Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 9 Jul 1991

Vol. 129 No. 15

Temple Bar Area Renewal and Development Bill, 1991: Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 4, line 10, after "Taoiseach" to insert "in consultation with the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Alderman and Burgesses of Dublin".

My proposal is that section 3 should read:

Notwithstanding any provision of the Companies Act, 1963 to 1990, the Taoiseach, in consultation with the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, Alderman and Burgesses of Dublin, shall appoint the directors of Temple Bar Renewal Limited."

I have listened with great interest to the replies given by the Minister and am grateful for the courteous way he dealt with all points raised during the debate. I was, however, a little mystified that having given very specified figures with regard to 47 projects costing £30 million being completed, 19 projects in progress and 18 at planning stage that the Minister did not give the figure for square feet of residential units created in those areas which I requested. I hope will give me this figure.

I hope that every member of the City Council and the three other members of that council who are here today will support this amendment and that they and the Minister — who is most reasonable — will agree that this is a modest amendment.

Earlier today I welcomed in many ways the development of the Temple Bar area but I bitterly regret the fact that, to a very large extent, this development has been taken out of the hands of the local authority and that the Taoiseach is the sole trustee. I do not object to the involvement of the Government Departments mentioned; my objection is to the extent to which the local authority role in this development has been curtailed. I pay tribute once again to the former Lord Mayors, particularly Senator Haughey, who did what they could to push this Bill along during their tenure of office and to my dear and esteemed colleague, Senator Eoin Ryan, former Chairman of the Planning Committee.

I am still chairman.

My deepest apologies. Senator Eoin Ryan will be Chairman of the Planning Committee for a few days longer. I would like also to pay tribute to An Taisce who in their report in 1985 did a great deal——

Will the Senator speak to the amendment, please.

I am sorry. I thought I would be allowed to pay tribute to those two Members on the other side of the House and I would like to pay tribute to the Temple Bar Development Council for all they have done. As democratic representatives elected by the people of Dublin, if we want to see the City Council, through our Lord Mayor whom we elected last night, having a small extra input into this Bill it is most reasonable that he should be involved in the way I have suggested. He should be consulted by the Taoiseach concerning the appointment of the committees. It is not an extravagant request and would help to redress in some small measure the lack of balance in this Bill which I referred to earlier on. Much of the good work done by the corporation is the day-to-day nitty gritty work which they have been doing and which they will continue to do to implement the ideas in the Bill and if the Lord Mayor were to be consulted by the Taoiseach when he is appointing the directors of Temple Bar Renewal Limited that would be very helpful.

With regard to the Minister's comments that we had suggested Fianna Fáil were not getting things done, I never said they were not getting things done. The question we must ask ourselves, is "Are we getting the right things done?" There is no point in our going in with a steamroller and flattening the whole city; that would get things done but would destroy the city. Building roads is getting——

Acting Chairman

Will the Senator address the amendment.

I am talking about the involvement of the local authority in all this and whether the Fianna Fáil members of the local authority feel that we are getting the right things done.

I will stay with the amendment and the involvement of the Lord Mayor. I would like to have asked for half a dozen members of the city council to be included as well but I am asking for the Lord Mayor as the representative of the 52 members of the council. It is reasonable to refer to the input of members of the city council. The Lord Mayor by his role, in consultation with the Taoiseach, would give the democratic representation which I feel and Senator Manning said in his introductory words is so important. The Minister was absolutely right on one point. Nothing happened on the quays because of the road proposals. I hope the Government have been converted away from those proposals. Finally, I ask that this modest amendment be accepted by the House.

Senator Hederman was very forthright in praising me, Senator Ryan and other Senators and it would be ungracious of me not to congratulate Senator Hederman also on her year as Lord Mayor which did a lot for the city. That should be put on the record since we are throwing bouquets at each other today.

I have some sympathy with the amendment but I see dangers in it also. As I said in my Second Stage speech, it was a great boost for the office of Lord Mayor that he was made chairman of one of the companies involved. The role of Dublin Corporation was certainly enhanced by that appointment. In my experience as Chair of the special advisory committee, Dublin Corporation personnel were very involved in making recommendations for the balanced development of the Temple Bar area.

Specifically on the amendment, I have no doubt that the Lord Mayor, the city council and the city manager will be consulted regarding appointments to this board. The danger is that if certain people are singled out for consultation and named in the legislation then other people who would normally be consulted are omitted and the legislation could be interpreted so that that they would not be consulted. There is no doubt that when a Taoiseach or Minister appoints a board he consults with all sorts of people and interest groups. Why not include the city manager in this amendment? Why not include all sorts of other groups? There is an inherent danger in listing particular people who should be consulted. The Taoiseach will consult many interest groups and I have no doubt that, in practice, the Lord Mayor and the corporation will be consulted. While I have sympathy with the amendment I see dangers in it.

I would like to support this modest amendment, as it is being called, for two or three reasons. A great deal was said on the Government side during the Second Stage debate about the vital role of Dublin Corporation in the process of renewal. It was said that much of the groundwork was done by the corporation. Various members of that body were singled out for praise and various officials were also commended for the role they played. It is clear from that that corporation has a great deal of expertise in this area and a special role to play in all this. If we accept this amendment we are recognising this on two levels.

This modest amendment recognises in statutory form that Dublin Corporation has a special contribution to make. Senator Haughey said that, of course, the Lord Mayor will be consulted. He will be this time, he or she may be next time but a situation of a genuine conflict could arise between the city council and the Taoiseach of the day within the next two or three years. If Dublin Corporation under its new civic charter finds itself greatly at odds with the Government and if this becomes personalised between the Lord Mayor of Dublin — not all Lord Mayors may be as placid and even-tempered as the man elected last night — we could find both sides at loggerheads. The Taoiseach of the day could decide not to consult the council and the Lord Mayor and might go against what they think is best. If the duty to consult is contained in the legislation the Taoiseach must do so before he makes his appointment. The amendment is so modest that it does not bind the Taoiseach but at least those whom the city council consider to be best qualified are more likely to be appointed to Temple Bar Renewal Limited if this provision exists. For that reason it is an important amendment, if a modest one.

The present Taoiseach, although he gives every sign to the contrary, will not be there forever. There will be another Taoiseach in years to come and that Taoiseach may not have the intimate knowledge of Dublin and the commitment to renewal in Dublin of our present Taoiseach. We may have a Taoiseach from Cork, Meath, Mullingar or Mayo who would not accord Dublin its present order of priority. Another Taoiseach may simply be advised by his officials rather than go to the corporation. Senator Hederman's amendment is modest and I am sure that in their hearts and minds the Government party probably agree this would be a good thing. If passed here today the Bill could go back to the other House and even go to the President by the end of the week. The legislation need not be held up. I have great pleasure in seconding, if that is what I am to do, and in supporting the amendment proposed by Senator Hederman.

I would like to thank sincerely all the Senators who have contributed on this amendment and more particularly to thank Senator Hederman for her very complimentary remarks about our mutual friend, Senator Ryan. I am sure, on her own admission as an apolitical Senator, she will do her utmost to ensure that Senator Ryan is re-elected as chairman of the corporation's planning committee, in the interests of the continuation and the maintenance of very caring and sensitive planning decisions in the years ahead.

I do not agree with his road policies, otherwise I might.

I think he is the man for our city in this very important time.

Pertaining to this amendment No. 1 to section 3, the position on the appointment of the directors of Temple Bar Renewal Limited is that the Taoiseach makes the appointments from clearly defined categories of people, as already set down specifically and publicly, in particular by the Taoiseach in reply to several questions in the Dáil over recent months. As I said earlier, the renewal of Temple Bar is already a unique three-way development partnership of local people, the local authority and central Government. The Senator's amendment is not necessary. The process is already a partnership and consequently no amendment is required. I will, therefore, not accept this amendment. Senator Hederman may wish to withdraw it.

I do not wish to withdraw it. Perhaps the Minister could assist me by telling me what categories of people the Taoiseach will consult when appointing these directors. I was not sitting in the Dáil and I did not read the Dáil debates on this.

I thank Senator Manning for seconding this amendment — I was particularly taken with the Senator's second point, which is an extremely valid one and which I think any reasonable Member of this House would have to accept, that we are most fortunate to have a Taoiseach who has taken an interest in the cultural life of the city. He is living in Dublin. I do not know whether he is actually a Dubliner, but he has been living in Dublin for a long time. I certainly consider him a Dubliner. If, for instance, just to take an example at random, the Minister for the Environment, who is a very able man, were to step into the shoes of the Taoiseach when the Taoiseach decided in his own good time that he wished to retire, we would have a Taoiseach from County Mayo who would now be involved with——

We have a Taoiseach from County Mayo at present.

I am sorry, I did not realise the Taoiseach was born in County Mayo, although I should have, of course. That was a very bad slip on my part. Some of these details do not always come to my mind at the right moment. I think Members on that side of the House have said, and they are proud of the fact, that the present Taoiseach takes such an interest in the city and knows so much about it. The Minister present is nodding his head in agreement.

Senator Manning has made a very valid point, that we may find ourselves in the distant or not too distant future with a Taoiseach from County Kerry, County Donegal, County Leitrim or somewhere else. I have nobody in particular in mind and I would not want anyone to think so when I mention those counties. We will then be in a situation where he is the linchpin, a vital part of our capital city, and the whole basis on which that part of the city is run and developed. I just do not think that is acceptable. I cannot put it better than my colleague, Senator Manning. He made the case abundantly clear. On those grounds, would the Minister and the Members on the other side have it in their hearts to accept that one tiny amendment?

I wish to alert you, a Leas-Chathaoirligh, that I will not accept the ruling which I am told is going to be given on my next amendment, but given that you will certainly win out on that, in spite of the battles I may fight on it, this is the only little amendment we are looking for. Would the Senators who are also members of Dublin Corporation and Senator Ryan, who may perhaps be back in power, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, I hope he will be in the not too distant future, support the proposal that the Taoiseach should consult with the Lord Mayor before he appoints the directors of the Temple Bar Renewal Committee? I would find it disturbing and very distressing to think that members of Dublin City Council would not support this amendment. As Senator Manning said we are not trying to hold things up. Senator Haughey mentioned how he found it such a big boost for a Lord Mayor to be chairman of one of the committees. Think what a big boost you might get if you were Lord Mayor and you were at least to be consulted. We are not asking that the Lord Mayor have a final say or a veto, we are not asking that he have any stringent or extravagant part to play; we are simply asking that the Taoiseach consult him before appointing the members of this committee. It seems a perfectly valid role for the Lord Mayor of the capital city.

In relation to what Senator Manning said about the conflicts ahead, I was distressed to hear Senator Haughey, in his previous contribution, talk about seeing battles ahead. I presume he was referring to the civic charter. We see no battles ahead. We want to go ahead together, in partnership, in the best interests of the city. It is in that spirit that I ask the Minister to accept this modest amendment.

I accept Senator Hederman's sincerity in totality. She talked about proceeding together with the civic charter and she asked for further consultation with the Lord Mayor. How you could exclude the main political party and another independent person from the totality of consensus to achieve the civic charter baffles me. I cannot reconcile it with her demand in this amendment to have the Lord Mayor consulted again in this situation. He will have a key role, at the insistence of the Taoiseach, to maintain that link between the head of the Government, and the head of the civic government in the city. That is clearly embodied in this Bill.

It is proposed that consultations will take place with the Lord Mayor of the day, with representatives of various Departments — the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of the Environment, the Department of Tourism, Transport and Communications, Bord Fáilte, FÁS, the National Heritage Council, the Temple Bar Development Council, various architects, heritage agencies, and people who have particular expertise. All that is embodied in this situation of openness, consultation, consensus, dialogue and progress together in the interests of our city and our country.

We are very proud of our Taoiseach and of his contribution not alone to this city and this country but right across the European Community. His contributions are acknowledged, as are the qualities he possesses, the leadership he gives, the commitments he has, his ability to achieve progress, to get decisions which are sustainable, which can be achieved, which are realisable and practical and which in totality embrace all that is good for our country and for our community. That is the kind of situation we want to continue. I have no doubt as a public representative and I can assure the House that irrespective of who is Taoiseach that same attitude will prevail, that same respect will be there for Dublin city, for the Lord Mayor in office, the corporation and for the key role particular people play, whether they be in agencies or in professions or whatever. We should accept that, as Members of this House, as Members of the Oireachtas, that commitment will be continued and that we have mutual respect for one another, irrespective of the office we hold.

I think the Minister has made my point on this. He has given us a list as long as two arms of the various bodies the Taoiseach will consult. Maybe he will and maybe he will not. I do not see any Taoiseach having consultations with all those bodies the Minister named when it came to filling a number of vacancies on a board like this. If the Minister says he will, then I suppose he will. They may well be asked for their views.

The central point Senator Hederman and I have made, and indeed which has been made over and over again by Members on the Government side, is that in all this Dublin Corporation is not just another body to be consulted, Dublin Corporation is central to the entire exercise. Many of the ideas came from them. Much of the day-to-day underground work will be carried out by Dublin Corporation, with their particular expertise. I do not speak for Senator Hederman but I imagine that part of the purpose behind this amendment is to recognise the special position of Dublin Corporation over and above any of the numerous worthy bodies the Minister has mentioned. In fact, the more the Minister explains the thinking behind it, the more I am convinced that this modest amendment is right.

I feel it incumbent upon me to reply to some of the things Senators have said. It was implied in some of the contributions that if a Taoiseach or a Minister does not come from Dublin, he will not be sensitive to the needs of Dublin or aware of the problems of Dublin. That came across very strongly in some of the contributions and I would like to reject it. If I could in advance defend future Taoisigh and future Ministers XX——

Who in particular?

Give us a hint.

I have no doubt that the people who work in the capital city, who do business here and have some affiliation to it will be particularly sensitive to the needs of the capital city. To suggest that they would not be able to pick a board because they would not know who is who, what is what or what the problems are, is very unfair, to say the least. That is something which should be put on record.

I want to put the record straight. I never suggested as Senator Haughey said that, automatically, a future Taoiseach will be insensitive to the needs of the capital. What I am saying is that we might have a Taoiseach who might not be sensitive. I am not suggesting that he might necessarily be from Senator Haughey's party. It is not for always and ever that they will be Fianna Fáil Taoisigh. We might have a Taoiseach from any party and he might not be sensitive to the needs of the capital city. If you fail to understand that, sadly, you fail to understand the whole idea of what the city is about.

It is no reflection on anybody who comes from a farm in the most remote rural part of Ireland that they simply would not understand the whole idea and vitality of a capital city in the same way as a person who lived in, was brought up in and was familiar with a capital city. The whole idea of urbanity is special to people who live in a city. The Greek philosopher Euripides said, "The first requisite to happiness is birth in a great city." That in itself implies that people who are born in a great city have a particular understanding. I am very much a city person and I am the very first to admit that I have a very poor appreciation of many things in rural parts of Ireland, that my husband, for instance, who was born and brought up in a remote village in County Limerick, would understand. It is rather pathetic for Senator Haughey to suggest that all future Taoisigh would have that appreciation or understanding of the needs of a capital city in the way that we would hope the Lord Mayor of Dublin or a Taoiseach who was living in the city might do.

I do not wish to bring the business of Dublin City Council on to the floor of this Chamber but since the Minister mentioned them I feel obliged to reply. No one will be excluded from the civil charter. It will be open to every member of the City Council to support it, to sign it and go forward with it. No member of the City Council will be excluded.

It is irrelevant whether the Taoiseach appoints the directors or not, it is what they do with the appointment that matters. As far as I am concerned, the task would be to see that people who are appointed to bodies like this ensure that our cities are fit to live in, not just for certain sections of the population but for the great mass of the people. This involves the dual problem of keeping the urban fabric and the urban infrastructure in good condition, so that the flight from the city will not happen as regularly as in the past. With this urban renewal, that sort of flight out of the urban areas will, to some extent, be reduced. We all want to see a Dublin that works for all the citizens, where all our citizens can work, relax and have good business interests. It is not a matter of argument to me who appoints the directors of Temple Bar Renewal Limited or anything else. It is irrelevant. Their terms of reference, what we expect of them as citizens and whether we will have proper consultation under the local government review should be the real criteria.

I would also have to think about the integrated plan for Dublin. You cannot have Temple Bar on its own. There is the cathedral area, the Liberties and so on. Things must blend in. We should not get hung up about who will make the appointments. The hangup is about the abuses that have taken place down the years and the abuses that can take place if we do not look at how local neighbourhoods are developing in relation to one another and how we deal with the development of the Temple Bar area in relation to urban renewal as a whole.

I think Senators are missing the point. Dublin Corporation are fully involved at every level of the Temple Bar development process. That will continue. It is absolutely vital to the success of this Bill and the success of the subsequent Temple Bar Act that the development process continue, particularly with Dublin Corporation. It is more important that this consultation happens. I do not think there is any necessity for any further formalisation of the consultation process lest we exclude other key people or key groups who may emerge in the future and because we have included a particular group. It is important that we maintain consultation, keep the book open and that the consultation process is done through the Taoiseach of the day in consultation with the Lord Mayor of Dublin of the day. I have no doubt that these lines of communication will always be open and I am very confident that if we leave it open, it will be to the advantage of the Bill when it is passed and becomes law and to the advantage of the whole development of Temple Bar.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is amendment No. 1 being pressed?

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 10; Níl, 30.

  • Hederman, Carmencita.
  • Howard, Michael.
  • Jackman, Mary.
  • Kennedy, Patrick.
  • McDonald, Charlie.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Neville, Daniel.
  • Raftery, Tom.
  • Upton, Pat.


  • Bennett, Olga.
  • Bohan, Eddie.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Cassidy, Donie.
  • Conroy, Richard.
  • Cullen, Martin.
  • Dardis, John.
  • Fallon, Seán.
  • Farrell, Willie.
  • Finneran, Michael.
  • Fitzgerald, Tom.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Hanafin, Des.
  • Haughey, Seán F.
  • Honan, Tras.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Kiely, Dan.
  • Kiely, Rory.
  • Lanigan, Michael.
  • Lydon, Don.
  • McGowan, Paddy.
  • McKenna, Tony.
  • Mooney, Paschal.
  • O'Brien, Francis.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • O'Donovan, Denis A.
  • O'Keeffe, Batt.
  • Ryan, Eoin David.
  • Wright, G.V.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Hederman and Jackman; Níl, Senators Wright and Fitzgerald.
Amendment declared lost.
Section 3 agreed to.
Sections 4 to 18, inclusive, agreed to.
First Schedule agreed to.

I have an amendment on the Second Schedule and I wish to move it, if I may.

I want to point out, Senator, that the amendment cannot be moved on the ground that it involves a charge. That is contrary to Standing Orders and, therefore, the amendment is out of order.

I am proposing that we not be allowed to build.

The amendment is out of order. I have made a ruling on the matter and that is it.

Would you explain it to me, a Chathaoirligh?

The ruling of the Chair is not a matter for explanation in the House. If you wish to discuss the content or the basis of my ruling, you are more than welcome.

Am I entitled to challenge the Chair on it?

No, you are not.

What am I entitled to do?

You are entitled to sit down at my request and we will proceed.

I think, a Chathaoirligh, you will agree I have been a very orderly Member of this Seanad for two years.

I have never suggested otherwise but you are not going to become disorderly, I hope. Senator Hederman, you will have to find a method of getting publicity other than confrontation with the Chair.

I am not looking for publicity. I am asking you to explain——

You are not going to get publicity on this basis.

I am not looking for publicity. I am looking for the deletion of the two car parks.

You are not being helpful. Senator Hederman, I have to ask you to resume your seat. I have made my ruling on the matter. I do not wish——

I greatly resent your saying that I am looking for publicity.

I must ask you not to confront the Chair in that manner. Regrettably, I have to ask you to resume your seat.

I take great exception to your saying I am looking for publicity. I have never, in this House——

Your are not being very silent at the moment.

I am asking why not building two car parks could put a charge on the Exchequer. As a logical person, I am asking for a logical explanation.

I have given you an opportunity——

You have given me no explanation at all. You have behaved, in my view, in a dictatorial manner.

It is not a matter for the Chair to explain or to give any justification for a ruling. I have given my ruling on this matter. Standing Order 37 will explain it further and you have the opportunity to come to my office where I will discuss the matter with you if you so wish. You are welcome to do so.

Amendment No. 2 not moved.
Second Schedule agreed to.
Third Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.
Sitting suspended at 3.10 p.m. and resumed at 6.30 p.m.