Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999

Vol. 507 No. 3

Private Members' Business. - National Infrastructure and Settlement Plan: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by Deputy John Bruton on 29 June 1999:
That Dáil Éireann:
– noting that it will be necessary to build some 40 per cent more houses over the next ten years than currently exist;
– noting that current rates of house price increase represent a crisis for individual families and a serious threat to pay moderation and economic growth;
– noting the requirement to balance com mercial and residential development to ensure that suburban developments contain office and commercial space as well as housing, and that centre city developments should contain a proportion of affordable housing so that traffic flows in both directions and transport facilities are used efficiently;
– noting the requirement to plan and develop new cities and centres of population to redesign the physical shape of the country in order to ensure infrastructural problems are overcome in an environmentally sustainable way;
– noting that public transport is underfunded, underutilised and insufficiently competitive;
– noting that the planning process is now hopelessly slowed and deadlocked by objections to development and that some objections can best be overcome if the facilities to support new housing, such as roads, public transport, well-maintained play areas and childcare facilities are put in place at the same time as new houses;
– noting with concern the fact that some potential objectors to developments are either funded by competitors or are bought off by interested developers;
– noting the failure of the Government to produce a coherent national waste management plan which is central to any coherent national plan for housing;
– noting the failure of the Government to adequately address the traffic problem affecting all parts of the country;
is of the opinion that at current and foreseeable rates of growth in housing demand, Ireland is facing a housing and infrastructural crisis; and calls on the Government to tackle the looming housing and infrastructural crisis as a single project and to produce a national infrastructure and settlement plan which would decide future development patterns, to be under the aegis of the Department of the Taoiseach and be invigilated on a weekly basis by him, so that all our people are housed in places that are accessible to where they work."
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "That" and substitute the following:
"Dáil Éireann notes with approval:
– the increased levels of funding in 1999 relative to 1997 for infrastructure such as national roads, up by 30 per cent to a record £337 million, non-national roads up by 40 per cent to a record £242 million – in addition to which local authorities are providing a further £81 million – water and waste water up to 70 per cent to a record £275 million and housing up almost 46 per cent to just over half a billion pounds;
– the comprehensive range of initiatives taken by the Government to maximise and expedite housing supply and secure house price stabilisation which have resulted in the moderation in house price increases in the last six months;
– the record level of new housing output of 42,349 in 1998 and the 21 per cent increase in output during the first four months of 1999;
– the announcement of a four year multi-annual programme of local authority house building to provide an additional 22,000 houses over four years;
– the announcement of a Commission on the Private Housing Rented Sector;
– the initiatives taken in relation to the provision of affordable housing;
– the publication of draft Guidelines on Residential Density to make more sustainable use of development land while ensuring a high quality living environment;
– the Serviced Land Initiative which will provide serviced sites for over 100,000 additional housing units, and the Rural Towns Initiative;
– the publication of Strategic Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area to provide an integrated land use and transportation strategy and a framework for future infrastructural investment;
– the Government's decision in principle to draw up a National Spatial Development Strategy;
– the success of the Government's negotiations on Agenda 2000 and the consequent attainment of Objective One status for the Border, Midland and Western regions;
– that a major new Bill reforming and consolidating the planning code will be presented to Dáil Éireann shortly;
– the additional resources deployed to cope with the increased number of planning applications in local authorities and appeals in An Bord Pleanála;
– the Government's commitments in relation to the Dublin light rail project and Exchequer capital funding for bus and rail investment;
– the measures being undertaken, in the framework of the Dublin Transportation Office
– Short-Term Action Plan and otherwise, in relation to traffic in Dublin in the period to end 2000;
– the publication of a new policy state ment on waste management, Changing Our Ways, to provide a national framework for local waste management plans;
– the new Urban Renewal Scheme and the proposed scheme for the renewal of smaller towns;
– the Government's adoption of public-private partnerships as a means of procuring infrastructural services;
and calls on the Government to continue to implement and further develop these policies to ensure that the population have access to adequate housing, that Ireland's infrastructure is brought up to the standards required of a modern, rapidly growing economy during the period of the forthcoming National Development Plan 2000 – 2006, and that physical and economic development takes place in a sustainable and spatially balanced manner.".
–(Minister for the Environment
and Local Government).

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this debate and I congratulate the Fine Gael party on tabling this motion. All is changed utterly, Yeats wrote about the events of Easter week 1916 which ultimately defined Irish politics for the rest of this century. The era ushered in by those events is coming to a close. It is a era defined by political division on the national question and economic under-achievement. It is not a coincidence that the prospects for peace and reconciliation on this island and economic growth have come relatively simultaneously.

Obsession with the national question represented a tendency to look backwards and not forwards. Hopefully events elsewhere today will put in place an important building block to the future. Even so, there should be no complacency about the challenges ahead. Politics is, in one sense, a cruel business and yesterday's achievements become just that. There is no time for a pat on the back or relaxation.

This society, even as it grows and develops, faces major difficulties. Alongside economic growth and affluence there is still poverty and despair. Poverty and despair have been an integral part of the Irish experience this century but things are different now.

For the first time ever we have access to the level of resources needed to tackle some of that despair if we choose to do so. There was a time, and it is not too long ago, when people on the left of the political spectrum were told they should stop worrying about the share-out of the pie and concentrate on the baking of it. In my view we have come full circle. The baking of the pie is proceeding nicely and it is time to actively consider its share-out. Continued economic growth is important and, in part, that is what this motion is about.

Without investment in housing, transport and traffic, the continuation of the economic circumstances that we have seen in recent years will be endangered. The Government, unfortunately, seems frightened by the challenges ahead rather than prepared to grasp them.

It is timely to have this debate on the day applications for shares in Telecom Éireann close. That sale, one of a series being contemplated by the Government, will generate literally millions of pounds for the Exchequer. Unfortunately, the Government shows no signs whatsoever of knowing what to do with it. The sultry programme for public private partnerships and the ineffectual amounts of money being talked about for the national development plan, indicate a Government and a Minister for Finance simply unprepared for the future. It is, perhaps, understandable that a generation of politicians, of which I am one, might be frightened by the challenges ahead.

During the 1980s economists and experts screamed at us that all things public were bad and that spending by the State was the worst of them all. They are changing their tune now but I fear the Minister for Finance has been indelibly scarred by those days. Nobody will thank us for funking this challenge. Those on housing and hospital waiting lists must sit and wonder at the callousness of a Government that leaves them there while generating surpluses in the region of £1.5 billion this year alone. The current account surplus is greater. Those figures do not include provision for the receipts from privatisation of which two have been decided this year. Nobody, least of all me, is calling for feckless investment. Like the motion before us, I have called for an integrated and spatial plan to chart out Ireland's future in the next decade, a decade that must become the decade of investment.

What I expect, however, is a realisation from the Government that we have in our grasp the kind of choices simply unknown to previous generations. Let next year be year zero in more ways than one. Let it be the year that we decide to begin to put to an end to the social divide that is the cancer in our society today. Let it be the year in which we close the door on the confines of the past and embrace an ambitious future. Acceptance by the Government of the spirit of the motion before the House would be a start. Its performance to date has not been good. It has balked at the big questions and tinkered with the small ones. No other Government in living memory, not even its immediate predecessor, has sat down at the beginning of a year and planned a budget surplus of the magnitude of this year's budget surplus.

The allocation of resources in a time of plenty is often more difficult than in difficult times. It requires ambition and imagination, two commodities that are sadly lacking in this Administration. It is surely time the Government attempted to display one of those commodities. That will be the choice facing the electorate at the next election.

I bring to the attention of the House, as the closing date for applications for Telecom Éireann shares was 4 p.m. this afternoon, that the Minister for Finance, Deputy McCreevy, will have on his table on 31 December a sum in excess of £55,000 million in cash. The figure of £1,000 million is more tangible than the figure of £1 billion. I put it to the House, having dealt with what is required to be done in the Estimates and in the current account expenditure, that the Government and the Minister for Finance will have £55,000 million on 31 December. That sum is virtually equal to the amount this country received in the past six years from the European Structural Funds through the decisions arrived at in Edinburgh in 1992 and signed off in Brussels in July 1993. The greatest single tragedy facing this country now is that a Government with that scale of resources has not the slightest idea of what to do with the money, how to invest it, how to allocate it or how to ensure that new found wealth, which all of us have helped to put together, is reinvested in a manner that can eliminate some of the scars of poverty and inequality that have marked this country since our independence and which can be eliminated if the political will to do so exists. That is why the Labour Party supports this motion from the Fine Gael Party. It calls on the Government to accept the spirit of the motion and to introduce plans with imagination and ambition, which the country now requires.

I wish to share my time with Deputies Hanafin, Eoin Ryan, Kelleher and McGuinness.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I have read the motion carefully, but I have heard nothing from the Members on the other side of the House to indicate they have any new policies or solutions to meet the serious infrastructure deficit, other than to ask that the Taoiseach to call weekly meetings on the matter. By contrast, in its two years in office the Government has been taking effective action across a wide range of issues. Some of these are spelt out in the amendment.

Following the negotiation of a successful deal for Ireland under Agenda 2000 and the fruits of sound economic policies, the National Development Plan, 2000-06, gives us a great opportunity to address the infrastructure deficit once and for all. The Government is determined to do this in a radical way and the Deputies will see this when the plan is published. The Government has established a Cabinet sub-committee on infrastructural development chaired by the Taoiseach. This will ensure that over the next seven years political priorities are afforded to the implementation on the ground of this major programme of work and that individual projects are not unnecessarily delayed.

Last night Deputy John Bruton expressed his concern at what appeared to be an emerging objector culture, which has the potential to delay major infrastructural and housing projects that are needed for the public good. This is a very worrying trend at a time when we are trying to build up our infrastructure and to ensure that the fruits of economic growth are spread more equally throughout society. While projects must be subjected to rigorous analysis to ensure they meet our objectives while protecting the environment, we need certainty and finality. The Cabinet sub-committee will examine this issue.

Deputy Gilmore referred to the Labour Party's Commission on Housing. In December 1994 Labour Party Ministers took up office in two Departments of key influence in relation to housing, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Finance. Four years and four months later it launches a report on housing. Why, when Labour Party Ministers held office in these two Departments for two and a half years did they not take action to address the problems that were clearly developing in the housing area?

I do not propose to take up the time of the House with a point by point critique of the Labour Party's Commission on Housing, but I must take issue with certain aspects of it. What is presented is a wish list of miscellaneous items which lack coherence. Many are, at best, of only marginal significance to the central issues affecting the housing market. For example, fair price certificates may sound a very worthy concept but their introduction can only involve house price control under a new guise. A similar approach was tried in the past but it proved ineffective and in many ways counter productive. It would not cause a single extra house to be built, indeed, it could retard housing supply as would inevitably be the case if it gave rise to an elaborate bureaucratic process. It could, therefore, conceivably have the opposite effect to that intended.

Possibly the most damaging illusion the Labour Party is attempting to sell is the fiction that real housing needs can in some magical way be met through legislation. I am afraid that legislation will not build a single extra house. However, ill-conceived legislation could prevent the building of houses.

Independent commentators agree that the key to affordable housing lies in increasing supply, yet when Labour Party politicians have the opportunity to do something practical about housing policy, such as zoning adequate land, they are frequently found lacking. They do not have the courage to stand up to the anti-development lobby and zone land to meet the needs of people.

Last night the Minister for the Environment and Local Government said it is well recognised that once it takes hold, house price inflation can be difficult to rein in. However, the Government has succeeded in doing that. Over the past six months, second hand house prices in Dublin have risen by only 2 per cent compared with an increase of almost 25 per cent in the preceding six months.

Government actions have played a major role in achieving the slow down in house prices. That is a very significant achievement against the background of continuing economic growth and low interest rates. I, therefore, urge the House to support the amendment to the motion calling on the Government to continue with its good work.

As any Deputy will recognise, there are major problems in housing and traffic, especially in the Dublin area. These two issues have reached a crisis point. However, neither of them has crept up on us unnoticed. Both were predictable, given the increased population, the higher employment rate and the rate of return of our young educated emigrants.

It is hypocritical of the Fine Gael Party, backed by the disingenuous Labour Party, to condemn the failure of the Government. They did not recognise the trend, foresee the problem, invent an infrastructure or plan for any of the solutions. By contrast, the Government has risen to the challenge, identified the needs, initiated some solutions and responded to the economic demands. I would be the first to recognise that much more needs to be done, especially in the two areas of housing and traffic.

The immediate implementation of the Bacon report has resulted in an increased output in housing of 42,000 units in 1998 and an increase so far this year of 21 per cent. I welcome the announcement of extra local authority housing. Over the next four years 60,000 households will benefit from social and voluntary housing schemes.

It is especially important that the rate of increase in the price of houses is slowing down and is seen to be levelling off. This is long overdue. A number of houses are now being withdrawn at auction. However, many problems remain. People born and reared in my constituency of Dún Laoghaire cannot afford to buy a house in the constituency. They are moving out to the suburbs of Dublin, which now extend from Carlow to Mullingar. We need increased density, but this does not mean poorer quality. These two things need to be looked at closely together.

Incentives must be given to people to allow them to extend their houses. Planning permission must be speeded up and by-law approval must be granted where needed. People now find it is easier and cheaper to extend rather than to try to move.

I understand why the prices of new houses in my constituency are so dear. A house in Foxrock was sold two weeks ago for £8.5 million, not for the value of the house but of the land around it. Any houses built on this land will be sold for extraordinary amounts.

This is contrasted with the homeless people, those who sleep on Dún Laoghaire Pier, the 2,000 people on the local authority housing list and the numbers of young mothers with small children in bed and breakfast accommodation. Despite its best efforts, the council is finding it very difficult to house these people because, despite the allocation from the Minister, we do not have the land on which to build the houses.

I hope the Minister will consider allowing the local authority to allocate some of the money at its disposal for housing to a hostel and day care centre for these young homeless women and their children, not as an alternative to housing, which they deserve, but to relieve the pressure on them having to register in Eastern Health Board hostels and return to Dún Laoghaire to spend the day wandering the streets with their children because they are thrown out of the bed and breakfast accommodation at 8 a.m. and are not allowed return until 6 p.m.

A major problem also exists with regard to rented accommodation. In my area rents are escalating at a rate of over £100 per month. I welcome the establishment by the Government of the commission on the private housing rented sector. I hope it will look into these issues and will specify a percentage increase which can be allowed by landlords. I also hope it will specify that adequate notice must be given to people.

With regard to traffic, I ask that the investment and commitment of the Government to the light rail, buses and DART carriages will continue. I welcome the extended platforms at DART stations and the extended carriages for the DART trains. I ask that special work be done with Dublin Bus to review the school transport system in Dublin and the facility of link buses to take passengers to DART stations. This would avoid people parking on residential roads, especially in the Blackrock and Monkstown areas.

I recognise the difficulties which exist, but I also acknowledge the work of the Government to date. I ask that it continues to implement and develop the policies to provide for the necessary housing and infrastructure. Rather than condemn the work of the Government, as the Opposition has done, we should condemn the lack of planning and foresight by the previous Government.

Like previous speakers, I welcome the opportunity to speak on this important subject, which is relevant in every constituency where there are urban centres and not just Dublin and Cork. However, one must look at the background to the current situation. Ireland is a small state by European standards both in terms of its population and geographical area. It comprises 70,000 square kilometres and its population is approximately 3.6 million. It ranks twelfth in size among the 15 EU member states. The density of population is a little more than 52 persons per square kilometre and significantly, it is the lowest in the EU. For example, the density of population in Northern Ireland is 117 persons per square kilometre, which is more than double that of the Republic.

On the eve of a new millennium, Ireland, North and South, faces many political, economic and social challenges. The structure and distribution of population presents a formidable challenge for urban planning. Urbanisation is a relatively recent phenomenon in Ireland both in terms of its extent and impact. At the beginning of the century, only 25 per cent of the population lived in towns and villages and the majority of those settlements were small. The urban threshold definition set by the Central Statistics Office is 1,500 persons and upwards. The CSO also defines towns with populations of less than 15,000. In reality, these are mostly small towns and villages.

According to the 1996 census, approximately 58 per cent of the population lived in towns and villages varying in size from 1,000 persons to just over 1 million, which referred to the current extended urban area of greater Dublin. In less than 100 years the aggregate urban population has more than doubled. Further growth will be seen in future and that will create a huge problem for all of us.

The Government has taken a number of important steps to try to address this. When EU funding was debated some months ago I stated that Ireland needed to disperse funding to the west to try and prevent migration to the greater Dublin area and other urban centres. If population balance is not restored, we will have a completely lopsided country where the majority of people will live along the east and south coasts and that will not be good for those areas or the ones that people leave. The deal that was agreed with the European Commission on Structural Funds was good and in the years to come there will be a rebalancing of investment so that fewer people will migrate to the east and south.

It is not the complete solution but it will make a significant impact on population distribution. I also welcome the urban commission which is to be established by the Minister. It was promised by us during the local elections and it will be important. It will look at all aspects of urban development, such as housing types, transport, shopping facilities, high quality urban design, etc. We want to ensure that there will not be poor urban design as it would result in many problems. There should be a good social mix and the necessary facilities should be provided for urban centres to develop properly. The commission will also have a great impact.

Dublin has a huge problem, which is not unique to it. I read an article in an English newspaper earlier about the problem faced by people living in London. They cannot afford to live there and the article reflected on how the British Government needed to address that issue. It is a difficult problem which has also been experienced in a number of American cities. Examples were provided of American cities which had achieved economic success, yet people who worked in the service industry in them could not afford to purchase a house, although they earned a reasonable salary. The Bacon reports tackled and identified many solutions to that problem in Dublin.

I very much welcome the commission on the private rented sector. It is long overdue and will tackle the quality and cost of available accommodation and issues relating to landlords. The Minister referred to the national spatial development strategy, which is also a positive move. It will address some of the problems which have been mentioned. However, the current housing problem was a long time coming and did not develop overnight. I am surprised at Fine Gael's attitude towards it. The party seems to blame the Government for everything but people could see this coming for quite a while and very little was done about it.

Any impartial observer would acknowledge that the Government has done a huge amount in this area to try to tackle the problems. It will not be easy and the only way to tackle them properly is to make sure that supply meets demand. However, it must be ensured that the supply of housing is regulated, designed and serviced properly. Too many times in the past, developments were built without any long-term planning.

There are many examples, but Tallaght is the obvious one. Tallaght is only coming into its own now. It is a great part of Dublin and people are proud to have come from there, although for years they were starved of basic services, including shopping centres, colleges and hospitals. These services have been provided and the town is booming. It has seven or eight hotels and is a thriving urban centre. I have no doubt that it will go from strength to strength.

The urban commission can examine future planning of urban developments to make sure that proper planning, structures and services are provided. However, there must be more imagination in the design of developments. Developers make huge amounts of money and more effort could go into the quality and design of buildings because they will be a legacy for future generations. Other wealthier countries adopt good design and planning principles. Temple Bar is well designed, but better standards could be met by developers there. The Government has made huge strides in trying to tackle this serious problem that will not be sorted overnight.

I welcome the motion because it gives us an opportunity to discuss the serious issue of the lack of housing and escalating house prices. The Minister referred earlier to the Rip Van Winkle awakening of Fine Gael, but two other parties were in the previous Administration. Since the Government took up office in July 1997, it initiated the Bacon reports, acknowledged the serious problems that existed and tried to implement policies and proposals immediately to ensure that the housing crisis would at least be alleviated. It must be pointed out that ideological differences in the rainbow coalition created the situation where we are now playing catch up with regard to the supply of land. House prices are now vastly excessive given that wages have not increased, inflation has remained static and interest rates are low. The Opposition has much to answer for in that regard. The motion shows that it regrets it did not take action as a result of ideological differences during the two and half years it was in Government.

If we are serious about tackling the housing problem, we must recognise that there is insufficient development land. Local authorities have much to answer for because of decisions taken with regard to their development plans in the past. They did not take account of the fact that the economy was growing rapidly, interest rates were low and many people who emigrated in the 1980s and early 1990s were returning. The bubble was likely to burst unless something was done. Local authorities and planning officials have much to answer for because they did not consider demographic trends, the increase in population and the number of young people reaching house buying age. Ultimately, the finger must be pointed at many local authorities.

If we are serious about developing infrastructure, another area which needs to be considered is the tolling of roads. This is common in other European countries where huge infrastructural developments have taken place. Their success should be acknowledged. The introduction of public-private partnership funding is good, but the tolling of roads should be considered. It may be unpalatable in isolated incidents, but it must be examined in the overall context of the development of infrastructure, growth of the economy, the number of cars on the road and the movement of people.

Regarding the urban commission and city living, another issue that should be considered is the provision of skyscraper developments for offices. I do not support the idea of people being housed in skyscrapers, but there is nothing wrong with using skyscrapers for the provision of office space. This would free up many inner city areas which could attract urban dwellers. Urban living is becoming popular among young people and it should be encouraged. The fact that Dublin's inner city has a low skyline should be acknowledged. Land prices are very high in Dublin, but land is scarce. If developments were built upwards for the provision of office space, it could free up large tracts of land in the inner city for urban dwellings.

Another aspect which must be considered is encouraging people to stay in rural Ireland. This is the information technology age and computers allow people to work from home. The provision of grants to encourage people to stay in isolated areas in rural Ireland should be considered. They could set up businesses which make use of the Internet and the other technologies which are now available. This might discourage people from moving to urban areas.

I welcome the Fine Gael Party's acknowledgement that it failed during its two and a half years in Government. It is apologising to young people for the fact that it allowed house prices to escalate beyond inflationary pressures, a problem which the Government is trying to redress.

The success of the economy is a reflection of the success of Government policy in terms of investment in a number of areas. However, despite this success, there is a need for further investment and an examination of the development which is taking place in the regions. Balanced development is necessary. I ask the Minister to consider the south-east region because an analysis of it would indicate that it is falling rapidly behind the national norm.

An example relates to the provision of bypasses around the town of Carlow and the city of Kilkenny, leading to the port of Bellview. This is not a parochial issue. The port of Bellview is being developed, but the proper road infrastructure has not been put in place. There is no proper plan in relation to the cross-radial routes from the port or the two counties. Due to the rapid growth in the economy, the Department should take a more proactive role in relation to the bypassing of Carlow and the provision of funds to ensure that work is carried out soon and not in the new millennium. The half completed Kilkenny bypass should be funded through a public-private partnership to ensure the route is finished, with the exclusion of an inner relief road through the medieval city. The route from Kilkenny city to Carlow, which directly services the Bellview port, should be considered as a matter of urgency. The development of the port will be hindered because of the poor infrastructure that has been put in place.

The information technology explosion that is taking place and the entry by various businesses into the area of e-commerce means that the country must be in a position, from a commercial point of view, to participate in this development. There is a further need for public-private partnerships in relation to the provision of proper cabling, fibre optic or otherwise, throughout the country. If fibre optic cable and a proper road structure were put in place, a different type of economy would emerge. There would be an emergence of e-commerce and an awareness in that area which would bring prosperity and new employment to the economy.

There is a need to address the social housing crisis. In Carlow-Kilkenny, at least 1,500 people are on the housing list. Given the land being made available under the new county development plans, the new concept of steel structured houses, which is low cost but achieves a standard which is acceptable around the world, could be used and a number of homes could be provided at less cost than ordinary houses. Local authorities are paying more than the real value of houses and their funding is being bled as a result. If this new building concept was accepted, as it is in other parts of the world, and the necessary land was made available under the new county development plans, there would be a rapid decrease in the number of people on housing lists.

New developments are creating further pressure on the planning authorities. There is a need to review the whole planning process. I appreciate that legislation will be introduced by the Department and I welcome that. However, interim measures may need to be taken to ensure that there is proper planning and the pressure being placed on the various planning authorities is relieved by increased staffing levels and the provision of funding for proper policing under the current planning structures.

Hospital services were mentioned. In common with other developing countries and developments in our economy, the regions need to be considered in relation to the provision of proper medical care. Industrialists and others will leave because of the growing population and there is a need to examine the medical services offered. Given that Waterford is the centre for medical services in the south-east region and the number of services is growing, there is a need to examine the neighbouring counties with a view to forming outreach facilities. I bring to the attention of the Government the need to develop St. Luke's hospital in line with the growth of the south-east region and its economy. If nothing is done about this matter, industry and the quality of life in the region will be affected.

I understand Deputy Jim O'Keeffe wishes to share his time with Deputies Mitchell, Deenihan, Cosgrave, Burke and Crawford.

That is correct. I will quote a couple of examples from my home town, Skibbereen, which are of interest in the context of this motion. A new relief road is being built but no funds have been provided to link it to the centre of the town. The sewerage scheme dates to pre-Famine days. Raw sewage is being pumped into the river yet no funds are being provided for the urgently required new scheme. The other side of the coin is that a site which would have been available for £25,000 a couple of years ago was sold recently for £50,000 and a new four bedroom house which would have fetched a little over £100,000 a few years ago recently sold for £200,000. These examples show how the piecemeal approach of the Government affects, in microcosm, a relatively remote town. We have an infrastructural deficit but no overall plan to tackle it, while house prices become more out of reach for most people. The Government's approach will not solve these problems.

The local authority housing list is ballooning and currently stands close to 45,000. In 1997 the number of new houses started or purchased by local authorities was 3,606. Given that we are told the Government accepts that there is a huge problem and that the housing list has escalated, one would have thought that figure would have doubled in 1998, but there were only 3,504 house starts or purchases last year, a drop in the figures. That has been the Government's reaction and it is important that we quote these examples.

Yet in response to the motion there has been a nauseating smugness on the part of Government speakers, not even an acceptance that we have a problem. It is not merely a problem, it is a crisis which will continue to get worse until, at minimum, the Government accepts as much. This problem has been a central issue in the negotiations on a successor to Partnership 2000. We have seen on television tonight the real level of inflation, which has been hugely affected by the escalation in house prices. In response there has been no overall approach, merely piecemeal, partial and unsuccessful efforts.

One third of our population lives within 30 miles of this House, but where is the Government's demographic policy? Does it accept that there are huge difficulties outside the Dublin area? Where is the White Paper on rural development? It has made no effort to deal with the problem as a whole, not just in a narrow departmental way or in terms of the infrastructural deficit but in terms of how it affects housing, transport, health, education etc. The overall picture can be handled only through a co-ordinated approach. That has not happened in Ireland, which is why Fine Gael has tabled this proposal. We do not say the Government has done nothing, but what it has done has been partial and piecemeal and does not provide the answer to the enormous crisis confronting us. We need to take a different approach in light of the developing crisis which is getting greater by the day.

We need a single overall national infrastructure and settlement plan to decide future development patterns. Only one person can take charge of this, namely, the Taoiseach. It is not only the Department of the Environment and Local Government which is affected, all Departments have an input. This motion should be accepted as the first step towards providing a solution to this crisis.

In boom times Governments have little to do in terms of intervening in the economy. The one major requirement of a Government in these circumstances is that it knows where it is going. It should have an overall strategic plan to channel growth and ensure all the decisions it makes after that, whether large or small, feed into the overall plan and facilitate its achievement. If one does not have a vision of where one wants to go, one does not even know when one has deviated from the plan; such deviations express themselves as logjams and bottlenecks of crisis proportions in the economy. By the time the ad hoc solutions are put in place, the problems they are designed to address have already changed. Even as we regularly clap ourselves on the back for our booming economy, it is slowly being eroded by inefficiencies arising from an inadequate infrastructure and the inflationary pressures of escalating house prices and labour shortages.

To speak specifically about Dublin, the area I represent, even as incomes rise all individuals and families have the sense that their quality of life is deteriorating. This is particularly true of young people who are forced out of Dublin by rising house prices, which is having a hugely dislocating effect on extended families. Grandparents are left alone in Dublin while younger people are condemned to a lifetime of commuting and to bringing up children without the support of the family network or the social network of friends. We claim to be a country which favours the building of sustainable communities, but this is the exact opposite.

Even as sales increase businesses experience ever-rising transport costs because of infrastructure deficits and congestion. They also suffer rising wage costs as they bid to attract and even to keep staff in a city which is increasingly congested, unattractive and expensive to live in.

Twelve to 18 months ago in this House I warned that a settlement strategy for the Dublin region alone was a pointless exercise because the city could never accommodate the continued drift from other parts of Ireland, any more than other parts of Ireland could withstand the drift to the east. A comprehensive national settlement strategy, based on growth centres, is a must for the country as a whole, but it should not be seen as an excuse to abandon Dublin and starve it of the infrastructural investment required to make it a viable capital city.

We have a strategic plan and guidelines for Dublin, which require us to increase the number of households by a staggering 42 per cent in the next ten years. This is to be achieved by concentrating housing within the Dublin area, with higher densities to facilitate the provision of public transport. I support this. Directives have gone out to local authorities, asking them to comply with higher densities. However, no directive has issued to any person or agency to provide the public transport which is absolutely critical to high densities. Without public transport, high densities exacerbate the problems we already have. Higher densities are not achievable because they will be fought at every turn by a public which is already bedevilled by traffic congestion. Without public transport they will not be accepted and will be fought through An Bord Pleanála and the courts.

Last Monday Arnott's sale started and the city's traffic came to a standstill. That a sale in one shop can bring the city to a halt graphically conveys that Dublin is no longer viable. This is even before we provide one house towards increasing by 42 per cent the number of houses in Arnott's catchment area. Despite all the promises, reports, announcements and reannouncements, the Government has not made a single decision of any consequence about transport in Dublin.

The essence of sustainable development is an integrated approach to all policy areas. We can not solve the housing shortage without giving equal and simultaneous consideration to the environmental, employment, transport, educational, shopping, recreational and child care needs of the individuals and families who will live in these new homes. It is vital to our economy that we stabilise house prices because of the danger of inflationary pressures affecting other sectors and because of the real difficulties in retaining and attracting staff into the public sector where local authorities are finding it virtually impossible to recruit staff to deal with the huge workload. The rising house prices in Dublin are preventing us getting the necessary staff to provide houses in Dublin. That problem must be tackled through the tortuous process, which I raised with the Minister on several occasions, of recruiting staff through the Local Appointments Commission. If the Minister did something about that bottleneck it would make a real difference.

I listened to the contributions of some of the Fianna Fáil backbenchers on this issue before coming into the House and they were rather pathetic and simplistic about this issue. Two years ago, in June 1997, the circumstances were different. There probably was an emerging housing crisis, but it is different now and we must face reality. We should have a reasoned debate in which people put forward solutions which, hopefully, the Government will take on board. At that time, all our infrastructural money was committed under that programme. We are now entering a new programme and the Government will have a greater opportunity to plan ahead. Despite the fact that we will have less EU funding, we will have a budget surplus of almost £2 billion next year. We must use that money to ensure we improve our infrastructure.

I want to refer briefly to rural areas. How do we attract people into rural areas? Due to the lack of provision of sanitary facilities, such as water and sewerage, and inferior roads, people are not inclined to build homes in rural Ireland. That includes villages and some small towns which are mostly market towns. In regard to the next national plan, if we are to encourage people to build in these areas, I appeal to the Government to ensure there is increased funding on the previous five year programme for local and regional roads and for the provision of sewerage and water facilities throughout rural Ireland.

I was the Minister in charge of rural development in the previous Government. More than any other programme, we want to revitalise rural areas and encourage people to build houses but they need sewerage and water facilities. There is provision of water in most areas but we are wasting valuable land because most councils will not allow indepth building if sewerage facilities are not available. As a result, road frontage is being used up where indepth building is taking place that would provide more houses.

We must ensure that building a house in the country is affordable because it will encourage people to move to the country. What else can we offer people? A previous speaker on the Government benches mentioned PPPs. I agree that with the introduction of PPPs we can provide some of the broad infrastructure we need which would encourage people to work internationally from their own houses.

Consideration should be given to increasing the new house grant to £5,000 for people living outside urban areas. That might encourage people to build in rural areas which would free up the traffic in urban areas. We should also examine our existing stock. One of the advantages of the reconstruction grant provided by the 1983-87 Government was that thousands of houses throughout the country that would have become dilapidated were restored. Some of those were old farm and manor houses which would have been demolished were it not for the reconstruction grant. Consideration should also be given to reintroducing this grant for rural dwellers in particular who are living permanently in those areas.

I ask the Minister to devise a policy on holiday homes in rural Ireland. People currently building holiday homes are taking over land and represent unfair competition for people who are trying to provide housing locally for themselves. That issue will have to be addressed.

Mention was made of an urban commission. I am in the process of preparing a document in which I will propose establishing a rural commission which will address matters such as building houses in rural areas.

The natural increase in the national population, assisted by the dynamic economic factors, has created an element of housing growth demand unprecedented on this island. Only a few years ago we witnessed wholesale emigration as the young sought employment far from these shores. The opposite is now the case, with State agencies promoting job opportunities in Ireland as they travel the world to find workers to fill job vacancies in our hungry economy. This unprecedented upturn has placed a demand on the political system to create a truly new Ireland. It is said that every disaster is but a moment of opportunity. Equally, every opportunity is but a waiting disaster unless it is managed and structures are put in place to meet the demands of that opportunity.

Our economy demands an immediate increase in the housing stock. It affords us the challenge of putting adequate infrastructure in place to service both the population and the commercial sector demands. The people on the Opposition benches highlighted those deficits over recent years but the Government, like rabbits caught in the glare of car headlights, appeared to be frozen in time, hoping that something or someone else would resolve the problem. Unless action is taken, we will find that those who now eagerly invest in our country will pick up their tents and pitch them elsewhere. Unless immediate action is taken to address the serious under-provision of services and housing, this country is heading for a major crisis.

Due to the lack of Government response, the whole planning process is delayed. It is not delivered on time, just like public transport. What is the reason for this? It is because the Government has not put in place additional personnel in the planning departments of local authorities, nor has it staffed An Bord Pleanála at a level which will allow it cope with the demands placed on the planning process by the current scramble for housing. If we do not provide for immediate, adequate new housing starts, the cost of all housing will continue to increase beyond the capacity of the economy to find workers at whatever level who would provide suitable accommodation for themselves and their families. First time buyers, those who wish to trade up to accommodate an increasing family or those who want to rent a small flat or apartment will not be able to afford to provide for their own housing needs.

The problem is further compounded by the Government's abandonment of those on the housing lists of local authorities. We are allowing a serious domestic crisis to develop. Families cannot function without homes. It must be one of the first duties of any Government, no matter how bad it is, to ensure there are sufficient, decent, available houses to meet the reasonable expectations of the citizens of the State. The Government must provide the supports to effect fast-tracking of the planning process while ensuring that adequate safeguards are in place to protect communities and the environment. The need for new housing is but one symptom of the threat against modern Ireland. We are challenged by the failure to provide development in an integrated way. Housing is pushed out of the centre and commercial development is sucked into the centre. This puts unsustainable demands on the transport infrastructure. There is a huge concentration of people going towards the city each morning, only to pour out again each evening. Correct planning must be encouraged and incentives must be put in place to encourage families back to our city centres. This would allow ease of access to employment, education and services which are already in place but which are underused due to population redistribution.

I support this motion. I wonder how the Government hopes to resolve the crises in housing, traffic and transport infrastructure if it does not admit we have a crisis in those areas. We have crises in housing and with traffic congestion, be that in Dublin, Cork, Galway or elsewhere. The first problem is that the Government does not admit that these areas are in crisis. How are we to expect the aspirational wish list which forms the amendment to this motion to solve these problems? I welcome the fact that our motion is well structured and will take on these problems in an integrated fashion.

It is difficult to see how the national housing crisis can be solved if we do not put a national plan together. That is not to criticise local authorities in any way. They have done tremendous work with the resources made available to them by various Governments. I pay tribute to Galway County Council for the efficient way it has used its resources. We are particularly indebted to the wonderful management structure in the housing section. I pay tribute to the work of that section's manager, Mr. John Tierney, and his staff. They have done a job that is second to none. However, they are starved of resources. They have imaginative plans they could put in place if they had the resources.

The Minister of State, Deputy Molloy, should note their initiatives regarding social housing. There are perfect examples of wonderful social housing projects in Galway. However, we now find that those who would benefit most from social housing are excluded from it due to income limits and restrictions. The £10,000 income limit for inclusion is a waste of time. I ask the Minister of State to request his colleague to increase this substantially to allow local authorities with the initiative to do so to provide social housing to reduce the chronic housing waiting lists in every local authority area. I believe that communities would work with local authorities to solve some of these problems and if one has a community working with a local authority one is making progress that has not been achieved heretofore.

In past housing schemes, design was inadequate and all too often construction faulty. Services were not provided and there was no follow-up, with the result that we were left with ghettoes. That is a terrible indictment of Government policy over the years. I was amused by Deputy Kelleher's suggestion that the Government was playing a game of catch up for the inadequacies of the last Government. It begs the question: what were the Governments of the 1980s with Haughey, Burke and Flynn doing? What was that code?

And FitzGerald.

Trying to get the country out of debt.

Mr. Hayes

We will see at the tribunal.

Get the facts right.

They do not like it.

I am glad that colleagues opposite are so excited at getting something done, as the housing and traffic issues are very serious. The Government is very fortunate that there is a major surplus available from taxation. There is also the sale of Telecom and other national assets to provide funds for what is necessary. Whether the Government will provide those funds is another story.

I would like to see more social housing. I have tried to encourage my own local authority and that of Cavan to use more social housing. While my constituency may not suffer from the same housing problems as Dublin, there are still many problems in this area. A lone parent recently called to see me who has been on a housing waiting list for five years. She had no chance of getting a house until she moved out of her family home, which is a very serious indictment of our system. Her family relationship was a difficult one and could not continue indefinitely, but at least she has some chance of getting a house now she has moved out of home. This costs the State more money. The Government should examine these regulations with a view to improving the situation.

Middle income couples can no longer raise a mortgage to buy a home even in areas like mine, never mind Dublin. County councils must be given the wherewithal to build more houses if this situation is to be rectified. I had to laugh at the amounts mentioned in the amendment to this motion and at the references to the increases in funding for regional and county roads. That did not happen in Monaghan, as the Leas-Cheann Comhairle knows. We had a nominal increase for regional county roads and there is as yet only talk of improvements for major roads such as the N2. It appears that there will be no action on this for the next couple of years.

If a crisis is to be averted, the infrastructure must be put in place to allow jobs to be created in the regions. That will not happen unless traffic can flow reasonably freely to the airports and ports. The Government has the opportunity in the next few months to create the infrastructure in rural areas, especially in Objective One areas, to provide ways and means of disposing of waste and to expand existing industries. I am begging the Government to ensure that rural areas are properly looked after when it brings its national plan to Brussels and that it does not simply increase the number of people in Dublin, creating more housing problems. One should not think that the housing crisis in Dublin does not cause problems for rural areas. It causes enormous problems for young students who must find rented accommodation in the city because there is no third level college in their own county. I ask the Government to consider this aspect of the problem.

I welcome this debate because it gives me the opportunity to compliment the Minister, Deputy Dempsey, and the Ministers of State, Deputies Wallace and Molloy, on their excellent record to date. They have shown excellent teamwork. I also welcome this change from the Opposition's usual tactic of avoiding discussion of the issues while attacking personalities.

We are only two thirds of the way through this Dáil, yet it would take all evening to outline the Government's achievements during the past two years and to list the issues which have been dealt with in that time. The figures prove the benefits which have accrued from hard work, and the public recognises that.

The Opposition motion outlines the issues which Fine Gael and Labour and their Government colleagues refused to deal with during their most recent term of office. Some Opposition speakers referred to the need for a national housing plan. It is only two years since those parties were in office but they made no mention of such a plan and dealt with none of the issues they have outlined this evening.

The Government amendment, on the other hand, outlines a comprehensive and integrated programme to deal with each of the issues under discussion. Figures have been quoted which prove that this is an active, efficient and productive Government, whether it is dealing with jobs, investment in infrastructure, social services, education or the lowering of personal taxation. The Minister for the Environment and Local Government said last night that each region cannot be expected to develop in exactly the same way. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and the Government must build on the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses. He also made the interesting point that each region should get its fair share of supports and benefits, and that is exactly what is happening.

I contrast the achievements of the Government with the rainbow Government's approach to these issues. In June 1997 our local national newspaper, The Examiner, carried a national jobs creation map on its front page. On this map, County Cork was totally blank. If one were to examine the same map now, one would find a very even spread throughout the country. That is how job creation should develop. We must help the weaker regions. I treasure that map and I have kept it because I will need to reproduce it in three years' time. The Minister's approach is the correct one and I agree totally with it.

Cork was a desert before Fianna Fáil arrived.

I do not have Deputy Dukes's experience in harassment but I will fight my corner and in this case I am on a very strong wicket.

The Deputy should not allow himself to be distracted. He has one minute remaining.

I would like £300 billion of our spare money to be spent in urban areas. The streets of Cork, Dublin and other cities were ignored until two years ago when the Minister allocated money for non-national urban roads. I ask that he consider this need before committing funds to major infrastructural works. I ask him to monitor the work of the National Roads Authority which completed the building of a four-lane carriageway into two housing estates in Bishopstown in Cork. We should not hand over total responsibility to the NRA.

Our housing difficulty was added to by the failure of so-called left wing politicians, many of whom have changed groupings since, to deal with the question of zoning. They took what they saw as the high moral ground and young people are now suffering.

I wish to share my time with Deputy Hayes.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Dennehy cannot believe what he has just said about Cork. I almost broke my ankle walking up Patrick Street when I was in Cork for the last by-election there. I pity the people of Cork who have to walk on streets which are in such bad condition. The people of Cork complained bitterly about Fianna Fáil and the Government and had praise for no one except Deputy Liam Burke who, they said, was doing a wonderful job.

The country is suffering a shortage of housing and infrastructure. My own town of Westport has no proper water supply. We must rely on a temporary supply from Castlebar. Neither have we a sewerage scheme. Mayo County Council has stopped granting planning permissions in the little village of Murrisk, four miles from Westport, because there is no infrastructure in place there.

It is no wonder we have a housing crisis. All Governments must share the blame for granting housing tax breaks for the rich. No one should be given a tax break for a second home. While some people own three and four houses, young people cannot afford to buy a first home. The house purchase grant of £3,000 was adequate ten or even six years ago but it is not adequate now. A grant of £3,000 was a help in buying a house for £50,000 but where would one buy a £50,000 house now? One could not buy a local authority house for £50,000 but the grant has not been increased.

If the Government really wished to tackle the housing crisis, it would have put a package of measures in place. The first measure would be an attempt to assist young couples setting up home. There should be no stamp duty on second-hand houses when the purchasers are buying their first home.

Young people are not getting a chance while rich people are getting all the opportunities. In Westport 108 houses went on sale for £83,000 and are now being sold for £150,000. Only eight Westport people are living in these houses. The rest are being rented from people in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere, and we have more people on the housing list than ever before. It is not good policy to reward the rich and crucify the poor, but this Government's policy is making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

The Government has the resources to solve the housing problem. County managers should be instructed to buy as much green area as possible, provide water and sewerage and make sites available for people on the council housing list. We do not need Trinity College, UCG or any other institution to tell us that it makes sense that sufficient provision of a commodity results in it becoming cheaper. Land should be bought and sites made available so young people can be given a chance.

I could never understand the great friendship between the building industry and politicians and political parties. I come from the west and I suppose I was innocent and did not know much. I have learned much in the past few months and now understand why that relationship existed and why it is in the interest of builders to ensure house prices are at current levels. For some builders the bigger their plans the better. Those applying to build 100 houses will receive planning permission from the county council but a person applying to build one house in a rural area will be asked to provide a puraflow system, additional land for the percolating centre etc. What has gone wrong? The rich are getting richer because they have influence with political parties.

I often wondered why some council officials were friendly with builders. I will not mention names, but I never thought an official would get involved in such dealings. People used to ask me how builders got planning permission, and we can now understand how it was done. In Dublin city we see what happened, how certain people were very friendly and how certain officials got rich even though they were not in jobs which paid big salaries. This has an effect on property prices and young couples who have not a hope of entering the market.

If the Government is serious about addressing the matter, it can do so quite simply. Young people should be encouraged and assisted. There should be two grants available to couples who are first time buyers, one of about £10,000 for those buying in towns, which would not match the rate of inflation in the housing market over the past few years, and a grant of £20,000 to encourage people to move to rural areas which would help stop the movement into towns. We have seen what has happened in Dublin city, with people crying to get out of it. There are people coming to the country on rural resettlement schemes. We welcome them and the more who come to the west the better.

Mr. Hayes

The Minister of State, Deputy Wallace, has once again been sent to the House to bat on behalf of his two colleagues. It is most strange that the Minister of State with direct responsibility for housing, Deputy Molloy, could not find time at some point over the past two evenings to come to the House for this debate. Had he done so he would have learned something about the crisis in the housing market.

The Government's decision to reject the Fine Gael motion is yet another example of its complete inability to respond to the housing crisis. It will not even recognise that there is a crisis. During two years in office Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats Party have consistently dodged making an effective response to the new problems which have emerged from our new economic success. Last night the Minister, Deputy Dempsey, strutted his stuff on the floor of the House, all style but no substance. The speech was an exercise in self-congratulation. Indeed, it seems the Minister has a new scriptwriter given the edge in last night's speech. It once again highlighted the lack of vision at the heart of Government on this issue.

The housing crisis now requires direct intervention by the Government in order to satisfy conflicting interests in the economy. Ministers are now two years in office and it is high time they confronted the colossal infrastructural deficits which exist and face their responsibilities. Failure by Government to respond will literally choke the future prosperity of our economy.

It is interesting to note that for many in the trade union movement the problem of house price inflation has overtaken the issue of pay as a central ingredient required to make the successor to the PCW work. It is the lack of moderately priced homes which is currently driving a new and understandable militancy among many in the public sector. House price inflation is as important an issue for employers as employees. There is now clear evidence that the lack of affordable housing could well reduce the potential numbers of additional workers returning to the country, a crucial issue in the context of the ability of the State to address the current labour shortage.

Despite the hype and PR which surrounds the Government's response to the housing crisis, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that the first and second Bacon reports have not worked. Taken together the measures announced by the Government over the past year have not stabilised house prices, the central objective of Government policy. Indeed we have seen a substantial rise in house prices in the first half of 1999, with a projected increase of over 20 per cent for the full year. The runaway train of house prices has not stopped to pick up hard pressed potential buyers.

I was very interested to learn about the very small price increases in 1999 mentioned by the Minister in his speech to the House last night. I know he was drawing from statistics compiled by the Department of the Environment and Local Government, but those statistics substantially conflict with the statistics produced by the Irish Permanent and Sherry Fitzgerald. A week ago a leading economist said there is every likelihood that in 1999 we will see a persistent increase in house prices close to the levels we saw last year. Therefore, the central tenet of Government policy, namely, price stabilisation, is not working and cannot work. Furthermore, price stabilisation will make no difference to the vast bulk of people on ordinary wages because they still will not be able to afford a home.

In March 1997 a couple who were first time buyers taking out a 90 per cent mortgage would have spent 27 per cent of their net monthly income in financing their mortgage. By September 1998 this figure had increased to 40 per cent of their net monthly pay. This is the key issue which has not been addressed by the Government.

A deliberate outcome of the current strategy is that many couples are borrowing substantial sums of money to meet excessive mortgages. The Central Bank has already highlighted to politicians the risk attached to this phenomenon. It is quite obvious that the problem of house price inflation is having a hugely detrimental effect on the ability of young people to buy a home.

Throughout the debate we have spent very little time dealing with the problems associated with housing lists and it is on this issue that I wish to conclude. When the Government came into office there were just over 27,000 applicants on our national housing list. The Minister has refused to publish the national housing assessment carried out in March this year, saying he will publish it in September. Why will the Government not publish the national housing assessment and why did it decide not to publish it until after the local elections? The reason is that it knows full well that there has been a 70 per cent increase in the number of people looking for social housing from the State during the past three years. This is the acid test upon which the Government must be judged. The reality is that only 6.9 per cent of total capital expenditure this year will be spent on the provision of housing for those on housing lists. This is the lowest percentage in the past five years.

I will not accept the taunts that have been thrown at us in relation to social housing. When this party was in office we spent 8 per cent and 9 per cent of available capital resources, which were considerably less than those available to the current Government, on social housing. The Government increased the amount of money provided for local authority housing last year, but the number of acquisitions and starts decreased by 3 per cent. Therefore, all the hype and spin doctoring which has been done by the Government throughout the debate is farcical when one considers the scale of the problems we face. Unlike the Minister, we believe that housing is a fundamental right – he believes that it is a function of the market. That is the point on which we fundamentally disagree.

Amendment put.

Ahern, Dermot.Ahern, Michael.Ahern, Noel.Ardagh, Seán.Aylward, Liam.Blaney, Harry.Brady, Johnny.Brady, Martin.Brennan, Matt.Brennan, Séamus.Briscoe, Ben.Byrne, Hugh.Callely, Ivor.Carey, Pat.Collins, Michael.Cooper-Flynn, Beverley.Coughlan, Mary.Cullen, Martin.Daly, Brendan.Davern, Noel.de Valera, Síle.Dempsey, Noel.Dennehy, John.Doherty, Seán.Ellis, John.Fahey, Frank.Fleming, Seán.Flood, Chris.Foley, Denis.Fox, Mildred.Gildea, Thomas.Hanafin, Mary.Haughey, Seán.Healy-Rae, Jackie.Jacob, Joe.Keaveney, Cecilia.Kelleher, Billy.Kenneally, Brendan.

Killeen, Tony.Kirk, Séamus.Kitt, Michael.Lawlor, Liam.Lenihan, Brian.Lenihan, Conor.McCreevy, Charlie.McDaid, James.McGennis, Marian.McGuinness, John.Martin, MicheálMoffatt, Thomas.Moloney, John.Moynihan, Donal.Moynihan, Michael.Ó Cuív, Éamon.O'Dea, Willie.O'Flynn, Noel.O'Hanlon, Rory.O'Keeffe, Batt.O'Keeffe, Ned.O'Kennedy, Michael.O'Malley, Desmond.O'Rourke, Mary.Power, Seán.Roche, Dick.Ryan, Eoin.Smith, Brendan.Smith, Michael.Wade, Eddie.Wallace, Dan.Wallace, Mary.Walsh, Joe.Woods, Michael.Wright, G. V.


Ahearn, Theresa.Barnes, Monica.Barrett, Seán.Bell, Michael.Belton, Louis.Bradford, Paul.Broughan, Thomas.Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).Bruton, Richard.Burke, Liam.Burke, Ulick.Carey, Donal.Clune, Deirdre.Connaughton, Paul.Cosgrave, Michael.Crawford, Seymour.Creed, Michael.Currie, Austin.Deasy, Austin.Deenihan, Jimmy.Dukes, Alan.Durkan, Bernard.Enright, Thomas.Ferris, Michael.Finucane, Michael.Fitzgerald, Frances.Flanagan, Charles.Gilmore, Éamon.Hayes, Brian.Higgins, Jim.

Hogan, Philip.McCormack, Pádraic.McGahon, Brendan.McGinley, Dinny.McGrath, Paul.McManus, Liz.Mitchell, Gay.Mitchell, Olivia.Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.Naughten, Denis.Neville, Dan.Noonan, Michael.O'Keeffe, Jim.O'Shea, Brian.O'Sullivan, Jan.Owen, Nora.Penrose, William.Perry, John.Quinn, Ruairí.Rabbitte, Pat.Reynolds, Gerard.Ring, Michael.Ryan, Seán.Shatter, Alan.Sheehan, Patrick.Shortall, Róisín.Stagg, Emmet.Stanton, David.Timmins, Billy.Wall, Jack.Yates, Ivan.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies S. Brennan and Power; Níl, Deputies Sheehan and Stagg.
Amendment declared carried.
Question, "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to", put and declared carried.

We now come to the Intoxicating Liquor Bill, 1999, Order for Second Stage and Second and Remaining Stages. I call on the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.