Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, 1990: Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 4.
Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill."

Senator Ó Foighil has indicated his opposition to this section.

Tá mé ag cur in aghaidh an ailt seo, mar creidim nach chun leas na tíre ná na gluaiseachta comharaíochta agus comharchumannachais a leithéid d'alt a bheith istigh i mBille a bhaineann le hiascaireacht. Tá cúig cinn d'fho-ailt ann agus sa chéad cheann tá sé ráite gurb é Aire na Mara atá le tús a chur le comharchumann réigiúnach iascaireachta, sin é an fhoclaíocht atá tugtha anseo, níos mó ná ceann amháin, agus is í an aidhm atá leo siúd ná jab áirithe a dhéanamh ó thaobh iascaireachta ar na lochanna agus ar na haibhneacha. Anois, anuas trí stair na tíre seo tá an-tábhacht ag baint le comharchumainn agus tá sé thar a bheith tábhachtach do mhuintir na tuaithe go speisialta, d'fheilmeoirí, do lucht iascaireachta, is é sin, iascaireacht amuigh ar an domhain. Tá sé tábhachtach do ghnáthphobal na hÉireann atá ag brath ar chomharchmannachas le dul chun cinn eacnamúil a dhéanamh.

Thar na blianta seo uilig bhí bealach oibre, modus operandi, inghlactha i gcónaí, le go gcuirfí comharchumann ar bun. Tá an Bille seo ag dul glan díreach in aghaidh chóras na gcomharchumann agus gach dá seasann comharchumann dó, gach aidhm dá raibh ag comharchumann, gach meon dá bhfuil ag gluaiseacht na gcomharchumann, maille lena bhfealsúnacht. Is í an bhunfhealsúnacht atá ag comharchumann ná go dtiocfadh sé aníos trí na daoine iad féin, mar is iad an gnáthphobal i gceantar ar bith nó i dtír ar bith a chuireann gluaiseacht chomharchumainn ar bun. Níor chuala mé riamh i mo shaol gur tháinig Aire Stáit nó Rialtas ar bith sa tír seo nó in aon tír eile chun tosaigh ag brú chóras comharchumannachais ar phobal ar bith, bíodh sé ina phobal iascaireachta, ina phobal tuaithe nó ina phobal paróiste nó réigiúin. Tá bealach nó nós imeachta seanbhunaithe, seanléirithe agus seanfheicthe againne sa tír seo; tá córas ann atá inghlactha agus, an chéad lá gur léigh mé an Bille seo, bhí mé díomách, bhí alltacht orm go bhféadfaí Bille mar seo, in ainm an chomharchumannachais, a chur os ár gcomhair, mar, an rud atá ráite in alt a 1, go bhféadfadh an tAire ceann a bhunú, sin duine ann féin ag dul amach ag bunú comharchumainn. Má tá i gceist ag duine rud mar sin a dhéanamh nó ag daoine teacht lena chéile faoi, tá bealach ceart leis sin a dhéanamh, agus tá bealach inghactha leis sin a dhéanamh, ach ní fhéadfadh Aire ar bith ná duine ar bith eile teacht amach agus a rá go bhfuil an tAire ag dul ag bunú comharchumainn.

Bhí cuid againn sa Teach seo bainteach le comharchumainn le blianta anuas agus bainteach freisin le bunú comharchumann, ach ní fhaca mé riamh aon fhear ná aon bhean ag teacht isteach agus ag scríobh síos agus a rá, "Tá comharchumann á bhunú agamsa". É féin ag rá sin. Ní féidir le duine comharchumann a bhunú leis féin. Dá dtiocfadh, mar shampla, na hiascairí uilig le chéile, iascairí locha nó abhann, cruinniú mór a bheith acu, bailiú isteach i halla mór éigin agus go dtosódh duine ag caint agus a rá, táimid bailithe anseo inniu, ba bhreá an rud é da mbunóimis comharchumann. Sin é an bealach a bhféadfaí dul. Bheadh cainteoirí ann ó chuile thaobh, daoine a rá gur mhaith an smaoineamh é comharchumann a bhunú, gur mhaith an rud é gan rud áirithe a dhéanamh a bheadh i gceist againn lena aghaidh. Cén fáth go mbeadh sé á bhunú? Tuige a mbeadh sé ann? Glacfaí leis sin. Ansin phléifí na fáthanna éagsúla go mbeadh sé ann agus phléifí go ginearálta na rialacha a bheadh i gceist, cén toradh a bheadh air, cén chaoi a rachfaí i mbun oibre. Bheadh plé ginearálta ag chuile dhuine a bheadh i láthair ar bhunú an chomharchumainn, bíodh sé ina chumann pobail nó ina chomharchumann réigiúnach, nó ina chomharchumann déiríochta nó iascaigh. Ba chuma. Sin é an bealach.

Deir an Bille i leith an Aire féin, "he shall establish co-operatives". Tá muintir na tíre seo agus gluaiseacht na gcomharchumann sa tír seo agus ar fud an domhain, go deimhin, glan in aghaidh an phrionsabail sin. Má tá sé ag iarraidh rud a bhunú, níl le déanamh aige ach dul amach, cruinniú a ghlaoch mar dhuine phríobháideach ní mar Aire. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil sé ceart go mbeadh Aire Rialtais ag dul amach ag bunú comharchumann. Ní shílim gurbh é sin riamh an aidhm a bhí taobh thiar de ghluaiseacht na gcomharchumann. Is cuma céard iad na haidhmeanna atá aige nó céard iad na fáthanna atá ann, níl sé inghlactha, dar liomsa, agus dar le go leor daoine eile, go mbeadh Aire Rialtais ag bunú comharchumann. Tá sé a rá go dtéann sé féin amach, go ndéanann sé féin fiosruithe, go mbíonn sé ag caint le daoine agus, mar a deirtear in alt a 2, go ndéanann sé an rud a fhiosrú ar bhealach ar bith a cheapann sé is fearr é a fhiosrú. Sin anois an fear aonair, an duine aonair ag brú a thola féin agus a smaointe féin ar dhaoine eile.

Má táthar ag iarraidh go mbunófaí comharchumann ar an gcaoi sin chun cúrsaí iascaireachta a chur chun cinn, tá mise ag rá anseo inniu go dteipfidh air. Ní éireoidh le comharchumann iascaigh den chineál seo: ní fhéadfadh go n-éireodh leis, mar níl sé bunaithe ar an bprionsabal ceart. Deir an Bille chomh maith — an rud is mó atá ag cur as dom — go bhfuil cead ag an Aire deireadh a chur leis an chomharchumann. De réir ailt a 2 anseo, "The Minister may, after such investigation or inquiry as he thinks fit, by order, revoke or amend an order made under this section." Céard is ciall sin? Tá súil agam go míneoidh an tAire dom é, mar an tuiscint atá agamsa air sin go bhfuil an tAire in ann deireadh a chur le comharchumann, le hordú, de réir na bhforálacha sa Bhille a bhaineann le comharchumainn. Beidh sé in ann rud ar bith is mian leis a dhéanamh mar go bhfuil na comharchumainn faoi réir an Bhille seo. Má chreideann an tAire nó duine ar bith, go bhfuilimidne ag dul a ghlacadh le comharchumann de réir fhorálacha an Bhille, ní amhlaidh an scéal, mar ní fhéadfaí glacadh le huimhir a 1 ná a 2 ná bheith ag súil le go gcuirfí comharchumann ar bun sa chaoi a bhfuil an tAire ag iarraidh é a dhéanamh.

Ba bhreá liom cinnte lántacaíocht a thabhairt do bhunú comharchumainn ar mhaithe leis na hiascairí seo uilig, ach ní féidir liom an tacaíocht sin a thabhairt de réir an leagan amach seo. Is é an tAire é féin atá i gceist anseo, ach tá a fhios agam nach n-aontaíonn daoine ar an taobh eile liom. Bhí cuid acu ag rá an lá cheana gur cineál ardsagairt mé ó thaobh na gcomharchumann agus rialacha a mbunaithe. Ní ghlacaim leis an fhealsúnacht atá anseo mar is fealsúnacht an Aire atá ann; tá an tAire ag iarraidh a mheon a chraobhscaoileadh i measc na ndaoine faoin tír, agus a rá leo: "Anois tá sibh i gcomharchumann, agus cuirfidh mise deireadh leis an gcomharchumann am ar bith a thograím, nó déanfaidh mé leasú cibé bealach is mian liom". Is breá liom smaoineamh siar ar bhunú comharchumann agus ar an bpáirt a bhí ag cuid againn ina mbunú, agus 300 duine a fheiceáil bailithe isteach i halla, idir iascairí, lucht tógála tithe agus mhná tí Gaeltachta — is gluaiseacht phobail é comharchumann. Bailímid isteach iad agus mínítear na rialacha dóibh, an córas a bheidh ann, an rud a bheidh ceadaithe, an scairchaipiteal a bheidh ann, an méidh a bheidh le híoc agus an bhallraíocht a bheidh i gceist. Baineann sé sin uilig le bunú comharchumann.

Is é dlúth agus inneach an ailt seo a 4 ná go dtugann an tAire cumhacht dó féin an rud seo a dhéanamh. Ní féidir glacadh leis sin mar chuid den alt agus sin é an fáth go bhfuil mé ag rá go bhfuil mé in aghaidh an ailt seo uilig. Níl mé in aghaidh comharchumann iascairí a bheith ann, ach bíodh sé ann faoi rialacha agus phrionsabail an chomharchumannachais. Freisin, nuair atá sé seo á bhunú, in uimhir a 3, deir sé go mbeadh sé ann le haghaidh na carthanachta amháin. Is é an tAire é féin atá ag socrú céard le haghaidh aidhmeanna an chomharchumainn. Cén chaoi a bhféadfaí comharchumann a thabhairt ar rud a bhfuil an tAire féin ag leagan síos na rialacha ann? Tá sé ag rá cén chaoi a mbeidh an comharchumann ann, cén fáth a mbeidh sé ann, céard iad na rialacha faoina mbeidh sé ag feidhmiú. Sin atá á rá aige in alt a 3. Tá sé ag rá fiú amháin gur carthanacht a bheidh ann — eisean atá á rá. Ach ní eisean a shocraíonn na rudaí seo; is iad na scairshealbhóirí, na daoine a thagann le chéile iad féin i ngrúpaí chuig cruinniú, ach tá sé á shocrú anseo ag na státseirbhísigh agus ag an Aire: "Déanaigí seo, déanaigí siúd, déanaigí an riail seo a chomhlíonadh, bíodh sé seo agaibh". Ní comharchumann é sin. Cén fáth nach féidir comhlacht carthanachta a bhunú, mar shampla? Cén fáth go gcaitear úsáid a bhaint as gluaiseacht na gcomharchumann chun an deacracht seo a shárú?

Dá mbeadh an tuiscint cheart ag an Aire agus ag a státseirbhísigh ar chomharchumannachas, ní bheadh siad ag iarraidh é a bhrú ar dhaoine ná ní bheadh siad ag iarraidh rialacha a thabhairt isteach nach mbaineann go bunúsach le gluaiseacht chomharchumann ar chor ar bith. Arís, tuigim go bhfuil gá le rialacha i gcomharchumann. Is cuma cé acu, comharchumann nó comhlacht atá ann, bíonn rialacha ag teastáil, mar is éigean bonn ceart, dlíthiúil a bheith faoi chuile shórt, ach, má thugtar Bille Rialtais isteach, tá bunús dlíthiúil leis. Níl Acht Rialtais ann ná cumhacht Rialtais le comharchumann a bhunú. Tá Achtanna ann cheana féin, agus níor ghá aon reachtaíocht a bheith ann le haon chomharchumann, mar a déarfá, a chosaint, ná aon reachtaíocht nua a thabhairt isteach le go mbeadh an tAire i gceannas ar chomharchumann.

Tá Cláraitheoir na gCuideachtaí Carthanachta, nó Registrar of Friendly Societies, ann. Níl fáth ar bith ann nach bhféadfaí teacht isteach chuig cruinniú iascairí sna réigiúin agus a rá: "Anois, tá rialacha anseo, seanbhunaithe, sean-chleachtaithe, inghlactha ar fud an domhain agus seo iad. Más gá dúinne mar ghluaiseacht rialacha breise a thabhairt isteach nó rialacha a bhaineann go díreach leis an rud atá ar bun againn a thabhairt isteach, tá cead againne é sin a dhéanamh". Tugtar rialacha speisialta ar a leithéid. Bíonn an gnáth-format ann agus na rialacha go léir scríofa air agus, ina dhiaidh sin, más rialacha speisialta iad, tugtar iad sin isteach, cuirtear os comhair chruinniú cinn bhliana nó chruinniú speisialta na mball uilig iad — ní os comhair an Aire ná na státseirbhíseach. Is iad na baill uilig a shocróidh go nglacfar leis seo. Má tá rialacha ann faoi scairshealbhaíocht, nó faoi cá mhéad duine a bheidh ar an gcoiste nó faoi cé hiad na hiontaobhaithe, na trustees, tagann sé sin ón urlár, ón mballraíocht. Ná bíodh an tAire nó an tAcht ag cur rud éigin anuas orthu. Caithfidh sé teacht aníos, ó na daoine féin, agus sin é an fáth a bhfuil mé a rá nach bhfuil an tAcht seo ag teacht le córas comharchumainn.

Faoi alt a 4 den Bhille, tá ordú le bheith ann go mbeadh iontaobhaithe ceapaithe ag an Aire le tús a chur leis an rud. Ní gá don Aire iontaobhaithe a cheapadh le tús a chur leis. Tá na comharchumainn féin in ann é sin a dhéanamh. Tá an bhallraíocht féin in ann é a dhéanamh agus níl fáth no réasún go mbeadh Aire Rialtais ag ceapadh rudaí do chomharchumainn atá ag feidhmiú faoi rialacha atá seanbhunaithe agus atá inghlactha le breis agus céad bliain. Sin é an fath go bhfuil mise go bunúsach in aghaidh ailt a 4 anseo go huile agus go h-iomlán.

I ngach cuid de fho-alt a (1) go dtí fo-alt a (5) tá rian an Aire le feiceáil. Níor chóir go mbeadh sé le feiceáil i mbunú an chomharchumainn ach go mbeadh rian na ballraíochta le feiceáil. Dá bhrí sin tá me ag iarraidh go mbainfí alt a 4 amach. Go deimhin féin, b'fhearr ar fad an Bille a tharraingt siar agus é a dhéanamh i gceart, is é sin, comharchumann a bhunú i gceart nó an focal "comharchumann" a fhágáil as ar fad agus ainm éigin eile a thabhairt air. Ná bíodh sé in ainm chomharchumainn nuair nach comharchumann é. Agus ná bímís ag cur rud ar aghaidh don phobal le glacadh leis nuair atá sé, cheana féin, socraithe faoi alt a 4 go bhfuil an tAire ag dul ag ceapadh iontaobhaithe. Níor chuala mé ariamh é i ngluaiseacht chomharchumainn. Seo fo-alt a 5.

The Minister may appoint persons to fill vacancies among the trustees so designated and he may remove any such trustee from office.

Tá sé go huile agus go hiomlán i n-aghaidh prionsabail, fealsúnacht agus aidhmeanna chomharchumainn. Tá sé dochreidte go bhféadfadh Aire a theacht agus a rá, "Ainmneoidh mise na hiontaobhaithe agus má thiteann duine ar bith amach is mise a chuirfidh duine ina áit". Sin atá raite anso i alt a 4, agus tá an tAire in ann duine a bhaint as oifig, iad a dhífhostú, iad a chur amach.

Is é an chaoi a oibríonn comharchumann ná vóta amháin ag gach duine agus má tá fear ar bith ag iarraidh a bheith ina iontaobhaí cuirtear a aim ar aghaidh. Bíonn cruinniú ann agus vóta faoi rún ann. Ansin bíonn a fhios cén duine a bhéas mar iontaobhaí. Ní gá don Aire iad a ainmniú agus níl aon mhaith don Aire a rá nach bhfuiltear á dhéanamh ach le tús a chur leis an rud. Nuair a bhíonn an gnó sin déanta is féidir leis an bhallríocht dul leis. Ag ballraíocht an chomharchumainn an ceart na hiontaobhaithe a cheapadh. Caithfidh mé cur in aghaidh alt a 4 go hiomlán.

D'éist mé go cúramach len a raibh á rá ag an Seanadóir Ó Foighil agus caithfidh mé a rá i dtosach báire go raibh rian de ualach ghiolla na leisce ar an leasú atá molta ag an Seanadóir Ó Foighil. Dá nglacfaí leis an leasú sin bheadh deireadh leis an mBille.

Sin atá i gceist agam.

Agus má bhí Fine Gael le cur in aghaidh an Bhille is ag an Dara Céim ba cheart é sin a dhéanamh. De réir mar a thuigim an scéal tá an Chéim seo ann le leasuithe a mholadh, ní le cur in aghaidh aon Bhille go hiomlán.

Tá go leor cainte déanta ag an Seanadóir Ó Foighil agus níl i gceist agamsa bheith chomh fadálach leis. An rud a rith liom nuair a bhí sé ag caint ná that some people look at things and say "Why?" but that in this case the Minister looked at structures that never were and said "Why not?" Because it is well known that we had a protracted or difficult dispute here and that the solution to that dispute would have to be unique or innovative. It amazes me that the Fine Gael party who, not so long ago were calling for an end to this dispute and a settlement are now trying to hinder a settlement on which there was general agreement among the parties involved.

The area I live in probably is the area in which this dispute was most bitter. The message I am getting is that they have examined the Bill in detail, that the structures suit the purpose for which they were designed and that they are very anxious that this becomes law as soon as possible because they think that due deliberation has been given to it. The anglers who are involved in this dispute are happy with the structures. It surprises me that Senator Ó Foighil, who is dealing with co-ops for a long time like myself, does not see that in this circumstance there has to be an instigator. There must be a structure that is there pro tem until the boards of management are established. In the normal way this would not be an issue but here, obviously, it is. It also amazes me that the Senator cannot see that the reason for the charitable status is the no dividend rule that applies to organisations with charitable status.

I welcome this section. I welcome it as the section that broke the log-jam in this dispute, that set up structures that people could relate to, that established the principle of one man, one vote, which is the core principle in co-operatives. This was very important to those involved in the dispute.

I am surprised at the opposition to the innovation here. We are always being lectured by the Opposition about their perception of our lack of innovation.

Ba mhaith liom ceist amháin a chur ar an Aire, tríd an gCathaoir. An bhféadfadh sé, b'fhéidir, barúil ar bith a thabhairt dúinn, cá mhéad comharchumann a bheadh sé ag ceapadh, a bheadh i chuile cheantar iascaigh nó bhord iascaigh, i chuile réigiún iascaigh. Mar a dúirt mé, tá mé ag cur in aghaidh an rúin seo.

Tá a lán ráite ag an Seanadóir Ó Foighil inniu agus ar an Dara Céim mar gheall ar an mBille seo, ar na comharchumainn agus ar spiorad na gcomharchumann, ach is é mo thuairim nach bhfuil an ceart aige.

I support this section. I do not see how the provisions of the Bill are contradictory to the spirit of the co-operative movement and why the body which is being instituted under the Bill cannot be seen as a co-operative body. Section 4 (3) says that a society established for the purposes set out in subsection (1) of this section shall be deemed to be established for charitable purposes only. That seems to be very much at the centre of the co-operative ethos.

Further in the Bill, section 5 says: "the Minister, with the consent of a society, or a society with the consent of the Minister, may amend or revoke the rules of the society". It is open to change the society. As we go on, section 6 talks about the trustees, that they are responsible for the management of the society. In section 7 (3) we come to the core of the co-operative argument. It states "The holder of an annual share certificate of a society for any year shall be an ordinary member of the society for that year on the grant of the certificate". The question arises, is it a society of members or for members? That may be what is causing part of the problem in relation to the argument.

I agree with Senator Ó Foighil that the farmers and the fishermen have been very well served by co-operatives in the past but I really do not understand why it is necessary for a group of people to assemble to form a co-operative. The co-operative society was based on the initiative of one man, Sir Horace Plunkett, and the Department of Scientific Instruction, which was founded by him brought the co-operative movement to the country. It is at the heart of Government as well to bring co-operatives into the country.

I did not accuse Senator Ó Foighil of being a high priest of the co-operative movement, I believe he has not taken orders as yet. I said he belonged to the high church of the co-operative movement. I know that the Senator feels he is a custodian of the soul of the co-operative movement and the soul of the co-operative spirit and for that he is to be applauded, but I believe the co-operative we have here fulfils the criteria which are required. This point was made by Senator Ó Cuív. If the terms of this Bill were satisfactory for the vast majority of anglers in the west of Ireland and the country as a whole, why are they not satisfactory for Senator Ó Foighil? They were the people who actually demanded the setting up of this body. The Minister acceded to that request and he is to be applauded for the fact that he brought an end to a very acrimonious dispute. I do not have any difficulties about section 4.

I ask Senator Ó Foighil in his defence of the co-operative movement, what does he recommend we put in place of this section? How does he imagine we could regulate the affairs of fisheries in the country by deleting, as he wishes to delete, sections 4, 5, 6 and 7? It interests me that he did not also ask for the deletion of section 8 which talks about corporate membership about which I raised certain queries on Second Stage and about which I would have reservations. I am quite happy to support section 4 and I await the Minister's comments with interest.

It is hard to know where to start trying to make sense of this legislation. I regret I was unable to be present last Thursday. I can assure the House my views are totally opposed to the entire Bill. There is an element of nitpicking by picking out sections and opposing them, but it is being done for a very good reason. We are making a statement in doing that in itself, apart from any contributions that have been made in regard to the sections. We have to cast our minds back to a few short years ago when the Minister's predecessor introduced the 1987 Bill in the Dáil and subsequently the Seanad.

Are we on the history of it, or the section?

Will the Minister wait and see? I have spoken for about half a minute. There have been contributions for 20 and 30 minutes already on this section.

One contribution.

Senator Doyle, without interruption. May I remind the Senator that I am being tolerant and we are speaking about a specific section.

Thank you, and I know the same tolerence will be extended to me. You are impartial and I appreciate that. When the legislation that necessitated this subsequent legislation was being introduced to both Houses, the Minister for the Marine at the time assured both Houses — I was shadow Minister for the Marine — that he had the support of all the angling bodies, both trout and coarse, for what he intended to do. That subsequently proved to be untrue.

Acting Chairman

I have to remind the Senator that we are dealing with the Committee Stage of this Bill.

I know what we are dealing with and I will abide by that. The legislation we have before us, particularly the establishment of the co-operatives which is dealt with in section 4, is a result of the present and previous Governments' attempt to deal with the outcry and the anarchy that exists in trout and coarse fishing because neither the anglers nor their representatives accepted the previous legislation, the 1987 Act. Instead of coming here with section 4 which in a sense is the core of the Minister's attempt to regularise the anarchy that exists in a very important area, a natural resource area, I would have liked the Minister to offer to us the repeal of the 1987 Act.

I know this co-operative concept was accepted by the various representatives of the angling groups around the country. Senator Ó Cuív, on the Minister's behalf, was being a little disingenuous when he suggested that all the various bodies and interest groups agreed with what is now being done. The plain fact of the matter is that they do not. We have had such turmoil for many years, such bitterness, in certain parts of the country more than others, and within all the groups interested in inland fisheries generally, that there is an enormous reluctance to raise the issue to the same level again. There is great concern about what we are doing here today, about this legislation and about the whole co-operative concept that the Minister is trying to foist into this area now. It is not the answer to the huge problems that I accept exits in this area at the moment.

We need now a repeal of the 1987 Act. Let us think and talk about it. Let us move when we know exactly what we want rather than take what appears to be fire brigade action to appease different groups throughout the country. I admire the Minister's ability. We differ politically but the Minister is a man of great intellectual ability and I cannot accept that he is satisfied with this gobbledygook legislation which seeks to resolve a problem by adding another layer of chaotic bureaucracy.

My colleague has already explained his concerns about the abuse in section 4 of the concept of a co-operative. I share that concern. Horace Plunkett must be turning in his grave at what we are trying to do here today. How dare we call it establishing a co-operative. Call it that and the Minister will appease the factions. Issue a share certificate in what? One cannot issue a certificate in something one does not own; one cannot issue shares in regard to something one does not own. Most fisheries are leased. How does this square with the concept of private property in the Constitution? The question of land and fishing rights is a vexed one. We have many examples of that. There will be the makings of an excellent play for John B. Keane if we continue with this chaotic legislation.

I appeal to the Minister's common sense and his great experience as a legislator. The Minister knows what we are trying to do is to gloss over a very difficult problem that exists because a Fianna Fáil Minister misled the Dáil and the Seanad some years ago and informed us that the angling societies at the time, trout and coarse, were satisfied with his proposal. They were not and the rest is history. We are now trying to undo the damage that was done. I ask the Minister to repeal the 1987 legislation.

My interpretation is reasonable given what happened subsequently. I ask the Minister to look long and hard at what he is attempting to put through this House and at what he is parading as a resolution to a very difficult problem in relation to inland fishing generally. Let us not go from bad to worse. We are adding probably the most complex layer of all to what has been described by NARA as a jigsaw. What will the shares issued by the co-ops represent? Senator Dardis put it quite succinctly when he asked: "Are they co-operatives of members or for members?"

Acting Chairman

I remind the Senator that specific issue of shares will be dealt with under the sections.

I am talking about co-operatives and their establishment under section 4. A co-operative without shares will not be worth establishing at all. Will the Minister explain exactly how they will function? Without the shares, co-operatives are not worth establishing under section 4 so we need go no further. They are both inter-related intrinsically.

What are the Minister's views on the constitutionality of what we are trying to do? Will this be the legislation on which President Robinson will cut her legislative teeth, as it were? Will it be referred to the Supreme Court?

The views of very eminent people both inside and outside the legal profession — I do not profess to have any legal qualifications and I want to make that quite clear — are that we are on very tricky ground here. They call into question the constitutionality of what we are attempting to achieve in this area. There are many private fisheries. Will they need a share in a co-operative to fish in their own fishery? Will they be bound by section 4 and all that entails in relation to any fishing activity they wish to engage in?

The point has been made that co-operatives were established to serve the interests of the members, either to help market the produce or goods of the members or as a second tier in the value-added area of the primary produce. How will the co-operatives envisaged under section 4 relate to the concept of co-operatives as we now know them?

Under section 4 the Minister will empower co-operatives to raise and disperse funds. Is the Minister satisfied that the correct avenue for engaging in development is directly through these individual co-operatives, or should it be higher up along the chain of command in order to have proper co-ordinated development and proper control in relation to the development? If the money raised through share certificates is only to be matched pound for pound in terms of development and a co-operative is not in a position to raise sufficient moneys, will the Government not invest in that fishery on the basis that they cannot match pound for pound any Government involvement, or is there an assumption that sufficient moneys will be raised through this procedure and that is all the money that will be forthcoming from the public sector?

An chéad rud is mian liom a rá faoin óráid — agus óráid ab ea é — a thug an Seanadóir Ó Foighil uaidh ná ní raibh aon rud nua ann nach raibh ráite aige cheana féin ar an Dara Céim. Cheap mise go mbeadh rud nua le rá aige, b'fhéidir leasú scríofa síos aige, ach níl aon rud scríofa aige. Thug sé léacht dúinn ar fhealsúnacht an chomharchumannachais, nach raibh na comharchumainn seo chun leas na tíre ná chun leas na gcomharchumann. Chuir sé an-béim ar fad ar an Aire. Anois, chuir mise in iúl don Seanad an t-am deireanach a bhí mé anseo coicís ó shin, go raibh socrú déanta agam leis na hiascairí, gurbh iadsan a d'iarr orm na comharchumainn seo a chur le chéile. Bhí siad ag tnúth le cuidiú leis an iascaireacht intíre agus nuair a shocraigh mise ar an scéim seo dúirt siad go mbeadh siad sásta airgead a thabhairt chun an fhorbairt seo a dhéanamh.

Dá bhrí sin, cén chaoi a mbeadh daoine ciallmhara ábalta a rá go raibh mise ag brú ar éinne, orthusan a bhí toilteanach teacht le chéile liomsa agus an scéim seo a léiriú ionas go mbeadh siad ábalta cuidiú lena gcuid oibre agus a gcuid airgid le forbairt na hiascaireachta sa tír seo. Dúirt siad go raibh nós imeachta ann, go raibh córas inghlactha ann. Tá, agus tá a fhios agam gur éirigh le comharchumainn agus gur theip ar chomharchumainn. I mbeagnach gach cás bhí duine nó beirt b'fhéidir ag brú ar aghaidh le comharchumann a bhunú.

Anois, is focal an-tábhachtach é "inghlactha". Bhí mise ag plé leis na deacrachtaí seo le breis agus bliain, agus tá na bunphrionsabail atá taobh thiar den Bhille seo inghlactha ag na daoine atá ag gníomhú mar iascairí. Ghlac mé comhairle, fiú amháin, leis an ICOS. Tá nath sa Bhéarla mar gheall ar sheanmháthair agus uibheacha agus ba mhaith liom dá mbeadh an Seanadóir Ó Foighil toilteanach smaoineamh ar an nath sin mar ní féidir leis-sean aon rud a mhúineadh domsa mar gheall ar chomharchumannachas, agus tá sé sin ráite agam cheana féin, mar tháinig duine de na bunaitheoirí as mo chontae féin chun cuidiú le Horace Plunkett agus AE, file agus scríbhneoir clúiteach.

Maidir le hiontaobhaithe, tá a fhios ag an Seanadóir, agus rinneadh soiléir é, nach mbeadh siad ann ach go dtí go mbeidh an comharchumann ag gníomhú as a stuaim féin agus modh bainistíochta acu féin, agus vóta ag gach duine go bhfuil scair aige ag toghadh an bhoird sin.

Tá mé buíoch den Seanadóir Ó Cuív as an méid atá ráite aige. Chuir sé ceist orm faoin méid comharchumann a bheidh ann. Thig linn ceann a bheith againn i ngach réigiún. Tá mise ag smaoineamh ar réigiún amháin atá an-fhada ar fad, thiar theas ó Luimneach agus a chríochnaíonn i mo chontae féin ag pointe na Sionna agus b'fhéidir go mbeidh dhá cheann ansin; níl sé sin socraithe againn, ach rachaidh mé i gcomhairle le daoine roimhre. Mar a duirt an Seanadóir Ó Cuív, "bitter strife" a bhí ann. He said he was aware of what happened in his own area and welcomed, which is one of the strong points, the innovation in this Bill which helped to break, as he said, the logjam. He also emphasised the importance of participation and the one man, one vote presence in this mould-breaking exercise.

I was grateful for the support of Senator Dardis. I am glad that in his opinion — he gave a mature and considered opinion — it was not contradictory to the co-operative spirit and emphasised strongly, as did Senator Ó Cuív, the democratic process incorporated in the Bill. He referred to Horace Plunkett who came to my area long before co-operatives were heard of in other parts of the country even though some people may set themselves up as custos animae or keepers of the soul of the co-operative movement.

Senator Doyle came in to oppose and said that in regard to the method employed, a statement was being made by the Fine Gael Party. This could have been done by tabling amendments and would have given me an opportunity to assess them and see if, in any way, I could make use of them. I want to emphasise that this Bill did not spring like Athena fully armed from the head of Zeus. It was as a result of a long, evolutionary process, of very pompilus debate and discussion when cognisance was taken of every possible point of view. Every association was met and their points discussed, including the one mentioned by Senator Doyle.

She called this section of the Bill fire brigade action. I would not like to own the house that was on fire for 18 months and wait that long for the fire brigade to arrive. What is before the House is as a result of long and serious discussion with the people who wanted a means by which they could contribute to the development of the inland fisheries. They saw this as a way by which it could be done. It is not true to say that my predecessor misled anybody. He may himself have been misled. He may have thought he had support when he did not.

The purpose of the shares is to give an opportunity to provide for the development of inland fisheries to the people who said that was what they were most anxious to do.

A receipt would do that.

It would not give them power to decide on policies of development or decide on what should or should not be done, nor would it give them power to elect their own board of management, decide their own business or receive money from the State in the first instance. It would not do any of those things for them and that is the whole purpose in having the co-operative. This is at the request of the fishermen. I want to emphasise that. They want to contribute. They want to organise and decide on policy in their own area. They will also have power to vote for members of the regional boards in the various areas.

Senator Doyle raised the matter of constitutionality. Needless to say, I had consultations with the Attorney General and he assured me that the Bill, including section 4, is in accordance with the Constitution and it is with great confidence that I ask Seanad Éireann to pass it.

I thank the Minister for his considered reply. Under this section, will the same rules apply to all co-operatives or can they be varied, region to region? Are we talking about a national set of rules to be applied to each co-operative? Through the co-operative structure that is now being set up, can rights be conferred over areas that the co-ops will not own? How can you confer rights over land and fisheries that are not owned by the co-operatives? Issuing certificates does not give the individual fishermen, anglers or co-op any rights over areas they do not own. In some areas they own them. In most areas they lease them. There are many fishing areas that are not structured as yet. They are neither leasehold, private nor public fisheries. How will we be able to confer rights over areas that the co-ops do not own and still be on the right side of the Constitution?

This section is unworkable. Fishermen and anglers were looking for a formula to resolve the problems of the 1987 Act. Initially the co-operative structure appeared to be the best formula to get off the hook that they and the Minister had been hoisted on over the 1987 Act.

The anglers have said that by the time their discussions with the Minister and his officials had been processed through the parliamentary draftsman and the Attorney General had a go at different parts of it, what we will present back to them is not quite what they had envisaged. They had a co-operative structure in mind but what we are handing back to them is not what they had in mind. What we are putting in place is unworkable, undemocratic and will be proved to be unconstitutional.

There will be a set of rules and, written into the Bill, will be procedures for changing the rules, if necessary, from place to place. There is no ownership right attendant on this. It is not a question of ownership.

Senator Doyle said that we worked on a scheme but when the Bill was put together it was not what had been agreed. This is wrong because I brought the Bill to a meeting in Portlaoise where there were people from the four provinces. I went through it with them and agreed the exact format of the Bill.

Dúirt an tAire gur ghlac sé comhairle faoi seo ó ICOS. Tá iontas orm más é an chomhairle a fuair sé ón ag eagraíocht sin mar bhí mé féin i mó bhall de choiste lárnach ICOS go dtí le gairid. Tá sé seo fiosraithe agam féin le ICOS nach bhféadfadh ICOS tacaíocht a thabhairle don chomharchumann seo nó don ainm comharchumann a thabhairt ar Bhille á chur tríd an Dáil. An cheist atá agam ar an Aire cé chomh mór is a bhí na comhchainteanna a bhí aige le ICOS, cén chomhairle a chuir ICOS air agus an bhfuil sé le feiceáil san iarracht atá déanta anseo?

Níl aon dabht i n-intinn dhuine ar bith ach gur smaoineamh maith bunúsach é go mbeadh comharchumainn ann agus go mbeidís ag breathnú amach don iascaireacht agus don ghluaiseacht seo. Ach mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Doyle nóiméad ó shin tá sé cáinte. Tá sé cáinte imeasc na rudaí seo go léir a tharla le linn na gcainteanna seo nach bhfuil a fhios ag an pobal nó na daoine a bhí i gceist tada faoi na cainteanna. Cá raibh na cruinnithe seo? Cé mhéid daoine a bhí annsin? Thug sé le chéile iad agus dúirt sé mar a thuigim uaidh, agus dúirt sé leo "seo Bille, seo mar a bheidh sé. An bhfuil sibh sásta leis seo?" Ar phlé siad amach go hiomlán a mhol sé?

Leasuithe a mhol siad dom.

Nílimid ag caint faoi Bhille ach ag caint faoi chomharchumainn atá caite isteach i lár Bhille. Thóg siad Bille síos go Port Laoise le go bpléifí é leis na hiascairi seo. Ba chuir go mbeadh sé thíos i bPort Laoise, i nGaillimh, i nDún na nGall agus in áit ar bith eile ag cruinnithe poiblí agus ag fiafraí de na hiascairí ar mhaith leo comharchumann a bhunú. Ní Bille a chur ós a gcomhair——

Tá sé sin ráite agat cheana féin.

Agus dá mbeadh sé ag iarraidh comharchumann a bhunú.

An bhfuil an Seanadóir ag éisteacht le héinne?

Táim ag éisteacht. Tá an tAire ag cur rud anseo nach bhfuil i gcóras chomharchumann ar bith ar domhan. Tá sé tugtha isteach anseo, agus tá sé le dul suas anois chuig Uachtarán na hÉireann, le ainm a chur le reachtaíocht nach bhfuil ag teacht le córas na gcomharchumann beag nó mór. Agus an tAire faoi ndear é. Bhí Íosa Críost féin ann agus bhunaigh sé Eaglais — bhunaigh Horace Plunkett comharchumann. Cén fáth go gcaithfimídne Aire a fháil le comharchumann a bhunú? Cén fáth, má thagann cor nua sa saol amach anseo go gcaithfidh duine éigin a rá go gcaithfimid saghas eile comharchumann a bhunú anois agus saghas eile fós thíos an bothar?

An inseodh an tAire don Teach seo anois, go fírinneach, cén chomhairle a fuair sé ó ghluaiseacht na gcomharchumann, ó ICOS, agus cá bhfuil sin le feiceáil sa mBille seo?

Dúirt me gur ghlac mé comhairle leo, gur phléigh mé an rud leo. Ní raibh sé le teacht faoi ICOS ach d'éist mé leis an méid an bhí le rá acu agus do rinne mé mo shocrú féin. Sin an méid a dúirt mé. Céin fáth a raibh mise i bPort Laoise? Bhí mé ag caint leis na hiascairí, leis na daoine a d'iarr orm socrú a dhéanamh, leis na daoine a dúirt go raibh siad toilteanach airgead agus obair a chur isteach ar mhaithe le leas agus forbairt na hiascaireachta sa tír seo. Sin an fáth a raibh mé ann. Toil an phobail, toil na ndaoine a raibh raic ar siúl acu mar gheall ar an rud a deineadh. Sin an fáth go bhfuil mé anseo ag moladh an Bhille seo don Teach seo, agus tá a fhios agam go n-éireoidh go geal leis.

Chuir caint an Seanadóir Uí Fhoighil an-iontas orm. Táimid ag dul an-fhada leis an scéal seo. Is cuimhneach liom cruinnithe thiar imeasc comharchumainn Ghaeltachta a raibh an Seanadóir Ó Foighil páirteach iontu agus is é an chasaoid a bhí againne ag an am ná nár fheil na structúir a bhí ag ICOS don ghnó a bhí ar bun againn mar go raibh meascán againne idir obair a raibh cúnamh Stáit á fháil aige agus obair phobail. Theastaigh structúir nua agus, fad mo chuimhne, d'éirigh bunús na gcomharchumann Gaeltachta as a bheith ina mbaill de ICOS mar nach bhfaca siad gur fheil na structúir a bhí ag ICOS don ghnó a bhí ar bun.

Ar an gcaoi cheánna anseo, tá a fhios ag an saol Fodhla nach bhfeileann na structúir atá ag na comharchumainn déiríochta leis an gcineál job atá le deánamh anseo. Tá jab áirithe le deánamh anseo agus tá na hiascairí sásta leis. Tá mise in ann a dheimhniú don Seanadóir Ó Foighil — mar tá na tithe siúlta agam le trí seachtainí sna ceanntair ba achrannaí conspóid — go mór mhór i leith an dream a raibh plé acu leis an gconspóid, go bhfuil an Bille seo léite go mion acu, go bhfuil glactha acu leis, gur chuireadar leasuithe chun tosaigh, gur ghlacadh leis na leasuithe agus go bhfuil fonn mór orthu go n-éireodh an Freasúra as a bheith ag cur in aghaidh an Bhille seo agus go ligfí dúinn dul ar aghaidh agus an reachtaíocht seo a chur tríd.

I did not understand the Minister's response to a question I asked previously. Will the same rules apply to all co-operatives? The Minister responded to that but I was not quite sure what he meant. Will there be a national set of rules laid down by him that will apply to all co-operatives which can subsequently be altered at the request of a co-op by order of the Minister. If I owned a fishery, which I do not, would I have to have a share certificate to fish in my own fishery?

I have already answered that question but I will answer it again. A set of rules will govern the co-operatives, not laid down by me but a set of rules agreed with the fishermen. There are structures incorporated in the Bill to enable the rules to be amended. The Minister and the co-operative, acting in unison — it does not matter from what side the initiative comes — can change them.

With regard to the share certificate, the co-operative working in the area will democratically decide, by a 60 per cent majority, whether a share certificate is needed to fish in a particular area. I think that 60 per cent is a solid kind of majority to look for and must be an indication of the will of the people in that area. We regard much less than 60 per cent as a democratic majority. The people who vote will make the decision for all the fishing in the area.

Section 4 deals with the establishment of fishery co-operative societies. I know why the Minister is attempting to establish those co-operatives. I accept also that anglers generally have agreed to the concept of co-operatives to resolve the present impasse. It is something I would prefer to have done rather than to repeal the 1987 Act. I understand that this is a formula for getting us off the hook in regard to the licence and, at the same time, getting funds through a structure which can be rechannelled into the development of inland fisheries. What we are setting up has been called a co-operative structure. It is not a co-operative but perhaps it does not matter if we call it something that everybody is happy to call it. Even a club structure at district and regional level, with ministerial input and matching of Government funds, would be able to develop fisheries to the same extent provided there was a vehicle for collecting money from their members. The only vehicle through which one can collect money at the moment is through a licence fee and that brings us back to the present difficulty.

This is a mechanism for collecting money in another guise in an organised, structured way and reinvesting it in the development of fisheries. It is not a co-operative. It may be a formula for resolving the anarchy in coarse angling and trout angling at the moment, but let us not abuse the concept or the whole philosophy of co-operative societies with what we are trying to do. Perhaps, if by putting a name on something we resolve a major issue, one that has been a huge dilemma, it may be excused. However, we need to be frank about what we are doing. We have a formula for a solution to a problem but it is not the setting up of a co-operative, so I think it is a misnomer.

Ba mhaith liom ceist eile a chur ar an Aire. Nuair a rinne sé a thuras, nó a oilithreacht, más maith leat sin a thabhairt air, síos go Port Laoise, an raibh an Bille seo ina láimh aige nó na rialacha comharchumann? Nó an raibh an Bille i bpóca amháin agus na rialacha le haghaidh bhunú comharchumann i bpóca eile? Céard a d'úsáid sé? An tuiscint atá agamsa ón méid atá ráite aige ná go raibh sé i gceist aige comharchumann a bhunú. Dá mbeadh duine ar bith ag bunú gluaiseacht ar bith, abair craobh den GAA nó de chomhar creidmheasa, thabharfá rialacha an GAA nó chomhar creidmheasa leat agus mhíneofá iad do na daoine a bhí bailithe timpeall ort. Ach, céard a rinne an tAire anseo? Chuaigh sé go Port Laoise agus thug sé Bille leis. Ar thug sé rialacha comharchumann leis? Ba mhaith liom a fhios sin a bheith agam, mar, murar thug sé rialacha comharchumann leis bhí sé ag iarraidh rud a dhéanamh a bhí indéanta. Ní fhéadfaí comharchumann a bhunú gan na rialacha a bheith aige, gan gach rud a bhí faoi réir na rialacha a phlé arís agus arís eile, ach níor deineadh é sin.

Maidir leis an Seanadóir O Cuív a rá liomsa go raibh cineál leisce orm nuair nár chuir mé isteach sa rud seo ach cur in aghaidh alt a 4. Níl aon bhealach go bhféadfainn leasú a dhéanamh ar alt a 4 mar creidim, faoin gcóras comharchumainn, nach bhféadfaí é a dhéanamh. Ní fhéadfá leasú a dhéanamh ar alt a 1 go dtí a 5 ar an gcaoi sin. An t-aon bhealach go bhféadfaí leasú a dhéanamh faoin mBille ná é a tharraingt siar go hiomlán agus ainm nua a chur air. Feicfidh Seanadóirí, de réir mar atáimid ag dul ar aghaidh, nach bhfuil sé ag dul de réir rialacha comharchumann, a bheag ná a mhór. Mar a dúirt mé leis an Aire níl mé in aghaidh an phrionsabail go mbunófaí gluaiseacht a chuirfidh deireadh leis an aighneas seo. Maidir leis an Seanadóir Ó Cuív tá na tithe céanna siúlta agamsa freisin le cúpla seachtain. Ní raibh mé sa bhaile go deas ciúin nuair a bhí seisean ag dul thart ar na tithe. Bhí mise ag dul thart orthu freisin agus níor luadh comharchumann liom in aon chor. Dúradh liom go raibh siad ag iarraidh deireadh a chur leis an aighneas, agus tá sé sin cinnte. Tá mise ag iarraidh fáil réidh leis.

Bímis réidh leis, ach ná húsáidaimis struchtúr comharchumainn le rud a dhéanamh nach cóir a dhéanamh. Dar liomsa níl sé ceart de réir dlí ná de réir an Bhunreachta go mbunóimis comharchumann agus go rachadh an tAire síos go Port Laoise le Bille in áit rialacha comharchumainn. Mar sin, tá mé ag iarraidh freagra uaidh an raibh rialacha comharchumainn aige ag dul ansin, ar mhínigh sé na rialacha, agus ar ghlac na daoine le rialacha. Ansin, má deir sé liomsa gur ghlac siad le rialacha comharchumainn, glacfaidh mise leis go bhfuil an Bille seo i gceart. Má deir sé liom gur thug sé Bille dóibh in ionad rialacha ní féidir liom glacadh leis agus sin an fáth nach bhféadfainn aon leasú a dhéanamh ar an reachtaíocht.

Senator Doyle gave the essence of what we are about and she is perfectly right. It is a method by which the people involved agreed to help the funding and development of inland fisheries. That is what the section is about.

One of the big complaints during the long, sometimes tedious, careful and punctilious negotiations, constantly raised by all associations representing fishermen was that their voluntary work and investment, the money they collected for the development of inland fisheries, was not in any way appreciated. I saw this particular scheme as a way of showing such appreciation. The volume of work they do, and have done, is unbelievable in their commitment to a sport which they love. Also incorporated in this Bill is a provision for corporate membership which helps the clubs and which they welcome.

Bhí áthas orm an méid seo a chloisteáil ón Seanadóir Ó Cuív go raibh taithí aige ar chásanna san iarthar nuair nár oir an struchtúr a bhí ag ICOS do chomharchumann éigin. Nuair a bhí sé ag caint an lá faoi dheireadh dúirt sé go raibh gá sa chás seo, ar aon chaoi, le coincheap nua agus sin an méid atá againn anseo. Bhí an Seanadóir Ó Foighil ag caint faoi rialacha. Dúirt mise leis gur phléigh mé an Bille seo, gur leasaigh mé an Bille seo tar éis an chruinnithe sin a bhí agam leo i bPort Laoise. Tá leasuithe anois sa Bhille a tháinig as an chruinniú sin agus beimid ag teacht ar ais go dtí alt a 5. Tá mionscrúdú ar na rialacha in alt a 5, agus bhíodar siúd sásta go raibh mise ar an mbóthar ceart. Beidh cainteanna eile agam a thúisce agus a bheidh an Bille seo ina Acht, sínithe ag an Uachtarán, mar gheall ar na ceannteidil atá luaite in alt a 5.

Caithfidh mé teacht ar ais mar níor fhreagair an tAire an cheist a chuir mé air. D'fhiafraigh mé de go neamhbhalbh, nuair a chuaigh sé go Port Laoise le labhairt le slua iascairí a bhí bailithe le chéile agus é ar intinn aige comharchumann a bhunú, an raibh rialacha comharchumann aige lena míniú dóibh, rialacha atá ann le blianta fada, agus go bhféadfaí iadsan a leasú de réir a chéile, nó an ndeachaigh sé ann agus gan aige ach an Bille. Ní ionann Bille agus rialacha comharchumann, agus sin é an bhunchúis go bhfuil mé in aghaidh seo.

Mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Cuív, bhí amanna ann i ngluaiseacht na gcomharchumann go raibh na struchtúir as dáta, mícheart agus go mba chóir iad a athrú. Glacaim leis sin go hiomlán ach cé a rinne na hathruithe sin? Cé a rinne na struchtúir sin a athrú? Tá bealach faoi rialacha comharchumann chun é sin a dhéanamh. Is féidir riail speisialta a mholadh ag cruinniú speisialta, agus é a dhéanamh ar an mbealach sin. Níl aon rud agam in aghaidh rialacha a athrú de réir a chéile, ach is é a deirim ná nach féidir comharchumann a bhunú gan rialacha a bheith ann i dtosach báire.

Tá sé ráite ag an Aire anseo, "The Minister shall by order establish fishery co-operative societies in different regions". He is going to do it. É féin, an tAire. Agus cén chaoi ar féidir leis dul síos go Port Laoise agus Bille ina láimh aige agus gan a fhios ag na hiascairí céard a bheidh á dhéanamh aige? Ó thaobh ailt a 4 den Bhille, sin an deireadh, sin an dlí. Ní féidir le grúpa iascairí teacht le chéile agus é seo a athrú. Is féidir leo rialacha comharchumainn a athrú, ach níor tugadh dóibh iad. Níor inis an tAire domsa fós an raibh rialacha aige nuair a chuaigh sé go Port Laoise. Ar ghlac siad leo agus, ansin, ar bunaíodh comharchumann ann, nó an amhlaidh go bhfuil sé ag fanacht go mbeidh dlí aige anseo agus lámha chuile dhuine ceangailte, mar tá sé ráite go soiléir anseo gurb é an tAire a bhunóidh na comharchumainn.

We have been circling this one point for over an hour. It has got to the stage where one should inquire from the Chair whether there is anything in Standing Orders to allow us to move on from this point. On at least two occasions the Minister has said, as Gaeilge agus as Béarla, that under section 5 (3) the Minister, with the consent of a society, or a society with the consent of the Minister, may amend or revoke the rules of the society. How clear do Senators want it? If Senator Ó Foighil means that the rules of this society are not in accordance with the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society he may well be right. However, it is not any less a co-operative because it is not under the umbrella of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society.

As to whether this Bill is unconstitutional, that is not for this House to decide. That is for the President to decide, if she wishes to refer it to the courts, or for Senator Ó Foighil if he wishes, outside this House, to bring a case to the courts to establish the constitutionality or otherwise of the Bill.

Mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Dardis, is dóigh liom go bhfuil an díospóireadht seo imithe ar aghaidh an-fhada. Ach díreach cúpla pointí, the ICOS are not the arbiters of what is a co-operative society. Basically, what would be involved is registration with the Registrar of Friendly Societies and he is the person who would decide if the rules were admissible in that context. If Seanadóir Ó Foighil remembers correctly, the Gaeltacht co-operatives were obliged by Roinn na Gaeltachta to consult ICOS for grant purposes before we changed our rules but we did not have to take their advice. I did not hear an Seanadóir Ó Foighil creating a racket when co-operative societies attached themselves to plcs as a vehicle to overcome some of the capital deficiencies that exist in co-operative societies.

There are many types of co-operative societies. There is a co-operative society, Shannonside for example, where three co-operatives form one co-operative society and the rules of eight members and so on go out the window. Therefore, a co-operative society is a very wide concept. Any eight people, for their own private purposes, can form a co-operative society. Because an Seanadóir Ó Foighil has a certain concept of a community co-operative, with which he and I are familiar, but which in law has no standing, it does not mean that is the only type of co-operative society that exists.

Is it the case that the use of the words "co-operative society" offends An Seanadóir Ó Foighil? In other words, this is a solution to the fishery problem and if it is purely the words "co-operative society" that offends him I cannot understand why he did not propose a simple amendment to use other wording for the same structure.

We all accept that the public is entitled to have clear provisions set out in any legislation which covers areas which could affect their rights. I come back to a point I made a few moments ago. Under the 1980 Act, which established the fisheries board, a most detailed procedure for the compulsory acquisition of fisheries was included, a most detailed, convoluted and difficult procedure. For obvious reasons we are dealing with a very difficult, emotive and most complex area here. Will the Minister confirm that this Bill will override all that section in the 1980 Bill that deals with the compulsory acquisition of fisheries? Effectively, this Bill will then give control of such fisheries to these so-called co-operatives. We need to clarify that point. Yet, the controls in relation to the co-operatives themselves are dealt with only very summarily in the Bill. It does not deal in depth with the control of the co-operatives themselves.

Apparently many of the provisions of the 1987 Act were taken from the 1980 Act covering fisheries boards. Whereas those boards were tightly controlled under the 1980 legislation much of the control over the co-operatives has now been left to be covered by rules to be made later by the Minister. We are getting into a very contentious area here. We question whether we are entering a constitutional minefield in the formula we are adopting to resolve the present problem.

The Minister occasionally becomes defensive when we question exactly what we are doing and the whole concept of a co-operative structure. This is done with the best intention in the world because all of us want to see a resolution to the present anarchy in relation to the trout and course fishing and all the problems a Fianna Fáil Minister caused when he foisted the licence system on us. I accept what the Minister says, that his predecessor, Deputy Daly, may have been misinformed in terms of what would be acceptable to the angling societies. It would not be constructive to go into that now but the House was misinformed for whatever reason; I accept the point the Minister makes in relation to Deputy Daly and why he did what he did at the time.

Will the Minister confirm that NARA accept the legislation before the House today? If so, why are they now appealing to the Minister and to his common sense? They state that in this legislation common sense has gone out the window. That is the view of NARA — the National Anglers' Representative Association. I am nervous lest the impression be given that all anglers are totally satisfied with the legislation before the House today because that smacks of what the former Minister, Deputy Daly, told both Houses on 16 December 1987. The House adjourned the following day. We sat into the small hours of the morning and it was quite contentious. I recall Deputy Desmond O'Malley's contribution in this House and the other House at the time. Are NARA satisfied with what the Minister is putting in place now? Why are they suggesting that with this legislation, and I quote, "common sense has gone out the window"?

The Senator is reading from an earlier newsletter.

It is the March 1991 newsletter. After the Minister met them in Portlaoise, after the Bill has been circulated and, indeed, after amendments were taken on board in the Dáil, it is still their view. It is an area that has enormous potential which has been neglected by successive Governments of all political shades over the years. Look at the salmon review group and ask what happened to their report — it is gathering dust somewhere. Many Members on all sides of the House, are interested in this area and those of us who have an interest in it have bothered to find out the opinions of anglers and indeed the legal people to resolve an appalling situation.

First, where are we in relation to the compulsory acquisition requirements of the 1980 Bill? Have they now gone out the window? Have they effectively been overridden with the result that the control of such fisheries will automatically now go to co-operatives? How does that square with our private property rights in the Constitution? I am afraid I do not understand. Second, are NARA fully behind what the Minister is presenting to the House today?

I appreciate what Senator Doyle said about the present Minister for Defence and the then Minister for Fisheries. I want to strongly emphasise the second point because it is important. This Bill, soon to be an Act, has nothing at all to do with ownership. I would like that to be fully understood by the Members of this House and by Members of the Oireachtas in general.

How does one develop a fishery one does not own?

One develops a fishery by using the funds from one's co-operative to develop the fishery.

Even if one does not own it?

Yes, even if one does not own it. I have not met anybody who has refused development at any particular time. As a matter of fact, the note I have here says the same thing — the Bill has nothing to do with ownership or control of fisheries. The 1980 Act the Senator was quoting from remains intact and in place as it was.

I would not be so foolish, after my negotiations with fishermen, to believe that my Bill commands universal approval. Substantively, the Bill is acceptable to the fishermen. There are raw nerves and I do not want — to quote Shakespeare —"to rub the sore when I should be bringing the balm". I am bringing the balm, or doing my best to bring the balm, against some opposition, to this sore and it was a severe one. My hope is — and I have emphasised the words "comhar na gcomharsan" and "co-operation" very strongly — that we will be able to bring together all the people who, while they may be at cross purposes with others, are in their own ways anxious to develop the inland fisheries. Members of this House and the Members in Dáil Éireann can play a strong role in helping me to apply the balm and not to rub the sore.

Táimid ag dul isteach i gceantar uafásach, mar caithfimid a bheith an-chúramach nuair a thosaímid ag caint faoi chréachtaí agus balm agus muid ag tabhairt cúnamh dá chéile. Shílfeá leis an rud atá á rá ag an Aire ansin gurb é mo leithéidse atá in aghaidh na n-iascairí agus go raibh mé in aghaidh socrú a bheith ann. Níl sé sin ceart, mar tá mé ar son socruithe a bheith buanseasmhach agus a sheasfaidh nuair a bheidh an tAire anseo imithe as an Aireacht ina bhfuil sé anois, agus é b'fhéidir ina Thaoiseach nó in Aireacht eile.

Maidir leis an pointe a rinne Seanadóir Dardis, teastaíonn uaim go bpléifí é, is cuma más uair a chloig nó trí huaire a chloig a bheidh i gceist. Más maith le Seanadoírí géilleadh agus é a dhéanamh, déanaidís é. Tá mise ag rá agus tá sé ráite ag an Seanadóir Ó Cuív cheana féin nuair a dúirt sé i mBéarla, any eight can get together and found a co-op. Glacaim leis sin. Dá mbeadh ocht n-ainm lena leithéid, "the Minister and the following seven people shall establish a co-op," glacfainn leis sin. Ach ní hé sin atá sa Bhille seo. "The Minister shall by order establish a co-op"— sin an rud atá mise ag caint faoi. Níl sé ag bunú comharchumainn ar an mbealach a ba chóir comharchumann a bhunú. Níl d'aighneas ann ná d'argóint agamsa ach an rud amháin sin. Tá a fhios agamsa, a Sheanadóir Uí Chuív, go bhfuil go leor saghsanna comharchumann ann. Bhí mé ag plé le comharchumann pobail, le comharchumann tithíochta agus le comharchumann déiríochta. Tá comharchumainn ag plé la hadhmadóireacht agus le hoibrithe, agus tá rialacha acu go léir. Is é an rud atá mé ag rá ná nach bhfuil sásamh ar bith le fáil as an mBille seo. Níl buanseasmhacht ag baint leis agus ní sheasfaidh sé mar chomharchumann.

Beidh sé ar an taifead sna blianta atá romhainn gur cuireadh Bille tríd an Teach seo inniu a rinne díspeagadh ar an gcóras comharchumainn. Níl sé bunaithe de réir nósmhaireachta agus ní féidir é a oibriú. Níl sé de réir an Bhunreachta go mbunófaí comharchumann mar sin.

One can only stand and admire the tenacity of Senator Ó Foighil. The angling club of which I am the chairman is affiliated to NARA and certainly, there were reservations expressed by NARA about this Bill. One of them was that development work would be within the scope of the Bill and they wanted it to be specifically fisheries development work that would be covered. That is done by amendment — fisheries development work is covered. There were also fears within NARA that corporate membership could be used, for want of a better word, to hijack the groups. The Minister on Second Stage gave us an assurance that that would not be the case. Certainly, from my reading of the Bill, on the basis that corporate membership would have only one vote there is no danger of them being in a position to take over the co-op.

The other matter that arises was the rights of riparian owners. I am in that position; I am a riparian owner. My rights are vested in my local angling club and they are the custodians of my water. I must say that over a long number of years they have protected the water and the immediate environment to my absolute satisfaction and I am quite happy to go along with the arrangements that exists today. The Minister in his Second Stage reply also gave an assurance that riparian owners would be able to continue to enjoy fishing their own water; I think I am correct in saying that. The effect of this Bill is that people who were not able to fish, who would not fish, for very good reasons, got back onto the water and are in a position to fish. If it achieves that objective, which indeed it has achieved, it is to be applauded. My only hope is that the period of neglect which intervened in waters like the Corrib and so on will not have done irreparable and permanent damage to those waters and that we and our children will be able to continue to enjoy that facility and the marvellous asset that is there.

My belief is that Senator Ó Foighil is very negative in just opposing this section and other sections. As the Minister said, over the past year and a half he has travelled the highways and the by-ways of Ireland. He has met everybody in connection with angling, his door has been open to everybody to try to solve the problem. The Minister has come forward with a Bill. I have had representations from people in Kerry, from Listowel, and they were quite satisfied with the Bill. They have no objection in the world to it. All they want is that we go along and do our job and get this Bill implemented.

They have not read the fine detail. I accept what you are saying but there are very few who actually know what is in the Bill.

The trouble with any Bill is that you will never get 100 per cent of the people in favour of it. You will always get a small percentage of people who will oppose it. If the section is changed to suit Senator Ó Foighil and Senator Doyle there could be many people in the fishing community who would totally disagree with that. At the moment I am quite happy with the situation and I congratulate the Minister on what he has done in getting a general consensus. I am not saying that everybody fully and totally agrees with the Bill; nobody is ever 100 per cent satisfied with anything but I am satisfied that the general consensus is to get this Bill through the Dáil and Seanad. If I recollect properly, when it went through the Dáil I do not think there were any objections by the Opposition to the Bill or to sections of it. My belief is that just to be against a section is absolutely negative. I think we should move on. The matter has been well discussed.

Senator Ó Foighil referred to the fact that this was worthy of debate. Certainly, I am always in favour of debating matters as long as the debate is fruitful. But because of the — I cannot call it amendment — cur in aghaidh by an Seanadóir Ó Foighil, there are two stark simple choices here today. By deleting section 4, with or without sections 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10, the Bill becomes a total impossibility. Therefore, you have two choices today; namely, because of the lack of amendments and the structure of the opposition, you retain the rod licence, or you proceed with the Bill. I know that those involved in the dispute, those living on the lakes, particularly in the areas I pointed out before, the great lakes in the west of Ireland, would thank anybody for delaying enactment of this legislation and for continuing the rod licence dispute that went against many of the traditions, particularly of that part of the country. There are no other choices facing us today.

This debate has become totally sterile, totally futile, and I would appeal to the Opposition Senators to see that and to facilitate the passing of this Bill, thus putting an end once and for all to a very protracted dispute that caused great hardship and strife in many areas. No legislation we pass here, no Constitution, nothing whatever, is going to last forever. But I would have to say that I see in the basic concept of this Bill structures — call them what you want — that marry the requirements of the inland fisheries.

Furthermore, I cannot understand cén chaoi nach féidir a thuiscint go gcaithfidh sa chás seo gurb é an tAire a leagfaidh amach na comharchumainn a bheidh le bunú mar go gcaithfidh sé a chinntiú nach mbeidh na comharchumainn nua cosúil le comharchumainn i rudaí eile, mar shampla, comharchumann déiríochta — níl comharchumainn deiríochta ar fud na tíre, níl siad ag clúdú chuile cheantair. Ach sa chás áirithe seo, caithfidh sé a chinntiú go bhfuil comharchumann iascaigh ag clúdú gach ceantair agus nach bhfuil dhá chomharchumann ag clúdú aon cheantair amháin. Is é an taon bhealach chun sin a chinntiú ná go ndéanfadh an tAire an leagan amach ó thaobh bhunú comharchumainn de.

Ó thaobh na n-iontaobhaithe, na trustees, de, ar ndóigh, tuigeann an Seanadóir Ó Foighil chomh maith liom féin, gur rud pro tem é sin, an cineáil ruda sa ghnáthbhealach a dhéanfadh an sagart paróiste nó ceannaire pobail nó Pól Ó Foighil féin nó mé féin, a leithéidí sin i bpobail, i dtionscnamh comharchumainn.

There are other alternatives to what Senator Ó Cúiv has just suggested. Without section 4, without the whole concept of co-ops, we could consider just repealing all the 1987 Act. There is a gesture in what we say. I accept logistically the point the Senator makes: that if in theory section 4 was taken out and between us Senator Ó Foighil and I managed to defeat the might of the Government side of the House there this afternoon and jeopardise what the Minister had in mind in terms of resolution of the licence problem, we could always resort to repealing the 1987 Act. We all know logistically the outcome of pressing a vote on this section, which we will be doing very shortly. You can go and gather the troops now while I speak for a minute or two.

We do not need advice about gathering the troops.

You did, you know, only a short year ago, so I will not remind you of that, Senator Honan. You are in dangerous waters, literally, now.

I have one major area of concern still, and I thank the Minister for his patient response to a difficult issue. I hope he appreciates we are teasing it out because we foresee problems down the road when this Bill is enacted. We want a resolution that is workable, democratic and, above all, that will ultimately appear to be constitutional. I think all those three factors are in question at the moment.

How could any co-operative structured as in this Bill deny the Minister or even the Acting Chairman the right to fish in his own fishery by a vote of over 60 per cent? How could they do that and not come into conflict with the relevant sections in the 1980 Act which deal with compulsory acquisition of fisheries? I am afraid, with due respect to the Minister's response to me, that those two points do not square. Effectively, in this Bill we are giving rights to co-operatives over areas they do not own. If 60 per cent or more of the membership can decide that you or I or the Acting Chairman or any person fortunate enough to own a fishery cannot fish in our own fishery, I am afraid I cannot accept that does not infringe the relevant section of the 1980 Act which deals with compulsory acquisition. We are conferring rights on co-ops over areas they do not own and that is very questionable constitutionally. I await the Minster's response with interest.

I have nothing further to add to what I said already. I made it quite clear that the Bill before this House does not deal with ownership in any one way and that the provisions of the——

If you stop someone using their private property you are dealing with ownership.

——1980 Act remain in force.

Dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Cuív ar ball beag ansin go mb'éigean don Aire an Bille seo a thabhairt isteach le comharchumann speisialta a bhunú, le déileáil leis an deacracht atá anseo. Mar eolas don Seanadóir agus don Aire, tá dhá chomharchumann sa tír seo cheana féin bunaithe faoi rialacha an chomharchumainn atá ag lucht iascaigh locha agus abhann. Cén fáth, mar sin, nár thóg sé sample an dá chomharchumann atá bunaithe cheana agus nach raibh sé in ann iadsan a thabhairt le chéile le struchtúr na gcomharchumann a chur i gceart ann? Ná bíodh an Seanadóir Ó Cuív ag rá liomsa go raibh moill á déanamh agam; níl mise anseo inniu d'aon ghnó ag iarraidh moill a chur ar an mBille seo. Mar a dhúirt an Seanadóir Doyle cúpla nóiméad ó shin, nuair a thiocfaidh sé go dtí vóta ag an deireadh níl seans dá laghad againn buachan, agus glacfar leis, ach caithfidh sé a bheith scríofa ar an taifead na reservations uilig atá againn faoi seo.

Tá mé ag rá nach féidir le comharchumann feidhmiú i gceart faoin Bhille agus nach bhfuil sé de réir bunreachta. Is síos an bóthar a chruthófar sin uilig. Ní Acht fós é agus tá chuile dhuine amuigh ar na lochanna ag iascach. Bhí an tAire Fuinnimh, an Teachta Molloy, in ann dul amach ar Loch Coiribe agus é amuigh ag iascach go mídhleathach. Níl an tAcht i bhfeidhm fós agus táimid ag iarraidh go mbeadh sé i gceart agus——

Tá eolas ag an Seanadóir nach raibh ceadúnas aige, an bhfuil?

Sin é go díreach, an ceadúnas. Tá an tAire ag iarraidh Acht a chur ar bun.

Dúirt an Seanadóir go raibh sé ag gníomhú in aghaidh an dlí? Is dócha go bhfuil an t-eolas agat?

Cén chaoi a bhféadfadh daoine bheith ag iascach nuair nach bhfuil an tAcht 1987 curtha ar ceal, agus nach bhfuil an dlí seo ann, nach bhfuil sé bunaithe, a bheag ná a mhór. Dúirt an Seanadóir Fitzgerald "it's an absolutely negative approach" atá againn. D'imigh sé leis amach an doras ansin, tar éis é a bheith ráite aige.

Tá an ceart aige.

Tá an ceart aige. Sin an tAire arís. Léiríonn sé an intinn atá agaibh ansin. Nuair atá mé anseo ag seasamh go láidir ar son phrionsabal comharchumannachais, tá an tAire tar éis dul ar an record sa Teach seo go raibh an ceart ag an Seanadóir rith amach as an Teach tar éis cúpla abairt a rá. Níl sé sin ceart ná cóir agus ní ceart go dtarlódh sé sin.

Bá chóir dom an rud a dúirt an Seanadóir a cheartú. Níor dhúirt mé go raibh an ceart aige dul amach. Dúirt mé go raibh an ceart aige nuair a dúirt sé go raibh an Seanadóir ag cur i gcoinne chuile ruda agus gan réasún ná bunús leis. Agus deirimse sin arís.

Is trua liom go bhfuil Bille chomh tábhachtach seo ag dul tríd an Teach seo agus go bhfuil an tAire ag cur i mo leithse go bhfuil mé ag caint gan réasún. Tá áit sa tír seo ina gcuirtear daoine gan réasún. Cén bealach gur féidir leis an Aire a rá liomsa go bhfuil mé ag caint gan réasún? Dá mbeinnse ag caint gan réasún níor chóir go mbeinnse sa Teach seo. Agus sin atá á rá ag an Aire.

Níorbh é sin an rud a dhúirt mé.

Sin é an bunús. Ná bíodh an tAire á rá sin, agus ná bíodh sé ag cur isteach orm. Níor chuir mé isteach airsean.

Acting Chairman

Alt a 4, más é do thoil é.

Tá mé ag rá leis arís gurb é fáth a chainte ná nuair a bhí an Seanadóir ag caint ansin gur cuireadh i mo leith go raibh mise ag caint go diúltach faoi. Gan réasún, gan bhunús a dúirt an tAire. Glacaim leis an bhfocal "bunús" ach ní ghlacaim leis an bhfocal réasún maidir le mo chuid cainte.

Tá a fhios agat an chiall atá leis, is dócha.

Bhuel, anois, ní fear chomh léannta leatsa mise, ag caint faoi Laidin agus i gcónaí ag teacht amach le nathanna cainte nach dtuigimid. Tá Gréigis fiú amháin ag an Aire ach, mar sin féin, maithfidh mé dó an méid sin. Táimid ag caint anseo faoi phrionsabal comharchumann a thugamar isteach sa Teach seo inniu agus chuir mé ina aghaidh go huile is go hiomlán ar na fáthanna a luaigh me. B'fhéidir nach bhfuil an réasúnaíocht ceart agam, de réir an Aire, ach ceapaim fós go bhfuil mé in ann rudaí a thuiscint agus tuigim ón reachtaíocht seo nach féidir an comharchumannachas atá faoi bhrat Aire na Mara anseo a chur ag obair. Tá mé ag cur in aghaidh an ailt seo go huile is go hiomlán.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 20; Níl, 10.

  • Bennett, Olga.
  • Bohan, Eddie.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Conroy, Richard.
  • Dardis, John.
  • Fallon, Seán.
  • Farrell, Willie.
  • Fitzgerald, Tom.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Hanafin, Des.
  • Haughey, Seán F.
  • Honan, Tras.
  • Kiely, Dan.
  • Kiely, Rory.
  • Lydon, Don.
  • Mullooly, Brian.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Donovan, Denis A.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • Ryan, Eoin David.

Níl

  • Doyle, Avril.
  • Hourigan, Richard V.
  • McDonald, Charlie.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Neville, Daniel.
  • Ó Foighil, Pól.
  • O'Reilly, Joe.
  • O'Toole, Joe.
  • Raftery, Tom.
  • Staunton, Myles.
Tellers: Tá, Senators S. Haughey and Fitzgerald; Níl, Senators McDonald and Raftery.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 5.
Question proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

Senator Pól Ó Foighil has indicated his opposition to this section.

Thar aon chuid den Bhille is é alt a 5 is mó a chuireann díomá orm ó thaobh ghluaiseacht na gcomharchumann arís. Tá sé ráite go soiléir anseo i "Rules of the Society": "The Minister may make rules for the regulation of societies and such rules shall constitute the rules of each Society from its establishment". Tá sé sin seanbhunaithe ar an bprionsabal a raibh mé ag argóint faoi um thráthnóna, is é sin "the Minister may make rules".

Arís, le dul ar ais go dtí córas comharchumainn ar bith, ní hé an tAire an duine a chuireann an ghníomhaíocht ar bun le comharchumann a bhunú. Is é an pobal atá bainteach le comharchumann, is iad na daoine atá mar chuid den structúir: tagann siad le chéile, glacann siad le rialacha agus annsin cuireann siad rialacha dá gcuid féin i bhfeidhm. Nuair a bhí an tAire ag caint ar ball d'admhaigh sé é sin, dúirt sé "níl na rialacha leagaithe síos agamsa".

Cén fáth mar sin, go bhfuil Bille le dul tríd an Teach seo go ndeirtear ann "the Minister may make rules for the Society". Na rialacha go léir atá luaite aige tá siad le fáil i rialacha atá ionghlactha do bhunú comharchumann in áit ar bith sa tír. Tá sé an-deacair go bhfuil Bille á chur tríd an Teach againn inniu agus gan a fhios againn cé na rialacha a bheidh ann. Bí ag caint faoi mhuc a cheannach agus é i mála — tá sin déanta. Is í an argóint atá ag an Aire go dtiocfaidh sé ar ais ag caint leis na hiascairí agus go socróidh sé na rialacha leo. Ní shin é an chaoi le comharchumann a reachtáil nó a dhéanamh agus deineann sé ansin i bhfoailt a 3 —"The Minister with the consent of the Society or the Society with the consent of the Minister may amend or remake the Rules of the Society". Sin buaille marfach go bhfuil an cumhacht coinnithe ag Aire, tar éis an cumann a bheith bunaithe, athruithe a dhéanamh. Dúirt sé i dtosach nach gcuirfeadh sé rialacha ar bun gan dul i gcomhairle leis na comhaltaí. Tá sin ceart, ach ba cheart é a dhéanamh sul má thabharfadh sé an Bille seo isteach agus a fhios againn go léir céard iad na rialacha. Anois deireann sé "tar éis do rialacha a bheith bunaithe, tar éis an coiste bainistíochta bheith ag feidhmiú, tar éis do iontaobhaithe a bheith ainmnithe, tar éis gach rud a bheith déanta agus, abair tar éis trí nó ceathair de bhlianta síos an bóthar is féidir na rialacha a athrú". Abair nach bhfuil an tAire Wilson mar Aire na Mara; tá duine éigin eile mar Aire na Mara. Níl aon bhaint aige le bunú an chomharchumainn beag no mór, níor thuig sé céard a bhí ann, níl baint dá laghad aige leis agus tá cumhacht aige faoin mBille seo dul isteach go comharchumann agus na rialacha d'athrú. Is féidir leis comhairle a fháil ó na daoine más maith leis, sa chomharchumann féin ach fiú, gan a gcomhairle tá sé in ann é a dhéanamh é féin.

Arís, in alt a 4 "the Minister may appoint no more than two persons to be members of the management committee of a society in addition to the elected members". Buille báis do aon choinceap de chomharchumann é sin. Cumhacht a bheith ag an Aire, a haon, rialacha a athrú má thoilíonn sé agus, a dó, go mbeadh cead aige beirt a ainmniú ar an coiste bainistíochta.

Níl an comharchumann sin de réir nósmhaireachta ar bith — níl sé daonlathach. Níl sé de réir aidhmeanna ná fhealsúnacht chomharchumann agus sin é an fáth go bhfuil alt 5 ar fad san áireamh agam. Agus ná bí ag ceapadh gur chóir dom leasú a chur isteach. Cén mhaith bheith ag caint ar leasú, mar, dá molfainn leasú b'fhéidir nach mbeadh cead ag an Aire aon athrú a dhéanamh. Cad is fiú é? Tá gach rud socraithe agus dulta tríd agus tá an tAire in ann na rialacha a athrú, agus cead aige beirt den bhord bainistíochta a cheapadh. Níor tharla sé sin riamh, ar feadh m'eolais, i stair na gcomharchumann ar fud an domhain, go raibh cead ag duine a bhunaigh comharchumann daoine a cheapadh ar an mbord bainistíochta.

Más é sin an rud a raibh na daoine sásta i bPort Laoise sásta leis, níor thuig siad céard a bhí á rá nó ní raibh choincheap ná tuiscint acu ar cad is comharchumann ann mar níl aon chomharchumann ann a thabharfadh cead an lucht bainistíochta bheith ceannaithe ag an Aire in am ar bith.

Sa chéad dul síos, is mian liom a thaispeáint don Teach go bhfuil anseo, in alt a 5, creatlach na rialacha. Tá siad inspéise go leor, (a) go (i), agus tugann siad le fios na sórt rialacha a bheidh againn, céard iad na pointí a chlúdaíonn na rialacha. Mar a dúirt mé cheana nuair a bhí an díospóireacht ann roimh an vóta, más gá na rialacha a athrú ní féidir iad a athrú gan aontú an chomharchumainn. Tá sé sin soiléir ó alt a 5 (3): "with the consent of the Society". Tá sé sin ann. Tá an tAire agus an comharchumann ceangailte le chéile, cosúil le dhá ghabhar. Ní féidir leis an Aire rud ar bith a dhéanamh gan cead an chumainn. Ní féidir leis an gcomharchumann aon rud a dhéanamh gan cead an Aire. Tá sé sin daonlathach, a deirimse. Deirimse go bhfuil sé chomh daonlathach le Abraham Lincoln. Sin é mo thuairim féin —"le toil an chomharchumainn"— alt a 5 (3). Mar gheall ar an mbeirt a ainmniú, tá sainmhíniú ar "daonlathas", agus tá sainmhíniú ann.

De réir mar a thuigimse "daonlathas" níl an Seanadóir Ó Foighil ag caint go daonlathach. Tá cead ag an Aire an bheirt a ainmniú. Toghadh mise go daonlathach, toghadh an Taoiseach go daonlathach sa Dáil, agus thug an Taoiseach go daonlathach an post seo domsa. Dá bhrí sin tá an daonlathas ann. An dualgas is tábhachtaí dá bhfuil ar Aire, nó ar Bhall den Dáil nó den Seanad, ná féachaint chuige, má thugann an tAire airgead an phobail do chomhlacht nó do ghluaiseacht ar bith, go n-úsáidfí an t-airgead mar is cóir. Níl sé daonlathach gan súil a choinneáil ar an airgead poiblí, ar an gcáin a thugann an pobal don Rialtas chun obair an Rialtais, obair an phobail, a chur ar aghaidh. Dá bhrí sin, deirim go bhfuil sé mar dhualgas ar gach uile Aire féachaint chuige go mbeidh airgead an phobail slán sabháilte, agus usáidithe sa chomharchumann chun, sa chás seo, iascaireacht intíre a chur ar aghaidh.

Ba mhaith liom a rá, agus go mbeadh sé scríofa, nach ionann an dearcadh atá ag an Aire ar an daonlathas agus an dearcadh atá agamsa air. Níl an bheirt againn ag dul an bealach céanna ó thaobh an daonlathais de, a bheag ná a mhór. Is trua liom gur mar sin atá mar ní fiú leanúint leis an argóint nuair nach bhfuil an bhuntuiscint eadrainn ar céard is daonlathas ann. Is é mo thuairim féin gurb iad na daoine féin ag teacht le chéile a chuireann ann é. Má tá sé in ann stad a chur le daonlathas sa tslí atá luaite agam, toisc go bhfuil sé ina Aire agus go bhfuil sé tofa ag na daoine, tá ré nua dhaonlathais tagtha chun cinn sa tír seo.

Question put and declared carried.
SECTION 6.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill."

Deireann alt 6 (4):

Vacancies amongst the elected members shall be filled in accordance with the rules of the society.

An daonlathas arís — ní féidir liom glacadh leis go bhfuil daonlathas ansin nuair nach bhfuil a fhios againn fiú amháin, agus muid ag cur Bille tríd an Teach, céard iad na rialacha. Tá creatlach anseo de rud nach bhfuil glactha leis, a bheag ná a mhór, agus táimid ag dul a ghlacadh anois le rud éigin nach bhfuil a fhios againn tada faoi.

Mar a dúirt mé cheana féin phléamar an cheist seo leis na hiascairí. Bhí scéim againn cheana, ó thaobh toghcháin de, go nglacfadh an t-iarrthóir a raibh an vóta ba mhó aige — an t-iarrthóir nár éirigh leis — áit an duine atá i gceist san fholúntas. Mar sin, tá mé ag leanúint ar aghaidh leis sin agus tá glactha ag na hiascairí leis.

Question put and declared carried.
SECTION 7.
Question proposed: "That section 7 stand part of the Bill."

Tugann an t-alt seo muid ag dul ar ais go dtí an daonlathas: mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Cuív, é pléite agus seanphléite anseo. Táimid ag trácht arís ar "the trustees appointed by the Minister". Ní fhéadfainn, mar fhear a bhfuil tuiscint aige ar chomharchumann, aontú go mbeadh aon bhaint leis seo, fiú go sealadach, ag an Aire. Ní féidir, dar liomsa, iontaobhaithe bheith ar bhonn daonlathach i gcóras comharchumann. Ní sheasann sé le réasún agus ní mhairfidh sé i bhfad.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 8 and 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10.
Question proposed: "That section 10 stand part of the Bill."

Baineann an t-alt seo le ballraíocht bhliana, agus, arís, is coincheap nua é i gcóras comharchumann, go bhféadfadh duine ar bith ballraíocht a bhaint amach i gcomharchumann agus nach mbeadh sé ina bhall den chomharchumann sin ach i gcomhair bliana agus go gcaithfeadh sé a bheith ag íoc chuile bhliain isteach i gcomharchumann le go mbeadh an bhallraíocht sin leanúnach. Arís, faoi chóras agus faoi aidhmeanna comharchumann níl a leithéid de rud ann.

Thug mé freagra air seo cúpla uair cheana féin. Deirimse anois go raibh fonn ar na hiascairí an t-airgead a chur ar fáil trí na scaireanna chun iascaireacht intíre a fhorbairt, agus sin an fáth go bhfuil sé ann.

Níl glactha leis ag na scairshealbhóirí, mar níl aon scairshealbhaíocht ann. D'fhéadfá scairshealbhaíocht bheag a íoc agus bheadh duine ina bhall agus d'fhéadfaí ansin go n-íocfadh sé airgead áirithe in aghaidh na bliana, ach ná tabhair scairshealbhaíocht air sin.

Question put and declared carried.
Sections 11 to 13, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 14.
Government amendment No. 1:
In page 7, lines 6 to 13, to delete subsection (1) and substitute the following new subsection:
"(1) (a) Every ordinary member of a society for a particular year shall, if ordinarily resident in Ireland, be entitled to vote at an election held in that year for members of the regional board for the region which includes the society's area but, in the case of the election for any year subsequent to the first election, after the commencement of this Act, only if he had also been an ordinary member for any two other years since the previous election.
(b) Every former life member of Iontaobhas Iascaigh Intíre Incorportha (The Inland Fisheries Trust Incorporated) who registered under section 58 (4) of the Fisheries Act, 1980, in the register of a regional board and who is ordinarily resident in Ireland on the date fixed under the Fisheries Act, 1980, for the receipt of nominations at an election held for members of the regional board by which the register is maintained, shall be entitled to vote at that election.
(c) This subsection shall not prejudice the operation of section 13 of the Fisheries Act, 1980.".

The amendment is in the hands of the Members of the House. It is an amendment to enable certain people to have certain privileges restored to them which they had lost. The former Inland Fisheries Trust was dissolved under section 35 of the 1980 Fisheries Act. Section 58 (4) (a) of that Act provided, however, for persons who are life members of the former trust to be enabled to register free of charge with one of the regional fisheries boards as trout, coarse fish or sea anglers.

Section 59 of the Act provided for the life member to enjoy certain benefits in relation to fisheries owned or managed by the central and regional fisheries boards. Under the Fisheries (Amendment) No. 2 Act, 1987, the registration arrangement for trout and coarse fish anglers ceased to exist and the registers then became registers of sea anglers only for whom no licences were needed. Licences were introduced for trout and coarse fish angling and the electorate for the board were to be comprised of the licence holders as the House knows. That is the case in relation to salmon anglers and always has been. Accordingly, the arrangement whereby life members could be included in the electorate free of charge was terminated. The 1987 Act provided for the benefits relating to fishing on board waters to be continued and improved for the life members. I am leaving those arrangements in place.

Since announcing my proposals last year with regard to the new system as set out in this Bill, I received several representations from Members of this House, from Members of the Dáil and members of the public seeking to give some recognition to the life members in this new system. When we were debating this in the Dáil I gave an assurance on Committee Stage, and also in this House on Second Stage, that I would give the matter sympathetic consideration.

The substance of the amendment now before the Seanad is that I am providing for life members to have their entitlement to be included in the board's electorate restored to them and I am proposing to amend section 14 (1) of the Bill accordingly. This amendment ensures that life members are entitled to vote in board elections whether or not they are members of the co-operatives. They will not, however, have any entitlements in relation to the election of co-op management committees or ballots unless they become ordinary members of those co-ops. It is a recognition of certain life members who gave a substantial sum of money for the development of fisheries and in my opinion they deserve some recognition for this.

I thank the Minister for this amendment. On Second Stage I raised the matter of the rights of the life members of the Inland Fisheries Trust. There was some concern about the fact, as the Minister has rightly said, that they voluntarily invested a substantial amount of money at the time and their rights were maintained under the establishment of the fisheries board. I am pleased that this is included. If I am correct, originally they had to register with a particular board in a particular area. While one might have been resident in Leinster one had the option to register with the western board. Will that still be the case?

I welcome the amendment. I know that there was a feeling that life membership should have been just that. There will be a welcome that this right has been restored. It is another step the Minister has taken to build up trust again between anglers, particularly anglers who over a large number of years have made voluntary contributions at various times to the development of their own fishing waters. Mar sin, ba mhaith liom an tAire a mholadh as an leasú seo a thabhairt faoinár mbráid inniu agus tá a fhios agam go mbeidh fáilte ghinearálta roimhe.

My family have long associations with inland fisheries. I want to put it on the record of the House that I warmly welcome this amendment. The fishing community should be made aware that this is being put in place and I will do so at local level. I thank the Minister.

There is a comma in the amendment which annoys me a little. I must put this on the record of the House. Subsection (1) (a) states: "... for any year subsequent to the first election, after the commencement...". There should be no comma after "election".

Acting Chairman (Mr. Farrell)

Is the Minister dealing with the amendment?

Yes. It is amendment No. 1 (1) (a), line 7, after the second word "election" to delete the comma.

Amendment to amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 1, as amended, agreed to.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 15.
Question proposed: "That section 15 stand part of the Bill."

The amendment that was made to this section is welcome. It was a cause of friction and section 15, as it is now, is very acceptable. By amending it in the Dáil, the Minister did a great service to everybody.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 16 to 19, inclusive, agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I thank the Members of the House who contributed to the discussion on this important Bill. I hope the social disruption we had can now be put behind us. I have already made an appeal to Members of this House and the Dáil to use their influence, as leaders of society in their own areas, to promote the idea of co-operation.

Tá áthas orm go raibh cuid mhaith den díospóireacht as Gaeilge. Ní páirtchneasú atá i gceist agam sa Bhille seo ach cneasú iomlán. Mar a deir an seanfhocal: "Is fánach an áit a bhfaighfeá gliomach", agus tá súil agam go mbeidh siad sin le fáil amach anseo freisin.

Cuirim in iúl mo mhíshástacht ó thaobh comharchumainn de, ach é sin ráite, ba mhaith liom a rá go bhfuil gliondar orm — agus ceapaim go labhraim ar son gach taobh den Teach — go raibh an Tánaiste agus Aire Iascaireachta in ann an Bille seo a phlé trímheán na Gaeilge. Tá an-mholadh ag dul dó, agus is é an trua nach bhfuil an deis ag muintir na hÉireann a fheiceáil go bhfuil sé sin déanta aige.

I thank the Minister for his interest in this Bill. I thank his staff for their work on the Bill and to Senators who contributed on all Stages. The discussion was very constructive. Angling and fishing are a very important way of life for us and also an important industry. The efforts of the Minister on behalf of anglers are well and truly recognised.

I join with other Senators in thanking the Minister for the way in which he has conducted the Bill through the House. I congratulate him on the efforts he has made, which I believe to be successfully concluded, in bringing what has been a very sorry episode to an end. For that he is to be applauded. I hope we can all go back to fishing now.

Question put and agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 5.40 p.m. and resumed at 6.30 p.m.