Private Members' Business. - Environment Protection Agency Bill, 1989: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Before the debate was adjourned last night I had commented in a general way on our attitude to the environment over the years. We have been almost schizophrenic in our attitude to environmental matters. During the sixties and seventies we marketed Ireland as an industrial centre while at the same time we did not take the necessary decisions to provide industries with the kind of back up facilities they required. I referred to an industry which had set up in Ireland and had indicated they would have a product which could not be disposed of in domestic tipheads. Even now, nine years later, we have not provided suitable dumping facilities for that industry. For many years that industry had to get trucks to bring its waste over the Border and dump it there. In recent years the British said they did not want any more of this waste to be dumped in the North as they had enough waste of their own to dispose of and an alternative arrangement has had to be made with Dublin County Council for this firm.

I want to refer to the irony in regard to some of our environmental policies. We spend a certain percentage of our GNP — I do not believe we spend enough — and many voluntary agencies spend a great deal of money, sending experts to the Third World where serious efforts are being made to ensure that deforestation is stopped and to encourage the people there to plant trees again. When I was in Tanzania a few years ago a young man of about 25 years of age told me, as we looked out on what appeared to be endless desert, he could remember that area being covered with trees when he was a child. It is ironic that we are helping Third World countries to replant, provide a clean water supply and cut down on the use of chemical fertilisers in the agricultural sector while at the same time we have not been minding our own backyard. Maybe we should bring back some of those experts and get them to sit down with the Minister for the Environment and his officials to teach them some of the lessons we are trying to teach people in the Third World.

I want to refer to some of the incredible decisions which have been taken by this Government and the Government who were in power from 1987 to 1989. I cannot blame the Minister of State, Deputy Harney, for any of the decisions taken between 1987 and 1989. I know that both at council level and in the Dáil she was one of the most vociferous critics of the Government's decision to abolish An Foras Forbartha in 1987. At a time when the rest of the world was beginning to wake up to the need to respect and protect our natural environment and ensure that any industrial and agricultural policies did not further erode our natural environment, our Government abolished the one independent agency to which members of the public, members of local authorities and business people could go for independent advice, knowing they would not be getting the advice of somebody who had a vested interest. The Government gave all sorts of reasons for abolishing this agency and said they were setting up an environmental unit within the Department. That unit was not as independent as An Foras Forbartha.

The Minister has again promised to set up an environment protection agency. However, this is still only a promise; Deputy Shatter's Bill is the only one we have. We do not yet have the Bill the Government keep promising. We are endeavouring, probably at great expense and certainly with great delay, to get the Government to introduce a Bill which will establish an environment protection agency. There would have been no need for Deputy Shatter's Bill if An Foras Forbartha had not been abolished. We might have had to extend the role and powers of An Foras Forbartha but we would not have had to go to the expense, both in terms of time and money, of introducing a new Bill. The abolition of An Foras Forbartha must go down as one of the most foolish mistakes of the 1987-89 Administration.

I want to refer to some areas of the environment in which I have had a particular interest for many years. The time has gone when we could regard our seas and rivers as one large septic tank. Other countries gradually came to believe that what they were doing for too long created dead seas and rivers, but we still continue to blithely believe we can create septic tanks out of our rivers and seas. We still have the scandal of raw sewage being dumped into the sea and in some instances there are very short sea outfalls which means that the raw sewage is being washed back onto the shore. I think Deputy Bruton referred to the major investment in the new Ringsend primary sewage treatment plant. The Minister said in his glossy publication that he intends to introduce secondary treatment for sewage as quickly as possible. We should be past the stage of introducing secondary treatment plants; we should be providing tertiary facilities. We should go straight from primary to tertiary facilities as quickly as possible to ensure that our seas are no longer treated as dumping grounds.

If one walks along the beach in Portmarnock in my constituency very often one will see a long line of rubbish, condoms and toilet paper. I am sorry to have to say this but if it is not spelt out the engineers seem to say you are not telling the truth. I have walked the beach and seen this rubbish. When I said the rubbish must be coming from the Howth or Ringsend outfall I was told it was coming from ships who empty their bilges and throw their rubbish overboard when passing our shores. They must have been very active ships judging by the number of condoms, etc., I saw on the beach. I do not believe for one minute that the raw sewage and rubbish on the beaches in north County Dublin come from the ships which pass our shores. The outfall from Howth and Ringsend seems to come up on the beaches in north County Dublin. These are some of the finest beaches in our country and I will continue to press for the removal of all untreated outfall on our beaches. That is the direction in which we should be moving.

I want to refer to the issue of smog and the Minister's big glossy publication, which, no doubt, formed part of the expenditure on PR by the Department of the Environment which we heard about yesterday. I would liken the production of this booklet to asking a good student to do a project. It is full of lovely statements and catchy expressions, what they would call in America mom-and-apple-pie statements. It contains very few hard facts. The Minister has banned the sale of bituminous coal from next October and is going to make £3 million available in an effort to help those who cannot afford to buy smokeless fuel. We do not know who will qualify for this grant, when it will be paid and if it will only be made available to those people living in areas which are the subject of smoke control area orders and who received grants to convert their systems to enable them burn smokeless fuel.

The Deputy might now bring her speech to a close.

The Minister does not intend to introduce any more smoke control area orders. That is disgraceful. Some explanation should be given as to how people living in areas which should have been the subject of smoke control area orders, particularly in the Minister of State's own constituency ——

The time has come to call another speaker.

I commend the Bill to the House and I hope the Minister of State will do as she did when in Opposition, when she accepted Deputy Shatter's Judicial Separation and Law Reform Bill and accept his Bill here tonight.

At the outset, I wish to point out that I wish to share my time with the Minister for the Environment.

Is that satisfactory? Agreed.

Deputy Shatter and the Minister of State, Deputy Harney, deserve credit for recognising the need for an environment protection agency. I also wish to congratulate the Minister of State on her appointment as this is the first time I have had an opportunity to speak on a Bill on the environment. Deputy Owen and I also have something in common in that we are members of Dublin County Council. As chairman of Ogra Fianna Fáil, I proposed in February of last year the setting up of an environment protection agency at the launching of an environmental campaign in Power's Hotel. Therefore, the need for this agency is appreciated but like other speakers on this side of the House I would have to conclude that it would be more prudent to await the introduction of the Bill to set up the agency proposed by the Minister of State. I think she has adopted the right approach and achieved the right balance. That Bill must be seen in the context of the environmental action programme launched recently by the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Flynn. I have to say that it is one of the most comprehensive action plans ever produced by any Government. It covers all aspects, including the health area. I have said in the past that we do not place enough emphasis on the health area. In that context I ask the Minister of State to look again at some of the language in the Bill to ensure that a stronger emphasis is placed on the health area.

The Environmental Action Programme covers the area of health, the quality of water, and air, our marine environment, agriculture, forestry, fish farming, heritage, waste recycling, thatched cottages and the ozone layer. Last night Deputy Bruton referred to the need for an extension of the programme to cover the nuclear sector. I share this view and ask the Minister of State to consider doing this. One of the strengths of the Bill is that it attempts to co-ordinate resources and refers to the need for co-operation.

Deputy Owen referred to mistakes made in the past. One of the mistakes the last Coalition Government of Fine Gael and Labour made is that they seemed to approach this matter sector by sector. The growing threat to humanity, vegetation, animal life, air and water presents us in the last decade of the second millennium with a tremendous challenge. It is a well known fact that the developed world is the main culprit when it comes to trans-frontier pollution caused by chemicals, airborne effluents, fossil fuel combustion, nuclear plant emissions and other discharges and resulting in the majority of industrial catastrophies.

As new industries develop, existing industries expand and new technology is introduced the environment will increasingly be placed at risk and hazards for human health will arise. History shows that industrial innovation is rarely matched in speed with corresponding protections for the community and the environment. We cannot turn back the clock and unlearn the science and technology of the last 20th century. In any event it is not science but its disordered application that spawned the pollution problems that face us. As I said, this matter was approached sector by sector in the past. For example, when it came to the question of animal disease eradication it was turned into a veterinary problem with little emphasis placed on the environmental and public health aspects. In relation to physical planning and development, concern was centred on land use and not on the health and welfare of people. Energy policy centred on fuel costs and tended to ignore the social and environmental aspects.

That was the position in the past but I have to say that it has now changed. The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Flynn, said recently:

There is a wide acceptance that environmental considerations can no longer be seen merely as external constraints on industry, agriculture or energy production. Instead, the awareness of the environmental requirements must be fully built into the development of policies for these sectors.

That is the key. As I said, we must continue to place emphasis on the health aspect.

The environment is the primary determinant of the state of general health of any population. One can only produce quality food in a pure environment. The aesthetic and healthful state of our land, air and water underpins our tourism industry and promotes the health of our citizens and indeed visitors.

The question of specialisation and segregation must also be tackled. The interconnectedness, inter-relationship and inter-dependency of the activities of Government Departments, industry, agriculture and other social partners mean that real progress can only be secured through co-operation, through inter-sectoral collaboration and through integration of the several areas of knowledge and expertise. This has been well demonstrated by the many Irish technology industries which compete in a challenging business environment where new successful products can only be produced with the co-ordinated input of a wide range of technological expertise. The management structures in this environment are characterised by a flattened out pyramid where communication and co-operation across several areas of expertise is the order of the day. Specialisation without collaboration can be destructive. This happened in the past. It is both wasteful and downright irresponsible. The strength of the Bill and the ten-year action plan I referred to is that they place emphasis on co-operation and co-ordination. When I read through the contents of the action plan and the contents of the Minister of State's Bill——

The Minister of State has not published a Bill.

All we have are a couple of speeches and brochures.

We have a public relations exercise.

I will deal with that in a few moments. At the outset I complimented my constituency colleague for producing a Bill but I have to say there is a number of flaws in it. I will cover as many of them as I can. Tonight I am talking about the need to await publication of the Minister of State's Bill and to see it in the light of this action programme. I said earlier that we need to look at the nuclear industry and to include it in this debate.

We do that in the Bill. The Minister of State will not be doing so in hers.

The Minister of State is still in a position to do so. The water pollution Bill has been referred to during the course of the debate and rightly so. It has to be pointed out that our water is still among the cleanest in Europe. However, the number of fish kills is still too high. These fish kills have damaged our reputation and image abroad when it comes to tourists and environmental quality generally.

In agriculture, due to the grant aid to farmers the progress of combating the pollution problem is beginning to work and is paying dividends. The Government must be commended for that. The local authorities have stepped up their enforcement provision under the Water Pollution Act. Many of them still lack resources, but this is tackled in the Bill and in the Environment Action Programme. We have moved on immeasurably in farming; we have moved into intensive farming and industry also has become more intensive. Haymaking has been replaced by silage. I spent part of my young life in rural Ireland. When one goes back one sees that the change is immense. I am talking about parts of the west and of east Galway. I am fortunate to have lived through a period when I could draw clean, fresh drinking water from a well, which I think is still there — my brother tells me it is still there — and I have walked through fields where one could smell new-mown hay. I am not from a farming background, but those memories are very strongly implanted in my mind, and those experiences I will never forget.

The Deputy is upsetting Deputy Shatter.

He is misquoting his Minister who said "in streams where the water will be sweet and clean just as it was when I was a boy".

(Interruptions.)

Those experiences are of considerable benefit to any of us and I am sure many Deputies have known them. Times have changed. Haymaking has changed to silage.

Nobody is rolling in the hay anymore.

There are more fertilisers, more chemicals. There are changes for the worse in some cases, but that is progress. Any of us who lived through that period will have a greater appreciation of the environment and of our natural resources.

I hope that in putting a Bill together we will take on board many of our experiences and the need to protect that environment and at the same time take account of advances in technology. There are obviously far greater quantities of waste water on our farmlands. Silage effluent has been established as the greatest polluter in that it is 200 times more polluting than sewage. We must have properly managed systems for disposal of agricultural waste.

The environmental protection agency, as envisaged by the Minister, will be a full, independent and dynamic body with the necessary expertise and sophisticated equipment to enable them carry out their functions. The Minister has produced a comprehensive Bill with very clearly defined functions. They have been spelled out: control and regulation of developments likely to pose a major risk to the quality of our environment, general monitoring of the environment quality, support, back-up and advisory services and environmental research. They will have a full-time executive board and an advisory council. We must accept there are many established environmental groups who have been very helpful in their involvement in this environmental debate, such as Greenpeace, Earthwatch and others. I hope bodies such as these will be involved in the advisory council. The Minister said they will be established in 1990. If Deputy Shatter or Deputy Owen have reservations, let me say the key of their establishment is that this will be a developmental process. There is a great degree of flexibility in that the Minister is willing to develop the whole agency as they progress.

I am concerned that local authorities will continue to have their own separate responsibilities, but there will be a linkage between the agency and the local authority system. Again, the success of this Bill is that it brings in co-operation between the existing structures. It does not implant new structures on top of what we have which would cause tremendous chaos and confusion. The agency can play an important role in the operation of the environmental impact assessment procedure, in particular with regard to water, air and soil. They will be responsible for general monitoring of the environmental quality of the water. They will maintain data bases and as we are now in the computer age this is important. I presume we will have data bases provided in places such as libraries, etc. The staffing will come from the environmental research unit in An Foras Forbartha. The Minister referred to Eolas. I support the view that we should use staff and expertise from Eolas who are engaged in the provision of environmental services.

The agency will act as a national focal point for the new European environmental agency who will be concerned initially with the collection of data. I repeat that it is important to see this agency in the context of a ten year environmental action plan. Sir, you can remind me of the time because I would like to share it with the Minister, Deputy Flynn.

It is a matter for the Deputy when he wishes to hand over to his colleague.

I was hoping to speak for about 15 minutes.

The time available to the Deputy and his colleague, the Minister, expires at 19 minutes to 8 o'clock, in a little over ten minutes

I have spoken for about ten minutes, is that right?

For 15 minutes.

The Deputy has half a minute.

You can share equally with your colleague. As Deputy Shatter says, you have about a minute left.

There is tremendous pressure coming from industry, agriculture and growth in our urban areas. This agency will command the confidence of the public. It will ensure the application of standards on a uniform basis. Industry and agriculture can co-exist with a clean environment if we have this high level of expertise and equipment and can separate the role of the local authority from the agency and everybody understands what is happening and who is in charge.

I like the suggestion that they will have an in-built appeal procedure. If a Merrell Dow type incident occurred again I understand the agency could act as a type of arbitrator, both sides could put their case and debate could take place in a very healthy atmosphere.

There are many other things I would like to say but I do not want to take time from the Minister. Again, I thank Deputy Shatter, my constituency colleague, for bringing this Bill to the attention of the House. However, looking at its structures and how he operates I have to say there will be total confusion if this were to be brought into place. I suggest that the Minister's Bill in the context of the Environment Action Programme is the correct solution. We have made a tremendous beginning. We have the plans in place and over the next ten years I foresee a very healthy environment.

I welcome the Opposition's conversion to real concern for the environment. I hope that commitment to the environment will continue to future years. It has not always been there.

My personal interest, and the interest of the Minister responsible for environmental protection, is not in doubt, but the Opposition have pleaded that the Bill should be accepted if not on its merits at least to save the Government some embarrassment because legislation setting up an environment protection agency is not in place. I assure the House that the Government are not in the least interested in any face saving exercise in so far as protection of the environment is concerned. The Government are in the action business in that regard. Recent developments, such as the publication of the Environment Action Programme and the follow-up with special budgetary provisions in respect of the environment are examples of the Government's commitment involving a substantial allocation of funds to our most serious environmental problems.

The action programme also provides for an impressive legislative programme on the environment, much of which is at an advanced stage. In particular, there is a commitment to introduce the Government's Environment Protection Agency Bill in this session. There have been many statements from the other side of the House that the Government Bill will not be introduced this year. That is not so, and I hope they will have the good grace to acknowledge their error when we introduce the Bill this session. We will have it in action and the agency in operation this year.

When will it be introduced?

A number of Opposition speakers have been criticising the environment action programme and I must respond, even though time is limited. The action programme is the culmination of my personal interest and endeavours in environmental matters. I have done more than any previous Minister for the Environment since I assumed office. Many of the proposals were initiated in previous years in the context of budgetary or legislative measures and have now been strengthened and amalgamated into one comprehensive and workable plan. The programme is, therefore, no overnight wonder or public relations exercise as the Opposition are attempting to make out. The plan provides for the expenditure of about £1,000 million over the next ten years, starting with an additional £20 million in excess of ordinary expenditure, which has been made available for the current financial year. The money is only part of the programme. Equally, if not more important, are the commitments to other kinds of action to remedy problems and preserve, improve and enhance the environment. I can assure the House that the programme of action will be implemented. Some of the proposals are of a long-term nature but others are already under way. The progress in implementing the measures will be reported on periodically so that the public will know this is an action programme, that we mean business, and we are stressing that the action is taking place now.

I now want to turn to the provisions of Deputy Shatter's Bill. Deputy Shatter attempts to suggest that only minor differences of approach exist between the Government proposals and the Bill and that they could be teased out on Committee Stage. I am glad to recognise that there are differences, but his suggestions show a clear lack of appreciation and understanding of the proposed functions of the Government agency.

We did not discover the functions of the Government agency until a month after the Bill was published.

The Government's proposal to give the agency a licensing function in respect of specific developments is of major importance and will enable the agency to take effective action to prevent pollution from development which poses the greatest threat to the environment. A fully integrated coherent and consistent approach in the licensing system is being adopted and this can only be achieved through the introduction of new and significant legislation. The Government Bill will be making specific provision for an integrated licence instead of the system of separate licences and permits for air, water and waste as at present. This approach has already been welcomed by industry and developers and by environmental groups because of the streamlining of existing procedures.

The assessment of applications for integrated licences for complex developments will require special expertise and this expertise will be provided by the proposed agency. This fundamental difference between the Government's proposals and the Bill before the House is not something which can be teased out on Committee Stage or through the adoption of a few amendments thrown in here and there or by shifting around sections of Deputy Shatter's Bill. The reason is that Deputy Shatter's Bill is fundamentally flawed in so many respects that it would be completely unworkable no matter what amendments were made on Committee Stage.

I am intrigued by the attitude adopted by the Opposition to Government comments on the Bill. They have been objecting to any specific references to the problems with the Bill and at the same time stating that the Government have given no coherent reasons for not accepting it. It is difficult to satisfy them. I have already indicated a major problem in relation to what is omitted from the Bill so far as Government proposals are concerned and I will refer briefly to some of the problems we have with what is included.

One of the principal problems of this Bill is that it does not take account of existing legislation. There is no attempt to co-ordinate the provisions of this Bill with the provisions of the Air Pollution Act or the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act. The Bill proposes to establish a new organisation with significant powers which will be set down on top of existing bodies. The agency will duplicate existing functions and powers of these bodies and yet the Bill does not clarify where the roles of the different organisations are to start and finish. Let me give another example, there is provision for the agency to establish and publish national criteria for water and air quality and for discharge standards where applicable. I cannot see how this differs from quality standards and emission limits in existing legislation. What happens if conflicting standards are introduced under both sets of legislation? Who will ensure that this cannot happen?

Let me now turn to prosecutions. The environment commissioner is being given extensive prosecution powers if "he deems it appropriate" or "if, in his opinion, proceedings are warranted". If we accept this, we will end up with a system where any existing Authority's or State body's prosecuting powers can be over-ridden on the opinion of the environment commissioner. It makes no provision for what may be happening between a local authority and a polluting development. There may be a programme of investment by a developer to remedy a source of pollution which had been agreed with the local authority but now, the environment commissioner can institute proceedings. What are developers to make of such a situation? They do not know and they will not know if an agreement with their local authority or any other State body is of any use or consequence. They will feel they need to negotiate with both the local authority and the environment commissioner. They may consider it necessary to go to the commissioner before they undertake development because of the possible implications of future prosecutions.

In addition to the elements of confusion and duplication there is the distinct danger that the overlap of responsibilities would also have the effect of facilitating, if not actively encouraging, the passing of responsibilities from the existing authorities to the agency. Such a system would be very frustrating for environmentalists and developers alike.

To be effective an environment protection agency must have teeth with comprehensive, primary and direct control functions from the earliest concept and design stages in the case of development which poses the greatest threat to the environment. The environment will ultimately suffer if the agency is not able to act in its own right until it is obvious that a particular authority had failed in its duties and irreversible damage had resulted — a case of closing the stable door after the event.

The sweeping but haphazard and disparate range of functions proposed for the commissioner display an inadequate lack of understanding of existing controls to prevent a deterioration in environmental quality. The references to the environmental impact assessment procedures and the proposed agency role is a typical example of the failure to understand the basic principles of the system. Apart from the obvious confusion between environmental impact statements and environmental impact assessments, the Bill fails to deal with the obvious conflicts of interest which would arise if the agency was to carry out all the functions proposed for it in this area. I refer, of course, to giving it functions to prepare environmental impact statements, not assessments, as in the Bill and also carrying out assessments of environmental impact statements.

The Bill proposes the establishment of an Oireachtas joint committee on the Environment, the primary function of which would be the supervision of the operations of the agency even to the extent of functions in relation to the appointment of the environment commissioner, members of the environmental council and the numbers and terms of reference of staff, which says a lot for the independence of the agency.

The Minister obviously has not read the Bill. The environmental committee has no function in appointments.

The method of selection and appointment of the commissioner——

The Minister is totally misrepresenting the contents of the Bill.

Deputy Shatter will have the right to reply. I will be calling on him to do so at 8.15 p.m. In the meantime he must contain himself in quietude. The Minister to proceed without interruption.

Deputy Shatter's new found interest in the environment is now typically being exploited but he must understand that when his Bill is being torn to shreds.

The Minister is waffling. Every time we produce a new idea he is running to catch up with us.

Deputy Shatter will have a right to reply in due course.

The method of selection and appointment of the commissioner has a major influence on the independence or otherwise of the agency. The Bill is remarkably silent on the method of selection of the commissioner.

It is not.

In attempting to set out the function of the agency, the Bill fails to give any clearly defined criteria which could be interpreted and implemented by any commissioner or environmental council or staff of the agency, no matter how highly qualified they may be. There are pious aspirations and meaningless phrases such as "the intrinsic values of eco-systems" and "the values of individuals and groups". Phrases such as "the need for future generations", "sensitivity" and "pressures on the environment" are useless statements to any pollution control authority faced with the harsh reality of complex modern developments with the potential for seriously affecting the quality of the environment.

In the challenging situations faced by enforcement authorities it is essential that legislative criteria take account of modern scientific principles and strategies for eliminating or minimising pollution. Any improvement to the existing control regime must have strong and direct regulatory powers with well defined procedures for integration with existing arrangements. The Bill fails miserly to provide for this. It contains no clear guidelines as to where the responsibilities of the agency would begin or end and under what circumstances the commissioner could take action. It would be impossible for such an agency to operate unless it had limitless resources if, as is proposed in the Bill, it has to monitor the day to day operations of all existing authorities on every aspect of the environment.

I have been able to touch on only a few of the problems relating to this Bill. I regret that it is nothing more than just a political exercise and an attempt to embarrass the Government during the European Presidency when——

This is a demeaning and foolish speech which is most unfortunate from the Minister.

——for the first time ever this Government have taken the initiative in dealing with environmental matters. Environmental groups, even far from these shores, have recognised that this is a total, comprehensive response to many of the difficulties we have had to face. The difficulty for Deputy Shatter is that he never imagined in his wildest dreams that it was possible for us to put together a comprehensive response to deal with it.

The Minister thinks he is back in the theatre.

The Deputy cannot rest and seeks to embarrass the Department of the Environment and the Government.

The Minister is an embarrassment. This speech will be seen in the future as an embarrassment.

We gave a commitment before Deputy Shatter introduced this piece of nonsense that we would have our legislation brought to this House and implemented during 1990. Deputy Shatter has not displayed any interest of worthwhile significance in environmental protection and matters of this nature during the past three years. It is a bit late to come in now when we have taken the initiative and are going to do what is necessary.

The Minister is enacting amendments that we gave him.

I wish to share my time with Deputies Garland and Byrne.

Is that satisfactory? Agreed.

I am absolutely confounded by the contribution made by the Minister. I am astounded that the Minister for the Environment has not read this Bill on the environment protection agency. This is evident by the speech he has placed on the record of the House. He is not aware of the contents of the Bill, the powers contained within it and the methods of appointment. It is shocking that a Minister with his responsibilities could deliver such a speech. It is reflection on him, the Government and his party.

I am dealing with the environment, not the kind of rubbish being produced here.

The Minister is dealing with the environment with his head in the sand and he is totally unaware of the problems. This is evident by his reluctance to have an environment committee of this House established. He has put on record his objection to such a committee because he is obviously afraid of his fellow Deputies deciding on various aspects of the environment. He is unaware of the procedures under which the environment commissioner would be appointed. The same procedure is proposed in this Bill as exists in relation to the appointment of the ombudsman. Of course we know very well the attitude of this Government to the appointment of the Ombudsman and his independence. Obviously that is why the Government find this Bill totally abhorrent. They cannot accept the total independence of the agency proposed by Deputy Shatter. This is very unfortunate because until we have a completely independent environmental protection agency we will not have free protection of the environment. The Minister states that general policy issues will be directed by the Minister for the Environment. While the Minister has some input into the agency it will not be totally independent. That is not good for the environment.

It is extremely unfortunate that the Minister has adopted such a small-minded parochial attitude. He sees this as an attempt by Deputy Shatter to embarrass him and his Department. To adopt such a miserable attitude is despicable and deplorable instead of commending the Deputy on the excellent work he has done without the back up of a Department and the resources which the Minister has available. Despite his back up, the Minister has not yet managed to publish a Bill on the protection of the environment. This House must condemn the Minister for his attitude. The arguments put forward by him should not convince anyone to vote with him against this Bill.

This is a very important Bill which has the support of organisations throughout the country, including environmentalists, farming organisations and people involved in industry and in fish farming. The amount of support this Bill has commanded is quite extraordinary and the Minister has shown how totally out of touch he is with what is happening on the ground and with the reaction of the community at large to this Bill.

Last week the Government published an environment action programme in which they stated that by the year 2000 they will spend £300 million on improving the standard of drinking water. This amount is miserable when it is considered that between 1980 and 1989 over £760 million was spent by the previous Government on similar projects. When one takes inflation into account, the figure of £300 million is very much less than the amount spent in the past decade. It is eye-wash and camouflage.

There are problems in the area of aquaculture. The Department of the Marine have not the resources to act quickly in relation to the many applications they have received and there is much confusion. The Government state that they will improve the monitoring arrangements and that mandatory codes of practice are being put in place. I am not aware of anything being put in place.

The Government have done nothing except react to specific Directives issued by the EC. In order to placate the Commission they are putting something on paper that they will be able to go to Europe and say they have a programme for action. We all know that "flip all" is being done in any of the Departments which pertain to the environment. All we have is print and verbosity from the Minister but no action of any substance, whereas we in Fine Gael have introduced a positive, constructive Bill. It is up to this House to acknowledge the merits of its provisions and give it a Second Reading. I hope all Members will join with us here this evening and not adopt the small-minded, negative attitude that has just been displayed by the Minister.

As I understand the Minister's proposals, they constitute a totally watereddown version of ours. In accordance with the various press releases of the Minister and his Minister of State I understand the Government agency would play no role in complying with EC environmental directives. Indeed, radiological safety will not be dealt with at all by the proposed environment protection agency whereas we have specific provision in this Bill in regard to the Nuclear Energy Board. That is something we, as a nation, must monitor very closely.

I understand also that the proposed Government agency will have no right of access to departmental documentation relating to the environment and will not be free to investigate the manner in which Government Departments and local authorities deal with environmental matters. This means that the proposed Government agency will have no teeth and will merely constitute a watered-down version of our proposal. For example, the Government agency will have no power to serve or control orders.

We must be very sceptical about the manner in which the Minister spoke in the House this evening. He spoke of the fact that this Bill did not take into account existing legislation dealing with the environment. This Bill very specifically takes into consideration existing legislation in relation to the environment. For example, in relation to the Air Pollution Bill we know there are no guidelines laid down for local authorities with regard to what criteria they would adopt. We know that, for example, Cork County Council had to go to Germany to decide what criteria they should adopt in issuing licences under the Air Pollution Act. That begs the question, what is the Minister talking about? He is talking about legislation that does not meet a need. He is talking about his Department not having in place uniform criteria to be applied across the country. It is left to the discretion of each local authority to decide what criteria they want to adopt.

I have agreed to share my time with two other Members and, with that in view, I shall conclude.

I am calling on Deputy Garland. Deputy Garland will appreciate that he and Deputy Byrne have until 8.13 p.m.

There is certainly no doubt that our environment urgently requires protection on the part of our Government. I do not wish to take up the time of the House by citing a long litany of the many existing environmental problems which require action. To do so, would take until midnight. In passing, I might mention the latest problem we have encountered, particularly in the Dublin area, the excessive levels of aluminium in the water supply.

It would appear that the first step to be taken to address these issues seriously would be the formation of an environmental protection body of some kind. Whether it be called the environmental protection agency, as proposed by the Government, supported by Deputy Shatter, or the environmental management agency, as Deputy Quinn prefers to call it, is not important.

Before dealing with the Bill in any detail I should say that I will be supporting its Second Reading. In so doing I might stress that I am not entirely happy with the Bill for reasons which I will state later. However, imperfections can be dealt with on Committee Stage. There is involved here an important matter of principle, that is the right of an Opposition party to introduce legislation, a right which I wholeheartedly support. There is no monopoly of virtue on the Government side of the House. I have been saddened by the attitude of the Minister of State in this matter which is purely and simply playing politics with the environment.

If the House fails to grant this Bill a Second Reading — which I suspect will be the case, bearing in mind the mathematical voting patterns of the House — I have little doubt that the Government Bill, whenever introduced, will be very similar. I must stress that this matter is one of extreme urgency and that the Minister's attitude will delay the establishment of the agency by some months at least.

Before giving the Bill detailed consideration I must respond to some contributions already to this debate. Deputy Shatter referred to the problems of unemployment and emigration and very serious they are too. On this important subject he said:

We must have industrial growth while at the same time ensuring effective environmental protection and development.

He went on to say:

The concept of sustainable development is given statutory recognition.

Deputy Shatter wants to have his cake and eat it. It must be said that we must not have growth if it conflicts with the necessary protection of the environment. The planet's precious resources of fossil fuels must not be consumed frivolously.

Again, Deputy Shatter said:

The Bill recognises the desirability of integrating environmental considerations in all sectors of the economy and the community so that they automatically form part of sectoral planning and decision-making at all levels.

That is putting the cart before the horse. The Green Party, Comhaontas Glas, say that the economy must be managed in line with environmental needs.

I might refer to Deputy Gilmore's thoughtful, well-researched contribution, and to his side-swipe when he said:

We risk the debate on the environment and the environment becoming dominated by environmental fundamentalists who reject economic growth and who in some cases espouse a philosophy which is anti-human.

I might state categorically that the Green Party are not opposed to economic growth providing it is sustainable. Deputy Gilmore also accused us of being anti-human, which would be indeed a very bizarre policy for a political party. That is just not true of the Green Party. The fact that we have a progressive animal rights policy does not mean we are anti-human. Deputy Gilmore referred to the necessity to continue the production of pharmaceutical products in Ireland. This is a clear reference to the Green Party stance on the Merrell Dow issue. We make no apology for opposing the siting of this plant at Killeagh, which contrasts with the attitude of Deputy Gilmore's party colleague, Deputy Sherlock, who was very supportive of that Merrell Dow proposition.

Having read Deputy Shatter's Bill in some detail I find myself broadly supportive of its thrust. Certainly, some agency must be established very quickly. Should certain amendments to this Bill be accepted then the Bill should be adopted by the House rather than waste any more time awaiting the parliamentary draftsmen's production of a Government Bill for the establishment of an independent agency.

There are three main requirements for any such agency — independence from vested interests, full public access to all information held by the agency relating to the actual or potential environmental impact of any development, whether that be a plant, process, product, construction or whatever and, of course, adequate legal powers to investigate, to suspend operations and to prosecute.

Accordingly, sections 24 and 25 of the Bill require amendment. It is absolutely essential that there be complete freedom of access to environmental information on the part of the public. The agency must be allocated staff and a structure appropriate to its totally independent status. The Green Party contend it is essential that such an agency does not carry out environmental impact studies but rather should lay down guidelines on how such studies should be undertaken, which should be in accordance with the highest professional standards by independent consultants contracted by any body intending to carry out any development, whether it be the ESB, Bord na Móna, local authorities, companies or private individuals. Again, this Bill would require amendment in this respect.

The fines stipulated in the Bill should be index-linked to the prevailing rate of inflation. It is essential that companies be compelled by law to have yearly audits compiled of the waste they produce. Additionally, an integral part of the Bill should deal with the establishment of a sub-agency to research and implement waste reduction at source. In many cases toxic substances and practices within industry creating hazardous toxic waste can be substituted. It is not only desirable but essential that we strive to eliminate the generation of toxic and hazardous waste rather than simply controlling what we are already producing and shall continue to produce. The idea of a national incinerator is totally unacceptable and we in the Green Party totally oppose this suggestion. Until there is a safe way to dispose of this waste we must store the water we produce from essential processes such as X-rays. An incinerator would be unsafe.

Deputy Shatter should consider the possibility of including hazard assessments in his Bill in addition to the environmental impact assessments. These assessments would project the potential environmental impact of an accident. Of course, the environmental protection agency would have to ensure that the hazard assessment would be to an adequate standard and provide the backup to deal with an accident. Should a hazard assessment show that the danger would be too great, the development should not take place.

The environment commissioner should report directly to the Oireachtas by way of an annual report, or from time to time as he deems necessary or if requested by the Oireachtas in certain circumstances. We should avoid setting up the agency with the sort of accountability which governed the functions of An Foras Forbartha.

I support the Second Reading of the Bill because it goes some way down the road towards the type of independent agency this country so urgently requires. I stress the need for the items I have raised to be included in this Bill as they will only serve to enhance its effectiveness.

I understand the agreement is that Deputy Michael Kitt will get in at 8.13 p.m. for two minutes, so Deputy Byrne will realise that he must be finished by 8.13 p.m.

I thank Deputy Taylor-Quinn for facilitating me. I will not cover the ground already covered by Deputy Gilmore. Whatever about its weaknesses this Bill will be supported by The Workers' Party.

We are all concerned about many environment issues but I will address the social, economic, aesthetic and cultural aspects of the environment. Dublin was a beautiful city but the Department of the Environment, aided and abetted by the local authorities have implemented more measures to destroy the physical and cultural environment of the city than anyone else. The environment protection agency proposed in the Bill would have to have the authority to protect the environment from various Government Departments.

What sort of pollution affects the learning capacity of young working class children? In west County Dublin, for example, 50 per cent of children going to second level education have serious problems with reading and writing. Is the cause the same form of pollution that affects the inner city and children from urban working class backgrounds so that they cannot gain access to third level education? Is it the smog or the lead petrol fumes which is causing this educational immobility or is it the policy pursued by the Department of Education under successive Governments that is causing the problem? Perhaps the Department of the Environment are the cause?

What sort of environment does the Department of the Environment create? The Department have allowed the building of flat complexes in this city which are so environmentally disagreeable that even homeless people will not live in them. Families whose financial resources are inadequate are herded into these complexes. We are rightly concerned about preserving and enhancing our physical environment. There is nothing as relaxing as a game of golf in a pleasant unpolluted setting or a sail in unpolluted waters or a horse back ride in unpolluted countryside, but none of these pursuits is open to the 388 tenants in Oliver Bond Flats or to the 392 tenants in Dolphin House — two of the largest flat complexes in Dublin city. Will the environment protection agency prosecute those responsible for the criminal neglect of the environment of these people? These people do not even have the most basic community facilities and because 75 per cent of them are relying solely on social welfare they are not in a position to pursue any leisure pursuits. Are we to have a two-tiered environment as we have a two-tiered health system, a two-tiered education system and a two-tiered society?

The physical character of Dublin city is or has been destroyed in parts. Clanbrassil Street and Cork Street lie in ruins. They have been progressively destroyed over the past 40 years because road engineers have earmarked them for road widening. What authority should have the right to impose unspeakable dereliction on communities without having even an obligation while awaiting funding to complete road works, to at least grass in the sites or carry out temporary landscaping to enhance the environment? Why can local authorities walk away from the destruction leaving behind vulnerable and demoralised communities surrounded by weeds, rubbish and rat infested sites? I agree that there should be penalties to bring Government Departments and local authorities to heel.

Many former Protestant churches have been abandoned but they are of tremendous historical, architectural and amenity value and they form an important element in the visual character of the inner city of Dublin. These buildings have been focal points in many street schemes in the older parts of the city. The environment protection agency working with the local authorities and the Diocesan Council of the Dublin Diocese should ensure the survival of the many churches that dot the Dublin landscape, churches like St. Catherine's in Thomas Street, and St. Audeon's and St. Werburgh's in our inner city. Far too many churches have been almost abandoned to the vandals. Criminal neglect by our State agencies has allowed these churches to deteriorate. It is a crime that a city as ancient as Dublin can abandon its architectural and cultural heritage in the form of churches to the vandals. It is not alarmist to say that six former Protestant churches, historic buildings, have been destroyed in Dublin's inner city. It would be a crime to allow this to continue and an environment protection agency should have a role in protecting the old Protestant churches as a feature of the city.

I am sure Deputy Kitt will be pleased to learn that he has seven minutes.

I am glad of the opportunity to speak on this debate. I will speak on the environmental programme put together by the Minister of State. So far as the role of the local authorities in relation to the proposed environment protection agency is concerned, there is support among local authorities for the agency. The local authorities will welcome the establishment of this agency. They will welcome its establishment because local authorities require an agency which is capable of undertaking research and supplying them with advice in relation to environmental issues. They also require advice in relation to the standards to be attained and the methods of achieving such standards. Galway County Council, of which I am a member, have been confronted in recent years with a number of matters arising from aquaculture development. In some cases planning permission had to be considered within the statutory period of two months but no State agency were able to supply the scientific information which the council required. In respect of one planning application the county manager had to send council staff to Scotland to secure the necessary minimum information. Therefore, it is obvious to the House that an agency is needed.

I should also like to see the environment protection agency responsible for interpreting complex EC legislation and Directives with a view to their adaptation to the Irish context. They could, for example, supply training courses and seminars for staff involved in the implementation of environmental legislation. They could establish and maintain a library of scientific literature and operate a computerised data bank with access to the information available in scientific institutions throughout the world.

One of the areas mentioned in this debate is water and the water laboratory. The agency could give advice to local authorities with regard to the equipment, staffing and functions of their water laboratory. They could function to achieve uniformity of standards in this area and they could supply the laboratory service which local authorities may need on an occasional basis in respect of some matters outside the scope of the regional laboratories.

There should be a close link between the function of dealing with planning applications and the function of dealing with the consequential emission licences, water or air. For example, developers should not be faced with the difficulty of dealing with two agencies, one in respect of planning permission and another in respect of licences. There could be difficulty and confusion from the point of view of developers and local authorities.

The fact that the Minister mentioned the one-stop shop in the programme is important and relevant as it worked very well in the past and I hope it will also work well in the future.

There may be an impression that local authorities grant planning permissions rather easily but that is certainly not true with regard to my own local authority. That is evident from the Goodman project which was dealt with for a long time by the local authority and An Bord Pleanála and which had 14 planning conditions attached which the developers said were too strict. It is good that local authorities are so careful with the applications coming before them. Local authorities have had to deal with complex planning applications in the chemical and pharmaceutical areas and intensive agricultural activity has often given rise to problems. I have already mentioned aquaculture and there is also concern in regard to afforestation and mining, especially in the west.

It is important to have an agency which will have the necessary expertise to deal with problems. Local authorities would not be able to provide expertise on their own and I appeal to the Minister to try to provide extra resources for them. When the resources are as scarce as they have been over the past decade, local authorities often have to provide finances for environmental functions at the expense of other services. I hope the Minister will look at that area. The question of pollution involves a number of local authorities and there have been disputes between authorities as to who is responsible.

I was appointed to a committee on science and technology in the Council of Europe last May and I was very glad that one of the first reports undertaken by them was on the diminution of the ozone layer. Our committee investigated the use of CFCs and I was glad they brought in a recommendation that since the majority of CFCs were produced and exported from the member countries, a labelling system should be introduced for products that did not contain CFCS. I proposed an amendment in this regard when I sat on the committee.

National parliaments have a role to play and they could contribute more fully to environment protection. I hope we will do so by implementing the environment protection agency.

The Fine Gael Bill before the House to set up an environment protection agency is the only substantial environmental legislation now before the House and it is the only environment protection legislation that is likely to be before this House for quite some time. The Government do not have a Bill and they will not have a Bill for many months to come. They do not have a Bill in their legislative programme for this session. In fact, only three days after they introduced this document — An Environment Action Programme — this decade long, £1 billion programme, an exercise in crystal ball gazing if ever I saw one, the Minister, flanked by his Ministers of State, circulated his legislative programme for this session. At the very back of the programme it says "Environmental legislation, Bills which will be introduced in the session beginning 30 January 1990". The third one is the Environmental Protection Agency Bill, 1990. We will not see that Bill this session.

This glossy brochure was very cleverly introduced on a Friday afternoon, always a good time to get attention in Saturday's newspapers so that it runs through to Sunday and the papers that did not pick it up on Saturday and Sunday will run it on Monday. However, that Monday the Government Chief Whip sent around his legislation programme for the session and there was no mention whatsoever of an Environment Protection Agency Bill.

The Minister, during the course of this debate, could not give any date — nor could the Minister of State — as the time schedules varied. The latest forecast from the Minister of State is that there will be a Bill in September of this year. Up to quite recently we had been promised a Bill by the summer of this year. In this document we were promised a Bill in the session beginning 30 January of this year. I do not know — I am not privy to the Government's intentions in regard to the length of this session — but I bet my bottom dollar that we will not have an Environment Protection Agency Bill this side of the summer. What do we do in the meantime? Can anything constructive be done to advance matters in this area?

The striking thing about this debate has been that on all sides of the House there has been agreement that we need to move firmly and decisively to set up a system that will clean up and maintain our environment. That is putting it in a nutshell. The Bill now before the House gives us the opportunity to do that. It will be a long task and I have no doubt that there will be a deal of debate on the Committee Stage of the Bill which we would welcome. It is not going to be quick and the sooner we start with it the better. There is now a Bill before the House that addresses all the issues. In fact, I am happy to say that my party colleague, Deputy Shatter, and the rest of my colleagues in this party, are in the van in this regard. The Minister for the Environment, in his usual way, came into the House and tried his sarcastic tricks. He congratulated my party on what he called our new found concern with the environment. He might try to develop some concern himself.

I would remind the House that this is the Minister for the Environment who abolished An Foras Forbartha, the Dublin Transportation Authority, the Dublin Streets Commission and the Water Pollution Advisory Council. In every one of those acts he was opposed, tooth and nail, by the current Minister of State, and her colleagues in the Progressive Democrats. They are now co-operating in unnecessarily delaying the passage through the House of legislation they know we need, that their Government know we need and that the whole country knows that we need.

There is an urgent need to establish an independent environment protection agency and I do not think I am being unduly harsh on anybody in saying that the general public is already more than a little sceptical of the Government's commitment to tackling environmental problems and somewhat sceptical of the local authorities' ability to provide environmental protection. I am not criticising the local authorities for one moment in saying that. Our Bill sets out a clear designation of functions, responsibilities and powers that would make it clear beyond any doubt, without any duplication and without any confusion, what we need to do and how we need to go about protecting our environment.

We set out a number of principles in the Bill and I should like to direct the House's attention to section 5 where it sets out the general functions of the agency. By what is not just a curious coincidence the Government have accepted much of what we set out in section 5 because one finds in their publication, An Environment Action Programme, the following pararaph:

The specific steps and the new programme now decided by the Government involve significant further development of existing environmental measures. They will deal with environmental problems into the coming decade and take particular account of the following considerations:

—the concept of sustainable development, as advocated in the ... Brundtland Report;

—the principle of precautionary action even where there is no definitive scientific evidence to link emissions or discharges with deterimental environmental effects;

—the integration of environmental considerations in all policy areas.

That is language that has never been used before by the Government. It is also, by some strange coincidence, language that repeats almost word for word the provisions in section 5 (a), (b) and (c) of our Bill.

I take some little encouragement from that because it means that at least the Bill has had the effect of concentrating the Government's mind on some of the more important considerations that should be to the forefront of our action in relation to the environment, even if it is only to produce their glossy programme. The Minister of State is convinced of the urgency of the matter. She said in the course of her speech in the House on 12 December last that the important thing was that the agency be established as quickly as possible. Yet, she rejects the only legislation before the House and it can only be for purely party political reasons. I will return to that point.

The functions this agency should have, as outlined by the Minister of State, are all provided for in the Fine Gael Bill. The control and regulation of developments, for example, are provided for in section 8. General monitoring is provided for in section 6. Support, back-up and advisory services are provided for in several sections of the Bill. Environmental research is provided for in section 6. Not only does the Fine Gael Bill provide for all those functions to be undertaken, it also provides for significant additional functions which have been detailed by Deputy Shatter and other members of my party in the course of the debate. From what has been revealed to us so far of the Government's intentions we can only conclude that they are inadequate and would produce less effective action than the Fine Gael Bill would.

The Government, for example, propose that the agency directly carry out some environmental licensing functions. Our Bill envisages the agency establishing national criteria for water and air quality and for discharge standards on which environmental licensing would be based. There are a great many more additional functions that are provided for in our Bill which the Government do not seem so far to have decided on, and which the Minister for the Environment, and the Minister of State, have not yet pronounced upon.

We have provided also, in the structures set out in our Bill, for a role for the Houses of the Oireachtas. We have provided a substantial role for an Oireachtas Joint Committee. The Government, apparently, do not like this although I am bound to say that reading the reasons advanced by the other side of the House for not having this committee I am far from convinced that this is anything other than bureaucratic obscurantism. The Government, after all, have proposed to the House what I regard as a very shabby and incomplete Oireachtas committee on the funding, structures and operations of local authorities. The same Minister who is now objecting to the Bill, who is now objecting to an Oireachtas joint committee to drive environmental policy, wants a joint committee to get him off the hook because he failed three times in the last Dáil to convince the Government to make any change whatsoever in the local revenue raising powers of local authorities. The Minister might have wanted to do it but some of his colleagues put the screws on him and held him back.

In spite of several valiant efforts to leak this all, without the assistance of his erstwhile colleague, now Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, the news got out but Pádraig still got stopped. What does the Minister want to do now? He wants an Oireachtas Joint Committee to provide a defensive screen behind which the Government can operate and maybe for the Minister to get his way without looking at the consequences of that for overall taxation. There the Government are going to have to mend their hands but I must say that they have the right idea because for once the Government, with the lengthy Minister who can look me straight in the teeth, and their Napoleonic Taoiseach——

El Presidente.

——whose normal instinct is to try to ignore this House, have now found that there may be a couple of uses for this House in providing that type of screen for them. We are not going to provide an environmental screen for the Minister on local taxation. He is going to have to mend his hand or he will be sitting on his own with maybe a few complainant others who do not see the trap on that committee.

The Deputy has fallen into more traps in the last few weeks.

I will not be drawn by Deputy Quinn, although Deputy Howlin could give Deputy Quinn a few lessons on how to misrepresent things. We will deal with that another day. It is a great pity that the Government, reinforced as they are by those noted opponents of their core values now sitting with them, have not begun to appreciate the role that can be played in the House by Private Members' Bills. We saw a Government in the last Dáil that perversely, stupidly and without the slightest good reason, objected to a Private Members' Bill on adoption. On the night we had the vote it looked as if they sincerely regretted what they had done. They came back to the House later with virtually the same Bill which had been passed by the House.

That is the same Government who objected to a Private Members' Bill in relation to the up-dating of marriage law. We were very glad to have at that time — we were then in Opposition — the assistance of the Progressive Democrats in order to make sure the Government were not allowed uncaringly, unthinkingly and unfeelingly to throw that Bill out of the House but we got it back in here, in a special committee, and good legislation was passed on the basis of a Private Members' Bill.

The Government could do exactly the same tonight on this Bill. The Government should doubly want to do it because we have here in front of us the Minister for the Environment, this giant of a man who bestrides an awful lot more than the Taoiseach ever will. This man has had the good sense in the last few weeks to accept 48 amendments from my party to the Local Government (Planning and Development) (No. 2) Bill and made it into a half-way decent Bill, and may still accept another amendment or two. He has recognised that the process of parliamentary debate and scrutiny in this House can add to the quality of our legislation and it could add to the quality of life for 3.5 million people in this country.

I know it is traditional at this stage in winding up a debate on a Private Members' Bill for the Opposition spokesman to make an emotional plea to the Government, even at this late hour, to relent, to see sense, to accept this Bill and to amend it in any way they consider desirable and pleasing to the House in Committee. I am not even going to say that because that would be a waste of breath. I should like to say to this Government that they are making a very big mistake in carrying on with this nonsensical view that a Government can never afford to accept that what the Opposition is putting forward has value and might even anticipate what the Government will do and get us the results we need earlier than a Government that is locked into the bureaucratic procedures which have meant that we have not seen even the shape of a Bill from this Government after almost three years of action.

It is a shame, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that the most likely outcome of this vote is that this Bill will not proceed to Committee Stage. It will be an indictment of the Government if all the sensible things contained in this Bill, most of which the Government say they want to carry out, will be delayed for another six months because they simply will not see that this legislation is better, clearer and more focused than the woolly ideas we have heard from the Government so far.

It will be 12 months, not six.

It will not.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 70.

  • Ahearn, Therese.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Belton, Louis J.
  • Bradford, Paul.
  • Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Byrne, Eric.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Connor, John.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Currie, Austin.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • Finucane, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Foxe, Tom.
  • Garland, Roger.
  • Gilmore, Eamon.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harte, Paddy.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Hogan, Philip.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lee, Pat.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • McCartan, Pat.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • Mac Giolla, Tomás.
  • McGrath, Paul.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • (Limerick East).
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Shea, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Gerry.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Rabbitte, Pat.
  • Reynolds, Gerry.
  • Ryan, Seán.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick J.
  • Sherlock, Joe.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeleine
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John (Wexford).
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Callely, Ivor.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary Theresa.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Cullimore, Séamus.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Fahey, Frank.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermot.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • O'Toole, Martin Joe.
  • Power, Seán.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hillery, Brian.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kelly, Laurence.
  • Kenneally, Brendan.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Martin, Micheál.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McDaid, Jim.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J.
  • (Limerick West).
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Stafford, John.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wallace, Dan.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies J. Higgins and Browne (Carlow-Kilkenny); Níl, Deputies V. Brady and Clohessy.
Question declared lost.