Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions

We will commence with Leaders' Questions and the first question from the leader of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Micheál Martin. I observed yesterday that everyone stuck to his or her time. Hopefully, we can carry on that here in the Chamber today. That is no reflection on anyone. We will start with Deputy Micheál Martin, who has three minutes.

I led the way yesterday, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

The Deputy is due a bit of latitude today so.

Wait now, hold on. Let us start the business first. I cannot take a snapshot of everyone at the one time but let me remind Members, before they put their hands up again, that on Thursday last, the Ceann Comhairle indicated there was a long list and priority would be given to those Members today. We will complete that after I have had a look at the list. I call Deputy Micheál Martin.

The Government has been less than transparent and generally is at sea in explaining and accounting for the extraordinary escalation in the cost of the national children's hospital.

In 2016, the Taoiseach, in his then role as Minister for Health, announced that the hospital would cost €650 million all-in, including inflation, VAT and contingency, and that, short of an asteroid hitting, it would be built in 2020. A year later, that figure of €650 million became €980 million. In 2018, it became €1.7 billion. Before Christmas, the Taoiseach told the Dáil it was €1.4 billion, yet we now know that the figure was actually €1.7 billion.

It will be €2 billion.

For some reason, the Taoiseach withheld that information from the Dáil. Why did he not provide the full figure on that date when I raised the issue in the House? The Minister, Deputy Harris, and his Department were told about the escalating costs in August, but apparently the Cabinet was only informed in December. Why was that the case? Why were the Cabinet and the Dáil not kept accurately informed of developments in regard to the cost of the hospital? By any yardstick, this is extraordinary stuff. It has gone from a cost of €650 million in 2016 to €1.7 billion in 2018.

The children's hospital in Stockholm became a famous outlier on its construction. It was built at a cost of €2.1 billion, far in excess of the estimated cost, but, at least, it provided 1,340 beds. At a current cost of €1.7 billion, our hospital will provide 473 beds. Not an additional bed will be provided as a result of the extraordinary increase in expenditure.

In spite of a near trebling of the cost, there has been no satisfactory explanation or accountability. It beggars belief. It reveals a chronic lack of political oversight in terms of the approach to the expenditure on the project. In reply to Deputy Cowen in the House in September 2018, the Minister, Deputy Harris, stated that the total budget was a little more than €1 billion. Six weeks later, that became €1.7 billion. Was the Dáil misled in December? Why were the true figures hidden? Was it because of the budget discussions that were ongoing? Was a decision made to keep the cost of this project overrun hidden from public view? The Taoiseach may remember that budget discussions were ongoing in regard to the significant Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Health on the current spending side and whether it was going to be more than €700 million or close to €1 billion. However, there was not a murmur about overruns on the capital side at the new children's hospital even though certain people knew it would hit €1.7 billion. It is impossible to reconcile the Minister's reply in September 2018 with the reality of the €1.7 billion cost that emerged in a Cabinet memo in December.

When was the Taoiseach first made aware of the escalating cost of the children's hospital? When was the Minister for Health first made aware of it? Does the Taoiseach agree that this issue demands a public inquiry, preferably through an Oireachtas committee, with full compellability, openness and transparency?

When we talk about the children's hospital, we should not forget the enormous value the project will bring to the country.

It will deliver a major improvement in healthcare and paediatric care for our most valuable citizens, namely, our children. Some 450 beds will be provided, each of them single rooms, which is very different from what we currently have. There will be space for parents to stay overnight.

Only if they get into the hospital.

There will be 15 theatres and five MRI machines. Ambulatory care centres at both Tallaght and Connolly hospitals will be provided which will reduce the need for admissions and attendances and the total need for hospital beds. The project will provide parent accommodation and an academic research centre. The hospital will be born digital. It will be an enormous asset for the country and will serve our children well not for decades but longer, possibly for more than 100 years.

How will they get in there?

The capital build cost of the project is €1,433 million. That includes the entire capital cost for the main hospital at St. James's which will also house the school and third level educational spaces, the outpatient and urgent care centres I mentioned at Connolly and Tallaght hospitals, equipment for the three sites and construction of the car park and retail spaces.

These same elements made up the capital cost figure of €983 million, which was reported to the Government in April 2017.

With regard to my knowledge of the additional rising costs, I was informed that the costs looked like they were escalating again probably at some time around the end of November and I asked for full information, as is always the case when I am told something. I got that full information only a day or two before the particular Cabinet meeting in December. The additional cost, €319 million, relates to construction, and the balance of that, €131 million, includes €50 million in VAT. Other costs relate to staff, consultants, planning and design teams, risk and contingency, and the management equipment service. The construction cost is €1.433 billion. I acknowledged in the Dáil the day after that this could rise. Obviously with construction inflation continuing, any delay potentially adds to the cost. The cost of the hospital can involve more than the construction. It is also necessary to equip it. That can be done either by buying the equipment or through a management equipment service contract whereby the equipment is not bought but leased and maintained on a long-term basis.

Why did the cost go up? There are number of reasons, which have been explained. These include construction inflation, fire safety rules that required a much more expensive sprinkler system - very much more expensive - and a miscalculation of the cost of electrics and cabling. The board got the latter wrong. Obviously, any time the cost goes up, the VAT goes up also. We should not forget that some of the figures being bandied around do not include VAT.

With regard to further inquiries, the Department of Health has retained PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC, the expert accountancy and consultancy firm, to carry out an analysis of this and to report back to the Government in a few months with more information as to how the costs escalated in the way they did.

There is talk about increasing costs, but we are not talking about a normal increase in costs. We are talking about an extraordinary escalation in costs. The Taoiseach said in 2016 that the all-in cost was €650 million, including VAT, inflation and contingency costs. That is what he said two years ago but he is now telling me that he, as Taoiseach, was told only at the end of November that the cost had gone up to €1.7 billion. He might inform the House why the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, did not tell anybody, it appears, until November or December although he was told by the Department about this in August. The Department, in a statement it issued, said it kept the Minister for Health fully informed about the escalating costs. There was not a whisper to anybody, however, until late December. During the Christmas holiday period, the full memo was leaked that reveals the cost of €1.7 billion, which the Taoiseach was aware of in December but chose not to mention to us. Does the Taoiseach believe it is acceptable that, although the Minister for Health was told about this in August, the Taoiseach found out about it only at the end of November? A sprinkler system does not explain a near trebling of the cost.

Do not forget the VAT.

VAT does not explain a near trebling of the cost.

The Taoiseach to respond.

There is no confidence that this will be held at €1.7 billion. Health officials are acknowledging privately that we are facing a cost of €2 billion and that there will be little change out of €2 billion once this is finished.

The Taoiseach to respond. The Deputy cannot have two minutes.

Who was in charge politically? What went wrong? Reviews by accountancy firms are all well and good but that is only locking it up for another couple of months.

The Taoiseach to respond.

What is needed is a public inquiry with compellability, preferably through the Oireachtas.

There is no one thing, whether it is VAT, fire safety, construction inflation or an underestimate of the cost of the cables and electrics, that could possibly explain an increase of this nature. Of course it is multifactorial. Of course there are a number of reasons the cost has gone up. The estimate did not just go from €650 million to €1.433 million. It went up to €983 million, which was reported to the Government in April 2017, and it has since gone up to €1.433 billion.

They know the Government does not care.

That was reported to the Government in December. That is the full construction cost, including the car parks, but it does not include ICT investment, for example, and some other associated costs.

The review being undertaken by PwC commenced this week. Department of Health officials have engaged with the HSE and consultants on finalising the terms of reference, methodology and timeframe. I look forward to seeing the review and, obviously, we will be very happy to publish it once it is completed. I have no doubt that Oireachtas committees will also want to consider it.

In response to the first question the Taoiseach said our most valuable citizens were children. I challenge him and the Government because it is very clear to me that on his watch children are not our most valued citizens. This morning Temple Street Children's University Hospital released the figure for the numbers of children who had presented at its emergency department last year and subsequently been discharged to no fixed address. Disgracefully, that number stood at 842. They are 842 of the most vulnerable citizens of the State and I suggest they are citizens who are not valued or considered. Not alone do they need medical care in emergency departments, they also need a home. Anyone who heard the lead emergency medicine consultant in Temple Street hospital on radio this morning could not but have been shocked. He said presentations were varied and complex but that in the majority of cases they stemmed from the fact that the children were living in completely unsuitable, cramped and temporary accommodation. Not alone are they left without a home, the State also sponsors a system in which they live - I repeat - in unsuitable, cramped and temporary accommodation. That is their reality.

Of course, this is not just about numbers. If the figure from Temple Street hospital is 842 children, what is the position in every other hospital throughout the State? Is the Taoiseach able to tell the Dáil what the total number of children being discharged to no fixed abode throughout the land is? Is he able to reassure the Dáil that he understands the extent of the damage done to young lives that are destroyed before they even start, before many of them utter a word or learn their ABCs, or even before their first day at school? Most of them have never known any place called home. Instead they have known family hubs, hotel rooms and bed and breakfast accommodation, in which the mould on the walls and ceilings impacts on their ability to breathe, in which they live in cramped conditions and are scalded or burned, in which they are self-harming and in which children with cystic fibrosis, neurological disorders, autism and a disability grow up in cramped, unsuitable and dangerous accommodation.

What about their parents? Let us have a thought for them. They expect to raise their children, as we all do, in a society that exhibits some semblance of decency and in a country that has some bottom line for how we treat children. I invite the Taoiseach to share with the Dáil the true figure. What is the figure throughout the State for the number of children who are discharged from hospital into homelessness? What does the Taoiseach have to say to them and their parents?

I thank the Deputy for raising this important matter. Without doubt, children are the most valuable citizens we have in the country. That is why we introduced free GP care for all children under six years in order that parents would not have to worry about where they would find the money to take their children to see the doctor. It is why we introduced two full years of free pre-school. It is why we extended maternity benefit and introduced paternity benefit. It is why we invest so much in the affordable childcare scheme which will be expanded this year to include middle income families, thus making childcare much more affordable. It is why we have improved child protection, established Tusla and introduced measures such as mandatory reporting. It is why we have worked so hard to increase the number of parents who have jobs, increase living standards and pay, improve the welfare system by increasing the child dependant allowance and improving the system for one-parent families. It is why we have seen the incidence of child poverty decrease in each of the past four years, for which we have numbers. It is why we have seen the number of children suffering deprivation decrease in each of the past four years, for which we have numbers. It is due to the improvement in the economy and the social policies pursued by the Government.

On the question raised by the Deputy, I do not have a figure for the other hospitals. The Government does not collect those figures but perhaps those hospitals have the numbers if the Deputy wishes to seek them from them. I know going to an accident and emergency department is a very stressful experience for any parent and I am sure that it compounded if someone is also living in emergency accommodation. None of us wants to see children forced to live in emergency accommodation and none of us likes the idea of children having to do their homework on a hotel bed or sharing a room with a parent or many other children.

That is why we have invested in the family hubs of which there are now 26. It is not a long-term solution but it is certainly better than a hotel or a bed and breakfast. It means that children have an address, play facilities, washing facilities and somewhere to store their belongings. I have been to visit those family hubs and have spoken with the families who live there. None of them is a place such as what the Deputy described in her contribution. That is also why we are ramping up the provision of social housing. We do not have the exact figures yet, we will have them in a few weeks, but we believe that we have increased our stock of social housing by roughly 8,000 houses last year.

That means there are 8,000 individuals and families living in a social housing home that was not part of the housing stock only one year ago. More than 4,000 of those homes are new builds erected by local authorities and councils. Supply is the solution and we are providing additional housing, including social housing, in order that we can get those families out of emergency accommodation and into secure tenancies. We are doing in housing what we have already done in health, childcare and education and on social welfare and incomes. We have delivered on reducing child poverty, child deprivation and all those things and we need to apply the same to housing now as well.

None of us wishes to see these things happening but they are happening on the Taoiseach's watch. That is the bottom line. The Taoiseach is the Head of Government and he carries the can for this. Despite all his self-satisfied patter, the number of discharges of children from Temple Street Hospital into homelessness has gone up by 29% and not down. Homelessness has been normalised and that is why the Taoiseach can stand with a straight face and read a list of his avowed triumphs in lifting the yoke of poverty from child citizens.

The Taoiseach actually buys into that. He has normalised child homelessness and it seems he makes no apology for that. The Taoiseach stated that he visited these family hubs. The key word is "visited". I do not think anybody in this Chamber would tolerate living in one of these family hubs or having their loved ones live there either. Has the Taoiseach has visited the bed and breakfasts, the hostels or the hotel rooms? I can take him there. There are many of them in the north inner city where young mothers and young parents struggle with small children. Never mind my contribution, listen to the doctors.

Deputy McDonald has exceeded her time. The question is for the Taoiseach.

I thank the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. The medical expert who treats these children - not me - states their maladies and injuries stem from the fact that they live in completely unsuitable, cramped and temporary accommodation. The Taoiseach does not have the figures for the State as a whole. I invite him to get those figures-----

I call the Taoiseach to respond.

-----and to present them, when he has them, to the Dáil. Rather than giving self-righteous patter-----

Deputy McDonald must observe the clock. I call the Taoiseach to respond.

-----I invite the Taoiseach to give words of reassurance as a response to these children and their parents.

I have visited hostels and met parents who are living in hotel accommodation. Some of those now, thankfully, have been housed and been housed by the Government.

Not enough of them.

Roughly 50,000 children attend Temple Street Hospital every year-----

I am aware of that.

-----of whom 800 were living in emergency accommodation last year. As Deputy McDonald will know from the study, those children attended for reasons such as chest infections, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, high blood pressure, as well as chronic diseases such as asthma and epilepsy and injuries. Those are some of the many reasons why any child might attend an emergency department. If they are living in emergency accommodation that, of course, complicates it. That is why we need to get them out of emergency accommodation and we are doing that. How are we doing that? We are building the family hubs and providing much better accommodation than a bed and breakfast or hotel room. It is not a long-term solution but it is a much better solution than bed and breakfasts and hotels. We are building more social housing.

The doctors in Temple Street do not say-----

There were 8,000 additional homes added to the social housing stock last year.

There has been an increase of 29%.

Most of them are new builds. We need to get that figure up to 10,000 this year.

The Taoiseach should at least apologise for it.

If Deputy Pearse Doherty wants to make a start on apologies, he will be there for a long time.

National inquiries are sometimes necessary to get to the bottom of wrongdoing. As well as being painfully slow, they can be cold processes as they plough through mountains of documentation and testimonies. The original Tuam babies inquiry was meant to last three years. Then it was four. Now we understand it will take five years to complete. Those affected by the scandal are frustrated beyond words. Many of them are elderly, while some have died. They want closure in order that there can be some resolution in this aspect of their lives.

As the Taoiseach knows, for nearly 40 years, the home, as it was called, was involved in illegal adoptions of children to America, as well as in the illegal burial of hundreds of children who had died in the home and been interred in a mass grave without proper funerals. They are the stark facts. We need an inquiry to identify what exactly was the role of the Bon Secours sisters and the extent to which State agencies were involved.

The arts are another way of providing us with a mechanism to understand and, more importantly, feel the emotional impact and trauma of the Tuam mother and baby home. In Dublin last week I attended the Stay With Me exhibition at the Inspire Galerie. The exhibition was of artwork created by people who had been moved by the Tuam babies story. Words cannot convey the depth and strength of feeling involved in the artworks. They give us a glimpse of how those centrally affected must feel. The aim of the exhibition is not to cause horror or revulsion but to show love to help people to come to terms with the terrible losses they endured.

I understand the inquiry needs to proceed to a fifth year. The Department of Health has apparently produced a new batch of documentation which needs to be examined. Why was it not forthcoming when all of agencies involved were asked to produce everything they had? The continued inquiry may be necessary, but that does not mean that those affected should have to wait another year for some resolution. Do we not have enough evidence to show that there was wrongdoing? Will the Government agree to provide redress for those affected, many of whom are elderly and deserve our compassion and a resolution to ease their pain as far as we can provide for this? If we do not act now, for some it will be too late. It is already too late for those survivors who have passed away in the four years since the inquiry began.

I thank the Deputy for observing the time allotted.

The Deputy has been in this seat before.

The Government has granted a request made by the commission of investigation into mother and baby homes to extend the timeframe for the delivery of its reports by one year. The commission is now due to submit its final report by 2020. I note that the Deputy has acknowledged that we have to allow the commission which is independent to do its work. At the same time, we need to acknowledge and understand the enormous frustration felt by former residents of mother and baby homes who will have to wait longer than anticipated to get some answers to some of their questions.

The commission, not having completed its work, is obviously not able at this stage to make findings of fact or wrongdoing. For example, while it has met 519 former residents, 26 have yet to have their stories heard. It is important that they be heard. New material has been received, consisting of more than 100,000 pages of documents, which needs to be considered. While there is still much work to be done by the commission, it has assured the Minister that it can do it by February next year within its existing budget. There will, however, be a comprehensive report on 15 March which is only a few weeks away on burials at the site. I hope it will, at least, give us some answers. The Minister who has been involved with the consultative group is examining ways by which we may be able to give former residents of mother and baby homes some health and well-being supports in the interim while we await the final three reports of the commission next year. It will be brought to the Government once it is ready.

How is it that this new volume of documents has suddenly come to light four years into the inquiry and has now been submitted by the Department of Health? Has the Taoiseach asked why that would be? Everybody was asked to provide every document from the beginning. This is not the first inquiry where this tardiness, to put it at its kindest, has come to light. I ask the Taoiseach not to wait but to formally apologise, on behalf of the State and all of us, to those who suffered in those mother and baby homes. He should do it this week. The Government should provide redress now of the kind the Taoiseach has said is being examined before it is too late for elderly people. I met some of the affected people at that art exhibition and it would move a person to tears to listen to their anguish and the desperate frustration arising from this issue going on and on. Are other graves being examined or is Tuam one awful and unique situation?

I do not need to wait for the report to be published next year to offer my sorrow and regret, and that of the Government, for all that happened to women in mother and baby homes and the children born in them. Many of them had very negative experiences and the Government, this Parliament and the State are very sorry for all of that.

Does that include the Bethany Home?

I know my predecessor as Taoiseach, Deputy Enda Kenny, has made a similar statement. However, we must allow the commission of investigation to do its work properly, study all the documents, have the hearings and make findings of fact. That is the point of setting up these commissions.

Why the tardiness in getting this done?

We set them up to allow them to do their work. The Minister, Deputy Zappone, with the support of the Government, is examining means by which we may be able to provide some help and well-being supports to former residents while they and we await the final report.

With regard to burial sites, we expect a comprehensive report by the middle of March 2019. The sites being examined are Tuam, Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea and, I think, Bessborough as well.

Are those they only sites? Are there others?

There are many more.

Last week in the Dáil, I asked the Taoiseach to be a Taoiseach for our farming community, whether they be beef or lamb producers, as people who are struggling in trying to make a living for themselves and better themselves and their families. This week, I will highlight conflicting regulations in the European Union and Ireland that are detrimental to the position of Irish fishermen. I specifically refer to fishermen working in hard conditions, perhaps with a small boat, and giving a bit of employment to themselves, a family member and a few friends in the locality.

People with a quota of 119 tonnes have seen that limit decreased to 24 tonnes. People with a bigger boat and a quota of 310 tonnes have seen that limit decreased to 70 tonnes. One can imagine the impact this will have on people who might have to go as far away as Scotland or down to Spain in trying to get a catch. They work in very tough conditions, with a high cost for fuel, but they have seen their tonnage reduced dramatically. It is the difference between being able to stay in business and not. It is not as if these people were making much money. As the Taoiseach knows, these boats are very expensive and the fishermen must pay good wages, as well as all the other expenses involved. We must also factor in the amount of time in which they cannot fish because of bad weather but they cannot claim any kind of assistance. They do not want assistance but they want to catch and sell fish in order to make a week's pay. It is all they want but, unfortunately, many of these fishermen are being put out of business.

In December 2017, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine introduced pilot quota balancing, which would come into effect on 1 January 2018.

This scheme introduced penalties for fishermen if they brought in fish in excess of their allocated quota. Not only would the excess be deducted from their quota but a multiplying factor would be used to penalise them even further. Under EU regulations, no disregarding is allowed, but under the new quota balancing introduced, the only way to land the exact quota allocated is to disregard the excess fish at sea. Fishermen agree that to preserve fish stocks, measures need to be taken and quota balancing is necessary, but the scheme needs to be amended. I remind the Taoiseach, as I did last week, that he is Taoiseach not just for Dublin county or city but for every part of this country, including our farming and fishing communities. These sectors work so hard, as do people in all other sectors of life, but people in fishing and farming are trying to create employment for themselves and this will definitely put many of them out of business. I would like the Taoiseach to address the very tough times they face.

I assure the Deputy that the Government is very committed to the fishing industry, particularly at this time and in the context of the threats it faces as a result of Brexit. When we are dealing with Brexit, and I think 30% or 40% of Government time is now taken up with Brexit, our farmers, fishermen and agrifood industry are at the forefront of my mind and the minds of all in this Government because they and the rural economies associated with them are most likely to be adversely affected by Brexit. This is one of the reasons we are putting so much work into this. We do so because we want to protect the livelihoods of our farmers and fishermen along with our agrifood industry and everyone who depends on it. This is why we are working so hard to secure a deal and a deal that means that no tariffs or quotas will be imposed on our farming exports. The entire industry can be assured that the Government has its back in that regard. The same thing applies with CAP reform and our efforts to ensure no agreement is made regarding Mercosur that adversely affects our beef industry in particular.

Our commitment to the fishing sector is reflected most recently in the negotiations on our recent fisheries quota where the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine secured €230 million worth of quota for the industry this year. This maintains quotas at 2018 levels but represents an increase in value terms. For fishermen operating outside Castletownbere, this included large increases in the number of stocks of importance for the southern and south-western ports, in which I know the Deputy has a particular interest. These stocks include haddock, which is up 20%, hake, which is up 28%, and meghrim, which is up 47%, all of which are from the Celtic Sea. We are also proceeding with a very significant capital investment of €15 million in Castletownbere to upgrade the harbour and a €27 million extension to the quay in the harbour that began last October and will be substantially completed this year. This is a very substantial financial investment in that key port in the south west.

Regarding the specific issue raised by the Deputy, this year is the first full year of the implementation of the discards ban under the Common Fisheries Policy under which the practice of discarding juvenile fish at sea will end. It is a very significant sustainability measure that will result in benefits to the marine environment and fishermen alike - securing stocks into the future. The application of the landing obligation or discards ban for all Irish stocks in 2019 coupled with a move towards fishing at maximum sustainable yield levels are very positive developments for fishermen and the broader goal of sustainability.

To implement the landing obligation, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced a quota balancing policy at the end of 2017. This policy applies especially to mackerel. The policy was introduced to ensure equitable opportunities for fishermen who stay within the catch limits where others exceed them. Preliminary data provided for mackerel vessels for 2018 landings indicated that some vessel landings were in excess of their catch limit. It was agreed that initial 2019 allocations would restricted to a lower level to allow for quota balancing so, essentially, those who overfished in 2018 have their allocation reduced in 2019, which is only fair.

I do not doubt the Government's efforts with regard to the negotiations and I appreciate the work that has being done by everybody involved, but there is an unfair distribution of the quota. It also makes it so much harder on smaller operators. The 29 vessels that have 87% of the national quota do not have as much at stake as the remaining vessels that have only 13% of the national quota.

A full year's mackerel quota for a tier 2 vessel is a mere 124 tonnes whereas the larger Killybegs vessels have quotas of more than 4,000 tonnes of mackerel each. I do not begrudge the people in Killybegs anything. The more they have the better. However, I want to see balance for the smaller operators, the people who have borrowed €500,000, €1 million, €2 million, €3 million or €4 million to buy a boat. That is their employment. They are trying to pay massive sums of money back to the bank every month. They are trying to keep their own families in employment and to keep a couple of jobs going in their communities. I plead with the Taoiseach. What is facing those people at present is extinction out of that business. They will have to sell their boats, come on to land, and give up the traditions they have upheld all their lives. That is so sad. I ask the Taoiseach to look at this imbalance, please, and to try to do something to rectify it.

I thank the Deputy. I know this is a serious issue which is of real concern to him. I know that he will also have an opportunity to speak directly to the Minister, Deputy Creed, about it as well. There is a judicial review under way in the courts which relates particularly to the issue of mackerel. Given that it is before the courts, it is probably not advisable for me to make any comment on the matter. What I can say is that the system is designed to ensure that those who overfish in one year have their quotas reduced the next year. That is only fair. It is only fair to the people who stick to their quotas that those who do not are not rewarded. We have also brought about a change to give smaller boats, those boats smaller than 18 m, exclusive access to our inshore waters, that is, those waters within that limit of six nautical miles. That is a particular benefit for smaller vessels. As well as that, the Deputy will be aware of the clean ocean initiative which the Minister, Deputy Creed, is championing. That initiative seeks to encourage and assist our fishermen to remove plastics from the sea and to reduce plastic waste. That is of real benefit.