Environmental Protection Agency Bill, 1990: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

I feel slightly disorientated whenever I have been in possession and come back on the resumption of a debate some hours later. Unlike broadcasting, I cannot ask for a playback so that I can pick up where I left off. I do not intend to delay the Minister or the House much longer on this legislation. I have dwelt at some length on it already. We are dealing with the possibility, and the reality, sad to say, of the pollution of lakes and rivers. This relates particularly to the disadvantaged areas, areas where there is marginal land and unplanned afforestation which has resulted in a marked decline in the number of fish, upset the ecological balance in the immediate environment in which specifically the cypress spruce, or cash crop tree, the "super tree" as it is sometimes referred to, has been planted.

I indicated at the outset of my contribution that I was aware that the Bill, comprehensive as it is, could not possibly direct itself to every aspect of environmental protection. I would hope that the Minister might monitor the position under various sections. Section 51 (1) (a) for instance, deals with "the promotion and co-ordination of environmental research, the provision of assistance and advice in relation to such research and the carrying out, causing to be carried out, or arranging for, such research".

The law as it stands relates to plantations of 100 hectares upwards, 250 acres approximately. In my part of the country — this is relevant to what I am attempting to say because there are many other parts of Ireland which have similar characteristics — marginal land is very much the dominant feature. In Leitrim, where holdings are of the order of 15 to 30 acres it is about 90 per cent to 95 per cent. An increasing number of elderly landowner are now selling out and these holdings are being purchased primarily by private interests and, more recently, by Coillte Teoranta, the State forestry body.

I am glad to note that guidelines have been put in place and checks and balances are available particularly since 1988, when the main thrust of the Government's policy in the area of afforestation first started to bear fruit. However, I would like to ask that in the implementation and monitoring of this legislation and particularly, for example where the agency will have the statutory right to carry out environmental impact assessment studies, that they would monitor this aspect of the environment, putting it in the most general way. Although it is not featured in the Bill, there is obviously an emphasis, and a correct emphasis on matters such as the monitoring of drinking water, the management of sanitary authority treatment works, the management and operation of land-fill sites, the functions of local authorities in relation to environmental protection and the environmental monitoring activities of public authorities.

I hope I have put forward a strong argument why the monitoring agency, in this instance the Environmental Protection Agency, should take cognisance of the serious potential damage that can be done to the environment adjoining such afforestation. Tourism, after agriculture, is our second largest industry. There are an increasing number of people in the west of Ireland particularly who, under the benefits of the agri-tourism schemes coming from Europe are beginning to look to tourism and the provision of tourism facilities as a supplement to their income. I hope the threat which is hanging over Irish agriculture will not impact on the small farmers but we will have to await a debate on another day to tease out that question.

It would be a disaster for areas such as County Leitrim if the ecological balance were to be upset to a degree where we would lose coarse fishing, where we would find our plant life and bird life — wildlife generally — seriously inhibited from developing. The oritentation in the past two to three years, particularly since the implementation of the Government's five year tourism plan to 1993, has been towards developing these areas with tourist potential and to attract more and more people, particularly from continental Europe to parts of the country such as my own.

I welcome this legislation. It is sad that in the environment, in the world in which we live this type of legislation is necessary. The Government, the Department of the Environment and the Minister have obviously addressed themselves to the more important aspects of environmental protection to ensure that this country's justifiable reputation down through the decades of being a pollution-free environment will be protected not only in the short term but in the long term. That can only benefit future generations who, hopefully, will be able to build on the provisions of this Bill and on the statutory backing that is being given to so many aspects of environmental protection. I commend the Bill to the House.

I welcome the Bill and commend the Minister for bringing it in. Indeed, it was a long overdue Bill. Our environment is one of our more important assets and we need to guard it very carefully.

Earlier today Senator O'Toole talked about zealots among the environmentalists. I think he has a point. Some of us were environmentalist when it was neither popular nor profitable to be so. Indeed, I remember in the late sixties leading a campaign to prevent the establishment of a heavy smelter plant in Cork harbour. It was an action which was not very popular in Cork at the time.

Since then because of the high profile the environment has got we have many people jumping on the bandwagon and sometimes I get the impression that the environment will have to be saved from the environmentalists. There is nothing in this world that annoys me as much as converts who get over enthusiastic about issues and quite intolerant of any other person's point of view. I am afraid at times when they pick upon politically sensitive but environmentally unimportant issues they can do more harm than good by diverting resources to issues which are unimportant thereby leaving important issues unattended to.

I think, in particular, of my experience in the European Parliament when we had pressure from environmentalists, particularly the German Greens, on the question of animal growth promoters. Despite the evidence from every scientific body in the world, including the World Health Organisation, they bulldozed through a total ban on the use of these growth promoters. These were not only approved by the World Health Organisation but were actually recommended to be licensed for sale.

What have they achieved in the process? They have certainly increased the danger for the consumer. They have increased the cost to the producer. They have driven downwards the consumption of beef. They have got us into a trade war with the US and other countries. Most important of all, they have diverted resources from real issues like disease control, tuberculosis and the various other diseases, such as swine fever in Europe and very important ones but, particularly, tuberculosis in Ireland. They have diverted resources into trying to control now the use of illegal drugs and, of course, it is an impossible task. As the World Health Organisation had warned, there would be an explosion of illegal use of drugs but they were not interested in listening to experts. They were intolerant of any other point of view. They got their political kudos out of it and they left an unholy mess.

Beef production in Europe is in a mess at the moment and we have only got to look at the Irish scene where the Minister — and I wish to compliment him for his efforts in trying to control the use of illegal drugs — has an impossible task. The beef industry is now sitting on a time bomb. The control of these illegal drugs is not feasible because to control the use of these drugs you would literally have to have a policeman on every farm. What have these zealots achieved, I ask you? That is a good example but there are others.

Let us take an example nearer to home. Every environmentalist, and indeed most politicians, spend a fair bit of time criticising Sellafield. It is right that it should be criticised; we would all be happier if it was not there, and operating there, but there is a great deal of hypocrisy about it when you look at what we are not doing in our own backyard. My information is that between 100 and 160 people in Ireland die each year because of the exposure to radon gas in their own homes. What are we doing about it? We are sweeping it under the carpet because it would cost money to do something about it. It is far easier to shout our heads off at the British Government about Sellafield.

On the basis of a survey carried out by UCD and by the Nuclear Energy Board there are many people in this country living in homes and suffering radiation levels that are significantly higher than those for workers in the Sellafield plant. We close our eyes to it; we do not want to hear about it. There is no political capital in that and it would cost money. it is easier to kick the bricks. We want a little bit of honesty about these environmental problems. I am told by scientists that there is legislation which obliges companies to see that they do not exceed more than a certain level of radiation. There is no such legislation as far as offices, homes or buildings such as this are concerned. No, we must suffer the consequences in silence. Incidentally, if you want to have your home tested for radon gas you can get it tested at a cost of £15 and, for your information, the Minister, Deputy Molloy, had his home checked, was right to do so because the west of Ireland has a particularly large problem in relation to levels of radon gas in the homes.

I found this Bill very difficult reading. I do not know if the drafters of legislation could write such Bills in a way that would be easier for lay people to understand. It is not easy reading. One would imagine that it was drafted to confuse rather than enlighten. Perhaps that is not fair to those who drafted it, but I am sure most of you will agree with me that it is not easy going.

To speak about pollution in general, pollution of course arises from a number of different sources, industry, agriculture, individuals, local authorities, motorists, we are all responsible in one way or another for it. The Bill, however, seems very much to target industry and commercial enterprises, but what about local authorities? What about individuals dropping litter, or creating unacceptable noise, such as youngsters on motor bikes, which is quite intolerable? Pollution prevention need not always cost money. If we do not drop the litter it will not have to be picked up at a cost. Sometimes you can actually save money. For instance, if we insulate our homes and our buildings and prevent draughts, there will be considerable saving of energy. So there is enormous scope in the area of energy saving.

Something that many other cities in many parts of the world have considered and implemented is community central heating which is far more efficient and, in the longer term, far cheaper than individual heating of dwelling houses. Community central heating, for instance, might use surplus heat from power stations. Heat which, in going down the river, does environmental damage to the life on the river, to the fish and the various other forms of life. Or, it might use heat from an incinerator disposing of refuse, thereby reducing pollution in these landfills and tipheads and so on. It could solve a number of problems. Of course, in the final analysis the key to the solution of most of our pollution problems worldwide is a solution to the energy problem.

There is no easy solution in sight, I am afraid. We are living in a golden age, we are enjoying a standard of living that we are not really entitled to by using up the capital in the form of carboniferous fuels that have built up over millions of years and we are making no provision for generations yet unborn when the carboniferous fuels run out. I do not think that is a very responsible way to behave because at the rate at which we are using this fossil fuel we are damaging the environment. We should be making provision, in terms of research, to find alternative sources of energy. I know it is easy to talk about alternative sources of energy; I know it is not easy to achieve them, but I also know that there are billions and billions of pounds spent each day and each week on less worthy subjects. One has only to look at what is happening in the Gulf at the moment to realise what the billions of pounds being spend there might do in trying to develop wave energy, tidal energy, wind energy, renewable sources of energy and, perhaps the best prospect of all, nuclear fusion.

I know the word "nuclear" drives many people "bananas" and it is right that people should be worried about nuclear things, particularly since nuclear fission as opposed to fusion, has been so closely associated with the ultimate war weapon, the nuclear bomb. But nuclear fusion is quite a different matter. It is derived from a plentiful supply of hydrogen, the world is full of it. It would have very little waste product. It would have the advantage that if when in use an accident occurred you could shut down the process by turning off the supply of raw material. This is unlike nuclear fission, where all sources of energy are loaded into it on day one and cannot be extracted and cannot be shut off safely as nuclear fusion can be. However, the technological problems in trying to develop nuclear fusion are such that it will probably be 50 years or more before we get there. I do not think there is any one single answer to the energy problem. The solution will come in the form of several answers but, in the meantime, it would behove all of us to be more careful about how we use energy and to try to conserve it.

Getting back to other issues in relation to what I have mentioned already, there are other people with responsibilities, local authorities, for instance, who have a huge responsibility as far as pollution is concerned. Unfortunately, they are amongst the main offenders in relation to pollution. How many towns in this country are dumping raw sewage into rivers? I know that sitution is improving but it certainly was bad until recently. Even a town like Killarney had its problems in regard to damaging the Lakes of Killarney. Thankfully, that has now been resolved. I am afraid local authorities are not entirely free of blame. Of course the problem, as always, is a shortage of cash, but the cash has to be found and the problem can be solved if the effort is made.

One has to admire the efforts made by the British. If you recall the Thames was a dead river. Today, as a result of some efforts they made to clean up the pollution going into the Thames, salmon are again going up beyond the city of London, something that had not happened for 70 or 80 years. It can be done and it has to be done. It will cost money but we have found money for less worthy projects.

Local authorities, too, are, very often criticised, and rightly criticised, for the location and management of dumps. In Cork the dump for the city is now in the city and is being surrounded by dwellings. It is infested with rats; the emerging gas is being fired in order to get rid of it; there is seepage into the underground and into the local streams, and there are persistent smells which are intolerable to the locals. The corporation say that to move from it would cost a lot of money. My question is why did they move into it in the first place? I know the city was not as near the dump then as it is now, but surely the planners must have foreseen that the city was developing in that direction. I have the greatest sympathy for people who have their homes in that area and, through no fault of their own and through no choice of theirs, find themselves with this foul smelling dump, with rats and with seagulls dropping material all over the place and flies in summertime, all creating a possible health hazard. That sort of thing should not happen. However, it has happened and something must be done about it before too long.

Local authorities, too, are sometimes at fault in not enforcing the planning regulations. Again, I can think of the situation in Cork. It is well known that there were some problems with chemical industries, particularly in Ringaskiddy. Smells and occasionally noise offended the locals. It transpired that the regulations were not being enforced, that the local authorities did not have the resources to enforce them. If regulations are not enforced they are not worth having on paper. If you are going to make a law you ought to be in a position to enforce it. That kind of thing gives a bad name to all industry. Not all industries there were responsible, but those that were responsible gave a bad name to all industry, and that is a bad thing for the country in general.

As we saw in east Cork, when Merck, Sharpe and Dohme tried to get a plant built there, it had gone through all the processes. The county council had given approval, Bord Pleanála appealed to the High Court and so on, and they won every round. Yet, the resistance of people in east Cork terrified them so much, no doubt egged on by a few busybodies, that they resisted it to the point where Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, despite the massive amount of money they had already invested, walked away from the site. That kind of publicity outside Ireland, when we are trying to attract industry, is not very good for us.

That kind of lack of confidence among locals is to some extent, if not entirely, due to the fact that local authorities did not always enforce the regulations. Look at the mess that happened in south Tipperary, where a farmer took his case to the High Court and then to the Supreme Court and won against the industry there. Obviously, there was something wrong — I am not sure what was wrong — but it transpired during all of this that some of the testing by the local authority of discharges into the river and aerial discharges were not as careful as they should have been.

The court action by this farmer against the company was reported around the world, was known to every chemical company, I am sure, that ever had any interest in coming to Ireland, and even some who had no interest in coming to Ireland. Certainly it is the kind of bad publicity we could do without. That is the kind of thing that local authorities have to take more seriously; and it is only fair to say on behalf of local authorities that they may well be looking for more resources from the Department of the Environment.

Local authorities, too, I am afraid, have been negligent in respect of doing anything about recycling. If you go to other countries you will find that the refuse collection in some of them is divided into a number of parts. One day they collect the bottles, next day they collect the plastics and paper and next day the general refuse. It may cost a little more but, on the other hand, if we are serious about pollution control, there is an obvious one — recycling of paper, recycling of glass and plastic and minimising the amount that goes into the actual dump. I suggest that this be examined as a matter of urgency.

In some countries — and I am thinking particularly of Denmark — they have a tax on non-returnables; in fact, two or three years ago they prohibited the use of non-returnable containers. I am thinking of beer cans, soft drink cans, bottles and so on. Senator O'Toole remarked this evening about the difference between protectionism and protection. I am not quite sure if the Danish motive was entirely for protection of the environment. I may well have something to do with the protection of their own brewing industry and their own soft drinks industry and so on. Maybe it is not right to attribute that motive to them, but certainly we should do something more about recycling. In that league we are particularly far behind most of our Community partners and, indeed, most of the developed countries in the world. This is a pity.

Local authorities also fail to do anything about the population of dogs around our towns and cities that are soiling footpaths and leaving the place in a disgraceful condition. I suggested a solution last week in relation to dogs harassing sheep when we were talking about banning strychnine and so on. I was delighted that the Minister, Deputy Kirk, mentioned he was going to support the idea of banning strychnine. I suggested that every dog in the country should be tattooed, registered at the local police station and the offending dog could be identified and the owner held accountable.

That is particularly worth considering for protecting sheep flocks and, indeed, protecting children and adults from vicious dogs, but I think owners ought to be also held accountable for dogs making a toilet of the sidewalks. We are entitled to have these sidewalks in a reasonable state for walking on. Dog owners are not entitled to make toilets for their dogs of our sidewalks. If you go to a city like Paris or New York there are areas the dogs are allowed to use as a toilet. In Paris they have a fleet of men on motorbikes who go around with a brush and a container on the back of the motor bike which simply zones in on the spot that has been used as a toilet and the street is cleaned up. You would be literally ashamed of our streets at times to see the way they are soiled by these stray animals. They are stray in the sense that there seems to be nobody around with any responsibility for them.

There are other examples of where there are failures to enforce laws; for instance — and I do not know whether some of you consider this pollution, but I do; of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose — failure to enforce the Noxious Weeds Act. I see publicly owned land, and I am thinking for instance, of the land attached to the Munster Institute. Each summer and autumn it is an absolute disgrace with thistles, ragwort, docks, nettles and so on. Some people might like the flowers and the ragwort and so on, but these are a form of pollution because the seeds spread to surrounding land and so on. There is a Noxious Weeds Act but it is not being enforced and this, again, is bringing the law into disrepute. If you are not going to, or cannot enforce the law, then take it off the Statute Book.

We have other forms of legislation related to pollution which I would be concerned about — for instance, legislation in relation to slaughterhouses. An animal cannot be taken from a slaughterhouse; once you take it there it cannot be taken away live from a slaughterhouse. I agree with that, but there is something strange about not being allowed to take the animal whereas, if you kill the animal, the entrails, the blood, washings and everything can be taken out and spread on land. That leaves the possibility open to wildlife to pick up material and take it, if there is disease on it, to deposit it elsewhere and to spread disease. There is something wrong about that kind of legislation, apart altogether from the fact that it is not a very pleasant smell for people who have to put up with it in the vicinity of the slaughter houses.

This morning I was delighted to read that the Minister for Health, Deputy O'Hanlon, is considering banning smoking in the workplace. I have to confess I am a non-smoker and I am a bit anti-smoking, but, while I welcome the idea of banning smoking from the workplace, I would like first of all to see the legislation we have about smoking in public places enforced. I cannot see it enforced anywhere. I cannot get away from it. Everywhere I go that there is a meeting there is smoking. What happened to this legislation we had about banning smoking in public places? The Minister mentioned that up to 5,000 people in Ireland die each year from nicotine-related diseases. We have the legislation, yet, we just ignore it and we talk about bringing in extra legislation. That is bringing the law into disrepute. If we are not going to enforce the law I do not think we should put it on the Statute Book. At the same time it is encouraging that he is concerned about it. I wish he would be as concerned about enforcing it.

With regard to the Bill itself — it took me a long time to get round to it, but however — there are a number of things which I find a bit difficult and perhaps the Minister would like to enlighten me on them. Section 30 states:

The Minister may, from time to time, following consultation with the Agency and any other Minister of the Government concerned, request a public authority to designate for employment by the Agency employees of that authority whose principal duties relate to a function assigned or transferred to the Agency under this Act, or to be so assigned or transferred to the Agency, and the authority shall comply with such request.

That is a mouthful. Does that mean the Minister can take over the staff of a local authority? It looks very like it to me.

I go further on to page 31. I was very pleased with this. It is a matter which gave me a lot of concern when I was in the European Parliament. I was very concerned that we had a lot of very powerful businessmen in that Parliament and I do not think they were there for the MEP's salary. They were not obliged to disclose their interest. I therefore welcome in section 37 the obligation to disclose interest and that a person "shall neither influence nor seek to influence a decision in relation to the matter". That is perfectly right, Minister. I would be fully in favour of that. I do not mind people holding certain points of view — that is their business — but I do mind if they are holding that view for profit and it is solely related to their own self-interest. We should all be made aware of their self-interest before we hear their point of view on the subject. As I said, that was a matter which concerned me greatly in the European Parliament because I saw in the Economic, Monetary Affairs and Industrial Policy Committee some of the biggest companies in the Community represented by members of staff — I am not saying represented, but they were staff from these companies. I do not think, for instance, that the chairman of companies as big as Kloeckner Steel or Ferranti Electronics were there for an MEP's salary, but they were there and they influenced the legislation without declaring their interest.

I am a bit concerned about the question of duplication with the local authorities, with sanitary authorities and with the establishment of regional environmental units. As I understand it — I am talking now about section 42 — we already have 87 sanitary authorities and I will be surprised if there is not a great deal of overlap and confusion between all the various different interests.

Section 52 (1) says:

The Minister may, following consultation with the Agency and any other Minister of the Government concerned, by regulations assign to the Agency such additional functions in relation to environmental protection as from time to time he considers appropriate.

It seems to me that is giving a lot of power to the Minister. There should be more provision for consultation with the other agencies, such as local authorities.

Section 53 (4) says:

Regulations under this section may contain such incidental supplementary, consequential and transitional provisions (including provisions modifying any provision of this Act or any other enactment) as appear to the Minister to be necessary for the purposes or in consequence of, or to give full effect to, the regulations.

If we look at that one carefully it almost appears as if it could undermine the whole system, but perhaps the Minister can explain it to us in greater detail; or perhaps there is some way of understanding that legalistic type of language and putting it in simpler words for simple people like myself to understand.

In section 56, and indeed on page 43 in relation to local authorities, it would appear to me that there should be a right of appeal for the local authority — I do not see it mentioned in it — where the Agency is going to take local authorities to task. Local authorities are not perfect, but I get the impression they are trying to do their best most of the time. There should be a chance for them to appeal where the Agency is taking them to task.

Section 61 (4) says:

Where the Agency is not satisfied with the response of a local authority to a direction under subsection (3) (a), it shall consult with the local authority concerned, and if the Agency is still dissatisfied with the response following such consultation, the Agency shall carry out ... or arrange for, the monitoring concerned and the costs of the monitoring may be recovered by the Agency from the local authority as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.

This will look rather silly: one public body suing another. That is the only reading I can put into it, that they would recover the money by a simple conract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction. I would hate to see that happen. I should imagine there would be better ways for public authorities to deal with the matter rather than resorting to the court. In my younger days I was shown a cartoon — two farmers, one hanging onto a cow by the horns and the other hanging onto a cow by the tail. In the middle was a solicitor, happy as could be, milking away. If we have the situation that we will have public bodies fighting each other in court, who is going to be laughing all the way to the bank? It will look very foolish indeed should that transpire, and I hope it will not.

In regards to section 64, I am delighted about the question of transparency. It is, with some qualifications, in this section Records shall be available for inspection by the public at all reasonable times, and, as the agency considers appropriate, such records shall be published.

I was in the USA on a number of occasions in regard to the question of food, food quality and confidence in food. One of the amazing things I found there was the operation of the Food and Drug Administration. That administration was enjoying the confidence, according to the latest opinion poll, of more than 75 per cent of American consumers. I ask you how many regulatory authorities in the Community enjoy the confidence of the consumer, or how many Ministeries of Agriculture are believed when they say food is OK? How many believed the Minister for Agriculture in Britain when Minister Currie said that most eggs were infected by salmonella? You had two Government Departments telling different stories — and of course you know who they believed. They actually believed the one who was wrong. That is because there is no confidence anymore. The worse the story is, the more likely they are to believe it.

I had a long discussion with the Director of the FDA, Dr. Lester Crawford about why the public in America had such confidence in the FDA. He had never been asked this question before; it had not occurred to him. He thought about it for a while and he said, "I am not quite sure, but I suspect it is because we are so open". Anybody can walk in off the street in Washington and look at the files of the FDA. Scientists can ask to see how the tests are carried out. You can photostat the material and take it away with you. Because people know it is so open, they are not actually all that interested in it anyway. If you try to make getting of information difficult, the first thing that will come to people's minds is, "Ah, they have something to hide". So, while I compliment the Minister for the transparency he is trying to bring about, I hope some busybodies will not be able to turn this paragraph around to make it as difficult as possible for ordinary interested and concerned citizens who want to find out what is going on.

I am sorry for detaining the Minister but I have a few other points I wish to raise. Section 82 (1) deals with the question of notifying the local authority as well as applying to the Environmental Protection Agency. Perhaps I am a bit naive, but it seems to me that, when two are involved and there is a dispute, we could end up having two public hearings, not one. If that transpires, I can assure you it will not be very attractive at all to intending investors in our economy. They might find it a lot easier to go somewhere where there would be just one public hearing. I would like to have that point clarified.

On page 70 my concern is that there seems to be no mention of withdrawing functions from the local authorities. Powers are being given to the Environmental Protection Agency, but there seems to be no question of withdrawing any of these powers from the local authorities. If that is the case — and perhaps it is not; perhaps I have not read the document particularly well — there is likely to be duplication and that is something we could well do without.

Finally, in regard to intensive agriculture, I agree entirely that there has to be adequate and strict control in relation to agriculture, food processing and so on. But I would remind the Minister that there is a great deal of pollution occurring on non-intensive farms, on smaller units, smaller beef units, smaller poultry units and so on, and that this should not be overlooked. I am thinking in particular of silage effluent, cattle slurry, washings from sprayers, sheep dips and a whole range of things. In that respect, may I say how delighted I was to hear what Minister Kirk had to say tonight about banning strychnine, as well as all the other good things he had to say about the control of pesticides and various other things on the farm. I do not want to go back over it again, but he did say that he was about to initiate the necessary action within the Department to ban the use by farmers of strychnine in poisoned bait. That would bring us into line with other civilised countries. I think it is an uncivilised way to control vermin. It is unselective, it is cruel and it should be banned. I hope we will have that legislation before us very soon.

The Minister also referred to the control of farmyard pollution, and I welcome that. He has mentioned that to date he has had 28,000 applications from farmers for grants for investment in the control of farm pollution, a total investment of £173 million, and a grant aid of £38 million has already been paid. However, having said that, I have to say that this is a particularly difficult time for farmers. They have to make this investment, and it is right that they should, but it is occurring at a time when farm incomes are falling dramatically. Very shortly they will be forced, in relation to milk production, to change the stanadards in the milking parlour, the cow accommodation, milk storage and so on, all of which will cost extra money. The net effect of that will be that milk will be forced onto the larger units. The attraction of being able to sell their quota, combined with the penalty of having to invest to come up to the new standards, will put thousands of our smaller dairy farmers out of business and the milk quota will just go to the larger ones.

Before I finish, I would again like to compliment the Minister. I sincerely hope the Bill will have a quick passage through both Houses. Of course, we will all be bringing in an abundance of amendments.

I would like to welcome the Bill very much indeed. It is a very necessary Bill. It is an extraordinarily thorough and well prepared piece of legislation. It is very timely and, I think, really expresses the fact that now we are, and rightly so, all environmentalists. I concur very much with many of the points which Senator Raftery made at an earlier stage. Indeed, I sometimes think that the European Parliament's loss was perhaps our gain here in the Seanad.

I would like to congratulate the Minister. I have particular pleasure in this, a Chathaoirligh, because not all that many years ago the Minister and I both began our Oireachtas careers here in this very Chamber and it is very pleasant to see her back again, albeit in a very different capacity. Congratulations and best wishes to her.

The introduction of this Bill in the Seanad is also very apposite in that earlier today, on the Order of Business, we were discussing the functions of the Seanad, the role that the Seanad should play. It is this sort of Bill really which in many ways is perhaps particularly appropriate to the Seanad. This has been shown in the various comments, the various speeches, that have been made so far. It is a Bill on which, basically, we all agree. That does not mean to say that no doubt there will be many suggestions made, many amendments put forward, and we are obviously at a very early stage as regards many of the detailed aspects of this very comprehensive Bill. The Bill is one on which we will have an opportunity to expand on the role of this Chamber as the second legislative Chamber while still being a political one. It is the Chamber in which fairly detailed reflective consideration can be given to Bills without the immediate pressures which inevitably exist in the Dáil. On that basis also it is welcome to see this Bill before us.

We all use the word "environment" but everyone has a different idea on what the environment is and how we define it. Some people immediately think of the greeness of the countryside. To another person the environment is our Georgian buildings. Yet, again, we tend to use the word "environment" as though it was necessarily something good. There are very bad environments. I am sure the last thing that the Environmental Protection Agency would wish to do is protect poor or bad environments. We want to improve them. Our attention to the environment comes back to the idea of the quality of life and what we mean by that.

We would all consider that the environment has a major influence on the quality of life. In some ways we are in the rather happy position of having the luxury of considering the quality of life in environmental terms. Those of us who have any connections with the west of Ireland, as the Minister has, will know the saying: "you cannot eat the scenery". It is very beautiful and environmentally it is magnificent but unfortunately it does not provide many jobs. However, we know an attractive environment enhances the quality of life. We must balance the attractive aspects of the environment with those other necessary aspects which go to make up the quality of life. The Minister spoke about this and has attempted to do so in the Bill.

Some years ago we considered that the quality of life demanded industrial development. We rightly take pride in the tremendous strides which took place in the sixties in the Lemass years. We did it at that stage without thinking too much about the environmental aspects of our society. Today we must be very conscious of the fact that in a poor, poverty stricken nation somewhere in Africa, Asia or South America it can sound very superior, hypocritical and selfish to talk about environmental issues and condemn these people That is not to say that there cannot be a balance.

Good industrial development can be balanced with and can be enhanced and improved by a proper attitude towards the environment. It is not easy for someone who is simply looking for a job or trying to feed himself and his family, as Senator Raftery suggested a few minutes ago, if the emphasis is totally on some selfish attitude towards a particular aspect of the environment. We have a problem here. We spoke in this House about the developed world in terms of starvation and feeding. How do you balance the environmental aspects of "improving" agriculture in Third World countries?

We come back then to the second aspect of the quality of life in this country. We talk about improvements in agriculture. One very obvious improvement would be to have larger fields rather than the smaller ones which are so very attractive looking but in terms of mechanised agriculture may be inefficient or uneconomic. We encouraged farmers to improve their farms by taking down hedges and so on. Now we realise that can be overdone. The destruction of hedge habitat can have a deleterious effect on agriculture and the gain may be short term and limited. Looking at the quality of life in terms of an improvement here does not necessarily mean that there is not a disimprovement somewhere else. How do you balance, for example, something that we were very proud of and quite rightly boasted of, namely, arterial drainage, in environmental terms? Arterial drainage is necessary in many aspects, yet at the same time it is extraordinary damaging in other aspects. When we talk about the quality of life we are trying very often to balance various aspects, to balance introducing an industry into an area and the jobs it will create with the inevitable disturbance of the environment, to balance having an agriculture which is efficient and competitive with the inevitable changes it will cause to the ecology or drainage of the area.

We are all aware of the extraordinary growth in the city of Dublin. For a number of years we were the fastest growing city in Europe. The Dublin which I and the Minister knew as children has changed out of all recognition. The constituency for which the Minister sits was non-existent a few years ago. Tallaght was a tiny rural village. Now it has totally changed, in some ways for the better, in other ways perhaps not. There is a quality of life there. The essential need to provide housing must be balanced with the environmental effects. Yet, we are proud, and rightly so, of the housing which is being provided.

An aspect which Senator Mooney touched on in his contribution was that for many years tremendous emphasis was placed on afforestation. We were very concerned about the fact that this country had fewer trees than virtually any other country in western Europe. In our efforts to right that we encouraged afforestation, mainly of trees which grew quickly. As Senator Mooney said, we have the fastest rate of tree growth of any country in Europe. Close to his own constituency when German foresters came here 20 years ago the rate of growth was so much above normal that they had to literally invent a new measure to allow for the rate of growth. The afforestation of the countryside, very necessary and in many ways, was also injuring the quality of life and the quality of the environment. Again you could look at that in several different ways. From a scenic point of view, many tourists are devastated to see the way in which we have beautiful hillsides which are covered with nurseries for evergreen trees. Some of them are totally unsuitable and do not enhance the reputation of this country. We are beginning to realise that the various effects which afforestation has on water supplies can be quite significant. Here is something which, on the one hand, seems to have a beneficial effect and enhances the quality of life, but when tackled in an inappropriate manner it does not necessarily lead to an improvement in the environment or in the quality of life.

I differ with Senator Raftery in his reference to local authorities. I am sure he did not mean it quite as it sounded. Some local authorities have been negligent. Many of us serve on local authorities and know that they often, under extremely difficult conditions, make strong efforts to look after the environmental impacts of their activities. There may be one or two exceptions but most of them are trying very hard. It takes an enormous amount of time, effort and finance. We are still learning about various aspects of the environment and its maintenance.

The Senator must be going back to Europe.

Senator Honan could be right there. As regards native areas, if you talk to a real Dub about natural areas, to him that will be a few miles beyond the Minister's constituency where there are green fields. As far as he is concerned that is nature, away out in the countryside. Somebody else may consider that a natural area is somewhere you have a national park or something of that kind. To somebody else it is where you have virtually primeval conditions. Senator Raftery mentioned beauty being in the eye of the beholder and he spoke of various plants and weeds that are found around a certain institute. There are those who would argue that if you really want to preserve such an area, if you are truly an environmentalist, you should have areas like this since they have ecological attractions for certain types of birds and so on. Preserving the environment is relative because while each of us knows what we mean by it, to get a consensus is more difficult.

One of the aspects of the Bill which I like very much is the fact that there will be a relationship with the European Environmental Agency. Our agency is primarily, and in some ways very tightly, limited to the situation in this country but there are various aspects of environmental change that do not respect land borders. Pollution, for example, is no respecter of frontiers. Acid rain, dust and so on cross frontiers without the slightest respect for any national boundaries. Amid the other horrors of the Gulf war at present is the inevitable ecological disaster which will result from the greatest oil spillage in history. Whoever is to be blamed for it, the reality is that it is happening and one of the finest seas in the world is now being polluted in a manner which will have an effect for years to come. Oil pollution does not respect territorial boundaries, be they three miles or 50 miles or 200 miles.

We have a deserved reputation for our pollution-free atmosphere in terms of fresh air and pure water. By mainline European standards our fresh air and pure water is extraordinarily high. Unfortunately if we look at the sea between ourselves and our neighbouring island we have a very different situation. We have possibly one of the most polluted seas in the world. I know I am verging onto the territory of the Minister for the Marine but we are talking about environmental protection. It is an aspect that we need to look at again. A major international effort is needed to clean up the Irish Sea.

As regards fossil fuels, their use and how we derive energy, there are discordant attitudes and views on this. We rightly are very annoyed at what has happened in regard to atomic energy stations in the United Kingdom. It is disgraceful. It is another example of environmental change not respecting boundaries. Fossil fuels have a pollutant effect of their own. We in this city know the effects of burning coal.

Some countries regard nuclear stations as something which must be stopped at almost any cost and there are very good arguments for this. Other countries believe that nuclear fuel is the answer to environmental energy issues and are strongly pushing the provision of nuclear fuel installations. It must be looked at on an international basis because, as we saw with Chernobyl, radiation is no respecter of frontiers and we are far closer to a series of nuclear power stations than we are to Chernobyl.

There are a number of aspects to the Bill and in the explanatory memorandum they are summed up under four headings. First, we have control and regulation of schedule activities likely to pose a major risk to environmental quality. This in many ways is the prime purpose of the agency in the first instance. In some ways we have been very neglectful of our environment but however the situation may have been in the past, our interpretation of environmental regulations now is extremely tight. Probably only Holland and West Germany have an equally strict interpretation of the European Community regulations which have been promulgated over the past few years. We have far tighter environmental regulations in this part of Ireland than exist in that part which relates to the United Kingdom. We have very severe and stringent regulations, and quite rightly.

I suppose in some ways the gauge of whether a Bill is good or bad depends upon the amount of criticism or praise it gets from certain quarters. I obviously have an industrial interest but one would have to say that this Bill is necessary even though it is stringent, and there are many sections on which we may well have discussions later and even though there are sections which the CII have commented on. It will be beneficial to those industries and companies who are rightly concerned about the environment. The environment affects us all. The workplace is also part of the environment. We spend most of our time working in a business, factory, school, hospital or wherever, and the environment in these places is of great importance. Some modern office environments, for example could bear scrutiny. They are not necessarily beneficial, although they may be very modem. All this control and regulation is in many ways meaningless unless we monitor the quality of the environment. This is crucial. We can have a series of regulations and the swingeing fines that are mentioned here of £10 million, imprisonment and so on but if we do not have an effective programme of monitoring environmental quality we have no serious basis on which to maintain the environment.

This monitoring can cover a wide range of aspects some of them self-evident and obvious, for example, the degree of air pollution. Fortunately in most areas we have very pure air but that was not the case in Dublin until we brought in the recent smokeless fuel legislation. It must be monitored. If you do not have a base line above which you can talk about the actual levels of dust or whatever may be in the air, it is very hard to say if an industry is contaminating it. When an industry is established it is crucial that such a factor be monitored. It is, perhaps, even more important to monitor water. It may be that there is sediment in the water or other substances.

There are other aspects which should be considered in relation to any base line study and these can cover an extraordinarily wide range of factors. Two of these which, until recently, were relatively neglected, were the archaeological and architectural aspects. We lost a large number of archaeological sites. We are fortunate in that we have so many but this has the side effect that we take them for granted. In the United States or Canada they would literally give millions for what we take for granted. We have them on virtually every piece of land. It is essential that such sites be recognised and monitored when industry, agricultural or otherwise, sets up there. Some of the early environmental legislation related to the maintenance of architectural and archaeological sites. The United Kingdom Monument Protection Act, 1882, was one of the first cultural heritage protection Acts and it still applies in this country. This agency will be a tremendous help in that respect. Although the Office of Public Works have done good work there is much more that needs to be done.

Another aspect which has to be considered, in some ways perhaps the most important, is the socio-economic environment and what effects any given change, be it an industry, a hospital or housing development, will have on the socio-economic pattern of a given area. We tend to rush where development is concerned. Dublin County Council were taking about siting new towns on the north and south sides of Dublin, and so on. One was very worried because one thought of such areas as Tallaght where very well intentioned housing development was not accompanied by sufficient concern for the socio-economic effects. Some of these were very obvious. We now have a town centre in Tallaght. It was a long, long time coming. There were other aspects, such as the social effects of moving people from a city centre area to somewhere, which to them, was virtually the countryside.

Many environmental declarations have been made at one time or another, but one of the major post-war ones was the Venice Declaration of the conservation and restoration of monuments and sites. Perhaps a more important one was the European water charter in 1968. That was the first time we really began to take seriously both the effects of pollution of water and also the importance of water and the fact that, strange though it may seem at times to this country, it is a relatively scarce resource. I have great sympathy with our Celtic colleagues in Wales who feel that they should be entitled to be paid by Birmingham and other urban centres for piping water to those areas. Why, indeed, should water be regarded as something that is free and oil be regarded as something for which enormous charges may be made? They are both natural resources. We might, with great difficulty, do without oil but we certainly could not do without water. Since we have so many lakes, rivers, streams and rainy days we tend to take water for granted. This has changed a little over the last few years. I mentioned arterial drainage and how it could have deleterious effects, but there are other things with which we are familiar, for example, the concentration of pig farming into fairly large units. This tended-to mean that pig slurry had to be discharged in large volumes in certain limited areas. Quite apart from any question of odour — some people would say it is a pleasant odour; others might not perhaps agree — there were very serious effects on water. We tend to boast of our tourism and fishing but many of our very good fishing lakes were totally destroyed by discharge of pig slurry. In fact, water resources in many ways are very limited and they are easily contaminated and very expensive to deal with. Reservoirs are perhaps among the most expensive of civil structures that one can put up. Pipelines are extremely expensive. Contamination can occur extraordinarily easily and yet if you have ever been short of water you know how difficult it is.

I live in an area which has always had piped water but having spent a lot of my childhood where you actually had to go to a well and come back with a bucket of water causes one to appreciate its value and also its weight. Water is a very precious element and is particularly important in this country. It is only when we go abroad to certain other countries that we realise that there is something different about the countryside and that there are very few, if any, lakes and relatively few rivers. When you fly into this country you can see the greenness, the colour associated with a clean environment; certainly just to fly into Dublin Airport enables you to see the difference in the grass.

Or Shannon.

Yes and long may it stay that way.

Knock also and to any airport I have left out. What about Cork Airport?

I suppose one of the most important aspects of the environment is water. One of the first environmenal Acts in the UK related to waterworks. The 1847 Act was an Act dealing with water supply and with pollution of water. Water is very important and perhaps at times its value is taken for granted. As an independent Government our first Act related to monuments; that was the National Monument Act of 1930. This was followed by the Foreshore Act three years later. Then we had a period of many years before we had an Act which had any serious connection with environmental aspects and the next one was a very incidental one dealing with the establishment of Bord na Móna in 1946. There was some mention in that Act, the Turf Development Act, of possible changes; I do not think they were called environmental aspects.

One of the great success stories of this country has been Bord na Móna and turf development, despite the difficulties of the past few years. We run into a contradiction here in that Ireland is unique in having turf which we take for granted; we take boglands for granted but there are very few countries in western Europe and indeed throughout most of the world who have such unique and indeed beautiful areas. Many of us have gone to play or have been in such areas and they really are beautiful. A lot of them have been destroyed, and maybe for good reasons, but we should pay more attention to retaining these boglands which we take for granted. We are inclined to laugh at them and yet they are unique to this country and they are something which visitors from abroad find so very beautiful. Scientists and ecologists find these areas tremendously interesting and important and I think we have to try and give them more importance and more emphasis than perhaps we have done to date.

Another environmental area which we have tended to neglect has been the area of town planning. I think we now have a much more sensitive outlook on town planning and on its environmental aspects. The attempted destruction at one stage, of Georgian Dublin by developers, some of them perhaps rapacious, some of them perhaps very well intentioned, was the first major organised movement in this country relating to the environment. We were destroying one of the most attractive elements of this country and of this city. We had this marvellous, unique environment, and the environment includes the visual aspect as much as anything else. Some of our town developments and planning left a lot to be desired. Thank goodness that is now very much improved.

I think it is excellent that the agency will be concerned with the promotion and the co-ordination of environmental research. The whole environmental area covers everything relating to the quality of life as a whole and yet it is relatively new in the sense that only in the past few years we have begun to co-ordinate our thoughts on other developments and on the quality of life with consideration for environmental aspects. We have so many unique features in this country that deserve to be promoted, whether boglands or water.

Since Senator Honan has mentioned the Shannon, let us recall that the Shannon is not only the main river in these islands; it is one of the main rivers of Europe. It is very tiny compared to the Rhine or the Rhone or some of these other rivers but it is by far the least used, the most free, the most open river of any significance in western Europe. Any of us who have seen such rivers as the Rhine, which sadly these days is extremely polluted, will know it is extremely crowded. Any of us who has visited the Fens in the east of England and the waterways there will know that you have barges and cruise launches forming queues. There are so many of them that quite often in a whole stretch of waterway you would see 100 or perhaps 200 launches or barges. On the Shannon you could travel for miles and you would be lucky to see one other cruise launch. There we have a situation which is unique, magnificent and which we tend to take for granted.

I know that more and more Irish people are taking cruise holidays but nonetheless it is my understanding that the vast majority of people who do so are visitors from outside this country, from Germany, France and from the United Kingdom, who find it almost unbelievable that we have such an unspoilt series of waterways. It is one of the magnificent features of this country. Perhaps at times we do not fully realise what a marvellous and beautiful country we have. It is one of the good aspects of this Bill that there is now going to be an agency which will be concerned with protecting our environment and not simply with taking it for granted.

On the question of the provision of support, back-up and advisory services to the public authorities, we have heard a lot of criticism of our public authorities. They have been trying to do a very good job in very difficult circumstances, but quite apart from the question of the finances and persons involved and quite apart from their many other difficulties, one of the great difficulties was indeed this lack of support, back-up and knowledge of where to turn to get advice. It is one of the most imaginative and yet at the same time practical aspects of this Bill that this is going to be a major function of the Environmental Protection Agency.

At one stage I mentioned the offences and penalties and I think one of our great difficulties here in regard to the environment has been that we have not had an agency such as this, nor a proper monitoring system; neither have we had carefully researched base lines nor any serious system of prosecution. Unfortunately, it is necessary in what we hope is but a small number of cases to have these powers. It is very good indeed that they have been made so severe because I think to have had anything less than these sort of fines and provisions would have suggested that we were not ultimately serious about this Bill, or about the environment. When you are prepared to put forward a Bill and state that on conviction on indictment a fine of £10 million is liable, it is sufficient to make any company, no matter how large a multinational it may be, think twice before treating the environment without proper consideration. If you add on to that the possibility of ten years' imprisonment the Minister can reasonably say that the penalties are more than sufficient to make people take the Act very seriously, and rightly so.

There are a few points I would like very briefly to mention before I conclude. One of them is in relation to noise. I know it is a very difficult subject, and is particularly so in this country, but there are Acts in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in relation to civil aviation, in relation to noise abatement, in relation to planning and noise and I hope that it will be possible, through this agency, to take steps because noise is a pollutant of the environment and needs to be taken seriously.

Coming slightly closer to my own profession, I hope that as the research aspect and other aspects of this agency progress and as our thinking and legislation progresses such Acts as ones corresponding to the Poisons Act and to the Carcinogenic Substances Act may be enacted. The Minister may, perhaps, bear these in mind because there is a great deal that needs to be done in this country in that respect.

I would like also to pay tribute to all those in the local authorities and in Government agencies who have done a great deal to maintain our environment despite the difficult circumstances. I express congratulations again to the Minister and to those working with her for bringing in such a thorough, comprehensive, well thought out Act and I look forward to supporting it. I look forward to discussing its various sections in more detail. I believe that all of us who are connected with industry and all of us, in our private and personal capacities, can only welcome this Bill.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Minister on introducing this Bill. I realise that Minister Harney has put a lot of work into the Bill and has had consultations with various groups interested in the environment and has sought their views. That was a very good start in the introduction of the Bill. It is particularly satisfying to see the Bill being introduced in the Seanad and again I would like to congratulate her and the Government for giving this House the opportunity of discussing this Bill, of teasing it out and making some observations on the legislation. The Bill is one of the most important and necessary pieces of legislation to appear in a long time. Indeed, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency is very much overdue. The protection of the environment and the promotion of Ireland's natural assets have assumed great importance in recent years. We have great natural assets and we should be very proud of them. We have rivers and lakes, which are renowned worldwide, and lush green pastures, and it would be a shame to see those polluted.

There is now a public awareness of the need to protect our environment and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency will strengthen our efforts to achieve this worthy objective. The agency will be charged with the responsibility for overseeing, controlling and regulating various activities which may be regarded as prejudicial to the quality of the environment. The agency will also provide the supporting advisory service for the benefit of public authorities. In this way a more informed approach will be taken to environmental matters. Of course we will now have the benefit of an independent assessor with a bank expertise which will have due regard to all processes which might impinge on the environment. This will be very useful particularly in the area of industrial development. We have seen the kind of confrontation that can occur between environmentalists and industrialists and the bad feeling generated by such confrontation. This is where this agency will come into its own in setting out well-defined rational and balanced public policy parameters which any industrialist can follow. An industrialist will know what the environmental requirements are for setting up an industry in a particular area.

We are all anxious to encourage employment but not at any price, and certainly not by sacrificing our environment. Neither would I want to encourage spurious opposition which could have detrimental consequences for employment in the long term. What is needed is balance and I feel that the Environmental Protection Agency can provide both that balance and the independent approach and advice necessary in such situations and so will allow environmental conservation and economic devlopment to proceed in tandem.

This Bill will also have implications for the functions, powers and financial resources of local authorities. Section 60 of the Bill would give to the Environmental Protection Agency, in certain circumstances, power to direct a local authority to perform a statutory function in relation to environmental protection and to require the local authority to carry out specified works. It also provides that if the local authority does not carry out the terms of the directive the agency can itself undertake the action and recover the cost from the local authority.

Section 58 deals with sewage and other effluent in a situation where the Minister for the Environment has prescribed standards for effluents being discharged into waters from sanitary authority treatment plants. The agency is given power to specify the nature and frequency of the monitoring which the local authorities are to carry out in respect of such discharges. If the agency is not satisfied with the discharges or with the activities of the local authority, it may undertake the monitoring itself and recover the costs from the local authority.

Section 59 deals with landfill sites for waste disposal. Again, this section empowers the agency to specify criteria and procedures for the selection, management and operation by local authorities of landfill sites for the disposal of domestic and other waste. Local authorities must carry out whatever monitoring the agency specifies. If they are not satisfied, the agency may carry out the monitoring and recover the costs from the local authority.

Under subsection (5) of this section a local authority is required to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure compliance with the criteria and procedures specified by the agency covering management of landfill sites. Sections 97 and 98 permit the Minister by order to transfer to the agency any provisions of the Local Authority (Water Pollution) Act, 1977 and of the Air Pollution Act, 1987. Section 30 enables the Minister to transfer local authority staff to the agency in specified situations. All these provisions are going to impose certain obligations on local authorities but there is no provision whereby the local authorities can recoup the costs from central Government. I think it is only right that they should be compensated for any work they carry out on behalf of the agency.

A couple of years ago outrage was expressed at the level of pollution in our rivers and lakes. Daily we read of stretches of rivers in every part of the country being polluted by effluent from farmyards, silage pits etc. In recent times we have seen a significant improvement in this area, thanks to grants made available by the Department of Agriculture and Food and by the Department of the Environment and also because of the educational programmes which have made people more aware of their responsibilities to the environment. I must say that farmers in particular are making a determined effort to clean up their act in relation to pollution and have availed of grants and the advice to do so. More could be done in our schools to make children aware of their responsibilities to the environment. They, in turn, could influence their parents and elders and if that happened we might see less of the indiscriminate dumping of rubbish by the roadside in rural areas. I believe the people who do this should be punished and the local authorities who have the power to prosecute should be vigilant and should let it be known that they are not prepared to tolerate the despoiling of our countryside.

We all know of areas where rubbish is got rid of during the night hours and the terrible thing about it is that many items of rubbish could be burned in the backyard of the places they come from. Plastic bags, silage covers; all of these could be burned, they are most unsightly. The same goes for crashed cars. We have seen cars and other items dumped by the roadside. It is shameful that this should be allowed to happen. I hope local authorities who have the power to prosecute will do so. I am not sure they make a good effort to catch the people who are doing this dumping but the culprits are known in every parish and I hope the local authorities will take action.

It is going to take perhaps a couple of years before this agency gets going.

There will be teething problems but I think it is very important that it be set up immediately. It must also be given the money necessary to carry out its duties. I understand there is a budget of £8 million provided for the agency. I am not sure if that is enough but at least it is getting it off the ground and I am sure if more money is needed the Government will be willing to provide it, because it will be one of the most important agencies to have been set up for a long number of years.

Debate adjourned.

When is it proposed to sit again?

At 10.30 a.m. tomorrow.