An Bille um Thionscail na Gaeltachta, 1957—Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna Deiridh.

D'aontaíodh Alt 1 go hAlt 5 go huile.
English version of Bill.
Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.
ALT 6.
Tairgeadh an cheist: "Go bhfanfaidh Alt 6 in a chuid den Bhille."

I take it that there will be two whole-time members of the board and that they will be reasonably remunerated, but I want to suggest that the part-time members of the board should be adequately remunerated. I notice that in regard to many of these boards the remuneration is still the same or nearly the same as it was pre-war. I suggest that it would be desirable that, in view of the commercial nature of the activities in which these members will be engaged, they should be paid adequate remuneration. It is time we adjusted ourselves to what is happening to the value of money.

I should like to ask the Minister whether he has in mind some order of magnitude in relation to the remuneration for the part-time members of the board? I made the point before that, while generous remuneration is justifiable for the managing director, it should be possible to have public-spirited people who would be prepared, as the Minister himself said, to make certain sacrifices, if necessary, for the good of the community. I feel that an exaggerated remuneration would militate against the recruiting of the type of member we want on the board, a member who is prepared to give disinterested service.

It has not yet been fixed what the remuneration will be, either for the managing director or for the part-time members of the board. That cannot be fixed until this legislation has passed through the House, and it will be fixed in consultation with the Minister for Finance. Therefore, I cannot express any view at the moment, except that part-time members of boards that I know of often have to make sacrifices, even with the small fees they are paid. I am sure that Senators, like everybody else, know that when remuneration is fixed by the Department of Finance, it will not be outlandish. From my short experience as a Minister, I can assure the House that the Department of Finance does not throw money around.

I shall certainly bear in mind, when I come to deal with this matter, what Senator O'Donovan has said. However, any Senator who thinks that lavish allowances will be paid by the Department of Finance under this Bill has, I fear, very little experience of that Department.

Cuireadh agus d'aontaíodh an cheist.

English version of Bill.

Question—"That Section 6 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
ALT 7.
Tairgeadh an cheist: "Go bhfanfaidh Alt 7 in a chuid den Bille."

I take it that the chairman and the managing director will be permanent members of the board and that this provision is for the purpose of arranging for pensions for them, should they already have pension rights when they come to the board. Is that right?

This provision is in all legislation dealing with State boards, that:—

"The Minister, with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, may make a scheme for the payment, subject to such conditions and limitations as may be prescribed in the scheme, of superannuation benefits on retirement to or in respect of whole-time members of the board and may, with the like concurrence, amend any such scheme."

The managing director is the only whole-time man contemplated by me at the moment and this provides for superannuation for him. There is also a provision under another section for a scheme for the whole staff. These provisions are in all the legislation dealing with these boards. The reason for them is that they must bring in a scheme of this kind as soon as possible so as to avoid the position we have in Gaeltarra Éireann at the moment where women working for 30 years have no provision of any kind made for them. This, I assume, will be a contributory scheme and both the whole-time managing director as well as the employees, will start off on the right foot and have provision made for their retirement in due course.

The Minister is not correct factually in saying there is this kind of provision in all legislation dealing with State companies. I can say it is quite exceptional, but in view of his explanation, I will not go into any argument with the Minister about it. It is to relate to the person who will be managing director, so it is quite correct here.

Cuireadh agus d'aontaíodh an cheist.

English version of Bill.

Question—"That Section 7 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
ALT 8.

Tairgim:—

I líne 10, "ar chomhairle an bhoird," a chur isteach roimh "comhalta".

This is a simple amendment. The section as it reads at present is that: "The Minister may at any time remove a member of the board from office" and my amendment would simply insert the words: "on the advice of the board". I drew the attention of the House already to the fact that in the Agricultural Institute Bill which is coming before us presently, paragraph (4) of the Schedule says: "The Government may at any time, on the advice of the council, remove an ordinary member of the council from office." Therefore, what I am suggesting is, at any rate in relation to some Bills, common form.

The Minister in answering my point said that he was quite sure that he personally will not abuse this power, and that, if any other Minister were to abuse this power, the person involved would always have the possibility of recourse to Parliament. I am afraid I am not satisfied that that is enough. I know that it is quite possible to put down a question, and even possibly to move a motion in Parliament, but, if you give complete power to the Minister, he has power later to bring his majority in Parliament and overrule any objection. If you give a limited power of removal to the Minister, which seems to be an eminently reasonable suggestion, then no Government majority or anything else can give him more power in this connection. I want to clip the wings of the Minister, as it were, and to restrict his power in relation to the removal— which might be quite arbitrary—of any ordinary member of the board. I am supporting my plea in this regard by pointing out that the Minister for Agriculture has seen nothing hampering in a similar provision in the Agricultural Institute Bill.

I wonder would the Senator consider inserting the words "after consultation with the board"? This amendment, in my opinion, will have the effect of tying the hands of the Minister, so that he has no function whatever as a Minister except to act when given a direction by the board in regard to the removal of a member of that board. It is hardly fair to expect the Minister to accept that since he would be removing all power in that particular regard.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

We cannot amend the amendment until we see if the House will accept it.

I should like to support the wording as it is in the Bill. There was a phrase used about the best member of the board. It might be necessary to remove the best member of the board, as did happen in one other State company, where the best member of the board was removed. It was necessary to remove him as he was creating so much trouble that either the whole board had to be removed or he had to be removed. In view of the fact that all moneys will go to them through the Minister it is essential that the Minister should have this power. I do not think there is any case against it.

I would appeal to Senator Sheehy Skeffington to withdraw the amendment. I would like to ask—perhaps it did not occur to him in moving this amendment—can he imagine, unless there was an awful row, a man's own colleagues removing him from the board even though they felt he was inefficient or incapable or for various other reasons? Would it not be expecting too much that the colleagues of a man on a board of this kind would throw him out?

Was Dr. McLaughlin not removed from the E.S.B.?

I do not want to get into any controversial political argument with the Senator. I want to deal with this amendment in a sensible way.

The Minister for the Gaeltacht has an overriding duty, so far as this board is concerned, from the point of view of giving the members certain directions and so forth, and I could not conceive members of a board throwing a colleague of theirs to the wolves. It would be the very last thing they would normally do. Even though they might feel they had a duty to discharge by removing a man, they certainly would be inclined to leave him there until the time of his appointment had expired, while it might be vital in the interests of the industries we are speaking of that that man would be removed.

As I said before I can assure the Seanad that it would be only in some very extreme case that this power would be exercised by any Minister. I am quite sure the ordinary safeguards that are there for all citizens to use are jealously guarded in both Houses of the Oireachtas. There is no Minister who would remove a member of a board of this kind through ill-will. He would want to be in a position to defend his action before the bar of public opinion and I think that is the best test known in any country where democracy works. I would appeal to the Senator, having considered these matters, to withdraw the amendment.

I am afraid I feel tempted to press this amendment, not because I do not recognise the justice of a good deal of what the Minister says, but because I am not prepared to accept fully his major suggestion. Before I come to that, I should like to point out that what Senator O'Donovan says is quite irrelevant to my amendment. He says it might be necessary to remove the best member of the board because he was making things impossible for his colleagues. But if he is making such trouble, surely his colleagues can recommend that the Minister remove him? I do not see the relevance of the Senator's remarks at all. It would of course be an exceptional case. As I am not a member of a political Party, I am not very knowledgeable about this type of incident.

It had nothing to do with political Parties. It happened about 20 years ago.

I accept that; I simply did not understand the Senator's reference. I still do not know what he is talking about. To come then to the point made by the Minister that the board would not like, as it were, to "throw to the wolves" a colleague even if he were incompetent, I feel that casts rather a reflection on the kind of board we intend to have. I believe that a board that would not have the strength to suggest the removal of an incompetent member, even though his removal, in the words of the Minister, might be vital to the interest of the industries involved, would not be a good board. If it was so weak, so afraid of giving offence and so cowardly, I am afraid it would be a bad board. I am not prepared to accept the view that it will be so weak. Were the occasion to arise that the continuing membership of one person would be vitally harmful to the interests of the industries, I believe the kind of board that the Minister is going to set up would have the courage to remove the man.

The Minister has spoken about "the bar of public opinion". Unfortunately the bar of public opinion comes under the control of the Party Whip, and, even though a good case may be made in public, the Party Whip can overrule public opinion. I should prefer that we gave the Minister rather less power than he is asking for in this Bill, and of course, in saying that, I intend no reflection on the Minister himself. I am quite satisfied that abuse of that power would be exceptional, but I think to say that because the abuse of excessive power would be exceptional we are, therefore, justified in giving excessive power, is a dangerous argument to accept in this House. I would, therefore, like the Minister to ask for nothing more than the power sought by his colleague the Minister for Agriculture.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is the Senator pressing the amendment?

Yes.

Diúltaíodh don leasú, na Seanadóirí Síthi Sceimhealtún agus P. Ó Cruadhlaoich ag easaontú.

English version of Bill.

In line 10, before "remove" to insert "on the advice of the board".

Amendment put and negatived, Senators Sheehy Skeffington and P. Crowley dissenting.

Cuireadh agus d'aontaíodh Alt 8.

English version of Bill.

Question—"That Section 8 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
D'aontaíodh Altanna 9 go 15 go huile.
English version of Bill.
Sections 9 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.
ALT 16.
Tairgeadh an cheist: "Go bhfanfaidh Alt 16 ina chuid den Bhille."

Could I ask a question on the section? What is the reason for putting in the provision that two or more persons might be recommended? I do not follow that. It suggests an appointment and then suggests the Local Appointments Commission may recommend one person and then may recommend two or more? Why not just one person?

This provision has been taken directly from other similar legislation such as that of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara. In actual fact, as I understand it, the Local Appointments Commission do not do this job at all, in the main, and are not called on to do it. The only good reason I can see for this is that it is in other Bills—consistency.

Cuireadh agus d'aontaíodh an cheist.

English version of Bill.

Question—"That Section 16 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
D'aontaíodh Altanna 17 go 31 go huile.
English version of Bill.
Sections 17 to 31, inclusive, agreed to.
ALT 32.
Tairgeadh an cheist: "Go bhfanfaidh Alt 32 in a chuid den Bhille".

I just want to ask the Minister a question. He knows himself that this is a matter affecting different areas and indeed the different degrees of strength of the Irish language in different areas and the Bill is directed to a considerable extent to the support of the Irish language in particular areas. I wonder whether, under sub-section (2), it is the intention, or could he suggest it should be the practice, to give as much information about the position of the Irish language in particular areas as possible? That is the only point I want to make.

The phrase "at such date as the Minister may direct" is an unusual one. I admit there is a difficulty. It is sometimes "as soon as may be after the completion of the financial year", but I do not know exactly whether it is the intention to specify a date under this section? I take it that it is not?

No, the idea here is that the Minister will have power to direct the board as far as the annual report is concerned to put certain information on particular aspects of the board's business, and also to direct the board to give in their report the state of the language in that area. I resisted an amendment on this issue in the Lower House and I had to do so because there are several centres, some of them outside the Gaeltacht. I think there are 38 in all. If there was a statutory direction on the question of language, I was advised that we would be compelled to have some special person in each one of these centres to deal with this matter. I can assure the Senator it is my intention to direct the board to indicate the position of the language in the important areas in which they will be operating.

Would the Minister say if the Gaeltacht areas have been definitely defined?

They have been defined.

And may be reviewed from time to time?

Yes, but the Oireachtas has to do the reviewing.

I do not think the Minister dealt with my point about "at such date".

The Senator will appreciate that this concerns the annual report and power is taken to direct the board to make this report. I assume that it would normally come before the Minister and the House after the end of each financial year—if that meets the Senator's point.

Cuireadh agus d'aontaíodh an cheist.

English version of Bill.

Question—"That Section 32 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
D'aontaíodh Altanna 33 go 35 go huile.
English version of Bill.
Sections 33 to 35, inclusive, agreed to.
D'aontaíodh an Teideal.
English version of Bill.
Title agreed to.
Tuairiscíodh an Bille gan leasú, glacadh é chun an breithniú deiridh a dhéanamh air, agus ritheadh é.
English version of Bill.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.