can surely be nothing very wrong with that. In fact it shows me to be remarkably non-interventionist in this matter that the governing bodies are free to order their own affairs and carry out their own duties.

As the mover of the amendment let me not get involved in the question of when is a time for intervention and when is a time for non-intervention. The fact of the matter is that there are no contractual implications involved because it does not affect the two distinguished incumbents of the posts at present. It merely is a legislative support for what may be internal statutes but I warn the Minister that if she decides not to take this move she is then leaving it to the internal statutes to achieve something that is a progressive practice, that has been accepted in other universities, and I do urge her in this case to give statutory support in the Bill to what may be an internal statutory adjustment.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 4 agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 are related and amendment No. 5a is an alternative to amendment No. 5. I suggest, therefore, that we discuss amendments Nos. 4, 5 and 5a by agreement.

I move amendment No. 4:

4. In page 4, between lines 1 and 2, to insert the following paragraph:

"(a) the substitution for subsection (1) of the following subsection:

‘(1) There shall be an Academic Council to assist the Governing Body in the planning, co-ordination, development and overseeing of the educational work of the Institute.',".

The area of greatest concern to me relates to student representation. I do not deny the importance of the more general points raised in the earlier amendments to the section. It is entirely appropriate that the legislation should give greater clarity to the role of the academic council. The drafting will be improved by the amendments. It has been made clear for example that the academic appointments in question have to be academic appointments within the university, something that was left open by the Government drafting. I will leave Deputy Higgins to make his and my case on those points.

I want to press the argument for student representation on the academic council. The NIHE Acts provided for student representation on the governing bodies. That legislation did not address the question of whether students should be represented on academic councils. Both colleges have voluntarily adopted the practice of having student representation. In one case they have two students and in another instance they have six students. In doing that they have given the lead to some older institutions. I am anxious that as the House, when it passed the NIHE legislation in the seventies gave its impetus to student representation, so today we should take the opportunity to encourage the development that took place and to provide for student representation as of right. In a sense, my amendment is arbitrary in that I have suggested three students. One of the colleges already provides for greater representation. All that we provide for is a minimum representation of three students. I invite the Minister to accept that amendment.

I support Deputy Birminghan's case in relation to student representation. Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 are the core of the Bill. This is where the international review body is entirely in parallel with what we are suggesting in these amendments. It suggests a status for the academic council which will clearly establish the question of a university ethos. It enables us to resolve the difficulty I mentioned as to whether academic authority is derived from a governing body or whether it is generic, that it is coming from a community of scholarship. I most strongly urge the Government to accede to these amendments. They are in the best interests of both institutions for the future.

With regard to student representation, I am pleased to go along with that amendment. In relation to Deputy Higgins' point, in line with the spirit of democracy in both of those colleges, they already have a number of student representatives, Deputy Higgins' amendment with regard to the make-up of the academic council would confine membership of it to those holding academic appointments. This is not in accordance with the present practice in the two institutions and would limit the scope of the governing body to appoint persons from business and industry to the academic council so that they could have a say in the design and development of appropriate programme of study, which indeed is one of the functions of the council.

Section 5 as drafted merely reflects the reality that exists in the two institutions. The majority of the members are holders of academic appointments, appointed under regulations made by the governing bodies for a period of three years and they may be reappointed. The director under Schedule II of the Act of 1980 is an ex officio member of the academic council. The Deputy's amendment would confine membership of the academic council to the holders of academic appointments. This would limit the scope of the governing body. I urge the Deputy to bear my point of view in mind. The colleges have succeeded dramatically because their academic council has a wider brief. To insist upon this amendment would dilute much of the comprehensive nature of the academic council.

I will return to it again.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 5 not moved.

I move amendment No. 5a:

In page 4, line 5, after "appointments" to insert "and not less than 3 students of the University, representative of the Student Body".

Amendment agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.

I should have advised the Deputy that amendment No. 6 has been ruled out of order as it would involve a potential charge on the Exchequer.

Amendment No. 6 not moved.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill."

I am concerned at the extent to which staffing appointments are subject to the control of the Minister for Education with the consent and approval of the Minister for Finance. I have no problem about a role for the Government and specifically for the Minister for Finance because clearly at the end of the day they pay the bill. It is entirely reasonable that they should have not just a say but a dominant say in relation to the numbers of appointments. That is obvious. The obvious interpretation of the section is that it gives the Minister a power that goes beyond simple numbers, and it appears to give the Minister for Education the power and the influence to deal with individual appointments. That is absolutely abhorrent, as the Minister accepted. The Minister might be surprised on reading the section to discover that she has that power.

As we wind up the debate on this Bill, I should say that the debate on the universities' Bills has typified the degree of co-operation that has applied between Government and Opposition during much of the Dáil.


Hear, hear.

The Government saw this legislation as being urgent, as did the Opposition and requested that it be brought before the House. The Government brought it before the House and indicated only a limited time for it. The Opposition agreed. The Opposition tabled amendments and these amendments were considered by the Minister. I thank her for the generous way in which she responded. The way the debate has been conducted has typified the degree of co-operation that has applied during so much of the Dáil, a degree of co-operation that is now about to be torn up by the Taoiseach for his own personal party political ends.


Please, Deputy.

The Taoiseach is directly responsible——


Deputy Birmingham will confine his remarks to the section under discussion.

I am talking on this Bill——

The Deputy will now resume his seat.


——in relation to the manner in which the debate was conducted.

The Deputy is not dealing with the Bill. The Deputy will deal with the section under debate.

On section 6, and on the concern I have as to the Minister's powers, the fact of what is going to happen in the next few minutes is inconsistent with the way this section has been——

That has nothing to do with this Bill.


The Taoiseach went off to Japan and got used to hob-nobbing with emperors. He came back and expected people to knowtow and now we are to have an election for his own vanity——

Please, Deputy.

I hope that in Japan he learned something about that honourable tradition of hara-kiri and that when he comes back without a majority he will follow that tradition.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 7 and 8 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.